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DateOriginal Topic
13th March 2002Islandwana site survey!
By Trevor Finney
Did anyone see the Tel Programme a couple of months ago on the battle site at Islandwana. They came up with some interesting finds and facts about why the disaster happened. Mail me if your interested?
DateReplies
14th March 2002John Young
Trevor,

There was something of a discussion on this forum when the programme aired.

Personally, I thought the documentary was a poor piece of work.

John Young,
Chairman,
Anglo-Zulu War Research Society.
14th March 2002Dave Nolan
John,

I thought it was good to see the Zulu War on TV and a shame that TV had to fit it all into a less than one hour programme. - roll on the series!

Maybe it didn't suit the most knowledgeable like you but for the ordinary enthusaist like me it was enjoyable television - If I want more I can look in a book or go on a website like this one - and it got people who I know talking about the Zulu War who have shown no interest in the subject before.

Dave
14th March 2002James Garland
Dave,
The problem with the documentary was that it did not truly recognise the Zulu achievement. Instead of recognising Zulu bravery and professionalism for what it was it attributed their success to drug taking which was a slur on brave men.
I don't know if that was the intention of the programme makers but it certainly was the way it came across.

14th March 2002John Young
Dave,

Spare me the series, if the "pilot" was anything to go by.

I forced myself to watch it again on cable the other day where it was being touted under another name. My original conclusions stand it was dire.

If you are make a documentary about Isandlwana, then let us go with what we actually know about the action, there is enough mystique with what we do know.

Just to clarify I am just an enthusiast, nothing more, nothing less. I have no pretensions beyond that. I'm no historian, nor am I an archaeologist, but I certainly wasn't persuaded by the evidence tendered in the programme. How many expended cartridge-cases were actually located? And where? We had no overview, perhaps if anyone bothered to indicate by means of an aerial shot, where the supposed fire-line was, and where they now concluded it to have been it may have helped.

If you are going to give a demonstration of opening the ammunition box, then use the material from which the actual ammunition box was constructed. 'List of Changes 2195 - Box, Wood, Ammunition, Small-Arm, Line with Tin, Teak, Service (Mark IV)' Dated 28th October 1871. Teak, not some cheap & cheerful knocked-up piece of pine. Or maybe the production company were complying with 'List of Change 2666' which states that;'The word "teak" will be omitted from the designation of the box described in L.o C. 2175,...' To my limited knowledge the boxes I have seen have all been hard woods, never a soft wood.

As to getting people talking, I agree it did. I sat and listened to two Zulu Princes discussing the 'dagga' and magic mushroom theories the day after the programme aired. To say that these members of the Zulu Royal House, both descendants of Prince Dabulamanzi kaMpande, were appalled would be an understatement. the words "what nonsense" was frequently repeated in the course of the conversation.

As to the partial eclipse, I've mentioned this before, according to an almanac I have seen it would have been at its zenith at 2.29 p.m. As I have said before, if Rupert Lonsdale's timing is accurate, that is one minute before he rode into the camp. Yet he does not allude to it whatsoever? Just how dark did it get? I would venture to suggest certainly not as dark as the re-enactment scenes that were included.

The test-firing of the Martini-Henry, what did it really prove? That a gun of more that is nearly one hundred and thirty years old still works, despite not being maintained on a daily basis as it would been in the campaign conditions of 1879. As to fishing out jammed expended cartridges with a bayonet, who were they trying to kid. Each British other-rank had an issued or a purchased pocket knife, better to use that in conjuction with cleaning-rod to clear fouled cartridges use the bayonet.

Frankly, I'd like to hear the views of the volunteers would assisted on the survey, what was found? Who made the assessment of the finds? Were they photographed and recorded in situ, or what?
Perhaps someone can tell me? Did they feel they got value for their money? I have seen the figure of £1300 mentioned as to financing their own and the project's cost, how many volunteers were there at this price? Which did not I believe include their travel costs.

I, for one, would welcome their replies and opinions.

No, Dave, give me the episode from Darlow Smithson's 'Great Military Blunders', anytime over 'The Secrets of the Dead', many of the same points were raised there, but the whole production was far better.

But these are just my opinions as a fellow enthusiast.

John Young,
Chairman,
Anglo-Zulu War Research Society.
15th March 2002Bill
John You nailed it!! The idiot sequence with the Matini-Henry Mk11 was beyond belief,given the rounds per rifle @ RD! The Boxer-Henry 577-450 cartridge was a rolled copperfoil case soldered to an iron base. If jammed.the cleaning/clearing rod slung under the barrel,would sort it out-if the foil case remained in the chamber,a knife was the answer! This seperation could occur if the chamber got so hot as to melt the solder joint! I suspect the example used had a badly pitted chamber[a readily available reamer would have cleaned it up nicely-an example of the intellectual laziness of this production! Shooting into Soap?! Gimme a break!! Forensics use #4 Ballistics Gelatine-it shows the wound channel,the temporary& permanent cavity,as well as the expansion/fragmentation! No attempt was reported to to have been made to identify primer marks! Every rifke leaves distinct markes on the primer-especilly Boxer.being an anvil! This was used @ the site of Little BigHorn to track the movement of each TrapDoor Springfield! This exercise,probably,destroyed the site-akin to Schliemanns @ Troy! A sorry Spectacle for"Hoi Polloi",but it encourages the intelligent to seek answers.such as this site! So,it has done a service!!
15th March 2002Diana Blackwell
James,
Whille I was not terribly impressed with this program either, I take exception to your statement about a "slur on brave men."
Indigenous low-technology peoples all over the world have since time immemorial used herbal preparations for medical, religious, and other purposes. To condemn this in the same way that you might condemn a crack-head in an alley is inappropriate and provincial. This doesn't mean that the drug-related claim of the program are necessarily correct...only that the issue should be approached factually, not with imported moralistic assumptions.
15th March 2002James Garland
Diana,
As I said above I don't know if that was the intention of the programme makers but it was the impression I was left with. I didn't import any moralistic assumptions they're entirely my own.
A Russian General at Balaclava cast a similar slur on the members of the light brigade stating that he believed they were drunk. Now whilst there is no doubt that British soldiers have always liked a drink there is no evidence that they were either drunk or tipsy during the charge.
Getting back to Isandhlwana, the Zulus attacked immediately their position was discovered. They didn't have time to roll a spliff or take anything else for that matter. There simply isn't any evidence that they took anything before the battle. There is some evidence that the Undi Corps stopped after the battle and took snuff. Maybe thats just a euphanism? for drugs. But that was after the battle not before it and therefore whatever they took it had no influence over their conduct during the fight.
So I stand by my original statement unless anyone can show some evidence to the contrary.

15th March 2002Diana Blackwell
James,
You make a pretty good factual case. But it raises a question. Assuming drugs were not a factor, what possible motive could the shaman in the interview have had for lying? And we still differ over "slur."
One last nitpick, re: your second sentence. Excuse me if you were just kidding, but moralistic assumptions on your part or mine would necessarily be "imported" relative to Zulu culture...unless you yourself are Zulu!
16th March 2002JohnYoung
Diana,

What that 'inyanga' said was the cause of most of the derision that my two Zulu Princes poured on the programme.

James makes a good point what chance did the impi at Isandlwana have for rituals - I contend none; they were discovered by chance and they were off and running.

My two Zulu companions considered that allegation of drug-induced courage to be a slur on the bravery of their forebears who fought on that day, hope that suffices.

James,
The snuff would have contained 'dagga' - cannabis, but to what degree I can't say.

Bill,
Thanks for concurring with me. I introduce an eyewitness - Private Alfred Henry Hook V.C. stated in his interview recorded in 'The Royal Magazine', that his rifle jammed a number of times in the action at Rorke's Drift, he cleared the breech thus:'...My own rifle was jammed several times, and I had to work away with the ramrod till I cleared it...' May be those involved in the production hadn't thought to consider that method and opted for their ridiculous assumption of clearing the breech with the bayonet.

John Young,
Chairman,
Anglo-Zulu War Research Society
17th March 2002James Garland
Diana,
I think you misunderstood what I meant when I said that it was a "Slur on brave men". Perhaps I should have been more clear.

The slur was not that these men took narcotics for whatever cultural reason. If it was okay to do so in their society that's fine.

The slur was that the programme seemed to be saying that Zulu courage was enhanced by the use of these herbal preparations. They didn't seem prepared to accept that the Zulus could be just plain brave.

At one point when British firepower became really intense it caused the Zulus to temporarily falter until encouraged by the example of several indunas to redouble their efforts. This incident shows that like soldiers the world over they reached a point where their fear almost prevented them from reaching their objective but leadership and bravery led to them charging yet again. If they had been under the influence of any herbal preparation they probably wouldn't have hesitated.

I realise I've made similar points on previous topics. But someone has to stand up for the Zulus.

17th March 2002John Young
James,

Got to agree wholeheartedly with your submission.

John Young,
Chairman,
Anglo-Zulu War Research Society.
18th March 2002Colin Wilks
Very interesting topic this one. I recorded the Secrets of the Dead programme and have watched it a few times since. I am only an enthusiast and not an Historian so what follows is mostly the conclusions of a "Part time" Zulu War enthusiast.

If the jamming of the Martini-Henry had been a major factor at Isandlwana I would have expected it to also have played a large part in the following battle at Rorkes Drift. If the Zulus got through the line(s) at the former due to the guns jamming could they not have got over the barriers at the Drift? The impression I have always had was that the concentrated fire at Rorkes Drift was one of the major factors in the British victory. If the guns were prone to this problem and could not be cleared quickly, the rate of fire would have been very poor indeed.

Am I not right in thinking that the main cause of the outcome at Isandlwana was the spacing of the troops and the fact that the camp had not been protected by a larger of wagons. Also there is the famous story of the difficulty runners had in getting ammo boxes a) from the Quarter Masters b) to the firing line that was so spaced out and far apart and c) getting the boxes open when they got there. If only one of these factors is true it would also have a major impact on the outcome.

As for the drugs issue. I dont think that the Zulus could have had the chance to take their's before the battle as the start of the fight came upon them sooner then they had thought it would. Many great civilisations of the past (ie China) have a history of taking substances of one sort or another for many different reasons other than going into battle. I also think that this excuse plays down the fact that the Zulu Warriors were very well lead, were very brave and were well drilled in battle tactics.

Colin
19th March 2002Julian Whybra
Colin, the ammunition boxes fallacy has been well and truly nailed dead on many occasions - read David Jackson's 'Isandhlwana : The sources Re-examined' or his new book out very soon. It's based on Smith-Dorrien's account being taken literally and then as a generalisation. Ditto, waggon laagers, after all there was no waggon laager at Ulundi. Ditto, spaced-out (not drug abused here Diana!) soldiers in the line. The Zulus won because there were more of them, they overwhelmed the British, and the nature of the defence perimeter allowed them to execute their much-used tactic of the bull's horns to surround their enemies.
23rd March 2002Colin Wilks
Julian,Thanks for the information, I will look out for David Jackson's book. I've just managed to get a copy of "The road to Isandlwana" The life of Col Durnford so I'm looking forward to reading that as well.

Whilst I take your points regarding Isandlwana, I would still argue about the lack of a wagon laager. You mention that there was no laager at Ulundi you are, of course, quite right. What there was at Ulundi was a strong formed square which is historicaly very hard for the attacking force to over come. Perhaps this brings up another cause for the defeat at Isandlwana .......... poor leadership & rotten planning!.

What difference would a formed square have made at Isandlwana? Now there's a new topic!
24th March 2002Julian Whybra
Well, Colin, in that case, there would have been no contest. On no occasion did the Zulus break a British square (though they did almost get inside one briefly at Kambula but were beaten back). Re poor leadership and rotten planning I refer you to the article by David Jackson and myself 'Isandhwana and the Durnford Papers' Soldiers of the Queen Issue 60 March 1990.
24th March 2002Gila Mas
Interesting comments, folks. Interesting also that certain points should be picked up on and dwelt upon at length (and why not).

Still, I believe the programme DID go on about the innate bravery of the Zulus. That's my personal opinion and I'm being subjective - but then isn't everyone when it comes to personal opinions? Can you show me ANY Anglo Zulu War enthusiast who will say the Zulus weren't brave? Indeed, nowadays, can you find anyone who will say the Brits lost because they had a bad day (or whatever other reason) and the Zulus just got lucky in fighting the Brits on the Bad Brit day?

Someone said on this thread that to do a documentary, people should stick with what we know as there is enough mystique there. Perhaps we could also look at expanding the theories and looking at alternatives? If we only stick with what we know, we never progress. Again, a personal opinion, but I don't think the comment added to the discussion.

Re: Cartridge cases and where was the firing line. Surely, if you find even ONE case beyond where you thought the line might have been, it proves that people were in front of where you thought they might have been and therefore it would be reasonable to suppose the firing line was not where you thought it might have been? After all, would anyone actually stand in front of the rest of the firing line and pop off a few shots? He'd get shot in the back by his own mates. (Remember, the firing line has never been definitively placed - we all have theories as to where it SHOULD have been, where it MUST have been, but no-one has been able to PROVE where it WAS. (Oh, and way more than one cartridge case was found – not just the one.)

Re: Ammo Box in the re-make not made of strong enough wood. Dunno. Wasn't there. Shan't comment.

Re: Dinner with 2 Princes who said it was a slur on their nation. Ha! Trumped you! I had dinner with THREE princes, and with Prince Gideon Zulu, all at Ulundi, and they didn't have a problem with the whole thing.

Re: Test firing - what did it prove. Err - that there's a build up of smoke that limits visibility? Remember, Rorke's Drift was a smaller area, and the Brits were behind barricades, so (personal opinion time again) they would just have kept on roughly pointing their rifles and popping away. They had greater odds of hitting someone than out in the open at Isandlwana. It showed that the MH Rifle was PRONE to jamming. It didn't say that they all jammed. Remember, there was not one single factor that definitively caused the Zulu victory. My (here it comes again...) personal opinion is that their bravery was probably the biggest single factor, but it wasn't the only factor. A few or a few hundred jammed rifles was not THE factor, but might have been A factor. I believe that the firing demonstration showed this.

Re: What was found? Stuff. Not telling what because I don't know if there's a research degree or another publication riding on this one. Have any of you been out on the field and combed it for souvenirs? If so, then (a) go straight to jail and do not pass go, because that's against the law and (b) you will know that over 100 years of looting has taken its toll. But stuff was found.

Re: Did experts assess the finds? Yes.

Re: In situ? Yes. They were photographed, logged in by funky machines that give exact location readings, and sketched. I'd say it was professional.

Re: The Volunteers who went there - was it value for money? YES.

Re: "I've heard 1300 touted as the fees" - Not saying. What I do with my money, and how much of my money I use is up to me. Again, what did this question serve in the thread? It didn't add to the discussion on the Battle. Was it there to add an insinuation about some bunch of filthy rich people who went on a jolly? (I'd like to know - I am not being aggressive here. I just can't work out why the question was asked.)

Re: Number of Volunteers - lots. How many do you think? Enough to complete what was aimed, and to lay the groundwork for anything in the future. Again, though, what purpose does this question serve? Why do you want to know? Just curious? Miffed cos you didn't get selected?

Re: Did the money include travel? Not telling. It's my money.

Re: "Balaclava - a Russian General calling the Brits drunk". Now there is a piece of interpretation! My interpretation of that is that he was stunned at the audacity of the Brits, stunned that they would do such a thing, stunned that the ORs would follow their leaders and not just turn tail. His explanation - they must have been drunk. No-one in their right minds would have done that. Maybe, just maybe, he was showing his RESPECT for the Brits?

Re: Drugs. Didn't the programme say the muti was given out in the preparations to the battle back at Ulundi? Not all would have to be given out 20 minutes before kick off. Might the doctor chaps have made up their options and handed it out to the waiting chest of the buffalo just before their turn central stage? Didn’t the (or some of the) Zulus carry some muti round in their necklaces? Our modern British soldiers wouldn’t dare go in to battle without modern radios and Kevlar helmets. Are they, then, any less brave than the British soldiers of yesteryear? I thought that for the Zulus, the whole muti business was something they believed in – it wasn’t a gimmick, it was part of their armour and weaponry.

Re: Jamming MH Rifles at Rorke's Drift - Remember, the Brits had barricades to hide behind. When and if their rifles jammed, they could release the blockage without getting an assegai through their heads. There may also have been some psychology here - the RD lads knew they were behind barricades and were therefore that little bit more relaxed than the poor lads at Isandlwana who could see the huge Impi running full tilt at them while they, IN THE OPEN, had a jammed rifle in their hands. Again, not THE factor, but maybe A factor.

Now, that's all your points answered (to a greater/lesser degree according to what I am prepared/able to say). I don't mean for any animosity, but I just felt that the tone of the posts were all very negative. Can we not all join together in honouring the brave deeds and trying to find out as much as possible about them?
24th March 2002Gila Mas
Interesting comments, folks. Interesting also that certain points should be picked up on and dwelt upon at length (and why not).

Still, I believe the programme DID go on about the innate bravery of the Zulus. That's my personal opinion and I'm being subjective - but then isn't everyone when it comes to personal opinions? Can you show me ANY Anglo Zulu War enthusiast who will say the Zulus weren't brave? Indeed, nowadays, can you find anyone who will say the Brits lost because they had a bad day (or whatever other reason) and the Zulus just got lucky in fighting the Brits on the Bad Brit day?

Someone said on this thread that to do a documentary, people should stick with what we know as there is enough mystique there. Perhaps we could also look at expanding the theories and looking at alternatives? If we only stick with what we know, we never progress. Again, a personal opinion, but I don't think the comment added to the discussion.

Re: Cartridge cases and where was the firing line. Surely, if you find even ONE case beyond where you thought the line might have been, it proves that people were in front of where you thought they might have been and therefore it would be reasonable to suppose the firing line was not where you thought it might have been? After all, would anyone actually stand in front of the rest of the firing line and pop off a few shots? He'd get shot in the back by his own mates. (Remember, the firing line has never been definitively placed - we all have theories as to where it SHOULD have been, where it MUST have been, but no-one has been able to PROVE where it WAS. (Oh, and way more than one cartridge case was found – not just the one.)

Re: Ammo Box in the re-make not made of strong enough wood. Dunno. Wasn't there. Shan't comment.

Re: Dinner with 2 Princes who said it was a slur on their nation. Ha! Trumped you! I had dinner with THREE princes, and with Prince Gideon Zulu, all at Ulundi, and they didn't have a problem with the whole thing.

Re: Test firing - what did it prove. Err - that there's a build up of smoke that limits visibility? Remember, Rorke's Drift was a smaller area, and the Brits were behind barricades, so (personal opinion time again) they would just have kept on roughly pointing their rifles and popping away. They had greater odds of hitting someone than out in the open at Isandlwana. It showed that the MH Rifle was PRONE to jamming. It didn't say that they all jammed. Remember, there was not one single factor that definitively caused the Zulu victory. My (here it comes again...) personal opinion is that their bravery was probably the biggest single factor, but it wasn't the only factor. A few or a few hundred jammed rifles was not THE factor, but might have been A factor. I believe that the firing demonstration showed this.

Re: What was found? Stuff. Not telling what because I don't know if there's a research degree or another publication riding on this one. Have any of you been out on the field and combed it for souvenirs? If so, then (a) go straight to jail and do not pass go, because that's against the law and (b) you will know that over 100 years of looting has taken its toll. But stuff was found.

Re: Did experts assess the finds? Yes.

Re: In situ? Yes. They were photographed, logged in by funky machines that give exact location readings, and sketched. I'd say it was professional.

Re: The Volunteers who went there - was it value for money? YES.

Re: "I've heard 1300 touted as the fees" - Not saying. What I do with my money, and how much of my money I use is up to me. Again, what did this question serve in the thread? It didn't add to the discussion on the Battle. Was it there to add an insinuation about some bunch of filthy rich people who went on a jolly? (I'd like to know - I am not being aggressive here. I just can't work out why the question was asked.)

Re: Number of Volunteers - lots. How many do you think? Enough to complete what was aimed, and to lay the groundwork for anything in the future. Again, though, what purpose does this question serve? Why do you want to know? Just curious? Miffed cos you didn't get selected?

Re: Did the money include travel? Not telling. It's my money.

Re: "Balaclava - a Russian General calling the Brits drunk". Now there is a piece of interpretation! My interpretation of that is that he was stunned at the audacity of the Brits, stunned that they would do such a thing, stunned that the ORs would follow their leaders and not just turn tail. His explanation - they must have been drunk. No-one in their right minds would have done that. Maybe, just maybe, he was showing his RESPECT for the Brits?

Re: Drugs. Didn't the programme say the muti was given out in the preparations to the battle back at Ulundi? Not all would have to be given out 20 minutes before kick off. Might the doctor chaps have made up their options and handed it out to the waiting chest of the buffalo just before their turn central stage? Didn’t the (or some of the) Zulus carry some muti round in their necklaces? Our modern British soldiers wouldn’t dare go in to battle without modern radios and Kevlar helmets. Are they, then, any less brave than the British soldiers of yesteryear? I thought that for the Zulus, the whole muti business was something they believed in – it wasn’t a gimmick, it was part of their armour and weaponry.

Re: Jamming MH Rifles at Rorke's Drift - Remember, the Brits had barricades to hide behind. When and if their rifles jammed, they could release the blockage without getting an assegai through their heads. There may also have been some psychology here - the RD lads knew they were behind barricades and were therefore that little bit more relaxed than the poor lads at Isandlwana who could see the huge Impi running full tilt at them while they, IN THE OPEN, had a jammed rifle in their hands. Again, not THE factor, but maybe A factor.

Now, that's all your points answered (to a greater/lesser degree according to what I am prepared/able to say). I don't mean for any animosity, but I just felt that the tone of the posts were all very negative. Can we not all join together in honouring the brave deeds and trying to find out as much as possible about them?
24th March 2002James Garland
Gila Mas.

For an archeological survey thats a hell of a lot of maybes, what ifs, and perhaps. I have one question. Was anything new proved or even shown to be more likely?
I would dearly love to see new evidence about the battle unearthed, and yes you're right we should keep an open mind and examine new theories. But the theories should be thought through and discussed so that they can be assessed.
Perhaps that wouldn't have made good television. I suspect... and this is just a theory that the TV company was ecstatic when the suggestion of drug taking was made. I just don't think it was thought through.
I know that Ian Knight has always given the Zulus the respect and honour they deserved whenever he has written about them. So either I have missed the point somewhere or the point lies somewhere on the cutting room floor.
25th March 2002John Young
Gila Mas,

What does 'one' or more cartridges in front of the firing line prove? That there may have been skirmishers deployed in front of the firing-line? See 'Field Exercise & Evolutions of Infantry', 1877 revised edition, 'Skirmishing' and 'The Defence' for battalion-sized units. Or that a Zulu may have purchased/acquired a Martini-Henry somewhere? Somehow? The fact is we don't know. But these are also ventured theories.

On the test-firing of the Martini-Henry I have now been reliable informed that the sequence was heavily edited. Edited for what reason?
Until the right words were uttered? Who knows, like yourself at times, I wasn't there.
But again I contend that weapon was not kept in day-to-day working order.

How much smoke is there in the air if the men on the firing-line are not in close formation? What if they are not standing side-by-side, but are upwards of six feet apart? Did anyone test this theory? Especially in an area renowned for its winds. If someone proved it to me beyond any reasonable doubt, I'd accept it, but they can't, or can they?

As to some of your other comments; I'm glad that the found objects were logged by 'funky machines' which I assume were something akin to a Global Positioning Device.

Certainly there is no 'insinuation' meant by myself, just an enquiring mind - frankly I'm glad you enjoyed the experience. Just trying to draw in those with hands on knowledge to add to the debate, as they were under-represented. Yes, you're right I wasn't selected. Perhaps that has something to do with the fact like yourself I do what I please with my money, and how I chose to spend it and who I spend it with.

Like James's comments above I would dearly love to hear or see new proven evidence, but the documentary did nothing of the sort, as far as I am concerned.

How about the Ammunition Box matter I have put forward elsewhere in this forum, the known defect on the tin handle, were you, or come to that anyone on the survey aware of that?

Again I reiterate there is enough mystique surrounding the 'known' facts about the Battle of Isandlwana that a worthy documentary could, and should be produced.

I, for one, remain unconvinced by 'The Secrets of the Dead...'

John Young,
Chairman,
Anglo-Zulu War Research Society.
25th March 2002John Young
Just to clarify a point, which someone has posed outside the forum to me by e-mail.
I was not selected, as I did not apply to go on the survey.

John Young,
Chairman,
Anglo-Zulu War Research Society
25th March 2002Dave Nolan
John,

I would imagine the MH scenes were edited because they took up enough of the programme as it was - or are you suggesting that an unedited programme be made of guys firing MHs into Ballistic Soap? - That would try the patience of the most 'die hard' Zulu War enthusiast! Maybe you are a fan of my idea of a series based on the program.

I can see it now:

Episode 1) Watch someone dig a hole for 50 minutes.
Episode 2) Watch someone wander about with a metal detector for 50 minutes.
Episode 3) Watch someone cleaning finds for 50 minutes.
Episode 4) Watch 50 minutes of drug enhanced Judo
Episode 5) Just for you - 50 minutes of two middle aged men blasting the heck out of a piece of soap with 123 year old rifles
Episode 6) 50 Minutes of the shadow of the sun crossing the veldt
Episode 7) Zulus dancing around a camp fire with someone taking 'paparazzi' style photos for 50 minutes.
Episode 8) 50 minutes of watching animal skulls being crushed by knobkerries.
Episode 9) That's enough episodes....

If any TV companies out there want to develop this idea then I am available cheap on the above email.

I imagine the TV company thought the point they wanted to make about MHs had been made in the time thay allowed.

Dave (that feels better! ;-))
25th March 2002James Garland
Gila,

On a more concilliatory note. Although you can see I was not a fan of "Secrets of the dead" I have to say I have enjoyed a previous video about Rorke's Drift narrated by Ian Knight. It didn't break a lot of new ground but it did explain the battle clearly which was its purpose.
From what you have said about the "finds" and the logging and sketches of those finds it seems there was perhaps a lot more detailed study takling place than may have been portrayed on the programme. If so then I hope the results get published so that we can see them.

Dave,
I think you made the point quite well. Real research would not make great television except for anoraks like myself. So lets see the results in a book. Do you know if there is one in preparation or whether the results are going to be made available.
One departing shot. I have collected a number of first hand accounts of Rorke's Drift and Isandhlwana but I can't recall any of the participants mentioning the smoke from the Martinis being a problem. However a number of accounts mention the problem of the weapons overheating at Rorkes Drift and the burning of the defenders hands. They overcame this by using cloths to protect their hands. A journalist visiting the post at a later date noted that the 24th had taken to wrapping leather around the stock to prevent the problem reoccurring. It seems to me that the defenders at Rorke's Drift fired a lot more ammunition than those at Isandhlwana and so they should have experienced more problems with the Martini than those at Isandhlwana. A number of accounts mention the good shooting of various defenders at Rorkes Drift both at the beginning and during the battle. They must therefore have been able to see their targets both to hit their mark or (as in the case of the writers) to have seen the result of their shooting in order to make comment on it.

If you like I will look up the references and quote them on this Forum.
25th March 2002John Young
Dave,

Spare me the torture!

A few years ago I got invited along to see a 2nd Unit Director working on a series of programmes entitled 'The Wars of the Zulu'. I saw some cracking material being shot at the Rotunda at Woolwich, London. The day's shooting lasted for over six hours and I was impressed at what I had seen recorded. Yet when the programme aired on the Discovery Channel the six hours was condensed into about 45 seconds of air time. Frankly I'd rather have seen some of the material that was recorded that day, than some of the stuff that made into the final cut.

Kenneth Griffith's work 'Black as Hell, Thick as Grass!' stands the test of time, despite there being a number of errors in the production. Ron Lock & Peter Quantrill's 'Isandlwana - Zulu Battlefield' is also good, making fine use of clips from the 1918 film 'Symbol of Sacrifice', but this production has received only a limited airing in the U.K. Give me those any time over 'The Secrets of the Dead'

Like James I'd like to see a book produced on the survey now that would be one for the 'fundis' amongst us.

John Young,
Chairman,
Anglo-Zulu War Research Society.


26th March 2002Bill Power
Gila;-position of finds "logged in by funky machines that give EXACT location readings"??!! GPS,I presume?! You want the TinTacks?! OK! The Global Positioning system is a constellation of satellitites that orbits the earth twice a day,transmitting precise time and positioning info to anywhere. The system was deployed by the US DoD primarily for US and Allied Military. GPS is operarated from a Master Control station in Colorado-ie;-Norad! Each GPS satellite broadcasts two signals;a standard positioning service[SPS] for civilian use and a precise positioning service for the Military! The SPS signal contains 2 types of orbit data;almanac&ephemeris.Almanac states the health&approximate location of the satellite.Ephemeris data gives the precise orbital parameters of each satellite! Generally,SPS recievers are accurate to 15 metres. So accurate, the US Govt. has activated Selective Availability[SA-via a "Dither" on the signal]for military effectiveness!! SA,by "Dithering" the Ephemeris,reduces SPS accuracy to about 100 metres!!!! These effects of SA&enviomental errors can be overcome via Differential GPS! Was this used in the survey??!! DGPS uses a fixed receiver @ a known location to recieve its calculated position from the SA GPS signal.The differnce from the true to the reported signal,is then transmitted to receivers in the immediate area,assumming they all see a similar array of satellites-ie-similar Dither!! Even in this best case, the error is +/-15 metres! Where was this Differential Control Beacon located?! On the coast?! A source of non-correctable error is enviromental-multipath-seeing reflections bounced of tall objects[Isandawandl}! So,as you cic\rcled the site,the error would change!! Then there is Ionospheric/Tropospheric delays that vary due to changing weather&time of day!! All the details are available,gratis,from the Civil GPS Information Centre[GPSIC]Virginia USA! To talk to an Operator to get the free Info,- 1[703] 313-5900. So,let us sum up! GPS is useless for a site survey. It effectively destroyed the site,unless permanent markers were left at the artifacts location, In my youth[misspent] I was a navigator on a profeesional yacht delivery service,packing 2 sextants[John Graham,Liverpool(1923) & MeasurAlll-Tokyo] on board,plus a plastic in the "Exploder"-the liferaft!! Electronic Tinkertoys can lead you astray!! I look forward to a serious research paper being published!!??!! Bye the Bye;-What Mk of Martini-Henry was used in the demo,what ammo,what cases,rolled ,drawn,turned?? Lubed[how],patched?! Corrosive /pierced primers?! Duplexed?! Smokeless/BP Subs?! Again,no real Info was presented.rather a Dog & Pony Show!! Regards! Bill
28th March 2002Keith
Oh God!!
19th March 2004Wayne
Just for the sake of accuracy, the US National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA - now "NGA") turned off the deliberate GPS "dithering" on May 1, 2000 and has left it off ever since. So civilian and military users benefit from the same impressive level of accuracy without civilians having to resort to use of differential GPS.
17th April 2004Ron Clayton
John/Julian,
Enjoyed this topic.I also saw the programme and thought it interesting but flawed.I agree withyou regarding reasons for defeat of the British.Did you also see another programme regarding Agincourt which put forward the theory that the Longbow was not much good against French Armour/Revisionism ? Do we know that the 24th Had time to fix bayonets/