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Lieutenant J.P. Daly, 1/24 Regt.-KIA Isandlwana
[Mac & Shad] Isandula Collection)
The Battle of Isandlwana tactics
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  Durnford's Rocket Battery

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xhosa2000

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford's Rocket Battery    Fri Feb 09, 2018 7:30 pm

At the risk of being shot point blank in the face.. when all this is done...
what degree of separation are we talking about!. lower notch, upper notch,
what's the difference in distance. who is this person who is going to plant
x on the map and say definitively it happened here, there are at least four
people that i know of who will be advancing their own theory.. three as yet
not presented on the forum.
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xhosa2000

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford's Rocket Battery    Fri Feb 09, 2018 7:33 pm

Gardner1879, it's a piece of p..s posting photo's, believe if i
can do it anybody can. pm me and i will baby step you through
it. it really is simple and very fast. xhosa
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford's Rocket Battery    Fri Feb 09, 2018 7:56 pm

Julian,

Chelmsford’s dispatch of 27th January, 1879 from Pietermaritzburg, Natal that was published in London on 1st March 1879 referring to iSandlwana.

The paragraph relating to the strength of the force at iSandlwana having been reinforced by Durnford’s arrival:
The strength of this force was as follows:

Royal Artillery, 2 Officers, 78 men, 2 guns.
Two Rocket Tubes, 1 officer, 10 men (Lieutenant-Colonel Durnford’s force.) ...


Later in the same dispatch:
As regards the proceedings of the six companies British Infantry, two guns, and two rocket tubes, the garrison of the camp, I can obtain but little information. ...

As to the use of phrase tubes, rather than troughs, it is my opinion that Chelmsford was used to the term tubes.  He had seen tubes in action in the Abyssinian Campaign in 1868.  However, by 1879 the 24lb’er rocket tube was relegated to a fortification bombardment weapon by the Army, although it still in use in 1879 by the Royal Navy’s landing brigades.

JY


Last edited by John Young on Fri Feb 09, 2018 9:00 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : The computer throwing in an apostrophe in guns!)
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford's Rocket Battery    Fri Feb 09, 2018 8:02 pm

Just on a point of clarification, when you talk about the clockface at the 12.30 position pointing towards the "defile", you are talking about the hour hand only (ie half way between 12 and 1)?

Steve
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford's Rocket Battery    Fri Feb 09, 2018 8:31 pm

Rusteze
Yes just the hour hand
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford's Rocket Battery    Fri Feb 09, 2018 8:43 pm

Thought so, I agree with that. To have a stab at Les's question, that's about what 1/4 mile west of the traditional notch route?

Steve
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford's Rocket Battery    Fri Feb 09, 2018 9:02 pm

Thank's Steve, that's it, but who as said is going to mark
x as the spot!.. without conclusive proof in the absence of
any archaeology there is already dissension which will no
doubt lead to discord, again.. for me.. hypothesis and
speculation will not do. whoever think's they have this
nailed down need's to present overwhelming evidence and
not just a set of assumption's and the cobbling together of
' known's '. to make a theory ' fit '... anything will ' fit ', if
presented in a convincing fashion. it's been a while now since
that Rocket Battery was over run. No
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rusteze

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford's Rocket Battery    Fri Feb 09, 2018 9:22 pm

I think it's quite likely that the 3/4 researchers will reach the same conclusion as to location on this one. If they do, that in itself is pretty persuasive. Who knows, there might be physical evidence if we look in the right place - technology can do clever things. More stuff was found at Waterloo last year and that's been surveyed to death for a lot longer than AZW. If not, it is no more speculative than most questions about the locations of action on the battle field. I'm all for it, so long as the discussion remains civil !

Steve
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford's Rocket Battery    Fri Feb 09, 2018 9:51 pm

I think it's quite likely that the 3/4 researchers will reach the same conclusion as to location on this one....

That's not my understanding at all.. there are three currently off forum that have their
own specific view's. which will be revealed in due course.. civility should be a minimum
requirement, but robust debate is always desirable.
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SRB1965

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford's Rocket Battery    Fri Feb 09, 2018 10:18 pm

Hi,

Just so I can get my head around it - on the panoramic photos of modern Isandlwana, the 'big n' notch is obvious - as was mentioned the dip above the village but can anyone tell me where the 'lesser n' notch is.....for the life of me I can not see anything notchy on the skyline.

Thank you

Sime
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rusteze

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford's Rocket Battery    Fri Feb 09, 2018 11:20 pm

Sime

In the panorama I posted the depression in the skyline above the village and stretching some way between the two obvious high points (the one on the right being Itusi) is all the notch (small n). The traditional Notch is in fact just out of view behind the jutting out cliff of Itusi. If you look on Google Earth you will see where the new road mounts the escarpment and goes over the western end of the notch (again you can't see the road on the panorama), the defile we are now discussing is much more in the area of the road, perhaps a little to the left of it. I don't think Frank/Julian and Gardner disagree much about that. I will try to post another photo tomorrow from the Isandhlwana side if someone doesn't get there first.

Steve
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford's Rocket Battery    Fri Feb 09, 2018 11:23 pm

HI Sime
If you look across the Inyoni ridge that runs west to east from the camp,it ends at Ithusi.
the 'historical notch' shown on many early maps is just to the left of Ithusi. Its a largish gorge cul-de-sac type feature.
If you continue further west just before you get to aMatutshane it dips down to a low point (not as pronounced as the historical notch) before rising again. Thats the area of debate. The problem is is that there is a new road thats been built runing parallel to the ridge which ahs disturbed the ground.
When I went looking for evidence in that area a couple of years ago I found nothing apart from construction workers rubbish, coke cans etc.

Xhosa. Robust debate is good and I hope my posts haven't come across as anything but. As I said at the beginning I don't have much experience of forums.
To be honest I don't care who comes up with the answer whether its me, Julian, Frank or Uncle Tom Cobbly and his marching band. I just want to know the answers. I want to know where Russell fell.

Although I disagree with some of what Mr Snook has written over the years I do really like his approach. If there are pieces of the jigsaw missing with no evidence , use common sense, topography  and the way humans react to try and find an answer.

Finding where the battery was overun  can't be that hard, after all its not rocket science......oh hang on a minute Rolling Eyes
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford's Rocket Battery    Fri Feb 09, 2018 11:25 pm

Snap Gardner, I think we have just said the same thing!

Steve
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford's Rocket Battery    Sat Feb 10, 2018 12:02 am

Gardner1879, you come across just fine to me..
just what we need.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford's Rocket Battery    Sat Feb 10, 2018 5:31 am

Hi,

Thanks a lot, I will look at Google Earth - I thought that the dip above the village was the Big N - obviously this is why I couldn't see the Small n.

I forget what Mike Snook calls it but its a version of Alfred Burnes - Inherent Military Probability

Cheers

Sime
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford's Rocket Battery    Sat Feb 10, 2018 8:05 am

Thanks Xhosa. I'm glad there coming across okay. Ours is but a very small community in the grand scheme of things. I would hate for anyone within it to fall out with each other.
Heres another cheeky little part of my/our theory that I have not included in my posts so far as they are long enough as it is.

If there was a known shortcut east by going between aMatutshane and the ridge why did Durnford not take it?

I'll leave that one there.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford's Rocket Battery    Sat Feb 10, 2018 8:24 am

And secondly something else which I've looked at.

Lets think about the vedettes/pickets/Barker/ Carbineers or however they are referred to.

Think about them on there post observing the events on the plateau.
Such events must have been far enough away for them to think that the rocket battery would have plenty of time climb the ridge find a suitable launching spot and open up.

Now then if we look at Julian/Franks theory. Things must have changed exceedingly quickly during the time it took for the vidette/picket etc to travel  down, speak to Russell, then Russell changes direction and whallop, are attacked and overrun.

However. what if the battery were following Durnford south of aMatutshane as I have suggested.
At the time, to the Vidette/picket etc there  may well indeed have been a safe area for the battery to deploy looking across the plateau with the Zulus far enough away for them to 'Have some fun'
However by the time they got to Russell, had a chin wag and  he changes direction and heads up the ridge, this would then give enough time for the situation to change considerably from safe to dangerous.

In other words when the Vidette/picket etc went to speak to Russell it was a safe area. By the time Russell was nearly there it was not and they were then attacked and overrun.

It would have been a very stupid vidette/picket etc who would send two rocket troughs with only a company of NNC to support it into the path of thousands of Zulu.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford's Rocket Battery    Sat Feb 10, 2018 8:35 am

John
Lieutenant William COCHRANE mentions a volley of three rockets in:
his written Report of 8th February 1879 in the National Archives, in a letter published in the Aberdeen Journal 17th March 1879 repeated in Holden, W. Clifford, British Rule in South Africa illustrated in the Story of Kama and his Tribe, and of the War in Zululand, (London, 1879), pp. 104-109 but accompanied by Norris-Newman’s map (p. 101).
The Symons who mentions a volley of three rockets is Capt. W.P. Symons, Report, Brecon.
Re the number of troughs I think some of the references you've quoted relate to the TWO troughs which N/5 carried with them but which Harness never used.

All
It is worth looking at Norris-Newman's map quoted above as it shows the RB's route to the north of the Conical Koppie.

Gardner
I suggest we take one point at a time so that a clear understanding and a concentration of minds and evidence can take place.  You specifically asked me to say what I think you're missing, so I shall.  Let's begin with point no. 5 as delineated above, as it contains two crucial points of evidence.

FIRST POINT
You wrote that you didn't follow the logic presented re Nourse's statement of the RB's movements and you couldn't find his referring to TWO deviations.  Very well, we'll take the two references from Nourse's statements:

A.
“Col. Durnford gave Capt. Russell orders to follow him, he going in pursuit of the enemy with 2 troops of Mounted Natives.  In attempting a short cut in order to keep up with Col. Durnford..."

i.e. The RB attempts a short cut and the stated reason is TO KEEP UP WITH DURNFORD.  This is the north-eastward movement to veer north rather than south of the Conical Koppie.

B.
“…a vedette rode down to us from the hill and said – I quote his words – ‘If you want any fun come to the top of the hill.  They are thick up there.’  We decided to go…”

i.e. Later, a vedette suggests they come to the top of the ridge.
The stated reason is to attack the sighted Zulus.  This is the ascent of the ridge.

Two different movements.  Two different reasons.  That's what I think you're missing.

SECOND POINT
You wrote:
"Could Barker or another Vidette posted on the Inyoni ridge not have ridden down specifically to tell Russell of the Zulu on the other side of the ridge?"

No he could not.  He was taking a message back to camp re the movements of the Zulus on the plateau and he came across the RB.

There is no reason for him to be in a position on the south-east of Amatutshane to bump into the RB & Nourse.

There was no "other vedette".  Barker explicitly stated that HE met the RB.

Barker met the RB en route from iThusi back to camp.  The RB has to be on that route.  That is also what I think you are missing.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford's Rocket Battery    Sat Feb 10, 2018 9:48 am

Julian,

The text I have does not mention ‘...a volley of three rockets.’

I quote from your cited source:
Colonel Durnford said, ‘Oh, they are retiring, are they?’ and immediately sent two troops of mounted natives on to the hills surrounding the position, and took with him two troops of the rocket battery and one company native infantry...

Further on in the same text:

Leaving the enemy on a hill immediately to our true left, Russell fired three rockets at them, but a volley in return startled the mules as well as the native infantry...

Nor does the map in Holden make mention of the number of rocket troughs, so does little to assist in my opinion.  Holden makes an error regarding Russell, which is not in Newman’s originally published map, which in turn is cribbed from Digby Willouhby’s map.

Do you have any confirmed evidence that the two sections of N/5 under Harness’ command did not have their rocket troughs with them, or is this just supposition on your part?

Sorry you have not convinced me that there were three rocket troughs with Russell, again I am blind as to Taylor’s statement.  Perhaps you could share his precise statement with me?

JY
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford's Rocket Battery    Sat Feb 10, 2018 10:51 am

Hi John
Your questions is in two parts so
first part:

PTE GRANT:
“…we fired one rocket when we were overpowered by the enemy…”

PTE. JOHNSON:
“We had time to fire our rocket when they came over the hill in masses, and commenced to fire on us.”

PTE. TRAINER:
“…when the first rocket was fired they appeared in force over the top of the hill and fired a volley at us…”

Grant was not manning one of the three rocket troughs but holding the four Battery horses and by “rocket” might have meant ‘volley’.
Johnson was evidently one of two men in charge of one of the troughs; he referred specifically to “our” rocket as opposed to the others’ rockets.
By “first rocket” Trainer was implying that there were subsequent rockets fired.
The inference is that more than one rocket was fired and the likelihood is that three rockets were fired, one from each trough.  

Confirmation of the figure of three rockets and the range comes from:

CAPT. W. P. SYMONS, 2/24th Regt.:
“He [Russell] came into action, and fired three rockets, one from each tube, at 600 yards range, and was then suddenly attacked by men, who ran up out of a ravine only 100 yards from him on his left.” (Report p. 46).  Symons compiled his report from speaking to survivors.

LIEUT. W. COCHRANE, 32nd Regt.:
“Captain Russell… fired three Rockets with some effect.”  (Aberdeen Journal letter; 8th Feb Report)

GNR. TAYLOR
“We fired three Rockets at six hundred yards…”.  

A volley would have been fired at Russell’s word of command.  Grant (above) makes it clear that as soon as the rocket(s) were fired they were overpowered (ditto Nourse).

Hence, there was one volley of three rockets.

Second part:

There were reports of rockets and troughs being found in camp but these relate to N/5 Battery’s two unused rocket troughs (Rothwell, op. cit., p. 145).
   
Woolmer, Rev. T., Letter, 25th March 1879 in The Cornishman, 15th May 1879 wrote on a
visit to the battlefield, “four rockets…remained untouched in their cases”

Laurence, William Moorsom, Selected Writings, (Grahamstown, 1882), p. 54 under the title ‘A Visit to Isandhlwana, Rorke’s Drift 15th May 1879’: “…but on reaching the ‘neck’…close to the base of the hill [Stony Koppie] stood a two-wheeled cart painted with the regulation Government grey and lettered ‘Right Division’; in the traces with all their harness on were the carcasses of two mules.  The cart contained some 50 or 60 rockets in perfect condition, and close beside lay the rocket-tube, also ready for immediate use.”

Anon. correspondent, Report 23rd May, The Daily Telegraph, 4th August 1879, “We found…Lots of untouched tins of meat, horse-shoes, and rockets”;

Bale, William E., Letter ‘My Trip to Zululand’ dated Maritzburg January 1880, Western Times, 24th April 1880: “He [a local Zulu] then took me to the donga where the cannons were taken by the Zulus. I picked up on the spot three brass screws, which were a portion of the rocket battery, and a short distance from the spot I saw a rocket not exploded.”  An R.A. gun was found in a ravine on the Isandhlwana-Stony Koppie nek’s western slope.

Thus the N/5 rocket troughs, rockets, and cart were all found in the camp area.

This is all in the Taylor essay so if you've not got a copy yet I understand why you queried it.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford's Rocket Battery    Sat Feb 10, 2018 10:57 am

Okay Julian
One step at a time. I've re read Nourses accounts.
The later newspaper one and the court of enquiry.
In the newspaper report he says they were to follow Durnford and quote:-
"When we had proceeded two miles a vedette rode down to us from the hill and said-  I quote -
If you want any fun come to the top of the hill. they are thick up there, we decided to go"

There is no mention of a shortcut or trying to keep up with Durnford, literally just a good oppertunity for the battery to have some "fun".

The COE states
Colonel Durnford gave Captain Russell orders to follow him he going in pursuit of the enemy.
In attempting a shortcut to keep up with him we were attacked by the enemy in over whelming force just before reaching a crest of hills."

I can see what you  have done here Julian you have overlayed one report on top of the other which has given you two seperate manouvres/changes of direction.
However there is only one. They are two seperate reports of the same single incident.

Re your second point did you read my post this morning about the position of the battery and the mindset of the vidette regarding its safety?
If going on Barker alone then you may have a point but why are we believing Barker when, as I've said on several occassions, the RB survivors talk of being two miles out BEFORE changing direction.

I am more than happy to change my opinion on this to get the answers but am still not convinced.
Regarding Chelmsford troughs can I direct you to my other post which I started on this with my theory.  
Thinking of Hlobane Tremlett took half a battery 1 trough. If thats half then a battery must be two. Tend to agree with JY on this one. There just isn't enough crew to man three troughs and fight them effectively. Yes there are quotes say there were three but in one of those quotes they are referred to as tubes which is clearly wrong. Also Symonds would have spoken to Cochrane thus perpetuating the myth there were three.

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford's Rocket Battery    Sat Feb 10, 2018 11:29 am

Plus as they were preparing to fire the second trough the crew of the first one would have been reloading. They got that one away and then it all went pear shaped.
If there were three troughs what was the crew of the first trough doing when the third trough was being fired?
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford's Rocket Battery    Sat Feb 10, 2018 12:07 pm

Julian,

Thanks for that, but I am still not convinced as Cochrane’s statement about three rockets is based on heresay, not fact, he was - I would contend - otherwise engaged at the time.  He is basing his statement on information he has gleaned from other sources.  What he does state from personal knowledge is the phrase two troops of the rocket battery.

Only Symons mentions mentions three tubes, based again on hearsay.

Dare we disregard Zulu evidence in this matter?  

I am conversant with the subsequent discoveries of rockets post-iSandlwana, with the exception of Bale’s, but now could you please clarify your comment that follows it?
An R.A. gun was found in the ravine on the Isandhlwana-Stony Koppie nek’s western slope.

What of sort of gun?  An artillery-piece, a carbine or pistol?

No rush to respond as I away for the rest of the weekend.

JY
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford's Rocket Battery    Sat Feb 10, 2018 4:08 pm

Hi Julian
Am I right in assuming that Frank initially got his idea about the RB turning before aMatutshane from the map in Mac. and Shad.?
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Julian Whybra



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PostSubject: Re: Durnford's Rocket Battery    Sat Feb 10, 2018 5:42 pm

Gardner
Lots going on here.
First your post re Nourse.
It is apparent that you are only quoting from the Nourse accounts you have read (2).  There are 4.  You claimed to have been interested in the RB for years, to have written a partially-completed book on the subject, to be an historian, and to base your opinions on survivors' accounts, common sense, etc. YET you have not read all Nourse's accounts, nor Barker, and I don't know what else.  The post you made at 8.24 today I found incredible - a supposition based on a supposition!  That's not good history at all.  Historical deductions based on A and B, therefore C, fine!  But what ifs based on nothing at all!  What am I supposed to think?  You are perfectly entitled to an opinion BUT frankly, if you expect me to take your ideas seriously then you need to have read everything on this subject and to show logical deductions based on evidence.  Otherwise we are not on equal terms.

So, when you write...
"There is no mention of a shortcut or trying to keep up with Durnford, literally just a good oppertunity for the battery to have some "fun".
...it is not my fault if you haven't read all the sources.

When you write...
"you have overlayed one report on top of the other which has given you two separate [sic] manoeuvres [sic]/changes of direction. However there is only one. They are two seperate reports of the same single incident."
...There are not two separate reports of the same incident.  First incident - no mention of Barker-need to catch up Durnford's force-short cut.  Second incident - meeting Barker- need to meet oncoming Zulu attack-ascent of ridge.
What on earth makes you think they are one and the same incident?

When you write...
"why are we believing Barker when, as I've said on several occasions, the RB survivors talk of being two miles out BEFORE changing direction."
...you are making the events fit your theory.  An utterly ahistorical approach.  You cannot ignore Barker just because it suits you to.  (If you disbelieve Barker or think he was mistaken you have to prove it.)  Nourse confirms they were informed by a vedette.  Barker confirms he was that vedette.  Barker confirms he was en route to the camp with a message for Pulleine.
How on earth can you place him south-east of Amatutshane?


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PostSubject: Re: Durnford's Rocket Battery    Sat Feb 10, 2018 5:52 pm

John
Cochrane in his Aberdeen Journal letter makes the remark as he came across the remains of the RB in the distance.  He wrote that the three rockets were met with an immediate volley from the Zulus.  There would be no tiem for one of the launchers to reload.
Cochrane met the RB survivors, as did Symons.  Not hearsay.  Hearing it first-hand.  Telling us second-hand.

Zulu evidence is included in the Taylor essay.  

RE "I am conversant with the subsequent discoveries of rockets post-iSandlwana, with the exception of Bale’s, but now could you please clarify your comment that follows it?". Your original question asked for confirmation that N/5's rocket equipment was in the camp and not out with Harness. Given that the mule-laden No 2 column's RB was out with Russell, whatever was found in camp MUST HAVE belonged to N/5. The finding on the nek of a rocket-laden cart with 'Right Division' (i.e. of N/5) on it proves it.

The R.A. gun found in the ravine was of course an artillery-piece.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford's Rocket Battery    Sat Feb 10, 2018 9:53 pm

Now now Mr Whybra less of your spleen!!

I thought we were having a calm historical debate not getting personal.
Now I know why I don't do forums
Sad
I see you have edited your post 4 times already. I dread to think what the first draft said!!


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PostSubject: Re: Durnford's Rocket Battery    Sat Feb 10, 2018 10:50 pm

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford's Rocket Battery    Sun Feb 11, 2018 12:52 am

Ding ding...Round two and Gardner’s back in the ring after that below the belt left hook.

I’m sitting to write my response to your last e-mail Julian, calm and peaceful with a nice hot cup of tea and a packet of custard creams. I hope they don’t make me (sic)
I’m not going to counter your last post with more personal comments as I didn’t think  that’s what this forum was for and regards what you have written  at a personal level, then yes I agree with you, we are not on equal terms.

Anyway here we go, nice and relaxed:-
Oxford English dictionary definition:- "Historian n.  writer of history." Well I’ve written history so I suppose yep that’s me.

“You claimed to have written a partially-completed book”   You’ve hit the nail right on the head with that one Julian. Partially- completed i.e. it’s not finished which  means I am still carrying out my research. So no I haven’t read all of the accounts on the subject but then, as the recent discovery of the Taylor letter proves, neither have you.

An eminent historian on the subject whose many many books I have lined up on my book shelf alongside yours, once wrote that the battle of Isandlwana was like trying to interpret the picture on a jigsaw when all you have is the edges. I like that.
Have I used supposition to try and work out the picture? You’re damn write I have. Why? Well because that’s all we sometimes have.
I will use supposition, human nature, common sense, topography, weather conditions, flora, fauna  and every other tool in the box in order to try and get to the bottom of this because the hard pen and paper evidence is so poor and unreliable. We need to use such tools in order, like a piece of DNA, to connect the few accounts together and form a continuous logical strand. We cannot afford to ignore these tools and rely on survivors accounts alone.

You seem however (and please correct me if I’m wrong) to be  basing your theory purely on the survivors accounts . As we’ve seen with so many accounts from this battle they can be extremely inaccurate, badly written, confused and sometimes even down right lies. You are saying I am making the events fit my theory by not taking into account/discounting Barker and the two accounts of Nourse that I have not got. However, are you not doing the same by discounting Johnson Grant, Trainer and the two Nourse accounts I do have in order to prove your theory?

If you read my previous posts I have never placed Barker south of aMatutshane. I’ve always just referred to them as a Vedette/Picket/ Carbineer. Why should we as historians/battlefield detectives not look on Barkers account with the same curiosity and suspicion as every other eye witness account?

Just one last thing really to round up this post can I pop you a simple  question?

Have you been to the battlefield at Isandlwana with the specific aim of studying the topography in relation to the Rocket Battery?

A yes or no answer will suffice. If its yes, I would be very interested as would everyone else on the forum to see your findings.
Cheers  Julian, lets keep this nice and relaxed and no hard feelings buddy. Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford's Rocket Battery    Sun Feb 11, 2018 1:11 am

Anybody?... everybody's theory's depend on timing's. you All have your
own agenda's, which is fine, this debate grace's the spirit of this place..
Question.
Presumably, the rocket battery was caught and overun very quickly.. all
account's say the Zulu surprised them with their sudden appearance,
how long did they have from Russell ordering action front... they were
not prepared as it turned out!.. yet they fired three rocket's..?.. like each
man was prepared, carrying the trough ( not tube ) and a rocket in each
hand.. no.. they were caught cold. how long did they have..
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford's Rocket Battery    Sun Feb 11, 2018 8:25 am

Xhosa
It is worth posting ALL of Nourse's, Barker's Taylor's and the other accounts to get a full picture. The three RB soldiers' accounts (which I used in the Taylor essay) are essential of course but they are basic. These men took no decisions and followed orders without knowing or asking the reason for them and of course were not privy to the discussions between Nourse and Russell.
And yes, timings are important and we haven't really got around to those. They are very important. And they will make an appearance on Frank's essay.

Gardner
I like my posts to be precise and clear so that there can be no mistaking my meaning through a failure on my part. So I always edit. you will see I edited my post to John a number of times so that he had the clearest possible answer. The subject is too important to me to provide throwaway thoughtless responses because I always take people at face value and assume they contribute to the forum for the same reason I do. The forum members are a knowledgeable, intelligent bunch, many with particular individual expertises, whom I have much respect for - even though debates do get heated at times and we may not always agree - I still always respect the opinions of xhosa, rusteze, Frank, 90th, drummer boy, all of them because they can all source a quotation to back up what they are trying to say.
I note that you have not answered the two points raised about Barker's position and the two changes of course mentioned by Nourse because you can't. Nor the other points. You have no new evidence and the jigsaw pieces you do have (though you are missing most of the ones available in the box) cannot be made to fit.
Spleen aside, I have also learnt something
Love's Labours Lost Act V, scene II lines 2223-2230
And so I realize that to continue this thread is pointless. It's not really about the Rocket Battery.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford's Rocket Battery    Sun Feb 11, 2018 8:28 am

Hmmmmm......Custard Creams Gardner?

I dunno about that.....I have seen how they are made and importantly who makes them.....when I am not mentally wandering back through history, I work as a manager in a biscuit factory - one which produces most ROB (Retail Own Brand) for the UK supermarkets.

One thing I do wonder - never having got closer to Isandlwana than Cornwall is - up these N/notches, and defiles can you see 600 yards?.....which is the range that apparently the RB let rip its missiles at the Zulus....firing them from their troubes (which obviously is a hybrid weapon).

Logically you would think as they went up the ridge, as soon as they saw the Zulus and had a flatish (I am not convinced it had to be totally flat) piece of ground they would have set up.

The GTJ accounts (above) all seem to indicate that the battery was going up the 'hill' when the Zulus were sighted....but Taylor says they fired at 600 yards......one says that they were fired on from the top of the hill, one says that they were attacked from a kloof (gulley?) to their left.

Did Russell really believe that his infernal contraptions, largely unsupported could have repulsed a large number of Zulus....he must have known the limitations of the things....did they even have 'warheads' - I have read somewhere that they did not......

I suppose the new road has altered the landscape to much to find the gulley that the Zulus who overran the battery came from?

Cheers

Simon


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PostSubject: Re: Durnford's Rocket Battery    Sun Feb 11, 2018 9:20 am

Hi Folks
Sorry for the absence, I'm still stuck at the bloody airport trying to get back to SA.
Gardner
Welcome to the forum, extra knowledge and interpretation is always welcome.
All
Julian has had access to a lot of my material on the RB and is under a strict enjoiner to not reveal. I gave permission for him to use part of my essay in the Taylor article because I thought it helped.
For the time being I'm staying out of the discussion until my own rather weighty essay is completed and I can argue and defend it with authority.
Back in town hopefully in couple of days.

Cheers all
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford's Rocket Battery    Sun Feb 11, 2018 9:32 am

Hi Frank,

I thought you had been rather ominously silent during all this.....wondered where you had been....

Simon
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford's Rocket Battery    Sun Feb 11, 2018 10:51 am

You mean to say you missed the rain! And there was me thinking you were doing a Gene Kelly through the puddles. Dum de dum dumdy, dumdy dumdy dum dumdy.

Steve
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford's Rocket Battery    Sun Feb 11, 2018 12:56 pm

Hi Frank.
Thank you for the warm welcome.
I really look forward to reading your essay and good luck with getting back to SA.

Julian everythings good my end. I don't do grudges. Putting everything behind us and starting afresh, I would be really interested to see your topography research that you have carried out regarding the RB on the battlefield.(you didn't answer the question about wether you'd been or not so I'm assuming you have). We  could then put it all together which would be a massive help for everyone on here in piecing this all together.
If you could also pop the Nourse account on the forum that I'm missing that talks of the two deviations then I would be also  really grateful as it would help me get my head round things and be a great help with my own research.
Thanks Julian Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford's Rocket Battery    Sun Feb 11, 2018 1:02 pm

I know that Frank has a few surprises up his sleeve and I have promised not to pre-empt him. Once his essay is published then it will be time for custard creams.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford's Rocket Battery    Sun Feb 11, 2018 1:10 pm

Thats fair enough Julian.
I respect that and as I say I'm really looking forward to Frank's essay. Is the 2 deviation Nourse account one of the pieces Frank has asked you to hang fire on?
As Frank lives over there I'm sure he has massess of his own survey material and I understand him holding that back for his essay.
As this is the case any chance you could put your own battlefield survey material up?
Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford's Rocket Battery    Sun Feb 11, 2018 1:23 pm

An entertaining mix of fact and fiction.. Penny Howcroft's Zulu king's trilogy, this from vol 3,
The Zulu King's: The Ruin of Zululand.

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford's Rocket Battery    Sun Feb 11, 2018 1:30 pm

Hey Xhosa thats super. Thanks for posting it up.
Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford's Rocket Battery    Sun Feb 11, 2018 2:12 pm

Julian Whybra wrote:
 Once his essay is published then it will be time for custard creams.

I will tell the men & women at work to wash their hands then......
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford's Rocket Battery    Sun Feb 11, 2018 9:40 pm

1000 tonnes Shocked Shocked That really takes the biscuit

Crumbs I didn't realise they made that many. I'm assuming this forum now uses cookies then.
Some biscuits play havoc with your digestive system so you have to dunk.
Well chin chin, do carry on with your rich teas.
Sorry this is off topic (thats a chocolate bar)
Very Happy


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PostSubject: Durnford's Rocket Battery   Sun Feb 11, 2018 9:43 pm

Sime

Here is a modern survey map of the notch area (it's about 1965 and doesn't yet show the road over the notch). You might be able to line this up with Google earth. Just for orientation Amatutshane (Conical Hill) is marked as 1247 and Itusi as 1334,4.

PS. What I should say is that the brown road that is shown must have beeen speculative, it did not take that route when it was built.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford's Rocket Battery    Mon Feb 12, 2018 7:35 am

Thanks Steve,

Funnily enough my bed time reading last night was AZW IV and there's a map in there which has rough positioning's of all the reported RBs demise points - I spose I should have looked more closely at the pictures, in my previous readings.

I will try with the map about - you have to mark certain points on the GE photo (prominent hills etc), make the overlay map 9eg the one above) transparent and superimpose them.....its just a method I have worked out myself - now if I could print on acetone film - it would be a whole lot easier.

Probably won't work.

Thanks

Sime
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford's Rocket Battery    Mon Feb 12, 2018 8:54 am

Hi Folks (possible Ladies and gentlemen for the future).

In terms of the rocket Battery position, its actually very obvious for the visitors to the battlefields, not so for those that haven’t, so a reveal of my viewpoint would be of interest to the forum members. As both Julian and Kate have pointed out supposition and educated guesswork are the order of the day for virtually anything to do with iSandlwana. Possible if I encapsulate our total provable facts I could possibly say it happened on a Wednesday!

When sitting on the top of Amatutshane (Conical Koppie, little red hill etc) and looking across at the ridge and the Nyoni hill on top of the ridge to the left and the Notch to the right, the is a broad gulley that runs from the plain to the plateau. Its very very obvious. Around half way up (I’m not quibbling about the odd meter here and there) it spits around a rocky outcrop and goes to the left and right.
The Left
It’s a very gradual slope strewn with rocks and a ‘hard work’ climb, difficult for a horse or mule. Bloody hard work for a laden mule. It is however suited for virtually all of the descriptions. The incline is fairly gentle until the upper regions when it increases in ‘tilt. Still very walkable though.
It has a direct access with a large grass area onto the plateau, it has around 100 yards away to the left a sharp rocky bank with a hollowed area to its rear that would make an excellent shooting platform and because of the back slope an easy way to come of the plateau with a certain amount of concealment to sit back and wait for the RB to toil its way up the slope. Quite a sadistic attribution to the Zulus really to imagine them sitting behind the rocks grinning away while watching the poor troops below sweating there hearts out. A final snigger then open fire.
The grass bank above there heads could easily accommodate a dashing horse ridden by Russell bounding over screaming his orders. And to the right is a rocky outcrop that a couple of petrified mules could cower on.
The Right.
From the time of its ‘birth’ halfway up the hill this becomes quite a tough slope but is a lot more top soiled and grassed and would, if I were looking probably be my descent/ascent of choice. But in terms of whether or not it matched the description? It has the rough start (It got tough for the mules so 25 men were used to move the loads by hand) and even to move goods by hand would be a hard day’s work. It also quite close to the top has a very large rock projection out that could accommodate a pair of quivering mules. It has to its left a rocky outcrop that again would provide a concealed approach (via the left branch) but its no more than 14metres away (measured centre line) that would seem to be at odds with the statements.
There is however a third option
Extreme right
Joining on to the right-hand fork and sloping down towards the existing road is a further grassy access. It’s difficult to truly assess its attributes because its under cultivation and has been heavily worked by that cultivation and by the construction of the road. It does offer a third possibility However in trying to mentally reconstruct its base it does seem to cross not only the ‘Notch’ road but also the road heading of towards the Qwabe valley. The area is occupied by a young gentleman with an impeccable command of the English language, I know that from his pronunciation of F**K of when he caught me traipsing over his land.
So, there are your choices, if as Kate says your bum is firmly planted on top of Amatutshane and you glance to the 12.30 position they are all located within a few metres of each other.

In general, supposition, speculation and the God given right to make up your own mind are what will position the RB.

In terms of the balance of the discussion, that you chaps may carry on without me. I have huge axes to grind and many years of work put into the whole ‘Events on the Eastern Plain’, far too many to have it piece meal dripped onto the forum.
The eastern plain has to, nay, must be looked at as a whole. All the actors and events interlock and support each other to take out of context would be to destroy what to my mind is a very successful narrative. But then again, I’m a biased bugger.

PS Kate, the moment I saw ‘Gardner’ pop up I had you pegged. How is the magnum opus on him progressing? The good Captain does make a significant appearance in my essay, to his great credit I may add. And to answer your question, no I wasn't influenced by Mac and Shad but I have to admit to being influenced by quite a number of ORIGINAL survivor statements. Very Happy

And just so I can get in on the act with classical allusions……………….
‘Scene 1, line 273, Julius Cesare.

Play nicely people.
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PostSubject: Durnford's Rocket Battery    Mon Feb 12, 2018 9:22 am

Hi JW
I see in an earlier post Sat feb 10th 8.42 pm , in reply to Gardner you state there are 4 Nourse reports , I looked in England's Son's you list 3 ( A, B & C ) p 48. ( D ) doesn't mention a report from Nourse , is the 4th Report you mentioned on saturday .. part of a Lt Harry Davies report ? .
90th scratch
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford's Rocket Battery    Mon Feb 12, 2018 9:42 am

Frank,

I’d also encourage folks to heed the words of Sir Henry Newbolt’s Vitai Lampada myself.

...And the regiment blind with dust and smoke.
The river of death has brimmed his banks,
And England's far, and Honour a name,
But the voice of a schoolboy rallies the ranks:
'Play up! play up! and play the game!’...


There is vague connection to iSandlwana, Newbolt was a friend of a survivor of the battle whose schoolboy prowess served him well on that Wednesday.

I will be adding some other findings to the real debate later.

JY
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford's Rocket Battery    Mon Feb 12, 2018 9:59 am

90th
I'll pm you.
Julian
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford's Rocket Battery    Mon Feb 12, 2018 3:08 pm

You can't beat a good classical allusion. Perhaps Henry V, Act 4, line 49 fits the bill best?

Steve Reinstadtler
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford's Rocket Battery    Mon Feb 12, 2018 3:19 pm

You could be correct Steve but I refuse to call you a Bawcock
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