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The current time is: 6/20/2019 7:26:05 AM
 (1866-1899) Other 19th Century Battles
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anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
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Battle/Defence of Rorke's Drift 22nd-23rd January 1879
Posted on: 6/4/2019 8:17:42 AM
Prince Dabulamanzi kaMpande commanded an impi, the Undi 'corps' of 4,500.

His men had played little part in the action at Isandhlwana, but goaded on by his men, and despite the orders of his brother, King Cetshwayo kaMpande, not to cross the Buffalo River into Natal, he chose to attack the British supply base close to a river crossing known as Rorke's Drift, which the AmaZulu called KwaJimu.

The post was established in a trading store-cum-mission station that consisted of a dwelling house and a chapel, both sturdily built of stone. The house was doing temporary duty as a field hospital, the chapel was full of stores and there were only 109 men who were fit enough to fight.

The command of the post had passed to Lieutenant Chard of the Royal Engineers, when Major Henry Spalding of the 104th Regiment left on the morning of the 22nd January. Commanding a company-strength was Lieutenant Bromhead of the 2/24th Regiment.

James Langley Dalton, a volunteer serving as an Acting Assistant Commissary and a former Staff Sergeant, ordered the construction of barricades connecting the two buildings with sacks of corn, and an inner barricade with biscuit boxes.

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Sources-various

Regards

Jim


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anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
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E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 7892
http:// 82.44.47.99
Re: Battle/Defence of Rorke's Drift 22nd-23rd January 1879
Posted on: 6/4/2019 8:57:00 AM
Around about 4:30 pm, the Zulus rounded the Oscarberg and approached the south wall.

Private Frederick Hitch, posted as lookout atop the storehouse, reported a large column of Zulus approaching.

The Zulu vanguard-the head, 600 men of the iNdluyengwe, attacked the south wall, which joined the hospital and the storehouse.

The British opened fire with their Marini-Henry breech loading rifles when the Zulus were some 500 yards (460 m) away; until they stopped advancing and were ordered by their "Indunas" to retire leaving their dead and wounded .

Do pleasw comment as ty see fit

Regards

Jim
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anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
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E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 7892
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Re: Battle/Defence of Rorke's Drift 22nd-23rd January 1879
Posted on: 6/4/2019 10:32:21 AM
A soldier reported to Bromhead that they were receiving fire from the heights of the Oskarberg opposite.Apperently some rifles had come the Zulus way via nefarious traders who would swll anything to anybody.

Bromhead quickly picked out a pir of marksmen who were told to spot the gunsmoke as a target; and their firing soon stopped the rifle fire from the Oskarberg.

Regards

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


Posts: 5106

Re: Battle/Defence of Rorke's Drift 22nd-23rd January 1879
Posted on: 6/4/2019 11:13:32 AM
Hi Jim,

The Battle of Rorke's Drift is a classic underdog winning example! How close to the truth is the final attack by the Zulus beaten off by this simultaneous continuous rifle firing strategy by the Brits? What is the strategy called? Anyone, BTW ya gotta love the movie! You see it?

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

anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 7892
http:// 82.44.47.99
Re: Battle/Defence of Rorke's Drift 22nd-23rd January 1879
Posted on: 6/4/2019 11:34:24 AM

Quote:
What is the strategy called? Anyone, BTW ya gotta love the movie! You see it?
Dave.

This is when you have all of your riflemen in one place a
and behind a barricade in three ranks-all kneeling .The order is given "Front rank fire",they ifire and then crouch down again to reload.Order "Middle rank fire" and then "Rearrank fire".This tactic takes a helluva toll of the attackers.

Regards

Jim

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wazza
Sydney , Australia
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E-5 Sergeant
Posts: 490

Re: Battle/Defence of Rorke's Drift 22nd-23rd January 1879
Posted on: 6/4/2019 3:25:26 PM
Plus the heavy Martini Henry bullet could punch through two or three Zulus at that close a range must have been devastating.

anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
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Posts: 7892
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Re: Battle/Defence of Rorke's Drift 22nd-23rd January 1879
Posted on: 6/5/2019 4:52:10 AM
Hi Wazza-Yes it was a 303 bullet and much heavier
The Mk2 Martini–Henry rifle, as used in the Zulu Wars, was sighted to 1,800 yards. At 1,200 yards (1100 m), 20 shots exhibited a mean deflection from the centre of the group of 27 inches (69.5 cm), the highest point on the trajectory was 8 feet (2.44 m) at 500 yards (450 m).

Regards

Jim
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anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
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E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 7892
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Re: Battle/Defence of Rorke's Drift 22nd-23rd January 1879
Posted on: 6/5/2019 5:13:28 AM
Following th first Zulu frontal attack and repulsest-they had a short rest and again attacked. In this attack the majority of the attacking Zulu-the left horn- force swept around to attack the north wall, while a few took cover and were either pinned down by continuing British fire or retreated to the terraces of Oscarberg.

There they began a harassing fire of their own which had to be dealt with gain by the mrksmen. As this occurred, another Zulu force swept on to the hospital and northwestern wall.SEE DIAGRAM in POST 1.

Lt.Chard the acting CO realised that the north wall, under near constant Zulu attack, could not be held.

So at 6:00 pm, he pulled his men back into the yard, abandoning the front two rooms of the hospital in the process.

Now the hospital was becoming untenable; as the loopholes had become a liability: rifles poking out were grabbed at by the Zulus, yet if the holes were left empty, the Zulu warriors stuck their own weapons through in order to set fire into the rooms.

The soldiers assigned to the hospital included Corporal William Wilson Allen and Privates Cole, Dunbar, Hitch, Horrigan, John Williams, Joseph Williams, Alfred Henry Hook, Robert Jones, and William Jones.These men fought like demons for their lives-- against an implacable enemy.

Regards

Jim
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anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
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E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 7892
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Re: Battle/Defence of Rorke's Drift 22nd-23rd January 1879
Posted on: 6/6/2019 4:22:36 AM
Of the thirteen who had remaind in hospital patients,only nine survived the trip to the barricade, as did all the able-bodied men.

According to James Henry Reynolds the Post Surgeon, only four defenders were killed in the hospital: one was a member of the Natal Native Contingent with a broken leg; Sergeant Maxfield and Private Jenkins, who were ill with fever and refused to be moved were also killed. Jenkins was killed after being seized and stabbed, together with Private Adams who also refused to move. Private Cole, assigned to the hospital, was killed when he ran outside.

Another hospital patient killed was Trooper Hunter of the Natal Mounted Police. Among the hospital patients who escaped were a Corporal Mayer of the NNC; Bombardier Lewis of the Royal Artillery, and Trooper Green of the Natal Mounted Police, who was wounded in the thigh by a spent bullet.

Private Conley with a broken leg was pulled to safety by Hook, although Conley's leg was broken again in the process.

The fighting now concentrated on the wall of biscuit barrels linking the mission house with the mealie wall. As night fell, the British withdrew to the centre of the station where a final bastion had been hastily assembled. The light from the burning hospital assisted the British in their fire.

The savage Zulu attacks were resisted until around midnight, when, unexpectedly, the ferocity of the assault fell away. Firing continued until around 4am when the Zulus withdrew. By then the British held only the area around the storehouse--exhausted and bloody but unbowed.

Regards

Jim
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anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 7892
http:// 82.44.47.99
Re: Battle/Defence of Rorke's Drift 22nd-23rd January 1879
Posted on: 6/6/2019 8:03:29 AM
At 7am, a body of Zulus appeared on the hill, but no attack followed. It became apparent that the Zulus could see Chelmsford’s column approaching from the direction of Isandlwana. The Zulus turned and left.

Soon afterwards, the column arrived at the drift and crossed the Buffalo River, marching up to the mission station. Chelmsford’s delight at finding the garrison alive and still resisting was heavily tempered by his despair at finding that no survivors from Isandlwana had escaped to Rorke’s Drift.


Regards

Jim
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anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
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E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 7892
http:// 82.44.47.99
Re: Battle/Defence of Rorke's Drift 22nd-23rd January 1879
Posted on: 6/6/2019 11:04:56 AM
Breakdown of British and colonial casualties:

1st/24th Foot: 4 killed or mortally wounded in action; 2 wounded
2nd/24th Foot: 9 killed or mortally wounded in action; 9 wounded
Commissariat and Transport Department: 1 killed in action; 1 wounded
Natal Mounted Police: 1 killed in action; 1 wounded
1st/3rd NNC: 1 killed in action
2nd/3rd NNC: 1 killed;2 wounded

After the battle 351 Zulu bodies were counted, but it has been estimated that at least 500 wounded and captured Zulus might have been massacred as well.

Having witnessed the carnage at Isandlwana, the members of Chelmsford's relief force had no mercy for the captured, wounded Zulus they came across, nor did the station's defenders.

Trooper William James Clarke of the Natal Mounted Police described in his diary that "altogether we buried 375 Zulus and some wounded were thrown into the grave.

Seeing the manner in which our wounded had been mutilated after being dragged from the hospital ... we were very bitter and did not spare wounded Zulus". Laband, in his book The Zulu Response to the British Invasion of 1879, accepts the estimate of 600 that Shepstone had from the Zulus.

Regards

Jim
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anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 7892
http:// 82.44.47.99
Re: Battle/Defence of Rorke's Drift 22nd-23rd January 1879
Posted on: 6/6/2019 11:59:20 AM
Awarded the Victoria Cross[48]

Lieutenant John Rouse Merriott Chard, 5th Field Coy, Royal Engineers
Lieutenant Gonville Bromhead; B Coy, 2nd/24th Foot
Corporal William Wilson Allen; B Coy, 2nd/24th Foot
Private Frederick Hitch; B Coy, 2nd/24th Foot
Private Alfred Henry Hook; B Coy, 2nd/24th Foot
Private Robert Jones; B Coy, 2nd/24th Foot
Private William Jones; B Coy, 2nd/24th Foot
Private John Williams; B Coy, 2nd/24th Foot
Surgeon-Major James Henry Reynolds; Army Medical Department
Acting Assistant Commissary James Langley Dalton; Commissariat and Transport Department
Corporal Christian Ferdinand Schiess; 2nd/3rd Natal Native Contingent

Awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal:

Sgt Frank Bourne, DCM, in 1905
Gunner John Cantwell; N Batt, 5th Brig Royal Horse Artillery (demoted from bombardier wheeler the day before the battle)
Private John William Roy; 1st/24th Foot
Colour Sergeant Frank Edward Bourne; B Coy, 2nd/24th Foot
Second Corporal Francis Attwood; Army Service Corps


Regards

Jim




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