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DateOriginal Topic
15th March 2002Rorkes Drift and Little Big Horn
By Dan Rudary
Hi Everyone,
I was just thinking one night about the Battle of Rorkes Drift and the Battle of Little Bighorn. For those of you who do not know about Little Bighorn, it was fought in 1876 between about 250 men of the United States 7th Calvary regt, and a few thousand American Indians of the Souix tribe.
Both battles were fought between regular troops and native warriors. However, the U.S. soldiers were soundly defeated at Little Bighorn, but the British held out against the Zulus at Rorkes Drift. Lets see if we can get a debate going about these two battles, what they have in common, and thier differences.
Please feel free to add your opinions!
16th March 2002Alex Rossiter
Very interesting thought,if you compare the feelings between both sides (7th cavalry and 24th reg)towards their enemy they are very diffrent for example custer hated the indians and though they were unsuperior fightingmen whereas the british had just realised that they wernt invincible (isandlwana) and so they took precautions and did not underestimate there enemy.
Just my thoughts
16th March 2002John Young

Better to compare the Little Bighorn to Isandlwana, than Rorke's Drift in my opinion.

If you want an analogy with Rorke's Drift I would opt for the Wagon Box Fight in the Red Cloud War, in preference.

Chard chose his place to fight. George Armstrong Custer was compelled to retire to a ground not of his choice, before making his 'Last Stand'.

Just to pick you up on the fact it just wasn't the Sioux - (That is Ojibway word meaning enemy.) but I assume you mean the Lakota and the Hunkpapa that fought against Custer and his men in 1876, you have excluded the Cheyenne, Arapahos, Oglalas, Blackfoot, Santees, Minneconjous, Brules, Sans Arcs & Yanktons that put pay to the section of the column under Custer's command.

Reno & Benteen managed to find a suitable defensive position, after Reno's initial foray into the encampment, which they defended successfully, so perhaps we could compare their part of the action with Rorke's Drift? Both these actions being a successful defence against overwhelming numbers.

John Young,
Anglo-Zulu War Research Society.

17th March 2002Bill Power
Plus,the 'Sioux' could put down a greater rate of fire than the US Cavalry! They had Winchester Lever-action repeaters[load on Monday,shoot 'til Sunday] vs 'Trapdoor' Springfields[a single shot breechloader like the Snider-Enfield,not self-cocking like the Martini-Henry! Cheers! Bil
18th March 2002Stephen Coan
See The Dust Rose Like Smoke: The Subjugation of the Zulu and the Sioux by James O. Gump. Also doing an Internet search with the two words Sioux and Zulu throws up some references.
18th March 2002John Young

I did give that information last year on this site, when a similiar question was asked likening the two actions of Isandlwana & The Little Bighorn.

John Young,
Anglo-Zulu War Research Society.
19th March 2002Kevin Waybright
My impression is that, in addition to having defensible positions, the British had the advantage of being better disciplined than their American counterparts. Perhaps there was a more significant gap in weaponry between the British and Africans than between US Cavalry and Native Americans. Finally, I assume (dangerous, that) that British discipline was "better", allowing them to fight with fewer questions than US cavalry.