Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Isandlhwana

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • #46
    Originally posted by BriteLite View Post
    I believe the ammunition wagons were on the West side of the camp while the British line of battle was East of the tents. The initial British deployment was a wide arc approximately 1 1/2 miles long. The distance to resupply certainly contributed.

    And you are correct. Most discussions about the battle center on the British errors. The Zulu executed their classic attack with perfection.
    There was an archaeological dig and metal detector investigation carried out about 10 years ago, and going by the spread of the located cartridge cases, the individual soldiers were spaced 5 meters apart, which allowed the column to be penetrated in many places and destroyed piecemeal.

    Paul
    ‘Tis said his form is tiny, yet
    All human ills he can subdue,
    Or with a bauble or medal
    Can win mans heart for you;
    And many a blessing know to stew
    To make a megloamaniac bright;
    Give honour to the dainty Corse,
    The Pixie is a little shite.

    Comment


    • #47
      I have looked for years for the archeological result Paul mentioned without success.

      IMHO Chelmsford must bear the overall responsibility for the loss. But the more I study the battle I now wonder if the "fatal" error was in Durnford's decision to move his command from the camp to clear Zulus seen to the British front. He certainly did not anticipate encountering the Zulu left wing which pressured his command into a series of fighting withdrawals until ammunition ran short. Pulliene had deployed in an extended front to begin with and observing Durnford's situation moved troops to the right to assist Durnford's retreat. Now the line is dangerously extended. The line consisted of Regulars interspersed with native troops, many poorly armed. British companies, now short of ammunition, began to withdraw in a mostly orderly fashion. Viewing this native formations broke to rear in a disorderly fashion. Zulu regiments saw the gaps appear and British volley fire dwindle and rushed the gaps making the rest is history.
      The bravery of Durnford, Pulliene and the troops is not in question. Durnford's actions were that of an aggressive commander of mounted troops. It is likely he believed Chelmsford's interpretation that the main Zulu force was miles away and what he, Durnford was seeing were scouts.
      If Durnford had remained at the camp the battle might of had a much different result.

      Edit: I meant to add Rorke's Drift is a great example of what British firepower could have accomplished at Isandlhwana. Despite many dissimilarities in the battles in both cases the Zulus had numerical superiority while the British had the firepower advantage. At the Drift the British defense was a tight contiguous front with cover where the classic Zulu Horns of the Buffalo had little if any effect.
      Last edited by BriteLite; 04 Jun 10, 11:26.

      Comment


      • #48
        Originally posted by BriteLite View Post
        I have looked for years for the archeological result Paul mentioned without success.

        IMHO Chelmsford must bear the overall responsibility for the loss. But the more I study the battle I now wonder if the "fatal" error was in Durnford's decision to move his command from the camp to clear Zulus seen to the British front. He certainly did not anticipate encountering the Zulu left wing which pressured his command into a series of fighting withdrawals until ammunition ran short. Pulliene had deployed in an extended front to begin with and observing Durnford's situation moved troops to the right to assist Durnford's retreat. Now the line is dangerously extended. The line consisted of Regulars interspersed with native troops, many poorly armed. British companies, now short of ammunition, began to withdraw in a mostly orderly fashion. Viewing this native formations broke to rear in a disorderly fashion. Zulu regiments saw the gaps appear and British volley fire dwindle and rushed the gaps making the rest is history.
        The bravery of Durnford, Pulliene and the troops is not in question. Durnford's actions were that of an aggressive commander of mounted troops. It is likely he believed Chelmsford's interpretation that the main Zulu force was miles away and what he, Durnford was seeing were scouts.
        If Durnford had remained at the camp the battle might of had a much different result.

        Edit: I meant to add Rorke's Drift is a great example of what British firepower could have accomplished at Isandlhwana. Despite many dissimilarities in the battles in both cases the Zulus had numerical superiority while the British had the firepower advantage. At the Drift the British defense was a tight contiguous front with cover where the classic Zulu Horns of the Buffalo had little if any effect.
        I do believe the dig/investigation was used in a BBC Timewatch historical documentary, which is by far the best TV historical series bar none.

        Paul
        ‘Tis said his form is tiny, yet
        All human ills he can subdue,
        Or with a bauble or medal
        Can win mans heart for you;
        And many a blessing know to stew
        To make a megloamaniac bright;
        Give honour to the dainty Corse,
        The Pixie is a little shite.

        Comment


        • #49
          Or it could have been this programme on Britain's Cannel 4

          Lewis, Mark. Secrets of the Dead: The Mystery of Zulu Dawn. [London]: Optomen Television for Channel 4, 2001. videocassette (60 mins.). Produced and directed by Mark Lewis. This video revisits the Battle of Isandhlwana, 22 January 1879, and tries with the help of archaeologists on the ground, and by interviews with descendants of Zulu participants, to find out how the British Army with the latest weaponry were overcome by Zulu fighters armed only with spears and clubs.

          Paul
          ‘Tis said his form is tiny, yet
          All human ills he can subdue,
          Or with a bauble or medal
          Can win mans heart for you;
          And many a blessing know to stew
          To make a megloamaniac bright;
          Give honour to the dainty Corse,
          The Pixie is a little shite.

          Comment


          • #50
            Sorry for digging up an old thread but was going to post so did a search first.

            Read about Anglo-Zulu war since I was a child (brought up in the main recruiting area of the South Wales Borderers – the 24th from 1881.) I of course also loved the film Zulu.

            Best book I have read about the battle is “How can men die better” by Mike Snook

            I should say he may well be biased (as we all are) he was Lt Colonel of the Royal Welch who are the descendants of the 24th. He also served as a military attaché in RSA, which allowed him to visit the battlefield many times.

            I found it really interesting and he makes some different points, partly I think helped that he is ex-military. He looks at what happen or what may have happened to the companies of the 24th, most authors focus on those fugitives who escaped.

            For instance one company 24th was left exposed by Durnford’s sudden withdraw (of which he is very critical). All we know is the CSM was identified on the original fire line surround by 20 bodies, most bodies of the 24th were not identifiable as individuals, but the Company commander surrounded by about 60-70 bodies was found almost in the main camp a couple of kilometres away. Now I have read accounts where authors state that no-one can be certain who the redcoats were, the officer could have fled etc.

            Snook applies logic and proposes that CSM Wolfe (I think can look it up if you wish) held a ½ platoon to cover the withdrawal of the rest of the company, who they would then cover. Unfortunately the Zulu advance was too quick and the cover party formed a little rally square on the CSM and was overwhelmed. The main group then withdraws slowly to the main camp until forced into rally square and overwhelmed.

            He points out that the battle did not end when the ammunition ran out (which may have lasted much longer than other people think.) The 24th, like all redcoats, were trained to fight shoulder to shoulder and support your comrade, the Martini Henry plus sword bayonet was actually longer than the Zulu assegai and that the redcoat rally squares inflicted heavy casualties.

            One brave act I had never heard of before was as Snook listen to Zulu’s recount their stories of the battle they described the last stand of troops, mainly redcoats, how they were joined by the ‘Zebras’ who gave up their horses. Snook comes to the conclusion that this is a Natal unit (Carabineers I think) who wore black and white uniforms, who since they had horses may have had a chance to escape.

            He blames arrogant staff officers and Chelmsford for the disaster, although he is critical of Durnford. Chelmsford for splitting his command and being fixated by the idea that the Zulu would not attack him but that he had to get to them, also the staff officers who ignore the concerns of officers about the 24th companies being too scattered and anyway leaving 600 men to defend a perimeter for 1200.

            If none object I'll look through the thread because saw a couple of debates I could stick my two pennys worth in.
            Cymru am Byth

            Comment


            • #51
              Kevin,

              It was not really an advantage with the British bayonets. They were using inferior metal. Many bayonets were found after the battle to be badly bent. Some had even bent back on themselves!

              Pruitt
              Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

              Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

              by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"

              Comment


              • #52
                Originally posted by Pruitt View Post
                Kevin,

                It was not really an advantage with the British bayonets. They were using inferior metal. Many bayonets were found after the battle to be badly bent. Some had even bent back on themselves!

                Pruitt
                I have read that but some not all, not sure how poor all the bayonets were and 1st 24th were mainly a battalion of old hands so would they have experienced problems before and sorted them?

                I have heard that more about B coy at Rorkes Drift but they were a 'new' battalion -- VC winner John Williams a new recruit (by the way his 'friend' Joseph Williams was recommanded for the VC but unfortunately died-- unlike Melvill and Coghill a working class boy from a Welsh valley didn't have educated parents to badger the war office for posthuminous (sp?) awards.)

                Even with 'bent' or damaged bayonets B coy seemed to do well enough.

                It well be the same as the 'myth' about the lack of ammunition-- something has to explain why 'white proffessional soldiers' lost to 'mere natives'.
                I do not say it didn't happen but not sure if it was a major factor. If I get some time will look into it.

                (Hope you don't me looking up an old thread but 'Zulu War is of interest).
                Cymru am Byth

                Comment


                • #53
                  Originally posted by Pruitt View Post
                  Kevin,

                  It was not really an advantage with the British bayonets. They were using inferior metal. Many bayonets were found after the battle to be badly bent. Some had even bent back on themselves!

                  Pruitt


                  The baynet used at the time of the Zulu war was a socket bayonet, similar to the old brown bess one. The contract went to a company who instead of making them out of steel. Made them out of iron and case hardened them.
                  After a couple of months of energetic cleaning the steel coating formed by the case hardening has worn away and the bayonet was prone to bending and breaking if used.

                  The same thing happened about the same time with a batch of cavalry swords.
                  "Sometimes its better to light a flamethrower than to curse the darkness" T Pratchett

                  Comment


                  • #54
                    Originally posted by MeenMutha View Post

                    Also, I dispute your contention that only six people survived, and that they were dressed in blue. Many more survived, and they were also redcoats.
                    Six men of the 24th survived, a groom who grabbed a stray horse, a couple of men who were in the mounted infantry and several who where detailed as helpers/guards to the rocket battery. The battery was destroyed by a volley from the Zulu (many of the Zulu were armed although qualitiy was variable to say the least), wounded they managed to escape on foot-- but they were not in the main camp, to escape there you needed a horse and a great deal of luck.

                    It is often repeated about red coats and escaping if you were not and there may be some truth in it but most of the local South African troops did not wear redcoats and their survival is more likely down to their horses.
                    Cymru am Byth

                    Comment


                    • #55
                      Originally posted by DARKPLACE View Post
                      The baynet used at the time of the Zulu war was a socket bayonet, similar to the old brown bess one. The contract went to a company who instead of making them out of steel. Made them out of iron and case hardened them.
                      After a couple of months of energetic cleaning the steel coating formed by the case hardening has worn away and the bayonet was prone to bending and breaking if used.

                      The same thing happened about the same time with a batch of cavalry swords.
                      Another case of "the lowest bidder gets the arms contract.".
                      "Profanity is but a linguistic crutch for illiterate motherbleepers"

                      Comment


                      • #56
                        Originally posted by johnbryan View Post
                        Another case of "the lowest bidder gets the arms contract.".
                        Shortly before this there was a little unpleasantness in India. One of the Sikh wars I think. The british cavalry is fairly badly manhandled in the skirmishing.

                        The natives are weildiing a supersabre. Forged in the caverns of the Rajput mountains, by learned sage smiths who hand forge the blade while chanting mystical texts and having lots of tantric sex.................................. Well no, not really , but thats the jist of the newspaper reports. What they actually have is the previous british army issue cavalry sabre, withdrawn from service and in a bit of skill and ingenuity seldom matched sold to the highest bidder on the open market even if he is a potential enemy. Then properly sharpened for once in its life and stored in a wooden scabbard rather than left to rattle arround in a tin one and fitted with an Indian hilt.

                        Oh yes, and if you think thats bad google the Franklyn Expedition and Tinned Food.

                        When it comes to skull incompetance very little matches the Victorian Armed Forces, I am afraid.
                        "Sometimes its better to light a flamethrower than to curse the darkness" T Pratchett

                        Comment


                        • #57
                          Originally posted by DARKPLACE View Post
                          Shortly before this there was a little unpleasantness in India. One of the Sikh wars I think. The british cavalry is fairly badly manhandled in the skirmishing.

                          The natives are weildiing a supersabre. Forged in the caverns of the Rajput mountains, by learned sage smiths who hand forge the blade while chanting mystical texts and having lots of tantric sex.................................. Well no, not really , but thats the jist of the newspaper reports. What they actually have is the previous british army issue cavalry sabre, withdrawn from service and in a bit of skill and ingenuity seldom matched sold to the highest bidder on the open market even if he is a potential enemy. Then properly sharpened for once in its life and stored in a wooden scabbard rather than left to rattle arround in a tin one and fitted with an Indian hilt.

                          Oh yes, and if you think thats bad google the Franklyn Expedition and Tinned Food.

                          When it comes to skull incompetance very little matches the Victorian Armed Forces, I am afraid.
                          I've got an excelllent book about the Franklyn Expedition and the archaeological digs that disinterred a number of perfectly preserved, former members from their graves. Facinating book!
                          "Profanity is but a linguistic crutch for illiterate motherbleepers"

                          Comment


                          • #58
                            Now to the Drummer boys that have caused such disagreement, well I think there is no settling the argument because we do not know what happened.

                            Yes the boys were found mutilated (as all the dead where much to the rage of the British troops) have never heard of castration before (not saying it didn’t happen just not read it before) but they were disembowelled. We can never know if this was done before or after death.

                            However as stated this was part of Zulu tradition to release the spirit of the warrior.

                            We have also got to remember that these ‘boys’ may well have been fag smoking gin drinking little tykes quite capable of using weapons, perhaps they fought and were treated as warriors?

                            Perhaps the Zulu, or some of them, drunk on battle rage, full of narcotics, captured spirits etc decided on some sadistic torture of capture teenagers that does no credit to those brave warriors. None admitted to such after the war (to my imperfect knowledge) but it would have been a very foolish thing for a defeated Zulu to admit to redcoats.
                            Cymru am Byth

                            Comment


                            • #59
                              Had a disagreement recently so what do people think
                              were Melvill and Coghil running away or saving the colour?
                              Cymru am Byth

                              Comment


                              • #60
                                Why can't you be doing both at the same time?

                                Pruitt
                                Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

                                Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

                                by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"

                                Comment

                                Latest Topics

                                Collapse

                                Working...
                                X