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 Rifles at Rorkes Drift......not the usual Zulu/Martini question....

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SRB1965



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PostSubject: Rifles at Rorkes Drift......not the usual Zulu/Martini question....   Sat Sep 23, 2017 9:07 am

Time for my ‘weekly’ daft question.

Would there been any ‘spare’ rifles at Rorkes Drift?

It would appear not because Dalton gave Chard his rifle once wounded and Lugg used his carbine, even though the stock was damaged, however, Scheiss seems to have got himself a rifle and rifles were given to/or obtained by the ‘fighting’ patients in the hospital. Hook apparently broke the stock of his MH but fought on once reaching the storehouse compound....

If a soldier fell ill or was wounded, was his personal ‘military’ kit sent back with him to the hospital.....obviously in the case of RD, B Company sick would have had their weapons, somewhere in the camp?

Did each battalion have spare weapons (i.e. crated up) in the field as replacements for ‘totalled’ weapons or did it rely on re-issuing of casualties weapons.....

Cheers

Sime


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PostSubject: Re: Rifles at Rorkes Drift......not the usual Zulu/Martini question....   Sat Sep 30, 2017 10:08 am

Not a direct answer I’m afraid, and I don’t know if this is exactly relevant, but a member of our rifle club once brought along a .577 Snider, which he stated had seen service at Rorke’s Drift, and about which he had provenance. This happened some years ago, and the chap is no longer a member so I can’t check. From memory, the rifle seemed to be one of the later ones, made specifically for the .577 cartridge and not an Enfield muzzle loading conversion.
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SRB1965



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PostSubject: Re: Rifles at Rorkes Drift......not the usual Zulu/Martini question....   Sun Oct 01, 2017 7:18 pm

Hi,

I suppose it is 'not impossible' that one of the handful of NNIC NCOs there - Wilson, Scammell, Meyer, Doughty etc could have used one but I am not sure...all the very basic stuff I have about the NNIC weapons/equipment says the NCOs had MHs and the ORs possibly Sniders (amongst other rifles)......

I spose it could have seen service at RD in Zulu hands (looted of a Natal Native at Isandlwana)

Cheers

Simon
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PostSubject: Re: Rifles at Rorkes Drift......not the usual Zulu/Martini question....   Sun Oct 01, 2017 8:15 pm

The NNC all fled before the battle its possible they dropped the dozen or so rifles they had when they ran away and they may have been picked up :)
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PostSubject: Re: Rifles at Rorkes Drift......not the usual Zulu/Martini question....   Mon Oct 02, 2017 6:14 am

We always seem to overlook that Dabulamanzi was at Rorkes Drift and he was a Gun lover. He is quoted some where as saying they had the same guns as the white men. Its also very possible that the uThulwane were on the saddle at iSandlwana and a portion of the fugitives trail, all the opportunity in the world to collect discarded weapons.
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PostSubject: Re: Rifles at Rorkes Drift......not the usual Zulu/Martini question....   Mon Oct 02, 2017 7:20 am

Drummer Boy 14 wrote:
The NNC all fled before the battle its possible they dropped the dozen or so rifles they had when they ran away and they may have been picked up :)

Once again, its possible that when the NNIC legged it they dropped more than the contents of their bowels.....

There is a bit of debate about the arms and equipment of Stephenson's company and whether it was fully armed (by which I assume with firearms - being as spears etc would have been personal items) or just an excess of natives grouped together for 'admin' purposes....hence the discrepancy in numbers quoted for it and the lack of officers & NCOs mentioned (apart from a few but there should have been around a dozen at establishment strength).....can't remember which book it was - maybe DWE by Keith Smith.

I have always thought the NNIC were much maligned, even in modern works where the old stories about ripping their uniforms (red rag) are carried on......there is a wonderful story about someone being chased by three 'zulus'.....the third one having a shotgun....two of them are about to attack their victim, when the third (an older man) shoots them down....he was a Natal Native - trying to escape (like everyone else....black or white)

Man to man the NNIC warriors would have been just as good (or bad) as 'Joe' Zulu in hand to hand combat.

Cheers

Sime
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PostSubject: Re: Rifles at Rorkes Drift......not the usual Zulu/Martini question....   Mon Oct 02, 2017 7:29 am

Frank Allewell wrote:
We always seem to overlook that Dabulamanzi was at Rorkes Drift and he was a Gun lover. He is quoted some where as saying they had the same guns as the white men. Its also very possible that the uThulwane were on the saddle at iSandlwana and a portion of the fugitives trail, all the opportunity in the world to collect discarded weapons.

Hi Frank,

Leaving a side any looted weapons, the Zulus at RD would have had the 'usual' proportion of firearms as the rest of the army.....a quarter or more depending on who's theory you are reading and they are mentioned shooting into hiding places after crossing the river, into Natal.

One thing is the Zulus may have picked up discarded weapons during the pursuit but what about ammunition - the NNIC were not reknowed for lots of ammunition nor fire control (I believe blazing away was mentioned)....

If the provenance of the said firearm says it was found leaning on a tree, it would defo be Dabulamanzi's.....

Cheers

Sime
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PostSubject: Re: Rifles at Rorkes Drift......not the usual Zulu/Martini question....   Mon Oct 02, 2017 8:14 am

hi Simon
I do need to find the Dabulmanzi statement, he spent a lot of time and cash buying guns from 'over the border'. At one point he says" we had the same guns as the white men", possibly breach loaders rather than the old tower muskets.
My big niggle point is not the oft repeated remark that the NNC ran away ergo that's where any guns could have come from. Its more alonong the point of where was the Zulu reserve at iSandlwana. I like many others believe that it as on the plain and in order to get to RD crossed the battlefield/fugitives drift. If that were true there were 400 000 rounds of ammunition available. Again the 'Reserve' for Chelmsford had been packed and was ready to roll so that would bery likely have been on the track or very close to the saddle ( The little Drummer Boy that wouldn't give away any ammo????)
My point being that there was plenty of ammunition and weapons available at iSandlwana.
Provenance for 1879 was a subject Neil brought up some time ago, and again I'm sure he established a method of testing that. I bought a MH that had written proof that it was from iSandlwana, cast iron 100 year old letter signed sealed delivered. Neil established from the numbers it was from India. Its what you want to believe really...........
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PostSubject: Re: Rifles at Rorkes Drift......not the usual Zulu/Martini question....   Mon Oct 02, 2017 8:19 am

Sam
That's a really broad statement," The NNC all fled before the battle ", Theres more than enough proof concerning Lonsdale etc to disprove that.
I would also check the graves on the back of the mountain around Shepstone............ there was a lot of brave and loyal men there.
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PostSubject: Rifles at Rorke's Drift not the usual Zulu / Martin question   Mon Oct 02, 2017 1:49 pm

Hi All
One has to be very careful when possibly trying to attribute looted guns being used in any great number at RD , this isnt the first time I'm going to mention the following again......In Dugald Blair Brown's writings ' Surgical Experiences In The Zulu And Transvaal Wars, 1879 & 1881 , there is no mention of any of the wounded or killed at RD being on the receiving end of a MH or snider etc , all the wounded were treated for ' ball ' wounds , and once again , I'll say that if anyone was hit by a modern round Brown would've said so , he was remarkably technical in his writings , if someone was hit by a MH round or similar he CERTAINLY would've said so , all the wounded as I said at RD were treated for the removal of Balls or other such improvised projectiles .
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PostSubject: Rifles at Rorke's Drift not the usual Zulu / Martin question   Mon Oct 02, 2017 1:51 pm

Yes Frank there are many Cairns at Shepstone's last stand area on the Western Slope , think I've read the number being 24 ? . I know I've seen at least 12 or so ?
90th Shocked
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PostSubject: Re: Rifles at Rorkes Drift......not the usual Zulu/Martini question....   Mon Oct 02, 2017 2:46 pm

90th
Again that needs to be taken with caution Gary, just because no one was hit does not preclude the possibility of their use. Yet again there have been a large number of spent rounds found within the confines of RD.
Would be a brave man to put his head on a block.

Cheers
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PostSubject: Rifles at Rorke's Drift not the usual Zulu / Martin question   Mon Oct 02, 2017 2:53 pm

Hi Frank
I'm not saying they weren't there , it's possible they were , the facts are they didnt play an important role in the battle in regard to causing death , or the wounding of personal on the British side . I know when not to put the head on the block ! .
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PostSubject: Re: Rifles at Rorkes Drift......not the usual Zulu/Martini question....   Mon Oct 02, 2017 2:56 pm

Very Happy Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: Rifles at Rorkes Drift......not the usual Zulu/Martini question....   Mon Oct 02, 2017 3:01 pm

Hi

I have never believed in the idea that modern rifles were used at RD by the Zulus - besides which had they have got them and ammunition, would it made them better shots or just the same poor shots with a longer range.

I dunno.....when shooting from the Shiyane (some hundreds of yard away) even a slight degree out in aim, would result in a miss by the proverbial mile. Were they really 'aiming' of just taking pot shots towards the general direction of the post.

I often wonder if most of the hits on the British were caused by close range fire, and the 'snipers' on the hill got the blame for driving them from the North wall, because it was them who stuck in the defenders memory's.

Do you know if the soldiers/defenders killed out right by shots had the projectiles examined by the good Dr.... possibly not.

Cheers

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PostSubject: Re: Rifles at Rorkes Drift......not the usual Zulu/Martini question....   Mon Oct 02, 2017 5:31 pm

Hi Frank

I talking about at rorkes drift when they fled before the battle began and not at isandlwana Salute
Shepstone's stand always interested me given i always wondered which NNC men he had with him
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PostSubject: Rifles at Rorke's Drift not the usual Zulu / Martin question   Tue Oct 03, 2017 12:10 am

Hi Sime
I believe if British Troops were killed outright by a MH round or similar , the troops certainly would've known , certainly Chard , Bromhead and Reynolds , at least one of them would've had a look at the bodies , if not them , the NCO's or others , it also stands to reason.. if any were killed outright , there would be many others wounded , always many more wounded than Killed. The average zulu would've had no clue how to use one of the modern weapons , I tend to think it would be like the scene in Zulu to be honest , just point and shoot ! . Even when the Zulu's used the weapons at other battles , they still performed poorly .
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PostSubject: Re: Rifles at Rorkes Drift......not the usual Zulu/Martini question....   Fri Oct 06, 2017 12:35 pm

Extract from ' A Natal Family Look's Back '. H C Lugg.

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PostSubject: Rifles at Rorke's Drift not the usual Zulu / Martin question   Fri Oct 06, 2017 12:43 pm

Hi Les
I think I've got some photo's of Lugg's gear he used at RD , it was in one of the Museums I went to .
cheers agree
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PostSubject: Re: Rifles at Rorkes Drift......not the usual Zulu/Martini question....   Fri Oct 06, 2017 1:17 pm

Hi,

I am struggling to see the damage on the carbine.....maybe its the angle of the photo or this was his replacement weapon...or it had been fixed by an armourer.

I once saw a photograph of what was supposed to be his chair and wooley hat.....dunno why or how he hung on to his chair....

Cheers

Sime
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PostSubject: Re: Rifles at Rorkes Drift......not the usual Zulu/Martini question....   Fri Oct 06, 2017 1:30 pm

Hi Gary, yeah you have!. the copies you sent me disappeared
when a small ex hard drive went walkabout. Salute

Sime, your right there is no damage to be seen, strange. xhosa
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PostSubject: Rifles at Rorke's Drift not the usual Zulu / Martin question   Sat Oct 07, 2017 3:54 am

Hi Les
I'll email you the others regarding Lugg .
Cheers 90th Salute
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PostSubject: Re: Rifles at Rorkes Drift......not the usual Zulu/Martini question....   Sat Oct 07, 2017 10:48 am

Top man. Salute
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PostSubject: Re: Rifles at Rorkes Drift......not the usual Zulu/Martini question....   Sat Oct 07, 2017 11:27 am

Photo's courtesy of the 90th.

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Many thank's Gary.. The 17th badge is rather cool,
i wonder why he wore it?. i remember as a kid
seeing a few 2nd world war army belts with badges
of different regt's on them. cheers xhosa
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PostSubject: Re: Rifles at Rorkes Drift......not the usual Zulu/Martini question....   Sat Oct 07, 2017 11:59 am

Hmmm, just recalled the guy with all the badges on his belt.
Harold Steptoe.. Joker
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PostSubject: Rifles at Rorke's Drift not the usual Zulu / Martin question   Sat Oct 07, 2017 12:16 pm

Hhahahahahahaha Thanks for posting the pics Les.
90th Salute
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