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Hlobane And Other High/Mountainous Terrain
Colin


Joined: 22 Nov 2017
Posts: 128
Location: U.K.
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Iíve been considering Hlobane, but also any of the high, mostly very difficult terrain in Zululand, etc., IF proper studying by the officers for planning an assault against a native enemy holding the high ground.

It made me wonder if there were experienced men in mountain climbing, within the military at the time, to assist or consult the best way to go about the operation, with less endangerment to the troops ascending, as it seems there were many areas in Africa and beyond, this experience may have been crucial

Iím of the understanding that such details might be left to perhaps the Royal Engineers, but in 1879 I think, going by the net anyway, was in the golden era of mountaineering, figuring then that maybe some in the British forces had the knowledge to make a responsible approach to attacking high enemy positions

Iím sure many adventurers, explorers, or mountaineers, initially were in, or came from military backgrounds, making me wonder if some events arose during their service, to see that such training would benefit the military, either then or in future campaigns
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timothylrose


Joined: 13 Jan 2012
Posts: 24
Location: Bognor Regis, West Sussex
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Coll -not quite Zulu War but in the spirit of the question your old friend Col Fred Burnaby's wife wrote "The High Alps in Winter" published in 1883 recounting the couples experience of mountain climbing.
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Colin


Joined: 22 Nov 2017
Posts: 128
Location: U.K.
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He certainly seemed to live an interesting life, both civilian and military.

Iíve seen a few books on Victorian mountaineering, including a few names Iíve made note of, but other publications actually termed military mountaineering seem to be from quite a bit later, early 20th Century, possibly around the time of the First World War, most definitely WWII, being the time of the commandoes.

It struck me as an interesting point of when mountaineering became a part of military training for battle situations, before the time of planes, etc., thinking some of the terrain in the countries at the time of the British Empire, might have given them thought for a unit specialised in this area, or at least someone experienced enough to aid the commanders

All I could think of initially was the Royal Engineers, maybe the Boers too, but the latter wasnít always listened to by the British, as the AZW demonstrated
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timothylrose


Joined: 13 Jan 2012
Posts: 24
Location: Bognor Regis, West Sussex
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Scaling heights is a totally different thing to mountaineering - having actually done some of the more famous "mountains" of the period with no formal mountain training (or need for specialist kit) I think you need to appreciate the difference. Have scaled the Heights of the Alma, been up Spion Kop and Elandsgate, Hlobane and Majuba and never felt that I needed mountain training for any of them. The only sort of formal recognition of the difficult of that kind of terrain were the Mountain batteries of the Indian Army and some Mountain batteries were deployed during the 2nd Boer War 1899 - 1902.
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Colin


Joined: 22 Nov 2017
Posts: 128
Location: U.K.
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Yes, I was thinking also that the route up to block Bushmans Pass in 1873 and the assault at Hlobane, the men had horses with them, making the ascent more difficult, though as it turned out, the horses were absolutely necessary to get the men away when both events went badly wrong or all could have been killed. Gaining the advice of climbers/mountaineers, might have helped give the best route to follow by a bit of recon, however, in both situations time wasnít in their favour to conduct proper detailed planning, to include this aspect if it had been available to them, however, it could have given away their intentions to the enemy.

Thanks for all your replies to my topics
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Hlobane And Other High/Mountainous Terrain
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