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 (1866-1899) Other 19th Century Battles    
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Fenrir
Glasgow, UK
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The Defence Of Isandhlwana Camp 1879
Posted on: 8/10/2016 11:57:24 AM
Although just a minor detail, I know a military engagement is called a battle, but like Rorke's Drift, the British forces were actually defending something, rather than just the ground they were on, being the large camp that Colonel Pulleine wanted to protect and the supplies, etc., that it contained, not just for the those present on the battlefield, but the other half of No.3 Column that went further into Zulu territory, not equipped with enough supplies for a prolonged expedition away from their base at Mt. Isandhlwana.

I don't think I've ever seen it termed as a defence in the title of a book on the subject, and as I say a minor point on my part, but it does indicate that due to this specific aspect of the engagement, the saving of the camp, deployments of soldiers and decisions may have compromised the whole situation from the beginning, instead of choosing better positions, to either camp or to fight the Zulu army.
---------------
Once more into the fray
Into the last good fight I'll ever know
Live and die on this day
Live and die on this day

- The Grey -

anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
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Re: The Defence Of Isandhlwana Camp 1879
Posted on: 8/10/2016 12:47:20 PM
I could not agree with you more re.The position of the camp,deployments under provisioned and a general laissez-faire displayed by Chelmsford

There was a cover-up by Chelmsford-who in my opinion- was an out and out bounder

Word of the disaster reached Britain on 11 February 1879. The Victorian public was dumbstruck by the news that 'spear-wielding savages' had defeated the well equipped British Army. The hunt was on for a scapegoat, and Chelmsford was the obvious candidate. But he had powerful supporters.

On 12 March 1879 Disraeli told Queen Victoria that his 'whole Cabinet had wanted to yield to the clamours of the Press, & Clubs, for the recall of Ld. Chelmsford'. He had, however, 'after great difficulty carried the day'. Disraeli was protecting Chelmsford not because he believed him to be blameless for Isandlwana, but because he was under intense pressure to do so from the Queen.

Meanwhile Lord Chelmsford was urgently burying all the evidence that could be used against him. He propagated the myth that a shortage of ammunition led to defeat at Isandlwana. He ensured that potential witnesses to his errors were unable to speak out. Even more significantly, he tried to push blame for the defeat onto Colonel Durnford, now dead, claiming that Durnford had disobeyed orders to defend the camp.

The truth is that no orders were ever given to Durnford to take command. Chelmsford's behaviour, in retrospect, is unforgivable. Many generals blunder in war, but few go to such lengths to avoid responsibility.

Did the Queen fall for his lies???

Regards
Jim
---------------
Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

Michigan Dave
Muskegon, Michigan, MI, USA
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Re: The Defence Of Isandhlwana Camp 1879
Posted on: 8/10/2016 1:57:19 PM
Jim,

I hope officially that Chelmsford was not relieved of blame! He not only was mostly responsible but to attempt to cover it up is disgraceful!? And evidently he did snowball the Queen!?

disgraceful!
MD
---------------
"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."

George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
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Posts: 5271

Re: The Defence Of Isandhlwana Camp 1879
Posted on: 8/10/2016 3:39:19 PM

Quote:
I could not agree with you more re.The position of the camp,deployments under provisioned and a general laissez-faire displayed by Chelmsford

There was a cover-up by Chelmsford-who in my opinion- was an out and out bounder

Word of the disaster reached Britain on 11 February 1879. The Victorian public was dumbstruck by the news that 'spear-wielding savages' had defeated the well equipped British Army. The hunt was on for a scapegoat, and Chelmsford was the obvious candidate. But he had powerful supporters.

On 12 March 1879 Disraeli told Queen Victoria that his 'whole Cabinet had wanted to yield to the clamours of the Press, & Clubs, for the recall of Ld. Chelmsford'. He had, however, 'after great difficulty carried the day'. Disraeli was protecting Chelmsford not because he believed him to be blameless for Isandlwana, but because he was under intense pressure to do so from the Queen.

Meanwhile Lord Chelmsford was urgently burying all the evidence that could be used against him. He propagated the myth that a shortage of ammunition led to defeat at Isandlwana. He ensured that potential witnesses to his errors were unable to speak out. Even more significantly, he tried to push blame for the defeat onto Colonel Durnford, now dead, claiming that Durnford had disobeyed orders to defend the camp.

The truth is that no orders were ever given to Durnford to take command. Chelmsford's behaviour, in retrospect, is unforgivable. Many generals blunder in war, but few go to such lengths to avoid responsibility.

Did the Queen fall for his lies???

Regards
Jim
--anemone


Jim please cite your sources. Nothing wrong with a quote so long as you indicate so. This is from BBC, correct?


As I understand it, Lord Chelmsford was Queen Victoria's friend or a favoured son.

According to the BBC history site, she was not pleased about Lord Chelmsford's recall by PM B. Disraeli.

It is interesting that she chose not to overrule the government.

anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
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Re: The Defence Of Isandhlwana Camp 1879
Posted on: 8/11/2016 2:24:30 AM
Most of what Chelmsford told the Queen was a pack of lies. Durnford, as we have seen, did not disobey orders. And Chelmsford ignored at least two warnings to the effect the camp 'was in danger'. In addition, the war was not one of self-defence but of conquest. Queen Victoria, however, would not see the truth.

The British captured King Cetshwayo in August 1879, and the war, to all intents and purposes, was over. But few emerged on the British side with any credit, nor did ordinary Zulus benefit. Cetshwayo was exiled, Zululand was broken up and eventually annexed. Frere never achieved his ambition to confederate South Africa. That would have to wait until the aftermath of an even bloodier conflict, that of the Boer War.

Disraeli lost the 1880 election and died the following year. James Dalton died in 1887, a broken man. Many of the lower-rank VC winners from Rorke's Drift were also forgotten when the media circus moved on.

But one man prospered - Lord Chelmsford. The Queen showered honours on him, promoting him to full general, awarding him the Gold Stick at Court and appointing him Lieutenant of the Tower of London. He died in 1905, at the age of 78, playing billiards at his club.

[Read More]

Regards

Jim



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Fenrir
Glasgow, UK
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Posts: 39

Re: The Defence Of Isandhlwana Camp 1879
Posted on: 8/11/2016 10:52:47 AM
Isandhlwana is definitely a fascinating subject to study, but the very fact the British forces defending the camp, apart from a few survivors, were wiped out, therefore eye-witnesses were few and far between, hindered also by limitations put on the events afterwards, which is touched upon by Jim's posts.

Unfortunately, with so many gaps in accounts, numerous versions of what happened have occurred, in many ways like Little Bighorn 1876, which also includes the fact, that apart from main elements like Chelmsford splitting his forces, the Zulu army of 20,000 warriors managing to get within only a few miles of the camp, unseen, or in this case, some were seen but no actions were taken, Pulleine's inaction and Durnford's arrival.

What has arose especially now, on the realease of 'How Can Man Die Better' by Mike Snook and 'Zulu Victory' by Ron Lock and Peter Quantrill, due to their differing views, is the main points of camp location, Chelmsford splitting his forces, Zulu intentions, Pulleine's inaction and eventual troop deployments, although what has been the most visible effect, is the splitting of followers of this engagement, into two categories, being the 'Chelmsford Camp' and the 'Durnford Camp'.

Main question from this is who is to blame, Chelmsford, Durnford or Pulleine, but there is an additional fourth category which some have concluded, and that is no-one is to blame, as they underestimated the Zulu capabilities, fighting abilities, bravery, therefore making it a British defeat, due to the Zulus taking the initiative and the British unprepared, resulting in no blame as they were always going to be beaten, no matter what was tried, as there were not enough men, no protection, large camp, and the encirclement by the warriors round the back of the mountain to attack the British from behind.

---------------
Once more into the fray
Into the last good fight I'll ever know
Live and die on this day
Live and die on this day

- The Grey -

anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
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Re: The Defence Of Isandhlwana Camp 1879
Posted on: 8/11/2016 11:23:06 AM
Quote Fenrir

"Main question from this is who is to blame, Chelmsford, Durnford or Pulleine, but there is an additional fourth category which some have concluded, and that is no-one is to blame, as "they" underestimated the Zulu capabilities, fighting abilities, bravery, therefore making it a British defeat, due to the Zulus taking the initiative and the British unprepared, resulting in no blame as they were always going to be beaten, no matter what was tried, as there were not enough men, no protection, large camp, and the encirclement by the warriors round the back of the mountain to attack the British from behind."

Q1 Who is "they" emboldened ??
Q2 Who selected the site of the camp ??
Q3 Why was that camp not arranged defensively like Rorke's Drift. Kambula or Ulundi where the Zulus were either driven off; or defeated absolutely??
Q4 Why would Chelmsford need to cover his tracks and blame Durnford for disobeying an order- that was never given??
Q5 Why would Chelmsford need to lie to the Queen??

Blame!Of course there is blame-the British Army to be annihilated a la Maiwand-there is always blame-and at Islandhlwana-that action reeked of blame.Like Majuba Hill,Colenso Magersfontein and Spion Kop-all badly handled

Regards

Jim
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Fenrir
Glasgow, UK
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Re: The Defence Of Isandhlwana Camp 1879
Posted on: 8/11/2016 12:09:07 PM
Your questions are good and very much points that could start a really long and interesting discussion or debate to those unfamiliar to this engagement, but what I have seen before on this specific subject, involving actual authors, historians and enthusiasts are incredible arguments. It'd need a better qualified man than myself to answer them satisfactorily, as each question is still under scrutiny for various reasons.

I can refer to your last sentence though with my own conclusion of blame, and that is, Sir Bartle Frere, the Governor of Natal, who even though he had the results of the Boundary Commission about the disputed territory between the Boers and the Zulus, which voted on the side of the latter, he withheld them, and created an impossible ultimatum to the Zulus that they could in no way fulfil, as a step to invade their territory.

This is what he did with the forces he had under his command and led by Lord Chelmsford, but he did it without being given the go-ahead by the British Government, some saying he acted like a feudal warlord with his own men, independent of home government.

The invasion should never have taken place, and all those in the British forces who crossed into Zululand should never have been there in the first place, to fight or to be killed.

After the massacre at Isandhlwana, the British Governemt felt it had no choice and to save face, due to the deaths of so many of its soldiers, sent more forces to finish the task, even though it never really wanted to because of other political and military commitments.

Maiwand was a different case altogether, General Burrows made all the decisions himself.

---------------
Once more into the fray
Into the last good fight I'll ever know
Live and die on this day
Live and die on this day

- The Grey -

anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
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Re: The Defence Of Isandhlwana Camp 1879
Posted on: 8/11/2016 12:47:49 PM
I wondered when poor old Sir Bartle Frere was going to get pulled into Chelmsford's mess-that makes the Queen culpable as she appointed Frere.

Chelmsford realised that he would need to account to the government and to history for the disaster.

He quickly fixed blame on Durnford, claiming Durnford disobeyed his orders to fix a proper defensive camp, although there is no evidence such an order was issued and there would hardly have been time for Durnford to entrench. Further, it had been Chelmsford's decision not to entrench the camp, as it was meant to be temporary.

Wolseley wrote on 30 September 1879 when, later in the war, the Prince Imperial of France was killed by the Zulu and there was a coverup: "I think this is very unfair, and is merely a repetition of what was done regarding the Isandlwana disaster- where the blame was thrown upon Durnford, the real object in both "instances" being apparently to screen Chelmsford."


Later, Chelmsford launched a new and successful campaign in Zululand, routing the Zulu army, capturing the Royal Kraal of Ulundi, and thus partially retrieving his reputation. He never held another field command.


Following the war and his return to Britain, Chelmsford sought an audience with Gladstone, who had become Prime Minister in April 1880, but his request was refused, a very public slight and a clear sign of official disapproval.

Chelmsford, however, obtained an audience with Queen Victoria to personally explain the events. She asked Gladstone to meet Chelmsford; this meeting was brief, and during it Gladstone voiced his displeasure.

Source-Wikipedia

PS-I get the feeling that you may be a Chelmsford apologist-so I will not argue further, unless of course- you wish to do so.

Regards

Jim
---------------
Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

Fenrir
Glasgow, UK
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Re: The Defence Of Isandhlwana Camp 1879
Posted on: 8/11/2016 1:10:50 PM
Jim, I've read your above post, is all of it from Wikipedia may I ask ?

The reason I enquire, is because if this was a topic on a forum solely about the Zulu War, the above would have caused a feeding frenzy with you being dinner. Trust me I know, but not from myself I may add, if anything I'd probably be defending you and your post if pushed to it, but I've seen Wikipedia used as a source before in a discussion, (or as an aside even quotes from 'The Washing Of The Spears' by Donald Morris) which I don't use myself either, as nobody dare use them and these two minor points would be pounced upon, as they are dated and unreliable as fact.

Chelmsford apologist ? - absolutely not. I'm about as far from being that as the furthest planet in the furthest galaxy and beyond.

I'm staying neutral from now on, from past experiences in discussions on the subject.

I just felt like saying that Isandhlwana should be titled as a defence in book titles, etc., as immediately it lets it be known something physically present was being protected, rather than soldiers defending open unused ground they happened to be on when attacked.

Out of curiosity, where do you stand or who do you stand with out of the four categories I mentioned ?

---------------
Once more into the fray
Into the last good fight I'll ever know
Live and die on this day
Live and die on this day

- The Grey -

anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
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Re: The Defence Of Isandhlwana Camp 1879
Posted on: 8/11/2016 1:43:04 PM
Yes- it is partially based on Wiki-I did not see any flaw in the statements.I do know that Wikipedia has become a dirty word; but where I find no fault-it is OK by me-I am not prejudiced.I find that there is a lot of scaremongering and if perpetrated loud enough and long enough -it becomes fact; and is fashionably shunned by the intelligentsia.

Four categories-sorry but I cannot see four categories to answer your question.In this instance-I feel the facts place the blame firmly on the shoulders of Chelmsford-he was in command and has to carry the can.

Regards

Jim
---------------
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Fenrir
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Re: The Defence Of Isandhlwana Camp 1879
Posted on: 8/11/2016 1:54:11 PM
Okay.

If you see Chelmsford mainly at fault, how do you feel about Durnford and Pulleine, both of whom had their reputations affected badly in the aftermath, particularly the former, as you must also have your own thoughts on their roles to come to your conclusion, which doesn't include them in the blaming of Chelmsford ?

Chelmsford was 'dealt with' internally but the public never heard, only about the other two officers present on the battlefield.
---------------
Once more into the fray
Into the last good fight I'll ever know
Live and die on this day
Live and die on this day

- The Grey -

anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
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Re: The Defence Of Isandhlwana Camp 1879
Posted on: 8/12/2016 3:39:03 AM
Pulleine was quite an ineffectual man to be in charge of a battalion- he was languid and knew nothing of his enemy. His defensive positions were feeble;and when Nemesis loomed- he shot himself.

Durnford seemed to be a free agent as an irregular-not one of us -,though a capable soldier; but was unable to take over the defence of the camp via protocol-he wound up getting killed.

So we have Chelmsford (No1) counting on Pulleine(No2) and Pulleine counting on Durnford(No3)-a chain of command not fit to be in charge of a body of soldiers.

Regards

Jim
---------------
Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

Fenrir
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Re: The Defence Of Isandhlwana Camp 1879
Posted on: 8/12/2016 10:07:30 AM
Jim, with respect, some of the wording of your post and the details seem to be familiar to me, not the sort of words and phrases expected on a discussion forum, as in, not in normal speak from a member.

I must admit to being an avid Zulu War 1879 enthusiast for 25 years and read many books, been involved in hundreds of discussions with others on the subject, and know just about everyone through these arenas and the way they debate and comment on matters.

Please can you cite your source(s) ?

---------------
Once more into the fray
Into the last good fight I'll ever know
Live and die on this day
Live and die on this day

- The Grey -

anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
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Re: The Defence Of Isandhlwana Camp 1879
Posted on: 8/12/2016 11:21:19 AM
Well I never!!!The words are all mine-derived of course from many sources-far too numerous to mention.If you don't like them- discount them-it makes no difference to what I have said-it is on record now.

For Goodness Sake drop this psychiatric approach to everything I say-it is off putting in the extreme.

Regards

Jim
---------------
Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

Fenrir
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Re: The Defence Of Isandhlwana Camp 1879
Posted on: 8/12/2016 11:32:04 AM
It is a valid question that is asked of any history enthusiast, as sources need to be checked by others to be able to either agree, or debate the matter.

However, if the information consists of only links to other sites, quotes from them, or other forums, with only a minor personal inpute from the member himself, then there is a disconnect from what is being said to the person actually saying them, both through research and obtaining accuracy beforehand.

It is not possible to discuss anything with anybody using information supplied that has no credible sources.





---------------
Once more into the fray
Into the last good fight I'll ever know
Live and die on this day
Live and die on this day

- The Grey -

anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
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Re: The Defence Of Isandhlwana Camp 1879
Posted on: 8/12/2016 11:50:08 AM
OK -So be it then-BTW I have not seen a single source quoted for any of your posts-what makes you so different-if I may be so bold
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Fenrir
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Re: The Defence Of Isandhlwana Camp 1879
Posted on: 8/12/2016 12:05:58 PM
All I've wrote in this topic is the basic knowledge that can be sourced anywhere regarding Isandhlwana as there is nothing specific mentioned that many would not be able to find out, and that goes for my conclusion regarding Sir Bartle Frere, as again that knowledge is freely available, as it was the reason for the war in the first place, being the first piece of information anybody would find out to begin with in any sources.

Wasn't it yourself that sent me a pm requesting responses to encourage discussions ?

I've responded, and was ready to debate issues genuinely brought up by anyone willing to present their own opinions and sources, but having been in debates with others who winged it by just jumping around the net for what is deemed suitable instead of fact, their answers were disjointed and not personal views that could be followed up with any convincing argument.

That is not how a forum is conducted, or we would all be 'discussing' topics with each other using nothing but links, quotes and bits picked up.
---------------
Once more into the fray
Into the last good fight I'll ever know
Live and die on this day
Live and die on this day

- The Grey -

George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
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Re: The Defence Of Isandhlwana Camp 1879
Posted on: 8/13/2016 8:29:00 AM
Fenrir is correct of course.

It is not too difficult to pick out sentences and phrasing that are written in essay style prose rather than in a conversational writing style. There is a formality to it, a dearth of contractions and first person singular pronouns.

Those posts are lifted text and should not be presented as a poster's personal comments.

I agree that conversational writing feels more like direct communication or as close as we can get to it on the web. Most of us use conversational style on this forum, like talking at a pub.

And if you are going to highlight passages and paste them into a post without citing the source, it appears that you are trying to pass off the passages as your own. That is dishonest and sources should be cited.

It's fine to include an article in a READ MORE if it is enlightening and augments your own comments. There are some credible sources on the web and some, not so much but we should have the opportunity to judge.

But if a copy/paste wiki article is the sole response to a question or to another poster's comment, it is a thread killer, I'm afraid.


Just my opinion.


Cheers,


George



Michigan Dave
Muskegon, Michigan, MI, USA
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Re: The Defence Of Isandhlwana Camp 1879
Posted on: 8/14/2016 9:10:54 AM
George,

Ditto!
---------------
"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."

wazza
Sydney , Australia
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Re: The Defence Of Isandhlwana Camp 1879
Posted on: 8/15/2016 2:43:57 AM
I wonder of laagering the camp would have made much difference in the end?
Maybe more Zulu casualties before the inevitable swamping of the ramparts.

morris crumley
Lawrenceville, GA, USA
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Re: The Defence Of Isandhlwana Camp 1879
Posted on: 8/15/2016 12:44:25 PM
As someone who has not really studied the fight at Isandhlwana I would think that there was not a proper scout done by cavalry or horse battalions that allowed so many Zulu warriors such a concealed approach to the encampment. Would that a wrong assumption?

Respects, Morris
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Phil andrade
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Re: The Defence Of Isandhlwana Camp 1879
Posted on: 8/19/2016 4:35:22 AM
Was it too widely dispersed as a defensive deployment to cope with the onslaught ?

Sickles at Gettysburg comes to mind.

I'm tempted to mention Le Cateau, too...although I confess to being seduced by the incredible historical happenstance that Smith Dorrien - one of the tiny number of British officers who survived Isandhlwana - was to be the British commander when his corps made that controversial stand on 26th August 1914.

I wonder if he thought about his escape from the Zulus when he made his stand and fight decision 35 years later...

And then there's that prerennial mistake of military complacency, best summed up by Chelmsford's lament the niggers won't fight .

How's that for a tale of hubris and nemesis ?

I would like to put in a plea on behalf of anenome....his tendency to lift and paste other online data should not obscure his genuine and heartfelt contributions to our forum.

I would feel a sharp pang if we lost him....I think that right now he feels as if an asegai has been thrust into his heart.

Regards, Phil
---------------
"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!"

"That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress."

Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes

Fenrir
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Re: The Defence Of Isandhlwana Camp 1879
Posted on: 8/19/2016 11:36:47 AM
Phil

I understand your point about anemone, but as a newcomer didn't know much about him more than being a member of the forum, who wished for me (by pm) to respond to those who replied to my topic(s), that being the case, I expected a more personal viewpoint of the subject(s) discussed.

As the forum is mainly ACW of which I know very little, I can't reply to those topics with any personal viewpoint myself through lack of said knowledge and study.

Isandhlwana 1879 and maybe Little Bighorn 1876 are the subject(s) I have read about the most, the former I thoroughly studied.

Through looking the other topics, I found that instead of limited use of the way anemone posts on them, they are literally saturated with the methods he applies in responding, which through past experiences too, find the topics not running smoothly as a conversation, which became more pronounced the more they were read.

That said, understanding by your post anemone is a prized member of this forum, and that perhaps anemone was somewhat upset at my conclusion(s) during this topic, though I must consider myself correct in mentioning, I will depart this forum and allow anemone to continue posting which he appears to enjoy and as he has been doing for so long.

If I may, I wish to add that there is the chance many of those who join but don't/or haven't yet posted may be put off for this very reason, as people prefer to 'talk' on forums, rather than to read links they most probably have already read or judged during their own individual studies.

Regards



---------------
Once more into the fray
Into the last good fight I'll ever know
Live and die on this day
Live and die on this day

- The Grey -

Phil andrade
London, UK
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Re: The Defence Of Isandhlwana Camp 1879
Posted on: 8/19/2016 12:48:55 PM
Please don't leave, Fenrir.

If I can persuade you to stay, and if anemone appreciates how posting these lifted chunks of Internet articles is upsetting people, then we'll gain you as a valuable member and keep an old friend happy.

Isandhlwana and Little Big Horn share that theme of " natives" administering sharp defeats to their imperial foes.

Regards, Phil
---------------
"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!"

"That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress."

Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes

George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
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Re: The Defence Of Isandhlwana Camp 1879
Posted on: 8/19/2016 5:18:29 PM
Fenrir, Jim or anemone is not a long time poster and his methods are not the norm.

I have voiced my disapproval of his methods as well.

That said, there are few of us willing to take the time to suggest new topics. Jim labours mightily to come up with new ideas and there have been some excellent discussions generated from those topics.

How many of us can say that we concentrate on coming up with new topics and themes in military history? Jim does that and I hope that he doesn't leave the ship.


So I must echo Phil's comment that we could use both of you. Please stay until you have had enough time to make a sound assessment of this forum.

I can honestly say that the forum provides hours of enjoyment and learning from one another.


Cheers,

George


Fenrir
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Posts: 39

Re: The Defence Of Isandhlwana Camp 1879
Posted on: 8/19/2016 7:34:17 PM
Phil/George - Thanks for inviting me to stay, although as mentioned, I have limited knowledge on some of the subjects and absolutely none on others.

However, responding to anemone's (Jim's) post asking if I was a Chelmsford apologist, I have instead added the image of the man as my avatar, to whom my loyalites lie regarding Isandhlwana and its aftermath, including his actions at Bushman's Pass.

Regards
---------------
Once more into the fray
Into the last good fight I'll ever know
Live and die on this day
Live and die on this day

- The Grey -

Phil andrade
London, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Moderator
Posts: 2474

Re: The Defence Of Isandhlwana Camp 1879
Posted on: 8/20/2016 2:52:26 AM
Delighted that you're staying, Fenrir !

I'm looking forward to your contributions.

About ten years ago I toured those Zulu battlefields, along with Spion Kop.

The evocation was terrific, with the drama of the history enhanced by the grandeur of the scenery.

I note that battlefield archeology has come to the fore in the historiography of both Isandhlwana and Little Big Horn.

I attended David Rattray's lectures, and it was those that persuaded me to visit his lodge and go on tour with him.

One week before we were due to go he was murdered.

We were about to cancel , but a crie de couer from his widow persuaded us to carry on.

It was a rather harrowing experience to go so soon after his death...we really felt that we were intruding into the family's grief, but they rallied with great courage and resolve, and made a tremendous effort to keep things going.

The experience of Isandhlwana was so powerful. We had a Zulu guide for that, and a white South African for Rorke's Drift.

Both were struggling to fill Rattray's shoes, but they made an excellent account of themselves.

Regards, Phil
---------------
"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!"

"That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress."

Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes

Lightning
Glasgow, UK
top 20
E-7 Sgt First Class


Posts: 442

Re: The Defence Of Isandhlwana Camp 1879
Posted on: 8/23/2016 6:57:22 AM
Hi all,

I think the argument that the descriptor "the defence of" Isandhlwana should be used instead of "the battle of" is bang on the money - the British forces had marked out an area and sought (albeit in the poorest tactical manner possible) to defend it. It's clear from the archaeology that the defence of the camp was ferocious; several last stands by pockets of riflemen have been noted by recent archaeological surveys and the Zulu testimonies leave no doubt that they took a substantial hit to their experienced manpower during the assault, losses that would prove critical in the prolonged war. The fight was fierce and unrelenting and no quarter was given by either side.

The mainstream accusation and conclusion for the defeat that the camp wasn't defended is, IMO, a lazy one; the argument really should be that the camp wasn't defended properly. The infantry lines were spread too thin and too far out to provide effective massed firepower (see Ulundi for the correct use for breach loading cartridge rifles). Pulleine was too far detached in the centre to really get a grasp of the tactical situation and failed to effectively command his best chance of survival, the mobile mounted infantry units. Allowing his mobile units to be caught in a perimeter defensive action was unforgivable; all mobility was lost and the resultant additional carbine firepower was ultimately negligible as the units were eventually overrun and the whole defence outflanked. The British commanders didn't just fall for the Zulu trap, they laid down and had their bellies tickled whilst being decapitated.

Whilst Chelmsford holds the strategic blame for allowing nearly half of his effective regular forces to be left behind as he engaged in a fruitless hunt for the Zulus, tactical blame for the inadequate defence of the camp must lie with Pulleine. He was a senior line officer, who really should have known better than stringing out his infantry in a loose line, with weakly defended flanks and very little effort of scouting the approaching Zulu assault. Chard, Bromhead and Dalton did far better at Rorke's Drift with far fewer resources and with even less warning than the column at Isandhlwana.

Cheers,

Colin
---------------
"There is no course open to us but to fight it out. Every position must be held to the last man: there must be no retirement. With our backs to the wall and believing in the justice of our cause, each one of us must fight to the end."

Michigan Dave
Muskegon, Michigan, MI, USA
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 2744

Re: The Defence Of Isandhlwana Camp 1879
Posted on: 8/29/2016 3:11:28 PM

Quote:
Fenrir, Jim or anemone is not a long time poster and his methods are not the norm.

I have voiced my disapproval of his methods as well.

That said, there are few of us willing to take the time to suggest new topics. Jim labours mightily to come up with new ideas and there have been some excellent discussions generated from those topics.

How many of us can say that we concentrate on coming up with new topics and themes in military history? Jim does that and I hope that he doesn't leave the ship.


So I must echo Phil's comment that we could use both of you. Please stay until you have had enough time to make a sound assessment of this forum.

I can honestly say that the forum provides hours of enjoyment and learning from one another.


Cheers,

George


--George[/quote,


So where are these guys?? Neither has posted in days!???????( a week or longer for both!)

IMHO When you Don't post your facts, opinions & questions, we are all the poorer for it!

Stay the course,

MD
---------------
"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."

Michigan Dave
Muskegon, Michigan, MI, USA
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 2744

Re: The Defence Of Isandhlwana Camp 1879
Posted on: 8/30/2016 12:07:12 PM
???
---------------
"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."

Michigan Dave
Muskegon, Michigan, MI, USA
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 2744

Re: The Defence Of Isandhlwana Camp 1879
Posted on: 9/1/2016 9:12:13 AM
I think Rourke's Drift is more popular a topic cause the Brits won??
MD
---------------
"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."

Phil andrade
London, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Moderator
Posts: 2474

Re: The Defence Of Isandhlwana Camp 1879
Posted on: 9/1/2016 6:31:01 PM

Quote:
I think Rourke's Drift is more popular a topic cause the Brits won??
MD
--Michigan Dave


And it inspired one of the best bloody movies ever made !

Regards , Phil
---------------
"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!"

"That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress."

Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes

Fenrir
Glasgow, UK
top 60
E-3 Private First Class


Posts: 39

Re: The Defence Of Isandhlwana Camp 1879
Posted on: 9/1/2016 8:23:16 PM
I'm still around, been checking other topics.

Anemone has disappeared somewhat, which I feel may be down to my disapproval of links and 'lifted text' as answers, or even topic starters.

That is unfortunate for both 'Jim' and myself, with the former being a long-time member and myself new.

I think we may have cancelled each other out, but I must add, Jim has been here longer and I hope he will re-appear to continue his involvement.

After much thought (and reading) he is more dedicated to 'all history' than I, who is more interested in specific battles.

Regards
---------------
Once more into the fray
Into the last good fight I'll ever know
Live and die on this day
Live and die on this day

- The Grey -

Phil andrade
London, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Moderator
Posts: 2474

Re: The Defence Of Isandhlwana Camp 1879
Posted on: 9/3/2016 3:33:46 PM
FIX BAYONETS AND DIE LIKE BRITISH SOLDIERS !

Did someone really say that ?

Did the Zulus comment on British prowess - or otherwise- when it came to the cold steel ?

And what was the Zulus' preferred killing weapon - the asegai or that club - forget the name, something like knobkerry ?

A skull smashing blow with the club followed by spear thrust, perhaps.

Regards, Phil
---------------
"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!"

"That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress."

Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes

Lightning
Glasgow, UK
top 20
E-7 Sgt First Class


Posts: 442

Re: The Defence Of Isandhlwana Camp 1879
Posted on: 9/4/2016 5:37:18 AM
If the Zulus had a healthy respect for the bayonet, then they must have had a crushing dread of the Martini-Henry, as it was this weapon that ultimately brought victory. The emergence of reliable breach loading cartridge rifles in the 1870s made all wars (with the odd western defeat in battle here and there) between indigenous people and the colonial powers grimly inevitable.

Cheers,

Colin
---------------
"There is no course open to us but to fight it out. Every position must be held to the last man: there must be no retirement. With our backs to the wall and believing in the justice of our cause, each one of us must fight to the end."

George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 5271

Re: The Defence Of Isandhlwana Camp 1879
Posted on: 9/4/2016 7:04:26 AM
Did the British trade weapons to the indigenous people of Africa or was there little trade with them at all?

In North America, British companies like the Hudson's Bay Co. and the Northwest Co. did trade weapons for furs to the First Nations. They supplied muskets almost from the get go.

The introduction of weapons caused some social upheaval among the FN tribes as killing became "easier" if you like.

During the French and Indian Wars, the Indians had muskets.


When the US was attempting to subdue the Indians of the Plains, those tribes had Henry repeating rifles.

In North America at least, it was the sheer number of Europeans that overwhelmed the FN's, though in the US the use of artillery and MG fire was a factor too.

So was there a system of barter between the British and the Zulus in Natal or between the Dutch and the Zulus? I don't even know whether the Zulus were trading people or whether there was anything that the British and Dutch needed from them that would lead to trade in weapons.

Were the Zulus able to obtain weapons through trade? I understand that they did have some Martini-Henry rifles at Rorke's Drift, rifles that they had scooped at Isandhlwana, the day before.


Cheers,

George

Lightning
Glasgow, UK
top 20
E-7 Sgt First Class


Posts: 442

Re: The Defence Of Isandhlwana Camp 1879
Posted on: 9/6/2016 6:46:12 AM
Hi George,

The Government (at home and in the colonies) tried to stem the flow of firearms to the indigenous people, but some weapons did get through in local black markets or picked up from the battlefield or during raids. The last thing the authorities needed was a well-armed, numerous native population sitting around their borders.

Very few (if any) of the Zulus would have sported Martini-Henry's prior to Isandhlwana; even afterwards their appearance on the battlefield was largely sparse and ineffective. The firearms of the Zulus (comprising of obsolete muskets and a few breach loading rifles) were used mainly for sniping (or attempts at sniping) rather than the massed volleys and sustained covering fire that the Europeans deployed. The Boers as a whole certainly were not willing to trade firearms to the Zulus, as they were mortal enemies. It was the Boer skill with the rifle that gave them the edge in engagements with the much more numerous Zulus.

Cheers,

Colin
---------------
"There is no course open to us but to fight it out. Every position must be held to the last man: there must be no retirement. With our backs to the wall and believing in the justice of our cause, each one of us must fight to the end."

George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 5271

Re: The Defence Of Isandhlwana Camp 1879
Posted on: 9/6/2016 10:06:07 AM
Thanks Colin.

So British policy toward the indigenous people in the colonization of southern Africa differed from policy in North America.

I wonder what compelled them to trade in arms in NA but not Africa.

My suspicion is that the First Nations in NA had a product that the British wanted while the Zulus did not.

What was the appeal of southern Africa to the Europeans?


Cheers,


George

Lightning
Glasgow, UK
top 20
E-7 Sgt First Class


Posts: 442

Re: The Defence Of Isandhlwana Camp 1879
Posted on: 9/6/2016 11:16:54 AM

Quote:


What was the appeal of southern Africa to the Europeans?

--George


Essentially, it was arable land that attracted the Europeans, especially the Dutch Boers. Much of South Africa in the 17th century was either devoid of human inhabitants or very sparesely populated - the migration of the Zulus south coincided with the spread of the Afrikaners, but weren't consequential. They (the Boers) initially sought distance from the crowded nature of Europe, and then later sought distance from (in their view) the increased interference of the British Crown in the Cape Colony, especially after the emancipation of the slaves in the British Empire. In terms of goods, South Africa was initially the very poor relation in terms of "white" European colonies, until the discovery of diamonds and gold, at which point the British Crown and big business took a very close look at the South African republics, a look that would eventually lead to the Second Anglo-Boer War.

I'd agree that policy differed between NA and SA because the First Nations had much to offer in terms of goods - look at how closely the British Crown got involved once the gold and diamonds started flowing out. The difference between the FN and the Boers was that the Boers were able to spend the resultant wealth on armaments, whilst the FN were often duped into often unfavourable treaties. The FN also provided excellent allies in the type of warfare that was fought in NA - in South Africa, the native levies weren't really decisive battlefield forces. South Africa ended up a formidable regional power until the 1990s; the First Nations appear to have been more or less confined to very small parochial control of their immediate locality.

Cheers,

Colin
---------------
"There is no course open to us but to fight it out. Every position must be held to the last man: there must be no retirement. With our backs to the wall and believing in the justice of our cause, each one of us must fight to the end."

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