One quote I have read of is that the ‘big guns at Isandlwana were firing every 15 minutes’ (the quote came from someone at RD and may not be word for word).
The first thing that springs to mind is, I wonder if the ‘observer’ was timing the gun fire with his watch (unlikely) and just assumed it was every 15 minutes?
The second is – yes the gun probably has to be re-laid after each shot, the gun reloaded, a target acquired etc and gun discharged but 15 minutes does seem a long time, especially if a load of Zulus were bearing down on the gunners.
It has been said that a Napoleonic gun crew could fire (depending on gun barrel size etc) up to 4 rounds per minutes (on a range?) even allowing for- battlefield conditions one shot every 15 minutes seems a little low (to me)
Could the target acquisition and adjusting the trajectory have taken the time, as the Zulus were advancing and disappearing into folds in the ground?
Would the guns have fired as a section (i.e. both together) or would they have fired independently - I suspect the former when firing on the same target area but the later when one gun was deployed to support Durnford.
I spose a lot of the observation depends on the hearers location, wind direction and just if he 'noticed' each shot.
When the two guns were recovered after Ulundi, was any ammo recovered or did the Zulus trash them for the ‘powder’?
Sime (former powder monkey on a cannon in the 'Sealed Knot' about 35 years ago)