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 Zulu muskets at Isandlwana

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Frank Allewell
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turkey1954




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PostSubject: Zulu muskets at Isandlwana   Zulu muskets at Isandlwana EmptyWed Feb 09, 2011 1:42 pm

Given that the zulus who attacked Rorkes Drift were armed with muskets I imagine that those at Isandlwana were similarly armed. Does anyone know of any accounts which mention the use of muskets by zulus against the camp at Isandlwana? scratch
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Dave

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PostSubject: Re: Zulu muskets at Isandlwana   Zulu muskets at Isandlwana EmptyWed Feb 09, 2011 5:36 pm

Now that's a good question. I have not read any accounts of this. If there is it would have been from survivors or Zulu's
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ciroferrara

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PostSubject: Re: Zulu muskets at Isandlwana   Zulu muskets at Isandlwana EmptyWed Feb 09, 2011 5:52 pm

there are a few scattered accounts for intance a volley was fired at the rocket battery at the "notch" with major russell being shot twice
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joe

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PostSubject: Re: Zulu muskets at Isandlwana   Zulu muskets at Isandlwana EmptyWed Feb 09, 2011 6:04 pm

Ive never heard about Major Russel being shot twice, does anyone have any other information on this ?
you do learn something new everday.

Joe
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90th

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PostSubject: zulu muskets   Zulu muskets at Isandlwana EmptyWed Feb 09, 2011 6:34 pm

Hi Joe.
Maj Russel was indeed shot twice , the second one by memory was after Nourse had attempted to put him on a horse .
Some instances , more than a couple are mentioned by Zulu's in Ian Knights Zulu Rising . The rocket battery were
basically taken out by a volley from the zulu's .
cheers 90th.
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24th

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PostSubject: Re: Zulu muskets at Isandlwana   Zulu muskets at Isandlwana EmptyWed Feb 09, 2011 10:52 pm

Quote :
Maj Russel was indeed shot twice
But was it by Musket or M.H
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90th

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PostSubject: zulu muskets at Isandlwana   Zulu muskets at Isandlwana EmptyThu Feb 10, 2011 4:47 am

Hi 24th .
It was certainly musket fire , if it was a M.H I'm sure Nourse and the surviving members of the battery would
have certainly mentioned so . If you are hinting at friendly fire , I doubt it , as the companies to the front of the camp I
dont think had opened fire at that stage .
cheers 90th.
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Zulu muskets at Isandlwana   Zulu muskets at Isandlwana EmptyThu Feb 10, 2011 6:58 am

Most suvivors, Essex, Brickhill, Smith Dorien mention the zulus guns. Mehlokazulu explains the zulu tactics regarding the guns.
90th is quite correct Russel was shot, Nourse tried to get him onto a horse to escape during which he was shot again.

Regards
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PostSubject: Re: Zulu muskets at Isandlwana   Zulu muskets at Isandlwana EmptyFri Feb 11, 2011 12:08 am

An even closer view of the action is to be found in General Sir Horace Smith-Dorrien’s Memories of Forty-Eight Years’ Service (London 1925) which records, amongst other extraordinary moments of the author’s long and distinguished career, the then twenty-one year-old Lieutenant Smith-Dorrien’s experiences of the battle:

"We could hear heavy firing (to the north) even then (8 am)… At about 12 am the Zulus, who had apparently fallen back behind the hills, again showed in large numbers, coming down into the plain with great boldness, and our guns and rifles were pretty busy for some time… It was difficult to see exactly what was going on, but firing was heavy. It was evident now that the Zulus were in great force, for they could be seen extending (ie throwing out their horns) away across the plain to the south-east…

Within another hour, the situation becomes increasingly desperate, with the advance of the Zulu army upon the camp:

[i]It was a marvellous sight, line upon line of men in slightly extended order, one behind the other, firing as they came along, for a few of them had firearms, bearing all before them. The rocket battery… was firing, and suddenly it ceased, and presently we saw the remnants of Durnford’s force, mostly mounted Basutos, galloping back to the right of our position… The ground was interspersed with ‘dongas’ and in them Russell and his rocket battery was caught, and none escaped to tell the tale"

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90th

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PostSubject: zulu muskets at Isandlwana   Zulu muskets at Isandlwana EmptyFri Feb 11, 2011 12:16 am

Hi Littlehand .
One must be a lttle wary of Smith - Dorrien's accounts as he did write them 40 yrs or so after the event . One classic
example is the Rocket Battery where he mentions ' None escaped to tell the Tale ' which is clearly incorrect as their were
5 I think Imperial Survivors whose accounts are in ' The Noble 24th By Norman Holme ' and the Colonial Officer Nourse
who attempted to put Russell on a / his Horse but Russell was shot for the second time and fell off dead . I think by Nourse's
account he says only 2 Rockets were actually fired . Happy to be corrected .
cheers 90th.
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littlehand

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PostSubject: Re: Zulu muskets at Isandlwana   Zulu muskets at Isandlwana EmptyFri Feb 11, 2011 12:20 am

To be honest, we should be wary of all the accounts from the survivors.
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90th

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PostSubject: zulu muskets at Isandlwana   Zulu muskets at Isandlwana EmptyFri Feb 11, 2011 12:28 am

Hi Littlehand .
You may have a point , but those who put pen to paper only a couple of days or a week or so after the event more than
likely are the most accurate versions in their minds and mine anyway .
cheers 90th. Idea
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tasker224

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PostSubject: Re: Zulu muskets at Isandlwana   Zulu muskets at Isandlwana EmptyFri Feb 11, 2011 7:26 pm

Just some thoughts.
When Smith-Dorrien wrote, "Russell and his rocket battery was caught, and none escaped to tell the tale", surely he is referring only to the remnants of the Rocket Battery that he witnessed. The 5 members of the Rocket Battery who escaped, would have already been long gone by the time he saw the remnants and he wouldn't have seen them. If he had, so would the Zulus in pursuit and no doubt they would have been dealt with too. SD's account constitutes another piece of the iSandlwana jig-saw. I am not sure if I'd concur that it was less valid because it was written 40 years after the event. The poor fellow probably replayed those traumatic events in his mind every day until he passed away. Also, long term memory is the very least affected by the aging process.

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PostSubject: Re: Zulu muskets at Isandlwana   Zulu muskets at Isandlwana EmptyFri Feb 11, 2011 7:31 pm

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turkey1954




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PostSubject: Zulu muskets at Isandlwana   Zulu muskets at Isandlwana EmptySat Feb 12, 2011 12:34 am

Thanks for all the replies. If you fellas are not sure then there is no definitive answer. From what I can gather there were some muskets at the battle but not enough to make a lot of difference. All right then nobody told you to stop working. Sorry couldn't resist it.
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Neil Aspinshaw

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PostSubject: Re: Zulu muskets at Isandlwana   Zulu muskets at Isandlwana EmptySat Feb 12, 2011 10:32 am

The most defined study of what percentage of firearms were being carried can be found in the report of Captain Edward Woodgate, after Khambula. Reporting into the quantity of captured rifles. This represents those lost as its owner met 480 grains of lead or shrapnel ball going rather quickly, or dropped in an attempt to run quicker in the retreat.

"325 firearms, .....including 14 Martini Henry rifles and one snider Carbine, ....The others firearms were of various patterns, a large number being tower muskets and other Enfield Rifles. No other breech loaders were found, except the 14 MH, nor any other kind of cartridge case, except a few Metford (not .303, my comment).

Not all "Tower Muskets" would be classed as flintlock types of 50 years before, by 1840 most smoothbore firearms were being converted to percussion cap, as found in the Pattern 1839 musket and other derivatives. Likewise, the two "popular" breechloaders of the time, the Terry Carbine and the Westley Richards Monkey tail, left no cartridge case as it was a self consuming paper round. Interesting as none were reported, or was it a carbine derivative is more portable?

Source: the Red Soldier: Emery: P175 para 5.
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turkey1954




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PostSubject: Zulu muskets at Isandlwana   Zulu muskets at Isandlwana EmptySat Feb 12, 2011 12:26 pm

Just a thought. Wasnt there an archeological dig at the site some years ago. Any musket balls?
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Neil Aspinshaw

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PostSubject: Re: Zulu muskets at Isandlwana   Zulu muskets at Isandlwana EmptySun Feb 13, 2011 8:16 am

In the museum at Mtonjaneni there are quite a few "musket balls", in fact they are erroneously labelled, they are actually case shot balls. Case shot balls were swaged, i.e. lead balls pressed in a mould, musket balls are cast, and have a sprue, ( a flat spot where the lead was poured into a ball mould, Only on close inspection can the difference be made.

The same is true of some of the bullet heads I see, for example, a .450" Martini round is totally different to a .450" Westley Ricards, likewise a .51" Terry Round is a differing type to a .577 Enfield or Snider. The only round which takes some closer inspection is a Snider- Enfield, typically a Snider has a clay base and most usually a hollow nose, as there was two variants, a spun over cavity, or a boxwood ballistic tip.
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