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 Wagons at Isandlwana

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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Wagons at Isandlwana   Sun Feb 21, 2016 6:53 am

There are a number of issues that come to light on the position of the 2/24th ammunition.
1) Bloomfield specifically lays ownership to the ammunition being unpacked by SD and Essex.
2) A wagon loaded and ready to go at a moments notice.
3) it wasn't a 2/24th wagon but either an MI or 1/24th on loan.
4) Bloomfield was killed while loading.

IF the full battalion reserve was loaded to send to Chelmsford therefore Bloomfield had to be with that wagon, hes very specific that it is 'our' ammunition ( Smith Dorrien). Therefore if that wagon was ready to go and parked somewhere close to the road, say either at the mounted men camp or the 1/24th then the distance to the Zulu front lines would have been a minimum 1200 metres up to a possible 1900 metres. Im no expert on trajectories but for an over shoot to travel that far to kill Bloomfield sounds pretty awesum.
If however Bloomfields death occurred above the 2/24th camp we would look at a distance of around 850 metres to the nearest Zulu marksman, potentially. And for him to have been in that position it would mean that either the wagon 'ready to go' was still at that location OR the full battalion reserve had not been loaded but split.
If indeed the waggon was parked away from the 2/24th camp area then the distance for the ammunition to travel to the front line was absolutely frightening. That being said why therefore wasn't the NNC ammunition, within 400 metres of the firing line and Cavaye, accessed by Essex and SD?
Perplexed.
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ymob

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PostSubject: Re: Wagons at Isandlwana   Sun Feb 21, 2016 7:46 am

Bonjour Frank,
In your hypothetis, the ammunitions from the NNC wagon were sent not to Cavaye but to Lonsdale (and others Coys'NNC)?
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ymob

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PostSubject: Re: Wagons at Isandlwana   Sun Feb 21, 2016 8:01 am

It,s doubtful for the same reason given by Mr Whybra in his last post (Pope)... unless Lonsdlae was not beside POPE but on another position on the firing line.
Why do you smile in reading my post?
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Julian Whybra



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PostSubject: Re: Wagons at Isandlwana   Sun Feb 21, 2016 10:14 am

Good morning Frank on this dull overcast day here in Essex.
Now then, you wrote:

1) Bloomfield specifically lays ownership to the ammunition being unpacked by SD and Essex.
WHERE DOES BLOOMFIELD LAY OWNERSHIP TO THE AMMO BEING UNPACKED BY ESSEX?
S-D YES, I GRANT YOU, UNDER THE PROVISO IN MY EARLIER POST.

2) A wagon loaded and ready to go at a moments notice.
3) it wasn't a 2/24th wagon but either an MI or 1/24th on loan.
NO, BLOOMFIELD SPECIFICALLY SAYS "FOR IT BELONGS TO OUR BATTALION".

4) Bloomfield was killed while loading.
YES. BUT, BY EXTENSION, IT WAS AMMO FOR THE 1/24TH COYS ON THE LEFT OF THE LINE; ERGO IT CAME FROM THE 1/24TH WAGGON.

IF the full battalion reserve was loaded to send to Chelmsford therefore Bloomfield had to be with that wagon, hes very specific that it is 'our' ammunition ( Smith Dorrien).
WHY DOES BLOOMFIELD HAVE TO BE WITH THAT WAGGON.  HE HAD A QM-SERGT WHO COULD HAVE BEEN WITH THAT WAGGON, BUT YES HE COULD HAVE BEEN WITH THAT WAGGON.

Therefore if that wagon was ready to go and parked somewhere close to the road, say either at the mounted men camp or the 1/24th then the distance to the Zulu front lines would have been a minimum 1200 metres up to a possible 1900 metres. Im no expert on trajectories but for an over shoot to travel that far to kill Bloomfield sounds pretty awesum.
TIMING IS EVERYTHING. AND A STRAY BULLET, YES, BUT FROM WHICH SIDE?

If however Bloomfields death occurred above the 2/24th camp we would look at a distance of around 850 metres to the nearest Zulu marksman, potentially. And for him to have been in that position it would mean that either the wagon 'ready to go' was still at that location OR the full battalion reserve had not been loaded but split.
WHY WOULD THE WAGGON 'RADY TO GO' HAVE TO BE IN THE SAME LOCATION AS THE 2/24TH CAMP OR THE 2/24TH AMMO WAGGON?

If indeed the waggon was parked away from the 2/24th camp area then the distance for the ammunition to travel to the front line was absolutely frightening. That being said why therefore wasn't the NNC ammunition, within 400 metres of the firing line and Cavaye, accessed by Essex and SD?
Perplexed.
NNC AMMO IS FOR THE NNC; 1/24TH AMMO IS FOR THE 1/24TH.


Last edited by Julian Whybra on Sun Feb 21, 2016 10:39 am; edited 1 time in total
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ymob

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PostSubject: Re: Wagons at Isandlwana   Sun Feb 21, 2016 10:32 am

Bonjour à tous
About the sentence: "3) it wasn't a 2/24th wagon but either an MI or 1/24th on loan.
NO, BLOOMFIELD SPECIFICALLY SAYS "FOR IT BELONGS TO OUR BATTALION"

I am pedantic but Coghill in a note to Clery ("Whom the Gods love") wrote a wagon from IMI or 1/24th (certainly for the transport of the ammunitions supply to LC in the Mangeni).
I am not tolding about the ammunitions (2/24thà but about the wagon to transport them.

Cheers

Frédéric
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Julian Whybra



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PostSubject: Re: Wagons at Isandlwana   Sun Feb 21, 2016 10:40 am

YMOB
yOUR POST IS NOT TOO CLEAR - YOUR MEANING NEEDS CLARIFICATION.
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Wagons at Isandlwana   Sun Feb 21, 2016 10:44 am

Frederic
Because your always of interest.
Julian
Point by point
Essex comments that he gathered a group and an officer ( taken to be SD ) While Sd loads Bloomfield remonstrates with SD and says 'For it belongs to our Battalion', ergo he had to be at that wagon being unloaded by SD in order to address him and 'Lay Claim". Essex makes no mention of leaving an coming back to the waggon, just that he has gathered the men plus the officer. SD is sent of to the lines and Essex while loading a cart witnesses Bloomfield being shot.

In regard to the wagon, Coghill writes that Bloomfield approached him 'finger in mouth' as a result of that conversation Coghill approaches (from memory) Pugh? To borrow a waggon of the correct size only to be informed that Clery had already arranged that. (Coghills note on the morning of the 22nd)

Bloomfield was shot before the line collapsed, Essex was still with him and at the time of the collapse Essex was on the line and heading to talk to Durnford.

There are, for this discussion potentially three waggons with 2/24th ammunition on board, the originals, parked at the top of the 2/24th, and the replacement, 'ready to go' ( adjudged to be parked closer to the road).
The fact that Bloomfield has requested a heavier wagon to send to Chelmsford could suggest that the 2/24th ammunition was originally split over at least two wagons.

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ymob

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PostSubject: Re: Wagons at Isandlwana   Sun Feb 21, 2016 10:49 am

Bonjour Julian,

In a note from Coghill to Clery (the 22 January)

"Dear Major
Bloomfield Qrmaster came to me just now with his finger in his mouth saying the light spring wagon would not hold the 2,000 rations [ammunitions? / note from IK] so I have requisitionned a larger one from the M.I. There was not escort so I sent down to the 1/24th to know if they could provide one. (....)

Zulu Rising p.319 (hardcover);

Ammunitions for LC: (2/24th)
Wagon to transport them IMI or 1/24th.



Cheers

Frédéric
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ymob

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PostSubject: Re: Wagons at Isandlwana   Sun Feb 21, 2016 10:54 am

... I was waiting for an answer when Pugh came and told me you had sent an order to the same effect.
I do not think any wagon can cross the last donga near the Kraal. Perhaps wagon and escort could take the advantage of the stone cattle kraal, polling down the huts and wait til the NNC come for their rations.

Yours

Nevill J.A. Coghill"
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Julian Whybra



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PostSubject: Re: Wagons at Isandlwana   Sun Feb 21, 2016 12:23 pm

Frank
"Essex comments that he gathered a group and an officer ( taken to be SD ) While Sd loads Bloomfield remonstrates with SD and says 'For it belongs to our Battalion', ergo he had to be at that wagon being unloaded by SD in order to address him and 'Lay Claim". Essex makes no mention of leaving an coming back to the waggon, just that he has gathered the men plus the officer. SD is sent of to the lines and Essex while loading a cart witnesses Bloomfield being shot."

FINE REGARDING S-D, NO QUESTION, AGREED. BUT WHERE DOES BLOOMFIELD LAY CLAIM TO THE AMMO HE WAS HELPING TO LOAD FOR ESSEX AS BEING 2/24TH AMMO (AND THEREFORE FROM ITS BN SUPPLY)?
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PostSubject: Re: Wagons at Isandlwana   Sun Feb 21, 2016 2:22 pm

Just a quick aside. What do we think "with a finger in his mouth" signifies?

Steve
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Wagons at Isandlwana   Sun Feb 21, 2016 3:42 pm

Julian
Frank
"Essex comments that he gathered a group and an officer ( taken to be SD ) While Sd loads Bloomfield remonstrates with SD and says 'For it belongs to our Battalion', ergo he had to be at that wagon being unloaded by SD in order to address him and 'Lay Claim". Essex makes no mention of leaving an coming back to the waggon, just that he has gathered the men plus the officer. SD is sent of to the lines and Essex while loading a cart witnesses Bloomfield being shot."

FINE REGARDING S-D, NO QUESTION, AGREED. BUT WHERE DOES BLOOMFIELD LAY CLAIM TO THE AMMO HE WAS HELPING TO LOAD FOR ESSEX AS BEING 2/24TH AMMO (AND THEREFORE FROM ITS BN SUPPLY)?
His whole statement directed at SD is about his Battalion ammunition, I do hope your not going to say that after SD went of then Bloomfield and Essex ran down to the 1/24th? I have a feeling you are, so lots of justification please!

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PostSubject: Re: Wagons at Isandlwana   Sun Feb 21, 2016 3:42 pm

Steve
I have this picture of him with his little finger in the corner of his mouth, I have no idea why!
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rusteze

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PostSubject: Re: Wagons at Isandlwana   Sun Feb 21, 2016 3:59 pm

I think it denotes uncertainty. What should I do? What will he think? Am I right?

Fingers in the mouth
When an adult puts one of more fingers in his mouth, often on his teeth, it denotes an inner need for reassurance.


Interesting that it should be mentioned.

Steve
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PostSubject: Re: Wagons at Isandlwana   Sun Feb 21, 2016 4:08 pm


I think it denotes uncertainty. What should I do? What will he think? Am I right?

Fingers in the mouth
When an adult puts one of more fingers in his mouth, often on his teeth, it denotes an inner need for reassurance.

Interesting that it should be mentioned.

Steve
..from rusteze..

So we are reduced to this!. flights of fancy and speculation running amok!.
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Julian Whybra



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PostSubject: Re: Wagons at Isandlwana   Sun Feb 21, 2016 4:09 pm

rusteze
It denotes being in a quandary.

Frank
I have a feeling I've not expressed my self very well because we are going round in circles. I think you mean one thing and I mean another. I'll write up my ideas separately with sources and post separately. Then I'd be interested in your and others' comments.
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rusteze

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PostSubject: Re: Wagons at Isandlwana   Sun Feb 21, 2016 4:16 pm

Les

It was said. It is perfectly legitimate to discuss what it meant. You can only do that by speculating. The whole of this thread is based on speculation. What is the problem? You analyse people's motives all the time.

Steve
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PostSubject: Re: Wagons at Isandlwana   Sun Feb 21, 2016 4:28 pm

Steve your last point is very true! my problem is that in the end
it achieves and advances nothing! and what are people new to
this subject to make of it?. the fact's are the fact's.. and while it
maybe diverting and amusing to speculate, all to often that runs its
course and fades away as it must do, i am pointing the finger at no
one in particular but ego and self aggrandizement seems to be the
end for some, they bend and shape shift in the wind. i don't like to
see it and i wont take part in it. no offence meant, i love this subject
dearly.
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rusteze

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PostSubject: Re: Wagons at Isandlwana   Sun Feb 21, 2016 4:50 pm

I am sorry but I disagree. We have nothing more than snapshots of what occurred in a subject that obviously fascinates members of the forum or they would not participate. It is absolutely inevitable that people will speculate in those circumstances. Indeed the forum would quickly become moribund if they did not. I do not believe it has anything to do with self aggrandisement although you may be right that a little ego creeps in from time to time. No, people put forward their ideas based on what is, in some cases, a deep knowledge of events. That is what makes the forum live. That is what makes it worthwhile. That is what makes the few people that post continue to participate. As for achieving and advancing nothing, I can't speak for anyone else but I learn a lot when the likes of JW and Frank begin to unpick things. As for people new to the subject, what they learn is that this is a complex and enigmatic set of events that is worthy of discussion and debate. The worse possible thing for them is this insistence by some that everything is black and white (no pun intended) and understood, and these are the good guys and those the bad.

Steve
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PostSubject: Re: Wagons at Isandlwana   Sun Feb 21, 2016 5:02 pm

Again fair enough, certainly did not put JW in that bracket.
fact's are black and white! they are all we have. anything
else unless substantiated and backed up is irrelevant to me!.
i made my mind up a long time ago that i had this battle
covered to my satisfaction.. i know what took place and who
did or who did'nt do what. i have even come to love minutiae
because i am desperate to learn any thing new to me. but as
for wild speculation, that just leaves me cold, feel free to
disagree whenever..that's absolutely fine by me.
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rusteze

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PostSubject: Re: Wagons at Isandlwana   Sun Feb 21, 2016 5:15 pm

I admire your certainty Les. It is a state to which I aspire! Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: Wagons at Isandlwana   Sun Feb 21, 2016 5:20 pm

Its never going to be possible to come up with a definitive answer about what happened at Isandlwana, I enjoy watching people try though. That's what makes the subject interesting and keeps the debates going. Some people are happy with their interpretation of events, others feel the need to learn more, each to their own I say.
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PostSubject: Re: Wagons at Isandlwana   Sun Feb 21, 2016 5:47 pm

"Captious persons construe every innocent freedom into an affront. "
Rev George Crabbe

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rusteze

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PostSubject: Re: Wagons at Isandlwana   Sun Feb 21, 2016 5:57 pm

"Captious". Nice one prof! Crabbe must be added to the list. Very Happy
Or is it the menu?
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Julian Whybra



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PostSubject: Re: Wagons at Isandlwana   Sun Feb 21, 2016 6:06 pm

Crikey Frank, 'captious', I count myself well-educated but had to look that one up! (fault-finding)
Now, Frank, I'm not going to post immediately but will do so in a couple of days once I've checked all my references. I want to be sure that my post and its meaning is crystal clear.

Generally I think this episode is an excellent example of how an interpretation apparently fairly straightforward can be taken for granted, accepted as fact, without ever actually being double-checked.
Language can be misleading. I remember my history professor (who was the interpreter at Potsdam when the German Zones of Occupation were being discussed) telling us that they only realized AFTER the Oder-Neisse deal was done and Russian troops were on the move that the Russians had been talking about the Western Neisse but the Allies meant the Eastern Neisse. Needless to say, the Russians triumphed.
So for me the devil has always been in the detail. That, Xhosa, is something I hope any newcomers to the forum might realize and find fascination in.
I may well of course be utterly wrong in my thoughts but that's part of the learning zone. To take part in it, you have at the same time to be in the zone.
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PostSubject: Re: Wagons at Isandlwana   Sun Feb 21, 2016 6:26 pm

On the question of the NNC and firearms this picture is from a 1965 edition of the Journal of Army Historical Research (the edition that contains one of the Isandhlwana Revisited essays by Jackson). It shows an NNC company with the front three ranks clearly armed and with bandoliers. It looks more than 10% but of course we cannot see all of the rest. What it does perhaps show is that the armed men were concentrated and to the front.
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Steve
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PostSubject: Re: Wagons at Isandlwana   Sun Feb 21, 2016 7:06 pm

hi Julian
Look forward to that. The detail can change an entire passage of action.
Steve
You should know Crabbe, British Poet from around the 1750s. Well worth the effort in reading.
Theres something about that photo that I should be remembering, bloody ego must be getting in the way of memory.
Give me a few hours.

Cheers ( Time for Downton Abbey and Im an addict)
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Julian Whybra



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PostSubject: Re: Wagons at Isandlwana   Sun Feb 21, 2016 7:27 pm

Might it be that they are holding Martini-Henrys and are therefore better armed than at Isandhlwana??
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PostSubject: Re: Wagons at Isandlwana   Sun Feb 21, 2016 7:39 pm

Yes they are Martini's. Does that mean second invasion?

Frank, its finished over here shall I tell you the ending?

Steve
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PostSubject: Re: Wagons at Isandlwana   Sun Feb 21, 2016 8:13 pm

Let's hope not I can only see 12 Shocked
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PostSubject: Re: Wagons at Isandlwana   Sun Feb 21, 2016 8:28 pm

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PostSubject: Re: Wagons at Isandlwana   Mon Feb 22, 2016 2:40 pm

Does anyone else keep checking back on this thread to see if Mr Whybra has posted his thoughts yet?
Its like a good soap opera, I'm waiting for the next episode. Wink
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PostSubject: Re: Wagons at Isandlwana   Mon Feb 22, 2016 4:00 pm

Waterloo
I'm glad you're so interested! But please don't wait around unnecessarily! I want to be sure that the points I'm making are in order, clear, and properly sourced. Otherwise how else can anyone properly criticize, or assess the value, if any, of my suggestions?
I expect to post by Thursday evening.
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PostSubject: Re: Wagons at Isandlwana   Mon Feb 22, 2016 7:07 pm

Thank you Mr Whybra, I was being sincere.

I'm looking forward to reading your post on Thursday

Respect
Waterloo
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PostSubject: Re: Wagons at Isandlwana   Wed Feb 24, 2016 1:36 pm

Talking of ammunition boxes, this is a later photo of a captured maxim gun in the Boer War. Note the ammunition boxes for 303 rounds are the same as those used during the AZW.
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Steve
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PostSubject: Re: Wagons at Isandlwana   Wed Feb 24, 2016 5:06 pm

Why did that work better?

Steve
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PostSubject: Re: Wagons at Isandlwana   Wed Feb 24, 2016 5:37 pm

rusteze wrote:
Why did that work better?

Steve

I think it had something to do with safety, the old method of screwing the lids down obviously had a weakness e.g. bent screws found at Isandlwana, the new design was issued along with screwdrivers.

Waterloo
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PostSubject: Re: Wagons at Isandlwana   Wed Feb 24, 2016 5:43 pm

Going to say. You would think screwing into wood would work better in terms of not seizing up. Screwing into steel is always liable to rust. More difficult to knock out with a rifle but as well. Obviously an army improvement - loose your screwdriver and your buggered!

Steve
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Julian Whybra



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PostSubject: Re: Wagons at Isandlwana   Thu Feb 25, 2016 4:48 pm

QM BLOOMFIELD AT ISANDHLWANA
This is intended to collate all references to QM Bloomfield at Isandhlwana on 22nd January.  To begin with I’ve given a list of primary sources used with any comments necessary.  I’m obliged to include one secondary source (Lock & Quantrill) as I’ve not had time to track down the reference in the primary source.  It will follow as soon as possible.  I’ve borne in mind an earlier comment that this should be easily understandable to new members.
The sources are followed in chronological order by a series of events in the camp.  Each EVENT  is followed in turn by a QUOTATION relating to QM Bloomfield/2nd battalion ammunition, by the TIME of the event portrayed in the quotation with reasoning, and then by a COMMENT on the quotation.  Finally, there's a Summary.

SOURCES
Rothwell, Capt. J., Narrative of Field Operations (contemporary)                                                  
Bellairs, Col. W., Field Force Regulations, November 1878 edition                                            
Bourne, Col.-Sergt. F., Letter, Letter dtd. 29.1.1932.                                                                                                                            
Clery, Maj. F., Letter to col. Harman 17th February 1879 (contemporary)                                                                                                                              
Clery, Maj. F., Official Report to the DAG, 7th Feb. 1879  (contemporary)                                
Hamilton-Browne, G., Cmdt., A lost Legionary in South Africa (published 1912)                                                                                                                                
Coghill, Patrick, Whom the Gods Love. (transcription of contemporary diary, letters, et. al.) Mainwaring, H., Lieut., Account (written 22.1.1895)                                                                        
Bennett, Ian, Eyewitness in Zululand (contemporary drawings reproduced)                                    
Lock, R., & Quantrill, P., Zulu Victory (secondary but the primary source will follow soonest)                                                                                                                                
Essex, Capt. Edward, Court of Inquiry Statement 24.1.1879 (contemporary)                                  
Essex, Capt. Edward, Letter dtd. 2.4.1879 (near-contemporary)                                                                                                                      
Smith-Dorrien, Lieut. H., Letter dtd. 15.3.1879 (contemporary)                                                
Smith-Dorrien, Lieut. H., Memories of Forty-Eight Years’ Service 1925                                  
Kambula, Sergt. Simeon, Account undated but transcribed. by Rev. Owen Watkins after 1880.
                                                             
EVENT ONE: 4.00 A.M.

The camp was laid out such that each battalion’s ammunition waggon, distinguished by a red flag, was directly behind that battalion’s camp i.e. between the camp and the eastern slope of the mountain.  North to south these were 2/3rd NNC, 1/3rd NNC, 2/24th, R.A., IMI & Mounted Colonial Units (all north of the track), 1/24th (south of the track).  On entering the camp, Durnford’s waggons, including the 1/1st NNC & NNH ammunition waggon, under the command of Lieut. W. Erskine were placed in the waggon park on the saddle.  Erskine and his 20 men joined Lonsdale’s NNC group; consequently none of Durnford’s men knew the precise location of their ammunition waggon.
QMs had a variety of responsibilities among which was ammunition.  In an action the pioneers and bandsmen of the 24th battalions would have reported to each QM to effect the opening of the ammunition boxes and the supply of ammunition to the line, respectively.  There were 82 schotch carts available for moving ammunition boxes about the field (Rothwell, p. 145).  A QM-Sergt. assisted each QM.  For the infantry these personnel were:                                                                                      
2/3rd NNC (3 coys):                                                                                                                    
QM Chambers     QM-Sergt. Farr                                                                                              
1/3rd NNC (2 coys):                                                                                                                      
QM McCormack                                                                                                                      
2/24th (1 coy + ultimately a composite coy):                                                                                
QM Bloomfield    QM-Sergt. Davis                                                                                        
Mounted Units:                                                                                                                            
QMs London (NC), Hitchcock (NMR) MacPhail (BBG)                                                                    
QM-Sergts. Johnson (IMI), Bullock (NC), Adams (BBG)                                                            
1/24th (5 coys):                                                                                                                                      
QM Pullen            QM-Sergt. Leitch

Before Lord Chelmsford’s force left the camp on the morning of the 22nd January, Col. Glyn asked him whether the 2nd battalion Reserve Ammunition Waggon was to accompany his column as stipulated in Field Force Regulations.  His queried this because an ox waggon, given the state of the track, would constantly hold up the column.  
Infantry on active service normally carried 70 rounds but the Field Force Regulations of November 1878 recommended that an extra 30 rounds be carried “whenever…there appears any likelihood of troops becoming hotly engaged” (Bellairs, para. 37).  The 2/24th marched out on the morning of the 22nd with 70 rounds per man; the men did not carry the additional 30 rounds which constituted the battalion’s ‘Regimental Reserve Ammunition’ and this was the ammunition to which Glyn was referring in his conversation with Chelmsford.
There were also an Additional Reserve of ammunition of 200 rounds per man carried in company waggons (a ton weight per coy), segregated from the Regimental Reserve.  These were left behind at the camp and situated behind the battalion’s tents.  Five coy waggons carried the 1st battalion’s Additional Reserve.  Seven carried the 2nd battalion’s; B coy’s Regimental Reserve and Additional Reserve (34 boxes) were both at Rorke’s Drift (Bourne, Letter).
Chelmsford ordered the 2nd battalion’s Reserve Ammunition Waggon to remain behind and Clery ordered “a waggon loaded with ammunition ready to start at once, should the General’s force be in need of it” (Clery, Letter) / “I told him to have a wagon ready loaded with ammunition ready to follow the force going out at a moment’s notice, if required” (Clery, Report).  The original ox-waggon was also to be replaced by a faster mule-drawn cart.  Glyn may also have asked him whether a light waggon laden with rations for Lonsdale’s hungry NNC was to accompany his column.  If he didn’t ask this directly Glyn and/or Clery took the decision to send one out anyway. The NNC was expected to return early on the morning of the 22nd (Hamilton-Browne, p. 120) but unbeknown to the camp it had been redirected to support Dartnell’s men on the Mangeni.  
Since it was Bloomfield’s battalion that was out with Chelmsford it was his responsibility to ensure that the more swiftly-moving 2nd battalion ammunition waggon was in a state of readiness and the NNC ration waggon was sent on its way.  

QUOTATION

“Dear Major
Bloomfield Qrmaster came to me just now with his finger in his mouth saying the light spring waggon would not hold the 2,000 rations so I have requisitioned a larger one from the M.I. There was not escort so I sent down to the 1/24th to know if they could provide one. I was waiting for an answer when Pugh came and told me you had sent an order to the same effect.
I do not think any waggon can cross the last donga near the Kraal. Perhaps waggon and escort could take the advantage of the stone cattle kraal, polling down the huts and wait til the NNC come for their rations.
Yours,
Nevill J.A. Coghill”                                                                                                                          
(Coghill, p. 109)      
                                             
TIME

The event decribed in the quotation must have occurred well before Chelmsford’s force left the camp at 4.30 a.m..  The ration waggon bumped along behind Chelmsford’s column being held up at every drift along the route until it “stuck fast in a small drift”.  Lieut. H. Mainwaring came across it “an escort of a Corporal and three men of our 2nd Battalion.  The Corporal informed me that they had been sent out with rations for a Native Contingent.  I told him not to stay where they were but to join the column with Captain Harness’ guns.  The Corporal then asked me if I had heard the sound of firing in Camp…he told me that they had heard the sound of guns for some minutes.  I galloped up the hill…to get a better view and then distinctly saw the firing and the shells bursting on the Western slopes of the Ingutu range” (Mainwaring).  This event can be timed to about 12.30 p.m. when the guns commenced firing.  

COMMENT

It is interesting to see how the language regarding the waggon changes during the course of these events.  In Glyn’s conversation with Chelmsford it is the “reserve ammunition waggon” which was being discussed.  When this 29-cwt. ox-waggon (Bennett, fig. 31) was dismissed, it was “a waggon loaded with ammunition” that was ordered by Clery.  When this 18-cwt. horse-drawn General Service Waggon (Bennett, fig. 33) was dismissed the transport becomes “a faster mule-drawn cart” (Lock & Quantrill, p. 149).  In all probability what was being described was either the lighter, faster 16-cwt. mule-waggon (Bennett, fig. 35), which was very popular with the army, or the mule-drawn American buck waggon (Bennett, fig. 37), both a little over half the weight of the original ox-waggon.  
Each ammunition box held 600 rounds; thus a coy’s allocation of the Regimental Reserve comprised five boxes.  Bloomfield would have loaded the smaller, lighter mule-waggon with 30 boxes (18,000 rounds for six 2/24th coys) weighing 1 ton.  This was the maximum with which a mule-waggon could be laden.  He would have held back 5 boxes (3,000 rounds for G coy) in the battalion’s Reserve Ammunition Waggon (as per regulations, in case it was needed in the event of an attack on the camp).  
Bloomfield would then have ensured that the mule-waggon was placed in an appropriate position on or adjacent to the track ready to start “at a moment’s notice”.  The Reserve Ammunition Waggon and the Additional Reserve Waggons would have remained in situ behind the battalion’s tents.  
Coghill’s note was transcribed from a hand-written original and was sent to Maj. Clery.  It demonstrates the impossibility of getting a heavy ox-waggon across the Big Donga and provided the reason why Lieut. Anstey’s work party from F coy was sent out to repair the road where it crossed the donga ready for the ensuing advance of the column’s transport into Zululand.  The I.M.I.’s larger light sping waggon laden with NNC rations evidently could get across though even that became stuck further along the track where Mainwaring met it.  (Evidently the 2nd battalion offered to provide the escort for it.)

EVENT TWO: 12.30 P.M.

At 11.45-12.00 a.m. Cavaye’s 1/24th coy on the ridge began to direct a heavy fire at the Zulu right horn.  It was joined shortly afterwards by Mostyn’s 1/24th coy.  They were both ordered to retire and did so to a position about 440 yards from the base of the hill.  The enemy began to descend the hill and the 1/24th coys one of them having been firing for 30 minutes were becoming short of ammunition.  At about 12.15 p.m. both coys were ordered to withdraw to the foot of the spur.

QUOTATIONS

“…at the request of the officer in charge I went to procure a fresh supply [of ammunition], with the assistance of Quartermaster [Bloomfield] 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.  I then went back to the line, telling the men that plenty of ammunition was coming.  I found that the companies 1st Battalion 24th Regiment before alluded to had retired to within 300 yards of that portion of the camp occupied by the Native Contingent.”                                                                                                                        
(Essex, January Statement)

[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…                                                                                        
(Essex, April Letter)

TIME

Cavaye’s men were joined by Mostyn’s at about 12.10 p.m.  They had been there for just five minutes before they were ordered to withdraw in an orderly fashion.  The withdrawal might have taken 15 minutes before it was completed, i.e. 12.30 p.m.  These two companies had been joined by Younghusband’s coy.  Essex might have been engaging in re-supplying these coys between 12.30 and 12.45 p.m.  

COMMENT

Essex’s Statement is dated 24th January – two days after the battle with events fresh in his mind.  The coys at the foot of the spur were all 1st battalion coys.  Essex would have had to re-supply them from QM Pullen’s 1st battalion Regimental Reserve Waggon to the south of the track at the end of the camp.  He would have had to ride past QM Bloomfield at his own Regimental Reserve Waggon at the rear of the 2nd battalion camp.  At this stage of the battle QM Bloomfield would not have been engaged in any task.  His own ammunition boxes at the 2nd battalion Regimental Reserve Waggon would have been prepared for use and probably left in charge of QM-Sergt. Davis awaiting calls for re-supply from Lieut. Pope’s G coy and Lieut. Dyer’s composite coy.  No wonder then that Essex asked Bloomfield to lend him a hand.                                                                                                  
Still en route to Pullen’s Regimental Reserve Ammunition Waggon, Essex and Bloomfield would then have passed the R.A. camp where there were some 50 spare artillerymen available for assisting with just this sort of task.                                                                                                              
From QM Pullen’s 1st battalion Regimental Reserve Ammunition Waggon Essex sent a scotch cart loaded with ammunition to Cavaye and Mostyn and more by hand.  The cart was “under an officer” who might have been QM Bloomfield himself, Lieut. MacDowel or Maj. White, both of whom were known to have been involved in ammunition distribution, another officer, or perhaps Lieut. Smith-Dorrien (Essex would have had to cross the track and pass near Smith-Dorrien’s transport waggons).  There is no suggestion anywhere that this ammunition came from Bloomfield’s much-reduced 2nd battalion Regimental Reserve or from its Additional Reserve in the company waggons.                                                                                                                                
Essex rode separately back to Cavaye & Mostyn in time to see Barry’s fleeing NNC.                                                                                                                                            
As will be seen, there are subtle differences between Essex’s January Statement and his April Letter: events are included, excluded, their order confused, facts jumbled, and in the April Letter the beginning and end of the battle are conflated.  

EVENT THREE: 12.30 & 12.45 P.M.

Lieut. Smith-Dorrien had arrived at Isandhlwana to escort a convoy of 25 waggons to Rorke’s Drift.  He had no duties and had been drafted into helping with ammunition supply.  Bloomfield would have swiftly distributed what remained of the ammunition from the 2nd Battalion Regimental Reserve to Pope and Dyer’s coys and would have begun to replenish his ammunition stock from the Additional Reserve in the company waggons.  Pullen would have done likewise for the 1st battalion.  Meanwhile Lord Chelmsford’s “waggon loaded with ammunition” would have been standing by the track ready for “going out at a moment’s notice”.

QUOTATIONS

“…in half an hour they were right up to the camp.  I was out with the front companies of the 24th handing them spare ammunition.”                                                                                        
(Smith-Dorrien, March Letter)

“I will return to the advancing Zulus’ line at about 1 p.m….presently we saw the remnants of Durnford’s force, mostly mounted Basutos, galloping back to the right of our position…I will mention a story which speaks for the coolness and discipline of the regiment.  I having no particular duty to perform in camp, when I saw the whole Zulu army advancing, had collected camp stragglers, such as artillerymen in charge of spare horses, officers’ servants, sick etc, and had taken them to the ammunition-boxes, where we broke them open as fast as we could, and kept sending out the packets to the firing-line…When I had been engaged at this for some time, and the 1/24th had fallen back to where we were, with the Zulus following closely, Bloomfield, the Quartermaster of the 2/24th, said to me in regard to the boxes I was breaking open “For heaven’s sake, don’t take that, man, for it belongs to our Battalion.”  And I replied, “Hang it all, you don’t want a requisition now, do you?...I then saw Surgeon-Major Shepherd, busy in a depression, treating wounded…Our right flank had become enveloped by the horn of the Zulus and the levies were flying before them.”                                                                                                                                
(Smith-Dorrien, Memories 1925, pp. 13-15)

TIMES
                                                                                                           
Smith-Dorrien Letter would indicate an action early in the fight from 12.30 p.m. onwards.
Smith-Dorrien’s well-known exchange with Bloomfield by his own evidence occurred shortly after 12.45 p.m. just before the general rout.

COMMENT                      
                                                                                                           
Smith-Dorrien’s Letter of March 1879 stated that he had been out to the “front” handing out ammunition.  In that letter he mentioned ‘flanks’, ‘left’, ‘right’, and ‘front’ in terms of the line – “front” indicated the area covered by Wardell, Dyer and Pope’s coys as they began to curve eastwards.  Either he had been ‘co-opted’ by Essex into the ammunition distribution system or he had volunteered his services to one or other of the QMs.                                                                                      
His later 1925 account referred to his having gathered a body of soldiers and began breaking opening ammunition boxes and, after “some time” had elapsed, he had been taken to task by Bloomfield for doing so.  Smith-Dorrien’s party can only have been breaking open ammunition boxes from the mule-waggon intended for Lord Chelmsford’s force’s particular use which Bloomfield had specifically prepared.                                                                                                                                
This indicates (1) Bloomfield could not have been nearby otherwise Smith-Dorrien would have been prevented sooner (2) Bloomfield would have been either at his own Regimental Reserve Waggon behind the 2nd battalion tents or it had been brought to his attention that someone was plundering Chelmsford’s waggon and he had come to investigate (3) given that Smith-Dorrien saw Shepherd (the Hospital Tents were just north of the track at the foot of the saddle between the camps of the mounted Men and the 1/24th) and the collapse of the right flank, it indicated that Chelmsford’s “waggon loaded with ammunition” was located by the track ready for “going out at a moment’s notice”.  Bloomfield either re-directed Smith-Dorrien’s efforts to his own or Pullen’s Regimental Reserve Waggon or agreed to allow him to continue.

EVENT FOUR: 1.00 P.M.          

As mentioned above the sequence of events in Essex’s two quotations (January and April) differs.  Left out from April’s account are: Essex witnessing the Zulus’ surrounding the camp to the right and rear, his conversation with Pope, and with Durnford “near the right”, his witnessing whilst with him the flight of the NNC to the right of the 1st battalion coys, and the 24th’s general retreat towards the camp.

QUOTATION    

“…and I followed with more ammunition in a mule cart.  In loading the latter I helped the Quartermaster [Bloomfield] of the 2nd Battalion 24th to place the boxes in the cart, and while doing so the poor fellow was shot dead.  The enemy’s fire was now increasing and I could hear the whiz of bullets all over the place.”                                                                                                    
(Essex, Letter)

TIME        

This event occurs immediately prior to Essex describing his flight and seeing Maj. Smith’s two guns attempting to escape and must be placed about 1.00 p.m.  

COMMENT                        

Given his location behind the 2nd battalion tents Bloomfield can only have been shot once the British right flank had fallen or the enemy was appearing in the British rear.  He would presumably have been at his own Regimental Reserve Waggon.  

EVENT FIVE: 1.15 P.M.            
                                                                                     
Durnford’s Last Stand has begun and he commands his Edendale Troop NNH under Sergt. Simeon Kambula to leave the field and save themselves.

QUOTATION                                                
                                                                               
“[Kambula] addressed them and told them their lives depended on obedience and keeping together…[t]hey pledged their word to abide together with him that day for life or death. But he must, if possible, get ammunition. He saw an ammunition wagon, and noticed the Zulus were too busy in the tents to bother about this wagon. He rode up with his men, and found no one there but a little drummer boy who sat on top of the wagon and said he was in charge. Simeon asked him to give him and his men a packet of cartridges each, just to help them defend themselves. But the little boy informed them that this ammunition belonged to the 24th Regiment, and as long as he was in charge no one else should have any of it. He felt the boy was obeying orders, and respected him. Then he saw there was a loose lot of cartridges lying in the grass around the wagon. Men who had come for cartridges were in such haste to fill their belts that they dropped many on the ground. So Simeon and his men each picked up a few and put them into their belts.  Simeon's heart went out to the boy who was sticking to his post of duty. He told him the battle was lost, the camp was in the hands of the enemy, the fighting all over, and, indeed, his was the only body of men holding together. He begged the boy to leave the wagon, and he would take him in front of the saddle, and as long as he had life he would defend him. The boy was surprised and hurt that anyone could think he would desert his post. His officer had placed him there, and no one should move him out while he had life. With a very sad heart Simeon had to leave him there.”                                                                                                                            
(Kambula)

TIME                                                                                                                                                    
This has to be placed immediately after the troop leaves Durnford at 1.15 p.m..  The Zulus are already among the tents.  

COMMENT              
                                                                                                                 
The troop retreated along the track over the saddle.  The only ammunition waggon it could have come across in such a location was Chelmsford’s “waggon loaded with ammunition”.  The “drummer boy” as described by Watkins could not have been a ‘drummer’ (drummers would all have been with their coys) therefore it must have been a ‘boy’ who would have been assisting the QMs.  The only ‘boys’ in camp that day were from the 2nd battalion therefore it can only have been QM Bloomfield who placed him there to guard Chelmsford’s waggon.  

SUMMARY

The troops carry 70 rounds each.
The 1st battalion Regimental Reserve Waggon of 30 rounds per man for 5 coys is located at the rear of the 1st battalion’s tents under QM Pullen.
The 1st battalion Additional Reserves of 200 rounds per man are located in 5 waggons at the rear of the 1st battalion’s tents and are used to top up the Regimental Reserve as necessary.
The 2nd battalion Regimental Reserve Waggon of 30 rounds per man for 1 coy is located at the rear of the 2nd battalion’s tents under QM Bloomfield.
The 2nd battalion Regimental Reserve of 30 rounds per man for the 6 coys out with Chelmsford has been loaded on to a mule-waggon located on or near the track with a boy to guard it.
The 2nd battalion Additional Reserves of 200 rounds per man are located in 7 waggons at the rear of the 2nd battalion’s tents and are used to top up the Regimental Reserve as necessary.
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Julian Whybra



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PostSubject: Re: Wagons at Isandlwana   Thu Feb 25, 2016 5:10 pm

I may well polish this a little, add pieces here and there and include it in a future volume of Studies in the Zulu War so if you have any good comments or criticisms I'll happily include and acknowledge them.
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waterloo50

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PostSubject: Re: Wagons at Isandlwana   Thu Feb 25, 2016 6:43 pm

Mr Whybra,

A great deal of time and effort went into that. Its appreciated, especially your observations on the change in language with regards to the discussion over the waggons.

Waterloo
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rusteze

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PostSubject: Re: Wagons at Isandlwana   Thu Feb 25, 2016 6:49 pm

Bravo JW, deserves careful consideration.

Steve
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rusteze

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PostSubject: Re: Wagons at Isandlwana   Thu Feb 25, 2016 8:49 pm

A variation on Essex being assisted by Broomfield and RA soldiers to load boxes to re-supply the 1/24 companies. The 1/24 runners have to go the full length of the camp everytime they need to replenish. Would it not have made sense to move the lighter battalion reserve waggon from behind the 1/24th tents furher towards the 1/24 companies on the firng line - perhaps alongside that of the 2/24th? That might also account for Broomfield's presence as reported by Essex.
Just a thought.

Steve
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PostSubject: Re: Wagons at Isandlwana   Thu Feb 25, 2016 9:02 pm

Bonsoir Mr Whybra,

Many thanks for you post.

Cheers

Frédéric
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PostSubject: Re: Wagons at Isandlwana   Thu Feb 25, 2016 11:01 pm

Bonsoir Mr Whybra,

~In two previous posts, you wrote : "Each Coy would have go to its own ammunition waggon behind it's battalion's camp" and “NNC AMMO IS FOR THE NNC; 1/24TH AMMO IS FOR THE 1/24TH. »

As you know, in this time, it was exceptional for two Battalions of the same Regiment to fight side to side.
What was for a Coy of the 1/24th (for example) "its own ammunition waggon"? strictly from the 1/24th?

~I read your hypothesis about Kambula (Edendale troops) and the "Boy".
But for the others Durnford's troops on the left of the firing line (Lt Henderson...), do you think Essex and Smith-Dorrien refused to give them ammunitions from 24th ammunition wagons (respect of the rule cited above) despite the famous remark from SD to Bloomfield indicating that he (SD) was aware of the extreme gravity of the situation in the camp?

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Frédéric



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PostSubject: Re: Wagons at Isandlwana   Fri Feb 26, 2016 5:13 am

Morning Julian
Masterful indeed. Lots to take in without some due consideration.

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PostSubject: Re: Wagons at Isandlwana   Fri Feb 26, 2016 6:08 am

About my last post and the Durnford's troopers, please read " on the right of the firing line"  ( sorry)
About the 1/24th and the' supply of ammunition strictly from the 1/24th: althouth the situation is hopeless?

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PostSubject: Re: Wagons at Isandlwana   Fri Feb 26, 2016 7:31 am

Rusteze
Yes, it would make sense but there is no evidence that they did so.  It was of course dangerous to move an ammo waggon during an action from the point of view of communication.  It also made it problematic to replenish it from the Ammunition Reserve.  The only clue re Pullen is that he came out of the 1/24th tent area with some men when all was lost to make a last stand.  That indicates that he was where he supposed to be.

ymob
Yes, 1/24th ammo for the 1/24th; 2/24th ammo for the 2/24th.  This would have held, I imagine, until the loss of a waggon, desperation, all hope was lost, a sauve qui peut was the case.

It would seem that Durnford's NNH were refused ammo at the 24th ammo waggons until the rout as above.  Remember, even the boy refused them ammo and Kambula's troopers were picking up loose cartridges from the floor round the waggon where S-D, perhaps, had spilt some.

Some may think the 'requisition' and 'boy' episodes foolhardy but as Knight points out in Zulu Rising, and as S-D does himself, these are examples of discipline under fire, steadiness, and thorough-going professionalism. "The Boy stood on the burning deck whence all but he had fled..."

Frank
Yes, please.  Do consider and take your time to respond, if you'd like to.  I'm sure there must be holes in it because of the time constraint to post it by yesterday evening as promised.
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PostSubject: Re: Wagons at Isandlwana   Fri Feb 26, 2016 11:25 am

Hi Julian to paraphrase: Frank Allewell appears with his finger in his mouth...........................


I’ve used virtually the same sources as yourself just been drawn to a different interpretation. I’ve sure this is the bane of the Isandlwana battle enthusiast; there are very few fully quantified points. This of course is why we keep chipping away at what we do know.
In general I have no real problems in what you have outlined, it’s a highly probable situation, and there are one or two minor points that tempted me out of bed early morning. So a cup of morning coffee, a packet of rusks lots of trepidation and here we go:
Event Two: 12.30
Taken your times as a basis from which to set my own issues against your ‘thesis’ I have looked at various possible positions of the firing line. I would believe that at the time this paragraph is set the firing line was busy contracting from the straight line to the curve. Hamilton Browne comments that ‘he saw the line and one gun thrown back’, this substantially before 1 o’clock. The Narrative has this between 12.30 and 12.45.
TIME
At this time Bloomfield was in probably the best place in the camp to observe what was happening, assuming of course he was at his post and as a battle was raging there is no doubt that’s where he would be. His central position and height above the camp gave him a view of the left centre and right positions. (I can post photos to show that). There is possibly no other area on the field that has that kind of panorama.
In view of that, old soldier that he was he would have been very aware of the withdrawal and marginal retreat of the line and so would I believe been more than helpful in assisting a brother battalion.
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.
1) A small point, was a QM regarded as an officer? A few years ago in my time of service he was a WO 1
      Or equivalent to RSM and a member of the Sgnts mess.
2) As Dyers company was made up of all the ‘odds and sods’ and not exclusively 2/24th, would he be considered as such?
3) You state that Essex asked Bloomfield for a hand, it’s quite a leap from ‘with the assistance of’ to that statement.
4) I would question that the spare artillery men were in fact at the point you indicate and not with ‘Dyer’. Shepherd was at that point also instrumental in gathering up bands men etc for stretcher bearers.
5) There seems to be a bit of conflation with the statement that Essex rode back to see Barry’s company fleeing.
6) Before the above he witnessed Bloomfield being shot, travelled across the battlefield and met up with Durnford. ( More of that meeting later)
EVENT THREE 12.30 and 12.45
A minor nit picking point, Smith Dorrien says he had 45 wagons ready for the return trip; the 25 wagons were belonging to the Buffalo Border Guard and McPhail.
QUOTATIONS
The famous SD/Bloomfield quotation really only came to light in the early 1900s and was used extensively on his lecture tours, as he himself says it shows the spirit prevalent at the time, in other words a moment of banter between to serving soldiers and not to be taken seriously.
TIMES
It’s the whole timing issue here that I’m having difficulty with. SD says unequivocally that the line had fallen back to ‘where we were’. If he was at the Chelmsford take away order that would mean that the entire camp would have fallen and he was still loading ammunition to head off to the battlefront and Broomfield was still alive therefore Essex had not  left the ‘reserve wagon’
It could not therefore have been just before the general route but much earlier.
It’s that phrase ‘where we were’; there was no other place where they were. The theory calls for all the action to have taken place in the area between the 1/24th reserve and the Chelmsford wagon.
SD still had to travel to the firing line, Essex still had to load a wagon, Bloomfield still had to get shot and Essex had still to meet up with Durnford and watch the NNC break.

SD says that he watched ‘Durnford galloping back to the right of our position” (this on Durnfords retreat over the plain). That puts SD central on the camp. If he was near the 1/24th he would have placed Durnford either in front or below his position.
He does also describe the Zulu advance, this before Durnfords appearance, this view was only possible from 2/24th camp across towards the North. The Northern, left line can’t be seen from the 1/24th position.

Every thing I see puts Smith-Dorrien in a central position. There is nothing that puts him to the South.



Comment under EVENT 4
Essex meeting with Durnford is really horrible one to place, a lot depends really on the position of Barry. I still believe that Barry was on the knuckle, an inadvertent position forced on them by the bending of the line, before that happened they were pretty sheltered. If barry was in fact in front of the guns at the bend then for Essex to say they broke passed him on the right and exposed the rear of the 1/24th would place him, and Durnford, half way down the left front face. His comment then about the break on the 'right' is fully justified.

Again for me it’s a question of sequence and time, also you seem to be attributing two separate positions for Bloomfield. At Chelmsford’s wagon and at his own behind the 2/24th line. This area is the closest to any of the Left or Centre fronts for a high aimed stray to hit. Wasn’t it Stafford that commented a number of his NNC were hit by high aimed strays? To be hit from the right was a really long shot.


QUOTATION under EVENT 5
There’s actually no reason why the young soldier couldn’t have been guarding a 1/24th ammunition wagon.
To explain that I would need to explain that the existing road on the battlefield gives totally the wrong impression. The old road was considerably to the North of its present position. There are photos, most in the possession of John Young, that shows that road, Therefore the 1/24th camp, and the area that was part of the archaeological dig was around the area of the Colonial Cemetery. The direct route from Simeon’s position back to the saddle is not necessarily along the track but towards its Southern side, directly in line with the 1/24th ammunition wagons.
An interesting aside concerning the position of the Durnford wagons.
Molife says that he was lead to them by Henderson. Stafford says he issued extra rounds to the men on orders from Durnford. So isn’t it beyond conjecture that the location should have been known?

Just a few comments on your post.

Regards


Last edited by Frank Allewell on Fri Feb 26, 2016 12:08 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: G Co Positions at Isandlwana    Fri Feb 26, 2016 11:25 am

Thanks JW. There's a lot there to digest ! Shocked
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