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 What if Dartnell had returned?

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PostSubject: What if Dartnell had returned?   What if Dartnell had returned? EmptyMon Oct 11, 2021 1:12 pm

Following on from a point raised on another recent thread.
What do people reckon would have happened on the 22nd if Major Dartnell had returned to camp with his whole force on the evening of the 21st?

Kate Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: What if Dartnell had returned?   What if Dartnell had returned? EmptyMon Oct 11, 2021 2:50 pm

Firstly Kate I think there would have been some serious scouting very early in the morning. That could very easily have brought forward the charge. Wasnt it Mehlokazulu that said the chest was about to break when the bugles sounded? With more than double the number of rifles brought to bare I would quail at the thought of the carnage.
There could easily have been a spin of continuing that line that the decimation could have been so severe that Hlobane and Khambula would not have happened.
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PostSubject: Re: What if Dartnell had returned?   What if Dartnell had returned? EmptyMon Oct 11, 2021 3:35 pm

Kate,

If Dartnell had returned, then there would have been no necessity to reinforce him.

Just imagine the firepower of six cannon and the addition of the 2nd/24th’s companies.

I agree with Frank it would have been carnage.

JY
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: What if Dartnell had returned?   What if Dartnell had returned? EmptyMon Oct 11, 2021 5:50 pm

thats why i blame Dartnell for Isandlwana
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PostSubject: Re: What if Dartnell had returned?   What if Dartnell had returned? EmptyMon Oct 11, 2021 8:30 pm

Guys,

I hesitate to ask, because I feel my question for you all is quite basic. That said, I do have a fundamental idea of the Isandlwana battle, but specific, intricate details and all officers in the original column are not yet part of my knowledge base. I thought I had a decent knowledge base when I joined. Alas, I am merely capable of having a casual conversation about Rorkes Drift/Isandlwana and the follow on battles culminating in the Zulu collapse at Ulindi.
Enough preamble. What was Major Dartnells command that is being referred to? Approximately how many men/artillery/cavalry/lancers et al. A link or brief explanation would help this new guy out. Just trying to learn. Respectfully,

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PostSubject: Re: What if Dartnell had returned?   What if Dartnell had returned? EmptyMon Oct 11, 2021 8:46 pm

Who ordered Dartnell to scout ahead.?
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PostSubject: Re: What if Dartnell had returned?   What if Dartnell had returned? EmptyTue Oct 12, 2021 12:16 am

“Stand To!”

On Tuesday, 21st January 1879 Major John George Dartnell, the Commandant of the Natal Mounted Police, led one section of a two-pronged reconnaissance to probe the stronghold of a Zulu chieftain, Matshana kaMondisa.  Dartnell’s force was composed of three other officers and seventy other-ranks of the N.M.P. and four officers and forty-two other-ranks of the Natal Volunteers.

The other section of the reconnaissance was commanded by Commandant Rupert Lonsdale and was composed of eight companies of the 1st Battalion, 3rd Regiment, Natal Native Contingent, and seven companies of the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Regiment, N.N.C.  

For fuller details as to the numbers involved can I suggest consulting F.W.D. Jackson’s Hill of the Sphinx, or his three part Isandhlwana 1879: the Sources Re-examined which appeared in the Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research in 1965.  Those journals are available online through the JSTOR website.

In response to the Dartnell/Lonsdale reconnaissance coming into contact with Zulu forces, he sought assistance from Chelmsford at iSandlwana.  In the early morning of 22nd January 1879, Chelmsford led out part of No. 3 Column to reinforce their position, taking with him six companies of the 2nd/24th, four cannon of ‘N’ Battery, 5th Brigade, Royal Artillery and most of No. 1 Squadron, Mounted Infantry.

Again, Jackson details these figures.

Peter,

In answer to your question.

The General-Officer-Commanding - Lieutenant-General (Local Rank) Lord Chelmsford.

JY
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90th

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PostSubject: What if Dartnell had returned    What if Dartnell had returned? EmptyTue Oct 12, 2021 12:40 am

Hi Stand To
Dartnell had no Artillery , no Imperial Cavalry or Lancers , the 17th Lcrs and the 1st KDG'S were part of the reinforcements sent for the 2nd Invasion . Dartnell was a Colonial Officer who had about 130 - 150 Mtd men with him , these being all Colonial horseman made up of the Natal Carbineers , Natal Mtd Police , Newcastle Mtd Rifles along with members of the Buffalo Border Guard , he also had the unmounted NNC battalions the 1/ 3rd and  2/3rd NNC , probably about 700 or so in each of those  , two companies of each Battalion remained at Isandlwana for outpost and piquet duties , Dartnell's force made their way out of command. Dartnell seperated his command with Hamilton Browne taking one of the Battalions of the NNC to scout over and around the Malakatha range , while Dartnell continued his movement along the Malakatha's to the Hlazakazi Hills . Both these forces met up late evening of the 21st and stayed overnight in Eastern part of the Hlazakazi Hills . Someone will hopefully post a map to indicate the movements , technology and I don't go well together ! .
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PostSubject: What if Dartnell had returned    What if Dartnell had returned? EmptyTue Oct 12, 2021 12:41 am

Hi JY
I hope you're well Mate ? , I see our Posts crossed . Have you heard from the Major ? .
Cheers Mate
90th Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: What if Dartnell had returned?   What if Dartnell had returned? EmptyTue Oct 12, 2021 12:49 am

Smoko,

Learn to post images during course of your confinement.

I’ll drop you an e-mail.

JY
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Drummer Boy 14

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PostSubject: Re: What if Dartnell had returned?   What if Dartnell had returned? EmptyWed Oct 13, 2021 10:40 am

I've always thought it was a terrible idea to send Dartnell out to scout given the forces he had under his command.

If he did run into any trouble, and he believed that he had, he would need to be reinforced or risk being wiped out.

Surely sending him out to scout in the first place was one of the worse decisions that were made?

Many thanks,
Sam
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PostSubject: Re: What if Dartnell had returned?   What if Dartnell had returned? EmptySun Oct 17, 2021 4:58 am

John Young wrote:
Kate,

If Dartnell had returned, then there would have been no necessity to reinforce him.

Just imagine the firepower of six cannon and the addition of the 2nd/24th’s companies.

I agree with Frank it would have been carnage.

JY
Wasn't there a gatling gun present in the column?
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gardner1879

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PostSubject: Re: What if Dartnell had returned?   What if Dartnell had returned? EmptySun Oct 17, 2021 9:19 am

Paul
There was a Gatling Gun present during the first invasion but not with Chelmsford's No3 column.
It was attached to Pearson's No1 Column down at the coast and belonged to H.M.S. Actives Naval Brigade.
At the battle of Nyezane on the 22nd January, it fired approx 300 rounds whilst under the command of Midshipman Lewis Coker who was apparently 'delighted with its performance.'

Kate Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: What if Dartnell had returned?   What if Dartnell had returned? EmptySun Oct 17, 2021 7:17 pm

gardner1879 wrote:
Paul
There was a Gatling Gun present during the first invasion but not with Chelmsford's No3 column.
It was attached to Pearson's No1 Column down at the coast and belonged to H.M.S. Actives Naval Brigade.
At the battle of Nyezane on the 22nd January,  it fired approx 300 rounds whilst under the command of Midshipman Lewis Coker who was apparently 'delighted with its performance.'

Kate Very Happy

Thanks Kate. I had watched a Youtube video that erroneously claimed that LC had the Gatling. TYVM for clarifying.
-Paul
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90th

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PostSubject: What if Dartnell had returned    What if Dartnell had returned? EmptyMon Oct 18, 2021 2:23 am

Hi BigPaulie
LC did have a Gatling Gun at Gingindlovu when he was on the way to relieve Pearson's Column at Eshowe on April 2nd .
90th


Last edited by 90th on Tue Oct 19, 2021 2:06 am; edited 1 time in total
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John Young

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PostSubject: Re: What if Dartnell had returned?   What if Dartnell had returned? EmptyMon Oct 18, 2021 12:17 pm

There was a well-known battlefield guide who was adamant that there had been a Gatling Gun used in the Defence of Rorke’s Drift. When asked for his source it proved to be a novel by Wilbur Smith.

‘Nuff said.

JY
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90th

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PostSubject: What if Dartnell had returned    What if Dartnell had returned? EmptyMon Oct 18, 2021 1:00 pm

JY Very Happy Joker Joker Joker
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PostSubject: What if Maj Dartnell had returned?   What if Dartnell had returned? EmptyWed Oct 20, 2021 12:14 pm

Hi 90th,
Maj Dartnell did have RML 9 artillery with him. They fired into the camp in the semi darkness on their return from Chelmsfords Frolick, after the battle. Confirming however that there were no Gatlings at either Isandlwana or Rorkes Drift but some ,65's Naval variants were with the Coastal Column. These were offloaded from one of the RN ships anchored off Port Durnford, having been warped ashore, and manhandled and wheeled from there, through the Mtunzini Swamps, up into Zululand by men of the Naval Brigade. The carriages for these had been hastily manufactured onboard by the ships carpenters.

regards

barry.
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90th

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PostSubject: What if Dartnell had returned    What if Dartnell had returned? EmptyWed Oct 20, 2021 2:35 pm

Hi Barry
Yes I think you'll find that the Artillery which fired into the camp was the RA who was with LC , and it was lagging behind most of the way , fairly certain Dartnell had no artillery of his own ? , Dartnell's force were NNC and about 100 Mtd Colonials , hope you're well Barry ? , stay safe and well .
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Chelmsfordthescapegoat

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PostSubject: Re: What if Dartnell had returned?   What if Dartnell had returned? EmptyWed Oct 20, 2021 5:58 pm

ADMIN wrote:
Who ordered Dartnell to scout ahead.?

I still see your trying to hang the good Lord Chelmsford out to dry Wink
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PostSubject: Re: What if Dartnell had returned?   What if Dartnell had returned? EmptyThu Oct 21, 2021 2:13 am


I still see your trying to hang the good Lord Chelmsford out to dry  Wink [/quote]

LC did that himself. PM Disraeli knew the facts. LC conducted a Victorian campaign of CYA (Cover Your Arse). Prime example of men that were promoted far ahead of their abilities or common sense. Sorry, but LC isn't a saint and the outcome of Isandlwana lies at his feet alone. Hence the white washing of the facts, and the drift getting all the praise. To provide cover for a Leader who failed to take his adversary seriously or respect them. Those white cairns are proof of that. Just my humble 2 cents.
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PostSubject: Re: What if Dartnell had returned?   What if Dartnell had returned? EmptyThu Oct 21, 2021 9:23 pm

I think your find, Dumford was the one who was responsible for the loss of the camp. He took command, which he should not have done, he was ordered to move up and reinforce the camp. As the good Lord Chelmsford said, "But I left more than 1,000 men to guard the camp!”

Those men were under the command of Col Dumford.

Paulie,"when you take command, old boy, you're on your own. One of the first things that the general - my grandfather - ever taught me."
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PostSubject: Re: What if Dartnell had returned?   What if Dartnell had returned? EmptyFri Oct 22, 2021 2:19 pm

It was Chelmsford who made the decision to send Dartnell out to scout with a force of men totally unprepared to face an attack.

This is one of the worse decisions made during the war and there really is no one to blame but him given he was in complete charge at that time.
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: What if Dartnell had returned?   What if Dartnell had returned? EmptySun Oct 24, 2021 9:59 am

In hindsight DB your right but for a set of circumstances prevalent at the time it quite possibly was a normal command decision. His, Chelmsfords, biggest fear was that the zulu wouldnt attack him without being drawn in, in some manner. hence he had no qualms in sending out quite a large mounted force backed up by the NNC, who were there to chase a retreating enemy. And thats what he expected to happen. So the logic of the day, as he saw it was correct.
Added to that of course is that he had absolutly no idea that the NNC would cut and run at the slightest indication that the zulu would threaten them.
Cheers
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PostSubject: Re: What if Dartnell had returned?   What if Dartnell had returned? EmptySun Oct 24, 2021 8:56 pm

+ Who knew the Zulu were gathering in force near Isandlwana. Dartnell thought he have located the Zulu army, and rightly called for reinforcement. The Good Lord Chelmsford, however is guilty of two things. Leaving an incompetent officer in command of the camp, and ordering Dumford to reinforce the camp, who then disobeyed orders and took command.


PS
"No idea that the NNC would cut and run at the slightest indication that the zulu would threaten them"

I wonder if that would have been the case. if they had been trained and armed with the same weapons as the British, rather than a pointed sticks and shields. Some British soldiers didn't exactly hang about, or take up shield and spear, when their ammunition depleted.
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PostSubject: Re: What if Dartnell had returned?   What if Dartnell had returned? EmptyWed Nov 24, 2021 1:46 pm

Barry
It WAS indeed Harness's N/5 artillery that fired into the camp on its return and Dartnell certainly had NO artillery accompanying him.
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