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Film Zulu Dawn:Lt. Col. Pulleine: His Lordship is of the cetain opinion that it's far too difficult an approach to be chosen by the Zulu command.Col. Durnford: Yes, well... difficulty never deterred a Zulu commander.
 
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45govt

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PostSubject: a question   Wed Nov 18, 2015 3:39 am

Hello All
I received the following in an e-mail and I am not sure where it came from.

I can't remember reading this in the limited number of books on the war I have read.

Any help would be appreciated


"Undersized. A rifle that will not chamber a loaded round is just a high priced club.The US calvary issued a bronze reamer to scrape away fouling in the chambers of breech loaders and repeaters. It didn't take too many rounds to seize up a cartridge gun in those days.
Investigating the massacre at Isandlwana tests on the Martini Henry rifles used by the British that day revealed that these rifles had jammed solid after about two dozen volleys , mainly due to unique weather conditions that day. The tests were run in an atmosphere chamber that duplicated heat and humidity of the day of battle.
The British opened fire too soon, and by the time the Zulu reached their lines most of the British rifles were jammed solid by fouling.
The British fought well with bayonets and rifle butts, but they were no match for the asega stabbing spears and bullhide shields of the Zulu in close combat."  
 



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Don
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90th

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PostSubject: A question    Wed Nov 18, 2015 5:40 am

Hi Don
I've never come across that statement , there is little evidence to back that up , none of those who survived mention it
happening to that extent , sure , there are some jams with Durnford's men in the Donga , but I can say I find that hard to believe on such a large scale , our resident expert on the Martini Henry Neil Aspinshaw has no doubt come across it or similar , would be interesting to see his thoughts . As an aside , I think the defenders at RD fired 20,000 Rounds or more ? and had the odd jam etc etc , there is no mention of their rifles being jammed solidly , and were no longer of any use .
90th You need to study mo
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PostSubject: Re: a question   Wed Nov 18, 2015 6:39 am

Hello 90th
thanks for the reply, I never read that before either and I have not ever heard of a scraper issued by the Cavalry to scrape fouling in a chamber of a Springfield "Trapdoor".

Hopefully Mr Aspinshaw will respond

Don
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Neil Aspinshaw

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PostSubject: Re: a question   Wed Dec 16, 2015 10:33 am

Sorry all, I didn't read the post originally hence late reply.

We've gone over the "Jamming debate" on numerous occasions, in reality there was no chamber scrubber for the Martini, and there is no doubt the M-H had issues with jammed cartridges, but this was primarily caused by ultra fine sand, or as Superintendent H.T. Arbuthnot of the Royal Small Arms Factory Enfield, who inspected 600 rifles returned from the Abu Klea/Abu Kru force in 1886 stated : "impalpably fine sand", fact is you simply don't get that in Zululand, and it was sand in the rifles actions, misformed cartridges and worse fine sand on the cartridges themselves (the men wore bandoliers) that caused the severe jamming there, and on the Suakin campaign in the Nubian Desert.

As nobody survived Isandlwana then it is pure supposition that jamming had even the remotest thing to do with the failure and I now tire of reading about it. It was never mentioned it the official post war debrief, and the only person to write of issues was Redvers Buller, be he chose not to mention jammed rifles, when he was questioned on this in the official Jamming report on the Sudan in 1885, he was again defensive as to him ever alluding to jamming.  

However, wind the clock forward a year and a bit. Maiwand,Helmand. 26th July 1880.  The same MkI and MkII rifles, the same MkIII ammunition, the same MkV ammo boxes,the same P71 accoutrements, Blisteringly hot, early afternoon. Arid/Desert like conditions on an open plain, an experienced British regiment the 66th (Berkshires). The Ammunition expenditure of one company that was fully recorded, H company under Lt Beresford Peirse, 4620 rounds,thats an average of 150 rounds per man, the regiment 97,075. Afghan losses, catastrophic, estimated at 5,000, but not enough for the 66th and the Indian troops to save the day. Yes reports of jamming and hot rifles (Lt Bray), but with an expenditure rate as good as or in excess of Isandlwana, then Theres Afghan assault on the Sherpor Cantonment, Kabul 23rd December 1879, by and estimated 25,000 Ghazi's, their losses, even more catastrophic, reports of jammed rifles..nil?  then all we can do is take the facts, as they stand, from contemporary actions and drawn in parallel.

9300 words on jamming in my new book out "hopefully" early spring.
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90th

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PostSubject: A question    Wed Dec 16, 2015 10:42 am

Thanks Neil , looking forward to the book .
90th
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PostSubject: Re: a question   Sat Dec 26, 2015 2:44 am

Thank you all for the replies

I kind of figured it was some armchair "expert" who doesn't know what he is talking about
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24th

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PostSubject: Re: a question   Sun Dec 27, 2015 12:34 am

How long would it have taken to cleared a jammed rifle in Battle conditions, bearing in mind the rifles and time of clearing would have been extremely hot, through use.
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PostSubject: Re: a question   Sun Dec 27, 2015 5:59 am

Hello 24th
I shoot black powder cartridge, trapdoors, and know from experience what it takes to remove a split case from the chamber. I have done a number of them.

When you open the block and the back half of the case pops out leaving the front half in the chamber you would have to remove the broken shell extractor from the butt of the stock if you are using the carbine and insert in the chamber and then, depending on which model extractor you are using you would use your rod to tap out the extractor and broken case with the early extractor, or close the block and tap the extractor a few times to expand the extractor so it will grip the broken case and then open the block and push the extractor and case out with the rod.

I have used both models and it only takes a minute or two, under leisurely conditions, but if you are in the heat of battle or under extreme pressure I am sure this would seem to take forever.

I doubt this was something that was drilled so unless the trooper had done it before I am sure they would resort to using the weapon as a club

Attached is a photo of the two extractors, left early right later and my rifle and carbine

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PostSubject: Re: a question   Sun Dec 27, 2015 11:22 am

I take it there are quite a few members on here who have experienced a fire fight, not the most pleasent situation to be in. It's bad enough with modern day weapons to clear a blockage. You certainly wouldn't hang about fiddling with the weapons used back in 1879. I agree you would revert to bayonet or as the other member said a club.
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