I wonder if one of these balloons would have changed events at Isandlwana?
From “The Western Mail”, Saturday, April 26, 1879
“WAR BALLOONS FOR THE CAPE
In the event of Lord Chelmsford accepting a balloon equipment, as proffered by the Government some time since, a staff of aeronauts with several balloons are ready to proceed at once to the scene of operations. An unusually large balloon, to be called the Saladin, of 38,000 cubic feet, is nearly complete, while two smaller – the Talisman, 19,000 feet, and the Saracen, 15,000 feet – have been finished, and already made assents. The Vedette, 14,000 feet is ready for trial, and the Pilot, a small supply balloon o 600 feet, has been tested to good purpose. Some very interesting trials have been made to a height of 1,400 feet, at which position the balloon is held by a rope, and signals by flashes and discs have been exchanged with the earth, practice at which the Sappers who form the balloon class have become expert. Most of these men have been sent up in order to familiarize them with the novel sensation, and several officers of the army who are desirous of acquiring an insight into the new military art have availed themselves of the same opportunity. The gas is retained at night, so as to be of service day after day, and arrangement are now being made to establish telephonic communication with the car when aloft, by means of the mooring rope. The practicability of sending up a fresh supply of gas to a balloon by means of the little pilot was prettily demonstrated on Wednesday , and gave great satisfaction to the committee, who are devoting themselves thoroughly to the work.”
Petty Officer Tom