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 Wagons at Isandlwana

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John Young

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PostSubject: Re: Wagons at Isandlwana   Fri Feb 26, 2016 12:13 pm

Just clarify to Julian's descriptions of wagons involved, I thought I would add some images:

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The General Service Wagon, in this case pulled by mules.  In the middle of the photograph just beyond the tents is a Scotch Cart.
John Young Collection.

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In profile the colonial ox wagon half tent, and to the left the colonial ox wagon tent. (Using Ian Bennett's descriptions.)
John Young Collection.

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An ammunition column, mainly of GS wagons, however, one of the wagons in the background may be an American wagon.
John Young Collection.

John Y.
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PostSubject: Re: Wagons at Isandlwana   Fri Feb 26, 2016 12:15 pm

Bonjour,
From memory, Smith-Dorrien left the battlefield about the same time of Coghill and the retreat of the Guns (see his narrative of the death of Major Stuart Smith, R.A., and Macdonald, IMI / see the testimony from Curling).
Cheers
Frédéric
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90th

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PostSubject: G Co Positions at Isandlwana    Fri Feb 26, 2016 1:42 pm

Hi JY
Thanks for the posting the Pics , much appreciated by many I'm sure .
90th Salute
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Julian Whybra



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PostSubject: Re: Wagons at Isandlwana   Fri Feb 26, 2016 4:27 pm

Hi Frank

No, it’s not unreasonable to expect that Bloomfield might have helped out a brother officer (Essex) from another regiment but there’s no evidence to say he did.  In fact, at a far more crucial point in the battle, he wouldn’t ‘help out’ another brother officer (Smith-Dorrien) also from another regiment.  I tried to make sense of what has been given to us factually rather than engage in speculation and wishful thinking.  Isandhlwana is always a jigsaw puzzle for me; it's not a piece of creative artwork.  The pieces are already there - it's a question of how one fits them together.

Yes, a QM was an officer – witness his position in Mackinnon & Shadbolt.

Dyer and Griffith’s composite coy would have had 75 non-G coy 2/24th ORs.  I do not believe any others would have been with them.

The two Essex quotations re Broomfield’s assistance are:
“…at the request of the officer in charge I went to procure a fresh supply, with the assistance of Quartermaster 2nd Battalion 24th Regiment and some men of the Royal Artillery.  I had some boxes placed on a mule cart and sent it off to the companies engaged, and sent more by hand, employing any men without arms.”
[The two 1/24th companies] were now getting short of ammunition, so I went to the camp to bring up a fresh supply.  I got such men as were not engaged, bandsmen, cooks etc, to assist me, and sent them to the line under an officer…
The grammar and punctuation of both are important in what they don’t say.  They don’t say ‘I went to the 2nd bn Regimental Reserve’.  They don’t say ‘I ensured that the requisite QM sent out ammo boxes to…’  They imply that ‘Essex is in charge…I sent out… and was assisted by…’

The spare artillerymen were at just that point because Essex speicifically stated so.  How else could he have got them to help?  They were certainly not with Dyer.

Bandsmen had specific duties as either stretcher bearers or as ammunition carriers.  They would automatically have gone to their respective posts as soon as the action started.

Re the suggestion that there is conflation with the statement that Essex rode back to see Barry’s coy fleeing.  I was referring to Barry’s coy fleeing from the plateau.  I was not referring to the flight of Pakade’s men as witnessed by Malindi from Lonsdale’s position.  Thus, no conflation!

Smith-Dorrien in his March 1879 stated he went back to take a convoy of 25 empty waggons back to Rorke’s Drift to get supplies for the column.  His 1925 Account increases the figure to 45 waggons (faulty memory?).

The Smith-Dorrien-Bloomfield conversation recorded for posterity in 1925 was certainly not to be taken seriously or critically.  As Smith-Dorrien noted himself, it was an example of British discipline under fire, steadiness and professionalism.

The phrase “where we were” does cause consternation, I agree.  I think what has to borne in mind is that it comes from 1925 – 46 years after the battle.  The 1925 cannot be relied upon as a cohesive, continuous narrative.  Bits of it may be.  There are anecdotes inserted out of context and out of sequence.  Thus there are distortions to the chain of events.  I prefer to rely on Smith-Dorrien’s earlier accounts as regards events and timings.  I’ve used the 1925 account primarily for the Bloomfield banter episode and tried to ‘time’ according to what Smith-Dorrien placed after it – but, to be honest, I have no faith in its timing.

When Smith-Dorrien stated he saw Durnford galloping back “to the right of our position” I am sure he did not mean to the right of MY position but to the right of OUR i.e. THE BRITISH position.  He wasn’t being specific.  Since he was delivering ammunition he could literally have been anywhere on the field when he saw this happen, helping to pull a cart, handing out the packets of ammo…anywhere!  It doesn’t really give a guide as to position.  Ditto re the Zulu advance.  Smith-Dorrien is a moveable feast because of his co-option into the ammo distribution service.  So, yes, at the moment of certain observations he could have been in the centre.

Yes, the Durnford-Essex meeting is not easy.  For me it can only have taken place while Durnford was on the move consulting with Pulleine perhaps or trying to ensure that his desire for a concentration of the troops by a general withdrawal all along the line by visiting Melvill, Degacher and Dyer who were probably responsible for the various wings of the line.  That would enable Durnford to be where Essex was and not with the NNH.  In that way Essex’s remarks make sense.  It is possible that Durnford was en route riding past G coy.  Essex was intending to go to Durnford to speak to him - he may have been made aware that Durnford was near G coy.  Thus Essex was able to speak to both Pope and Durnford within minutes of one another - but this is pure conjecture.

Yes, I do attribute separate positions for Bloomfield.  It’s the only way to make sense of his popping up all over the rear of the camps.  When 2/24th coys were not in action, he has a certain ‘freedom to roam’ – to be of assistance to Essex.  When they are in action he can be at his ammunition waggon or the company waggons for a re-supply.  When it’s reported that Chelmsford’s waggon is being ‘pilfered’ he can leave his responsibilities to his QM-Sergt for a few moments while he sorts it out. That’s his role.

Regarding his death.   A stray shot from the centre or right or from friendly fire.  Men were galloping past with loaded rifles; Smith-Dorrien stated himself that there were bullets flying past all over the place.

The 1/24th ammunition waggon would have been behind the 1/24th tents.  Going through the tents would not have been the most straightforward route for the Edendale men to take to get out of camp.  Too many entanglements!!  Kambula stated that they came across an ammunition waggon – they didn’t go to it by design: the Zulus were busy in the tents i.e. the Edendale men were not in the tents.  

For the Edendale men to take the southerly route around the 1/24th camp it would have required them to go TOWARD the advancing left horn.  They would surely have aimed for the general line of retreat over the saddle and followed the line of fugitives.

Molife does indeed state that he met Henderson on the outskirts of the camp and he took them to their own ammunition waggon…but that does not mean he took ALL the Edendale men there.  They would have got separated somewhat as they passed through the melee.  And we know that Kambula didn’t go there otherwise he would not have bothered with the ‘boy’ and his ammunition waggon.
 
I do not deny that Henderson may have discovered the whereabouts of the NNH ammo waggon.  After all, that’s what he was sent back to camp for.  And he did meet the NNH as he was making his way back to Durnford’s position.  This was of course late in the day.  And it doesn’t mean that he was able to make that fact known generally to all five troops of the NNH in the short space of time he had available.

Phew!  Thanks for constructive criticism!
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PostSubject: Re: Wagons at Isandlwana   Fri Feb 26, 2016 7:22 pm

As Essex only arrived at Isandlwana at about 10.30 that morning, how likely is it that he would have understanding of the camp layout and where all the wagons were?
When he first went in search of ammunition, would he not have gone to the nearest wagon he saw with a red flag?
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PostSubject: Re: Wagons at Isandlwana   Fri Feb 26, 2016 9:39 pm

eaton
I think you're confused about the personages. Do you really mean Essex?
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PostSubject: Re: Wagons at Isandlwana   Fri Feb 26, 2016 10:02 pm

Bear with me for a moment while I return to this question of the location of wagons. Leaving aside the wagon prepared for Chelmsford on the saddle, we have two wagons parked behind each company's tents. The large additional reserve wagon (200 rounds per man) and the regimental reserve wagon (30 rounds per man). The explanation is that boxes are supplied from the regimental reserve and placed in scotch carts and the regimental reserve is then replenished from the additional reserve which is stood next to it. My first question is why would you double the workload by having to shift those boxes twice when the wagons are adjacent? My second observation is that no one seems to refer to anything more than a single wagon? The point of the smaller regimental reserve wagon is surely ease of movement compared to the ox wagons. So are the two wagons belonging to each company really in the same place? Not a jigsaw piece l know, but on the other hand not too arty either!

Steve
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PostSubject: Re: Wagons at Isandlwana   Sat Feb 27, 2016 4:18 am

Julian
I do still have a counter argument to a few of your positions but as I said in my earlier posts Im very much in support of the theory.
Unfortunatly a week end of babysitting for the hoardes of Grand Children is ahead, and their Grandmother wont tell me where she has hidden the handcuffs and muzzles so reply will have to wait till next week.
Steve
Not going there, I will leave it to others.
eaton
Essex was director of transport for the column, he knew, or should have known, where everything was

Cheers
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Julian Whybra



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PostSubject: Re: Wagons at Isandlwana   Sat Feb 27, 2016 7:54 am

Rusteze
No, we don't have TWO waggons (look at the Summary).
Behind 1/24th there is 1 Regimental Reserve Waggon and 5 Additional Reserve Waggons.
Behind 2/24th there is 1 Regimental Reserve Waggon and 7 Additional Reserve Waggons.
Each waggon could hold a ton weight.  200 rounds per man for a coy would weigh 1 ton, so five coys = 5 waggons, 7 coys = 7 waggons.
The answer to your question is maybe they were adjacent and maybe they weren't.  I do not know.
What arrangements were made by the QMs for replenishing one from the other is not known.
It may have been as you describe for ease of unloading - if they were adjacent...
But it may not.  Especially if they were not adjacent.
The central issue in an ammunition supply chain is that there should be ONE known point/source of distribution for each battalion to avoid any possible confusion, not a moveable one!
The few survivors that do speak about ammunition waggons speak about there being one (you are quite right) - so my opinion is inclined to that view, no matter what the problems of unloading and replenishment were.  But no-one can say for certain.  Yet.
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PostSubject: Re: Wagons at Isandlwana   Sat Feb 27, 2016 8:32 am

Julian Whybra wrote:
eaton
I think you're confused about the personages.  Do you really mean Essex?

Could well be - was he not Durnford's staff officer? Am I confusing him with someone else?
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John Young

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PostSubject: Re: Wagons at Isandlwana   Sat Feb 27, 2016 8:53 am

Eaton,

Indeed you are, that was Lt. William Francis Dundonald Cochrane, 32nd Light Infantry.

John Y.
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eaton

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PostSubject: Re: Wagons at Isandlwana   Sat Feb 27, 2016 9:14 am

John Young wrote:
Eaton,

Indeed you are, that was Lt. William Francis Dundonald Cochrane, 32nd Light Infantry.

John Y.

Ah, thank you ( crawls back under stone) Very Happy
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John Young

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PostSubject: Re: Wagons at Isandlwana   Sat Feb 27, 2016 9:49 am

Eaton,

No need for that, we're all here to learn something. At least I hope so!

By-the-way Cochrane's famous relative was Thomas Cochrane, Le Loup des Mers, 10th Earl of Dundonald.

John Y.
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Wagons at Isandlwana   Sat Feb 27, 2016 10:01 am

Julian Whybra wrote:
Hi Frank

No, it’s not unreasonable to expect that Bloomfield might have helped out a brother officer (Essex) from another regiment but there’s no evidence to say he did.  In fact, at a far more crucial point in the battle, he wouldn’t ‘help out’ another brother officer (Smith-Dorrien) also from another regiment.  I tried to make sense of what has been given to us factually rather than engage in speculation and wishful thinking.  Isandhlwana is always a jigsaw puzzle for me; it's not a piece of creative artwork.  The pieces are already there - it's a question of how one fits them together.Sorry my meaning was unclear, I meant that in helping a brother officer he was helping Pullen by issuing form his wagon. I emphasised this by pointing out his view and therefore the appreciation of the dangers of the retiring lines.

Yes, a QM was an officer – witness his position in Mackinnon & Shadbolt.

Dyer and Griffith’s composite coy would have had 75 non-G coy 2/24th ORs.  I do not believe any others would have been with them. And the call to arms from Pulleine? Every man with a gun etc?

The two Essex quotations re Broomfield’s assistance are:
“…at the request of the officer in charge I went to procure a fresh supply, with the assistance of Quartermaster 2nd Battalion 24th Regiment and some men of the Royal Artillery.  I had some boxes placed on a mule cart and sent it off to the companies engaged, and sent more by hand, employing any men without arms.” Surely he is bracketing the QM with the RA members in that he was assisted by all.
[The two 1/24th companies] were now getting short of ammunition, so I went to the camp to bring up a fresh supply.  I got such men as were not engaged, bandsmen, cooks etc, to assist me, and sent them to the line under an officer…
The grammar and punctuation of both are important in what they don’t say.  They don’t say ‘I went to the 2nd bn Regimental Reserve’.  They don’t say ‘I ensured that the requisite QM sent out ammo boxes to…’  They imply that ‘Essex is in charge…I sent out… and was assisted by…’ It also doesn't mention he made of to the furthest ammunition supply for assistance?

The spare artillerymen were at just that point because Essex speicifically stated so.  How else could he have got them to help?  They were certainly not with Dyer. The artillery area was adjacent and within shouting distance, possibly 30 yards, he wouldn't have had to go looking.

Bandsmen had specific duties as either stretcher bearers or as ammunition carriers.  They would automatically have gone to their respective posts as soon as the action started.

Re the suggestion that there is conflation with the statement that Essex rode back to see Barry’s coy fleeing.  I was referring to Barry’s coy fleeing from the plateau.  I was not referring to the flight of Pakade’s men as witnessed by Malindi from Lonsdale’s position.  Thus, no conflation!

Smith-Dorrien in his March 1879 stated he went back to take a convoy of 25 empty waggons back to Rorke’s Drift to get supplies for the column.  His 1925 Account increases the figure to 45 waggons (faulty memory?).

The Smith-Dorrien-Bloomfield conversation recorded for posterity in 1925 was certainly not to be taken seriously or critically.  As Smith-Dorrien noted himself, it was an example of British discipline under fire, steadiness and professionalism.

The phrase “where we were” does cause consternation, I agree.  I think what has to borne in mind is that it comes from 1925 – 46 years after the battle.  The 1925 cannot be relied upon as a cohesive, continuous narrative.  Bits of it may be.  There are anecdotes inserted out of context and out of sequence.  Thus there are distortions to the chain of events.  I prefer to rely on Smith-Dorrien’s earlier accounts as regards events and timings.  I’ve used the 1925 account primarily for the Bloomfield banter episode and tried to ‘time’ according to what Smith-Dorrien placed after it – but, to be honest, I have no faith in its timing. Rather than timing he is discussing position, I would tend to think that if he was in assegai distance he would have mentioned it

When Smith-Dorrien stated he saw Durnford galloping back “to the right of our position” I am sure he did not mean to the right of MY position but to the right of OUR i.e. THE BRITISH position.  He wasn’t being specific.  Since he was delivering ammunition he could literally have been anywhere on the field when he saw this happen, helping to pull a cart, handing out the packets of ammo…anywhere!  It doesn’t really give a guide as to position.  Ditto re the Zulu advance.  Smith-Dorrien is a moveable feast because of his co-option into the ammo distribution service.  So, yes, at the moment of certain observations he could have been in the centre.

Yes, the Durnford-Essex meeting is not easy.  For me it can only have taken place while Durnford was on the move consulting with Pulleine perhaps or trying to ensure that his desire for a concentration of the troops by a general withdrawal all along the line by visiting Melvill, Degacher and Dyer who were probably responsible for the various wings of the line.  That would enable Durnford to be where Essex was and not with the NNH.  In that way Essex’s remarks make sense.  It is possible that Durnford was en route riding past G coy.  Essex was intending to go to Durnford to speak to him - he may have been made aware that Durnford was near G coy.  Thus Essex was able to speak to both Pope and Durnford within minutes of one another - but this is pure conjecture. One of the last sightings of Durnford was him heading for the Generals tent , Molife, if he did actual go in search of Pullern and then headed for the line it would put him behind the 1/24th, facing the line with Essex the 'right' refered to would be towards the guns, not I would assume along the G company position.

Yes, I do attribute separate positions for Bloomfield.  It’s the only way to make sense of his popping up all over the rear of the camps.  When 2/24th coys were not in action, he has a certain ‘freedom to roam’ – to be of assistance to Essex.  When they are in action he can be at his ammunition waggon or the company waggons for a re-supply.  When it’s reported that Chelmsford’s waggon is being ‘pilfered’ he can leave his responsibilities to his QM-Sergt for a few moments while he sorts it out. That’s his role. Ouch, that's quite a reach.

Regarding his death.   A stray shot from the centre or right or from friendly fire.  Men were galloping past with loaded rifles; Smith-Dorrien stated himself that there were bullets flying past all over the place.

The 1/24th ammunition waggon would have been behind the 1/24th tents.  Going through the tents would not have been the most straightforward route for the Edendale men to take to get out of camp.  Too many entanglements!!  Kambula stated that they came across an ammunition waggon – they didn’t go to it by design: the Zulus were busy in the tents i.e. the Edendale men were not in the tents.  No, the direct route from the donga to the top of camp would have been a diagonal line south of the tents, paralleling the left horn. The reference to busy in the tents could either refer to the frontal attack or the right horn, not neccesarily the left horn. If indeed they did retreat up the road that would still bring them close to the 1/24th wagon park.

For the Edendale men to take the southerly route around the 1/24th camp it would have required them to go TOWARD the advancing left horn.  They would surely have aimed for the general line of retreat over the saddle and followed the line of fugitives.

Molife does indeed state that he met Henderson on the outskirts of the camp and he took them to their own ammunition waggon…but that does not mean he took ALL the Edendale men there.  They would have got separated somewhat as they passed through the melee.  And we know that Kambula didn’t go there otherwise he would not have bothered with the ‘boy’ and his ammunition waggon. I made the point that Stafford was ordered to hand out ammunition, possibly this would have increased the number of people that knew the position. But Davies couldn't find it and wasn't Kambule from his troop? So possibly it was only the Henderson side that witnessed the ammunition location? Just a thought. The fact that Kambule was separated from Molife could lend credence to the thought of one company going either side of the tents., The road wasn't exactly a multi lane highway that one could get lost on.
 
I do not deny that Henderson may have discovered the whereabouts of the NNH ammo waggon.  After all, that’s what he was sent back to camp for.  And he did meet the NNH as he was making his way back to Durnford’s position.  This was of course late in the day.  And it doesn’t mean that he was able to make that fact known generally to all five troops of the NNH in the short space of time he had available.

Phew!  Thanks for constructive criticism!
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Julian Whybra



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PostSubject: Re: Wagons at Isandlwana   Sat Feb 27, 2016 2:03 pm

Frank

“Surely he is bracketing the QM with the RA members in that he was assisted by all.”

Yes, I agree. My point is that he would have to pass both bloomfield behind the 2/24th tents and R.A. tents to reach Pullen, thus providing the opportunity to ‘recruit’ both.

“The grammar and punctuation of both are important in what they don’t say. They don’t say ‘I went to the 2nd bn Regimental Reserve’. They don’t say ‘I ensured that the requisite QM sent out ammo boxes to…’ They imply that ‘Essex is in charge…I sent out… and was assisted by…’”

“It also doesn't mention he made of to the furthest ammunition supply for assistance?”

He wouldn’t have to if it was the expected and assumed destination for 1/24th coys.

“Rather than timing he is discussing position, I would tend to think that if he was in assegai distance he would have mentioned it.”

Absolutely it is position. I’m not suggesting he was in assegaing distance but he might have been en route out to the line, going through the camp area – ‘where we were’ could mean anything under the circumstances.

“One of the last sightings of Durnford was him heading for the Generals tent , Molife, if he did actual go in search of Pullern and then headed for the line it would put him behind the 1/24th, facing the line with Essex the 'right' refered to would be towards the guns, not I would assume along the G company position.”

Well it all depends on where Molife was when he saw Durnford seeking the General’s tent. It could literally be anywhere.

“Ouch, that's quite a reach.”

When the waggon has been ordered by Lord Chelmsford personally, Bloomfield would have made sure he had such a reach.

“I made the point that Stafford was ordered to hand out ammunition, possibly this would have increased the number of people that knew the position. But Davies couldn't find it and wasn't Kambule from his troop? So possibly it was only the Henderson side that witnessed the ammunition location? Just a thought. The fact that Kambule was separated from Molife could lend credence to the thought of one company going either side of the tents., The road wasn't exactly a multi lane highway that one could get lost on.”

Kambula was from No. 5 Troop (Davies). My point was that the ‘boy’ could only be 2/24th, subject to Bloomfield’s orders. Kambula et al. could not have been as far into the camp as the 2/24th tents & ammo waggon. I t can only have been the waggon intended for Chelmsford.

Rusteze

Your previous post was a good one. There is only one comment from a survivor re the ammunition Reserve and that’s from Smith-Dorrien in his 1925 account bemoaning the fact that there was all that spare ammunition in camp which no-one got at. Either it means that he was working at one of the battalion ammo waggon stations and wasn’t aware of replenishment procedures or it means he was and they never replenished the supplies or it means those waggons were somewhere else…or it means he wasn’t working at a battalion ammo waggon…
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rusteze

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PostSubject: Re: Wagons at Isandlwana   Sat Feb 27, 2016 4:27 pm

Julian
Aha! The plot thickens. I just noticed you placed a pregnant pause before the "Yet" in your earlier post. Does that mean you have a metaphorical hat from which you are going to produce a rabbit?
Steve
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PostSubject: Position of G coy   Sat Feb 27, 2016 6:20 pm

Hi  all,
Firstly, thanks to Julian for starting this thread and putting in  time extracting and  posting  much evidence, now in  a semblance of order for better understanding of the  subject.

I have been skimming through the evidence and have one or two questions, and observations

Questions
1) how much ammunition, in toto ,was thought to have been on the field nd  in the various reserves on the battlefield on 22/01?
2) did the wagons loaded with 2000 rations actually go out, and if so who were they intended for and were they actually delivered?.

Observations;
1) NNC ammunition and that of  some Colonial units NMP, NC) were not the same as that used in the MH's of the 1-2/24, so there could not be any interchangability of battalion supply there
2) only one man in 10 in the NNC was equipped with a firearm and then the practice was to only issue 10 rounds per man, so based on that usage the NNC battalion reserve would have been relatively minuscule, so again, there was no interchangibility
3) Bloomfield was in all likelihood killed by a stray MH bullet as he, at 1300+ metres would have been well within range of such a weapon, with a setting of  5deg elevation on the rear sight ladder, and fired  from the battlefield perimeter. Thus, in all likelihood his being an accidental death due to collateral damage.
4) some eyewitnesses talk of Scotch carts been loaded and taken to the firing lines to resupply ammunition. The battle field topography would not have permitted any carts to reach the further firing lines at the commencement of the fight. However it may have been possible in the closing stages. Further, scrutiny of  post battle pictures of wreckage on the battlefield did not revel  the presence of any Scotch carts.
4) much has been said about various personalities  arranging, by different means, ammo  supply to the front, yet no one is reported receiving it.  Perhaps this is an unreasonable observation as those front line men were all casualties
.

regards

barry


Last edited by barry on Sun Feb 28, 2016 6:51 am; edited 2 times in total
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xhosa2000

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PostSubject: Re: Wagons at Isandlwana   Sat Feb 27, 2016 8:39 pm

I tried to make sense of what has been given to us factually rather than engage in speculation and wishful thinking. Say's Julian...

Well i have been snidely castigated for insisting that only the known fact's can be accepted,
so i read with interest Julian's recent offering's, and fascinating reading it makes..his views
and arguments are always persuasive and who's to say despite all the ( i statements). that
this might approximate the actual event's..no one one can gainsay it because nobody
know's..but if accepted widely, it will be included in a future publication for generation's to
accept as fact, and who know's it might be as close as we ever come!. even the the pain-
staking research offered is riven with imponderables and asks more questions than it solves.
i guess what i'm really asking is.. who, can corroborate anything that is not set in stone as
actual fact.. its such a leap of faith, but knowing the little i do about Julian i guess he is just
about the best we have.

And just to say on a personal level, equating Q.M. Bloomfield to Dr Evil was not the best of
bants given the subject.. sometimes the comment's from some i find ' un manly ' which
i know would have been anathema and not tolerated by the men we love to discuss back in
the day!. i guess i am old fashioned enough to still believe that men should act and speak
like men, and not giggle like school children. no offence to any body in particular. just my
personal observation as a proud ' grumpy old man '.
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Ray63

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PostSubject: Re: Wagons at Isandlwana   Sun Feb 28, 2016 3:05 am

Can't see why you always want to make it about you, and how hard done by you are, no one cares! Just add something worth while to the discussion.
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xhosa2000

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PostSubject: Re: Wagons at Isandlwana   Sun Feb 28, 2016 3:16 am

Thank you ray.
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Wagons at Isandlwana   Sun Feb 28, 2016 4:30 am

Frank Allewell wrote:
"Captious persons construe every innocent freedom into an affront. "
Rev George Crabbe

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PostSubject: Re: Wagons at Isandlwana   Sun Feb 28, 2016 5:37 am

Julian
Re: "Kambula was from No. 5 Troop (Davies). My point was that the ‘boy’ could only be 2/24th, subject to Bloomfield’s orders. Kambula et al. could not have been as far into the camp as the 2/24th tents & ammo waggon. I t can only have been the waggon intended for Chelmsford. "

A thought to work from.
When Durnford retreated back to the Donga he took up position adjacent to the Colonials. His line at 2metre spacing would have been quite extended from the old road position, and extended even further as the Zulu tried to outflank.
1)When the retreat was called by Durnford, Molife was the only one to comment on seeing Durnford   head up to the HQ area.
2) Its possible that that extended line retreated in different cohesive units, hence the differing versions and outcomes from various factors.
3) Molife quite possibly retreated up the road, bypassing the 1/24th to the North.
4) The Carbineers etc retreated across country ( virtually no different to the road in terms of riding ) cutting across the face of their lines. There are references that suggest that, including a reference that Durnford was seen near the corner of the Artillery park, Davies?
5) Kambule if he was on the Southern side of  the extended line would have had the shortest route back to the saddle of riding South of the camp along the ridge line, or just below it, while the left horn encircling would have been on the other side but still well behind.
6) to a degree that scenario would indicate the Colonials being in a cohesive fighting unit at the 1/24th tents, Kambule going through the 1/24th wagon park ( seeing the boy soldier on the way) and Molife arriving on the ridge first and re linking with Kambule.
7) Looking at the battlefields today tends to conjure up the wrong impression, the road has migrated South, the impression is always created that the camp was close under the mountain, Crealocks sketches are the best description of the distance from the mountain.

Just a few thoughts.
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PostSubject: Re: Wagons at Isandlwana   Sun Feb 28, 2016 8:17 am

I thought it may help to give a visual point to the position under discussion for the forum members.
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This drawing indicates the position of the old road relative to the new and also the positions, approx., of the men lining the donga from Bradstreet in the North down to Kambule in the South.
The red arrows show the potential lines of retreat. I don't believe the men from North of the road and South of the road would have bothered riding up the donga to get onto the track ( it wasn't a road only a traders track). Hence Molife and Kambule arriving at the saddle seperatly and potentially the Volunteers later, and staying to fight of the left horn pursuing Kambule.
Something to kick around.
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PostSubject: Re: Wagons at Isandlwana   Sun Feb 28, 2016 10:11 am

A few more photos
This is a view across the Colonial cemetery. the modern road is around 5 metres behind me.
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A photo from a similar angle showing the position of the old road. Well away to the North of the cemetery
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PostSubject: Re: Wagons at Isandlwana   Sun Feb 28, 2016 10:30 am

Rusteze
Who knows what will come out of a hat once a magician starts his tricks?

Barry
For the 24th regiment alone, 12 coys @ 300 rounds for each man = 360,000 rounds. And then there are all the other units…Smith-Dorrien I think it was in his unreliable 1925 account wrote of 400,000 in camp.
If you ready through my posts you’ll find that the ration waggon did go out and got stuck in a drift on the plain. Mainwaring found it. And Norris-Newman records its return with Harness’s battery (thanks to Frederic for this last bit of info).
By the time of the photos all useable vehicles had been salvaged by the army. The Zulus also took away many of their dead using vehicles from Isandhlwana.
There are several accounts of men receiving it. Look at the accounts of those who delivered it and the very few men on the line who survived. Virtually all on the firing line of course were killed.

Xhosa
I have footnoted everything I could. I then tried to fit the pieces of that jigsaw together and make sense of it. Thank you for the compliment but I must mention John Young on this site whose contributions stem from a background of years of research and to whom in certain matters I would always defer.
On the subject of footnotes, re the one I was missing which is stated in Zulu Victory, ron lock has e-mailed me to say he believes it was Clery and is searching for it himself (Ron has been unwell and is now recuperating).
Re Dr. Evil, I concur wholeheartedly with your view.

Frank
Re Kambula – your scenario depends on Kambula’s location in the extended line and we don’t know where that was. That makes his suggested line of retreat difficult to gauge.
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PostSubject: Re: Wagons at Isandlwana   Sun Feb 28, 2016 10:54 am

Morning Julian
Quite right I don't know where Kambule was in the line. What we do know is that the line extended from the road so aprox 200 men at 2 metre spacings is a fare old distance. Someone was at the end of the line and considering Molife is on record of watching Durnford riding across to the HQ I would assume he had a view fairly close to the road area.
Ive posted the old and new photos to try and illustrate that the road was much further to the North and so was the 1/24th camp. Therefore the concept of a troop riding from close to half a kilometre south of the road in the Donga and skirting the 1/24th camp is a pretty realistic viewpoint. Certainly closer than riding that distance up a boulder strewn stream bed.
It was just a meandering of the mind, senilility sneaking up Im afraid.
Still trying to figure out the Dr Evil reference? Did I miss something?

Cheers
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rusteze

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PostSubject: Re: Wagons at Isandlwana   Sun Feb 28, 2016 11:02 am

Jonathan Strange or Mr Norrell? Or just possibly the lovely Debbie McGee!

Steve
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PostSubject: Re: Wagons at Isandlwana   Sun Feb 28, 2016 11:30 am

Bonjour Mr Whybra,
Much of your remarkable not conventional  building (I do not measure yet all the full implications!) based on the dogma of the supply of ammunition (1-24th to 1-24th ammunition supply/ 2-24th to 2-24th ammunition supply etc).
If this dogma is destroyed your analysis collapses. I confess that I find it hard to accept this dogma particulary between to brother battalions in a dramatic situation (with the exception of the wagon 2/24th reserved to LC / the story Kambula-Boy). I have found nothing on this specific subject (other example in a battle under the Victoria's reign). Maybe in the 1877 fighting manual?
Thank you again for sharing your knowledge on the forum.
Cheers

Frédéric
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Wagons at Isandlwana   Sun Feb 28, 2016 11:40 am

Hi Julian
My comment:
"The Quarter Masters from time immemorial been the dark underbelly of the army, the machinations and control they have and use is way beyond their official rank. Borrowing to cover up material shortages and mistakes was and is a regular occurrence. It’s not therefore beyond reasonable doubt that he was prepared to give ammunition to a sister battalion."
Your response:
"No, it’s not unreasonable to expect that Bloomfield might have helped out a brother officer (Essex) from another regiment but there’s no evidence to say he did. In fact, at a far more crucial point in the battle, he wouldn’t ‘help out’ another brother officer (Smith-Dorrien) also from another regiment"
Its this same issue that I think Frederic alludes to, the interchange between two battalions of the same regiment rather than different regiments.

Cheers

Cheers
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xhosa2000

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PostSubject: Re: Wagons at Isandlwana   Sun Feb 28, 2016 12:30 pm


Frank Allewell wrote:
"Captious persons construe every innocent freedom into an affront. "
Rev George Crabbe...fair enough frank you made a funny remark.
but your analogy does not hold water.. i hold a counter view to some
and in some sense give balance to debate, it is never my intention
to seek to shut down any debate with my perceived ( by some )
stark black and white opinion's.. see Julian's response..he gets it
straight away. please get over the past re me! i enjoy most of your
posts enormously, but you do tend to veer about alarmingly at times.


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PostSubject: Re: Wagons at Isandlwana   Sun Feb 28, 2016 12:32 pm

Steve, my comment to you is simple..stop being snide!
no need for it mate.
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xhosa2000

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PostSubject: Re: Wagons at Isandlwana   Sun Feb 28, 2016 12:37 pm

Thank you Julian, JY knows full well the high esteem i
have for him..your among the very best we have..i
know that you ' get me ' it saves a lot of time!. by
the way are you nearing publication.
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rusteze

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PostSubject: Re: Wagons at Isandlwana   Sun Feb 28, 2016 12:40 pm

As ever Les mate, you get hold of the wrong end of the stick and then run a marathon with it. See Julian's earlier reference to magicians. Nothing to do with you or what you have said. Have you read the book?

Steve
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PostSubject: Re: Wagons at Isandlwana   Sun Feb 28, 2016 12:50 pm

Steve, sorry!, i see that now!. i have not read it..i don't
do popular fiction. i withdraw the snide remark.
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PostSubject: Re: Wagons at Isandlwana   Sun Feb 28, 2016 12:55 pm

Bonjour Frank,
Y es, it s exactly m'y thought:thé interchange between two battalions of the same Régiment, particulary in a dramatic situation.
Pullen and Broomfield were experienced and particulary good soldiers. Only "private" at the beginning of their career they became Officer.It s also difficult for me To accept that SD and Essex refused to give ammunition to others units.

Cheers
Frédéric

I.E: Frank, merci for your constructive comments and open mind about this thread.
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waterloo50

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PostSubject: Re: Wagons at Isandlwana   Sun Feb 28, 2016 1:13 pm

I have to say that after reading the source list from JW I haven't got a hope in hell of joining this debate, to many heavy hitters on here with tons of knowledge. It is a good discussion but I'm finding myself going up and down the thread cross referencing everything just so that I can follow the plot, I don't suppose anyone could recap so us lesser mortals could keep up.
Cheers.
Waterloo
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rusteze

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PostSubject: Re: Wagons at Isandlwana   Sun Feb 28, 2016 1:16 pm

I do not have any evidence for what follows but I think the argument has some merit. We should not assume that there was any love lost between the 1st and 2nd 24th. It is perhaps not the same as in France with your "esprit de corps". To my mind it is just as likely that some difficult QM would say, "why would I waste my valuable ammunition on your inexperienced men when mine can hit their targets? Go and get your own."

Steve
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PostSubject: Re: Wagons at Isandlwana   Sun Feb 28, 2016 1:23 pm

Frank / Frederic
Part of me agrees with you both (they help each other rather than each battalion goes to its own waggon).  There's just no evidence for it so far.  Now, I know, there's no evidence for my stance either.
I am simply trying to take the known facts and piece them together in a way that fits (and I know they may not).
I suppose I might argue that at that stage of the battle, the seriousness and urgency of it might not have been known, and Essex & co. followed procedure to the letter rather than asking Bloomfield to borrow some ammo.
I don't know.
I am certainly not stupid enough to stick by what I've written through hell and high water, let alone throw a tantrum if I'm wrong.
If anything, throwing open the question has done just what I hoped it would.  It's brought forth many sensible alternative suggestions but nothing concrete yet (another 'yet', rusteze) as well as some fascinating research from Frederic which I hope he'll do more with.
Please, all of you, don't let any sourness come into this discussion.  When my son was university I constantly had to remind him that history essay-writing was not about taking a stance and finding evidence to justify it.  It's about looking at the evidence and coming up with logical consequences (and sometimes logical alternatives).  Sometimes there is too much of the former on the forum with members taking sides and tempers rising, and not enough of the latter which is the more likely to come up with what actually happened.  
Defending an argument is not the same as refusing to accept one is wrong.  And I am happy to be wrong, as I know Frank would be, if a firm piece of evidence came up either way.

Frederic
Remember that we do know that units were refused ammunition (Barton and Stafford's evidence).

Waterloo
The real question is whether Essex took ammunition from Bloomfield's nearer 2nd bn ammo waggon or from Pullen's farther 1st bn ammo waggon.  The farther one was the one he should have taken it from, its intended destination being the 1st bn.  The trouble is he enlisted Bloomfield and some R.A. men's 'assistance' in carrying it out.  Frank/Frederic favour the 2nd bn waggon; I favour the 1st bn waggon.  No-one is really too bothered about who is right as long as we can find out one way or the other.
There's a secondary argument about the possible location of Chelmsford's mule-waggon full of ammunition being near the 1st bn or 2nd bn tents or near the track.
That's it really.

Rusteze
All the evidence points to a certain bonhomie between the two battalions.  Friendly rivalry, possibly but not open dispute.
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PostSubject: Re: Wagons at Isandlwana   Sun Feb 28, 2016 1:49 pm

Mr Whybra,
Thank you.
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PostSubject: Re: Wagons at Isandlwana   Sun Feb 28, 2016 4:10 pm

I have one last argument to put forward in favour of Essex not resupplying E & F coys 1/24th from Bloomfield's 2/24th waggon.
Bloomfield at this stage of the battle, with his own G coy still not committed, would have been keen to watch events unfold. As Frank has pointed out he had an excellent view of the field from his position behind the tents.
As I have shown, he had loaded a mule-waggon with the Reserve Ammunition for the six 2/24th coys out with Chelmsford - that supply was now untouchable. He had remaining in his own Regimental Reserve waggon just 5 boxes of ammunition, each containing 600 rounds, enough for 30 rounds per G coy soldier. He would be keen to ensure that this was available if G coy needed it. Once this was done, he would have to replenish his waggon from the Additional Reserve Waggons - ox-waggons which were awkward and time-consuming to unload because of their size. He would need to act speedily.
He would also have been aware that Dyer, Griffith and 75 other 2/24th men were in camp and might find it necessary to call on his already limited G coy reserves.
I find it difficult to accept that Bloomfield would have contemplated handing over to Essex his readily-available but precious stock of G coy's ammunition. His response would have been "It looks as though the 2/24th is going to need it all itself" before adding " but I'll accompany you and help you load up from the 1/24th's supply".
Thoughts?
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PostSubject: Re: Wagons at Isandlwana   Sun Feb 28, 2016 4:32 pm

Hi Julian
Your again quite right, its all about the debate. This one started with a comment from me about Bloomfield taking ownership. I was more than happy to be proved wrong, hence my agreeing with you. BUT what others fail to understand is that theories need to be tested, if they stand up then WOOPEEEEEE. We have another link in the chain.
My exercise on the retreat from the donga was for one reason to explore the possibilities of the ammunition being picked up by Kambule from a 1/24th wagon. I think Ive presented enough to be able to at least point a quivering finger.

Xhosa
Ive tended to ignore you and you negative approach to things, when there is a perception a 'dig' is being directed at my person then I am honour bound to re act. I do so in the most gentile of fashion.
Apart from that there is nothing to get over, that implies I think or give attention to you. The reverse is more factual.
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PostSubject: Re: Wagons at Isandlwana   Sun Feb 28, 2016 4:52 pm

Xhosa
Ive tended to ignore you and you negative approach to things, when there is a perception a 'dig' is being directed at my person then I am honour bound to re act. I do so in the most gentile of fashion.
Apart from that there is nothing to get over, that implies I think or give attention to you. The reverse is more factual.......

Thank you for the clarification! we both know where we stand!. i can live with that.
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PostSubject: Re: Wagons at Isandlwana   Sun Feb 28, 2016 5:48 pm

Waterloo
Sorry mate unfortunately when it comes to these little details things do get very technical. Comfort yourself in the knowledge that every one on this forum is learning all the time, stay with it mate and if you need any points explaining theres more than enough knowledge and desire on the forum to assist.

Cheers
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PostSubject: Re: Wagons at Isandlwana   Sun Feb 28, 2016 6:38 pm

It may be worth reproducing the guidance from the Field Service Manual 1877 as it relates to Ammunition.

Position of Ammunition Reserve, Band etc.
The Regimental Ammunition Reserve will follow the main body at a distance of about 20 yards until they approach the fighting line, when it will be posted under cover in some convenient spot for the ready supply of ammunition to the fighting line: the pioneers will accompany it. Previous to an advance each company of the fighting line should have reserve ammunition distributed, a portion of which may accompany the supports.


Julian
Your point about Bloomfield taking care of his last remaining 5 boxes in the Regimental Reserve wagon, until needed by G Company, is well made. But as you say, he is also aware of the additional 75 2/24th men who might also need re-supply (do we know if they have the full number of rounds each to start with?). Taken together that more than exhausts his supply from the Regimental Reserve wagon. So rather than offering to go with Essex to help unload 1/24th ammo, is he not immediately thinking of shifting down some of his own additional supply from the ox cart? It also raises the question in my mind about the extent of the re-supply to the firing line. Do we take it that soldiers on the firing line are carrying their full 70 rounds to begin with? If so, is that not the figure you would seek to maintain if you are Bloomfield? At 30 rounds per man that amounts to two reserve wagon loads just to get back to the initial numbers

Steve
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PostSubject: Re: Wagons at Isandlwana   Sun Feb 28, 2016 7:30 pm

Rusteze
Thanks for posting that.  I am aware of the Field Manual's guidance.  
If that was complied with, then Essex would not have needed to go all the way back to camp to get a fresh supply.  
I'm also aware that Chelmsford's men marched out of camp with just 70 rounds.
Bloomfield would await the call from an officer on the line before a re-supply was sent out. It would not have been his job to monitor ammunition usage.
Personally, everything I've read about Bloomfield would indicate a professional conscientious officer.  I am sure that as soon as there was any whiff of action in the air he would have ensured that there were several more boxes transferred to the battalion ammunition waggon (especially since he'd almost emptied it on Chelmsford's behalf).  I can't prove this point.  It is speculation but it's common sense.

Frank
I would be willing to concede the Kambula-meets-1/24th ammunition waggon idea but for one thing...and that's the young 'boy' sitting on top of it.  A boy could only have come from the 2/24th.  and any 2/24th boy would have to have been put there by Bloomfield.  I can't see any other way he would have got there.  Remember, the boy was specific! His officer had told him to guard the waggon and guard it he would even at the cost of his own life.  I'm watching your quivering finger!!  
By the way, do you need my e-mail address for the photos or do you still have it?
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PostSubject: Re: Wagons at Isandlwana   Sun Feb 28, 2016 7:46 pm

Frank Allewell wrote:
Waterloo
Sorry mate unfortunately when it comes to these little details things do get very technical. Comfort yourself in the knowledge that every one on this forum is learning all the time, stay with it mate and if you need any points explaining theres more than enough knowledge and desire on the forum to assist.

Cheers

Thank you Frank.

I'm most definitely learning. Salute
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rusteze

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PostSubject: Re: Wagons at Isandlwana   Sun Feb 28, 2016 8:15 pm

One last joust for this evening. The big ammunition wagons are left on the saddle, only the Regimental Reserve wagons are located behind the battalion tents. Thus, when Bloomfield is down to his last five boxes he goes with Essex to the saddle to replenish, picking up some RA men on the way. The boy is sat on the 2/24th ox wagon having been left there by Bloomfield to guard it. Smith-Dorrien's comment about the additional ammunition not being accessed makes sense. Voila!

Steve
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PostSubject: Re: Wagons at Isandlwana   Sun Feb 28, 2016 8:18 pm

Just to say, and i must point out i am not being negative,
i think most by now accept the sheer speed of the Zulu
final advance..all the survivor's accounts come from men
who were fleeing the battle!. so do we accept that the
failure of ammunition was a myth perpetuated for many
many years.. reading the thread its pretty apparent that
the ammunition was flowing, and yet we hear of the eden-
dale scrabbling about for loose cartridges..also report's of
ammo spilling from the defenders pouches as they withdrew,
and Zulu's reporting that a lot of the dead had four or five
cartridges in their pouches.. why oh why, were the Zulu not
more thoroughly debriefed after each battle, after the war
or in the immediate post war.
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ymob

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PostSubject: Re: Wagons at Isandlwana   Sun Feb 28, 2016 11:14 pm

Remarkable and fascinating analysis / hypothetis...
I would like to attend a conference on the subject hosted by Mr Whybra with Frank (and his maps!) in the role of devil's advocate. A famous partnership, I'm sure...
To be more realistic, I look forward to discovering the essay finalized by Mr Whybra in his collection of articles ("Studies in the Zulu War 1879"). Personally, I am never disappointed by the work of this historian.
A big thank.
Frédéric
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Wagons at Isandlwana   Mon Feb 29, 2016 5:15 am

Morning Julian
Ive getting to the point  I will concede on the reserve wagon and the 'boy'. Your contention would therefore be that:
1) He was placed to guard the wagon from early hours, when Bloomfield had loaded it.
2) Bloomfield then caught SD in the act of taking that ammo
3) The famous remonstration/banter took place
4) Essex has arrived and assists
5) SD leaves
6) Bloomfield dies
7) Essex leaves.
Also there is a possibility that Bloomfield left his reserve wagon at some point, between 5) and 6) and went back to the 2/24th area.
Its all really plausible, I would wonder why SD didn't face the wrath of the Boy. Possibly a seniority in uniform there instead of a colonial?
In view of Bloomfields appreciation of the situation, from his advantageous position and his awareness of not wanting to give away his last stock of reserve ammunition why would he elect to leave that zealously guarded stock to trot across to the South of the camp to assist Essex when there was 40 odd artillery, bandsmen, hangers on available? Its not as though Essex needed the 'clout.'
Would it be out of bounds to think that Bloomfield didn't leave his wagons with the intention of helping but more with the purpose of making sure his Chelmsford wagon was kept safe? This would then of course mean that Essex/SD changed Bloomfields mind, so would the banter have actually been a tad more serious I wonder?
Just as an after thought, could not the 'boy' been either Thomas Harrington or Robert Richards?

Cheers

PS Photos plus a panorama have been sent.
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