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  • Isandlhwana

    22 January 1879, the British army suffered their biggest defeat ever to a native force, losing almost 1,500 soldiers of a 2,000 strong force that was invading Zulu land, armed with the modern Martini-Henry breech loading rifle, to a numerically superior force numbering almost 20, 000 armed with spears and shields.

    The cause of the war was the British policy of expansionism on the continent, and the independent Zulu and Boer states were a thorn in the side of the British.

    Ultimately, this battle did little for the Zulu cause, and the Brits regrouped and re-invaded in a more belligerent state of mind, an onslaught which the Zulus could not hope to withstand, a result that the Zulu King, Cetshwayo, had feared from the outset. He had given strict orders to his Impis not to proceed across the border into Natal, and was apparently angered by the attack that was launched at the hospital based at Rorke's Drift.

    http://www.national-army-museum.ac.u.../page2-3.shtml
    http://www.pbs.org/wnet/secrets/prev...ulu/index.html
    http://www.britishbattles.com/zulu-war/isandlwana.html
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/british...01.shtml#eight
    http://www.richthofen.com/smith-dorrien/dorrien01a.htm

  • #2
    What are your thoughts about this?

    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"

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Pruitt View Post
      What are your thoughts about this?

      Pruitt
      Two things.

      1) A prosperous independent 'nation' was destroyed and they became thereafter second rate citizens in the land of their birth and needed to be supported ever after, instead of supporting progress. Many supporters of Imperialism will shoot me down for this, but the Zulus were, by and large, doing very well for themselves at the time. After this war, their King held little power and influence in the region, and was, IIRC, very ill from his time in Europe.

      2) Obviously, with the Zulus neutralised, the Brits could now focus their attention on the Boers in the Traansvaal and Orange Free State which were also independent 'nations' doing well for themselves. This lead to the first Boer war, and after gold was discovered on the Reef up here in Jo'burg, the Brits would not leave the Boers alone, leading to the second Boer War which effectively destroyed the Boers way of life, thrusting them into the new century.

      Now, in alternate timelines we might take all of this to another conclusion, but ultimately, IMO, these two events lead to the development of the Republic of SA and other colonies to the North that were prosperous for a time, but which were not sustainable in the long term. It made the Boers and zulus very anti English (here I mean everyone who speaks English, not Pommy Englishmen), a state of affairs that the traditional Afrikaans speaking community today still maintain. In fact, an Afrikaans singer released a song a year or two ago called De La Rey, the name of a very well known Boer General from the 2nd Boer War, and asking him to come and lead the Afrikaners through these tough times that they are currently experiencing. The video shows the Boers fighting the English and it is, to me, a proud English speaking South African, distasteful, but that is the legacy that remains.

      The colonial way of life discriminated wherever they went. In Rhodesia, for instance, there was also Apartheid, but not as draconian as was implemented here in SA. As you and I have discussed before in another thread, all the colonial masters treated the natives as second rate citizens, something the white native born Africans learned and which is another legacy that we live with today - we have had generations of people telling their kids that the other colour is dangerous and keep away from them, from both sides of the colour divide. I can tell you stories of when I entered a rural kraal as the first white person that some kids had seen, but for another time perhaps.

      So in my opinion, this battle ensured the strengthening of the British resolve to carve Africa up for themselves, and led to the bitterness and tragedy that was experienced in the last millennium the length and breadth of this continent, as other powers came here to get their piece of the pie and disregarded, and in some instance destroyed, the indigenous people.
      Last edited by MeenMutha; 22 Jan 10, 01:43.

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      • #4
        "Washing of the Spears" goes into much detail of the Zulu Wars. IMO, based on data in this book the British Government was not behind the invasion as policy. However the Royal Governor and local supporters wanted to bring the lands into the crown for their personal glory. In time the British Government had to support the War to save face....by the way are you aware the Prince Royal of France was killed during the fighting later in the year?

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        • #5
          Originally posted by LtCol View Post
          "Washing of the Spears" goes into much detail of the Zulu Wars. IMO, based on data in this book the British Government was not behind the invasion as policy. However the Royal Governor and local supporters wanted to bring the lands into the crown for their personal glory. In time the British Government had to support the War to save face....by the way are you aware the Prince Royal of France was killed during the fighting later in the year?
          I agree with that sentiment as expressed in the book, and in fact records show it to be so apparently. That is why I state that it expanded the imperialistic thoughts of the Brits and resulted in the above.

          I cannot recall ever having unearthed that fact about the Frenchy, but I do know that there were many nationalities fighting in the war, appearing on both sides. Aussies on the Brits, Irish on both sides etc. so would not surprise me.

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          • #6
            The Prince Imperial was in exile in Great Britain at the time. Since he was a Bonaparte, he liked the idea of an Army career. Having military training would be important if his family came back into power. The Victorians also admired foreign Royalty.

            It was the Prince's own fault he got killed. He attached himself to a reconnaisance patrol and turned it into a picnic. The Prince told the Patrol's officer where to go and when to stop and picnic. The trouble was they stopped within visual range of a large party of Zulus. The Zulus snuck up on the party and attacked. The Patrol's officer jumped on his horse and out ran all the others. He never noticed the Prince was knocked down and killed. He did not wait to see if his men got out either. He was courtmartialled, but acquitted of the charge of conduct unbecoming an officer. His career was forever marked though. His superiors remembered how he let a Royal get killed.

            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


            • #7
              Originally posted by LtCol View Post
              "Washing of the Spears" goes into much detail of the Zulu Wars. IMO, based on data in this book the British Government was not behind the invasion as policy. However the Royal Governor and local supporters wanted to bring the lands into the crown for their personal glory. In time the British Government had to support the War to save face....by the way are you aware the Prince Royal of France was killed during the fighting later in the year?
              A very good book and I highly recommend it.

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              • #8
                three battles

                To me the whole sequel of events reads like a drama; not just the middle part of which whole movies are made, but all three battles that IMO should be seen in its connection.

                The opening is set when the British suffer a crushing defeat and are deeply humiliated at the hands of the Zulu impis at their unfortified camp at Isandlwana; while their commander, general Chelmsford, is leading another part of his army into the empty land in the vain hope to engage his enemy. He is responsible for the worst defeat against indigenous opponents in British colonial history

                The second part of the drama is the well known redemption at Rorke's Drift. And what redemption it is, one of the very few last stands in military history that actually survives its ordeal

                And finally there is the climax by means of the great British victory at Ulundi. The humiliated general has sworn revenge and against orders he leads his army back into the hinterlands to have his rematch. He finds and engages the Zulu army and through proper application of superior technology he this times crushes the army of his opponent, King Cetshwayo.
                BoRG

                You may not be interested in War, but War is interested in You - Leon Trotski, June 1919.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by MeenMutha View Post
                  22 January 1879, the British army suffered their biggest defeat ever to a native force, losing almost 1,500 soldiers of a 2,000 strong force that was invading Zulu land,
                  There were survivors? I had the impression that the force was wiped out. Can you add clarification to this point?
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                  • #10
                    Yes, there were survivors. It helped if you had a horse and means to use it. If you watch the movie Zulu carefully, you will notice that several survivors come to the mission and refuse to stay and help defend it. There is also Flashman...

                    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


                    • #11
                      Who is Flashman?
                      ScenShare Guidelines:

                      1) Enjoy creating it
                      2) Enjoy playing it
                      3) Enjoy sharing it
                      4) Enjoy helping others create them

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                      • #12
                        Sir Harry Flashman,

                        Originally posted by Herman Hum View Post
                        Who is Flashman?
                        Google one of my favorite authors, George Macdonald Fraser. The story of Flashman at Islandlhwana is told in Flashman and the Tiger. Flashman may be fictional but the author puts him into historical events and these are as factual as possible. The footnotes in the back are worth reading as well.

                        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


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Herman Hum View Post
                          There were survivors?
                          Well, a part of Dunrford mounted men hold enough against Zulu lefet horn so completly encirclement of the camp could not been achived as quick as Ntshingwayo intendet. However only mounted men meneaged to get out from falling Isandlwana. From 24th there were 5 privates (one of them was col. Glyn groom, who take his spare horse; two others were from Russel's destroyed rocket battery, who cought some horses runing around loose in the camp, just like yet two bandsmen). Also Curling, R.A. officer, saved his life, taking strong horse that was originally used to draw cannons... 5 other Colonial officers made it through + dozens NNC.

                          The best book about Isandlwan I've ever red is Zulu Victory (R. Lock, P. Quantrill).
                          Last edited by Przemyslaw; 14 Mar 10, 08:52.
                          "[...]

                          While Brittania's Huns with their long-range guns
                          Sailed in through the foggy dew.


                          [...]"

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Pruitt View Post
                            Yes, there were survivors. It helped if you had a horse and means to use it. If you watch the movie Zulu carefully, you will notice that several survivors come to the mission and refuse to stay and help defend it. There is also Flashman...

                            Pruitt
                            One can learn a lot of (military) history, and in a most amusing way, by reading Flashman; also here about Zulu warfare and how difficult it was to survive such encounter, especially when meeting them on their terms.
                            While the main force of the Zulu army, the chest, was making contact, the two horns enveloped the opponent's flanks to the left and the right, closing off any way out.
                            Flashman at Islandlhwana observes that the British ammunition supply is dwindling while fighting the Zulu chest and concludes defeat is imminent it is high time to hightail it and try to get out before the two horns, composed of the swiftest runners, meet in the back of the British position. And as Pruitt and Przemyslaw so rightly observe, without a horse neither Flashman nor anybody for sure would not have escaped from Islandlhwana
                            Last edited by Colonel Sennef; 14 Mar 10, 09:49.
                            BoRG

                            You may not be interested in War, but War is interested in You - Leon Trotski, June 1919.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by MajorSennef View Post
                              One can learn a lot of (military) history, and in a most amusing way, by reading Flashman; also here about Zulu warfare and how difficult it was to survive such encounter, especially when meeting them on their terms.
                              While the main force of the Zulu army, the chest, was making contact, the two horns enveloped the opponent's flanks to the left and the right, closing off any way out.
                              Flashman at Islandlhwana observes that the British ammunition supply is dwindling while fighting the Zulu chest and concludes defeat is imminent it is high time to hightail it and try to get out before the two horns, composed of the swiftest runners, meet in the back of the British position. And as Pruitt and Przemyslaw so rightly observe, without a horse neither Flashman nor anybody for sure would not have escaped from Islandlhwana
                              If I remember correctly, didn't Flashman punch a guy and drag him from his horse so he could use it for his own escape?

                              By the way, Flashman also survived the British retreat from Afghanistan in 1842 and was the only white survivor of Custer's Last Stand.
                              "The blade itself incites to deeds of violence".

                              Homer


                              BoRG

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