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 Orders to laager at Isandhlwana

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John Young

John Young

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PostSubject: Re: Orders to laager at Isandhlwana   Orders to laager at Isandhlwana - Page 3 EmptyMon May 25, 2020 10:36 pm

Bill,

This is the only photograph that I have in my collection, that I believe shows the Eshowe Relief Column crossing the Thukela River from the Natal bank across to Fort Tenedos.  There is some variety in the wagons shown.

[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]
Tugela Drift, No. 5, a photograph by Benjamin William Caney.
(John Young Collection.)

The scene appears to closely resembles an engraving that appeared in The Illustrated London News based on a sketch by Melton Prior of the Eshowe Relief Column.

The photographer in this case was Durban-based Benjamin William Caney, who has marked his photographic plate so it appears on photographic paper.  The annotation appears on the bottom left corner.  If this is 'Tugela Drift, No. 5', could there be more out that we have yet to discover?

JY
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Daniel25



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Join date : 2020-05-12

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PostSubject: Re: Orders to laager at Isandhlwana   Orders to laager at Isandhlwana - Page 3 EmptyWed May 27, 2020 11:41 am

Frank Allewell wrote:
Hi Danie
Have a look at the standing orders issued by Chelmsford and the prescribed defensive formation. There is a school of thought that Pulleine followed that directive.
There is a comment that Pulleine ordered some oxen to be harnessed, Ive often had the thought that to someone outside the main officer group this could have looked like an attempt to laarger.
Just a couple of thoughts.

Frank

Thanks for that Frank.

Hi Julian, sorry if my post wasn't of great quality. I absolutely don't have the knowledge that so many on the forum do have. If I ever word my posts poorly or I'm way off the mark please forgive me.

When I said "Fatally flawed firing line" would you not agree? Maybe as Frank as hinted, that perhaps it was the prescribed defensive formation issued by Chelmsford and Pulleine was only following direction?

Is the general consensus on the forum that a laager would have been defended successfully as I'd imagine it would have?

Is there any other thoughts on a formation that may have held up against such a force not involving a laager? I'd also imagine this unlikely with the size of the defensive force?

What are the thoughts on the outcome of the battle if Durnford had have been able to hold the left horn or completely check it? Even if Durnford had have checked the left horn and the main line too the chest, unless there was a complete capitulation by the Zulu army would the right horn not have completely undone the British regardless sweeping in from the back of the camp, potentially not long after Durnford would have otherwise been forced back onto the camp?

Again, just a young fan of the AZW who has a very limited knowledge base so apologies if I offend any of the more seasoned forum participants with silly questions or assumptions.
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Orders to laager at Isandhlwana   Orders to laager at Isandhlwana - Page 3 EmptyWed May 27, 2020 11:59 am

Hi Daniel
No need for any apologies, we all learn from the forum. Its good that you are prepared to take an active part in the debate and if you can take away anything from the more experienced members then the forum is serving its purpose.
I personally have never believed there was a definite design for the firing line and that it formed itself as troops moved into place. Julian I know is convinced that it was a deliberate formation.
No doubt a laager would have been effective, assuming an ammo wagon in the centre, Ulundi proved that. However as I posted above Pulleines orders were to defend the camp, that couldnt have happened from a square.
Having visited the battlefield on a couple of occasions Im sure that the best possible defensive position would have been on Mahlabamkosi. But again it would have gifted the camp to the zulu.
As you so rightly point out with the defence as it was the camp was vulnerable to the right horn and even if Durnford had held the left horn ( Im still of the opinion that he did in fact hold it back with the assistance of the Carbineers, see the Granger letter) his back was exposed.
Regards
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Julian Whybra



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PostSubject: Re: Orders to laager at Isandhlwana   Orders to laager at Isandhlwana - Page 3 EmptyWed May 27, 2020 2:08 pm

Daniel
No, no!  Apologies not needed!  Absolutely nothing to apologize for!   I was merely expressing my surprise.  
Fatally flawed?  Yes, certainly against an impi of Isandhlwana size (which was not Pulleine's expectation on the morning of the 22nd.  Frank is correct.  I do think the line was created by design.  What began as random(?) response to a developing situation became fashioned into a defensive line of Chelmsford's creation.  Its similarities to Chelmsford's 'ideal' defensive formation is too striking PLUS the fact that on the same day Pearson adopted the same formation at Inyezane.
A laager would have worked but only at the expense of abandoning the camp which Pulleine's orders forbad him from doing.  He, poor chap, was caught between the devil and the deep blue sea.
I think that what might also have worked would have been to draw the line in earlier (which Durnford attempted to do too late).  This might have allowed more flexibility for movement when the situation became desperate.  (I'm thinking here that a defensive square might have been more easily formed around ammo waggons once it was realized that the camp area could not be held.)
Frank has a point about Stony Koppie BUT how would they all have reached there in time without being overtaken?
Rather like dealing with the coronavirus, hindsight is a wonderful thing.  It may also be the case that on that particular day with those numbers in that location there was nothing that anyone could have done and the balance was weighted in favour of the Zulus.





Last edited by Julian Whybra on Wed May 27, 2020 5:45 pm; edited 1 time in total
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John Young

John Young

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PostSubject: Re: Orders to laager at Isandhlwana   Orders to laager at Isandhlwana - Page 3 EmptyWed May 27, 2020 4:36 pm

I know I have used this plate before to illustrate why cartridge cases and ammunition box ring pulls were found in advance of the firing-line, but I think it is also relevant to the current discussion.

From the 1877 Manual of Field Exercises:

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A battalion extending in skirmishing order from line.

A text-book manoeuvre, only substitute the N.N.C. company for one of the regular infantry companies in the line behind the skirmishers.

Just my thoughts.

JY
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SRB1965

SRB1965

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PostSubject: Re: Orders to laager at Isandhlwana   Orders to laager at Isandhlwana - Page 3 EmptyWed May 27, 2020 5:32 pm

Hi,

I am one who has argued that the Zulu Chest was close to breaking, prior to the firing line retiring.

No one knows the full extent of Zulu casualties - but if you assume that the Right Horn and the Reserve suffered least (in the case of the latter - next to nothing) the bulk of casualties came from the Chest and Left horn.

Say the Zulu army suffered 10% casualties in the battle (estimates vary depending on who you read) - 2000ish dead, wounded or otherwise out of the fight......logically you would think that the Chest and Left Horn, suffered around 20% casualties - which is getting towards the point when the formation ceases to become an offensive force.

A while ago Bill Cainan did some work on the Zulu casualty rates at Rorkes Drift - Bill says that in unfavourable conditions (arguably) pinned down and under artillery fire (regardless of the casualties caused by the shelling) around 24% casualties will cause problems for the attackers - maybe defenders will continue to function better but attacking units will stall

This leads me on to the hardest part of a battle to judge or fathom out - morale, would the Left Horn had been so eager to press forward, with its own mounting casualties and seeing the chest stalled or maybe retiring, would the Right Horn when it appeared on the saddle been so eager to attack had the Left Horn and Chest been knocked out of the fight and the British fairly 'intact'....its all hypothetical of course and my own sort of theory....but I believe that the British came within a whisker of 'pulling it off'.

If you think about it the Zulus suffered more casualties (both percentage and actual number) winning at Isandlwana , than they suffered in their loosing battles.....Ulundi, Kambula etc - in which they broke after only suffering 10%ish - perhaps less.

ta

Sime
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Orders to laager at Isandhlwana   Orders to laager at Isandhlwana - Page 3 EmptyThu May 28, 2020 7:10 am

HI Simon
Im pretty sure your right, they were close to breaking hence the reason Ntshingwayo sent a messenger down to harangue them into charging. Dont forget the 'command post' was up on the ridge from there theu could see the right horn moving around the back of the mountain and also the left horn busy outflanking Durnford. He knew it was only a question of time the chest needed to keep up their attack.
ntshingwayo had the perfect view of the battlefield, Pulleine/Durnford didnt.
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Julian Whybra



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PostSubject: Re: Orders to laager at Isandhlwana   Orders to laager at Isandhlwana - Page 3 EmptyThu May 28, 2020 7:41 am

Simon
You are certainly right about the centre stalled and the left horn stalling. It is true to say that the left horn pursued an alternative move of filtering away further to the left out of range before moving forward.
The outflanking of Durnford's right obliged him, regardless of whatever damage he was inflicting in front, to retire to a more defensive position. And of course, there wasn't one.
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Frank Allewell

Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Orders to laager at Isandhlwana   Orders to laager at Isandhlwana - Page 3 EmptyThu May 28, 2020 10:01 am

Pretty sure that Durnford and Scott mounted a very effective block to the left horn on the south of the 1/24th camp. Reading Granger that was only interupted by the right horn coming over the saddle.
Just my interpretation.
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Julian Whybra



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PostSubject: Re: Orders to laager at Isandhlwana   Orders to laager at Isandhlwana - Page 3 EmptyThu May 28, 2020 2:14 pm

Frank
That is so but remember that the NNH began to retire just as Davies returned to the line with some ammo, with others giving the reason that they were being outflanked on the right.
Durnford had even got as far as sending a message to the effect that he wanted to concentrate the camp's forces further back.
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Orders to laager at Isandhlwana   Orders to laager at Isandhlwana - Page 3 EmptyThu May 28, 2020 3:31 pm

Fully agree Julian, however he made an excellent fist of the defence from a retired position, and would boldly go where no man has gone before and say held back that enveloping left for long enough to create an escape corridor. Granger confirms that he fired of a lot of ammunition, and he wasnt alone behind that wall.
its quite often said that the right horn attacked and blocked the saddle, but the saddle is actually very wide and Im pretty sure that the right was held up and slowed down by Shepston giving the companies time to withdraw into the gap, fighting through of course elements of the right horn. Its really a timing thing, that retreat and fight wasnt over in seconds or minutes, it took some time.
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Orders to laager at Isandhlwana   Orders to laager at Isandhlwana - Page 3 EmptyThu May 28, 2020 3:32 pm

Its amazing what you can come up with parked on the top of Mahlabamkosi with a picnik lunch and a cold bottle.
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Julian Whybra



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PostSubject: Re: Orders to laager at Isandhlwana   Orders to laager at Isandhlwana - Page 3 EmptyFri May 29, 2020 7:30 am

I agree. By the time any sizeable 24th formation fought its way through the right horn to the area of saddle the bulk of the right horn had arrived to put a stop to any further retreat.
Picnics??? Luxury! We've just been awarded being allowed to met 6 other non-family people outside (garden or park) provided we stay 2 metres apart. Still no pubs open.
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Frank Allewell

Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Orders to laager at Isandhlwana   Orders to laager at Isandhlwana - Page 3 EmptyFri May 29, 2020 8:52 am

And in SA still no purchase of tobacco products. Booze will be available from Monday though.
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Julian Whybra



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PostSubject: Re: Orders to laager at Isandhlwana   Orders to laager at Isandhlwana - Page 3 EmptyFri May 29, 2020 2:02 pm

Back to the Rooibosch then!
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Frank Allewell

Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Orders to laager at Isandhlwana   Orders to laager at Isandhlwana - Page 3 EmptyFri May 29, 2020 2:30 pm

Thank the lord my 5 leafed plants are just about dried out. Shocked
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SRB1965

SRB1965

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PostSubject: Re: Orders to laager at Isandhlwana   Orders to laager at Isandhlwana - Page 3 EmptyFri May 29, 2020 6:50 pm

Julian Whybra wrote:
 We've just been awarded being allowed to met 6 other non-family people outside (garden or park) provided we stay 2 metres apart.  Still no pubs open.

doh.....I don't know 6 people...... Sad
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Julian Whybra



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PostSubject: Re: Orders to laager at Isandhlwana   Orders to laager at Isandhlwana - Page 3 EmptyMon Jun 15, 2020 11:51 am

Bill
You asked me for the source of the number of waggons. Symons stated p. 6 that there were 110 great Cape waggons with the column on the 22nd. Erskine stated that he brought up another 10 with Durnford.
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WeekendWarrior

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PostSubject: Re: Orders to laager at Isandhlwana   Orders to laager at Isandhlwana - Page 3 EmptySat Jun 20, 2020 8:04 pm

For the fun of it, here is an excerpt from Henry Fynn's account, published in the 1913 Natal Witness.

"The wagons were inspanned and drawn up together. Col. Durnford arrived and a serious altercation took place between him and Col. Pouline (sic) in command, carrying out the General’s written commands of the night before, Tuesday, 21st January, 1879, to Col. Glyn, commanding the column. It appeared that Pouline was accordingly forming wagon laager, the Zulus in sight. Col. Durnford persisted in his superiority of rank to assume command, and moved out the forces in parties to move or advance northeastwards, facing the breast of the Zulu army."
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Julian Whybra



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PostSubject: Re: Orders to laager at Isandhlwana   Orders to laager at Isandhlwana - Page 3 EmptySun Jun 21, 2020 8:55 am

WW
One should be cautious when having fun with a Fynn (with thanks to Fawlty Towers). His late account is full of errors and a mixture of opinion and jumbled events timewise.
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John Young

John Young

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PostSubject: Re: Orders to laager at Isandhlwana   Orders to laager at Isandhlwana - Page 3 EmptySun Jun 21, 2020 9:26 am

Julian,

You are pushing your luck even mentioning Fawlty Towers, let alone mentioning the (Zulu) war.

JY
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Julian Whybra



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PostSubject: Re: Orders to laager at Isandhlwana   Orders to laager at Isandhlwana - Page 3 EmptySun Jun 21, 2020 9:28 am

Ho ho, very good!
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Frank Allewell

Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Orders to laager at Isandhlwana   Orders to laager at Isandhlwana - Page 3 EmptySun Jun 21, 2020 10:36 am

My word Julian " Dont mention the war"
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Julian Whybra



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PostSubject: Re: Orders to laager at Isandhlwana   Orders to laager at Isandhlwana - Page 3 EmptySun Jun 21, 2020 10:39 am

Sorry! Has the forum been taken over by the B.B.G.?
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SRB1965

SRB1965

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PostSubject: Re: Orders to laager at Isandhlwana   Orders to laager at Isandhlwana - Page 3 EmptySun Jun 21, 2020 1:16 pm

I'm going to regret this (with hoots of derision coming from The Cape & Rural Essex other such places) .......but what is 'BBG' - apart from Buffalo Border Guard......
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Julian Whybra



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PostSubject: Re: Orders to laager at Isandhlwana   Orders to laager at Isandhlwana - Page 3 EmptySun Jun 21, 2020 1:48 pm

Why, it's that wonderful liberal left British Broadcasting Gorporation responsible for rigorous but essential censorship of comedy programmes.
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SRB1965

SRB1965

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PostSubject: Re: Orders to laager at Isandhlwana   Orders to laager at Isandhlwana - Page 3 EmptySun Jun 21, 2020 2:16 pm

Thanks, Oh I see - its very important in these times of plague and civil unrest, that we don't laugh at anything inappropriate.....
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WeekendWarrior

WeekendWarrior

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PostSubject: Re: Orders to laager at Isandhlwana   Orders to laager at Isandhlwana - Page 3 EmptySun Jun 21, 2020 2:23 pm

I'm not sure if the Britons will get the reference, but I for one am looking forward to the South Park COVID/civil unrest episode when this madness concludes!
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John Young

John Young

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PostSubject: Re: Orders to laager at Isandhlwana   Orders to laager at Isandhlwana - Page 3 EmptySun Jun 21, 2020 2:30 pm

Michael,

It will depend on who or what is responsible for Kenny’s demise...

JY
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Frank Allewell

Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Orders to laager at Isandhlwana   Orders to laager at Isandhlwana - Page 3 EmptySun Jun 21, 2020 3:21 pm

Psst ! Julian ! I think you got away with it.
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Julian Whybra



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PostSubject: Re: Orders to laager at Isandhlwana   Orders to laager at Isandhlwana - Page 3 EmptySun Jun 21, 2020 3:51 pm

Frank
Does RSA have Thought Police yet?
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Frank Allewell

Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Orders to laager at Isandhlwana   Orders to laager at Isandhlwana - Page 3 EmptySun Jun 21, 2020 4:37 pm

Oh yes big time.
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SRB1965

SRB1965

Posts : 869
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PostSubject: Re: Orders to laager at Isandhlwana   Orders to laager at Isandhlwana - Page 3 EmptySun Jun 21, 2020 7:11 pm

WeekendWarrior wrote:
I'm not sure if the Britons will get the reference, but I for one am looking forward to the South Park COVID/civil unrest episode when this madness concludes!

Yeah we have South Park over here - Mrs SRB loves it.....
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