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 Exactly what was Chelmsford guilty of?

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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Exactly what was Chelmsford guilty of?   Fri Jan 08, 2016 2:34 pm

I thought it could be interesting to really explore this and rather than general all encompassing statements get very specific on what Chelmsford did that would generate the blame being attributed to him.
Rather than just bold statements such as, 'he organised a cover up,' or 'he lied', be specific and give the occasion so as to allow any defenders the space to do just that, defend him.
Now before I get accused of being one side or the other let me firmly nail my colors to the mast. I do believe that Chelmsford was culpable to a degree but so were a few others.
It would give some direction to the debate if we could refrain from side tracking into the faults of other miscreants.

Cheers
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PostSubject: Re: Exactly what was Chelmsford guilty of?   Fri Jan 08, 2016 3:12 pm

Hi
I don't really post that much, maybe I should, but always log in 4 or 5 times a week. I firmly believe that any of the other commanders, especially Wood, would've done basically the same as Chelmsford. They all took the Zulu too lightly, and only after Chelmsford was taught a severe lesson did everyone change their tactics, attitude, respect, etc. Shame the Zulu couldn't change their's, otherwise it could've been very different.
Cheers


Last edited by warrior3 on Fri Jan 08, 2016 5:48 pm; edited 1 time in total
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rusteze

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PostSubject: Re: Exactly what was Chelmsford guilty of?   Fri Jan 08, 2016 3:30 pm

Can I make a further suggestion about framing the answers to what Chelmsford was guilty of. I think it would help to consider :

1.What he did/didn't do before the invasion.

2. What he did/didn't do that contributed to the defeat on the 22nd.

3. What he did/didn't do subsequently.

Steve
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Exactly what was Chelmsford guilty of?   Sat Jan 09, 2016 8:10 am

Warrior 3
Your probably very close to the truth, good comments.
Steve
The Silence is deafening...................

Cheers
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rusteze

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PostSubject: Re: Exactly what was Chelmsford guilty of?   Sat Jan 09, 2016 10:40 am

Frank

I have been thinking for a while that it is increasingly hard work to get participation. I will offer up a few thoughts later in the hope that others will also pitch in. Good thoughts Warrior 3, let us know more about what you think.

Steve
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90th

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PostSubject: Exactly what was LC guilty of ?   Sat Jan 09, 2016 12:51 pm

Hi Frank / Steve
LC was certainly guilty of basically saying one thing and then doing another . The booklet he had produced for his Column Commanders and Senior officers stated that the camps needed to be entrenched , or some sort of fortification was required overnight , we all know he didn't adhere to his own policy regarding the camp at Isandlwana , LC did think it a staging post of sorts which didn't merit fortification ( the ground is to hard , it'll take a week etc , a couple of his lines when asked by Glyn whether it should be fortified or Laagered ) . In reply to Warriors comment about Wood etc . I think you'll find Wood actually fortified his camps . Agreed , had the Zulu been able to adopt guerrilla style tactics , it would've been much more costly
in regard to British loss of life , and also financially . Certainly lethargy and overconfidence played their part in the early part of the Invasion , no doubt about that whatsoever .
90th Salute
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xhosa2000

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PostSubject: Re: Exactly what was Chelmsford guilty of?   Sat Jan 09, 2016 2:17 pm

Exactly what was Chelmsford guilty of? One could easily say that this topic
has been ' done to death '. but has it truly?. there has, it seems to me, been
two main schools of thought..those who support his Lordship and those who
condemn him.. i have read most of the literature available to us all,and as i
sit here in 2016 i have an opinion which has not changed one iota from the
one i formed more years ago than i care to remember!.

I don't have any doubts whatever that the old maxims hold true!. and that his
Lordship was ultimately responsible for the loss of that camp. there are many
things that lead me to that conclusion, most of you are aware of what they are!.
in other threads on this subject we have gone over time and time again the
charges leveled at the c in c South Africa regarding his competence at the vital
early stages of the campaign. they are worth repeating especially his decision
to split his command Before knowing the whereabouts of the enemy..a
decision that flies in the face of everything a military commander understands
as the most basic tenant in understanding and then defeating the enemy. i also
would be very interested in gaining a consensus, and at last maybe even the
agreement that Chelmsford was not just unlucky..but culpable in every sense.
xhosa
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Mr M. Cooper

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PostSubject: Re: Exactly what was Chelmsford guilty of?   Sat Jan 09, 2016 3:48 pm

Well put Les, and although this has been gone over quite a few times, it is worth remembering that LC (as Gary rightly says), ignored his own orders regarding entrenching or laagering the camp at iSandlwana. Amongst his other failures, he was arrogent in his underestimating the zulu's, he did not have the permission of the British government to invade zululand, he ignored the advice of the Boers at the camp, he did not properly recce the area around iSandlwana, and as Les rightly says, he split his force without knowing the whereabouts of the enemy. He dithered and often changed his mind regarding what orders to issue to his officers, and failed to give Col Durnford proper understandable orders on what he wanted him to do, he failed to leave orders for Pulleine (resulting in a junior officer taking it on his own bat to issue orders to Pulleine), he also failed to leave any orders with Pulleine for Col Durnford on his arrival at the camp. There are many other faults that you could find with LC, but on his return after the loss of the camp, he had the nerve to ask who was responsible for it. What was going through his mind when he asked that I wonder? Could he have been contemplating who he could blame for this disaster, then later planning along with the 'wasp' Crealock, to stitch up Col Durnford and dump the blame on him, after all, Col Durnford was dead, so he could not argue could he? Then there is the private carriage ride with Crealock in which they planned the rigged enquiry in which the enquiries presiding officers were chosen by LC and Crealock. A lot of evidence was not heard at this so called enquiry, and some which was heard was ignored, one of the presiding officers was specially selected so that he could not give evidence, what a fix up. It was inevitable that Col Durnford was to be scapegoated for LC's shortcomings, and so LC and others, including Crealock, covered their own backsides and dumped the blame on Col Durnford, and by doing that, they blackened the name of a very brave and honourable officer. However, there were some who could see through this smoke screen of lies and deceit, it is just a pity that some others can't, or won't, see it also.
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littlehand

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PostSubject: Re: Exactly what was Chelmsford guilty of?   Sat Jan 09, 2016 5:27 pm

Frank, I'm not sure you going to get away from the Battle of Isandlwana. I see members have posted the normal stuff when it comes to LC. Good attempt to start what could have been a decent debate. I think members think the only Battle that was fought in the Zulu War was Isandlwana. Rolling Eyes
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Exactly what was Chelmsford guilty of?   Sat Jan 09, 2016 6:16 pm

Ah good some comments. But generally going over the same generalities rather than specifics.
The idea of stimulating this debate was to be able to argue specific instances and try and move forward.
Gary
I think Woods first barricaded camp was at a late point in the occupation of Khambula but not really germain. Your point of not Entrenching iSandlwana is however an exact deviation from his own orders and yes would count against him.
Les
The general debate over the last few years on the forum has been exactly what you intimate a mass of confusing generalities. Gary has pointed the way above with his comment of not lagering the camp.
And yes indeed I thought it was worth the attempt to get away from generalities hyperboly and rumour to get at the actual areas he could be held accountable.
Martin
One or two points that could be answered but there again a lot of generalities. You are in agreement with Gary over the lack of entrenchment and its a fair point. But let me be Devils advocate and point out that he didn't need overseas permission, he was ordered by the supreme military commander in the Colony. Where would you consider he dithered? Did he split his force without knowing where the enemy was, surely Dartnell told him?
Littlehand
Yeah its not really going as envisaged, I was hoping that the pro Chelmsford members would be given the opportunity to answer specific allegations rather than assumptions. Almost as though Chelmsford was in the dock facing very concise allegations.
My allegations would probably start with his arrogance in underestimating the enemy and o from there.

Cheers
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PostSubject: Re: Exactly what was Chelmsford guilty of?   Sat Jan 09, 2016 6:45 pm

Littlehand, fair enough!. what Frank desires i think is fresh perspectives..
so what are we to do?. do we go back to the time that Chelmsford arrived
in south africa and plot his movements through to the conclusion of the
frontier wars and examine his decision processes step by step?. as we
know there was on the 22nd of january 1. a sharp engagement. 2. a
battle, and 3 a defense.. it is inevitable that we focus on the events leading
up to and surrounding the massacre at Isandhlwana. there is no escaping
the fact that his lordships initial handling of the first invasion has invited
criticism and condemnation from that time till today and even into the future..

There are plenty of opinions for and against Chelmsford, lets hear them all again..
form a committee along the lines of the c of i, ( only impartial this time ). say,
three or four members..hear all the 'evidence' and let democracy decide..what
have we got to lose, only time, which for now we all seem to have. xhosa
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rusteze

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PostSubject: Re: Exactly what was Chelmsford guilty of?   Sat Jan 09, 2016 7:13 pm

In looking at Chelmsford's generalship I am going to try and focus on the period leading up to the invasion and avoid (at least for now) the well rehearsed events of 22/1 and after. The first topic is his request for additional troops, why he asked for them and what happened.

On 14 September 1878 Bartle Frere in Cape Town wrote to Hicks Beach in London.

"General Thesiger considers that an addition of two regiments would be essential and that the presence of a cavalry regiment would be an enormous advantage"

On 23 September 1878 Bartle Frere, now in Durban, writes again to Hicks Beach.

"I find that the urgency of supporting General Thesiger's request conveyed in my telegram by last weeks mail is much greater even than I supposed. I trust there will be no delay in complying with his request to its full extent".

On 29th September 1878 Lt. Gen. Thesiger to Secy. of State for War, London, on the defence of Natal.

"The border front from the Tugela mouth to Rorke's Drift may be set down as roughly 100 miles and the depth of each defensive zone as about 60 miles. It is absolutely necessary that these lines should be watched and guarded by an adequate force.

The most advanced line must be guarded by the Natal natives who are located along the river banks as there is no one else to do it.

The second line or support should be the mounted police who are now about 200 strong. They should continually patrol the frontier road between the Tugela mouth and Rorke's Drift.

The third line or reserve should be British infantry stationed at or near the towns of Durban, Greytown and Ladysmith.

In order to be able to strengthen any portion of this line of defence, should the whole force of Zulus be thrown upon it, there should be a battalion of British infantry, 2 guns and some mounted infantry ready for the purpose at Pietermaritzberg."


On 17 October Hicks Beach in London replies to Bartle Frere

"The government is not prepared to comply with the request (for additional troops)....... By exercising prudence, meeting the Zulus in a spirit of forebearance and reasonable compromise it will be possible to avert the very serious evil of a war with Cetywayo.

The forces now at your disposal in South Africa should suffice to meet any other emergency that may arise without a further increase in Imperial troops. All Imperial troops in South Africa should be moved to Natal and the Transvaal leaving it to the colonial police and volunteers to maintain order in the Cape Colony."


So what do we make of that? Chelmsford sets out a reasonable strategy for the defence of the Natal colony and the forces required. No mention in that of an invasion of Zululand. London refuses the request for additional forces and two months later Chelmsford is invading Zululand - not defending Natal. Bartle Frere must shoulder the blame for not exercising the prudence and forebearance ordered by London. But Chelmsford has fewer troops than he said he needed to defend the colony and he splits them over three invading columns. That seems to me to be a major error.

Steve
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Ray63

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PostSubject: Re: Exactly what was Chelmsford guilty of?   Sat Jan 09, 2016 8:13 pm

LH good to see your prompt got a reaction for the better.
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PostSubject: Re: Exactly what was Chelmsford guilty of?   Sat Jan 09, 2016 8:31 pm

Hi
Did Wood set up a protective waggon entrenchment when he crossed the border? Did Pearson set up a protective waggon entrenchment when he crossed the border? Did Chelmsford set up a protective waggon when he crossed the border? I think everyone knows the answer. Did Morriarty set up a (decent) protective waggon entrenchment at Intombi - and that one was after iSandlwana! Wood and Pearson made bad decisions before and after iSandlwana, but, unlike Chelmsford, they were lucky. Like I posted previously, if Wood or Pearson had been in charge at iSandlwana I really do think the same catastrophe would've happened to them.
Cheers again.
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Ray63

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PostSubject: Re: Exactly what was Chelmsford guilty of?   Sat Jan 09, 2016 8:54 pm

No doubt that will the fault of LC. It seems no one follow LC standing orders.
Good post Warrior3.
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Exactly what was Chelmsford guilty of?   Sun Jan 10, 2016 7:55 am

Morning Steve
Without doubt the orders for the invasion came from Frere. I would think however that Chelmsfords strategy for invasion was a 'belt and braces' approach. Although mindful of the European war target of capture the capital he was also forced into a defensive ploy to prevent a Zulu invasion of the colony hence I would assume the 5 column approach. The pressure from the Colonists to prevent an invasion and at the same time destroy the Zulu as a Nation, capture cattle for the voracious settlers and satisfy the demand for land had to have been a very large part of his thinking. And as you so rightly pointed out without the forces he had deemed requisite for the task.
So in view of that could he be conceived to be at fault in his tactics?

Cheers
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PostSubject: Exactly what was LC guilty of ?   Sun Jan 10, 2016 8:50 am

Warrior in reply to your questions , Pearson according to the Narrative of Field operations did set up an entrenchment the night of the 12th , when they camped across the Tugela River in Zululand , Fort Tenedos was commenced on the morning of the 13th , so as you can see Pearson DID attempt to follow the standing orders . Wood crossed the border on , or about the 6th , which was 5 days before the date the Ultimatum expired , on the 10th Wood moved out fromBembas Kop with about two third of his force after having laagered and entrenched the other one third back towards R.Drift , so as you can see they both attempted to follow the standing orders , Pearson was delayed in crossing the Tugela as he had a major shortage of Transport Wagons . Now onto Moriarty , who did at least attempt to build a fortification , albeit not a strong one , he also had to contend with the Intombi river falling dramatically overnight , which of coarse left his fortification in dire need of restructuring , but once again , you can see at least he attempted to build some sort of Fortification , seems these 3 mentioned have all at least had some sort of entrenchment , or fortification on their minds , unlike LC who didn't think it worthwhile to do so at Isandlwana .
90th
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rusteze

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PostSubject: Re: Exactly what was Chelmsford guilty of?   Sun Jan 10, 2016 11:06 am

Morning Frank

I have no doubt that Frere was responsible for ordering the invasion and Chelmsford executed that order (it was not for Chelmsford to question the politics). My indictment of Chelmsford (on this point) is that he had demonstrated to London that he understood the size of the force he required to defend Natal. He must have realised that he was going to be woefully under resourced to mount an invasion when even his increase in numbers for defence was refused. The only way in which his tactical decision to pursue three invasion points with five columns (most of which were not in a position to support each other) could have been correct is if his request for additional troops had been granted. Indeed he needed more than he had asked for to both invade and defend the colony. The proof of that can be seen in the size of the force supplied to mount the second invasion (even then London thought he might need more). The tactics were the sole responsibility of Chelmsford and I do believe he got them badly wrong before setting foot in Zululand.

Steve
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PostSubject: Re: Exactly what was Chelmsford guilty of?   Sun Jan 10, 2016 11:43 am

Hi Springy.

You say that LC was ordered by Frere to invade zululand, however, according to Steve's post, the British government had not given Frere the go ahead to issue LC with such an order to invade, besides, had they not both met and discussed this matter before the invasion, and if so, then why did LC not request to see any sort of confirmation that the British government had agreed to the invasion, or was it a case of both Frere and LC conniving together to invade, thinking that it would be a walkover?

Regarding LC dithering, I am sure that you will have a copy of Zulu Rising, please go to chapter 12 The shadow of the great white queen, page 228, Ian Knight himself will explain LC's dithering.

Regarding Dartnell, he could not tell LC the size of the zulu force he had encountered, he did not know himself how large a force he had come up against, however, he sent word to LC that he had encountered the zulu's, it was LC who assumed that Dartnell had found the main zulu army and hastily split his force and went off on a wild goose chase without first getting some sort of confirmation of the force he might encounter.

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PostSubject: Re: Exactly what was Chelmsford guilty of?   Sun Jan 10, 2016 11:45 am

Hi Steve
I do take your point (s) my comments were more to put Chelmsfords decisions into context with the pressures and expectations of the colony and most probably Bulwer.
At the same time we do need to take cognisance of his total disregard for the fighting abilities of the Zulu, to my mind his biggest single compounding error. So I would believe that his tactics were to a degree forced by the position he was in and reinforced by his own mind set.

Cheers
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PostSubject: Re: Exactly what was Chelmsford guilty of?   Sun Jan 10, 2016 11:55 am

Hi Martin
As supreme commander of the Colony Frere had every right to order a series of events. As we have said so many times in the past the Victorian army gave very little latitude to questioning of orders so an instruction from Frere was as good as an instruction from Parliament as far as Chelmsford was concerned. And again I would be highly surprised if Chelmsford and Frere hadn't discussed defence and invasion. I cant see any problem in them doing that, forward planning and what if scenario planning are an integral part of any modern business plan.
In response to your para on Dartnell it does pose the question really of what were Chelmsfords alternates?
I hate to be seen as the defender of Chelmsford but for the purpose of debate and the absence of any constructive comment from any Chelmsford supporter then needs must Im afraid.

Cheers

Cheers
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rusteze

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PostSubject: Re: Exactly what was Chelmsford guilty of?   Sun Jan 10, 2016 12:10 pm

Frank

Interesting that you raise the question of Chelmsford and Bulwer, I was going to take a look at that relationship next. It is easy in all this to portray Chelmsford as some kind of pantomime villain, particularly when our discussion of his actions at Isandlwana and after becomes heated (I have done it myself!), he was no such thing.  I think some time spent trying to tease out his earlier decisions gives us a more rounded picture.

Martin

It was not really for Chelmsford to demand proof that Frere had permission to invade (that would have been most improper and anyway I think they were of like mind). But he could have sounded a note of caution given that he did not have adequate forces and Frere new that to be so. The problem is that Frere only had a small window in which to act. He was decisive and in other circumstances we would have applauded his determination to act - British history is full of "heroes" that made dubious decisions that paid off. This time their luck ran out. Frank is right that Chelmsford had to comply with Frere's wishes in the end - the trouble is he seems to have done so against his own better judgement.

Steve
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Exactly what was Chelmsford guilty of?   Sun Jan 10, 2016 12:21 pm

Hi Steve
You've put your finger on the issue, things do tend to get heated without due consideration of all that went into the decisions made.
An important point is the early time line from the point that Frere made his mind up, around October, and the perceived best time for an invasion. Effectivly a 4 month period, during that time negotiations had to be concluded with firstly London and then find a suitable excuse and to build up a force plus supply lines etc. Frere needed to act in a hurry because of the weather conditions, rainy season etc. and he did, consider everything that had to be done and it becomes an operational management object lesson. That doesn't condone his actions but does confer a certain admiration and sampling of his determination. Chelmsford had little chance against that sort of personality.

Cheers
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PostSubject: Re: Exactly what was Chelmsford guilty of?   Sun Jan 10, 2016 12:39 pm

Hi Springy.

Yes, I understand your point regarding not questioning orders in the Victorian Army, however, I still think that Frere and LC had connived together about the invasion. I do feel that LC had undersestimated the determination and power of the zulu's, just look how keen he was to bring them to battle and defeat them or force them to surrender, he did seem to be rather overconfident that he could defeat them.

If he was under the impression that Dartnell had encountered the main zulu army, then why did he only take half his force with him and leave the other half behind, surely it would have been better for him to take his full force to battle with the zulu's, or was he that confident that he thought he could defeat them with half a column.

Don't forget that he had previously ordered Durnford to detach Bengough, and was going to have Bengough as one pincer and Durnford as the other while he (LC), was going to be the head for both Bengough and Durnford to drive the zulu's towards so that they could be either defeated or made to surrender, does this not show how overconfident he was?

Let's face it mate, he knew he had made a right pigs ear of things when he returned to iSandlwana, and he knew he would be for the high jump because of that, so he had to try to cover his backside and put the blame elsewhere, and who better to be made into the scapegoat than the very dead Col Durnford, he could not speak could he.

I don't blame you mate, I would also hate to be seen as a defender of Thesiger, but like you say, for the purpose of debate, we forgive you. Salute
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PostSubject: Re: Exactly what was Chelmsford guilty of?   Sun Jan 10, 2016 12:53 pm

Hi Martin
I have no doubt that Chelmsford and Frere had discussed an invasion, and quite possibly the events needed to make it happen, but the bottom line was Freres decision and responsibility. Without a shadow of doubt I agree with you that Chelmsford underestimated, to the point of contempt, the capabilities of the Zulu.
The above can equally be seen in his decision of the strength needed to support Dartnell. But the question still remains and Im going to press, mildly, you on it. What was his alternate really?
Re your penultimate para, hopefully that issue will be explored as we progress.
There really has been a lot of debate and argument, most of it heated over generalities, that I thought this attempt to debate and explore on confirmed and historical points rather than summations and conclusions would be a way forward.
Hopefully it will continue with more forum members input.

Cheers
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PostSubject: Re: Exactly what was Chelmsford guilty of?   Sun Jan 10, 2016 12:57 pm

Hi 90th
In response, take a look at Pearson's tent arrangement when he first crossed over the Tugela. They do look very nice, aligned, etc. then decide that, if the Zulu army intended to attack Pearson, they wouldn't of been able to steam roll over the lot of them? Did Moriarty leave gaps between and under his laager? (not a strong defensive position). Also, if the Zulu army intended to attack Wood at Bemba's kop, I personally think they would've destroyed that place as well. Before iSandlwana things were very different.
Cheers
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Mr M. Cooper

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PostSubject: Re: Exactly what was Chelmsford guilty of?   Sun Jan 10, 2016 1:16 pm

Steve.

Yes, I agree with Frank that you rather hit the nail on the head when you said that there was only a short window in which to act. Maybe through only having this short window, things got done without proper consideration, hastily trying to plan things out, then having to change things when other opportunities arose or circumstances changed. It could well be a case of LC having all sorts of thoughts going through his head, and that could be why he often changed his mind so much, trying to get things done before the window of opportunity closed, and therefor becoming rash in his decisions, then realising that he had made some big mistakes, then of course, covering his backside when he realised that through his rashness, he had caused the massacre at iSandlwana.
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xhosa2000

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PostSubject: Re: Exactly what was Chelmsford guilty of?   Sun Jan 10, 2016 3:00 pm

The overriding concern seems to be that this place is in the doldrums!
and in an effort to spark a response i find it most illuminating to see
prominent members metamorphosing into Chelmsford apologists.. i
once described Frere as a maverick scheming zealot, and met some
resistance to that view. i have learned and read nothing to change my
mind on that. he overreached his authority, hid his true intentions and
connived with his c in c south africa to implement what was to all intent
and purposes a coup de tat on an independent sovereign nation. xhosa
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Exactly what was Chelmsford guilty of?   Sun Jan 10, 2016 3:13 pm

Im assuming the barbs are meant for me, if so I make no apologise for attempting to promote dialogue and draw out members for comment. The prominent members presently debating are debating on an honest level using factual occurrence and documentation, and frankly enjoying the exchange. If that form of debate is to be denied then the forum itself has no meaning. It was exactly that type of approach that has virtually closed down the 'other site'.
Your views are however welcome and prove that I have been to a degree successful in promoting debate.
As a matter of interest I would suggest a re read of the posts, there are no Chelmsford apologists, at least there are but aren't posting comment at present. The arguments put forward are well reasoned and honest rather than the usual blind faith and bigotry. Unless you have a factual counter argument to the posts of course?

Frank
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waterloo50

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PostSubject: Re: Exactly what was Chelmsford guilty of?   Sun Jan 10, 2016 3:49 pm

Lord Chelmsford must have know that London did not sanction the intended war, Why didn't he make an effort to contact London and raise his concerns, if he had made contact with London it would have forced Frere to at least postpone or rethink the invasion and in turn save many lives, as we know this never happened and so only one conclusion can be made and that is that LC believed that he could defeat the Zulus which in turn shows that he lacked any real understanding of the people he was about to wage war against. In my opinion Lord Chelmsford was guilty of pursuing a war against the wishes of the British Government and of leading a vast number of British soldiers to their death anything else that went wrong during the invasion has to fall to him.
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xhosa2000

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PostSubject: Re: Exactly what was Chelmsford guilty of?   Sun Jan 10, 2016 4:08 pm


Im assuming the barbs are meant for me, if so I make no apologise for attempting to promote dialogue and draw out members for comment. The prominent members presently debating are debating on an honest level using factual occurrence and documentation, and frankly enjoying the exchange. If that form of debate is to be denied then the forum itself has no meaning. It was exactly that type of approach that has virtually closed down the 'other site'.
Your views are however welcome and prove that I have been to a degree successful in promoting debate.
As a matter of interest I would suggest a re read of the posts, there are no Chelmsford apologists, at least there are but aren't posting comment at present. The arguments put forward are well reasoned and honest rather than the usual blind faith and bigotry. Unless you have a factual counter argument to the posts of course?

Dear Frank, dear oh dear, i meant nothing of the above..i had NOBODY in mind at all..i have
consistently stated my views time and time again..no barbs, was'nt thinking of you at all.
i understand completely the exercise in drawing out more participants in all debate's. you
accepted my apology and i thought we had moved on! think about what i really wrote above, it
was a bald statement of honest views, not malicious in any way, but with a slight twist of
satire and good natured banter, you have mistook me. xhosa
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rusteze

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PostSubject: Re: Exactly what was Chelmsford guilty of?   Sun Jan 10, 2016 4:14 pm

Waterloo

I certainly agree that Chelmsford believed he could defeat the Zulus but what i find interesting is what led him to believe that. I don't find the accusation that he was simply arrogant very satisfying (he may have been, but give us examples). And was it just that, or did he have other reasons for his belief?

I am not at all sure that Chelmsford must have known that London did not sanction the invasion. Hicks Beach, as Colonial Secretary, would deal through Bartle Frere and Chelmsford was not in a position to go around him ( he had raised his concerns about adequate forces with Secy of State for War which is as much as he could do). Add to that the fact that Bartle Frere had a long and distinguished history in the foreign service, particularly in India, while Chelmsford was undertaking his first independent command and you can perhaps see why he would never undermine him. I think I still agree with Frank that Frere must take the blame for the invasion taking place.

Steve
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waterloo50

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PostSubject: Re: Exactly what was Chelmsford guilty of?   Sun Jan 10, 2016 4:56 pm

My understanding is that Hicks Beach was the person that approached the government with the request for extra troops, in some respects Beach supported Bartle Frere's invasion plans, and in there I think lies the problem, Beach was new in his post as Colonial Secretary and he had adopted the attitude towards Frere that he (Frere) was experienced and famous and therefore received full support from Beach, the issue was of course that Beach could only approach the Prime Minister to gain permission for these extra troops and considering that the government was already concerned with what the Russians were doing these extra troops would not have been available. For Lord Chelmsford to write any kind of letter that challenged the thoughts of Frere could have possibly been the end of his career and that is why perhaps it never happened but doesn't that tell us something about the character of the man,  perhaps it wouldn't have been wise for LC to go over the heads of Frere and Beach but the consequences of not doing so were costly. Perhaps Beach is as much to blame as Frere. On one hand Beach tells Frere 'no to war' but here are some troops anyway.
So where does all of this leave Lord Chelmsford, it probably left him with the feeling that he had to make the invasion work, he probably understood the consequences of failure and the political uproar that would follow. Perhaps Lord Chelmsford had no other option than to commit and as a result he isn't guilty of anything other than trying to make do and perform his mission with with what he had.


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Mr M. Cooper

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PostSubject: Re: Exactly what was Chelmsford guilty of?   Sun Jan 10, 2016 4:59 pm

Another nail hit on the head by Les. agree

I can remember that I slammed Frere some years back whilst I was in a conversation with Barry. I also said that I didn't know how these two (Frere and LC), slept at night knowing all the needless death, misery, suffering and destruction they had caused to both the troops and to the zulu people, but, like LC, Frere must have also had people high up the ladder with influence, otherwise he should have been dealt with like the criminal he was. Rather odd isn't it, that people like this who cause all sorts of trouble, death and suffering, never seem to get punished for it, yet us ordinary plebs get dragged over the hot coals for the smallest of things, it seems that there is one law for some and another for others, which is only too obvious in this day and age that we exist in.

Thesiger must have known that Frere was out of order, yet he went along with it, which makes him just as guilty for the invasion of zululand without the knowledge of the British government, and as Steve rightly says, the tactics were the sole responsibility of LC, which also means that the blame for the failure is also his, but he tried to dump that responsibility elsewhere, the man was a cretin.
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waterloo50

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PostSubject: Re: Exactly what was Chelmsford guilty of?   Sun Jan 10, 2016 5:22 pm

Martin,

The more I dig into the political side of things the more I understand about the predicament Lord Chelmsford found himself in. What could he do, he could protest that he wouldn't be able to make the invasion work with such a small force but who would listen, he really has little alternative other than to go ahead with the invasion as planned. On a military and tactical level he made many mistakes, the confusion over orders, who was to do what, when and how have been debated often but given that LC was under strength, his mission was surely doomed from the start wasn't it? The tactics were LCs responsibility but he had also given orders for the other columns to proceed whilst making their own tactical decisions. LC, over confident and in a mess (yes) a cretin (no)
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Exactly what was Chelmsford guilty of?   Sun Jan 10, 2016 5:28 pm

Hi Martin
Whatever his faults ( and they were many) Chelmsford would not have ever considered going over Freres head. Why should he Frere was the man communicating with England and also the man that issued orders to Chelmsford.
Your comment that 'Thesiger' must have know, why should he?

My second point that the tactics were his sole responsibility is spot on, but with the extenuating circumstance that we have been discussing. But Im mystified as to when he tried to blame those tactics on somebody else?

To much passion creeping in mate................... I am sorry if this again labels me as a Chelmsford apologist, but its all really in the name of accuracy, that being the motivation behind the topic

Cheers
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PostSubject: Re: Exactly what was Chelmsford guilty of?   Sun Jan 10, 2016 5:32 pm

Sorry Martin should have added that I have as you know done some extensive research in the archives and Ive never yet come across any correspondence from Frere to Chelmsford stating that he, Frere, was acting without orders or exceeding his authority. Considering the separation between the two for a great amount of time one would assume that for your concept of collusion to have substance there would be notes passed between them.

Cheers Mate
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Mr M. Cooper

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PostSubject: Re: Exactly what was Chelmsford guilty of?   Sun Jan 10, 2016 5:44 pm

Hi waterloo.

Well, if he thought he was in a predicament, he most certainly made it worse by splitting his force at iSandlwana and setting off to get to Dartnell. If he was under the impression that Dartnell had indeed found the main zulu army, then (if he thought he was under strength to begin with), why did he only take half his force, did he really believe that he could defeat the zulu main army with half a column of men, don't forget also that he had left his ammo wagon back at the camp, so he must have been supremely confident that he could see them off before he needed a re-supply of ammo, did the man have some sort of delusions of grandeur I wonder?
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rusteze

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PostSubject: Re: Exactly what was Chelmsford guilty of?   Sun Jan 10, 2016 5:51 pm

Waterloo

I think your summary of Chelmsford's position is right. Some things he can certainly be blamed for but political decisions were beyond his control.

In many ways Hicks Beach hit the ground at just the wrong time. Frere had been appointed by his predecessor Carnarvon to expressly implement the government's policy of confederation which he then devoted himself to wholeheartedly. Carnarvon takes umbridge over an entirely different matter and resigns. Hicks Beach is appointed and is elevated to the Cabinet (so he takes joint cabinet responsibility for government decisions and doesn't really need the Prime Ministers permission, just a cabinet decision). I am not sure he is in awe of Frere - at one point he says that he cannot control Frere because he does not have a direct telegraph link. It is the built in delay in communications that enables Frere to instigate the invasion (perhaps Carnarvon, had he been in office, would have supported him in doing that).

Steve
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waterloo50

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PostSubject: Re: Exactly what was Chelmsford guilty of?   Sun Jan 10, 2016 6:01 pm

Sorry, trying to stay on topic.

Politics being what it is, if Isandlwana hadn't of happened then I suppose Hicks Beach would have taken the credit.
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rusteze

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PostSubject: Re: Exactly what was Chelmsford guilty of?   Sun Jan 10, 2016 6:07 pm

More than that, I think Disreali and his conservative government would have survived. As it was Gladstone and his liberals swept to power, which made QV stamp her foot more than a little! Might even explain, to a degree, why she became so protective of Chelmsford.

Steve
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Mr M. Cooper

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PostSubject: Re: Exactly what was Chelmsford guilty of?   Sun Jan 10, 2016 6:13 pm

Hi Frank.

I think you will find it was waterloo who mentioned going over Frere's head.

My reason for saying that LC must have known Frere was out of order, is that I thought they had both met and discussed their plans for the invasion, so would not have LC asked Frere what London had to say on the matter, and if so, did Frere cover up the facts? Or did Frere inform LC that London had not yet sanctioned the invasion?

I didn't say he was blamimg the tactics on somebody else, I said he was blaming the defeat at iSandlwana on somebody else.

Like I said mate, I was under the impression that they had both met and discussed the invasion before it started, and what is to say that they did not have 'private' communications passed between them that were destroyed after they had read them, not all messages are kept if they are likely to be scrutinised at a later date.
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PostSubject: Re: Exactly what was Chelmsford guilty of?   Sun Jan 10, 2016 6:40 pm

Hi Martin,

You are quite right, I did ask the question asking why LC hadn't contacted London. Salute
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waterloo50

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PostSubject: Re: Exactly what was Chelmsford guilty of?   Sun Jan 10, 2016 6:46 pm

I can imagine that Lord Chelmsford would have asked the question about approval from London and Frere telling him that he has the full support of Beach and not to worry about the Politics and to focus only on the task at hand. Mind you, if Zulu Dawn was to be believed then there was a sinister plot.
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90th

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PostSubject: Exactly what was LC guilty of ?   Sun Jan 10, 2016 10:12 pm

Hi Warrior
I'm merely attempting to set the record straight re Wood & Pearson , and to a smaller extent Moriarty , your initial post read to me as they didn't bother to set up any defensive positions ? , I was posting evidence to the contrary to show they did at least attempt to do something that was stated in the '' Chelmsford Booklet '' , whereas the sole instigator , or preparer of the book DID NOTHING at Isandlwana ( not shouting - emphasizing Salute ) . I'm certainly well aware that had the Zulu army attacked those two Columns the same result would've ensued , we must remember Wood himself states that Khambula was  '' a close run thing '' , this being after Isandlwana as you are aware , and the time and effort Wood put into fortifying that camp , was far and above other camps  that were set up during the early part of the first invasion .
90th Very Happy
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Ray63

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PostSubject: Re: Exactly what was Chelmsford guilty of?   Sun Jan 10, 2016 10:23 pm

Rorkes Drift I guess would have been a position to be fortified in the first instance, rather than waiting until the Zulu were nearly upon them. When you consider the stores were there!
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ymob

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PostSubject: Re: Exactly what was Chelmsford guilty of?   Sun Jan 10, 2016 11:32 pm

Bonsoir à tous,

Some quick thoughts...
To understand the decisions taken by LC in January before the disaster of Isandhlwana (and to answer to the question: guilty or not guilty), it is necessary for me to study for example:
-His career (his first fighting command: SA in 1878),
-He was a man of the "old military school" (see Wolseley: number of Staff Officers in campaign?);
-The campaign of 1877-1878 with the battle of Centane (tactic implemented by Upcher / see when he laager at Cantane has been built);
-the fighting and tactic manual of 1877 (Franco-Prussian war of 1870).

Sorry,

Cheers.

Frédéric
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warrior3



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PostSubject: Re: Exactly what was Chelmsford guilty of?   Sun Jan 10, 2016 11:36 pm

Hi 90th
Yes, what I meant was that, basically none of the columns bothered that much with STRONG entrenchments before isandlwana. Pearson, little, Wood, a bit more than little, Chelmsford, none. And as for Moriarty, well, yes, I know he attempted to Laager, but what's the point if you don't  link  the wagons together and chuck nothing underneath them. Again, complacency, and that was after isandlwana.
Cheers


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Ray63

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PostSubject: Re: Exactly what was Chelmsford guilty of?   Mon Jan 11, 2016 7:54 am

Plus Moriarty had received reliable information, regarding a possible attack and still did little.
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PostSubject: Re: Exactly what was Chelmsford guilty of?   Tue Jan 12, 2016 12:42 am

We will never know who knew what. But I think it would be impossible for Frere and LC to take the decision to invade a country without a nod from above.
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