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 Laagering of Wagons at iSandlwana and Laager Commandants

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Julian Whybra
Herbie
90th
John Young
Frank Allewell
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Julian Whybra




Posts : 2911
Join date : 2011-09-12
Location : Billericay, Essex

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PostSubject: Re: Laagering of Wagons at iSandlwana and Laager Commandants   Laagering of Wagons at iSandlwana and Laager Commandants - Page 2 EmptyFri Oct 22, 2021 2:19 pm

90th
That's quite true. Even so, when counting the number of 24th (incl. all the MI and odds and sods detached) there were 607 redcoats - a rough equivalent of 6 coys - but still not enough to provide an effective man per yard basis of a defence.
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barry

barry


Posts : 947
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Location : Algoa Bay

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PostSubject: Re: Laagering of Wagons at iSandlwana and Laager Commandants   Laagering of Wagons at iSandlwana and Laager Commandants - Page 2 EmptyFri Oct 22, 2021 3:12 pm

.JW/90th,
Quite true. The numbers quoted are broad brush and are not finite. If there were less available it further illustrates how hopeless the situation was.  Clearly a case of a set up for failure.
So, with all of this in mind, who were the planners around at the time arranging, authorising and indeed allowing this?. Durnford cant be brought in here  because he was not even in town!!
 

regards

barry


Last edited by barry on Fri Oct 22, 2021 3:13 pm; edited 1 time in total
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gardner1879

gardner1879


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PostSubject: Re: Laagering of Wagons at iSandlwana and Laager Commandants   Laagering of Wagons at iSandlwana and Laager Commandants - Page 2 EmptyFri Oct 22, 2021 3:12 pm

Ah Frank those hand written notes from Sheila. I think I know where she got them from.
They are the same notes I got back in 2016 from I think either Emily-Ann Krige at the  Killie Campbell or Pam at Talana (I'd have to check my notes to see which it was). They were donated to the museum by Alan's daughter, Zeila who ended up living at the Mooi River.
Unfortunately the originals have gone missing but luckily were copied by Ken Gillings so the information was not lost.
Kate
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Julian Whybra




Posts : 2911
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PostSubject: Re: Laagering of Wagons at iSandlwana and Laager Commandants   Laagering of Wagons at iSandlwana and Laager Commandants - Page 2 EmptyFri Oct 22, 2021 4:03 pm

Barry
Planning?  I don't see any evidence for it.  I think it was more a case of RESPONDING to any given situation and doing what the British do best (or in this case worst) - MUDDLING THROUGH!
I'm not being anti-British here.  I work best thinking on my feet and making ad hoc descisions.  Muddling through often works out very well in the end - look at Rorke's Drift - but it can get us into some awful scrapes along the way...
How else can anyone explain what Chelmsford was doing.  His moves that morning had been a RESPONSE to the alarm from the Mangeni.  Durnford RESPONDED to Chelmsford's summons without (allegedly) a specific plan of action being directed to him.  Pulleine RESPONDED to the nature/extent of the initial threat he believed he was up against.
I've always thought that the Big Battle that day could have been The Mangeni or The Bashee with Chelmsford or Durnford respectively wiped out and Pulleine left thinking he was the lucky one.
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Frank Allewell

Frank Allewell


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PostSubject: Re: Laagering of Wagons at iSandlwana and Laager Commandants   Laagering of Wagons at iSandlwana and Laager Commandants - Page 2 EmptySun Oct 24, 2021 9:49 am

In other words an Unauthorised deviation from criteria based standards. Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy
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barry

barry


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PostSubject: Re: Laagering of Wagons at iSandlwana and Laager Commandants   Laagering of Wagons at iSandlwana and Laager Commandants - Page 2 EmptySun Oct 24, 2021 10:04 am

Hi Frank,
In today Businessspeak it would be called KNEEJERK management. However it was said by some that Brightspark was planning to bring the enemy to battle, and was concerned that he would not succeed at that. However, maybe, and just maybe, the camp was actually sacrificed deliberately. , ie taking away half the force and expecting the 600-700 left to defend successfully was a delusion. Being a senior general He should have known that as his forces were less than minimal, that his circus was doomed.

regards

barry
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Julian Whybra




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PostSubject: Re: Laagering of Wagons at iSandlwana and Laager Commandants   Laagering of Wagons at iSandlwana and Laager Commandants - Page 2 EmptySun Oct 24, 2021 10:06 am

Barry
A deliberate sacrifice? A step too far, I think.
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Laagering of Wagons at iSandlwana and Laager Commandants   Laagering of Wagons at iSandlwana and Laager Commandants - Page 2 EmptySun Oct 24, 2021 10:47 am

Ouch !
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John Young

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PostSubject: Re: Laagering of Wagons at iSandlwana and Laager Commandants   Laagering of Wagons at iSandlwana and Laager Commandants - Page 2 EmptySun Oct 24, 2021 12:12 pm

I think this former cavalry ranker sums it up succinctly.

Had the world been searched for a position offering the easiest facilities for being surprised, none could have been found to surpass Isandula.  It offered a premium to disaster.

Archibald Forbes, correspondent of the Daily News.

JY
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gardner1879

gardner1879


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PostSubject: Re: Laagering of Wagons at iSandlwana and Laager Commandants   Laagering of Wagons at iSandlwana and Laager Commandants - Page 2 EmptySun Oct 24, 2021 1:25 pm

Interestingly I was just looking through some of Lord Chelmsford's despatches and found this in his 7th May despatch about the engagement at Gingindlovu:-

"Our casualties are small considering the easy mark the laager afforded the assailants, and, had it not been for the cover afforded the troops by the broad shelter trench, I should have had a much heavier loss"

The cynic in me, as his first battle after iSandlwana, wonders if he is still trying to cover up his mistakes and make excuses for not having a laager. This is him saying to the world:-
"Look I've fought the Zulu directly now and the Laager would have made things worse. It wouldn't have made any difference at iSandlwana so shut up"

Or is it it just me reading too much into it?
Kate:roll:

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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Laagering of Wagons at iSandlwana and Laager Commandants   Laagering of Wagons at iSandlwana and Laager Commandants - Page 2 EmptySun Oct 24, 2021 1:29 pm

Oh Kate, you old cynic Suspect
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Laagering of Wagons at iSandlwana and Laager Commandants   Laagering of Wagons at iSandlwana and Laager Commandants - Page 2 EmptySun Oct 24, 2021 2:21 pm

Kate If your still searching for potential laager Commandants have a look at Stafford. He mentions a Commandant Montgomery at one point.
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gardner1879

gardner1879


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PostSubject: Re: Laagering of Wagons at iSandlwana and Laager Commandants   Laagering of Wagons at iSandlwana and Laager Commandants - Page 2 EmptySun Oct 24, 2021 2:30 pm

Thanks Frank Salute
I will have a look.
Kate Very Happy
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gardner1879

gardner1879


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PostSubject: Re: Laagering of Wagons at iSandlwana and Laager Commandants   Laagering of Wagons at iSandlwana and Laager Commandants - Page 2 EmptySun Oct 24, 2021 6:00 pm

Is this the reference you had in mind Frank?:-

"Then, it having been decided to make Krantzkop the headquarters, we trekked out of Maritzburg on December 24. It was a ‘tango’ outfit. Most of the oxen, which were from the Free State, were not properly trained, while the drivers and voorloopers were inexperienced. Those who have had anything to do with ox transport can well imagine the difficulty that was experienced in getting the column moving with the loaded wagons. The commandant in charge, the late Captain Montgomery, of Mid-Hlovo, only too glad of my assistance and experience placed me in charge of the transport.
On arrival at Krantzkop, the unacclimatised Free State oxen began to die like flies from redwater with the result that by the time the Natal Native Contingent was up to strength there were very few of these animals left."

Kate:D
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Laagering of Wagons at iSandlwana and Laager Commandants   Laagering of Wagons at iSandlwana and Laager Commandants - Page 2 EmptySun Oct 24, 2021 6:34 pm

Thats the one I had in mind Kate but not to sure it fits the bill other than showing there were experienced men on hand.
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Julian Whybra




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PostSubject: Re: Laagering of Wagons at iSandlwana and Laager Commandants   Laagering of Wagons at iSandlwana and Laager Commandants - Page 2 EmptyTue Oct 26, 2021 4:02 pm

Commdt. Montgomery: Thus far (Kranz Kop), and no farther.
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Laagering of Wagons at iSandlwana and Laager Commandants   Laagering of Wagons at iSandlwana and Laager Commandants - Page 2 EmptyTue Oct 26, 2021 6:07 pm

Hi Julian
The point I was hopining to have made was that Montgomery recognised that he had experienced people to delegate to rather than having the requisite knowledge himself.

Cheers
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gardner1879

gardner1879


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PostSubject: Re: Laagering of Wagons at iSandlwana and Laager Commandants   Laagering of Wagons at iSandlwana and Laager Commandants - Page 2 EmptyTue Oct 26, 2021 6:27 pm

I think I've found who was responsible for Woods successful Laagering at Kambula.

Civilian Contractor Fred Struben thought not shown as a Laager Commandant or Head Conductor seems to have been responsible for making the 'Laager impregnable' after recieving news about the disaster at Hlobane.
It seems a laager of sorts had already been formed but Fred finished it off.
He was positioned in the smaller cattle laager during the battle.

Fred seems to have been in command  of transport in Woods flying column during the second invasion-
"Fred Struben had a hard task to keep the military transport going..."

Then on the right bank of the Umvolosi-
"Fred Struben having completed the construction of the laager in the late eveing.."

Re Commandant Alexander Montgomery Esq  1st NNC he was formely a Captain in the 7th Fusiliers, travelled to SA taking up a farm near Mid-Lovo named 'Ismont'. He was a member of the local gentry, Justice of the Peace and dabbled in politics, I can't find any reference to him being a skilled wagon conductor.
He  remained at Kranz Kop. I can only find two conductors attached to Durnford's column McMarthy and Nolan both killed at iSandlwana.

The British medical Journal 27th December 1879 states in relation to transport:-
"The truth is, that the campaign suffered from want of brains to guide it"
Nuff said
Kate Very Happy
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Julian Whybra




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PostSubject: Re: Laagering of Wagons at iSandlwana and Laager Commandants   Laagering of Wagons at iSandlwana and Laager Commandants - Page 2 EmptyTue Oct 26, 2021 8:36 pm

The conductor's name was given as McCarthy but in fact he was called McAthie.
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PostSubject: Re: Laagering of Wagons at iSandlwana and Laager Commandants   Laagering of Wagons at iSandlwana and Laager Commandants - Page 2 EmptyTue Oct 26, 2021 8:43 pm

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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Laagering of Wagons at iSandlwana and Laager Commandants   Laagering of Wagons at iSandlwana and Laager Commandants - Page 2 EmptyThu Oct 28, 2021 1:11 pm

Quote from David Jacksons 'The Sources Re-examined'. p11
" Moreover the manuuvring of the wagons required the supervision of a skilled 'laager commandant'. and successive attempts by Clery to engage a suitable civilian for the post had proved fruitless."
Kate it could therefore be usefull to look at PRO W.O 33/34 pp299-304

Frank
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PostSubject: Re: Laagering of Wagons at iSandlwana and Laager Commandants   Laagering of Wagons at iSandlwana and Laager Commandants - Page 2 EmptyMon Nov 01, 2021 11:38 am

"Trumpeter J. J. Horne, Newcastle Mounted Rifles, shot through the leg he was fortunate to escape the massacre at Fugitive’s Drift and, some 50 years later, related his story to a newspaper reporter.
“Around 75 European officers and men escaped the massacre at Isandhlwana, John Joseph Horne appearing on the list of survivors.
posted to Helpmekaar on 24 January 1879.
No better summary of Horne’s military career may be quoted than the following feature which appeared in the Natal Advertiser on 24
January 1920, on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of Isandhlwana:
‘A surprising number of lsandhlwana survivors has been revealed by the 50 years’ peace celebrations. Mr. John J. Horne, an organiser
of the Newcastle Mounted Volunteer Corps in 1875, and one of the survivors of lsandhlwana, is still hale and hearty and lives in Durban.
His account of the preparations for the battle at lsandhlwana shed new light on why no laager was formed. He and his corps were.
stationed at the far end of the camp and two members of his corps, Berning and Dinckleman, were on vedette duty about four miles out.
of camp Dinckleman rode into Home with the report that the natives were approaching in mass formation. Colonel Durnford, then in command, rode up, and Horne passed on the report to him. The Colonel ordered the dispatching of the ox. wagons and the formation of a laager, but shortly afterwards Colonel Pulleine rode up with an auxiliary force and the laager was not. formed. Why the order was countermanded is not known to Horne. Horne escaped the massacre with a shot through the leg. Mr. Horne's career has had more excitement during a year than most people.
have in their lives. In 1870 he was given an appointment in the Government service at Ladysmith. He joined the Natal Frontier Guards in 1871. In 1873 they were ordered out on the Langalibalele rebellion. He was one of the first volunteers to join up when the trouble. started. During the course of the campaign, he went into Basutoland by way of the Double Mountains and the Bushman's Pass, under Captain Ellis, where they captured their man and brought him to the gaol at Matitzburg. In the latter end of 1875 Mr. Horne was transferred to Newcastle, where he acted in many civic roles through the lack of other officials. Mr. Melmoth was magistrate of Newcastle at the time and when he received a request from a Major Dartnell to raise a mounted corps he asked Horne to do it. After official sanction had been obtained Horne raised a force of 37 men, whom he trained and drilled. In 1877 the Major inspected the corps and paid its organiser a compliment as to its efficiency. It was then brigaded with the Buffalo Border Guard between Newcastleand Dundee. A year later the corps was called up for the campaign the first leg of which ended in the disaster at Isandhlwana.’ Just 38 South Africa Medals were issued to the Newcastle Mounted Rifles, at least seven of whom were killed in action on 22nd January.1879

Source DNW"
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PostSubject: Laagering of Wagons at Isandlwana    Laagering of Wagons at iSandlwana and Laager Commandants - Page 2 EmptyMon Nov 01, 2021 1:07 pm

Hi Pete
Seems to me DNW have confused Durnford and Pulleine , Pulleine was hardly going to ride up with an Auxiliary force ! , that would be Durnford I'd expect .
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PostSubject: Re: Laagering of Wagons at iSandlwana and Laager Commandants   Laagering of Wagons at iSandlwana and Laager Commandants - Page 2 EmptyMon Nov 01, 2021 2:24 pm

Or Horne was confused. Shocked
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Laagering of Wagons at iSandlwana and Laager Commandants   Laagering of Wagons at iSandlwana and Laager Commandants - Page 2 EmptyMon Nov 01, 2021 2:30 pm

Statement is as given by Horn.
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PostSubject: Re: Laagering of Wagons at iSandlwana and Laager Commandants   Laagering of Wagons at iSandlwana and Laager Commandants - Page 2 EmptyMon Nov 01, 2021 3:39 pm

In the original it is Horne that was confused.
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PostSubject: Re: Laagering of Wagons at iSandlwana and Laager Commandants   Laagering of Wagons at iSandlwana and Laager Commandants - Page 2 EmptyMon Nov 01, 2021 10:13 pm

An extract From a Natal Newspaper:-

"With Colonel Wood's Column"
Blood River Zululand 7th Jan 1879
"...The wagon train of 141 wagons took some time to get into order not withstanding the admirable regulations and arrangements made by the commandant and carried out energetically by Captain Vaughan"

Further proof Wood had a Laagar Commandant with is column.
Thanks for the lengthy post about Horne Pete Salute  
Kate Very Happy
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gardner1879

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PostSubject: Re: Laagering of Wagons at iSandlwana and Laager Commandants   Laagering of Wagons at iSandlwana and Laager Commandants - Page 2 EmptySun Dec 26, 2021 6:29 pm

A further update if anyone is interested, it seems, according to Lieutenant Harford, the only people in Lord Chelmsford's column who had any real experience with wagons was Captain Krohn and Lieutenant Vane.
Harford 20th January 1879:-
"If it hadn't been for the services of two of our officers, Captain Krohn and Lieutenant Vane, who were expert wagon-drivers and did nearly the whole of the driving themselves at the bad places, many would have broken down and the column would have been delayed for weeks."
P121 'Harford' by David and Emma Payne.
Weather Vane or Krohn could have effectively laagered wagons is another matter and neither of these held the rank of Laager Commandant.
Kate Merry Christmas
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PostSubject: Re: Laagering of Wagons at iSandlwana and Laager Commandants   Laagering of Wagons at iSandlwana and Laager Commandants - Page 2 EmptyMon Dec 27, 2021 1:25 pm

Kate,

Nice play on words... Joker Joker Joker

JY
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Chelmsfordthescapegoat

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PostSubject: Re: Laagering of Wagons at iSandlwana and Laager Commandants   Laagering of Wagons at iSandlwana and Laager Commandants - Page 2 EmptyMon Dec 27, 2021 3:11 pm

gardner1879 wrote:
A further update if anyone is interested, it seems, according to Lieutenant Harford, the only people in Lord Chelmsford's column who had any real experience with wagons was Captain Krohn and Lieutenant Vane.
Harford 20th January 1879:-
"If it hadn't been for the services of two of our officers, Captain Krohn and Lieutenant Vane, who were expert wagon-drivers and did nearly the whole of the driving themselves at the bad places, many would have broken down and the column would have been delayed for weeks."
P121 'Harford' by David and Emma Payne.
Weather Vane or Krohn could have effectively laagered wagons is another matter and neither of these held the rank of Laager Commandant.
Kate Merry Christmas

So Captain Krohn and Lieutenant Vane are to blame for the loss at Isandlwana ?
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PostSubject: Re: Laagering of Wagons at iSandlwana and Laager Commandants   Laagering of Wagons at iSandlwana and Laager Commandants - Page 2 EmptyTue Dec 28, 2021 10:20 am

Krohn and Vaines's expertise as waggon drivers is well-known but, Kate is right, the skills of a laager commandant were in a different league.
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PostSubject: Re: Laagering of Wagons at iSandlwana and Laager Commandants   Laagering of Wagons at iSandlwana and Laager Commandants - Page 2 EmptyTue Dec 28, 2021 11:51 am

"Weather Vane or Krohn could have effectively laagered wagons is another matter and neither of these held the rank of Laager Commandant.
Kate"
Was Laager Commandant a rank, or a position/appointment?
Merry Christmas Merry Christmas all. Merry Christmas
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PostSubject: Re: Laagering of Wagons at iSandlwana and Laager Commandants   Laagering of Wagons at iSandlwana and Laager Commandants - Page 2 EmptyTue Dec 28, 2021 12:52 pm

An appointment just as in the same way the (colonial) interpreters were appointed.
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PostSubject: Re: Laagering of Wagons at iSandlwana and Laager Commandants   Laagering of Wagons at iSandlwana and Laager Commandants - Page 2 EmptyWed Jan 05, 2022 5:12 pm

From a recent charity bookshop find 'Recent British Battles On Land and Sea' by James Grant, 1904 p283, this plan of laagers on the march to Ulundi.(though I suspect it is in other publications as well so apologies to anyone who has seen it before.)
These are obviously the sort of  formations they deemed suitable to deploy into each evening during the second invasion in order to provide adequate protection for men,livestock and supplies.
In the theme of this thread we have to ask ourselves did Lord Chelmsford have the expertise and trained personel in No3 column to deploy into this sort of formation during the first invasion?
Answers on a post card to....

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I appreciate I may have done this question to death on this thread but I keep finding information that reinforces my earlier doubts and misgivings.

If anyone disagrees I would be grateful if they could help me out with this and provide names and abilities of people in his column who could form intricate laagers.
Kate Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: Laagering of Wagons at iSandlwana and Laager Commandants   Laagering of Wagons at iSandlwana and Laager Commandants - Page 2 EmptyWed Jan 05, 2022 5:45 pm

Nice find, Kate. I think most of us would like to know who functioned as the laager commandant of No. 3 Column!
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gardner1879

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PostSubject: Re: Laagering of Wagons at iSandlwana and Laager Commandants   Laagering of Wagons at iSandlwana and Laager Commandants - Page 2 EmptyWed Jan 05, 2022 7:39 pm

Thanks Julian.

Quote :
I think most of us would like to know who functioned as the laager commandant of No. 3 Column!

Personally I don't think anyone did. I don't think Chelmsford had any intention of laagering at any time during his initial drive to Ulundi.
The whole idea about Laager Commandants and Chelmsford's inability to form a laager might make an interesting little essay in one of your 'Studies' volumes.
Just a thought
Kate Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: Laagering of Wagons at iSandlwana and Laager Commandants   Laagering of Wagons at iSandlwana and Laager Commandants - Page 2 EmptyWed Jan 05, 2022 10:39 pm

...and yet LC could not have predicted what might or might not happen.  He was surely duty bound to be prepared for all contingencies. He must have been able to rely on someone who might perform such a role if required, even if only in name.  
Durnford's was a separate column.  Would he not have had a laager commandant to spare?
Ditto, just a thought.
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PostSubject: Re: Laagering of Wagons at iSandlwana and Laager Commandants   Laagering of Wagons at iSandlwana and Laager Commandants - Page 2 EmptyThu Jan 06, 2022 10:43 am

Quote :
...and yet LC could not have predicted what might or might not happen.  He was surely duty bound to be prepared for all contingencies.

Exactly.
He was duty bound but was not prepared. The sign of a poor commander.

And with that last sentance I will just pop down and get my tin opener to open up that can of worm flavoured soup labelled:-
'Mr Chelmsford's Scapegoat broth. 57 different mistakes. May contain nuts. No cooking advice as would not be used if there was any. Ingredients- Overconfidence,arrogance,self importance, incompetence and a splash of self rightousness. Best before anything bad happens.
Kate  Rolling Eyes
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Laagering of Wagons at iSandlwana and Laager Commandants   Laagering of Wagons at iSandlwana and Laager Commandants - Page 2 EmptyThu Jan 06, 2022 11:28 am

Hold of with your can can Kate.
Take a step backwards and ask who was in charge of the column as it was being formed and who was responsible for the appointments? Pretty sure it wasnt his Lordship, even though he did eventually ride roughshod over Glyn later.
So surely the blame has to be laid at the door of the 24st Regiment of foot, OC and staff? Or quite possibly his transport officers?
So possibly Essex?
Frank Shocked
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Julian Whybra




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PostSubject: Re: Laagering of Wagons at iSandlwana and Laager Commandants   Laagering of Wagons at iSandlwana and Laager Commandants - Page 2 EmptyThu Jan 06, 2022 12:35 pm

Frank,
I was thinking the same thing when I read Kate's post; it was Glyn that was the column commander. Glyn did things by the book; he was not "poor" in that sense.
Kate
I am not a Chelmsford fan in any sense and find it difficult to defend his actions but "He was duty bound but was not prepared" is a bit final when we still don't know for certain one way or the other whether there had been an appointment or an 'understanding'. Perhaps Krohn or A.N. Other, if he was up to it, agreed to take on the role pro tempore. I would have thought that column appointments went beyond the authority of the transport officers. Surely it would be the Column Commander's responsibility?
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gardner1879

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PostSubject: Re: Laagering of Wagons at iSandlwana and Laager Commandants   Laagering of Wagons at iSandlwana and Laager Commandants - Page 2 EmptyThu Jan 06, 2022 1:07 pm

From Glyn's letter to Bellairs posted earlier in this thread:-

"There was no Laager Commandant for No3 Column, as it was found impossible to procure one - I at one time hoped I had secured the services of Mr Dubois who was represented to me as a competent person -  but he subsequently declined to go. I then was in treaty with a Mr Woodruffe, also thoroughly recommended who led me to think up to the last moment that he would accompany the column but at the last moment he declined to go. This was duly brought to the notice of H.E.  the Lt General commanding."(my underlining.)

Bellairs was close to Chelmsford. If there had been an 'unofficial' agreement with a.n.other for someone to do the job why would Bellairs be asking Glyn? Chelmsford could have supplied that information direct.
Chelmsford was aware and looking at subsequent events and evidence in this topic did nothing about it hence not being prepared.
Kate
ps Julian I'm assuming this was in reference to Frank's post:-  
Quote :
I would have thought that column appointments went beyond the authority of the transport officers. Surely it would be the Column Commander's responsibility?
Nice to have you back Frank Salute
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Laagering of Wagons at iSandlwana and Laager Commandants   Laagering of Wagons at iSandlwana and Laager Commandants - Page 2 EmptyThu Jan 06, 2022 1:46 pm

Hiya Kate
If we are to castigate Chelmsford for the failings at Column 3 we should then surely commend him for the appointment at Column 4.
Frank
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PostSubject: Re: Laagering of Wagons at iSandlwana and Laager Commandants   Laagering of Wagons at iSandlwana and Laager Commandants - Page 2 EmptyThu Jan 06, 2022 3:33 pm

Kate
I'm aware of the content of Glyn's letter but someone had to be able to manoeuvre waggons if called upon - it stands to reason doesn't it? There was ceretainly not any official appointment, as Glyn says, right up to the battle.
Yet, I ask myself, what do I imagine LC might have said to Glyn when 'notice was duly brought to him'? I reckon he might have said 'keep looking' or 'you don't expect ME to be dealing with mundane matters of column organization/waggon transport', or 'get out there and do something about it' or 'see if one of the colonial NNC mob has any experience of it'. I know LC liked to interfere and tinker but he also was happy to delegate when it suited him.
I can't answer the question of laager commandant definitively yet I can't quite think that Glyn would have left the matter completely open. Hopefully, an answer will emerge in due course of time.
Yes, sorry, the appointments comment was meant for Frank.
Frank
Indeed...and where would the commendations/castigations end?
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Laagering of Wagons at iSandlwana and Laager Commandants   Laagering of Wagons at iSandlwana and Laager Commandants - Page 2 EmptyThu Jan 06, 2022 4:15 pm

Hi Julian
A touch of logic would suggest that as the only comments about NOT finding a Commandant are directed at the Column 3, I would say that the other 4 columns DID have the correct personel. So maybe somebody, Bellairs, did do something right?
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Julian Whybra




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PostSubject: Re: Laagering of Wagons at iSandlwana and Laager Commandants   Laagering of Wagons at iSandlwana and Laager Commandants - Page 2 EmptyThu Jan 06, 2022 10:29 pm

Frank
True.
Wasn't it Brickhill who wrote that Pulleine had told him he intended to laager the waggons? That would imply that there WAS someone who could do that job. I must look that up. I'm not too well at the moment with a nasty virus and can barely string two thoughts together.
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PostSubject: Re: Laagering of Wagons at iSandlwana and Laager Commandants   Laagering of Wagons at iSandlwana and Laager Commandants - Page 2 EmptyFri Jan 07, 2022 3:36 am

Take care Julian. Get well soon. Salute
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PostSubject: Re: Laagering of Wagons at iSandlwana and Laager Commandants   Laagering of Wagons at iSandlwana and Laager Commandants - Page 2 EmptyFri Jan 07, 2022 8:52 am

Thanks Frank. Correcting myself now...Pulleine told Brickhill he wanted to inspan the waggons, not laager. Apologies.
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PostSubject: Re: Laagering of Wagons at iSandlwana and Laager Commandants   Laagering of Wagons at iSandlwana and Laager Commandants - Page 2 EmptyFri Jan 07, 2022 9:36 am

It seems obvious that the job of finding suitable personnel such as a Laager Commandant was left to the column commanders.
I do believe that Wood had someone qualified for the job (see my earlier postings). Any credit must go to Wood for thorough preperations.
I don't know if there was one in No5 Column or Durnford's No2 Column though his experience in Africa and contacts with the local community would suggest he could have someone. However looking at the make up of his force (mounted basutos and NNC), he would not have the massive baggage train needed to support regular troops in the field.

I don't believe there was a Laager Commandant attached to No1 column (once again check out Warren Wynne's comments I posted earlier in the thread.)

It is obvious looking at his letters that Lord Chelmsford was keenly interested in matters relating to transport (after all it was probably his biggest headache for the campaign) and as early as the 7th November 1878 he claims that "Our Transport Dept. has completely broken down"
Virtually every letter he writes has some reference to transport in it.

Do we have an exact date when Lord Chelmsford took command of No 3 Column?
I have found a letter to Wood on 10th December describing his movements to join Glyn's column so I'm assuming he made the decision before then. He later (10th Jan 1879) talks of 'moving his camp to Rorke's Drift'

As a commander who liked to micro manage everything, the idea that Chelmsford was unaware or unintersted in the posting of such an important figure such as a Laager Commandant in is own column I find very hard to believe.
If he took command at the beginning of December then that gave him plenty of time to redress the issue and find someone suitable for this extremley important role.

The defence of the camp was a real hot potato at the time and has been examined in great detail in the subsequent 142 years. The name of the man with such a formal title as Laager Commandant with the  skills and experience to form a laager that 'could' have prevented the disaster would surely have come to light in this time.
If he existed why was he not called forward during the enquiry to either defend or damn Lord Chelmsford or why did he not make his own statement for the press or family? (I appreciate he could have been killed but his name would still have been known and refered to)
All this evidence suggests that there was no one of that title capable of establishing a secure laager for No3 Column.

Unless of course he didn't think it was important to laager the wagons.
Perhaps as he says in a letter to Wood on the 23rd November 1878:-
"I am inclined to think that the first experience of the power of the Martini Henrys will be such a suprise to the Zulus that they will not be formidable after the first effort"

This despite all the information he had about the way the Zulus fought.
Kate Rolling Eyes
Hope you are feeling better soon Julian.
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Julian Whybra




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PostSubject: Re: Laagering of Wagons at iSandlwana and Laager Commandants   Laagering of Wagons at iSandlwana and Laager Commandants - Page 2 EmptyFri Jan 07, 2022 9:50 pm

Kate
Still feeling lousy actually. I think we must agree to disagree again here. As I've said, I'm not a fan of LC but if nothing else he was a pragmatist. Not being able to appoint a decent laager commdt does not mean LC (or Glyn) was a poor commander. It simply means that one was not to be had. What was the man to do? Delay the whole invasion until one could be found? My historical approach adopted here would be 'don't know, wait and see' rather than jury-judge-conviction.
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PostSubject: Re: Laagering of Wagons at iSandlwana and Laager Commandants   Laagering of Wagons at iSandlwana and Laager Commandants - Page 2 EmptySat Jan 08, 2022 7:08 am

Morning Julian
Sorry to hear you are still feeling lousy.

Quote :
My historical approach adopted here would be 'don't know, wait and see' rather than jury-judge-conviction.

Thats fine but all I would say is that if we adopted this approach in relation to the battle with its huge gaping holes in the evidence then not a single book would have been written on the subject. We would all be sitting back waiting for that holy grail piece of correspondance to surface that explained exactly what happened.

I suppose my aim in starting this topic was to look at just one small aspect of Lord C.s planning of the operation. (and one that has not been explored by historians in the past.)
A small aspect some may say but an extremly important one in my eyes. He knew how the Zulu fought, he knew the importance of laagering when facing the Zulu and yet his column still lumbered off into Zululand with the inability to do so. I am willing to stand corrected on this last sentence if someone can provide the evidence.
I was hoping that this topic on the forum would have drawn out that evidence with the wealth of knowledge available but so far nothing. With my own knowledge, having read about the subject for many years, it appears not to be there.

So I'm sticking to my guns on this one. Throughout this thread I have provided good, solid, evidence in relation to what was going on in the columns in relation to laagering. There has been no good, hard, solid evidence provided to refute my findings.

Should he have delayed the entire invasion until he found a Laager Commandant? No. Should he have placed a greater importance in finding one? Oh yes, absolutely.
But with this mindset(apologies for repeating it):-
"I am inclined to think that the first experience of the power of the Martini Henrys will be such a suprise to the Zulus that they will not be formidable after the first effort"
I don't think it was high on his list priorities.

Lord Chelmsford, like all men, did have his strengths as well as his weaknesses. His previous military record shows those strengths but his AZW record, including what we are discussing here, shows his weaknesses.
Such weaknesses wouldn't have mattered if the campaign was a short, successful one but they led to a disaster and men died because of them. That in my opinion makes him a poor commander.

Hope you are feeling better soon.

Kate  Very Happy
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Laagering of Wagons at iSandlwana and Laager Commandants
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