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 Why no Zulu Ambush/Attack on moving Columns?

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Aidan




Posts : 46
Join date : 2010-08-18
Age : 68
Location : Perth Westen Australia

Why no Zulu Ambush/Attack on moving Columns? Empty
PostSubject: Why no Zulu Ambush/Attack on moving Columns?   Why no Zulu Ambush/Attack on moving Columns? EmptySat Apr 15, 2023 11:32 am

G'day GentlePeople

I have been corresponding with someone and he raised an interesting question, one which I haven't
seen addressed. The question was simple, why was it the Zulu never attacked a column strung out on
the march ?

As the closest to that I could think of was the action at Nyezane, where they came onto and routed the Native contingent, before being stopped by the firepower.

My thinking is that the presence of horsemen screening the columns would be a likely answer but would value other viewpoints, data I may be unaware of etc

Regards to All

Aidan
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Eddie




Posts : 794
Join date : 2022-07-13
Age : 65
Location : Newport Wales

Why no Zulu Ambush/Attack on moving Columns? Empty
PostSubject: Re: Why no Zulu Ambush/Attack on moving Columns?   Why no Zulu Ambush/Attack on moving Columns? EmptyThu May 11, 2023 10:27 pm

Hi Aidan

Some men within Lord Chelmsford's column mention passing Zulus on their return back to Rorke's Drift in there letters home, one in particular states the following:

After waking and confirming seeing the dead at Isandlwana he goes on to say:

In the morning about four o'clock, we left the camp with the dead body's lying there, and marched a distance of about eight miles to Rorke's Drift.
We were marching between two ranges of hills, and every now and again, say about 200 yards, bands of Zulus came rushing down upon us. When we were about a mile and a half away we could see Rorke's Drift on fire and the Colonel gave orders to signal down, and we had an
answer in a quarter of an hour to advance at once.
You must understand that there was only one house in Rorke's Drift, and we made a Depot of it, and converted it into a hospital where we placed 16 of our men who were on the sick list with fever. During the time they were in this hospital the place was put on fire by the Zulus, and these poor chaps were burnt to death.
We had an engagement and killed thousands of Zulus,and after burying our dead we formed up in the Drift. It was raining night and day, and a lot of good men were dropping off with the fever till the Volunteers came out to help us, the same time as the Prince of mperial. They brought clean clothes for us.

John Lloyd in a newspaper interview about his career and battle experiences.

The South Wales Daily Post, Tuesday 14 September, 1897
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Julian Whybra




Posts : 3966
Join date : 2011-09-12
Location : Billericay, Essex

Why no Zulu Ambush/Attack on moving Columns? Empty
PostSubject: Re: Why no Zulu Ambush/Attack on moving Columns?   Why no Zulu Ambush/Attack on moving Columns? EmptyFri May 12, 2023 8:26 am

Aidan
To answer your question more generally in terms of overall Zulu strategy, while it is true that the Zulu did not like cavalry (think of the charge at Ulundi), consider the practised method of successful Zulu attack: the bull's horns. The Zulu army was trained to attack in this way such that it completely encompassed and overwhelmed the enemy, allowing none to escape. It would not be possible to employ this method of attack successfully against a long column of waggons and marching troops such that a victory would be guaranteed. Too many men would escape and Cetshwayo's aim was to smash each of the columns in turn.
British scouting parties would also be well flung out from a column on the move and would give plenty of warning of a Zulu approach and remove the element of surprise.
After all, what's easier to hit, a moving target or a sitting duck?
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ADMIN

ADMIN


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PostSubject: Re: Why no Zulu Ambush/Attack on moving Columns?   Why no Zulu Ambush/Attack on moving Columns? EmptySun May 14, 2023 8:56 am

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Julian Whybra




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PostSubject: Re: Why no Zulu Ambush/Attack on moving Columns?   Why no Zulu Ambush/Attack on moving Columns? EmptySun May 14, 2023 9:28 am

Attacking a three-mile long moving column would mean inevitably that too many would escape and live to fight another day. That was NOT what Cetshwayo had ordered. Look how the total destruction of a column put off the invasion for another 3-4 months.
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