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 What could Col Pulliene have done? To secure the camp and all of its provisions, with the men and equipment available to him.

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eaton

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PostSubject: Re: What could Col Pulliene have done? To secure the camp and all of its provisions, with the men and equipment available to him.   Tue Feb 02, 2016 1:40 pm

Supposing Durnford had never arrived from RD, would it have made any difference to the outcome?

E & F companies would presumably not have been sent up onto the spur, Raw would not have discovered the Impi and the first inkling of an attack would have been when the hordes suddenly appeared. Would Col. Pulleine have deployed his troops much differently?
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PostSubject: Re: What could Col Pulliene have done? To secure the camp and all of its provisions, with the men and equipment available to him.   Tue Feb 02, 2016 7:51 pm

Spot on Les. Bvt Lt Col Pulleine had plenty of time to 'throw up' some defences from the first moment that the report of zulu's in the area was passed to him. He had hours before Col Durnford arrived to have some of the empty wagons moved, and arrange for redoubts to be erected, he could have made use of the dongas and the rocks, men could have made shallow trenches (or even made use of the dongas), and built them up with rocks for the men to fire from behind. He could have arranged for the ammo boxes to be prepared, and also arranged for the distribution of it, but he did next to nothing about it. Like I said earlier, he was out of his depth with a line command, he was more of an admin officer than a line officer. He should have called a meeting of his officers to discuss the matter, and if need be, asked the Boers for their advice, after all, they had some knowledge with regards to fighting zulu's.

So you are right Les, it might have been better to have asked what Pulleine did do, and the answer would have to be, next to nothing. I rather think that the man was totally at a loss from the moment that LC and Glyn left the camp, good admin officer, but an inept line officer, shame really, he looked a decent sort of chap.
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PostSubject: Re: What could Col Pulliene have done? To secure the camp and all of its provisions, with the men and equipment available to him.   Tue Feb 02, 2016 8:51 pm

Pulleine was an admin man but surely, even without any combat experience he would have understood the basics of warfare. He had  some time under his belt with the 30th regiment and in those early days of his career wouldn't there have been some from of basic military training in tactics taught to him. I keep reading that he was an excellent organiser but something happened to his mind set, I don't think that it was the massive task of defending the camp but more a fear of getting it wrong and perhaps being a Sandhurst boy he needed direct, specific orders, he couldn't do anything without them. He was probably one of those men that couldn't think or didn't dare think outside the box which is probably why he was so good as an admin officer, plenty of structure, no radical thinking required.
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John

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PostSubject: Re: What could Col Pulliene have done? To secure the camp and all of its provisions, with the men and equipment available to him.   Tue Feb 02, 2016 11:22 pm

It's a good job he had Col Durnford with him. Otherwise Pulleine would have taken all the Blame!
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PostSubject: Re: What could Col Pulliene have done? To secure the camp and all of its provisions, with the men and equipment available to him.   Thu Feb 04, 2016 9:39 am

Does anyone know where the photo is, showing the top of Isandlwana, it's on the forum somewhere? I have spent hours looking.
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PostSubject: Re: What could Col Pulliene have done? To secure the camp and all of its provisions, with the men and equipment available to him.   Sat Feb 06, 2016 8:08 pm


Is Lord Chelmsford fit to command?



First published by The Spectator 8 March 1879.



Edited by Adrian Greaves

___________________________________________________________________________________





(Original spellings remain).





It is with deep regret that we feel compelled to join our Tory contemporaries in asking whether the

Government still intends to continue to entrust the active command of the British Army in Zululand to

Lord Chelmsford. The cold determination which supports an officer under even merited disaster,

because of a conviction that it is the sense of support which makes great officers, had usually our

cordial approval; and we have read history enough to know how often even commanders of the first

rank have fallen into disastrous errors. There is nothing, moreover, in Lord Chelmsford to exasperate

public opinion. His military record, both in India and Abyssinia, was a very good one, and though he

may have owed his position in South Africa to his connections, so did Marlborough and many another

greatly successful General. He did not do anything to provoke this war, he asked perseveringly for

reinforcements, and he appears from the first to have recognised the arduous nature of his undertaking.

Even in his despatch on Isandula, on which the public has condemned him, a despatch written on

th

January 27 at Pietermaritzburg, the fine nature of the writer is conspicuous to all who read. It is the

despatch of a man utterly saddened by events, full of pity for his people, distaining all concealment,

resolute to tell his superiors the whole truth, painful or satisfactory, so far as he knows it.

But it is also the despatch of a man who should not be entrusted with the command of a large army,

engaged on a most difficult and hazardous undertaking. He has not the primary faculty of

understanding what his own subordinates and the enemy are about. He has collected no accurate idea of

the country he was about to invade, saying, with the heart-breaking naïveté which runs through the

whole communication,

the country is far more difficult that I had been led to expect, and the labour of advancing with

a long train of wagons is enormous. It took seven days of work by one-half of No. 3 column to

make the ten miles of road between Rorke’s drift and Insalwana Hill practicable, and even

then, had it rained hard, I feel sure the convoy could not have got on.



Those surely were primary facts in Zululand campaigning. How is even one day’s work to be

arranged, when the country one mile ahead is to the General like the surface of a new planet?

He was at once aware of the necessity of guarding his communications, and utterly neglectful of

them. He says,

The line of communication is very much exposed, and would require a party of mounted men

always patrolling, and fixed entrenchment posts of infantry at intervals of about ten miles.



Yet he kept up no communications between Isandula and the point ten miles in advance to which he

accompanied Colonel Glyn, without the bulk of the latter’s column, in order to assist Major Dartnell,

who had been ordered out to reconnoitre a stronghold, who found the enemy in force in front of him,

and who made up his mind to an attack.

Lord Chelmsford, moved by urgent messages from this officer, moved out very early on the 22nd



from Isandula to support him – though thousands of Zulus were in the neighbourhood, and though he

himself dreaded an attack on the immense convoy at Isandula.

This evident, for Lord Chelmsford ordered up Colonel Durnford by express with his native column

to strengthen the camp, and left strict instructions with the officer in charge of the camp - Lt-Col

Pulleine – not to quit it. But Lord Chelmsford never provided the entrenchment he himself says is

necessary, kept no patrol on the way, though he had mounted men, and but for an accident would never

have heard of the attack on the camp, and would himself had ridden into the midst of the victorious

Zulus, to his certain death. His own account of his own proceedings we must give in his own words, for

it is simply wonderful both in its transparent truthfulness and its extraordinary ineptitude. He had just

driven off the enemy, when, at 9 a.m. of the 22nd :



Col. Glyn received, about 9 a.m., a short note from Lt-Col. Pulleine, saying that firing was

heard to the left front of the camp, but giving no further particulars. I sent Lt Milne, RN, my


----------------------- Page 2-----------------------

ADC, at once to the top of a high hill from which the camp could be seen, and he remained

there at least an hour with a very powerful telescope, but could detect nothing unusual. Having

no cause, therefore, to feel any anxiety about the safety of the camp, I ordered Lt -Col. Russell

to make a sweep round with the mounted infantry to the main wagon track, whist a portion of

the infantry went over the hilltop to the same point, and the guns, with an escort, retraced their

steps. I, myself, proceeded with Col Glyn to fix upon a site for our new camp, which I had

determined to shift the next day to ground near the Mangeni River. Having fixed upon the

situation for the camp, and having ordered the troops then on the ground to bivouac there that

night, I started to return to camp with the mounted infantry, under Lt -Col. Russell, as my

escort. When within about six miles of the camp…Commandant Lonsdale rode up to report

that he had ridden into camp, and found it in possession of the Zulus.



Once warned, Lord Chelmsford recalled his men from the front, and marched rapidly back to camp,

to bivouac for a night of horrors among the debris of the plundered camp and the bodie s of the slain

Europeans, now at last known to have exceeded 900 in number.

At early dawn the following morning, I ordered the troops to move off with all speed to

Rorke’s Drift, about which post I was in some anxiety. The troops had no spare ammunition,

and only a few biscuits, a large portion of them had had no other food for 48 hours.

All had marched at least 30 miles the day before, and had passed an almost sleepless night on

the stoney ground. No one, therefore, was fit for any prolonged exertion, and it was certain

that daylight would reveal a sight which could not but have had but a demoralizing effect

upon the whole force.



If Rorke’s Drift had been lost, as it seemed to be, for flames appear to be ascending from it – they

were flames from the house of the Swedish missionary Witt, and not from the post itself – it would

seem as if the British column, already half-staved, would have perished from fatigue and hunger; while

if the Zulus had known of the ghastly bivouac among the dead, the whole column, Lord Chelmsford

included, must have been cut up. Attacks by night are the Zulus’ forte, and the Missionary Witt reports

that it was the light of his blazing house, which helped to foil the attack upon Rorke’s Drift.

Fortunately, Lieutenant Chard’s cool resourcefulness in stocktaking the garden of the post with

sacks of Indian corn, and the courage of Lieutenant Bromhead and the men, had protected the post, and

thereby saved Natal from a terrible invasion. But not for this result is the country indebted to any

generalship, or any attention to the commonest rules of warfare exhibited by Lord Chelmsford. If he

had been riding to hounds in Leicestershire, he could not have been more easily taken in, and he would

have taken far more trouble to know the country.

There is precisely the same incompetence to obtain information visible in the General’s speculations

as to the fate of the unfortunate garrison of the camp:

One company went off to the extreme left, and has never been heard of since, and the other

five engaged the enemy about a mile to the left front of the camp, and made there a most

stubborn and gallant resistance. So long as they kept their faces to the enemy, the Zulus were,

I am told, quite unable to drive them back, and fell in heaps before the deadly fire poured into

them. An officer who visited this part of the field of battle on the following morning reported

that the loss of the Zulus in killed could not be less than 2,000. When, however, the Zulus got

round the left flank of these brave men, they appear to have lost their presence of mind, and to

have retired hastily through the tents, which had never been struck.

Immediately, the whole Zulu force surrounded them, they were overpowered by numbers and

the camp was lost. Had the force in question but taken up a defensive position in the camp

itself, and utilized there the materials for a hasty entrenchment which lay near to hand, I feel

absolutely confident that the whole Zulu army would not have been able to dislodge them. It

appears that the oxen were yoked to the wagons three hours before the attack took place, so

that there was ample time to construct that wagon lager which the Dutch in former days

understood so well.



Yet this simple precaution had not been taken by Lord Chelmsford. It is easy, and may be just, to

blame Lieutenant-Colonel Pulleine for carelessness in not linking the wagons, as the Dutch do, but

where were the orders to make those preparations of which the General has so high an opinion? The

truth is, the General knows little about the matter, and he is too truthful not to reveal the plenitude of

his own ignorance. That little touch about one company line – the General does not know which –

which went off of itself – the General does not know where – except that it went somewhere ‘to the

left’, speaks volumes as to the capacity of the General, who had or ought to have cross-examined the


----------------------- Page 3-----------------------

one or two men, including one officer at least, who escaped to Rorke’s Drift. There is a want of grasp

of the situation, of everything except sad reflectiveness, which leaves in our minds no possibility of any

other conclusion than the General is by nature unadapted to independent command. The despatch is the

reflective but ill-informed report of a special correspondent to his employers about a disaster for which

he is himself in no way responsible. It is a document to excite not anger, or even contempt, but deep

pity for a man of fine qualities, placed in a position to which he was obviously unequal, and who, we

cannot help thinking, feels his inequality. There is every reason to be just to the sad man who has to

record such a narrative of failure; but justice does not require that he should again be left in supreme

command of a British Army. Is there no competent soldier in England of sufficient rank to supersede

Lord Chelmsford, without punishing him, who would undertake the task?







Reproduced by kind permission of The Spectator April 2004.

Copyright The Spectator 2004





Just adding this to the mix.
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littlehand

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PostSubject: Re: What could Col Pulliene have done? To secure the camp and all of its provisions, with the men and equipment available to him.   Sat Feb 06, 2016 8:59 pm

Already on the forum.
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PostSubject: Re: What could Col Pulliene have done? To secure the camp and all of its provisions, with the men and equipment available to him.   Sat Feb 06, 2016 9:07 pm

Thanks littlehand, just wanted to highlight Pulliene again..i was wondering
if people bothered to read long pieces to extract relevant information.
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xhosa2000

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PostSubject: Re: What could Col Pulliene have done? To secure the camp and all of its provisions, with the men and equipment available to him.   Sun Feb 07, 2016 7:38 pm

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

The above representations of Pulleine’s and Pearson’s troop deployments in the face of attacking Zulus at locations
(separated by fifty miles) are too similar to Chelmsford’s orders to be a coincidence.
Conclusion.
I have previously stated my belief that Durnford followed his orders to the letter (3). I now go further and express
my view that there is sufficient evidence to indicate that Pulleine also behaved correctly and bravely according to his
23rd December orders. The reader might like to consider the following points.
a. Pulleine had no battle experience and faithfully deployed his force according to these orders; orders that the other
Column Commanders had also received and on which Pearson had similarly acted on the very same day as
Isandlwana.
b. The whereabouts of Pulleine’s orders is not known; presumably they were lost on the field of battle or were
subsequently returned to Lord Chelmsford.
c. Likewise, the whereabouts of the identical orders to the other three column commanders, (Pearson, Woods and
Rowlands) is not known. I have been unable to find any trace of any mention, official or otherwise, of these
orders.
d. Any acknowledgement of these orders would have been highly embarrassing to Lord Chelmsford and his staff.
e. I am not aware that Lord Chelmsford ever mentioned the existence of these orders in any private or official
correspondence.
Pulleine’s reputation, like that of Durnford, should now be seen in the same light as both their military records,
beyond reproach and exemplary. AZWHS.
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rusteze

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PostSubject: Re: What could Col Pulliene have done? To secure the camp and all of its provisions, with the men and equipment available to him.   Sun Feb 07, 2016 8:47 pm

Is that Greaves as well?

I think it is probably right that Pulleine deployed his force, as per Chelmsford's general orders, in a pretty standard formation. Pearson did the same. So to that extent Pulleine followed orders. But it is a formation that is only going to work if the firing line is successful in halting the attack, the flanking NNC companies can then be sent forward to mop up and pursue the retreating Zulus.

But in practice the firing line could not sufficiently contain the attacking force, and in those circumstances the NNC companies broke ranks and ran. The dominoes then began to fall. The main argument, as far as I am concerned, is not that Pulleine made a mistake with his deployment, but that he had insufficient forces to bring enough fire power to bear. The error, both his and Chelmsford's (and Glyn's) was that no kind of redoubt was built for the firing line companies to fall back on to mount a final defence and to regroup. I would not absolve Chelmsford from blame because he did not think it necessary, but Pulleine could have cobbled something together, particularly if Glyn had attended to leaving some instructions as he could easily have done. Glyn was very aware of Pulleine's inexperience.

Steve
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PostSubject: Re: What could Col Pulliene have done? To secure the camp and all of its provisions, with the men and equipment available to him.   Sun Feb 07, 2016 10:21 pm

Lord Chelmsford’s orders to his Column Commanders
Adrian Greaves AZWHS.

Yeah the good doctor. and in the end we are invited
to believe that Pulleine enforced the Generals orders
literally,( with no thought of deviation or latitude to
respond to any situation which was developing ). its
just another opinion at the end of the day...i find the
comparison with Pearson's action, using pretty much
the same formation unhelpful.. Chelmsford had made
his mind up during the last frontier war how to deal
with a mass attack. he made his plans accordingly and
printed for distribution the best method for beating off
said attack.. unfortunately for the central column his plans
went straight out of the window almost as soon as he
crossed into Zululand and the reality and magnitude of
the undertaking became apparent.

Is it so hard to accept that Pulleine did indeed lack any
capacity to think for himself? and what of the officers who
commanded the companies that went Blythely up to the
front? were they not just as complacent? were they too
supremely confident in the tactics available that they stayed
even when it pretty quickly became apparent that this was
not your textbook mass attack they on occasion had, had
no trouble seeing off!. there is a view that the british tactics
were hopelessly out of date and more suitable for the euro-
pean theater of thirty years previous. was'nt they all at fault?.

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rusteze

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PostSubject: Re: What could Col Pulliene have done? To secure the camp and all of its provisions, with the men and equipment available to him.   Sun Feb 07, 2016 11:02 pm

No I don't think Pulleine " lacked any capacity to think for himself", that overstates it. He was inexperienced and he faced a situation that was outside of his compass. A more experienced commander would probably have lost the day too. To my mind, the fact that there were no staff officers left in the camp also made it more difficult for Pulleine to consult. You cannot expect company officers to intervene whatever they may have thought privately. I don't care how experienced you are, if you face overwhelming odds and half of your force is ineffective, you aint gonna succeed.

Steve
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PostSubject: Re: What could Col Pulliene have done? To secure the camp and all of its provisions, with the men and equipment available to him.   Sun Feb 07, 2016 11:32 pm


No I don't think Pulleine " lacked any capacity to think for himself", that overstates it. He was inexperienced and he faced a situation that was outside of his compass. A more experienced commander would probably have lost the day too. To my mind, the fact that there were no staff officers left in the camp also made it more difficult for Pulleine to consult. You cannot expect company officers to intervene whatever they may have thought privately. I don't care how experienced you are, if you face overwhelming odds and half of your force is ineffective, you aint gonna succeed...said rusteze.

I do not think i overstated anything! Whats a staff officer got to do with anything? Pulleine was a
Lieut Col with some of the most experienced officers of the british army in front of him!. again i
say the tactics were too rigid..Durnford holding up the left horn in the donga surely gave the chest
and right horn the chance to develop with more speed?.
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PostSubject: Re: What could Col Pulliene have done? To secure the camp and all of its provisions, with the men and equipment available to him.   Sun Feb 07, 2016 11:56 pm

You nor I know very much at all about Pulleine either on the day or previously. He is a shadowy figure. You are prepared to condemn him out of hand based on the little we know, I am not. Hence my view that you are overstating his lack of any capacity to think. It cannot be resolved either way. Our judgements differ that's all.

Steve
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PostSubject: Re: What could Col Pulliene have done? To secure the camp and all of its provisions, with the men and equipment available to him.   Mon Feb 08, 2016 12:12 am

Our judgements differ that's all.....

Fair enough! but far from being a shadowy figure and only
recently re joining his regiment, i believe we have enough
information to form an opinion!. but nice speaking to you.
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PostSubject: Re: What could Col Pulliene have done? To secure the camp and all of its provisions, with the men and equipment available to him.   Mon Feb 08, 2016 12:24 pm

To my mind, Pulleine would have been more than capable of defending the camp but his inability to assess the information that he was given in the early stages was his downfall the same goes for Durnford. We know that Durnford thought that the Zulus were perhaps trying to outflank Lord Chelmsford and cut him off from the camp and Pulleine appears to think the same thing. In all reality what could Pulleine have done other than what he did. He quite rightly in my opinion sends out Lieutenant Cavaye out to picket the hills in the North. Although he wasn't entirely aware of what was about to unfold his orders to Captain Mostyn to support Cavaye indicate that he was reacting appropriately to the situation as it unfolded. Pulleine never fails to react to the threats as they happen, which is exactly what he was supposed to do. He was smart enough to understand that Mostyn and Cavaye would require support as they withdrew and again he reacts by sending out Captain Younghusband, to me this is a good indicator that Puleine was an officer that could think on his feet. There is no doubt in my mind that had he realised much earlier on that the target was the camp and not Lord Chelmsfords column as Durnford  had suggested then he would have prepared adequate defences. If Durnford had remained in camp with Pulleine, I suspect that the outcome would have been exactly the same, I don't believe that Durnford would have made any radical changes to Pulleines defence of the camp. I think we don't give enough credit to Pulleine and his ability as an officer.
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PostSubject: Re: What could Col Pulliene have done? To secure the camp and all of its provisions, with the men and equipment available to him.   Mon Feb 08, 2016 1:11 pm

Good post Waterloo, and well reasoned!. the sentence at the beginning of your
piece i'm afraid tells the tale... " but his inability to assess the information that he was given in the early stages was his downfall".. as commander his rapid assessment and reaction to what was
unfolding was crucial..remember the timing's!, from early morning to the moment the whole Zulu
army showed its hand.. the speed of this battle cannot be underestimated. how much time would he
have had?. giving where is forward company's were.and what was happening around him in the camp.
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PostSubject: Re: What could Col Pulliene have done? To secure the camp and all of its provisions, with the men and equipment available to him.   Mon Feb 08, 2016 1:19 pm

"If Durnford had remained in camp with Pulleine, I suspect that the outcome would have been exactly the same"

I don't think Pulleine expected Durnford to leave, that alone would have put Pulleine in an awkward position. This action alone could have placed Pulleine way out of his depth. Did he feel obligated in looking after Durnford, after all During Durnfords retreat caused the line to become over extended!
There are two occasions that come to mind that's shows Pulleine lacking in command.
1) Where Melville spoke up against Durnford wanting to take two compaines of the 24th.
2) Garner suggested Pulleine disobeys LC orders.
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PostSubject: Re: What could Col Pulliene have done? To secure the camp and all of its provisions, with the men and equipment available to him.   Mon Feb 08, 2016 2:38 pm

I agree, I think Pulleine would have expected Durnford to remain in camp, I don't agree that Durnfords actions placed Pulleine out of his depth, like I said earlier I don't think Durnford would have made much difference to the outcome. It is understandable why Pulleine handed command to Durnford despite Durnfords response that he wouldn't interfere. So, Pulleine finds himself in command of the camp.  

1) Pulleine had already informed Durnford that 'I think I can hardly do that, my orders are to defend the camp and we could not spare the men'. Pulleine even showed Durnford his written orders from LC. Lets not forget that under Queens regulations, Durnford out ranked Pulleine.
As far as I am aware, Pulleine only agreed to meet Durnford's request if it came as an order, Melville quite rightly tries to argue the point with Durnford, We can't use Melville's comments as proof that Pulleine was lacking in command. What else could Pulleine do other than to inform Durnford of his orders? Melville was simply trying to reinforce what Pulleine had already stated.
2) Gardner suggest that Pulleine ignores the order to 'send out the tents', and Pulleine takes his advice, why wouldn't he? he has Shepstone telling him that he needs help and the situation calls for fast thinking. Again Pulleine responds to an immediate crisis and forms the men up. I can't see how ignoring Clery's order proves Pulleine was lacking in command.
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waterloo50

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PostSubject: Re: What could Col Pulliene have done? To secure the camp and all of its provisions, with the men and equipment available to him.   Mon Feb 08, 2016 3:01 pm

xhosa2000 wrote:
Good post Waterloo, and well reasoned!. the sentence at the beginning of your
piece i'm afraid tells the tale... " but his inability to assess the information that he was given in the early stages was his downfall".. as commander his rapid assessment and reaction to what was
unfolding was crucial..remember the timing's!, from early morning to the moment the whole Zulu
army showed its hand.. the speed of this battle cannot be underestimated. how much time would he
have had?. giving where is forward company's  were.and what was happening around him in the camp.  

Thanks for that Xhosa,

I think that what I have learned in more recent times is the speed that this battle unfolded, its easy for us to debate the situation at leisure but the reality was that things moved pretty fast, decision had to be made quickly, there wasn't too much time for indecisiveness. The best that Pulleine and others could do was to react to the situation as it unfolded.
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PostSubject: Re: What could Col Pulliene have done? To secure the camp and all of its provisions, with the men and equipment available to him.   Mon Feb 08, 2016 3:33 pm

I rather go along with what Ian Knight says about the exchange between Gardner and Pulleine.

"Pulleine can be allowed his moment of confusion. Just an hour or two earlier the sound of firing at Mangeni had confirmed in the minds of almost everyone in the camp at iSandlwana that Lord Chelmsford was engaged in a significant action 20 kilometres away. The recent Zulu movements on the heights had been mysterious, but hardly threatening: now the news brought by Shepstone seemed to turn their understanding of the situation on its head......."

Knight also makes this telling comment. "Brickhill then saw Pulleine walk away with Gardner, and any comments Pulleine may have made, any expansion on his decision or orders he may have given to his adjutant or the 24th Battalion officers are lost to history".

There is much we shall never know about Pulleine and it is just too easy to add two and two and make six.

Steve
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PostSubject: Re: What could Col Pulliene have done? To secure the camp and all of its provisions, with the men and equipment available to him.   Mon Feb 08, 2016 3:50 pm

Your welcome waterloo. my emoticons have not worked for
ages so unable to give the thumbs up. same goes for my
illustrations, you lot might be able to see them, i can not!.
admin?.
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PostSubject: Re: What could Col Pulliene have done? To secure the camp and all of its provisions, with the men and equipment available to him.   Mon Feb 08, 2016 4:20 pm

rusteze wrote:
I rather go along with what Ian Knight says about the exchange between Gardner and Pulleine.

"Pulleine can be allowed his moment of confusion. Just an hour or two earlier the sound of firing at Mangeni had confirmed in the minds of almost everyone in the camp at iSandlwana that Lord Chelmsford was engaged in a significant action 20 kilometres away. The recent Zulu movements on the heights had been mysterious, but hardly threatening: now the news brought by Shepstone seemed to turn their understanding of the situation on its head......."

Knight also makes this telling comment. "Brickhill then saw Pulleine walk away with Gardner, and any comments Pulleine may have made, any expansion on his decision or orders he may have given to his adjutant or the 24th Battalion officers are lost to history".

There is much we shall never know about Pulleine and it is just too easy to add two and two and make six.

Steve

Steve,
The quote you gave from Ian Knight from Zulu Rising, above that paragraph is 'Captain Gardner then said to Colonel Pulleine, who seemed thoroughly perplexed as to what he ought to do, 'Under the circumstances I should advise your disobeying the Generals order for the present at any rate. The General knows nothing of this, he is only thinking of the cowardly way in which the Zulus are running before our troops yonder'.

That comment from Gardner to Pulleine with regards to disobeying orders, is that accepted as fact, also why did Gardner write a further note about the situation to Lord Chelmsford when Pulleine had already done so? It feels like Gardner was undermining or at least trying to highlight Pulleine's inability to command.
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PostSubject: Re: What could Col Pulliene have done? To secure the camp and all of its provisions, with the men and equipment available to him.   Mon Feb 08, 2016 4:43 pm

Do we know what Gardner actually wrote - does his message still exist?
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PostSubject: Re: What could Col Pulliene have done? To secure the camp and all of its provisions, with the men and equipment available to him.   Mon Feb 08, 2016 4:47 pm

Waterloo

Jackson mentions it as well and ascribes it to being overheard by Brickhill the translator - he uses the words "thoroughly nonplussed". I think Jackson paints a better picture of the exchange - Gardner arrives and hands Pulleine the order to pack up tents, Pulleine reads it out loud and at the same moment Shepstone arrives in an excited state. He reports the Zulu attack and urgently asks for reinforcements. Gardner says you had better disregard the order your reading for now because the General is not aware of any of this. Pulleine is, understandably, perplexed/nonplussed for a moment. As to Gardner's intentions I am not sure. He makes no mention of Pulleine's perplexed state in his report to the Inquiry, but he does say the order from Chelmsford included an instruction to Pulleine to entrench. It is worth a read.

Steve
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PostSubject: Re: What could Col Pulliene have done? To secure the camp and all of its provisions, with the men and equipment available to him.   Mon Feb 08, 2016 4:57 pm

rusteze wrote:
Waterloo

Jackson mentions it as well and ascribes it to being overheard by Brickhill the translator - he uses the words "thoroughly nonplussed". I think Jackson paints a better picture of the exchange - Gardner arrives and hands Pulleine the order to pack up tents, Pulleine reads it out loud and at the same moment Shepstone arrives in an excited state. He reports the Zulu attack and urgently asks for reinforcements. Gardner says you had better disregard the order your reading for now because the General is not aware of any of this. Pulleine is, understandably, perplexed/nonplussed for a moment. As to Gardner's intentions I am not sure. He makes no mention of Pulleine's perplexed state in his report to the Inquiry, but he does say the order from Chelmsford included an instruction to Pulleine to entrench. It is worth a read.

Steve


How can that be if Pulleine was being instructed to pack up the camp?
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PostSubject: Re: What could Col Pulliene have done? To secure the camp and all of its provisions, with the men and equipment available to him.   Mon Feb 08, 2016 5:16 pm

If the order did state entrench then the tents would have been laid out and used to form part of the defences. Is that what LC meant by send out the tents.
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PostSubject: Re: What could Col Pulliene have done? To secure the camp and all of its provisions, with the men and equipment available to him.   Mon Feb 08, 2016 5:30 pm

As I said in one of my earlier posts, Pulleine had many hours before Durnford arrived to have organised some sort of defences after getting various reports of zulu's in the area, but he did next to nothing about it. He could also have gathered his officers for their opinions and also have asked the Boers for their advice.

The orders that were left with him DID NOT come from LC or Glyn, they were quickly written as an afterthought by Clery because LC had failed to leave Pulleine any orders at all, and we all know that Clery was a junior officer to Pulleine, so, I ask again, were those orders really legal, because Clery was Junior to Pulleine and a junior officer cannot order a senior officer, so obviously, Clery did not tell Pulleine that the orders did not come from LC or Glyn but from him.

Durnford had very little time in which to organise anything after his arrival, however, he did at least organise scouts and sent out his own men to gather better information about what the zulu's were up to, and reports came back that a large body of them were moving towards LC, so what was he supposed to do about that, ignore it?

Pulleine was in command of the camp, and even if Durnford outranked him on his arrival, Durnford himself said that he was not staying at the camp, so no matter how long Durnford was at the camp, Pulleine knew full well that when Durnford left, he (Pulleine), would still be in command of the camp.

Like I said earlier, Pulleine was out of his depth, and even though he may have shown some reaction to the various situations as they developed when the zulu's attacked, he should have reacted a lot earlier when the first reports started coming in about zulu's in the area, but he did next to nothing about it all.
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PostSubject: Re: What could Col Pulliene have done? To secure the camp and all of its provisions, with the men and equipment available to him.   Mon Feb 08, 2016 5:55 pm

As he had all his companies out on a firing line to the front, presumably little or no thought was given to protecting the rear.
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PostSubject: Re: What could Col Pulliene have done? To secure the camp and all of its provisions, with the men and equipment available to him.   Mon Feb 08, 2016 6:06 pm

Hi Martin,

Durnford had led Pulleine to believe that the threat was to Chelmsford not to the camp, Pulleine also didn't realise that the threat to the camp was real until Shepstone came rushing back with his reports, even then Pulleine couldn't assess the situation because of the amount of dead ground in front of him and a lack of any clear view of the heights, he did however react to Shepstone's request and act accordingly. The only clue that something may of been happening was the amaNgwane that he could see in the distance but even then they seemed to be otherwise occupied. I understand that there were earlier reports of Zulus in the area but these weren't interpreted as being of any immediate threat. So perhaps Pulleine's actions in light of what we know now are understandable.
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PostSubject: Re: What could Col Pulliene have done? To secure the camp and all of its provisions, with the men and equipment available to him.   Mon Feb 08, 2016 6:42 pm

waterloo50 wrote:
Hi Martin,

Durnford had led Pulleine to believe that the threat was to Chelmsford not to the camp, Pulleine also didn't realise that the threat to the camp was real until Shepstone came rushing back with his reports, even then Pulleine couldn't assess the situation because of the amount of dead ground in front of him and a lack of any clear view of the heights, he did however react to Shepstone's request and act accordingly. The only clue that something may of been happening was the amaNgwane that he could see in the distance but even then they seemed to be otherwise occupied. I understand that there were earlier reports of Zulus in the area but these weren't interpreted as being of any immediate threat. So perhaps Pulleine's actions in light of what we know now are understandable.

Who made that decision?
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PostSubject: Re: What could Col Pulliene have done? To secure the camp and all of its provisions, with the men and equipment available to him.   Mon Feb 08, 2016 6:53 pm

waterloo50 wrote:
Hi Martin,

Durnford had led Pulleine to believe that the threat was to Chelmsford not to the camp, Pulleine also didn't realise that the threat to the camp was real until Shepstone came rushing back with his reports, even then Pulleine couldn't assess the situation because of the amount of dead ground in front of him and a lack of any clear view of the heights, he did however react to Shepstone's request and act accordingly. The only clue that something may of been happening was the amaNgwane that he could see in the distance but even then they seemed to be otherwise occupied. I understand that there were earlier reports of Zulus in the area but these weren't interpreted as being of any immediate threat. So perhaps Pulleine's actions in light of what we know now are understandable.

Where's this from Watetloo?
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PostSubject: Re: What could Col Pulliene have done? To secure the camp and all of its provisions, with the men and equipment available to him.   Mon Feb 08, 2016 7:09 pm

Mr M. Cooper wrote:
As I said in one of my earlier posts, Pulleine had many hours before Durnford arrived to have organised some sort of defences after getting various reports of zulu's in the area, but he did next to nothing about it. He could also have gathered his officers for their opinions and also have asked the Boers for their advice.

The orders that were left with him DID NOT come from LC or Glyn, they were quickly written as an afterthought by Clery because LC had failed to leave Pulleine any orders at all, and we all know that Clery was a junior officer to Pulleine, so, I ask again, were those orders really legal, because Clery was Junior to Pulleine and a junior officer cannot order a senior officer, so obviously, Clery did not tell Pulleine that the orders did not come from LC or Glyn but from him.

Durnford had very little time in which to organise anything after his arrival, however, he did at least organise scouts and sent out his own men to gather better information about what the zulu's were up to, and reports came back that a large body of them were moving towards LC, so what was he supposed to do about that, ignore it?

Pulleine was in command of the camp, and even if Durnford outranked him on his arrival, Durnford himself said that he was not staying at the camp, so no matter how long Durnford was at the camp, Pulleine knew full well that when Durnford left, he (Pulleine), would still be in command of the camp.

Like I said earlier, Pulleine was out of his depth, and even though he may have shown some reaction to the various situations as they developed when the zulu's attacked, he should have reacted a lot earlier when the first reports started coming in about zulu's in the area, but he did next to nothing about it all.

Martin you ask was the order written by Clery legal? Why wouldn't it be.
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PostSubject: Re: What could Col Pulliene have done? To secure the camp and all of its provisions, with the men and equipment available to him.   Mon Feb 08, 2016 7:20 pm

Lets not forget that we have the benefit of hindsight. As I said earlier, he reacted to the situation as it unfolded. What do you think he should have done, perhaps Laager the wagons, dig an entrenchment, build a redoubt, ordering those type of defences would have taken a considerable amount of time to complete, if you hold that the camp should have had those defences in the first place then its LC that should shoulder the blame for not issuing those orders.
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PostSubject: Re: What could Col Pulliene have done? To secure the camp and all of its provisions, with the men and equipment available to him.   Mon Feb 08, 2016 7:28 pm

Your prior post where did that come from.
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PostSubject: Re: What could Col Pulliene have done? To secure the camp and all of its provisions, with the men and equipment available to him.   Mon Feb 08, 2016 8:19 pm

Hi LH.

The reason I ask if it was legal is because Clery was a junior officer, and a junior officer cannot order a senior officer, so if Clery took it upon himself to quickly write out an order and give it to Pulleine under the false pretences that it was from LC or Glyn, that would surely make the order Clery wrote illegal, as it was not issued by a senior officer, but by Clery himself, and as a junior officer to Pulleine, Clery cannot do that.
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PostSubject: Re: What could Col Pulliene have done? To secure the camp and all of its provisions, with the men and equipment available to him.   Mon Feb 08, 2016 8:21 pm

waterloo50 wrote:
Hi Martin,

Durnford had led Pulleine to believe that the threat was to Chelmsford not to the camp, Pulleine also didn't realise that the threat to the camp was real until Shepstone came rushing back with his reports, even then Pulleine couldn't assess the situation because of the amount of dead ground in front of him and a lack of any clear view of the heights, he did however react to Shepstone's request and act accordingly. The only clue that something may of been happening was the amaNgwane that he could see in the distance but even then they seemed to be otherwise occupied. I understand that there were earlier reports of Zulus in the area but these weren't interpreted as being of any immediate threat. So perhaps Pulleine's actions in light of what we know now are understandable.

waterloo, where is this from. scratch scratch
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PostSubject: Re: What could Col Pulliene have done? To secure the camp and all of its provisions, with the men and equipment available to him.   Mon Feb 08, 2016 8:24 pm

Yes Martin..and was not LC so relieved when he learned
that Clery had done that off his own bat!. so very relieved.
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PostSubject: Re: What could Col Pulliene have done? To secure the camp and all of its provisions, with the men and equipment available to him.   Mon Feb 08, 2016 8:40 pm

Mr M. Cooper wrote:
Hi LH.

The reason I ask if it was legal is because Clery was a junior officer, and a junior officer cannot order a senior officer, so if Clery took it upon himself to quickly write out an order and give it to Pulleine under the false pretences that it was from LC or Glyn, that would surely make the order Clery wrote illegal, as it was not issued by a senior officer, but by Clery himself, and as a junior officer to Pulleine, Clery cannot do that.

It which case Clery would have been the ideal scapegoat! Wouldn't he!
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PostSubject: Re: What could Col Pulliene have done? To secure the camp and all of its provisions, with the men and equipment available to him.   Mon Feb 08, 2016 8:42 pm

waterloo50 wrote:
Lets not forget that we have the benefit of hindsight. As I said earlier, he reacted to the situation as it unfolded. What do you think he should have done, perhaps Laager the wagons, dig an entrenchment, build a redoubt, ordering those type of defences would have taken a considerable amount of time to complete, if you hold that the camp should have had those defences in the first place then its LC that should shoulder the blame for not issuing those orders.

waterloo.

You say that Pulleine reacted to the situation as it unfolded, he had mnany hours prior to that to react to the reports of zulu's in the area, so he might have been better off reacting BEFORE the situation unfolded.

LC had already issued orders about defences for camps, however, he decided to ignore his own orders at iSandlwana.

Like I said earlier mate, Pulleine had plenty of time from the very first reports of zulu's in the area to arrange for some sort of defences for the camp, he had a number of hours to do something long before Durnford arrived, what could Durnford do in the short time he was there? But at least Durnford did arrange for scouts and lookouts, and he did arrange for his own troops to try to get better information about what the zulu's were up to on the hills.
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PostSubject: Re: What could Col Pulliene have done? To secure the camp and all of its provisions, with the men and equipment available to him.   Mon Feb 08, 2016 8:48 pm

littlehand wrote:
Mr M. Cooper wrote:
Hi LH.

The reason I ask if it was legal is because Clery was a junior officer, and a junior officer cannot order a senior officer, so if Clery took it upon himself to quickly write out an order and give it to Pulleine under the false pretences that it was from LC or Glyn, that would surely make the order Clery wrote illegal, as it was not issued by a senior officer, but by Clery himself, and as a junior officer to Pulleine, Clery cannot do that.

It which case Clery would have been the ideal scapegoat! Wouldn't he!

Hi LH.

Yes, Clery knew that he was out of order doing what he did, and no doubt he would have been for the high jump, however, as Les has just said, Thesiger was very, very relieved that Clery had done it, and that is why he wasn't for the high jump and that is why he wasn't made scapegoat, because he had unwittingly given LC an excuse to blame Durnford and get his own backside off the hook along with Crealock.
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PostSubject: Re: What could Col Pulliene have done? To secure the camp and all of its provisions, with the men and equipment available to him.   Mon Feb 08, 2016 8:59 pm

Mr M. Cooper wrote:
waterloo50 wrote:
Hi Martin,

Durnford had led Pulleine to believe that the threat was to Chelmsford not to the camp, Pulleine also didn't realise that the threat to the camp was real until Shepstone came rushing back with his reports, even then Pulleine couldn't assess the situation because of the amount of dead ground in front of him and a lack of any clear view of the heights, he did however react to Shepstone's request and act accordingly. The only clue that something may of been happening was the amaNgwane that he could see in the distance but even then they seemed to be otherwise occupied. I understand that there were earlier reports of Zulus in the area but these weren't interpreted as being of any immediate threat. So perhaps Pulleine's actions in light of what we know now are understandable.

waterloo, where is this from. scratch scratch

Hello Martin,

Its from Zulu Rising. Have I misquoted?


Last edited by waterloo50 on Mon Feb 08, 2016 9:12 pm; edited 2 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: What could Col Pulliene have done? To secure the camp and all of its provisions, with the men and equipment available to him.   Mon Feb 08, 2016 9:01 pm

You say the order wasn't legal, are you talking in Military terms.
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PostSubject: Re: What could Col Pulliene have done? To secure the camp and all of its provisions, with the men and equipment available to him.   Mon Feb 08, 2016 9:02 pm

Best if you name the source! In the first instance.
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PostSubject: Re: What could Col Pulliene have done? To secure the camp and all of its provisions, with the men and equipment available to him.   Mon Feb 08, 2016 9:06 pm

littlehand wrote:
Best if you name the source! In the first instance.
Salute
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PostSubject: Re: What could Col Pulliene have done? To secure the camp and all of its provisions, with the men and equipment available to him.   Mon Feb 08, 2016 9:15 pm

For a minute we thought you knew more than Xhosa. Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: What could Col Pulliene have done? To secure the camp and all of its provisions, with the men and equipment available to him.   Mon Feb 08, 2016 9:23 pm

littlehand wrote:
You say the order wasn't legal, are you talking in Military terms.

The order cannot have been legal in military terms, as a junior officer cannot order a senior officer, and Clery knew that he was doing wrong issuing the order to Pulleine, and was also worried that he would now be hauled over the coals, however, LC was so very glad that the junior officer Clery had taken it upon himself to issue the senior officer Pulleine with an order, that nothing was done to discipline Clery, because Clery had unwittingly given LC the excuse he needed to clear his backside and dump the blame on the very dead Col Durnford, and that is why nothing was done to discipline Clery.
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PostSubject: Re: What could Col Pulliene have done? To secure the camp and all of its provisions, with the men and equipment available to him.   Mon Feb 08, 2016 9:24 pm

littlehand wrote:
For a minute we thought you knew more than Xhosa. Very Happy

I know more than others but less than most Very Happy

Xhosa is a degree student, I'm still at CSE level...lol
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PostSubject: Re: What could Col Pulliene have done? To secure the camp and all of its provisions, with the men and equipment available to him.   Mon Feb 08, 2016 9:29 pm

"For a minute we thought you knew more than Xhosa"

WE!!. littlehand :)
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PostSubject: Re: What could Col Pulliene have done? To secure the camp and all of its provisions, with the men and equipment available to him.   Mon Feb 08, 2016 9:30 pm

Les, agree Salute Very Happy
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