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Film Zulu quote: Reverend Otto Witt: One thousand British soldiers have been massacred. While I stood here talking peace, a war has started.
 
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durnfordthescapegoat

durnfordthescapegoat

Posts : 94
Join date : 2009-02-13

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PostSubject: Where to from here   Where to from here EmptyFri May 01, 2009 11:53 pm

Over on the other forum an interesting question has been posed.
Namely where do we take the study of the AZW from here.
This was based on a short essay by Professor Laband.
I would say that the online community of AZW scholars and fans has opened my eyes somewhat.
I have always pursued my interest by myself and tried to read as much as I could.
It would seem to me that the community is quite a divided and embittered one.
I base this on responses and comments I have read online.
What I think would be a good idea for a new area of study is for some-one to compile a book of controveries regarding the AZW. Things like who was to blame for Islandwana. You could have three opposing viewpoints. Those who blame Chelsmford, those who blame Durnford and those who blame Pulline.
You could discuss the issue or Rorkes Drift like who was the brains behind the defence, Dalton or Bromhead and Chard. The ammunition story is another good topic. Of course the topic of whether Melville and Coghill deserved their VC's would be a good one. Each author who would be selected for their bias would then have to write a chapter setting forth why they hold their opinion and attemot as best as possible to substantiate it.
I would love to see Saul David go up against Mike Snook or Ian Knight in a fair fight.
I think we owe it to ourselves and it is better than all this sad online sniping that seems to be the hallmark of this little community
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24th

24th

Posts : 1851
Join date : 2009-03-25

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PostSubject: Re: Where to from here   Where to from here EmptySat May 02, 2009 12:42 am

I must confess. I thought the Chelmsford, Pulline, and Durnford. Discussion between S.D Chelmsford the scapegoat and 90th was quite interesting as it was based on evidence given by officers back in 1879. It shown that even then they were dived.

Your idea would take the discussions relating to the AZW forward to another level which I think Is needed.

I for one would like to know why Chelmsford left poor old Pearson to weather the storm for so long, And who was to blame for that.

I’m willing to give it ago.

I probably shouldn’t say but we know Pete (Admin) as been in contact with an educational establishment in South Africa, where he is trying to create a relationship so the pupils can interact with us. So we can get there side, and their feelings on the AZW as no doubt some of their Great-Great Grandfathers either knew about or was involved in the AZW.
We are hoping they will discuss their heroes and tell us about the brave deeds that have been told in stories passed down through the years.

If I’m not mistaken I believe Pete once mentioned on the other web-site that he was up for holding a mock Court of inquiry in to the events at Isandlwana, but the other person declined, and I have since seen that Coll recently suggest the same thing. Now that would have been interesting, if it had been allowed to proceed.

When you say “the community is quite a divided and embittered one” I agree with you to a point. But on this forum everyone is equal and everybody has an in-put. We are a small community and hopefully that will change. The threat of getting ridiculed after asking a question does not exist on this forum.
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durnfordthescapegoat

durnfordthescapegoat

Posts : 94
Join date : 2009-02-13

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PostSubject: Re: Where to from here   Where to from here EmptySat May 02, 2009 10:38 am

I would agree that this forum is refeshingly free of interest groups and that freedom of opinion is allowed and encourgaed. Thank you Mr Harman for creating this forum. I would still like to see a book on controversies with three chapters. One to explain the controversy (lay out the basic premises of each individual author about a particular event) followed by two authors who have diametrically opposed viewpoints who then present their case.
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Saul David 1879



Posts : 527
Join date : 2009-02-28

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PostSubject: Re: Where to from here   Where to from here EmptySat May 02, 2009 10:52 pm

DTSG.

The two most discussed and argued subjects relating to the Zulu war are those of Melville and Coghill and weather or not they deserved the VC. Or the Chelmsford and Durnford question who was in command of the camp. The problem is these two subjects have been trashed to death. Not only by the authors of the history books. But also by every forum that covers this subject.

There are authors who researched, and there are authors that cleverly re-write the counts but the facts remain the same, and the out come will always be the same. And of course there are the authors who write there account, because they say that’s how it happed.

Its ok to walk the battlefield and say where the mass attacks occurred, and where the last stands were made, but we only know this from the Zulu accounts. There was no one left alive to tell the story. Those that escaped were on the outside of the camp making their way to the Buffalo, and never saw what took place inside the camp. The only way to find out the truth and that is to wait for someone to build a time machine which of course will never happen.

I am quite prepared to go along with your idea, but you must remember the out-come will be the same as all the reliable history books say it happened.

Of course you must also expect accusations regarding remarks about disrespecting regiments and the brave men that fell, but that’s all part and part of the package, and to be honest it all goes over my head.

These accusation can be expected by the worst kind, I’m a member on many forums and they are there, they are everywhere. These are the ones that stay silent never contribute until a well known authority on the AZW enters a discussion, then they are like flies around a rotting corpse. it’s the look at me I’m here Mr authority disease.

The way ahead as already begun, and that’s a combination of fiction and fact, the difference being the author can take reference from other sources, but the main part is how he perceived the events to be.

Ryder Haggard saw this was the way forward back in 1879, mainly because he knew there was in sufficient evidence to sustained the continuous debates of the AZW.

So when other authors ridicule fictional accounts of the AZW tell them to read between the lines.

I will leave you with this example:

“Though the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879 does not impinge directly on the plot of King Solomon's Mines it's shadow hangs over the book. When Umbopa, a key character in the book, is hired for the expedition to the mines of the title Quatermain comments that he has seen his face before. "Yes; the Inkoosi (chief) saw my face at the place of the Little Hand (Isandhlwana) the day before the battle." Quatermain recalls the meeting. "I had been on Lord Chelmsford guides in that unlucky Zulu War, and had had the good fortune to leave the camp in charge of some waggons the day before the battle. While I had been waiting for the cattle to be inspanned I had fallen into conversation with this man, who held some small command among the native auxiliaries, and he had expressed to me his doubts of the safety of the camp. At the time I had told him to hold his tongue, and leave such matters to wiser heads; but afterwards I thought of his words”

Pete. If I have overstepped the mark apologies.

S.D
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Saul David 1879



Posts : 527
Join date : 2009-02-28

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PostSubject: Redemption: By Dawn Grant   Where to from here EmptySat May 02, 2009 11:28 pm

This is a brilliant example of what I was saying. Fiction and Fact. Strung in harmony like a pearl necklace.

Redemption

A fictional story of Col. Durnford on 22nd. January 1879 by Dawn Grant.

(I wish to put a disclaimer that this is acknowledged as a work of fiction and my primary source is third brain cell from the left. I submit it only for amusement of the members. While I retain the copyright, I am happy for it to be in the public domain.)

Zululand, 22 January 1879

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

S.D
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John

John

Posts : 2558
Join date : 2009-04-06
Age : 58
Location : UK

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PostSubject: Re: Where to from here   Where to from here EmptySat May 02, 2009 11:52 pm

Sorry to say it. But redemption was more enjoyable that some of the History books. I think if Durnford could he would certainly thank her. it’s a pity she hasn’t written a fictional account on Chelmsford.


Thanks for the link S.D

By the way I agree with your last post.
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24th

24th

Posts : 1851
Join date : 2009-03-25

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PostSubject: Re: Where to from here   Where to from here EmptySun May 03, 2009 12:04 am

Is the author of redemption well known. Because I have never her of her. Like John I found the story extremely enjoyable. And the mixture of fact on fiction certainly went hand in hand.
The whole story was clearly thought out and certainly gets the point across with reference to Durnford.
Has she written anymore stories about the AZW. I would certainly be interested if she has.

Like John. Thanks for the link S.D

Old H. You would enjoy this. You to Durnford the Scapegoat.
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old historian2

old historian2

Posts : 1096
Join date : 2009-01-14
Location : East London

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PostSubject: Re: Where to from here   Where to from here EmptySun May 03, 2009 9:05 am

Yes 24th your right. I did enjoy it. Took me some time to get through it (Small Print) but a good combination. Is this from a book. If so does anyone know what one. ?
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durnfordthescapegoat

durnfordthescapegoat

Posts : 94
Join date : 2009-02-13

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PostSubject: Re: Where to from here   Where to from here EmptySun May 03, 2009 9:05 pm

Saul
I think you have summed up my feelings exactly. I am glad you say it is water off a ducks back to you.
You are obviously a bit more thick skinned than I would be in your position.e
I would agree that sorting out what really happened is not going to be possible based on the scraps of information available to us. The other great fictional account of the AZW would of course be the remaining papers of Harry Flashman. The late George MacDonald Fraser taught me more about colonial history than any dry tome. He never managed to publish more than a brief sketch of Flashman's involvement at these two engagements before he died. One hopes some equally taleneted author takes up the story. I saw your book Zulu Hart at Exclusive Books the other evening. I am busy reading your book "Zulu" so maybe I will give your fictional work a look once I have finished Zulu.
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Chelmsfordthescapegoat

Chelmsfordthescapegoat

Posts : 2583
Join date : 2009-04-24

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PostSubject: Re: Where to from here   Where to from here EmptyMon May 04, 2009 9:33 am

fictional work, invented story,imaginary tale.

The Zulu War Happened. Its History. Its Factual.

There are hundreds of websites that discuss (Fictional work) What's next superman saving the day at Isandlwana. And leaping to Rorkes Dift in a single bound.
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old historian2

old historian2

Posts : 1096
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Location : East London

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PostSubject: Re: Where to from here   Where to from here EmptyMon May 04, 2009 9:45 am

I think the last comment should be treated with the contempt it deserves.
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durnfordthescapegoat

durnfordthescapegoat

Posts : 94
Join date : 2009-02-13

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PostSubject: Re: Where to from here   Where to from here EmptyMon May 04, 2009 11:54 am

It seems to me that there are a lot of gaps in the story of Islandwana. Less so in Rorke's Drif.
So a "factual " history is not really possible.
I think Demsond Morris probably realized this and decided to make TWOTS a rip roaring yarn rather than a dry work.
Even though Rorkes Drift has more of a factual record one still needs to be concerned about how the history was created. Obvioulsy Imperial Historians had an angle. As do regimental historians.
That is what makes some one like Pat Rundgen so interesting. Why don't we deconstruct the events of Rorkes Drift and see what happens. Until Jeff Guy and Shula Marks reworked our understanding of the Bambatha Rebellion, the Natal Carbineers went on about Mome Gorge as if it was some sort of latter day Agincourt, not the brutal turkey shoot it actually was
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ADMIN

ADMIN

Posts : 3950
Join date : 2008-11-01
Age : 61
Location : KENT

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PostSubject: Re: Where to from here   Where to from here EmptyMon May 04, 2009 6:42 pm

Now !! that would be a good idea. De-construct Rorkes Drift. Durnford the scapegoat where do you think would be a good idea to start. After Chelmsford column left Rorkes Drift or before.
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Chelmsfordthescapegoat

Chelmsfordthescapegoat

Posts : 2583
Join date : 2009-04-24

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PostSubject: Re: Where to from here   Where to from here EmptyMon May 04, 2009 7:03 pm

Do you not think the Historians have closed the gaps or at least given a reasonable explanation as to what was plausible. I cannot see any purpose of deconstructing the Battle of Rorkes Drift. We who are interested in the AZW know what happen, the records and accounts in my view cover the Battle for start to end.
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durnfordthescapegoat

durnfordthescapegoat

Posts : 94
Join date : 2009-02-13

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PostSubject: Re: Where to from here   Where to from here EmptyMon May 04, 2009 10:02 pm

Do we really know what happened?
Where are the Zulu accounts?
Where are the independent witnesses
The history of the history is interesting
We juxtapose a great disaster with a stubborn and courageous defence.
We award 11 VC's for a single action.
We award officers who were vacating the field of Battle a VC ( admittedly several years later)
Look how our current tabloids can pimp a story to sell papers.
The London Illustrated News and The Graphic were doing the same 130 years ago.
Regimental histories too have their bias.
Read the History of the Carbineers or the DLI and see what these regimental historians said about Momen Gorge.
Then read Jeff Guy or Shula Marks
There are a lot of things that do not make sense to me.
We have experts who claim that 1000 men with Martini Henry's could never have held off 20 000 Zulus but who accept that 100 men could hold off 4000 a few hours later.
The amry needs good PR as much as any other organization.
So I personally feel that we do not know in detail and we are not likely to ever have the complete truth.
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Saul David 1879



Posts : 527
Join date : 2009-02-28

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PostSubject: Re: Where to from here   Where to from here EmptyTue May 05, 2009 11:06 pm

We have army records, and accounts from those who were there.

Unfortunately the Zulu did not keep accurate accounts, like the British. Most of them had no education.
They were fighting for their land and there way of life. Its only when the British interviewed some of them after the, war did we get an understanding from perspective.

I’m not sure there were many independent witness, it was an collective account of what took place, At Isandlwana the witness statements came from those that escaped. But there is no guarantee that statements were not changed or reworded to suit the situation with the commander of the British Army.

You Say “We award officers who were vacating the field of Battle a VC ( admittedly several years later”

As we are well aware, there are those of us that feel they deserved the VC and those that don’t.
With the factual evidence available to us. The answer would have to be they did not deserve the VC.

You say “London Illustrated News and The Graphic were doing the same 130 years ago”
I’m not entirely sure that’s true. But that is only based on my personal collection of the London Illustrated news . The reporters of that day were exceptional characters.

“We have experts who claim that 1000 men with Martini Henry's could never have held off 20 000 Zulus but who accept that 100 men could hold off 4000 a few hours later.”

We could discuss the different situations between Isandlwana and Rorkes Drift. There is one thing that myself and Pete (Admin) Agree on. And that is, even if the troops at Isandlwana had ample supplies of ammunition and had fortified the position they still would have been over run, the Zulu numbers were completely over whelming. The Zulu casualties would have be higher by the out-come would have been the same.

You say “The army needs good PR as much as any other organization.”
John Chard: “The army doesn't like more than one disaster in a day.”
Bromhead: “Looks bad in the newspapers and upsets civilians at their breakfast.”

As for knowing the truth. No we probably will never know the truth, back in 1879 they were trying to cover up the truth, so what chance do we have today.
But like everything else. One day something will turn up that will re-write the History books. And maybe VC s with drawn.

S.D
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garywilson1

garywilson1

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Location : Timisoara , Romania

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PostSubject: Re: Where to from here   Where to from here EmptyWed May 06, 2009 5:25 am

"We could discuss the different situations between Isandlwana and Rorkes Drift. There is one thing that myself and Pete (Admin) Agree on. And that is, even if the troops at Isandlwana had ample supplies of ammunition and had fortified the position they still would have been over run, the Zulu numbers were completely over whelming. The Zulu casualties would have be higher by the out-come would have been the same."

Sorry - cant agree ! with a fortified defence and ample ammunition the Zulu casualties would have been overwhelming - just my opinion , what does anyone else think ?
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John

John

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PostSubject: Re: Where to from here   Where to from here EmptyWed May 06, 2009 7:55 am

I’m with Gary on this one. If the British had been entrenched and Laagered, the superior fire power from the British would have been to much for the Zulu. The Zulu would have retreated.
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Chelmsfordthescapegoat

Chelmsfordthescapegoat

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PostSubject: Re: Where to from here   Where to from here EmptyWed May 06, 2009 10:15 am

I also agree with Gary. Is the whole debate regarding the disaster at Isandlwana? Not about the dividing of forces, extended firing lines and lack of ammunition and fortification. The British had far superior weapons and the if that had be unleashed from a fortify position the Zulu would not have stood a chance.
We saw at Ulundi the defensive square was a formidable obstacle that could not be over come by the Zulu.
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Saul David 1879



Posts : 527
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PostSubject: Re: Where to from here   Where to from here EmptyWed May 06, 2009 11:05 pm

Chelmsford left five companies, around 70–80 fighting men in each, of the 1st battalion and one stronger company of around 150 men from the 2nd battalion of the 24th behind to guard the camp, under the command of Brevet Lieutenant Colonel Henry Pulleine. Pulleine's orders were to defend the camp and wait for further instructions to support the General as and when called upon. Pulleine also had around 500 men of the Natal Native Contingent and approximately 200 local irregulars who were mounted. He also had two artillery pieces, with around 70 men of the Royal Artillery. In total, some 1,300 men and 2 guns to defend the camp. And 400,000 rounds ammunition.

The site was unsuitable, as the ground was hard and rocky for the digging of trenches; no laager was formed and in any case there were not enough waggons to contain the large numbers of men, oxen, horses, mules or stores;

The Natal Native Contingent, were badly trained, undisciplined and bad shots, and had little experience of battle conditions. Some were armed with the long Martini-Henry rifle. Durnford’s Some of the Natal Native Contingent and the Natal Native Horse under Colonel Durnford, had the Westley Richards Carbine. This light rifle — [was] a capping percussion lock breechloader, was developed in 1858 and was known as the ‘Monkey-tail’, from the long curved lever at the top of the breech block, which, when lifted up, opened the breech

There was approximately 1,300 men left at the camp at Isandlwana
So taking into consideration the not so reliable 500 men of the Natal Native Contingent and approximately 200 local irregulars. Total 700

That’s leave 600 reliable fighting men. Against 20,000 + Zulu warriors

Going by the numbers of fighting men left per company. Out of the 600 reliable men 530 of them was equipped with the Martini-Henry rifle. The rest were Royal Artillery.

The Martini-Henry cartridges, could not be easily extracted, as they frequently jammed in the breech. The extractor was inadequate, and thus valuable time was lost during the action: the ramrod had to be used via the muzzle of the rifle to push the cartridge case out of the breech, thus the overall firepower of the troops was reduced, especially as the Martini-Henry was a single-shot rifle.

One should not forget that although the tests carried out on the Martini-Henry had proven that an experienced man could manage to recklessly fire up to 22-24 times per minute, or eight times with precision, efficiency during combat was significantly less. There are also a series of determining factors that reduce a soldiers efficiency.
The tension and anxiety, fear, adrenaline, enemy fire, the noise of battle with the shots mixed with the cries.



530 Men firing recklessly 24 times per minute. That’s 12,720 rounds per minute
530 Men Firing with precision 8 rounds per minute That’s 4,240 rounds per minute

I believe correct me if I’m wrong. The British started firing at the Zulus at 400 yards. Now I’m not sure how long it would take to cover 400 running in to a hail of bullets but the British would have to load and fire there weapons as quickly as an automatic weapon of today.

If a position had been established the British would have been firing to the front the right and the left. With the hill behind them. If we placed all the men 1,300 inside the defensive position. With equal numbers defending each firing line that’s 433 men per firing line.
If we do the same with the attacking Zulu again equal numbers attacking the firing line
That’s 6,666 Zulus.

530 Reliable men with the Martini-Henry rifle equal numbers per firing line that’s 176 Reliable men per firing line.

Odds 16 to 1 against.


Example ?
It is estimated that between 20,000 and 25,000 rounds were fired during the defence of Rorke's Drift, the vast majority of the shots having missed their targets altogether.
Per Lt. Chard's report, the number of Zulu dead buried by the British was 351. It is estimated that another 300 Zulus died later as a result of wounds sustained during the battle. So, conservatively speaking, every 25th shot fired by the defenders of Rorke's Drift resulted in an eventual Zulu death, and every 50th shot was an outright kill.
And this was in a fortified defensive position against 4000 Zulus Not 20,000 +

They had two Cannons not sure how long it would take to fire and reload. But I read somewhere they only fire off four in the real battle.

These figures may not be entirely accurate but its open to discussion.

S.D
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John

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PostSubject: Re: Where to from here   Where to from here EmptyThu May 07, 2009 6:26 pm

I think in reality all the troops would not be bunched up all together as this would restrict movement.
I not to sure that there was only 530 reliable fighting men. Are you saying that only these 530 men were armed with the Martini Hendry. Because I would have thought that all British troops were equipped with the Martini Hendry. If we take the ones that were bad shots, I don’t think that would have made a lot of difference it would have be a case of just pointing and firing into the Zulu masses.
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Saul David 1879



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PostSubject: Re: Where to from here   Where to from here EmptyThu May 07, 2009 8:15 pm

From the battle of Little Big Horn Three years prior to Isandlwana. Some Extracts from the Battle.( Can you see the similarities.)

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durnfordthescapegoat

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PostSubject: Re: Where to from here   Where to from here EmptyThu May 07, 2009 10:36 pm

Dear Mr Administrator
Why was Saul David's post considered off topic.
Comparing Little Big Horn and Islandwana is a well respected past time amongst enthusiasts of Victorian era wars. I would like to know from Mr David since he has written on Victorias Small wars how a small British force managed to hold off a horde of Dervishes at Abu Klea and Tamai 5 years after Islandwana. Were not the situations quite similar or had weapon improved so much over five years that the conflicts cannot be compared at all
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PostSubject: Re: Where to from here   Where to from here EmptyFri May 08, 2009 2:48 pm

After a private discussion between SD, and myself it was decided that the Battle little Bighorn post would be deleted.
We know there are similarities between the two battles, the main one being only the Victors really know what happen,

Perhaps it would be good to cover this subject in the future when we have more members. This topic could lead off in many directions, and it would be a pity to cut it short due to lack of posts and replies.
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John

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PostSubject: Re: Where to from here   Where to from here EmptyFri May 08, 2009 3:31 pm

The similarities between Little Bighorn and Isandlwana could lead to interesting discussions. And it would be a shame to start a discussion that would come to a conclusion very quickly due to lack of members. (Put it on the back burner for now)
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PostSubject: Re: Where to from here   Where to from here EmptyFri May 08, 2009 9:44 pm

It would be interesting to see what kind of fortifications members would have put in place, if they had been in command at Isandlwana on that day, Using exactly was what’s available to them, in the time they had on the 22nd Jan 1879.

Jamie’s web site also gives excellent photo's of the lay out of the camp. Detailing where the attacks took place.

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Just an Idea. Idea

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PostSubject: Re: Where to from here   Where to from here EmptyFri May 08, 2009 10:35 pm

With reference to my posting regarding the Battle of the Little Big-Horn. Its is a worth while discussion, but there does need to be a few more participants to make it worth while.
As the stories unfolds there are without doubt lots of similarities. So like John says Put it on the back burner.

But in the mean time who will rise to the challenge regarding, "how we would have fortified the camp at Isandlwana."

Link to the camp lay out property of Ron Lock and Peter Quantrill

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S.D
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24th

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PostSubject: Re: Where to from here   Where to from here EmptySat May 09, 2009 1:05 am

Right SD. I'm not good at this sort of thing but this is my take on it, and just to get it started.

I would use the hill as a natural defence protecting the rear. This would force the Zulu to attack from the sides and the front. The lighter colour blue, (Artillery) The Darker Blue (Durnford) NNC. The red Speaks for its self.
The men would be positioned in away that would force the Zulu to attack up hill, While the men on the slopes fire down.

From the front the Zulu would have to contend with the two cannons plus mass infantry fire.
The left and right would be protected with infantry fire and mounted infantry. The rocket battery if possible would fire into the Zulu from the top along with sharp shooters. Ammunition would be placed for easy access and handed out by the orderlies.Dummer boys and black levies. I can’t draw wagons but they would be place to the right and left and form a protection to those areas. The piling up of Zulu dead and wounded with also form an obstacle. Also it might have been possible for Milne to have see the soldiers more clearly,

Like I said I’m not very good at this type of thing, but I hope its makes sense as to how I would fortify the camp. No laughing. There should be more dots to show the accurate number of soldiers but it would take to long..

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littlehand

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PostSubject: Re: Where to from here   Where to from here EmptySat May 09, 2009 9:19 am

Actually 24th. Even I can see what you a trying to do. Do we know if the artillery had grape shot at Isandlwana, that alone would cause devastation within the Zulu Ranks. But by us altering the British lines would the Zulus have carried out the same attack formation they did on that day, or would they have adjusted theirs
But one thing is certain, if the British had adopted, this or a similar formation there would have been a lot more dead Zulus.
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PostSubject: Re: Where to from here   Where to from here EmptySat May 09, 2009 10:10 am

24th your right it not easy. I have used two photo’s from Jamie’s Site. Based on your lay out. The wagons I have shown in white.
The other colours are the same as you have used. I see what you mean using the hill as a natural defence. Looking at Jamie’s photos I think this formation would have been possible. When you look at the other photo’s on Jamie’s site it shows just our far the British lines were away from the camp.

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PostSubject: Re: Where to from here   Where to from here EmptySat May 09, 2009 1:49 pm

I can see you both have the right idea, and the position you have selected (Front of Isandlwana Hill ) would have been the best possible position to make a stand.


Below is “Notes by Chelmsford on the findings of the court of Enquiry.”

Isandlwana is an isolated, flat-topped hill running almost due North and South -It is under 300 yards in length ,and has precipitous sides along its whole perimeter, and its top is consequently inaccessible.
The camp was pitched along the Eastern Side facing East- The ground in front of the camp and to the right & left front of it fell away from the hill in an easy slope, & was perfectly open for a distance of at least 800 yards.
The ground which commanded it on the left was 1300 yards distance , and the stony hill on the right which dominated the camp by 70 feet was 660 yards distance from the nearest end of the hill and only 100 yards of it.
The position therefore was practically un-commanded from any point, taking the nature of the guns with which the Zulus were armed into consideration. The rear was perfectly secure; although commanded, at the furthest effective range of the Martini Henry, the ground to its front and flanks, I consider that there never was a position where a small force could have made a better defensive stand- The Garrison consisted of.

562 smudged Europeans. Armed with rifles.
204 Mounted Volunteers
450 Mounted Natives
391 Native contingent.

Assuming that it was thought desirable to occupy the whole front of Isandlwana Hill. 300 yards in length; this would have given 4 rifles per running yard to the firing line- What force of Zulu could successfully assaulted a front of Battle so defended.

The ammunition was abundant; the soldiers were a good steady shots; every one before the disaster, felt confident that they could defeat any numbers that came against them- Had the tents been lowered as was invariably done afterwards by pulling out the tent poles, they would also have formed an entanglement at a convenient distance from the position to be defended, which would have materially strengthened its defence qualities.
The ground was too rocky to throw up even a shelter trench but the wagons which were ready inspanned at 10am (vide Lt Cochran’s evidence) could if thought necessary have been formed into a laager- Seeing however that each yard of the defensive line would have been defended by 4 rifles, it is clear that such an additional procedure was not absolutely necessary- A shelter trench is a protection against rifle fire, but would be of no avail against a rush of Zulus.

The wagon laager was never intended to be used as a redoubt, but as a protection for oxen.
In the march to Eshowe the troops bivouacked & fought outside the waggons.

Chelmsford writes: Has precipitous sides along its whole perimeter, and its top is consequently inaccessible.

(But as I see it, a well determined effort would of allowed access to the top of the hill, especially if it was matter of life or death )

Chelmsford writes: The rear was perfectly secure; although commanded, at the furthest effective range of the Martini Henry, the ground to its front and flanks, I consider that there never was a position where a small force could have made a better defensive stand- The Garrison consisted of.

(On this I think we all agree)

Source: Lord Chelmsfords Zululand Campaign 1878-1879 JOHN P.C. LABAND
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24th

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PostSubject: Re: Where to from here   Where to from here EmptySat May 09, 2009 8:13 pm

So it looks like it was the only position that would have been the best choice.

I think John's shows the only option left open to the Zulu if they had continued with there attack.
What was it Cetshwayo said, “never attack a British fortified position“., maybe if the British had taken up this position the attack may never have taken place.

Chelmsford writes: “The rear was perfectly secure; although commanded, at the furthest effective range of the Martini Henry, the ground to its front and flanks, I consider that there never was a position where a small force could have made a better defensive stand- The Garrison consisted of.”

If Chelmsford had known this why did he not make sure that the position he mentions was used before he left Isandlwana.
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Chelmsfordthescapegoat

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PostSubject: Re: Where to from here   Where to from here EmptySat May 09, 2009 8:32 pm

It would have been the most obvious choice. Just look at the natural environment. The hill is the give away stand with that behind you, and your rear is protected. I think the average trooper would have been able to work that out. The dots and lines look pretty but that’s about all.
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Saul David 1879



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PostSubject: Re: Where to from here   Where to from here EmptySun May 10, 2009 12:10 am

CTSG
It wasn't that obvious to Lord Chelmsford at the time he left Isandlwana on the 22nd Jan 1879.
But then again he did quite a lot of talking after the event.


S.D
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garywilson1

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PostSubject: Re: Where to from here   Where to from here EmptyThu May 14, 2009 6:24 pm

Greetings to all - i have been busy recently so not able to post , i would like to go back to the question of the outcome if the British had been formed up in a solid defensible position .

I accept that the total rounds fired at RD and the ratio of hits overall was low , but i beleive most of the battle at RD actually took place at night so a large number of shots were expended at night by very tired , very frightened men , probably a lot of the time at mere shadows or simply to keep the Zulu pinned down . I think that the hit ratio would have been considerably higher in the daylight when the troops were fresher and firing at visible massed targets.

Now at Ishandlwana we have fresh , confident troops in a good defensive position and i think the initial power of there volleyed fire would have slowed down the Zulu charge allowing time for more volleys and then forced them to go to ground where they would have been a target for the artillery.

I have read that there were occasions in the actual battle where the Zulu were indeed forced to take cover and unable to make progress against steady volley fire and were only able to advance when the British had to retire due to tactical reasons .If we accept in our hyperthetical scenario that the defensive line is fixed and will not withdraw due to lack of ammunition or being outflanked then i believe British fire power would have won the day .

Again , just my opinion and i am happy to be able to freely express it .
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John

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PostSubject: Re: Where to from here   Where to from here EmptyFri May 15, 2009 12:00 pm

This makes a lot of sense.

Lanchester’s Laws Military Example: The Zulu wars Based on
The Works of F.W. Lanchester (1868-1946

By Paul McNeil [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

Military Example

The Zulu Wars: Small numbers with high E (British), versus large
numbers with low E (Zulus)

"In the later part of the nineteenth century British Colonisation of South Africa was proceeding at a fast pace. On the border of this outpost of empire lay the highly militarised and aggressive and expanding Kingdom of the Zulus under their King Cetewayo. The Zulus were seen as an imminent threat by the British, The White Boer Republics, and the Swazi tribes. Likewise the expanding British Empire was seen by the Zulus as an imminent threat, as were the incursions of the Boer settlers. Given this volatile situation, it was inevitable, despite various promises, treaties, and agreements that the situation would develop into warfare.

After some desultory border skirmishes by the Zulus, some tub thumping rhetoric and unacceptable demands with an ultimatum by the British, the real war started with mobilisation of an army by the British under Lord Chelmsford.


The aims of the British were three fold; firstly to destroy the Zulu Army formations (Impis) in battle, to capture the Zulu capital of Ulundi, and to capture the Zulu King Cetewayo. The Zulus had an army of about 50,000 well trained, disciplined, and brave infantry, but with a low “E” factor by comparison with the British due to being overwhelmingly armed with stabbing spears (Asegais) and shields, a few were armed with firearms but not many. Chelmsford had 5,000 British and other white troops, and 8,000 black Kaffiri troops, some Cavalry, all of these were armed with firearms, they also had 170 sailors and marines from HMS Active with two field guns, one Gatling gun, and two rocket tubes. So the Zulus had the advantage of numbers, the British and allies had the advantage of weapon’s technology “E”.

Chelmsford split his forces into five columns, three to invade Zululand, two to be held in reserve to defend against any counter attacks into British territory by the Zulus, or opportunistic incursions into British territory by the Boer Republics taking advantage of the British/Zulu confrontation.

Chelmsford leading the central column crossed the buffalo river at Rorke’s Drift, and leaving a small detachment of engineers and about 100 men of the 24thregiment, plus a number of wounded in the hospital there, marched on to encamp the majority of his column on Isandhlwana Hill."


The Battle of Isandhlwana

"Ignoring the protests of his white South African auxiliary troops, well experienced in border warfare with the Zulus, Chelmsford failed to fortify his camp and
further split his forces in half, riding off to support some scouts who had run into Zulu scouts. Right on cue, after Chelmsford rode off 20,000 Zulus appeared over the hill and descended on the small British force. Although the E of the British troops was considerably higher than that of the Zulus, they were limited to about 50 rounds of cartridges each, whilst the rest were sealed in wooden containers, only two quartermaster sergeants having the necessary tools to open them. This being the case the E advantage of the British quickly dwindled, and was further confounded by the quartermasters refusing to issue cartridges without the correct paperwork! As the cartridges ran out the E factor dwindled to 1 as 20,000 Zulus armed with assegais were faced by a thousand British armed with bayonets, to top this, the battle became Stochastic as the Zulus broke into the British camp, thereby being able to attack the British from multiple sides simultaneously. The result could not be in doubt. All the officers and all but two of the men of the 24th regiment were killed. It was the single biggest defeat of a regular British force by native troops. The Zulu losses were not recorded, but in proportional terms, were far less than those of the British. So where this battle started as one under Lanchester’s first law with a huge advantage in E to the British, once the cartridges had run out and the Zulus had closed, the battle continued under Lanchester’s first Law, with an E value of 1, to be followed by the Zulus breaking into the British camp, and turning the battle into one fought under Lanchester’s second law with an E value of 1.Result; overwhelming victory to the Zulus. The British had assumed an overwhelming advantage in E, without accounting for their own systemic weaknesses, which couldn’t be compensated for by the grim bravery of the redcoats."


The Battle of Rorke’s Drift

"Later that afternoon, a Zulu Impi of 4,500 men, fresh from their victory at Isandhlwana, swept down onto the tiny riverside hospital outpost of Rorke’s Drift. Initially there were about 400 British and colonial troops there, but when the Impi was sighted, all the native troops fled, leaving about 140 Regular British soldiers of the 24th Regiment, engineers, and the wounded in the hospital. Unlike the troops at Isandhlwana, these troops had plentiful ammunition, and being in buildings with a compound surrounding were able to put up makeshift barricades prior to the Impi’s arrival.They defended their post for a full twelve hours from four in the afternoon till four in the morning, when the Zulus gave up the attack as too costly and withdrew. During that time they fired about 20,000 rounds of ammunition from their rifles, every single British soldier was wounded, and seventeen were killed. Against this the Zulus lost about 500 killed and wounded, plus an indeterminate number of walking wounded who withdrew with the rest of the Impi at the end of the battle, perhaps another 1,000. Why the difference in this battle to Isandhlwana? Well, the British managed to keep the flow of ammunition to their fighters, thereby sustaining their high E factor, and fighting from behind, albeit makeshift, defences, they held the greater part of the Zulus beyond fighting distance whilst holding their ground and firing volleys into them at a distance, thereby getting a partial stochastic effect under the second law, and even when the defences were pressed, the British still managed to have a much higher E factor under the first law when fighting at close quarters. But it was the British soldiers’ ability to fight stochastically at a distance that made the difference to the numbers of casualties; at close quarters the Zulus could inflict some casualties, even if they lost many more than they killed. Result; a draw. The British could hold their position but could not leave it to exploit the superior E they possessed, the Zulus couldn’t take the position without sustaining crippling losses, but could ensure that the British could not leave their position."


The Battle of Ulundi

"The turning point of the war came with the battle of Ulundi, 4th July 1879. Lord Chelmsford march on the Zulu Capital with 5,000 men formed in one enormous square, Infantry forming the sides, Gatling guns and artillery at corners and centre of the sides, in the middle of the square were the Cavalry, irregulars, staff officers and supply train. Slowly, ponderously, but with colours flying and the band playing, the square rumbled forward. There was o sign of the Zulu Impis, so the cavalry rode out and began burning the Zulu Kraals (barracks). After about three miles of the advance 20,000 Zulus appeared from all sides. The square stopped, the infantry closed ranks,the first two ranks kneeling, the second two standing. The cavalry withdrew as the Zulus attempted to surround them and cut them off, they gallop back to the square, the Infantry parted ranks and allowed them into the safety of the centreof the square, then reformed ready to meet the Zulu attack. The Zulu closed at a run from all sides, only to be hit by volleys of fire, exploding artillery shells, and the steady thump of the Gatling guns. Despite all attempts atbravery, as long as the British could keep up their fire the Zulus couldn’t effectively close to more than one hundred yards of the square. It was a hopeless situation, and eventually the Zulu Impis broke and ran; instantly the cavalry issued forth from the centre of the square, and pursued them “…cutting them down like grass before the scythe.” according to one eye witness. The battle took 90 minutes. The British lost 82, the Zulus 1,500. Cetewayo fled, his capital was taken, and his army was broken. Shortly after Cetewayo himself and the last of his chiefs was also captured, the submission of the Zulus before the power of British E At Ulundi the British E factor was vastly superior to the Zulus, the only casualties in the British ranks came from the few Zulu sharpshooters. This meant that the Zulus couldn’t close, and the British weapons effectively allowed them to engage stochastically with the Zulus from a distance, there was absolutely no way that the Zulus could win without closing, and the British holding their ground and keeping up their rate of fire made them unbeatable."

Result; "an overwhelming British victory. The British not only possessed far greater E than the Zulus, but could fight stochastically, which the Zulus could not unless they could break the British formation."



Summary: What to do

"Stage 1 Decide on relative strength and Combat effectiveness

1. Decide if you are numerically stronger than, equal to, or weaker than your opponent.

2. Decide if your E is greater than, equal to, or less than your opponent.


Stage 2 Follow the relevant strategy

1. If you are stronger than your opponent and have greater E, engage in a stochastic engagement as quickly as possible, do not take any risks.

2. If you are stronger than your opponent, but lower in E, adopt the strategy of Numbers.

3. If you are more or less numerically equal to your opponent and equal in E, adopt the strategy of equals.

4. If you are weaker than your opponent, but higher in E adopt the strategy, Concentration.

5. If you are numerically weaker than your opponent, and have a lower E, then do not engage at this time.

6. If you are uncertain of your relative numerical strength, and relative E factors, adopt the strategy of equals until a clearer picture is forthcoming."
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24th

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PostSubject: Re: Where to from here   Where to from here EmptyFri May 15, 2009 4:01 pm

Light Spades could have saved the day according to

SIR HENRY HAVELOCK

"If the men at Isandula had had these light spades, they would have been able, even in a few hours, to have intrenched the camp, or, at any rate, to have thrown up a few rifle pits flanking each other. Then, with the powerful weapons with which our men were armed, he undertook to say that we should not now have been mourning a great disaster;"

Mad
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John

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PostSubject: Re: Where to from here   Where to from here EmptySat May 16, 2009 8:34 pm

But the question is "why were the light spades not available" British troops not having enought kit. History repeating its self.
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sas1

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PostSubject: Re: Where to from here   Where to from here EmptyTue Jun 02, 2009 11:21 pm

Must admit didn’t really understand the question. Or what DTSG wanted to hear. But I managed to borrow one of the Legacy Books. Which leads me to my opinion. The only way to go is to find out what happen to the troops after the Zulu war. Some fought in the Boar war. But do we know anything about them. Lets take the one of the defenders of Rorkes Drift. Colour Sgt Bourne, at one point he was camp commander at Shorecliffe most military personnel undertook training there before their tour of Ireland. I wonder just how many of them knew that. Do we really know these soldiers. No not really. We only know about their life’s during the Zulu war. I can see why Admin kept pushing the Legacy Books, they are full of facts not speculation. I could tell you a lot more, but as Admin says it would not be fair to the author.
But lets not forget. Its all of the troops that took part in the Zulu War not just Rorkes Drift. But it’s a good place to start.
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Chelmsfordthescapegoat

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PostSubject: Re: Where to from here   Where to from here EmptyTue Jun 02, 2009 11:38 pm

Sas1 you say “Admin says it would not be fair to the author.” Tell me why I should purchase a book I know nothing about. On this forum we discuss various books we even quote from them. You have mentioned a bit about Frank Bourne, and I will be honest I did not know that. But its like buying a new car, would you buy it before taking it for a test drive. Most of the books I have purchased is down to discussions on various forums. I need to know a lot more about a book before I buy. Most of us buy books to build up our personal collections and those books need to fit the bill.
But yes I agree it is a way forward. And by the way your not alone. I also did not understand the original question that started this thread.
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