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mike snook 2


Joined: 04 Jan 2006
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Good morning gentlemen,

How formal in a funny internet sort of way: no need to call me '2', Peter, for I am '1' as well! Or was. Merely a function of my computing incompetence. 'There can be only one' as they say in a particularly dreadful movie I once (never again!) saw ('Highlander' I think it was called).

Well hill/ridge/grass is an experiment I hope to be in a position to try ere too long, with an all arms mixture. I keep my fingers crossed that there are some Gurkha-sahibs amongst them! I shall record their answers carefully in my little black book and report back.

But to avoid digression too far into the trivial/humorous/whimsical department, I hope the point is well made. One man's ridge is another man's hill, leaving the testimony from the various 'discoverers' irritatingly vague.

As ever

M
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Mike McCabe


Joined: 05 Sep 2013
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We could of course declare a truce on whimsy, pie throwing and any propensity towards triviality. For a while, anyhow.

Meanwhile, I do agree with you on the interpretation of ground terms. One of the many surprises of the modern ground of the Nqutu feature (making due allowance for farming, erosion and road/track systems) is its complex shape and undulating nature, and, the many areas of dead ground that present themselves to different viewpoints as ground is crossed. There are many ridges, and something doesn't have to be very high to be a ridge. The upper Ngwebeni stream bed also offers plenty of concealment, deliberately chosen or fortuitously arrived at, and somebody just sitting still might in effect be concealed until they give themselves away by their own movement.

MC McC
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mike snook 2


Joined: 04 Jan 2006
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Mike

I don't disagree with any of that.

M
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mike snook 2


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To return to the positioning of Cavaye and Mostyn. The latter we know (or think we know) was only despatched for the high ground once firing had broken out. We also know that the second company fell in beside the first, which at the time was engaging a passing (emphatically not directly attacking) massed target at 800 yards. Mostyn was only in position for a very short time before Melvill arrived to pass on the colonel's orders to withdraw sharpish. The movements described do not allow enough time to reconcile against a great deal of space for the position at issue to be Mkwene/Magaga, significantly further 'out' and much closer to the approaching enemy in terms of the real lie of the land. Additionally, if the infantry were on Mkwene, they would have to be firing at an attacking enemy, not merely firing on a passing one intent on bypassing their position. The range from the spur to the valley leading to the Manzimyama can't be fixed at 800 yards, because it is a wide valley, and it would depend on the exact course being followed by the target, but the bracket would certainly incorporate 800 yards. Also if deployed as you postulate Mike, they would not have made it back quick enough to cover the north of the camp in tolerably good order, which we know they did. Essex is of course the source on which these remarks of mine rely. Taken in the round, I would remain satisfied, that there is no historically sustainable justification for pushing the two companies as far as Mkwene. Why was Mostyn sent out in response to firing - because that was what the infantry tactical doctrine of the day called for - support the forward firing line. Only when it dawned on Pulleine that this was a major attack, and the outlying positions were untenable, did he send the adjutant galloping away to recall the detached companies pronto to a close-in battalion position, (not close enough as it turned out). I would suggest that the catalyst for Melvill's despatch was either the first sightings of Zulu mass in the notch, or possibly the very fact that Cavaye could he heard to be firing company volleys - in other words that the action, whatever form and shape it was about to assume, was not in the nature of a skirmish in the Amatolas but something a touch more unusual.

Tahelane Spur for me; for all the reasons given.

Mike

PS Wheel the C-M firing line through ninety degrees and move it 500 yards to the east and imagine how much ground the men on the left flank of that firing line would have to cover to get back to the camp. No, sorry, doesn't compute.
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Mike McCabe


Joined: 05 Sep 2013
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Mike,

Pragmatically, and like many others, I can see how the broad wisdoms of most deduced battle narratives are arrived at, and moreso the more recent ones that have not been dominated or skewed by giving too much weight to TWOTS - good enough though it was in its day.
My questioning mind has always found the annotated camp map in The Narrative to be pretty flaky or at least opaque; tending towards the arbitrary and schematic and disclosing no real knowledge or understanding of battlefield ground, or of likely force on force interactions. Or, is it actually correct?
The broad flaw from my viewpoint is quite why the force elements depicted are shown deployed on lower ground to the south and west of Mkwene. So, what tactical effect were they individually and collectively supposed to deliver. And especially so given what might or might not have been known of Zulu positions, movements and intentions at the time they were sent there in the first place.
If we extemporise, we can construe a sensible task for Dyson's Section outpost. This was not necessarily a purely axial and frontal deployment as The Narrative map portrays. He would have had some visibiity of the approaches from Rorke's Drift, of the western slopes of the Isandlwana crag, of some of the approaches to the Manzimnyama stream valley from the higher ground of the Nqutu feature, and more usefully and perhaps why he was really there, could see across important areas of the southwestern slopes of Mkwene to cover by observation and fire areas of ground that Cavaye could not see from his own position. At least to the extent of being able to provide some warning of any close-in flanking move sweeping around the western slopes of Mkwene.

The relative positioning of Mostyn, intended to reinforce but also to provide the ability to coordinate effective fire and manoeuvre if forced to disengage and withdraw in close contact (as is rationally explained in HCMDB) is supported by at least one source dealing with the care necessary to insert him, though (understandably) without much in the way of ground referencing. Is this perhaps a clue that Cavaye could not actually see Dyson’s Section? Placed as the Narrative map shows, these two companies were plainly not deployed to ‘support Durnford’, though some of those with Shepstone thought they were, and nor (correctly in my view) do you suggest that they were in HCMDB.

If we take KCL Map No 2 as an attempt to portray Zulu planning ‘intent’ based upon a realistic depiction of how the Zulu Army arrayed itself for deliberate attack, and Map No 3 as trying to capture ‘performance’, then Cavaye and Mostyn’s placing has a bit more sense underpinning it. However, who could have predicted that outcome. Also, they could not have been expected to deliver ‘effect’ for long and their absence and isolation may also have had a very damaging effect on Lt Col Pulleine’s overall ability to consider other and perhaps very different ways of employing his red infantry tactically. Nor, except for surmising that the period of interaction was short before orderly withdrawal, do we know what they were actually able to effect as the Zulus closed in.

The NNC map placing is yet another mystery since it is even less clear what they were supposed to be achieveing there. We then have the mysterious formalised portrayal of vedettes in place on Mkwene and key high points to its west. Had these all been continuously in place since daybreak, and until withdrawing as the Zulus appeoached, which appears unlikely, then we might have expected better tactial reporting on Zulu movements throughout. However, the Zulus would have found them very visible and easy to hide from from daylight onwards – on the ‘if I can’t see you, you can’t see me’ principle; a bit like van driver’s mirrors. So, if I was a Zulu finding myself on the Nqutu ‘plateau’ as day broke I could move to where I could see these vedettes and then just drop back down my ‘ridge’ a bit until I could see none pf them, nor they me. If I sat still, ergo I was ‘concealed’.

So What? Winding back a bit, how confident are we in this map in The Narrative and how much and how correctly is it influencing our decided views on Cavaye and Mostyn?

Mike
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mike snook 2


Joined: 04 Jan 2006
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Mike

My narrative is still on the bookcase in the usual place (the text as I read it is pretty emphatically indicating Tahelane as Cavaye's position and I don't think is particularly ambiguous to somebody who knows the ground well). But the map is detached in one of many storage boxes with all my research stuff. I'll try and find it this evening.

In the meantime I need to correct myself on one point. I think earlier I mentioned the NNC picket company reporting five Zulu columns, but should have said three.

Map hunting....

Later.

Mike
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mike snook 2


Joined: 04 Jan 2006
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My bet, and it is no more than that, is that the Narrative map is No. 4, working on the principle of homing in, in ever closer detail, in a logical sequence. Thus, if I am right, Map 1 would take the widest view and Map 4 the narrowest. Is there some reason why the Anstey-Penrose map which appears in Ian's old Then and Now book (at p. 25) should not be No. 1?

Mike (and then more generally),

I agree that the dispositions are shown in somewhat stylized fashion but beyond that don't view the map as a particular problem. To be honest I think you're overreaching on the Cavaye-Mostyn argument for the reasons I've outlined - which are based on my study of the real ground, and which in turn has been carefully checked against the gist of the primary source coverage, in which I don't perceive much potential for ambiguity, save perhaps of the wilful kind. For me time and space equations are vital. I can see no historical grounds or tactical grounds whatever for overturning the received wisdom of many years in respect of the Cavaye-Mostyn position.

The NNC position(s) you draw attention to shows two locations. One is marked clearly as an outlying night picket, not a daytime vantage point: 'Detached outpost by night' is how it is annotated and I see no reason to discredit the position. It is there to listen rather than to look: most us remember how dark Isandlwana used to be before the electric came (and with it the local population explosion and all that entails in environmental terms). And, from my wider study of Victorian soldiering across a number of theatres, it is there to cover an obvious avenue of approach by compromising any attempt by the enemy to stalk in close under cover of darkness. That's a nice way of saying it's there to be attacked as a sacrificial lamb, in order that some sort of hullaballoo is created in the process, thus to allow the rest of the force to stand to its arms. Look how close in to the camp the main circular ring of night pickets is. This is normal for the Victorian Army. So the outlying one shown is a specifically sited 'listening post' in effect. I would be surprised if there weren't others. Something of this day/night picket notion has survived the intervening century, with our modern day system of outlying (day) and inlying (night) sentry positions and all that. The position of the night-time picket line is corroborated by source evidence; Cpl Bassage's pocket book immediately springs to mind as it establishes a link between some of the G Company dead and the donga (Mpofane) where they had earlier been on picket duty. Bassage of course would have marched past the roadside picket that morning. That is one pointer that whoever annotated the map worked hard at getting it right.

On the other hand I do agree that the other nearby NNC position is questionable, nay, almost certainly wrong. It has possibly been placed by somebody taking the text of the narrative as his reference, because there is a passage which refers to there being a NNC company on Cavaye's right. Of course Mkwene is on Cavaye's right but 500 yards away and uphill as you well appreciate. If one didn't really know how the ground works in actuality I can see how the mistake would be made. Of course, if it is incorrect for the daytime picket company at the start of the day, it probably does represent a closer (though still not entirely accurate) stab at where it ended up prior to the withdrawal from the spur. As I remarked earlier, that's the way you have to come if you are extricating from Mkwene in any sort of tactical good order (short of parachuting onto the roof of Isandlwana Lodge that is!) Towards Cavaye's right is exactly where the officers of a NNC company retreating from Mkwene would steer their lads so long as they still had any control over them.

Vedettes. I believe those are positions which are sourced from Insp Mansel (who sited them the day before under orders from Clery). Again I see no reason to discredit them. They are entirely logical and Clery was no fool. They are of course hideously inconvenient to the deliberate attack school. There is good evidence to put Carbineers on the high ground. They can hardly not have been in position by 0700. Even if they withdrew in response to the sighting of large numbers of Zulus at, say, 0715-ish, there is good evidence to say that they went back later. I have mentioned the pair who rode in from the high ground on Durnford's left (Cochrane testimony). The DH marking on the contentious maps (which I take to mean Durnford's Horse?) does not allow of the left horn being deployed in front of Mabaso, as is also shown on the map annotations, and for Scott and other carbineers (Mehlokazulu corroborates presence of a white troop) to be up there with them. Scott can be there and the right horn and Undi can be there, in the same 'space', only if they don't occupy the same piece of 'time'.

Now it must be understood that I am decidedly not trying to be a clever dickie and sing my own praises in saying that the position for the right horn bivouac is exactly where I hypothesised it to be without ever clapping eyes on 'Wood's' annotations or any other sort of clue save for my own time and space analysis and my 'eye for ground' - which in my professional life has often been remarked upon. What Evelyn Wood appears to say is 'the' Zulu (one Zulu therefore) indicated the position of the Nodwengu bivouac and gave a general indication of the remainder. The base map very clearly shows the overnight bivouac as lower Ngwebeni (valley) not upper. The only other clue is that 'the Zulus attacked as they bivouacked all in line of Regiments except the Undi Corps which was half a mile in left (insertion) rear of Ngobamakosi [sic] in bivouac and in action.' The bivouac in other words is a given. It is marked by Anstey-Penrose and not struck out by Wood or annotated 'wrong'. For the right horn regiments to be in another bivouac means that they either occupied the place indicated by 'the' Zulu in the dark, (which I personally consider extremely unlikely, albeit not impossible), or moved to a second bivouac that morning after overnighting with everybody else in the lower Ngwebeni. That notion reflect the points made about real estate management in HCMDB. The army commander needed to clear the right horn out of the path of the right half of the chest. If the 0715-ish activity was not the right horn moving out to the new bivouac, in which to sit out the wait, (failure of negotiations that afternoon or first light attack on 23rd), then it is the whole army moving to occupy the so-called FUP positions as shown on the annotations...the whole Lock-Quantrill piece. But if it was that then we travel full circle to re-ask the intelligent question posed by Mel some way back. That would have left them all shaken out and ready to go by 0830....so then what? Why the (now 4-hour) delay? Back to the slowest attack in the history of the Zulu empire. What 'Wood' has done in my view is to annotate the regiments on the rough start lines they occupied once they had emerged from the Ngwebeni. Thus a columnar move along the line of the Ngwebeni by the regiments of the chest to the positions (shown) in which they left wheeled and began advancing in formation to the edge of the escarpment. As to x marks the spot, well of course we have no primary source to tell us that Lieutenant Raw and Brigadier Wood stood together in the same place pointing and gesticulating at ground features (otherwise known as 'evidence'). Instead we have supposition that they did these things. Who or what was at X? Assuredly not 100 mounted natives and their white officers patrolling across rolling ground in small details. What was going on elsewhere? Why are the (not the) Basutos moving so slowly in time and space, compared with Durnford, who is already at 'DH' (the Babanango Rd) when they have been out there for some considerable time ahead of him and enjoy the advantage of interior lines. The time and space equation does not allow x to be in the right place if it is meant to represent the FLOT (forward line of own troops). But we don't really know what it represents anyway. And there is nothing to stop Mr Scott snurgling along on the right and making it all the way to Mabaso. He is not far from Durnford, separated by the escarpment, when he makes contact. And nobody, but nobody, knows precisely where he was when he made contact or what he made contact with. He'd also had all morning, say from 0900 onwards, to have a sniff about on the high ground, knowing that there were Zulus up there somewhere. If he was the man I judge him to be he would have sniffed about until, inevitably, he, or his patrolling troopers, found something.

There is nothing in the annotated remarks to say that the bivouac positions of the chest regiments lay at the points indicated...which might just as readily have been start lines following 'discovery' or the inevitability of discovery, reported by the scouts and lookouts the army would undoubtedly have disposed around the landscape.

One final thought. TMFH suggests that 'Wood's' underlining of I believe implies dogmatism on his part. On the contrary, what it suggests to me is that he is emphasising that he is making a best guess, that he is not entirely certain. I really don't see that dogmatism is at all relevant. The diktats of time and space and the relative juxtaposition of x and DH would suggest that the former is not far enough to the east.

Since x appears to be an attempt by somebody who was not at the battle, to guesstimate and give a necessarily vague indication of the disposition of a hundred scattered horsemen, its precise longitude and latitude is not something to lose sleep over.

In conclusion, I'm not saying that everything I've discussed is right. But I am saying that there are huge grey areas which do not allow of TMFH being pressed as the open and shut case its authors, (with all due respect to them as ever), insist it represents. Perhaps less stridently expressed, and with fewer arbitrary dismissals of inconvenient source evidence, it would have greater merit. There were some interesting things going on in the hills that day, one of which was a certain amount of procrastination. What I do not see is a moment of inspiration on Ntshingwayo's part just after dawn.

Blimey.

Night night.

As ever

Mike
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Bill Cainan 3


Joined: 19 Feb 2011
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On behalf of everyone I would like to thank the two Ronnies (oops - the two Mikes) for developing this thread. The entries over the last few days have been extremely interesting and well argued

Well done.

Bill
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Mel


Joined: 31 Aug 2005
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I'll second that Bill.

However, despite the further opportunity presented on this thread, I cannot see any firm timeline from Ron and Peter which shows how the deliberate, planned, first light attack developed from the time the Zulu moved into their early morning FUP's to the time of the contact at "x".

The missing five hours have simply not been accounted for.

I cannot accept that Tshingwayo waited for Chelmsford to be "decoyed" further into the Magogo/Silutshane area. There is not a scrap of evidence to support that view. Tshingwayo could not have known what the Mangeni Zulu were up to. Likewise, the Mangeni Zulu could not have been aware of decisions being taken by Tshingwayo.

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Mike McCabe


Joined: 05 Sep 2013
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I really do look forward to hearing from whomever takes on the task of telling Mike Snook which Ronnie he is!

MC McC
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mike snook 2


Joined: 04 Jan 2006
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O yes, forgot to say on the subject of the Narrative map that I would be fairly certain that the L-shaped firing line, of which Morris made so much, came later and that initially the line was probably straightish with its right flank resting on the branches of the Nyogane Donga over towards Amatutshane. Source evidence for this is thin because obviously everybody involved lost their lives. But clearly the initial focus was on the apparent threat from the escarpment, and the infantry drill called for deploying battalions to form line not form L. Ls only come into play when you 'refuse' a flank to cater for a developing threat.

And on that note....

It's good night from me and good night from him. Good night.

M
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peterw


Joined: 30 Aug 2005
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One of the great advantages of this thread is that it shines light onto aspects of the battle that had not previously been considered, by me at least. For example, Mike's detailed explanation of the purpose of the NNC picket - the sacrificial lamb being there to listen as well as to observe and to die noisily if attacked.

Peter
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Mel


Joined: 31 Aug 2005
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PeterW
I feel that there is plenty yet to be discussed. Slightly disappointed that more haven't joined in.

I hope that Mr. Pedant of Canterbury has sorted out his double post problem and that it is not preventing further input from him.

Bill,
I trust you have reserved a cabaret spot for the meet up at Brecon next year? I'm wondering which Mike is prepared to lose about a metre in height?

I feel that the original TMFHS paper clouded the issue with suggestions of a pre planned dawn attack taking hours to reach Isandlwana, decoy at the Magogo, Pulleine's lack of urgency in preparing the camp or in notes to Chelmsford, etc.

However, Ron and Peter inspired Keith to write his "Discovery of the Impi" paper and I feel that they have shown that Raw did not peer down into the Ngwebini Valley but, instead, at or near the fabled "X" location. Raw did not precipitate the attack because it was about to be, or was, already launched.

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Peter Ewart


Joined: 31 Aug 2005
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Mel

Pedantic Pete hadn't realised so many of his recent entries had been duplicated until he saw your remark! Thought there had only been the one. It seems that the delete option (for rubbing out a mysterious double-post) is available only until someone follows your post, then the chance is gone, as only Quote/Edit remains, but not Delete. Going into Edit and trying to cross it all out with the backspace button doesn't work either.

Just managed to delete one of those "doubles" as it hadn't yet been followed by another post. As for the reason, your guess is as good as mine - I'm doing nothing different. Just submitting a post once. Wonder if I'll develop a stammer!

I also found Keith's paper pretty convincing at the time because of his considerations of time & space & his own examination of the maps and the actual ground. Ron & Peter have also examined the maps and ground with this conundrum in mind. So has Mike S - and Mike McC already knows it well & has examined the maps. So has Ian Knight, who still emphatically rebuts the idea of "x" in favour of the eastern Ngwebini (original bivouac) position. I've been up there too but before this theory was mooted and will have to pace around up there properly if I am to have any opinion that can be respected, let alone agreed with.

Peter

PS. If this one pops up twice ...

PPS. Just checked, and it has only appeared once. (For the time being?)
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mike snook 2


Joined: 04 Jan 2006
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Gentlemen

I'd just like to roll back my assertion that Scott definitely came in to Pulleine to report at about 0730-ish. I misremembered the context of a phrase in Tpr Barker's account to the effect that...Lieutenant Scott came with us. Having just gone over Barker in detail he is referring to Scott going back with him in the direction of Qwabe to look for/at the mounted Zulus who had earlier dislodged the vedette. A little later Scott sent Whitelaw back to Pulleine to report his subsequent sighting (difficult to quantify how much later) of 'thousands', which would serve as the trigger to the stand-to in camp. Barker says that Scott received instructions from Pulleine by return. We have no idea if these were oral or written. Their gist, according to Barker, was to keep a sharp lookout and report any other movements. There is no particular reason to think that Barker would have known exactly what Pulleine's instructions to Scott were.

I re-read the Blue Book with the Court of Inquiry findings, this morning, including Essex's testimony. The passage which particularity clinches Tahelane as the Cavaye-Mostyn position runs, 'I observed that the enemy made little progress as regards his advance, but appeared to be moving at a rapid pace towards our left. The right extremity of the enemy's line was very thin, but increased in depth towards and beyond our right as far as I could see, a hill interfering with an extended view'. This is clearly a reference to Mkwene which would do exactly that for troops operating on the spur. He goes on, 'About five minutes after the arrival of Captain Mostyn's company, I was informed by Lieutenant Melville [sic], Adjutant 1st Battalion 24th Regiment, that a fresh body of the enemy was appearing in force in our rear.... Clearly this latter reference is not to be taken literally but rather reflects the arrival of Zulus in the notch. If the outlying companies had been on Mkwene they would not have needed anybody to tell them about this development. The power and direction of the attack would have been visible to them. The reason Melvill was sent galloping out to impart this development as news was that Cavaye and Mostyn could not see it. Earlier Essex makes two separate references to outlying positions on the high ground to the north which in one case he fixes at 1200 yards distant and in the other 1500 yards; this reflects Tahelane and Mkwene in my view.

Some of the source evidence (Gardner in particular, but there is also a second, which evades me now) talks of two 24th companies moving out to the north after Shepstone had come in to ask in Durnford's name for infantry support. Gardner pretty much recounts this as a direct request from Durnford, but clearly this was not so since Shepstone and Durnford were in entirely separate parts of the battlespace. It might suggest that Shepstone witnessed the Pulleine-Durnford-Melvill conversation in which the infantry officers declined to send two companies out with Durnford, but which ended with the latter saying words to the effect of...very well I wont't take them but will expect you support me in the event of difficulty. On the other hand one would imagine that this conversation/disagreement must have taken place immediately prior to Durnford's departure with Nos 3 and 4 Tps, which if that is so would preclude Shepstone being present, because Nos 1 and 2 Tps went out about 30 minutes before 3 and 4. The references I have described to two companies on the move have the potential to confuse, as one would tend to think automatically of Cavaye and Mostyn - but this cannot have been so. I think what this is, therefore, is a reference to Mostyn and Younghusband, the former marching to support Cavaye, already in situ and in action, and the latter moving to take up a position in echelon, to the left rear of Cavaye in the low ground, so as to be prepared to support by fire a withdrawal from the high ground.

Back then to the position of the Zulu regiments at contact. If the chest regiments had been as shown on the 'Wood' map, the distances to Mkwene, the escarpment and the notch are hugely foreshortened, by comparison with a scenario in which they are either behind Mabaso or just emerging around the northern end of it. These are the events which have to fit into the time and space it would take those fit young men with barely any clothes on to run across the width of the lower plateau as opposed to its length:

Shepstone gives hasty oral orders to troop commander. (1 min)
Shepstone and Hamer turn about and ride across the plateau for the notch or the spur. Probably the latter; back the way they came in the direction of known friendly force positions (10 mins?). Difficult going for horsemen.
Pause to speak to retreating NNC company commander (1 min)
Ride from Mkwene to Tahelane (2 mins)
Pause to speak to Cavaye on the spur who is now coming into action (1 min) against the uNodwengu regiments as a passing target.
Descend the escarpment (3 mins).
Ride from the foot of the notch to the camp (2 mins)
He doesn't immediately find Pulleine and eventually falls in with Gardner (3 mins).
Gardner speaks first. Shepstone breaks in to make his report.
Pulleine thinks....(Gardner says hesitates) before agreeing Gardner's suggestion to discard the general's order to send out the 2nd Bn, RA tents etc.(5 mins).
Pulleine mounts, rides to the formed battalion and gives his orders to the company commanders including telling Mostyn and Younghusband to do what we know they did. Other companies sent to cover the escarpment. (8 minutes).
Mostyn and Younghusband tell their officers and section commanders what's going on. (2 mins)
Mostyn marches to the foot of the high ground from the open ground in front of the 2nd/24th camp (10 mins)
Mostyn climbs spur, pausing to have a short conversation with the passing Essex (5 mins)
Mostyn reaches top of spur and shakes out company. (3 mins)
Mostyn gives first fire control order....56 have now minutes expired by the estimates shown - as near as damn it an hour. Only now do Zulus appear in the notch causing Pulleine to send Melvill out with recall order. To me it seems obvious that the chest would have reached the escarpment at a much earlier point in this long sequence of events if all they are required to do is cross the width of the plateau. Furthermore the British would have been driven off Mkwene decisively, irredeemably and at a much earlier point in time than appears to have been the case.

If we send Shepstone and Hamer via the notch we add around another 12 minutes I reckon.

Hey ho.

As ever

Mike

P.S. Have any of you gentlemen fascinated by marked maps twigged the remark made by Hamer 'I send you [his father] a plan of the camp - which being the first I made out is slightly incorrect - I made out two other plans which have been sent to England to the War Office.' (Keith Smith, Select Documents etc, p. 135, referring to an undated letter archived in the NAM Collection at 6807-386-8-14.) I wonder what his handwriting looks like.
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