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 Lieut. Walsh and the Siphezi patrol of the 21st January

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Tig Van Milcroft




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Lieut. Walsh and the Siphezi  patrol of the 21st January - Page 4 Empty
PostSubject: Re: Lieut. Walsh and the Siphezi patrol of the 21st January   Lieut. Walsh and the Siphezi  patrol of the 21st January - Page 4 EmptyWed Feb 23, 2022 4:10 pm

Julian,

Correct, I take your point, I was conflating, in my head as I wrote, Lonsdale with Dartnell. However, the salient point stands the expedition was in a cleft stick to return was to lose contact with the Zulu to stay was to be exposed. There was no right answer for the expedition, but it was a situation into which Chelmsford had placed them. He could hardly blame a reconnaisance force for finding the enemy and following procedure by staying in touch with them. Yet he did. I am probably not alone in thinking that he was delighted at the time, I cannot help thinking that the NNC were bait.

As to placement of the camp at Mangene. I think Chelmsford realised that he was not going all the way to Ondini with a 10 mile long wagon train. Mangene was as good a place as any to meet the main Zulu Impi such was his confidence in the outcome, it was a very poor location for an onward march with his wagons to Ondini given his constraints in logistics. He got his wish his force met the Zulu on the way to Ondini, his plan worked to that extent.
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Julian Whybra




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Lieut. Walsh and the Siphezi  patrol of the 21st January - Page 4 Empty
PostSubject: Re: Lieut. Walsh and the Siphezi patrol of the 21st January   Lieut. Walsh and the Siphezi  patrol of the 21st January - Page 4 EmptyWed Feb 23, 2022 4:18 pm

Have a look at LC's correspondence with Frere in the NAM's Chelmsford Papers - I think you'll find that LC was in agreement with you about the waggon train!
Also note that LC's instructions to Dartnell were distinct in that he should RETURN to camp once the reconnaissance was over. Even though Dartnell was in a cleft stick, should he not have returned? He had after all only reportedly seen a thousand or so Zulu? Hardly 25,000 plus-impi size!
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Tig Van Milcroft




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PostSubject: Re: Lieut. Walsh and the Siphezi patrol of the 21st January   Lieut. Walsh and the Siphezi  patrol of the 21st January - Page 4 EmptyWed Feb 23, 2022 4:57 pm

Julian, A reconaisance is not over until the mission is complete, Dartnell supplied via Gossett intelligence to Chelmsford. Chelmsford is the person responsible for dealing with the consequences of it. Dartnell's problem was that his NNC NCO's were out on their feet, they had started at 4-40am. The Cavalry could have got back to camp but they were the firepower of the combined unit. The infantry alone and exposed at night if the Zulus decided to attack would be annihilated, even in laager all on the mountian agreed if the Zulus had attacked they would have destroyed the force. This situation could have been foreseen by Chelmsford and he probably did foresee it, he chanced it, if it went wrong he had an excuse as the order shows. If he did not foresee this situation given the NNC were only formed fours week earlier and had no training, with NCO's pretty much picked up off the street and not necessarily up to the rigours of military campaigning, why was he commanding?

Back to your point on Durnford and maps. I think I have the definitive answer, (Droogleever Road to Isandlwana p142) this was at the early stages of discussion with T Shepstone about the anexation of Zululand - august 12th 1877 "for the next two and a half months he travelled between Natal and the Transvaalin his two wheeled cart on what appears to be a military survey. It most likely was of a secret nature for there is no clue in his brothers biography nor in the Colenso correspondence to show what he was doing". These maps if there are such, as seems likely, are probably sitting in some military archive maybe Chatham or somewhere else? Would be interesting if they ever turned up.
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Julian Whybra




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PostSubject: Re: Lieut. Walsh and the Siphezi patrol of the 21st January   Lieut. Walsh and the Siphezi  patrol of the 21st January - Page 4 EmptyWed Feb 23, 2022 10:26 pm

Tig
I think you may well be right about the 1877 survey. I've never seen anything at Chatham which might correspond but it is a real rabbit warren underground and they may be hidden away somewhere. something for the 'to-do' list.
While your comments re the Dartnell-Chelmsford situation are true, and I cannot disagree with them, an order is still an order. Yes, Lonsdale's NNC were tired but Murray's NNC coy herded captured cattle back through the night to arrive at camp in the morning. Walsh's men worked through the night. All Dartnell had to do was point them in the direction of 'home'.
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Tig Van Milcroft




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PostSubject: Re: Lieut. Walsh and the Siphezi patrol of the 21st January   Lieut. Walsh and the Siphezi  patrol of the 21st January - Page 4 EmptyThu Feb 24, 2022 1:16 pm

Julian,

If you look at Chelmsford's actions in response to Dartnell's position and actions, rather than his response to what seems to be a fairly peeved horseguards, it adds rather a lot more nuance to the debate, over and above "an order is an order".

In the afternoon of the 21st Dartnell was well aware of the position of the Zulu and or the NNC, the NNC were by then on the SE flank of Hlazikani having emerged from the valley. The mounted troops were some three miles away (according to Hamilton Browne) between Hlazikazi and the Magogo Hill, (I think accurate opographical nomenclature is probably somewhat unreliable), the Zulu were on the hill across the valley from the NE side of Hlazikazi.

At this point c.4pm Gerald French (Lord Chelmsford and the Zulu War 1939 p70) Gossett and Buller returned to Chelmsford to report the situation, with the "proposal"  albeit a secondary, source does present Chelmsford in a most favourable light. He adds "These arrangements being approved by the General rations and blankets were sent out...etc"

Out at Hlazikazi whilst Gossett is riding back, the NNC cross the Hlazikazi ridge to link up with the mounted troops and face off opposite the Zulu position about 3 miles away. The rations and blankets arrived (soon after dark NN p53). Walsh in command of detatchment from the camp carried the "approval" of the General to stay out. The orders therefore that Chelmsford refers to in his response to Horseguards were clearly changed in the light of the report of the reconnaissance party.

I have not seen the actual order that Chelmsford refers to. Given that Chelmsford has as they say "previous" in terms of recollecting the precise wording of orders I would find it useful to know.

That Chelmsford changed his strategy very late on, after the planning stage, but early in the execution phase of the invasion I think is not doubted. He was now looking for confrontation to his front and wanted to ensure pacification to his rear and flanks, rather than a set piece at Ondini. It is the only reasonable explanation of why he went down to Mangene at all. This is why I think this particular "minor" action is actually an extremely important to understanding why the strategy failed so utterly and disasterously.

Chelmsford was confident that if he followed this strategy then because he knew the main Impi had left Ondini on 19th Jan it would have to pass his front and could not threaten his lines of communication undetected. It failed because the Zulu moved faster than he expected and controlled the limits of his "visibility" by controlling the extent of his reconnaissance and the critical observation points along the iSipezi ridge and in particular the northern end which explains why Browne was confronted and driven off.
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Julian Whybra




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PostSubject: Re: Lieut. Walsh and the Siphezi patrol of the 21st January   Lieut. Walsh and the Siphezi  patrol of the 21st January - Page 4 EmptyThu Feb 24, 2022 3:42 pm

Chelmsford's strategy, which you describe in your penultimate paragraph, are precisely those posted by me yesterday at 3.37 which quoted from Chelmsford's three letters written just prior to the 22nd.
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Tig Van Milcroft




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PostSubject: Re: Lieut. Walsh and the Siphezi patrol of the 21st January   Lieut. Walsh and the Siphezi  patrol of the 21st January - Page 4 EmptyThu Feb 24, 2022 3:56 pm

Julian,

Yes indeed, I re-read it in French's book and the letters. The salient points I am making in counter to Chelmsford's statement regarding the "return to camp" order are in this context spurious for the following reasons.

1, That Chelmsfords strategy was being changed "on the fly"
2, That Dartnell's expedition was ill thought out, being somewhere between reconnaissance and reconnaissance in force, having the advantages of neither and the disadvantages of both.
3, That the orders were orders "defence" he used vis a vis Horseguards was disingenuous, misleading, and seeking to place blame onto others.
4, That he underestimated the mobility of the Zulu Impi and failed to adequately reconnoitre the lines of the anticipated Zulu advance adequately, which was essential to any chance of success of his revised strategy.


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Julian Whybra




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PostSubject: Re: Lieut. Walsh and the Siphezi patrol of the 21st January   Lieut. Walsh and the Siphezi  patrol of the 21st January - Page 4 EmptyThu Feb 24, 2022 4:05 pm

If Chelmsford were alive today might he not say in response to your 4 points:
1) A good commander should be flexible enough to respond to situations as they develop.
2) And whose fault was that?  "I'm vexed!", remember!
3) And how do you think Horse Guards would react to an 'order' not being obeyed?
4) "I was expecting the impi to arrive about the time that it did - and it did!"  "That they could evade a professional European army just shows what a worthy foe and remarkable people the Zulu are."
Not being controversial here; just playing Devil's advocate.


Last edited by Julian Whybra on Thu Feb 24, 2022 10:58 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Tig Van Milcroft




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PostSubject: Re: Lieut. Walsh and the Siphezi patrol of the 21st January   Lieut. Walsh and the Siphezi  patrol of the 21st January - Page 4 EmptyThu Feb 24, 2022 9:55 pm

Julian,

The world would be a far less interesting and more primitive place were it not for Devil's Advocates.

1, A good commander is defined by outcomes.
2, Elements of the mounted force at Hlazikazi tried a feint towards the Zulu at the close of the day and were forced to quickly retire when the Zulu deployed to outflank them. That illustrates the reason why the mounted infantry could not ascend to the ridge. The correct objective, inadequate forces.
3, Trying to get my head around the double negative there, I think it starts with determining what the order said and its unambiguity in any situation, then assess the actions taken. In the final analysis the commander should preserve a viable force unless extreme hazard demands otherwise.
4, The converse of course is how could a professional British Army not find 25,000 Zulus given notice of their approach and where they were coming from. Also in that circumstance of find itself split asunder and ill prepared for the equally well anticipated assault on the column. The Zulu achieved surprise, envelopment, and superior "firepower" at the critical point.

The Zulu seems to have had complete command of the battle zone, an order of magnitude better intelligence, a far better understanding of terrain and its use, and above all a simple plan, carried out by men well trained in the execution of the plan. A simple plan that nonetheless required very high levels of co-ordination and timing which was also executed to perfection.

They achieved what seems to me, when I look at my sketch of movements over the battle zone, it extends to something like 250 square miles, as near a perfect Battle of Annihilation as I am aware of. They achieved surprise when even though they were expected, that is quite an achievement. If the British thought they were good, and they were, the Zulus were better on the day.

In the brief period I have looked at posts on the forum here, the level of detailed information is almost overwhelming, but it is almost all focused on questions about why the British lost the battle so overwhelmingly despite high levels of discipline and equipment. Who ordered whom to where and why? Who followed orders or failed to, and so on.

The question seems to me better put the other way around. Why did the Zulu win? When I look at that it seems to me there is no conundrum at all for the reasons stated above.
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Julian Whybra




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PostSubject: Re: Lieut. Walsh and the Siphezi patrol of the 21st January   Lieut. Walsh and the Siphezi  patrol of the 21st January - Page 4 EmptyThu Feb 24, 2022 11:06 pm

2. The mounted force were not trying to ascend the ridge - they were coaxing the Zulus down to get an idea of their strength.
3. apologies. Should have written 'obeyed'.
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Tig Van Milcroft




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PostSubject: Re: Lieut. Walsh and the Siphezi patrol of the 21st January   Lieut. Walsh and the Siphezi  patrol of the 21st January - Page 4 EmptyFri Feb 25, 2022 12:31 am

Julian,

I was referring to Phindo hill on the iSipezi ridge not the hill on which the Zulu were established which was below the ridgeline. Hence my comment regarding topographical nomenclature. Phindo and the ridge would have given observation of the route of the Zulu Impi towards the iThusi and Nquto.

With poor maps Chelmsford was not in a good position to direct any reconnaisance, his focus seems to have been to determine where the Impi was not rather than where it was. I think he was confident that the Zulu in front of Dartnell was not the main Impi when he sent Walsh out with blankets. I think he may have changed his mind when Dartnell's second message came in much later on, after which he gave orders for the large force to be made ready to go ot on 22nd. In this he would have been correct, except that the Impi was not reinforcing Mangene, it was deploying towards Nqutu.

So poor old Dartnell got blamed by Chelmsford for the wild goose chase on the 22nd.
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gardner1879

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PostSubject: Re: Lieut. Walsh and the Siphezi patrol of the 21st January   Lieut. Walsh and the Siphezi  patrol of the 21st January - Page 4 EmptySun Feb 27, 2022 1:35 pm

Julian regarding the Davey mystery and where he was during the patrols discussed here, I have just found an intreguing bit in Russell's 1st April account. He writes :-

"In this I was unsucessful, so I rejoined the squadron 'X' meeting a second mounted European, who also said that he was sent to inform the General that the camp was attacked. As soon as I approached the place where the movements of the morning began I sent out Lt. Walsh and Lt Day [and this is the intreguing bit. Lt Day is crossed out it looks like 'Captain Davy' has been written above] each with an escort to try and find His Excellency"

The X in the above passage refers to a side note that reads "The Officers of which informed me that they had seen the guns in the camp firing". This looks like Russell's handwriting and is not signed.

Now the scanner is working again I will send you a copy of the original and let me know what you think about the name.



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Julian Whybra




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PostSubject: Re: Lieut. Walsh and the Siphezi patrol of the 21st January   Lieut. Walsh and the Siphezi  patrol of the 21st January - Page 4 EmptySun Feb 27, 2022 5:07 pm

I can tell you before you send it that it is Capt. Davey.
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Julian Whybra




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PostSubject: Re: Lieut. Walsh and the Siphezi patrol of the 21st January   Lieut. Walsh and the Siphezi  patrol of the 21st January - Page 4 EmptySun Feb 27, 2022 5:10 pm

"The Officers...firing" is in Russell's own hand.
"Capt. Davy" is in neither Russell's nor Crealock's hand.
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Lieut. Walsh and the Siphezi patrol of the 21st January   Lieut. Walsh and the Siphezi  patrol of the 21st January - Page 4 EmptyMon Feb 28, 2022 9:51 am

There were questions about the possible 'Durnford maps' being followed by chelmsford.
This is a boundary map, 1846,most probably in use before the war, the boundary is plotted in red

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Julian Whybra




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PostSubject: Re: Lieut. Walsh and the Siphezi patrol of the 21st January   Lieut. Walsh and the Siphezi  patrol of the 21st January - Page 4 EmptyMon Feb 28, 2022 10:21 am

Frank
So you think that the references to the 'Durnford maps' might relate to maps SUPPLIED by Durnford rather than DRAWN by him?
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Lieut. Walsh and the Siphezi patrol of the 21st January   Lieut. Walsh and the Siphezi  patrol of the 21st January - Page 4 EmptyMon Feb 28, 2022 12:03 pm

That could very easily be assumed. This is the map I believe that Durnford used to draw his boundary lines before producing this one.
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Julian Whybra




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PostSubject: Re: Lieut. Walsh and the Siphezi patrol of the 21st January   Lieut. Walsh and the Siphezi  patrol of the 21st January - Page 4 EmptyMon Feb 28, 2022 1:55 pm

I can see the logic behind that.
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Tig Van Milcroft




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PostSubject: Re: Lieut. Walsh and the Siphezi patrol of the 21st January   Lieut. Walsh and the Siphezi  patrol of the 21st January - Page 4 EmptyMon Feb 28, 2022 6:28 pm

I does not tie into what Chelmsford wrote according to French (Lord Chelmsford and his Critics p278 para c.) to "refute the calumnies of Archibald Forbes & Co." (according to Gossett) "The only map of Zululand was that contained in Jeppe's map of the South African Republic on the Scale of 30 miles to the inch"

I suspect LC was again dismembling; hard to imagine a man can remember the scale of a map and forget another which he reports as having in his possession. "vide Durnford"
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Lieut. Walsh and the Siphezi patrol of the 21st January   Lieut. Walsh and the Siphezi  patrol of the 21st January - Page 4 EmptyTue Mar 01, 2022 4:20 am

The Jeppe map at that scale was worse than useless.
This one was also available at the time at 5 miles to the inch[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Lieut. Walsh and the Siphezi patrol of the 21st January   Lieut. Walsh and the Siphezi  patrol of the 21st January - Page 4 EmptyTue Mar 01, 2022 4:21 am

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90th

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PostSubject: Lt Walsh and the Siphezi patrol 21st Jan    Lieut. Walsh and the Siphezi  patrol of the 21st January - Page 4 EmptyTue Mar 01, 2022 4:27 am

Hi All
Like Tig I'd also read somewhere about the existence of a ' Durnford Map ' ... from page 215 ' A Soldiers Life And Work In South Africa ' by E. Durnford who draws on the correspondence of his brother Anthony .... This from the last letter written by Anthony Durnford at Rorke's Drift Jan 21st 1879 to his Mother . I quote ... '' I have sent on to ask for instructions from the General , who is about 10 Miles off , forming a camp at or near the Isandhlwana mountain ( see my map of Zululand ) '' . Well , it appears his mother had a copy of his Zululand Map ! , doubtful he'd word it that way if she had a military map ( Why ? ) or Jepp's map etc ? . as I'd expect did others who he thought pertinent ? .
90th Salute
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Tig Van Milcroft




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PostSubject: Re: Lieut. Walsh and the Siphezi patrol of the 21st January   Lieut. Walsh and the Siphezi  patrol of the 21st January - Page 4 EmptyTue Mar 01, 2022 8:56 am

Hi 90th,

In fairness it is said (I forget where) that the Jeppe map was blown up and issued in that form. I see the date is March.

Maps are a great leveller in war, vide road signs being removed in Ukraine.

Chelmsford had better weapons but worse maps, the Zulu had better "maps" and worse weapons. On the day the Zulu delivered their poor weapons to the place where they had most effect. Chelmsford had dispersed his.

Luck, I think not.
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Julian Whybra




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PostSubject: Re: Lieut. Walsh and the Siphezi patrol of the 21st January   Lieut. Walsh and the Siphezi  patrol of the 21st January - Page 4 EmptyTue Mar 01, 2022 9:35 am

Tig
Re the 'vide Durnford' comment, it does not necessarily mean that LC had one in his possession. It could be that he was recalling it or that there was a copy (for general use) in the HQ tent.
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Tig Van Milcroft




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Lieut. Walsh and the Siphezi  patrol of the 21st January - Page 4 Empty
PostSubject: Re: Lieut. Walsh and the Siphezi patrol of the 21st January   Lieut. Walsh and the Siphezi  patrol of the 21st January - Page 4 EmptyTue Mar 01, 2022 10:21 am

Julian, I agree to the extent that that is an outside chance.

If so that would lead me to the conclusion that the plan was based upon inadequate intelligence. This in itself could be compensated by better provision for reconnaissance in the execution, but as we know Chelmsford did not have enough mounted troops, he was probably also short of sappers.
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