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  Durnford's Rocket Battery

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littlehand

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PostSubject: Russell’s rocket battery.   Thu Nov 05, 2009 8:53 pm

Exactly how far was Russell’s rocket battery from the main camp when they engaged the Zulu's
The reason I ask about the distance is because in the film Russell and his men seemed to be a long way off from the rest of the troops and they are first to engage the enemy.

Also in the film the rocket battery managed to fire off two rockets. In reality did they fire more rockets before they were over run.

My last question: Why was Russell left in that situation, his rocket battery seemed to have been left with no reinforcements to come to its aid.

Please understand I’m only making theses comments based on the film. (Zulu Dawn)

Any comments welcome.
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Mr Greaves

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford's Rocket Battery    Thu Nov 05, 2009 9:34 pm

Some good questions Liitlehand. Russell very rarely gets mentioned, when Isandlwana is discussed.

Durnford had dispatched two troops of the Mounted Natives on to the hills to the left, to establish more clearly the enemy's arrangements, and he himself with the remaining two troops, and Russell's rocket battery escorted by a Company of the Native Contingent, moved to the front. After advancing some distance he received a report that an immense Impi was behind the hills to his left, and almost immediately afterwards the Zulus appeared in a great
force to his front, and on the left. They were in skirmishing order, ten or twelve deep, with reinforcements close behind. They advanced with extreme rapidity, and opened fire when about 600 yards distant.

Durnford slowly retired until he reached a donga where he took up a position. Finding the might of the enemy too immense for him to hold, he recommences his retreat, keeping his men in skirmishing order, and maintaining a constant fire.

Russell’s rocket battery had not been able to advance as rapidly as Durnford. On, hearing heavy firing to his left, and learning that the enemy were in that location, Russell changed direction to his left.

But before reaching the crest of the hills he was attacked on all sides. Incidentally the rocket battery only managed to fire one rocket, before the Zulus were among them; the first volley dispersed the natives and mules of the troop, leaving the remainder to maintain a hand-to-hand combat, in which Captain Russell was killed. Durnford came upon the remains of the rocket battery, during his retreat.
I could not say exactly how far they were from the main camp, but it seems they were to far.

There were however some survivors but for the life of me I cannot remember theirs names. But they were involved with a regiment that was making its way to Rorkes Drift. But turn back because they thought Rorkes Drift had been taken.

Hope this helps

G.
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littlehand

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford's Rocket Battery    Thu Nov 05, 2009 9:52 pm

Mr Greaves thanks for that. Were Russell’s men on foot? Would be appreciated if any members could find the names of the survivors Mr Greaves mentions.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford's Rocket Battery    Thu Nov 05, 2009 10:04 pm

Russell was near a spur part of the main range, and 1.5 miles from the camp. There is a map somewhere showing his location but I cannot remember which site I saw it on.

Were there survivors?
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90th

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PostSubject: rocket battery   Thu Nov 05, 2009 10:38 pm

hi all
From the NOBLE 24TH by NORMAN HOLME

Rocket Battery survivors.
Capt Nourse 1st regt N.N.C.
Privates. Grant , Johnson , Trainer.
Bombadier. Gough.
cheers 90th

ps .Forgot to add , they were mounted with the exception of Nourse"s N.N.C company who was acting
as escort. After the initial zulu volley which killed 3 gunners and Russell , all the horses and mules bolted
leaving only those that were being held at the time as a means of a get away. The rocket battery was in the process
of unloading and getting ready as Russell had ridden to the top of the hill and saw what was about to happen, he hurriedly
shouted " action front " rejoined the battery which managed to fire one rocket which did no damage to the zulus, then they were hit
by the zulu volley from 600 yds. The N.N.C escort bolted back to the camp and kept running , never to be seen again :lol!:
Who could blame them.
cheers 90th.
That was from ZULU VICTORY THE EPIC OF ISANDLWANA AND THE COVER UP by LOCK and QUANTRILL.
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24th

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford's Rocket Battery    Thu Nov 05, 2009 10:59 pm

Mr G. This is the chap that was caught up at Rorkes Drift.

Caithness Archives

Stephen Cashmore describes how a Caithness soldier, Private Hector Grant, became caught up in the dramatic events surrounding Rorke's Drift during the Zulu War.

There must be few folk who have not heard of Rorke's Drift, One hundred and thirty-nine British soldiers against 4000 Zulu warriors, fresh from a stunning victory at the battle of Islandhlwana. Eleven Victoria Crosses, immortality, an ever-popular film; the very essence of heroism, and time, political revisionism and historical research have not diminished this glory.
One thing, which may be unfamiliar to our readers, is a little-known Caithness connection with Rorke's Drift.

The series of 19th-century wars waged by the British in South Africa were inspired by three great historical motivators: gold, diamonds and greed. The Boer farmers were the natural enemies of the financier-backed British, but there was another military power ranged against these European interlopers -- the Zulus, From the time that the great Shaka became their ruler in 1818, the Zulus had been an efficient, disciplined and all conquering military nation.
Their motto 'To Conquer or to Die" sums up the Zulu military-ethos. Defeated warriors were put to death, enemies were ruthlessly massacred, and every able male was, without exception, a warrior. By 1872, when Cetshwayo became their king, the Zulus controlled over 20,000 square miles of southern Africa, their empire was expanding, and confrontation with the British seemed inevitable.

When the Zulu War broke out in January 1879, the British sent a force of some 16,000 men into Zulu territory under the command of Lord Chelmsford. The majority of these troops were Natal natives; of regular British soldiers there were only 5400.
Among the ranks of British regulars was a Private Hector Grant. Private Grant's regiment was the 1/24th (2nd Warwickshire) but he was a native of Latheron. Just how someone from the Far North found himself in the Warwicks is uncertain, but it was not unusual for men to enlist in units whose nominal home was many miles away.
Whatever the reason, on January 22 private Grant was serving with a rocket battery under a Colonel Durnford's. At around 10.30am Colonel Durnford's detachment arrived at Islandhlwana, a rocky outcrop commanding an extensive view of a wide plain, where 1800 men were camped. This force was part of Lord Chelmsford's invading army which the commander had divided into three columns.

A group of Zulus was sighted in the distance. Although Colonel Durnford was in charge of the Islandhlwana camp, he chose to ride out with a rocket battery in pursuit of the Zulus. Private Grant was a member of this battery.
The British soldiers chased the retreating Zulus to a ridge where they disappeared. Reaching the brow of the ridge, Durnford's men saw a sight to freeze the blood - in a ravine 20,000 Zulus were squatting in silence. Durnford was brave but he was no fool; he realised his main duty was to inform the camp at Islandhlwana.
But as Durnford's detachment withdrew, the Zulus swarmed after them. Soon the rocket battery was embroiled in a desperate hand-to-hand struggle. From the camp at Islandhlwana the rest of Durnford's force dashed out to join the fight but, despite that courage which came from the sure knowledge that the Zulus took no prisoners, the British soldiers were overwhelmed by sheer numbers and wiped out to a man.

Some 1200 men were massacred with ruthless savagery by their Zulu antagonists. The rest, including Colonel Durnford's party, fled, pursued by the victorious Zulus for some four miles. In the confusion that followed the Islandhlwana disaster, Durnford's troop became split up. Some lost their bearings, wandered aimlessly and were killed by roaming bands of Zulus; others sought shelter in hiding; a few made their way towards Rorke's Drift, a British post on the Buffalo River.
By the time Hector Grant arrived at Rorke's Drift he had lost most of his equipment and his morale was, understandably, at a very low ebb. In vain he tried to warn the Rorke's Drift garrison of the terrible danger they were in. They ignored his warning and, perhaps realising the effect a demoralised soldier can have on his fellow troops, sent Private Grant to Helpmekaar where there was a detachment of British troops under Major Spalding.

But Major Spalding had already been appraised of the danger to Rorke's Drift and was leading two companies there. About three miles from his destination Major Spalding met some of the fugitives heading towards Helpmekaar, among them Private Grant. These men the Major ordered to join him and return to Rorke's Drift.
A mile further on, Spalding's troop noticed an ominous column of black smoke rising into the blue African sky. A moment later two more fugitives appeared with a report that the post at Rorke's Drift had fallen to the Zulus. The logic of the situation seemed irrefutable: Major Spalding took his two companies, Private Hector Grant included, back to Helpmekaar, certain that the little garrison at Rorke's Drift had all perished. The truth was dramatically different, however, and Spalding's retreat from Rorke's Drift may, perhaps, have denied Caithness a Victoria Cross.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford's Rocket Battery    Thu Nov 05, 2009 11:06 pm

Who’s to blame for Russell being sent to far from the camp? It must have been know that this unit could not travel at speed.

Did these rockets ever do any damage to the Zulu’s during the Zulu war in general?
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford's Rocket Battery    Sat Nov 07, 2009 7:01 am

I'll try to copy and paste a photo of the area below the Itusi, where the Rocket Battery was overrun. The names also appear on the N/5 Battery memorial on the battlefield.
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ADMIN

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford's Rocket Battery    Sat Nov 07, 2009 11:12 pm

Itusi where Rocket-Battery was engaged.
[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]


N/5 Battery memorial (which was unveiled by Field Marshal the Lord Vincent on the 120th anniversary of the Battle of Isandlwana in 1999) was taken on the 22nd January this year
[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]

Posted on behalf of Ken Gillings
Photo’s supplied by Ken Gillings
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90th

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PostSubject: rocket battery   Sun Nov 08, 2009 3:56 am

hi ken.
Great photos .
cheers 90th.
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Chard1879

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford's Rocket Battery    Thu Aug 12, 2010 10:17 pm

Only found this topic a few hours ago. (Very Interesting) I have always had my doubts as to why Russell's Rocket Battery was taken so far away from the camp.

During the battle of Isandlwana there were three rocket troughs under the command of Brevet-Major Russell of 11/7 battery. The Battery managed to fire off one rocket before Zulus from the iNgobamakhosi regiment who formed the tip of the left hand horn besieged them. Major Russell was killed. Several members of the rocket battery survived.

The Zulus treated the rockets with the disrespect they deserved. During the flight of the rocket It took quite some time before the rotating effect stabilised the rocket so a the initial part of the flight meant that the improved stability was largely insignificant with regards to the overall accuracy.

The British did use rockets during the Crimean War but didn't formally adopt them until 1867.

These rockets stayed in service for a another twenty years after the Zulu War and wouldn't formally be removed from the army's inventory until 1919.

Here are some eye-witness accounts and opinions from earlier years.

Wellington and rockets."The only reason why I wished to have it was to get the horses;I do not want to set fire to any town, and I do not know any other use of the rockets." -

A British soldier wrote " during shelling my comrade looks like a boy who is beginning an illness with shivering attacks, and in the frankest way he will tell you he is just petrified by the business." He added that the bursting shells had frightened more men away from the line than anything else. Other stated that every shell that fell near the troop seemed to be but the beginning of a new cataclysm. But not only the British were freightened by shells.
In the battle of Borodino, in 1812, a Polish uhlan noticed that whenever a shell exploded dozens of young German infantrymen threw themselves on the ground and covered their heads with hands. "Not a whisper was heard" - he wrote"


"In 1815 in Belgium, Mjr. Whinyates commanding the Rocket troop received orders from Wellington to supply his troop with 6pdr cannon in exchange for his rockets, to ensure his troop’s effectiveness. Eventually Wellington relented and allowed Whinyates to take 800 rounds of 12 pdr rockets as well as the guns. The Rocket Troops participated at the battles at Quatre Bras, Genappe, and Waterloo.
On the use of rockets at Genappe: "The order to fire [rockets] was given - port/fire applied - the fidgety missile begins to sputter out sparks and wiggle its tail for a second and then darts forth straight up the road. A gun stands right in its way, between the wheels of which the shell in the head of the rocket bursts, the gunners fall right and left, and, those of the other guns taking to their heels, ... our rocketeers kept shooting off rockets, none of which ever followed the course of the first: most of them, on arriving about the middle of the ascent, took a vertical direction, whilst some actually turned back upon ourselves - and one of these, following me like a squib until its shells exploded putting me in more danger than all the fire of the enemy ..." (- Captain Mercer)
The aim of the rockets however was notoriously inaccurate and very often prematurely exploded. Loud explosion, red glare and a very occasional hit created an impressive demoralising effect."



Anyway back to my original question: Doe’s anyone know why Russell's Rocket Battery was taken so far away from the camp. And why were they left there. (Don't recall reading about covering fire be maintained do they could retreat.

By the way agree with 90th Great Photo's. Just a pity the memorial is so from the camp.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford's Rocket Battery    Fri Aug 13, 2010 1:02 am

Hi Chard.
I thought Durnford did try to get to them, but there was no point, the rocket battery had been over-taken by the Zulu's. No point rescuing dead men (Could be wrong)
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90th

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PostSubject: rocket battery   Fri Aug 13, 2010 1:04 am

hi Chard1879.
The Rocket Battery was assigned to Durnford's force and was therefore following him after Durnford left the camp.
As they were far to slow to keep up they were basically left alone trudging along with only some NNC in support commanded
by Nourse ( I think ) . Not sure exactly what happened next , but seem to think I have posted it somewhere on the forum .
The rocket battery stumbled into part of the zulu force who attacked it and killed most of the men , I think 5 or 6 survivors
who are listed in the previous post . Durnford when confronted by the zulu , withdre
w , which took him past the remnants of
the Rocket Battery and he only paused to stop for a fleeting moment or so , spoke to one of the survivors and then took off !.
Leaving him to look after himself , so in answer about covering fire NO and no help at all as far as I am aware.
cheers 90th.

ps, Chard 1879 see my earlier post on this topic it tells you who survived and the circumstances of the attack on the R.B :) .

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford's Rocket Battery    Fri Sep 10, 2010 9:27 pm

Interview with Mehlokazulu Kasihayo (The Battle Of Isandlwana

Q: Were any rockets fired?

A: Something was going wrong with the battery of rocket launchers. Two of the mules had climbed onto an outcrop and were killed. Two mules were left, but the man was unable to fire. When we really saw the rockets being fired, was Khambula.

Doe's this not beg the question ' Were any rockets actually fired at Isandlwana.

Mehlokazulu himself was advancing towards the Rocket Battery but states "When we really saw rockets being fired was at Khambula" Reading accounts of from those that has seen these rockets being fire is not something you would forget in a hurry. But he remembers them at Khambula. scratch
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford's Rocket Battery    Sat Sep 11, 2010 7:05 am

Hi Impi,
I think I read somewhere on this forum that the rocket battery could only fire one rocket before they the zulus were upon them

Happy to corrected

thanks joe
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford's Rocket Battery    Thu Dec 29, 2011 4:39 pm

Why are the British just recorded as survivors??

Around 100 NNC escaped aswel.



Cheers

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford's Rocket Battery    Thu Dec 29, 2011 9:13 pm

Give us there names and we can add them to the list.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford's Rocket Battery    Thu Dec 29, 2011 9:18 pm

Rolling Eyes

What i mean is that they say there was only 5 surviours from the Battery.

Missing out the hundred other NNC men.


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PostSubject: Re: Durnford's Rocket Battery    Thu Dec 29, 2011 9:39 pm

Quote :
Missing out the hundred other NNC men.

The NNC were not members of the Rocket Battery. This thread is " Russells Rocket Battery"
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford's Rocket Battery    Fri Dec 30, 2011 11:23 am

They where with the battery when it was attacked Idea
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford's Rocket Battery    Fri Dec 30, 2011 5:53 pm

Drummer Boy 14 wrote:
Rolling Eyes

What i mean is that they say there was only 5 surviours from the Battery.



Hi DB 14

Right!

"...Three of the eight gunners were kiilled instantly" ("Zulu Victory the epic of Isand. and the cover-up" / Lock-Quantrill p.187)

"They fell like stones " / John Young: The name of the 4 survivors at the end of the battle of Isandlwana is Privates D. Johnson, H. Grant and J. Trainer (1/24ème)
Bombardier G. Gough or Goff? (N Battery , 5th Brigade , Royal Artillery) .

Regards

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford's Rocket Battery    Mon Nov 26, 2012 6:07 pm

Hi all

They are one mule for each rocket trough and one mule for the rockets (a box of rockets at each side) for each rocket troughs and a horse for each man.(I know during the escape horses were mentioned) Total = 10 men + 6 mules + 10 horses...+ the escort of a NNC Company...

Cheers

Pascal
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford's Rocket Battery    Mon Nov 26, 2012 6:57 pm

Quote :
7th Evidence.—"Captain Nourse, Natal Native Contingent, states : I was commanding the escort to the Rocket Battery, when Colonel Durnford advanced in front of the camp on the 22nd to meet the enemy. Colonel Durnford had gone on with two troops, Mounted Natives. They went too fast, and left us some two miles in the rear. On hearing heavy firing on our left, and learning that the enemy were in that direction, we changed our direction to the left. Before nearly reaching the crest of the hills on the left of the camp, we were attacked on all sides. One rocket was sent off, and the enemy-was on us; the first volley dispersed the mules and the natives, and we retired on to the camp as well as we could. Before we reached the camp it was destroy"
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford's Rocket Battery    Mon Nov 26, 2012 8:17 pm

Hi all

One point to bear in mind - these rockets did NOT have exploding warheads. They were designed to scare natives by leaving a fiery trail of sparks - which could also set fire to thatched hut roofs if you were very lucky !

Bill
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford's Rocket Battery    Mon Nov 26, 2012 8:23 pm

Quote :
They were designed to scare natives by leaving a fiery trail of sparks

More reason to have left the RB in the camp, rather than dragging them out to meet the Zulu's in the open. Was Col: Durnford aware of this.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford's Rocket Battery    Mon Nov 26, 2012 11:18 pm

impi wrote:
Quote :
Missing out the hundred other NNC men.

The NNC were not members of the Rocket Battery. This thread is " Russells Rocket Battery"

So the rocket battery WERE supported, by the NNC?
First I have learned of this?!?!
Durnford is often criticised for not supporting the rocket battery, so he did?
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford's Rocket Battery    Mon Nov 26, 2012 11:55 pm

Some support. The NNC one in ten was armed with a rifle.
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PostSubject: Russell's Rocket Battery    Tue Nov 27, 2012 1:28 am

Hi Tasker .
Go back to page 1 on this thread and you'll see what I've posted previosly about the R.Battery in regard to support etc etc . Salute
Cheers 90th. Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford's Rocket Battery    Tue Nov 27, 2012 3:45 am

Mr Greaves wrote:

Incidentally the rocket battery only managed to fire one rocket, before the Zulus were among them; the first volley dispersed the natives and mules of the troop, leaving the remainder to maintain a hand-to-hand combat, in which Captain Russell was killed. Durnford came upon the remains of the rocket battery, during his retreat.
I could not say exactly how far they were from the main camp, but it seems they were to far.

In the book NOBLE 24TH by Norman Holme there are three accounts of this action on page 192. Grant wrote that the initial volley killed five of the battery's nine men, including Russell. Leaderless, the other four were able to their way back to eventual safety. More than one of them mentions "Durnford's Basutos" as being influential in their survival.

ZULU DAWN makes it look like the Rocket Battery was overwhelmed in a melee but the truth seems to be they fell to an accurate volley -- something we are not conditioned to expect from the Zulu. That image would be too confusing to put in a movie...so we don't spend much time discussing Russell. It's fascinating how pervasive the pictures presented by ZULU and ZULU DAWN have become -- almost impossible to get out of our minds.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford's Rocket Battery    Tue Nov 27, 2012 6:45 am

For LH :

"we are retired to the camp as well as we could"

Pascal :

Yes LH, but on horses ... :lol:

For Tasker:

There has always been an company infantry of the NNC for the escort of the rocket launchers battery, from the time she came to Zululand ...

Cheers

Pascal
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford's Rocket Battery    Tue Nov 27, 2012 6:49 pm

90th wrote:
Hi Tasker .
Go back to page 1 on this thread and you'll see what I've posted previosly about the R.Battery in regard to support etc etc . Salute
Cheers 90th. Very Happy

Thanks 90th, done. I have read this previously, but the fact never really registered in my head - perhaps due to the ineffectiveness of this support.

So the fact remains:

The rocket battery WERE supported, by the NNC?
Durnford is often criticised for not supporting the rocket battery. Well, he did?
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford's Rocket Battery    Tue Nov 27, 2012 7:55 pm

Hang on!!! Durnford wanted to take two Compaines of the 24th to support him. But he sent a Rocket Battery, who are supported by the NNC. Who were accused of desertion after the battle who only had one rifle to ten men and just as many rounds, And there's Durnford on horseback, leaves them miles behind and can't get back to assist in time. Those on foot never stood a chance, almost all of those who escape from Isandkwana were on horse-back. And the fact as pointed out by Bill the Rockets were only meant to scare the Zulu's says in all, perhaps they didn't give a thought, that they might also scare the NNC.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford's Rocket Battery    Tue Nov 27, 2012 8:44 pm

littlehand wrote:
Durnford wanted to take two Compaines of the 24th to support him.

So who stopped Durnford taking 2 companies to support him?
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford's Rocket Battery    Tue Nov 27, 2012 10:13 pm

Tasker's missing the point again. He trying to say Durnford was happy to send the NNC to support the RB

But he wanted hardened, Seasoned, Good old shot's British Soldiers, who had a rifle each and 70 rounds of ammuntion. And who weren't scared of Rockets.
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PostSubject: Russells Rocket Battery    Tue Nov 27, 2012 11:57 pm

Hi All .
Off course Durnford was happy to send the NNC as an escort for the RB, Who else do you think escorted it while it was in no2 Column ????? The NNC .....No-one else , as Durnford didnt have any line companies with him did he !. So I dont see the point on who escorted the RB as being relevent !. Littlehand I think you'll find that no one survived Isandlwana who in fact wasnt on horseback.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford's Rocket Battery    Wed Nov 28, 2012 12:10 am

Quote :
Littlehand I think you'll find that no one survived Isandlwana who in fact wasnt on horseback.
There was one, I will have to look him up, he was the chap that run all the way to the river. One officer was amazed at his fitness. Will get back to you with that one.
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PostSubject: Russell's Rocket Battery    Wed Nov 28, 2012 12:15 am

Chard1879.
I dont see your relevance regarding the NNC escorting the RB as being scared of the rockets ! . They didnt take off because of the one or two rockets that were fired . The following from Ian Knight's Brave Men's Blood .... '' He ( Russell ) had just reached the foot of the slope when the zulu's spilled over the crest a few hundred yards ahead of him . Russell hastily set up his rocket troughs and unleashed a salvo which burst near the zulus without apparent physical or moral effect . The zulus began to stream down the escarpment under cover of some donga's and opened up a volley which so startled Russells NNC escort that they dropped their weapons and ran .
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford's Rocket Battery    Wed Nov 28, 2012 12:26 am

OldH. I have read the account you speak of. Like you can't remember his name. But to be fair he started of on horseback and made it quite away, before his horse was killed, from that point he escaped on foot.
Some of the NNC escaped on foot, but know one else after 1:30

The NNC support group were at the rear of the Rocket Battery, and after the battery was destroy they made it back to camp. So not really sure what support they gave? Also I'm sure what rifles they had jammed, when a solder offer to help they refused to hand over the rifle.
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PostSubject: Russell's Rocket Battery    Wed Nov 28, 2012 12:37 am

Hi Impi.
You may be right , I didnt phrase it properly . No - one left the camp by foot and survived , others did indeed leave by horseback
and may have been unhorsed at or near the river but managed to get across the river and survive. I think it was Grant or Trainor ( Rocket Battery Survivors ) that did in fact mention that the NNC did fire off some rounds they had when they bolted and some did have trouble with their guns jamming , one of them states they asked the natives to give him their gun or guns as he'd clear it for them , they refused .
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford's Rocket Battery    Wed Nov 28, 2012 12:41 am

Either way, they were all in the same boat, on foot and quite away from the camp. Scary I would imagine.
But I don't think the NNC were equipped to act as support.. In any event.
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PostSubject: Russell's Rocket Battery    Wed Nov 28, 2012 12:49 am

Hi Impi . To quote again Littelhands least favourite word , Hindsight , which you have 133 yrs after the event ! . Durnford and the others didnt have the benefit of it , and they obviously were in agreement , the NNC, was in their minds suitable to support the RB .
90th.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford's Rocket Battery    Wed Nov 28, 2012 2:44 am

impi wrote:
The NNC support group were at the rear of the Rocket Battery, and after the battery was destroy they made it back to camp. So not really sure what support they gave? Also I'm sure what rifles they had jammed, when a solder offer to help they refused to hand over the rifle.

"The Native Infantry made no stand at all, but ran away immediately the first volley was fired." Statement by Private J. Trainer.

"I observed that a great number of them [NNC] were unable to extract the empty cartridge cases after firing, and offered to do so for some of them but they would not give up the rifles." Statement by Private D. Johnson.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford's Rocket Battery    Wed Nov 28, 2012 2:53 am

90th wrote:
I dont see your relevance regarding the NNC escorting the RB as being scared of the rockets ! . They didnt take off because of the one or two rockets that were fired .
90th

There is no evidence I've seen that the NNC was spooked by single rocket that fired. It was indeed the volley received which dropped half of the Rocket Battery crew.

"When the enemy fired their first volley the Natal Contingent ran away and the mules with the rockets broke away." Statement by Private H. Grant.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford's Rocket Battery    Wed Nov 28, 2012 8:26 am

For All:

There has always been an company infantry of the NNC for the escort of the rocket launchers battery, from the time she came to Zululand ...
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford's Rocket Battery    Wed Nov 28, 2012 7:15 pm

Chard1879 wrote:
Tasker's missing the point again. He trying to say Durnford was happy to send the NNC to support the RB

But he wanted hardened, Seasoned, Good old shot's British Soldiers, who had a rifle each and 70 rounds of ammuntion. And who weren't scared of Rockets.

I know what I am trying to say Chard, evidently, you don't. No one said Durnford was "happy" about it. He had no choice but to support the RB with what he had.
But support them, Durnford did.
Given the low strategic importance of the RB, it would have been a poor strategic decision to support this luxury unit with a force of British soldiers.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford's Rocket Battery    Wed Nov 28, 2012 7:41 pm

Totally agree with Tasker because, given the invalidity tactics of this unit, it was unwise to waste a single section of the 24 th for her, the 24 th is the flower of the British army in Zululand Salute
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford's Rocket Battery    Wed Nov 28, 2012 7:44 pm

Quote :
I know what I am trying to say Chard, evidently, you don't. No one said Durnford was "happy" about it. He had no choice but to support the RB with what he had.
But support them, Durnford did.
Given the low strategic importance of the RB, it would have been a poor strategic decision to support this luxury unit with a force of British soldiers.

Tasker. Why take them in the first place. For what purpose. How did he expect them to keep up.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford's Rocket Battery    Wed Nov 28, 2012 7:48 pm

littlehand wrote:
Quote :
I know what I am trying to say Chard, evidently, you don't. No one said Durnford was "happy" about it. He had no choice but to support the RB with what he had.
But support them, Durnford did.
Given the low strategic importance of the RB, it would have been a poor strategic decision to support this luxury unit with a force of British soldiers.

Tasker. Why take them in the first place. For what purpose. How did he expect them to keep up.

They were part of his column.
As far as Durnford was concerned, they may well have not returned to the camp as he was moving to cover LC's rear.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford's Rocket Battery    Wed Nov 28, 2012 7:53 pm

Quote :
They were part of his column.
As far as Durnford was concerned, they may well have not returned to the camp as he was moving to cover LC's rear.

And I suppose the two Compaines of the 24th he wanted to take with him were his as well.

Blimey he wanted it always :lol:
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford's Rocket Battery    Wed Nov 28, 2012 7:55 pm

littlehand wrote:
Quote :
They were part of his column.
As far as Durnford was concerned, they may well have not returned to the camp as he was moving to cover LC's rear.

And I suppose the two Compaines of the 24th he wanted to take with him were his as well.

Blimey he wanted it always :lol:

Well no, and he didn't take the 2 companies with him either.
Can't blame him for trying though!
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