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The current time is: 11/19/2018 7:27:51 PM
 (1866-1899) Other 19th Century Battles
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Phil andrade
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An astonishing new book on the 2nd Boer War
Posted on: 7/23/2018 12:46:49 PM
This is more than an eye opener : it’s something that’s turned my view of the Boer War of 1899-1902 upside down !

Kruger, Komandos and Kak by Chris Ash utterly repudiates the traditional view of this conflict .

By the “ traditional view”, I mean the history as espoused by Thomas Packenham, who wrote what I always thought to be the definitive modern account about forty years ago.

Packenham, it must be said, is the son of Lord Longford and a cousin of the doyenne of the Labour Party, Harriet Harman.

His view sits very comfortably with the British liberal left....the British, led by Milner and his entourage, and supported by Lord Kitchener, conducted an aggressive war in pursuit of mineral wealth, and fought the war with a ruthlessness and relentlessness that ended with the virtual murder of thousands of Boer women and children in atrocious concentration camps. To make the cup run over, British generals were callous and, above all, incompetent .

This, Ash tells us, is all absolute bollocks.

Kak, as many will know, is a word used by Afrikaaners which means shit. The Italians call it Caca.

The war, Ash tells us, was the result of the harshest and most brutal form of Africaaner aggression. The British behaved decently, even to the extent of jeopardising their own military prospects. Boer racial doctrine condemned countless numbers of - not only black and other non white folk - to misery, but also the British settlers who were disenfranchised and abused.

The Africaans folklore has fostered lies about British atrocities to cover up Boer culpability and bolster up the reputation of of an abhorrent apartheid regime.

The lies, according to Ash, are monstrous, not least about the alleged mistreatment of Africaaners at the hands of the British.

More than that, British military performance was nowhere near as bad as Packenham would have us believe : the achievements of the army were remarkable in circumstances that favoured the enemy.

I could go on and on.

This is clearly a book designed to challenge what might be described as the “ politically correct “ view of that war. I find it compelling, and -to a degree - convincing, but am more than a little circumspect about Ash’s agenda.

Kai, if you see this, I would welcome your comments : I see that Ash is involved in the business of minerals in South Africa, and has some military experience of his own. I wonder if you have heard of him, or even met him.

I’m two thirds of the way through the book, and look forward to feedback.

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

anemone
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Re: An astonishing new book on the 2nd Boer War
Posted on: 7/24/2018 6:39:38 AM

Quote:
I find it compelling, and -to a degree - convincing, but am more than a little circumspect about Ash’s agenda.


Phil-As well you night-the denigration of the Boer fighters and guerrillas certainly during 1899 into 1900 was commendable whereas the British were deplorable via extremely poor generalship.

In Black Week alone the British lost to the Boers at Magersfontein (A Highland Brigade mess),Stormburg,Modder River Colenso and Vaal Kraantz.Then came the error strewn Spion Kop generalled by the Metropolitan Police Chief
We did not win at Elandslaagt not Talan Hill.Meanwhile theBoers invested Mafeking ,Kimberley and Ladysmith

The government finally got rid of Buller VC' and replaced him with "dug out" Roberts.He managed to win a pitched battle at the pest hol of Paardeburg,Diamond Hill and Belfast.The Boers realising that pitched battles were not for them -took to the veldt as guerrillas raidind communication centrs ,etc.The British countered with Mounted Infantry butthe wily Boer nearly always won the day.

Kitchener who replaced the aging Roberts decided to to confine ALL Boer women and children in Purpose built Concentration Camps where many Died of disease and malnutrition--Shades of Hitler !! This was successful in bringing the Boers to the Table to discuss peace terms--shitty way of fighting a war IMO

Mr Ash has decided to alter history because he is decidedly Anti Apartheid
and the fact that he is so does not justify twisting history to suit his
agenda. His revulsion of Apartheid does not give him legitimate license to change history IMHO

Regards

Jim


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

Phil andrade
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Re: An astonishing new book on the 2nd Boer War
Posted on: 7/24/2018 6:59:02 AM
Good to read your views, Jim.

I really don’t know enough to make informed comment ; the book I’m reading has had an effect on me, but I’m wary of swallowing Ash hook, line and sinker.

What Ash stresses repeatedly is that the Boers were determined to pursue a “ bitter end” policy that entailed reprisals against their own folk if they were deemed to have been disloyal to the Kruger cause.

The Boers, he insists, were burning farmsteads and making an already harsh lifestyle intolerable for anyone who stepped out of line.

We also learn about the outrageously high mortality rates that afflicted people in South Africa before the Boer War : measles being an especially virulent killer in the decade before the conflict started.

The death rate in the concentration camps has been exaggerated and wrongly attributed : so he writes.

The proof of the pudding lies in the extraordinary willingness of Afrikaners to assist British military efforts against Germany a mere dozen years after the Peace of Vereeniging : had the British been as atrocious as Boer accounts would have us believe, we have to ask ourselves how this support was extant in the Great War. This, incidentally, emanates from my own take on things, and Ash has not mentioned it thus far in the book.

But, but....I am nonplussed, and look forward to finishing Ash’s book. I do believe that he is right about one thing : the story told by Packenham is distorted and reflects the fashionable left wing approach that was espoused by anti British diatribists in the 1970s. I feel rather ashamed that I allowed myself to be so misled.

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

anemone
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Re: An astonishing new book on the 2nd Boer War
Posted on: 7/24/2018 7:48:24 AM

Quote:
What Ash stresses repeatedly is that the Boers were determined to pursue a “ bitter end” policy that entailed reprisals against their own folk if they were deemed to have been disloyal to the Kruger cause.

The Boers, he insists, were burning farmsteads and making an already harsh lifestyle intolerable for anyone who stepped out of line.

We also learn about the outrageously high mortality rates that afflicted people in South Africa before the Boer War : measles being an especially virulent killer in the decade before the conflict started.


That does not surprise one whit--The Boers were quite ruthless about who was with and who was not.The war was about British governance and their desire for a form of Self Rule BUT this would drastically reduce revenues from diamonds and gold.This had been rumbling on since the early 1890's but the British,as was their wont did nothing.As soon as the Boer annexed the Transvaal--Shock,Horror!! we cannot allow that-so off we go to to a little fighting and this we did--IN SPADES.

Cannot agree with you about Packenham's general depiction; but would admit to to some unessesary embellishments which chimes with the later W Baring Pemberton.

Mr ash has his own agenda--which in my opinion are definitively minor incidents blown up to suit his purpose.

The Boer War of 1899-1902 was won by the British via default but as a military action it was a sorry performance by the British-as I said in the beginning was ostensibly due to poor generalship which in turn "leaked" through into the Great War.

BTW-I found this of interest-
Quote:
Not all people in Britain accepted the necessity of this war to maintain the empire or to ensure the safety of southern Africa for British culture. W. T. Stead, editor of the Review of Reviews, was one of the most outspoken dissenters on this topic.

G. K. Chesterton was another, arguing that the Boers had the right to defend their farms. That fiery young Liberal MP, David Lloyd George, was one of the few speaking in Parliament against the war.

And even Henry Campbell-Bannerman, whose rather offhand comment in 1901 deploring “methods of barbarism” in reference to the concentration camps—for which he was severely criticized—was able to become Prime Minister eventually.

A lot of British people perhaps sensed, beneath their “jingoism,” that humanitarian concerns trumped empire in the greater order of things
Extracted from a University Exercise

Regards

Jim


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

Michigan Dave
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Re: An astonishing new book on the 2nd Boer War
Posted on: 7/24/2018 9:15:44 AM
Guys,

I would say, that most American Historians know very little about the Boer Wars. (me included) What you debate here clouds the waters even more, as to which side was more atrocious? From a moral stand point, which side conducted themselves more honorably? Or is it in the eye of the beholder, in other words the war's moral perspective depends on which side you were on??

[Read More]

So what's the truth of the matter??
Thanks,
Dave

BTW; Good point on the Dutch, & UK aiding each other in WWI, (so they couldn't have hated each other that much?) also this war, had to help them be a little more prepared to fight WWI?? What say you?

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

George
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Re: An astonishing new book on the 2nd Boer War
Posted on: 7/24/2018 10:01:46 AM

Quote:
BTW; Good point on the Dutch, & UK aiding each other in WWI, (so they couldn't have hated each other that much?) also this war, had to help them be a little more prepared to fight WWI?? What say you?


The Netherlands was neutral in WW1.

I am not sure whether your question applies to the British or the Netherlanders.

British military expenditure rose to over 6% of GDP during the Boer war.

It dropped very quickly and remained so until the heavy sabre rattling just before WW1.

The British did learn that some of their tactics were flawed.

European rivals noted that the British forces seemed rather weak in South Africa especially if a nation of farmers could stymie them.

But they did learn how to fight an irregular war like the one against the Boers.

There are many articles on the lessons learned from the Boer War.

1. A small army cannot contend with the demands of a large area. I'm not sure how well that one was absorbed by 1914.

2. The General Staff has to be much larger to co-ordinate the efforts of a large army spread out over a large area.

3. The officers had to be dedicated soldiers and not private school boys on a lark. During the Boer War they sent home a lot of officers who had arrived with too much baggage and with bottles of champagne.

4. The British soldier had been taught to obey implicitly the officers. If the officer went down, the soldier would be leaderless. Apparently, they learned that soldiers had to be drilled differently and taught to seize the initiative when appropriate.

5. Gunnery tactics were poor and the British learned some tricks from the Boers. Still artillery tactics evolved significantly during the Great War. As well, they learned that they needed more and more powerful artillery weapons.
And they learned that their small arms were underpowered.

6. Tactics had to change. The British preferred to close with a large attack and engage with bayonets or cavalry lances and swords. But the Boers wouldn't co-operate as they just left the scene if they saw that a British attack of that nature was imminent.
So the British thinned the attacking ranks, instituted flanking maneuvers which proved effective against the Boers.
Smaller combat units learned to leap frog one another.

7. Infantry were made more mobile by reducing the amount that they had to carry. Mounted infantry were introduced so that they could pursue the Boers who were all on horseback.

8. It became apparent that British sanitation methods and the capabilities of the medical services were wanting.

Most of this came from the following article. It also contains a good deal of information on the post war period.

I would appreciate a critique of the information in it and information on the source.

[Read More]


Cheers,

George

They reduced the cavalry attacks but did retain bayonets.

anemone
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Re: An astonishing new book on the 2nd Boer War
Posted on: 7/24/2018 10:39:08 AM
Part of publisher';s blurb


Quote:
Hard-hitting and uncomfortable reading for those who do not want their bubble of ignorance burst, Kruger, Kommandos & Kak exposes that side of the Boer War which the apartheid propaganda machine didn’t want you to know about.


Stuff and Nonsense-the writer has scoured the refuse bins to come up with some sensational micro facts to cause a stir and so sell his book.

Regards

Jim
---------------
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Phil andrade
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Re: An astonishing new book on the 2nd Boer War
Posted on: 7/24/2018 10:46:56 AM

Quote:
Part of publisher';s blurb


Quote:
Hard-hitting and uncomfortable reading for those who do not want their bubble of ignorance burst, Kruger, Kommandos & Kak exposes that side of the Boer War which the apartheid propaganda machine didn’t want you to know about.


Stuff and Nonsense-the writer has scoured the refuse bins to come up with some sensational micro facts to cause a stir and so sell his book.

Regards

Jim
--anemone



Jim,

Do you mind me asking you something ?

Have you read Ash’s book ?

He protests too much, methinks.....but it does convey a message which - as the publisher’s blurb you cite tells us - is distinctly uncomfortable.

If only a part of it is true, then I would suggest a significant re-think is in order.

George,

Thanks for that article. If I fail to comment, please be assured that it’s not because I’m ignoring it....on the contrary, I’m struggling to make up my mind whose account I should believe !

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

anemone
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Re: An astonishing new book on the 2nd Boer War
Posted on: 7/24/2018 11:03:20 AM
Phil--I am not for one moment claiming that the i book is a tissue of lies-I am well aware of the "dark side" of the Boer's (Africaan's) nature; but exposing this does not change history-but of course it adds another side to the war-which in my book the Boer won and the British lost face-the Empire was starting to showing it's frailties.No I have not read the book and even if if could read book print-I would not want to.I am anti Apartheid BUT that does not make a supporter of Black Supremacy in South Africa.



[Read More]

Regards

Jim
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Phil andrade
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Re: An astonishing new book on the 2nd Boer War
Posted on: 7/24/2018 11:59:44 AM
Jim,

Don’t imagine for a moment that Ash comes over as a supporter of Black Supremacy, as you describe it.

He appears to have a vehement dislike of Afrikaner nationalism ; he never lets us forget his opinion that the brand espoused by Kruger was of an especially toxic kind. He hasn’t a good word to say about Kruger.

In his view, the ugliest aspects of the Boer War were attributable to the conduct of the Boers themselves.

This applies as much to the causes of the conflict as it does to the course of it.

On the matter of the war itself, he presents a refreshingly flattering view of British military operations. He admires the achievements of John French, a man that you have obviously got no regard for.

The Boers, he reckons, displayed significant incompetence and fouled up their best chances by insisting on besieging Mafeking , Ladysmith and Kimberley, when they could have made a war winning thrust into the Cape when they had the initial advantage in numbers and momentum.

They were not equipped for conducting sieges, and their hearts were not in it, either.

A large part of the Boer Commando were there for the loot, and soon got distracted.

The significant contingents from Canada and Australia that volunteeered to fight in South Africa testify to a strong sense of support for the British cause.

In Ash’s view, Britain was on the side of the Angels, while Kruger comes over as a monstrous bigot and a damnably vicious one, at that.

A lot to think about here.

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

anemone
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Re: An astonishing new book on the 2nd Boer War
Posted on: 7/24/2018 12:16:16 PM

Quote:
In Ash’s view, Britain was on the side of the Angels, while Kruger comes over as a monstrous bigot and a damnably vicious one, at that.

A lot to think about here.


Truth to tell Phil=I think that Ash has got himself caught up in something he cannot handle-for me he has lost all credence and it is he has who spun a web of lies that he is stuck with.Did you read the Open Letter-hysterical but not funny

Regards

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

Lightning
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Re: An astonishing new book on the 2nd Boer War
Posted on: 7/24/2018 5:22:48 PM
Phil,

I’ll pick up the book at the next opportunity and accelerate it up my reading list. I look forward to Ash’s take on it all.

What I would say in defence of Pakenham is that he had the rare opportunity to directly interview veterans and survivors of the war - argue with them at your peril. He was complimentary of Buller, who was made a scapegoat by Kitchener and Roberts to cover up their complete ineptitude. For example, Buller had largely stuck to the regimental transport system, meaning most units could sustain themselves but lost a bit of speed in doing so. Kitchener decided he wanted his infantry to move faster (chasing mounted Boers...), so took over the transport and co-ordinated it at a higher division level. The result was that the army marched really quickly then ran out of supplies, which were then easily plundered by Boers and Tommies alike. Kitchener’s blundering blockhouse/concentration camp programme prolonged the war by about a year, according to the senior Boer commanders, who were relieved of the burden of defending their farms and also now had well supplied blockhouses to raid.

Above all, the architect of the war, Milner (later, Lord Milner) would never have got support for the war had the Boers given the franchise to the ‘uitlanders’, the white non-Boer inhabitants of the two Boer republics. Ultimately, the refusal of Kruger to even countenance peaceful federation with the British colonies and consider limited workers rights (i.e. the right not to expect to die in the mines) for the black South African miners gave the British fairly solid cause for war, in the context of the day.

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."

Phil andrade
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Re: An astonishing new book on the 2nd Boer War
Posted on: 7/24/2018 5:38:14 PM
Good summary, Colin.

I am swayed by your equanimity !

Something about Chris Ash strikes me as Farage-ist : I imagine a provocative blazered man in a golf club, holding forth and winding people up, but yet with a message that carries something a bit too convincing for comfort.

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

Phil andrade
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Re: An astonishing new book on the 2nd Boer War
Posted on: 7/25/2018 2:33:07 AM

Quote:

Quote:
In Ash’s view, Britain was on the side of the Angels, while Kruger comes over as a monstrous bigot and a damnably vicious one, at that.

A lot to think about here.


Truth to tell Phil=I think that Ash has got himself caught up in something he cannot handle-for me he has lost all credence and it is he has who spun a web of lies that he is stuck with.Did you read the Open Letter-hysterical but not funny

Regards

Jim

--anemone


Jim,

Forgive my ignorance ; but what “Open Letter “ do you allude to ?

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

anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
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Re: An astonishing new book on the 2nd Boer War
Posted on: 7/25/2018 4:08:15 AM
GM Phil--the Read More about 6 or 7 posts back.

Returning to Ash's book-I do not have a closed mind about most history related topics but any deviation from what is currently accepted has to be rational and unbiased--Ash's slant on the Boer War is neither rational or unbiased.He sucks up to the British who did NOT do very well in the war(Maybe a sales gimmick) and his loathes the Afrikaana; and I think this last cannot be connected to the turn of 20th Century but much more likely to spring from the Apartheid era. Thus I remain unconvinced of his sincerity.

Regards

Jim
---------------
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Phil andrade
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Re: An astonishing new book on the 2nd Boer War
Posted on: 7/25/2018 5:47:35 AM
Good morning, Jim !

Thanks for drawing that link of correspondence to my attention.

Now that’s what I call interesting stuff ! Have you surveyed some of the following letters ?




Apologies for failing to do it justice .

Yes, I do agree that Ash over eggs the pudding. Is he farting against the thunder ?

His argument about the causes of the war do convince me to a greater degree than his depiction of the actual course of it.

I feel inclined to endorse his view of Afrikaner culpability and the toxic nature of the Boers’ outlook and conduct.

When Ash alludes to Afrikaner racism, he focuses more on the treatment of the Uitlanders than he does on the plight of black people , although, of course, he discusses that as well.

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

anemone
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Re: An astonishing new book on the 2nd Boer War
Posted on: 7/25/2018 6:58:46 AM

Quote:
Have you surveyed some of the following letters ?


No I have not Phil- there was only one yesterday-your snippets are a mixed bag I thought. To some of the younger readers ie. up to say 40/45 may well be taken in by his "twist" on the Boer War purely because they only have the vaguest idea what the war was about-but so be it.It will be interesting to see how the book sells-here and elsewhere in the world.

PS. At the Vereening Treaty meeting in 1902 chaired by Kitchener and Milner the Afrikaaans lost the right to govern the Transvaal and Orange Free State-which naturally caused some bitterness within the Boer Guerrilla Groups; but a sop of several million pounds sterling was offered to rebuild farms and restock along with a large number of cheap loans available.

However I do get the sneaking suspicion that Brother Boer was saying to himself "Our Day Will Come Again"

Regards

Jim
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Phil andrade
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Re: An astonishing new book on the 2nd Boer War
Posted on: 7/25/2018 7:38:46 AM
George,

That link you provided has really given me food for thought.

I wonder about how the Boer War impinged on the conduct of British military operations in WW1. I like to compare it with the Mexican War and the American Civil War in that respect .

I think that the article was just a little bit out when it stated that two thirds of the British soldiers who died in the Boer War were taken by disease. About eight thousand battle dead and thirteen thousand disease deaths would be the respective tolls. I believe that this experience really did have an impact on British sanitary practice in the Great War 1914-18, when, in relative terms, the number of disease deaths was trivial. That, of course, might reflect the intensity and relentlessness of battle rather than the improvements in hygiene,

British combat deaths 1914-18 were one hundred times greater than they had been in the 2nd Boer War.

Likewise, the American battle dead of the Mexican War were multiplied by more than a hundred times in the conflict of 1861-65.

It’s significant that, while the US military performed brilliantly in Mexico in the war of the 1840’s, the soldiers themselves and many politicians were profoundly uncomfortable with the cause they were fighting for, in so far as they believed the US was mounting a war of aggression.

In the Boer War, the British military did not emerge so well in terms of reputation, and there had also been political disquiet : but not to the same extent as their American counterparts in the mid 19th century.

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

anemone
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Re: An astonishing new book on the 2nd Boer War
Posted on: 7/25/2018 8:44:50 AM
Casualties and losses--1899--1902

ImperialMilitary casualties:

22,092 dead 75,430 returned home sick or wounded
934 missing
22,828 wounded.


Boer Military casualties:

6,189 dead 24,000 Boer prisoners sent overseas;

21,256 bitter-enders surrendered at the end of the war.

Civilian casualties:

46,370, of whom 26,370 were Boer women and children who died in concentration camps, along with another 20,000+ black Africans of the 115,000 interned in separate concentration camps.

Regards

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

Phil andrade
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Re: An astonishing new book on the 2nd Boer War
Posted on: 7/25/2018 9:40:16 AM
Jim,

The figures you cite above show that the British loss of life in the 2nd Boer War was very, very similar in total to that of the Crimean War nearly half a century earlier.

Battle deaths were higher in South Africa : about eight thousand, compared with just under five thousand in the Crimea. OTOH, the British contingent in the Crimea was much smaller - less than one quarter - so the fighting was deadlier ( in proportionate terms ) in the earlier conflict.

No battle fought against the Boers was anything like as bloody as Inkerman.

The ferocity of the fighting in South Africa must not be underrated, however. Spion Kop was really nasty. I have stood there and surveyed the patch of ground where so many British soldiers came to grief. It’s a chilling place, and the hairs on my neck sensed it.

I suppose that in South Africa a large proportion of the British soldiers who were killed perished in small scale clashes that have been lost to memory.

The death rate among the British wounded suggests a fairly high standard of medical care : about one in twelve of all those treated for wounds died. This ratio is very similar to that of the Great War. The big shock was the failure to prevent Enteric Fever. This was what killed most British soldiers in South Africa. Things improved vastly by 1914.

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

MikeMeech
UK
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Re: An astonishing new book on the 2nd Boer War
Posted on: 7/25/2018 9:56:14 AM
Hi

I read this book a while ago and Pakenham some decades ago, although I found the writing 'style' used by Ash to be rather 'annoying' at times I don't think all of the content in the book can be dismissed very easily. I have noted that this book has been republished by the same South African publisher during 2017 as 'Kruger's War: The Truth Behind the Myths of the Boer War', which is supposed to be an expanded and revised version of the original. The review in the RUSI Journal (Feb/March 2018) by Damian P O'Connor was quite positive and agreed with many of the comments made by Ash in his book. The 2nd Boer War does need to be looked into in detail as there are 'flaws' in earlier work (much due to leaving details out). Much general work over the years on the British Army from the 18 to 20th Century depicts it as being a 'useless, incompetent and hidebound' etc., but the question arises how in all sorts of circumstances it was also quite successful in its operations, what's going on? so questions should be asked.
Certainly during the 2nd Boer War, mistakes were made by the British forces (and even more by the Boers) especially when it had a lack of cavalry in the early stages of the war which limited its mobility and capability in flanking movements. it certainly did not fight in 'Napoleonic' lines, sometimes the troops were not spread out enough but especially those troops that arrived from India and had been fighting on the North West Frontier certainly knew about the power of rifle fire from defended positions on hills and the tactics needed. Raids undertaken, mainly successfully, but not always, from the besieged towns against the Boer forces should also be looked at to compare with WW1 raiding, as should some of the deception techniques. We should also remember that a lot of 'worthy' historians once told us that British tactics never changed during WW1, senior commanders were against new technology, the British did not do 'after action' reports, the commanders never listened to those below them etc. all of which has been questioned by newer research (including some I have done myself), so past writers cannot always be taken as 'gospel' history moves on in all periods.
Also when talking about 'comparisons' surely the Boar War should be compared with the 'Philippines Insurrection' of 1899-1902, directly contemporary with the Boer War. Here the US forces, against an enemy less well armed than the Boers, had 4,234 US troops killed and 2,818 wounded, against an estimated 20,000 Filipino deaths in 'combat' with perhaps 200,000 civilians dead, mostly from disease and privation (figures from 'The Oxford Companion to Military History' edited by Richard Holmes). 'Concentration Camps' were also used, but beware 'Concentration Camp' did not have the same meaning as in WW2, after all the RFC went on their 'Concentration Camp' at Netheravon during 1914!

Mike

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Re: An astonishing new book on the 2nd Boer War
Posted on: 7/25/2018 10:09:00 AM
Casualties and losses at Spion Kop
Imperial troops
243 killed
1,250 wounded

Boers
68 killed
267 wounded

Casualties at Magersfontein
Imperial troops
948 K & W

Boers 238 K & W

Casualties at the Battle of Tugela Heights

Imperial troops=2316 K & W
Boers=204 K & W
All extracted from Wikipedia


PS Seriously Phil-how do you feel about Ash's book at this juncture--I have to agree on one thing --it is "astonishing" but why in your opinion??



Regards

Jim
---------------
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Lightning
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Re: An astonishing new book on the 2nd Boer War
Posted on: 7/25/2018 10:46:03 AM
Jim,

Cite your source, please.

Bear in mind also that the British were on the offensive on all of those battles, against a well placed enemy armed with better rifles and artillery than themselves. It's easy to criticise with our benefit of hidnsight, but I'd defend most of Buller's actions in South Africa, as did/does Pakenham.

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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Re: An astonishing new book on the 2nd Boer War
Posted on: 7/25/2018 11:10:47 AM
Jim,

How do I feel about Ash’s book at this juncture ?

It’s a polemic. The style is ribald, rude....he writes as if he were winding up cronies in a pub.

He seems to take a perverse pleasure in being a bit “ beyond the pale”....but I suppose that’s the hallmark of prevailing commentary in our snapshot culture.

That said, he has opened my eyes about aspects that need to be countenanced. I am persuaded by his argument that the ugly nature of the Boer War was attributable in great measure to the essence of Kruger’s vision of South African Afrikaner Nationalism. This applies - and forgive my reiteration - to both the cause and the course of that war.

We are currently experiencing a wave of anti liberal feeling. I suspect that I am too susceptible to revisionist accounts that seek to repudiate the works of historians such as Packenham. Am I the dupe of right wing commentators ? God, I hope not !

As far as the actual conduct of the military operations is concerned, I’ve just started the section of the book that deals with this. Here again we are asked to reconsider the traditional view of the war. Buller was not such a blockhead. The Boer commanders were not all that they’ve been cracked up to be. British tactics were more adaptable than we’ve been led to believe . More dispersal, more open order and better tactics of fire and movement than many suppose. A superb performance by John French. A pretty dismal failure by some of the Boer generals to turn their initial advantages to account. Am I persuaded ? Partially....to use that ghastly expression the jury’s still out .

If pressed, I would give Ash credit for making me reconsider the origins of the war. I would place significant confidence in his assessment that the Boers were much more culpable, and the British more “ decent”, in the way things developed. I’m sure that, if I revisit what I myself have written on this forum about the 2nd Boer War, I would now be rather embarrassed to see that I have followed the Packenham line. For me, the thing now looks different, and I am grateful to Ash for that.

Astonishing !

Editing here : something’s been bothering me. Years ago - perhaps more than twenty years back - I saw a BBC TV documentary by the controversial Welsh actor and writer Kenneth Griffith. If any of my friends on MHO who are better versed than I am on IT operation could trace this documentary down and post a link, I would be thrilled. This was a documentary about the Boer War. It would be anathema to Ash. Like all bad history, it’s immensely compelling and entertaining.
Please, if you can, get hold of it and share it !

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

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Re: An astonishing new book on the 2nd Boer War
Posted on: 7/25/2018 11:36:35 AM
Phil,

 Regarding the BBC series, this may be what you're looking for.

[Read More]

 There looks to be some absurd requirement to 'sign in' as the content is not appropriate for all ages?

Cheers,

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

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Re: An astonishing new book on the 2nd Boer War
Posted on: 7/25/2018 11:58:18 AM

Quote:
Phil,

 Regarding the BBC series, this may be what you're looking for.

[Read More]

 There looks to be some absurd requirement to 'sign in' as the content is not appropriate for all ages?

Cheers,

BW
--BWilson



A million thanks, Bill !

The thing was first broadcast in September 1999, to mark the centennial.

I was right in my guess of twenty years back, more or less.

I’ve tried to sign in, but I failed to gain access.

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

BWilson

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Re: An astonishing new book on the 2nd Boer War
Posted on: 7/25/2018 12:50:00 PM
 As it is YouTube imposing the sign-in requirement, one would have to have a Google account to access the media, I believe. How curious. Material produced by BBC almost 20 years ago and now a completely different firm is restricting access to it. Goodness! We have to restrict access to learning about history; after all, it may offend someone!

Cheers,

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

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Re: An astonishing new book on the 2nd Boer War
Posted on: 7/25/2018 12:53:54 PM
When it comes to a lesson about the Boer War, snowflakes need not apply !

Talking of snowflakes, we have a temperature of approaching 35 centigrade in my London backgarden.

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

BWilson

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Re: An astonishing new book on the 2nd Boer War
Posted on: 7/25/2018 12:57:12 PM
Phil,

 Check. I was wondering today if I was in northern Europe or north Africa. Looks like the U.K. is set to get really hot weather. If you don't do so already, I can suggest putting ice cubes in tall glasses of unsweetened, cold tea: a great thirst-quencher, body-cooler, and pleasant way to re-hydrate.

Cheers,

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

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Re: An astonishing new book on the 2nd Boer War
Posted on: 7/25/2018 1:45:10 PM
Bill,

Your advice is heeded.

In the meantime, I might just try another glass of Orvieto .

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
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Re: An astonishing new book on the 2nd Boer War
Posted on: 7/25/2018 2:44:22 PM
I find a cold pilsner usually sorts me out.

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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Re: An astonishing new book on the 2nd Boer War
Posted on: 7/25/2018 2:56:43 PM
According to the astonishing book, on one occasion - and one occasion only - “ Oom” Kruger allowed himself the luxury of a SIPP of champagne.

I forget the circumstances as related in the book.

I wonder if it was looted from one of Buller’s crates !

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

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Re: An astonishing new book on the 2nd Boer War
Posted on: 7/25/2018 3:31:57 PM

Quote:
When it comes to a lesson about the Boer War, snowflakes need not apply !

Talking of snowflakes, we have a temperature of approaching 35 centigrade in my London backgarden.

Regards , Phil
--Phil andrade


38C in Berlin.

Berliner Weisse. A very sour bier with either a shot of rasperry or woodruff syrup.



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Re: An astonishing new book on the 2nd Boer War
Posted on: 7/29/2018 5:29:03 AM
Having just finished the book, my sense of recommendation has been enhanced.

There is a bit too much hyperbole - some of it tongue in cheek - and a disquieting tendency to descend into rant.

But it has a wealth of information and - when restrained by discipline - the narrative reveals aspects of this conflict which have not been properly acknowledged.

The military history is good and thought provoking.

I have to declare that I have been convinced, and - to a degree - converted.


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

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Re: An astonishing new book on the 2nd Boer War
Posted on: 7/29/2018 8:38:59 AM

Quote:
The line, “It was a very trying day” appears in the report written British Major General Sir Redvers Buller about the Battle of Colenso against the Boers on December 15, 1899, in which his 17,000 British troops with 44 guns had been badly beaten, with heavy casualties and the humiliating loss of ten cannon, by about 4,200 Boer militiamen.

Colenso was the last of three serious defeats suffered by Buller’s troops during “Black Week”, coming after the Battles of Stormberg on the 10th and that of Magersfontein on the 11th ; in the three fights British forces totaling about 33,750 had lost 2,776 men killed, wounded, or missing (8 percent) against Boer forces of about 15,300, who lost only about 300 in killed, wounded, or missing (2 percent).

The British defeat resulted from several factors. One was a lack of respect for the long-range repeating rifle. Despite their experience shooting down ill-armed “natives” in the thousands using the rifle during various colonial wars, British troops had not grasped the importance of cover, since their opponents were not shooting back with modern weapons. A second problem was a failure to realize that the Boers were so ignorant of “real soldiering” that their very lack of knowledge enabled them to come up with some very innovative tactics, such as using available cover, relying on aimed fire, and defending high ground from its base (rather than its military crest), which rendered British preparatory artillery fire ineffective.
[Read More]
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Re: An astonishing new book on the 2nd Boer War
Posted on: 7/29/2018 11:30:09 AM

Quote:
Hi

I read this book a while ago and Pakenham some decades ago, although I found the writing 'style' used by Ash to be rather 'annoying' at times I don't think all of the content in the book can be dismissed very easily. I have noted that this book has been republished by the same South African publisher during 2017 as 'Kruger's War: The Truth Behind the Myths of the Boer War', which is supposed to be an expanded and revised version of the original. The review in the RUSI Journal (Feb/March 2018) by Damian P O'Connor was quite positive and agreed with many of the comments made by Ash in his book. The 2nd Boer War does need to be looked into in detail as there are 'flaws' in earlier work (much due to leaving details out). Much general work over the years on the British Army from the 18 to 20th Century depicts it as being a 'useless, incompetent and hidebound' etc., but the question arises how in all sorts of circumstances it was also quite successful in its operations, what's going on? so questions should be asked.
Certainly during the 2nd Boer War, mistakes were made by the British forces (and even more by the Boers) especially when it had a lack of cavalry in the early stages of the war which limited its mobility and capability in flanking movements. it certainly did not fight in 'Napoleonic' lines, sometimes the troops were not spread out enough but especially those troops that arrived from India and had been fighting on the North West Frontier certainly knew about the power of rifle fire from defended positions on hills and the tactics needed. Raids undertaken, mainly successfully, but not always, from the besieged towns against the Boer forces should also be looked at to compare with WW1 raiding, as should some of the deception techniques. We should also remember that a lot of 'worthy' historians once told us that British tactics never changed during WW1, senior commanders were against new technology, the British did not do 'after action' reports, the commanders never listened to those below them etc. all of which has been questioned by newer research (including some I have done myself), so past writers cannot always be taken as 'gospel' history moves on in all periods.
Also when talking about 'comparisons' surely the Boar War should be compared with the 'Philippines Insurrection' of 1899-1902, directly contemporary with the Boer War. Here the US forces, against an enemy less well armed than the Boers, had 4,234 US troops killed and 2,818 wounded, against an estimated 20,000 Filipino deaths in 'combat' with perhaps 200,000 civilians dead, mostly from disease and privation (figures from 'The Oxford Companion to Military History' edited by Richard Holmes). 'Concentration Camps' were also used, but beware 'Concentration Camp' did not have the same meaning as in WW2, after all the RFC went on their 'Concentration Camp' at Netheravon during 1914!

Mike
--MikeMeech



Apologies, Mike....for some reason this post of yours slipped by unnoticed by me ; I might need to go to spec savers !

You make the very points that Ash makes about the contemporaneous conflict in the Phillipines.

What Ash has done well, IMHO, is make the reader reconsider and acknowledge just how difficult it is to fight against geurillas. Viewed in this light, the achievement of the Imperial forces suddenly looms a lot larger. They won, after all. I’m surprised that Ash doesn’t make more mention of the way Imperial Germany dealt with the Herero insurrection at about the same time.

I’m tempted to venture a joke in the ribald vein that Ash likes to use.

Instead of repudiating the traditional view of the Boer War as Kruger, Kommando and Kak, we might try, Blockheads, Blockhouses and Bollocks !

Editing : Mike....Those US casualties you cited for the Phillipines conflict surely include deaths from disease and other non battle causes among the “ killed “.

I think that only about one quarter of those 4,000+ US deaths were from battle. The number of wounded suggests so.

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

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