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Film Zulu Dawn quote: “Excuse me, my Lord, there's something I must convey to you. I rode along the track down to Rorke's Drift. The sky above is red with fire. Your orders my Lord? Do we move to the drift?”
 
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 Durnford was he capable.5

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ymob

ymob

Posts : 2268
Join date : 2010-10-22
Location : France

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.5   Durnford was he capable.5 - Page 11 EmptySat Jan 10, 2015 3:40 pm

ymob wrote:
Bonjour Frank,
As you know, i am not an expert on topography, i try to understand:

#Hypothesis (from your map):
1°) The Zulus(for DURNFORD) were somewhere between  the ngebini valley and the Quabe valley
2°) Chelmsford route: to the Mangeni



My question is:  Do you think that it is plausible that the intent of DURNFORD was to intercept the Zulus (standed somewhere between the Ngebini valley and the Quabe valley) before they rush (in a direct line) to the mangeni in Chelsmford's rear?

In watching the map, it seems to me that it's possible

Frank, its a inocent question, not a assertion. Wink  Wink
Cheers

Frédéric

Springbok's extract answer on this subject / yesterday5.52PM (Message destroyed by Pete)

"In terms of the Zulu, yes anything is possible, however a better route would have been for Durnford to move across the plain rather than through the valleys and that would have put him in between the Zulu and the General. But he elected to go down the Quabe and I believe there was another reason, what at this stage im not to sure".
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Julian Whybra



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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.5   Durnford was he capable.5 - Page 11 EmptySat Jan 10, 2015 3:47 pm

All
Please substitute 'had been informed' instead of 'imagined' in my post of 2.22 pm.

john
You've altered the meaning of my post to imply that Durnford was using his imagination to position his men tactically. That was not my meaning at all.
Durnford was 'imagining' or envisaging, as last intelligence had indicated, a force of 400 or so on the plateau. That was all.
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John

John

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.5   Durnford was he capable.5 - Page 11 EmptySat Jan 10, 2015 3:59 pm

400?  So did he not read the reports, when he took over command. Maybe not all. But Chards verbal report alone represented more than 400. I can not go with the notion, that Durnford only thought 400 Zulus were present in the area. If that is the case, going back to the RB why did he need those. The mounted men under his command could have routed 400 Zulus.

Julian

"

The Curling Letters..." undated, estimated at mid Feb.- "At 7.30, I got a message to turn out at once and we got ready to go in about 10 minutes, forming up by the 1/24th on their parade ground. [i.e. south side of the RD track though he seems to have mixed up the camps] The companies were very weak, no more than 50 in each, and there were only six of them in all. We congratulated ourselves on the chance of being attacked and hoped that our small numbers might induce the Zulus to come on. They were then 1,000 or 2,000 strong on some hills 2 miles off. I suppose that not more than half the men in the camp took part in it's defence as it was not considered necessary and they were left in as cooks etc. We remained outside the 24th camp for 3 hours and all had breakfast together. There must have been twenty of us all together and not one escaped (the officers of the 1/24th)." 

Look at the time prior to Durnford arriving. Pulleine must have seen the same as Curling and gave the information to Durnford.
Are you really saying, that after all the thousands of Zulu seen, all but 400 had left. Now it would have made more sense, if Dunford had rode inthe correct direction of LC to see if all those Zulu's had followed him. Not going charging across the field looking for 400 retiring Zulus.


Chard Report.
"An N.C.O. of the 24th Regiment lent me a field glass, which was a very good one, and I also looked with my own, and could see the enemy moving on the distant hills, and apparently in great force.

I left the camp, and a quarter of a mile, or less out of it met with Colonel Durnford R.E., riding at the head of his mounted men. I told him what I had seen"
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rusteze

rusteze

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.5   Durnford was he capable.5 - Page 11 EmptySat Jan 10, 2015 4:18 pm

Forget about the 400 for a moment. And also try to forget about what actually happened. What does Durnford know when he decides to leave the camp?

1. That the earlier threat to the camp (of whatever number) has receded and the troops had been stood down.

2. That a Zulu force was possibly heading in the direction of Chelmsford who was confronting another Zulu force.

Imagine then, that the camp had not been attacked but Chelmsford had been (which would arguably have been an even greater disaster for the British invading force).

Would Durnford have been right or wrong if he had stayed in the camp?

Steve
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John

John

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.5   Durnford was he capable.5 - Page 11 EmptySat Jan 10, 2015 4:22 pm

See, we can't keep doing this, we must stick to the events at Isandlwana. Did Durnford really think he was going after 400 Zulus. It does make a difference, it that, would he have taken the same action if there had been thousands of Zulus.
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rusteze

rusteze

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.5   Durnford was he capable.5 - Page 11 EmptySat Jan 10, 2015 4:42 pm

Durnford has to make a judgement on what he knows at the time and what he expects to happen next. We have to decide whether his choice was reasonable in the circumstances.

This is exactly what we need to do.

Steve
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John

John

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.5   Durnford was he capable.5 - Page 11 EmptySat Jan 10, 2015 4:49 pm

Good point Steve. But I don't think he was so stupid, as to ignore the sightings prior to his arrival.

If it was me, and I'm suddenly told there were only 400. I would be extremely concerned about LC flank.
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rusteze

rusteze

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.5   Durnford was he capable.5 - Page 11 EmptySat Jan 10, 2015 5:02 pm

I agree he would have known about a number of sightings with different estimates of numbers. He then has to decide where the threat is greatest and deploy to try and meet it. In my view that is what he did. He was far from stupid.

Steve
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John

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.5   Durnford was he capable.5 - Page 11 EmptySat Jan 10, 2015 5:12 pm

Steve so we are singing from the same hymn sheet.
What time do you have Durnford leaving the camp. ?
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impi

impi

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.5   Durnford was he capable.5 - Page 11 EmptySat Jan 10, 2015 5:30 pm

According to Essex.
around 11:00 no idea had been formed regarding the probable strength of the enemy force.
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rusteze

rusteze

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.5   Durnford was he capable.5 - Page 11 EmptySat Jan 10, 2015 5:40 pm

Did you notice how I did that without moving my lips!

Steve
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Julian Whybra



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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.5   Durnford was he capable.5 - Page 11 EmptySat Jan 10, 2015 6:34 pm

John

Note, I am not saying anything on my own account.  I am saying that never mind the messages from earlier in the day (of course Durnford knew of them); Durnford received messages while in the camp (1) that the enemy had retired in all directions and (2) that the LAST report he received before leaving was that there were 400 enemy in front of him and they were running away.
I am NOT saying that there WERE 400 Zulus in front of him; I am saying that DURNFORD was told that there were from intelligence received.
Like a good officer that formed the basis of his actions.
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John

John

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.5   Durnford was he capable.5 - Page 11 EmptySat Jan 10, 2015 8:46 pm

My point being, if Durnford was, as we are told a good officer, why would he go out and place himself and his men, in a position that he thought would prevent an attack on LC flank, without knowing the true number of the Enermy.

What do you mean, by never mind the message, that would have been part of the intelligence. Pulleine was expecting Durnford at some point, so would have needed to acquaint him with the events.
I don't understand when you keep saying Durnford done the right thing. How! What was the end result!

Based on him responding to the last message.( retiring ) was from then on, nothing but tatical errors. His only option once he realised his mistake was to with draw back to the camp. Which as we know had severe consequences for those back at the camp, causing them to re-position away from the camp  to cover him.

I take it by the map posted by Springbok, shows the point where Durnford encountered the Zulu's which caused him to turn around and retire? If it was, we will never know what his intention were had the Zulus not stop him. ( if I'm reading the map wrong fair enought disregard this)
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24th

24th

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.5   Durnford was he capable.5 - Page 11 EmptySat Jan 10, 2015 9:46 pm

What if Durnford believed there were only 400 Zulus. 
We all know he received that rebuke letter from LC. We also know his state of mind. ( I am down because I am left be hind, but we shall see) what a quick fix it would have been, to get himself noticed. Defending LC flank. We also have, that letter posted some pages back, regarding Durnford's column not being permitted to attack the enemy unless supported by British troops. 

He was in a bit if a situation, in that he had only been ordered to move to the camp. The chance of taking the fight to the Zulu was just to great, thus telling Pulleine he would not be staying. Based on the last message received ( Zulu retiring) he asked for two companies ( This would have been seen, as being supported by British troops) when Melville remind Durnford of Pulleines orders to defend the camp, and it wasn't going to happen, Durnford then says okay, but you will come to my rescue should I get into difficulties. ( Again this would have been seen as being supported by British Troops)  

I know it was said the letter mentioned above, may well have been issued when there were 5 columns. But no one has posted verification either way. 

Of course the problem was, Durnford never encountered 400 Zulus it was thousands. He had no other choice but to take he fight back towards the British lines, and we know what happened due to that course of action.
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ymob

ymob

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.5   Durnford was he capable.5 - Page 11 EmptySat Jan 10, 2015 10:37 pm

Julian Whybra wrote:
I
Durnford was not intending in the first instance to go in the direction of Chelmsford.  He was intending to place himself in a position such that his force could intercept any forward movement in the direction of Chelmsford's force by the small force of Zulus he imagined were on the plateau.


Bonsoir Mister Whybra,
In this scheme, I don't understand:
- Why did he took with him the rocket battery and infantry native?
-Why did he asked to Pulleine to give him 2 Imperial companies? (I am not convinced by the hypothesis "necessity to be supported by British troops").

The answer to these 2 questions is probably about the notion : "in first instance".
Do you explain, please, the first DURNFORD's intention?

Personally, I thought of establishing an outpost between Isandhlwana and the next camp in the Mangeni (as Major Dunbar before him in the Batshe valley) in view of the impending move camp.
But this hypothesis seems to be very, very hazardous. I have no "source" to support it. You need to study mo
Cheers

Frédéric

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Ray63

Ray63

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.5   Durnford was he capable.5 - Page 11 EmptySat Jan 10, 2015 11:01 pm

Spent some time going through Col Mike Snooks posts on various forums. Came across one post that could have been written for for this forum.

"It needs to be said:

Some people here seem to be losing all control over their critical faculties. Some points to note please:

It is not and has never been the convention in the British service to court martial people for losing, nor to 'flog' general officers.

The constant darting back and forth between cinema (fiction) and history (a one-time reality) really underscores the current poor level of discussion and debate, and the slide into fantasy which if not checked will, in my opinion serve to ruin this forum. Some are just making it up as they go along.

Both Lord Chelmsford and Colonel Durnford took crassly stupid and culpable decisions in the period 21-22 January. Both had character defects and flaws of temperament. One paid for his own [and his superior's errors] with his life, the other with professional and reputational ruination. Both , not one or the other, but both bear a share of the blame, with the balance overwhelmingly tipped against Lord C, who appointed Col D to field command, where others would not have done so, and put him at the point of decision at precisely the wrong moment.

There was no cover-up - only a failed attempt at one - a function of embarassment, shock and cognitive dissonance on the GOC's part. There is no smoking gun for conspiracy theorists to trot out. It was not convincing, was effectively restricted to the GOC and his MS [a two-man cover-up?], it made absolutely no headway, and was rejected out of hand by the military establishment in London at the time. The AG on behalf of the C-in-C wrote to Lord C as early as the spring of 79, before the war was even done, firmly laying the blame for Isandlwana at his Lordhsip's door. The general was removed from his command and never commanded soldiers again; that is what happens to failed generals in the British service. No injustice has therefore been done to Col Durnford.

After that there was a rather undignified squabble between the Durnford-Colenso faction, who would allow of no blame attaching to their hero, in which they were quite wrong, and a Chelmsford faction, led by himself [now sacked, derided and humiliated], who would allow of no blame sticking to their man, a viewpoint which is every bit as flawed, if not more so. But that is all it was - a squabble between two factions both of whom occupied militarily and intellectually flawed positions. It was all resolved a long time ago. People are arguing here as if they can change the judgement of history. It is not possible - the Duke of Cambridge, as C-in-C of the British Army, decided, and promulgated his decision in 1879. Lord Chelmsford was the principal culprit and was sacked. The Duke has been dead for an awfully long time and is not likely to change his mind any time soon.

Any narrow-minded refusal to accept that Colonel Durnford behaved irresponsibly and impulsively in the face of an overwhelming enemy force, when a calmer head might have stood the British side in better stead, is just not founded in history, reality or, most importantly, the military art.

A historian is somebody who interprets events through a keen and comprehensive knowledge of the totality of the sources and the associated historiography. If one has only a partial or a feeble grasp on the sources and the literature, one would be well advised to regard oneself as a novice and look to benefit from the knowledge of others, rather than make ridiculously dogmatic assertions which have no grounding in history and cannot be sustained on the basis either of bona fide source evidence or closely reasoned balance of probability. It is possible to acquire a reasonable grasp on the theory, art and science of war as a civilian by dint of a couple of decades of serious study [a learning process which a great many members of this forum have put themselves through, or in many other cases are part-way through] - but not without it. Until one has acquired such a mastery of the subject, one is a learner (a perfectly respectable thing to be) and should comport oneself accordingly. Anybody can talk rubbish;"


Me well I'm a "Novice" but as I understand a fair chunk of the above perhaps I'm a "learner”  agree

Source Rorkes Drift VC
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Chard1879

Chard1879

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.5   Durnford was he capable.5 - Page 11 EmptySat Jan 10, 2015 11:20 pm

Both Lord Chelmsford and Colonel Durnford took crassly stupid and culpable decisions in the period 21-22 January. Both had character defects and flaws of temperament. One paid for his own [and his superior's errors] with his life, the other with professional and reputational ruination. Both , not one or the other, but both bear a share of the blame, with the balance overwhelmingly tipped against Lord C, who appointed Col D to field command, where others would not have done so, and put him at the point of decision at precisely the wrong moment.

Well that should put pay, to the in correct reputation of the so called "Durnford Basher"
Perhaps level ground could be found, allowing the discussion to move on in a new direction. That's if the Durnford camp can accept that Durnford did make tatical errors that led to the loss of the camp.
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rusteze

rusteze

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.5   Durnford was he capable.5 - Page 11 EmptySat Jan 10, 2015 11:41 pm

He doesn't lack confidence does he.

I quite like a lot of what he says, particularly about the futility of the argument, but can do without the hubris.

I disagree with him that Durnford acted irresponsibly and impulsively in the face of an overwhelming enemy force. Snook asserts that the camp knew the force was overwhelming, I think the evidence says that at the time Durnford took his action they did not.

In that sense the quote itself takes us no further forward. Making tactical errors is a long way from accusations of irresponsibility and impulsiveness. The whole thing was a tactical error.

Steve
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impi

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.5   Durnford was he capable.5 - Page 11 EmptySat Jan 10, 2015 11:49 pm

More than happy to move on.
Taking LC out of the equation, based on him not being at the camp on the 22nd during the Battle.
Did Durnford make the right tactical decisions from the moment he arrived.
Perhaps we between us, can come up with a logical explanation as to why he sent the men of the RB to ascertain the whereabouts of the enemy.

Anyway it's late, tomorrow's another day.
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Ray63

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.5   Durnford was he capable.5 - Page 11 EmptySun Jan 11, 2015 12:36 am

What was Durnford reasoning for sending Lt. Cavaye to the ridge. What was he supposed to do when he got up there.
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90th

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PostSubject: Durnford was he capable 5   Durnford was he capable.5 - Page 11 EmptySun Jan 11, 2015 7:56 am

The google map posted by Springbok has Chelmesfords force in the wrong place . They took the wagon track and Marched down the right of the plain .
If anyone who has ' The Noble 24th ' please post the Penn symons map , which is the frontispiece , it's plain to see that Durnford did indeed place himself between the zulus in or on the Nqutu Range , and LC who had taken the wagon track up the plain , and veered right after passing the Conical hill which was a some distance off to LC's left . Durnford went past the hill to his left , and then turned left . Therefore placing himself and his force between the zulus which were known and LC further to the right .
90th
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Julian Whybra



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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.5   Durnford was he capable.5 - Page 11 EmptySun Jan 11, 2015 8:29 am

ray
Cavaye was on picquet duty replacing the NNC coy picked up by Raw.
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90th

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PostSubject: Durnford was he capable 5    Durnford was he capable.5 - Page 11 EmptySun Jan 11, 2015 8:48 am

John you can also read the first two lines of your last post , and direct it also at LC , who did the same thing but much worse , and did it on a much larger scale ! , when LC got out toward mangeni he split his forces to all points of the compass looking for the zulu army , if the zulu army was were he thought it was , the battle between his men and the zulu army would've been far worse in regards to British casualties , there may have been some chance that none of that part column would've survived , especially when you analize how many died in the camp , and there was more imperial firepower at the camp than out with LC , who was roaming all over the countryside .
90th
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John Young

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.5   Durnford was he capable.5 - Page 11 EmptySun Jan 11, 2015 10:38 am

Ray,

With his comment: It is not and has never been the convention in the British service to court martial people for losing, nor to 'flog' general officers. Mike appears to have forgotten the fate of Rear-Admiral the Hon. John Byng, who failed to relieve the Siege of Mahon in 1756, which by-the-way included the 24th Regiment in its garrison.

Byng was executed by firing-squad on 14th March 1757.

Byng's execution was satirized by Voltaire in his novel Candide when he wrote: Dans ce pays-ci, il est bon de tuer de temps en temps un amiral pour encourager les autres. "In this country, it is good to kill an admiral from time to time, in order to encourage the others."

JY
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Chard1879

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.5   Durnford was he capable.5 - Page 11 EmptySun Jan 11, 2015 11:07 am

John Young wrote:
Ray,

With his comment: It is not and has never been the convention in the British service to court martial people for losing, nor to 'flog' general officers.  Mike appears to have forgotten the fate of Rear-Admiral the Hon. John Byng, who failed to relieve the Siege of Mahon in 1756, which by-the-way included the 24th Regiment in its garrison.

Byng was executed by firing-squad on 14th March 1757.

Byng's execution was satirized by Voltaire in his novel Candide when he wrote: Dans ce pays-ci, il est bon de tuer de temps en temps un amiral pour encourager les autres.  "In this country, it is good to kill an admiral from time to time, in order to encourage the others."
JY

It matters not what regiments were present.

"On March 14 1757, despite appeals from the court martial - two vice-admirals refused to sign the sentence - Byng was led on to the quarterdeck of his flagship, the Monarque, anchored off Spithead, and was shot by an execution party of Marines"

It was a Navel matter.
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Chard1879

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.5   Durnford was he capable.5 - Page 11 EmptySun Jan 11, 2015 11:16 am

90th wrote:
John you can also read the first two lines of your last post , and direct it also at LC , who did the same thing but much worse , and did it on a much larger scale ! , when LC got out toward mangeni he split his forces to all points of the compass looking for the zulu army , if the zulu army was were he thought it was , the battle between his men and the zulu army would've been far worse in regards to British casualties , there may have been some chance that none of that part column would've survived , especially when you analize how many died in the camp , and there was more imperial firepower at the camp  than out with LC , who was roaming all over the countryside .
90th

90th wrote:
who did the same thing but much worse

How's that then?
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Chard1879

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.5   Durnford was he capable.5 - Page 11 EmptySun Jan 11, 2015 11:17 am

Julian Whybra wrote:
ray
Cavaye was on picquet duty replacing the NNC coy picked up by Raw.

If that was the case why, did Dunford send them there and not Pulleine?
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Julian Whybra



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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.5   Durnford was he capable.5 - Page 11 EmptySun Jan 11, 2015 11:21 am

Chard
That's already been covered.  I hope I've already given enough evidence for Durnford's having done that - look back through the last few pages of posts.
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John Young

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.5   Durnford was he capable.5 - Page 11 EmptySun Jan 11, 2015 11:29 am

Chard1879,

I think you are missing the point about Byng.

I'll leave it at that.

JY
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90th

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PostSubject: Durnford was he capable    Durnford was he capable.5 - Page 11 EmptySun Jan 11, 2015 12:47 pm

Chard '' How's that then '' , hows what ! . I assume you dont think LC leaving the camp contributed to it's downfall ? . Well LC did take a large portion of men , which could have all stayed in the camp , instead of chasing shadows 9 miles away , having his command spread to four points of the compass , I assume you realise LC wasnt sitting around waiting for the zulu to turn up ! , he was spread thinly in all directions , becoming increasingly frustrated , as there was no sign of a large army .
90th
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rusteze

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.5   Durnford was he capable.5 - Page 11 EmptySun Jan 11, 2015 3:00 pm

Gary
Here is Penn Symons map from Noble 24th.
[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]

Steve
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.5   Durnford was he capable.5 - Page 11 EmptySun Jan 11, 2015 3:25 pm

90th wrote:
Chard  '' How's that then '' , hows what ! . I assume you dont think LC leaving the camp contributed to it's downfall ? . Well LC did take a large portion of men , which could have all stayed in the camp , instead of chasing shadows 9 miles away , having his command spread to four points of the compass , I assume you realise LC wasnt sitting around waiting for the zulu to turn up ! , he was spread thinly in all directions , becoming increasingly frustrated , as there was no sign of a large army .
90th


So we are back to assuming.
Well if LC hadn't taken half the men, then he wouldn't have left the camp' then Durnford, would not have required to move to the camp. Then Raw wouldn't have fire on the Zulus
Then the Zulu wouldn't have been provoked into attacking the camp
Then we woundn't be having this discussion.

That's what assuming does.
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rusteze

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.5   Durnford was he capable.5 - Page 11 EmptySun Jan 11, 2015 3:43 pm

John

What you have just said is full of assumptions. We cannot discuss this topic without making them. The only valid line of questioning is, how well based are the assumptions your making.

If you avoid all assumptions you are only left with the bare facts that are known, and that is a very partial picture. You are prohibited from thinking why people did what they did and what were the wider causes of what happened.

That makes no sense.

Steve
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John

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.5   Durnford was he capable.5 - Page 11 EmptySun Jan 11, 2015 4:48 pm

Why! Stick to the facts, as they were played out that day.
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rusteze

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.5   Durnford was he capable.5 - Page 11 EmptySun Jan 11, 2015 5:10 pm

First, because you don't know all the facts! Second, because they don't tell you why things happened!

I will leave it at that.

Steve

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John

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.5   Durnford was he capable.5 - Page 11 EmptySun Jan 11, 2015 5:13 pm

Then you need to go by the facts that are available. Eyewittness accounts. From both side. Anything else is just filling the gaps ( Imagination)
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rusteze

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.5   Durnford was he capable.5 - Page 11 EmptySun Jan 11, 2015 5:24 pm

No, sorry I don't buy that. But enough.

Steve
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John

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.5   Durnford was he capable.5 - Page 11 EmptySun Jan 11, 2015 6:06 pm

Okay! Not a problem. agree
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Julian Whybra



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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.5   Durnford was he capable.5 - Page 11 EmptySun Jan 11, 2015 6:11 pm

Base your assumptions on known facts and proceed logically!
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John

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.5   Durnford was he capable.5 - Page 11 EmptySun Jan 11, 2015 6:46 pm

Julian Whybra wrote:
Base your assumptions on known facts and proceed logically!

Logically.. That word doen't seem to apply. Happy to sit back and let you guys work on assumptions. At present it's one step forward 19 back.
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Julian Whybra



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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.5   Durnford was he capable.5 - Page 11 EmptySun Jan 11, 2015 10:24 pm

Of course it applies. Do you think that Durnford deliberately took it upon himself to act illogically?
No. Whatever the actual outcome all his then actions would have been based on sound military logic.
Look! No hinds(ight)!
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90th

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PostSubject: Durnford was he capable    Durnford was he capable.5 - Page 11 EmptySun Jan 11, 2015 11:43 pm

John you are the one doing the assuming and making the ' odd ' assumption here and there ! . One fact you can be assured of is that the camp was still going to be attacked , so your quip about not having this discussion is null and void ! . Did you know the camp was going to be attacked ? , I suggest you read some of the zulu accounts who said that was going to be the case on the 23rd Jan ! . scratch
90th
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Ray63

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.5   Durnford was he capable.5 - Page 11 EmptyMon Jan 12, 2015 8:23 am

But if you read TMFH. There's was a very good chance, the 22nd was the day.
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Julian Whybra



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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.5   Durnford was he capable.5 - Page 11 EmptyMon Jan 12, 2015 9:09 am

Different discussion, Ray.
And a controversial one which will distract.
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John

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.5   Durnford was he capable.5 - Page 11 EmptyMon Jan 12, 2015 5:14 pm

Julian wrote:
Durnford deliberately took it upon himself to act illogically?

The out come of the battle answers that question.
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rusteze

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.5   Durnford was he capable.5 - Page 11 EmptyMon Jan 12, 2015 8:29 pm

I am posting the piece that follows in an attempt to bring some fresh elements to the discussion. I am not the author, but to my mind, it makes some plausible suggestions as to why Durnford took the action he did. And it addresses some of the more hard to explain actions he took. It requires some careful reading, and it really does help to have the map that is referred to in the text to hand. Please feel free to evaluate what is said and to address the points raised.


Why did Durnford travel down the Quabe Valley?

To answer that I feel we need first of all to establish the movements and positions of the various parties ‘out of camp’ that morning of the 22nd January 1879.

Chelmsford had decided to leave the camp and support Major Dartnell and his NNC and volunteer force camped out above the Mangeni falls, around ten to twelve miles from the camp and not visible from the camp area.
The location of the falls is at the Eastern end of the plain extending from the front face of Isandlwana. They are an outlet for the Mangeni stream that runs down the valley to spill over at its southernmost point.
In the note sent by Crealock/Chelmsford, Colonel Durnford is informed that the General moves out... “to attack a Zulu force about ten miles distant.” And again the areas name is given, Nangwane Valley. Durnford then has Chelmsford’s future location made apparent to him.
Chelmsford’s target is reinforced in correspondence and in documents from the COI

Chelmsford duly left camp around 4.30 ish in the morning, first light, and set of along the traders Ulundi track. This track crossed the plain ( Note the current road is not the track of history) moving towards the South East and divides just short of half way with one fork, the left, heading East towards Ulundi and the right hand fork continuing passed the Hlazakazi hills toward the Dartnell campsite at Mapungu  above the Mangeni Gorge to the South East.

Hamilton-Browne in his ‘A lost Legionary in South Africa’ describes in Chapter 12: “Just after daybreak to my unbounded surprise, the General Staff, four guns, the mounted Infantry and I think 6 companies of the 24th reached us.”

Lord Chelmsford had done exactly what he said he would do, journeyed South East to reach the Mangeni plain.

From the camp the ‘relief column’ would have been visible for quite some time crossing the plain and to any watcher that would have been confirmation that Lord Chelmsford, notorious for changing his mind, had done exactly what he said he was going to do.

When Colonel Durnford reached the Isandlwana camp it was probable that it was in exactly the state he would have expected, the General had left, and being the first time Durnford had been to that area one would expect that his path to the South East would have been if not accurately pointed out would have been certainly indicated. (Firing and smoke was audible and visible to indicate the area, Brickhill, Davies and Pope all mention it)

All and sundry would by mid morning at Isandlwana have known where the general had gone to. The fact that he was to change his position rather drastically during the morning was not and could not have been known to anyone in the Camp until Major Smith and Captain Gardner arrived, that event taking place after the departure of Colonel Durnford.

Colonel Durnford indicated on his arrival to Henry Pulleine that he did not intend to stay in the camp and that his view point on the Zulus was: “My idea is that wherever Zulus appear we ought to attack.”
He was briefed by Col Pulleine and that brief would have, I have no doubt, included the reasons the men had been stood to below the camp of the 2/24th. Because of the multiple sightings of Zulus.
At that point Colonel Durnford did not set of in pursuit of those reported Zulu. He sent out scouts and two companies of mounted volunteers onto the plateau. Raw, Nyanda, Hamer all lived to tell of that ride on the plateau.
Colonel Durnford was without doubt an attack minded soldier, rather than defensive, he outlined those thoughts to Pulleine and this is well backed up by his foray on the information received from Bishop Schroeder. This shouldn’t be interpreted as a criticism of the Colonel merely an insight into the type of man that that he was. This attitude is further borne out by his impatience to get to Isandlwana, leaving behind his wagons, his demeanour at the camp, eating standing up etc. he was ready to do battle, and mentally gearing for that.
A scout returned to the camp with news that there were approximately 400 Zulu in the vicinity. History does not tell us where the scout saw them. Molife seems to think on the ridge. And so historians have always assumed they were on the plateau, hence the oft repeated reasoning that Durnford rode off to protect the general’s rear, or to stop those 400 Zulu moving toward the general’s force.

If indeed Colonel Durnford was intent on protecting the Generals force the decisions made become very strange. He has learned the direction the General travelled in, he has a clear view across the plain, the extreme North partially obscured by Quabe hill and the beginning of the Nyezi range and why would he consider a force of 400 a threat to such a column as the general had with him?
Why indeed would be then ride of in a direction far removed from the generals column. This has been argued as incorrect but a glance onto any map will prove its authenticity.
The Symonds map posted to indicate the relative positions of Colonel Durnford and the generals Column is of little significance as it doesn’t show the whole plain, and it is a sketch rather than a topographical map. For a truer picture of the situation the Campbell collections map designated number 2 is a good comparison. It indicates all the key features. The Campbell collections maps, 2 and 3 are used by Lock and Quantrill in their report entitled ‘The Missing Five Hours’. I would assume most members have that map so will refrain from publishing.

The Zulu 400 cannot have been on the plateau, from the Nquthu ridge all the way back to the ridge protecting the hiding impi at the foot of Mabaso there is nowhere to hide. It’s a flattish open plain that had over 100 horsemen riding across it plus Natal Carbineer piquets.
Raw, Roberts, Shepstone and their companies were busy sweeping that plateau as were the NNC under Barry. Trooper Barker and his partner were stationed on the plateau; we know that because shortly after Barker was to ride down to speak to the Rocket Battery.
There is no mention by Nyanda, Hamer, Raw or Barker of those 400 Zulu that would lead me to assume they were not on the plateau. Nyanda mentions a handful, Raw small groups, Hamer small numbers.
The Zulu 400 seen by the scout had to have been in the Quabe Valley or descended into the valley.
When that was reported to Durnford he behaved exactly the way his nature demanded, he wanted to attack. That’s why he was in Zululand, to attack and defeat the Zulu.
I would argue that on receiving that report he elected to move with all speed to engage the enemy and rode across the plain turning left into the Quabe valley hunting for the Zulu. In doing so, he deliberately left behind the Rocket Battery to act as a potential back up, but he was intent on engaging a force he felt he could handle with the command he had. So he was not trying to ‘intercept’ but actively ‘chasing’ that force.
When he was approached by the Carabineers and told of the impi coming at him it’s quite possible that he understood that as being the 400 he was hunting, possibly either not believing the tale of thousands or putting it down to exaggeration under stress. Again he did, to my mind, show concern for the rocket Battery in asking its position, more so to ensure they were safe from the developing confrontation with the 400. ‘We will cut our way through them’ was his comment when he was told he was going to be surrounded, ‘Impossible’ he snorted. Maybe again in the belief that he couldn’t be surrounded by 400 and if so he could have cut through them.
Consequently I would argue that:
Durnford deliberately left the camp on the hunt for the 400 reported Zulus. That was his job and that’s what he was going to do.
He went down the Quabe valley because that was the reported position of his enemy.
He misinterpreted the Carabineers warnings on the size of the impi he was about to face
His comments have always been interpreted as a man in crisis, I would suggest they were the exact comment we should expect from an attacking frame of mind facing an enemy of
an appropriate size to be handled.
The Rocket Battery wasn’t abandoned, it was in his thoughts but he thought they were out of danger.

He was however not facing what he thought and the actions from there become another issue.


Steve
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ymob

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.5   Durnford was he capable.5 - Page 11 EmptyMon Jan 12, 2015 9:39 pm

First point , Master PO doesn't tell us why Durnford took with him thé rocket battery (and thé native infantry)
With no answer on this point, there is a problèm with his thesis on Durnford's thoughts.
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24th

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.5   Durnford was he capable.5 - Page 11 EmptyMon Jan 12, 2015 9:56 pm

Very good, but with regards to the RB. At what point do you suppose Durnford realised the RB had been left behind, when did it dawn on him, that he was on horseback and the RB were on foot.
His concern for the RB was nothing short of closing the gate after the horse had bolted.

"Colonel Durnford indicated on his arrival to Henry Pulleine that he did not intend to stay in the camp and that his view point on the Zulus was: “My idea is that wherever Zulus appear we ought to attack them"

This was possibly the only tatical plan he had, no consideration for others.
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rusteze

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.5   Durnford was he capable.5 - Page 11 EmptyMon Jan 12, 2015 10:20 pm

I do not know what evidence we have of the use of a rocket battery in a mobile column. It is in many ways unfortunate that we only get a short way into the Zulu campaign before the disaster happens, so we do not know how Durnford intended to deploy them. But it seems to me that wherever Durnford went with his horsemen the RB were always going to be a problem. The RB was just 11 men, all mounted but with mules to carry the equipment. A Company of NNC on foot was there to protect the RB. It may just be that, as with more traditional artillery, it can be easily overrun by overwhelming enemy forces if it is in an exposed position. Is this not what eventually happened to the artillery back in the camp?

Steve
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Ray63

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.5   Durnford was he capable.5 - Page 11 EmptyMon Jan 12, 2015 10:22 pm

When Colonel Durnford reached the Isandlwana camp it was probable that it was in exactly the state he would have expected, the General had left, and being the first time Durnford had been to that area one would expect that his path to the South East would have been if not accurately pointed out would have been certainly indicated. (Firing and smoke was audible and visible to indicate the area, Brickhill, Davies and Pope all mention it)

Steve where can I find these accounts.
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