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Mel


Joined: 31 Aug 2005
Posts: 345
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You need to read the debates that have taken place here involving the experts. I have hard copies if you want them. I also think that "HCMDB" and "Zulu Rising" adequately explain the reasons for the Zulu activities referred to in the sources. Please, if you have not done so, read them. In short, that is where my stance is. I have not the time or inclination to repeat them here. No one else seems interested. My posts were designed to encourage a debate and I had hoped that others would come in on this discussion but I feel that others, too, probably think it's covering old ground. (no pun intended ) ) Let's be honest here, it's not exactly been the debate of the century has it?


Last edited by Mel on Sun Oct 03, 2010 1:56 pm; edited 2 times in total

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Mel
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Denton Van Zan
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Mel

Sounds like backtracking to me, as I don't need to read the previous debates by the experts - as I remember them.

You need to quote from HCMDB or Zulu Rising in this new topic, not just point your finger at them saying - 'the info is in there'.

You 'have not the time or inclination to repeat them here'

If you're going to debate or discuss this paper, you need to add the parts of the books you are referring to.

'No one else seems interested.'

I'm not sure that is the case, as this paper demands a great deal of studying for any valid argument against, so perhaps others are not yet ready, or may even believe that no opposition to it is required.

In the 'Zulu Rising' topic, my initial posts were to encourage discussion, but I ended up being requested to support my views with details, as well as answer several questions by others.

It is now your turn to do this, in this topic.

Good luck (you'll need it)

C.J.

PS. Best directing your future posts to Peter Q./Ron L., as it is their paper you are questioning, not one by myself. I'm not qualified enough.
peterw


Joined: 30 Aug 2005
Posts: 865
Location: UK
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I've been mulling over this one for a while and to me, in the end, it comes down to numbers.

The British knew that they would out-numbered in any fight. But this would be compensated by better, heavier weaponry, tactics and training. All this was predicated on the erroneous assumption that the Zulus would have to be made to fight.

It seems to me that Chelmsford and his intelligence significantly under-estimated the number of men Cetwayo could assemble. I've had a look in the Narrative of Operations but can't see any analysis there.

Can anyone point me towards a source of estimated numbers in advance of the campaign?

Peter
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diagralex


Joined: 31 Aug 2005
Posts: 208
Location: Broomfield, Essex
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Peter

I believe that Chelmsford asked F.B. Fynney to publish a pamphlet on the strength of the Zulu army, for distribution to the officers before the invasion.
Fynney arrived at a total of 41,900 warriors which would have been around the correct figure (an extra 1,000 or so would probably not have made much difference)

Graham
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Denton Van Zan
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Peter W

Chelmsford knew their approximate numbers, but underestimated their courage and fighting abilities, expecting them to be like previous native opponents.

Additionally, as mentioned in the book I'm reading at present, lack of proper reconnaisance, communications and accurate maps.

Empire and Espionage. by Stephen Wade.

Page 136 -

'In later discussions on Isandlwana other aspects of Zulu actions came out. In August 1880, for instance, Lieutenant Colonel Edward Durnford responded to Lord Ellenborough's account of the battle, blaming Colonel Durnford for the disaster. J L A Simmons defended Durnford and then Edward added -

'Lord Chelmsford knew before he left the camp that the enemy was in the neighbourhood (not the main army) and the responsibility as to precautionary measures was with him. Could Col. Durnford know of 20,000 Zulus lying perdus some five miles off ? How came they there unknown ?'

C.J.
peterw


Joined: 30 Aug 2005
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That's a useful fact about the size of the army and a reminder to get hold of a copy of Fynney

But - and I'm in dangerous territory with assumptions here - presumably Chelmsford would not have expected to encounter the whole Zulu army at once? Otherwise, he would not have invaded with three columns.

So, a variation on the original question, what is the greatest number of Zulus that could conceivably have been estimated to oppose the invasion as a single force?

Peter
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Paul Bryant-Quinn


Joined: 14 Oct 2007
Posts: 543
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But surely Chelmsford had already been appraised not only of the fact that the Zulu royal army was going to attack his column, but even when it had left the vicinity of Ulundi. He could not but have known what the approximate size of that army was likely to be; and that it would imminently be upon him.

Now I'm neither a military man nor a mindreader, but it would at least seem feasible to deduce from his actions that Chelmsford believed absolutely that there was no force that the Zulu could put in the field which could not be withstood by four or five companies of the line. He probably had Centane in mind.
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peterw


Joined: 30 Aug 2005
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Location: UK
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A couple of snippets from "Lord Chelmsford and the Zulu War."

Letter to the Duke of Cambridge (p41)
"It is said that the Zulu Army numbers 40,000 men, but I am inclined to think that the numbers are exaggerated."

Memo to the Secretary of Sate for War (p46)
"It is absolutely certain that the numbers of Zulus opposed to us will be at least in the proportion of 10 to 1 of our total regular force; and if a concentrated attack were made upon one of the columns before it had effected a junction with any of the others this proportion might possibly rise to 30 or 40 to 1."

My sympathy for Lord C is eroding rather rapidly...........

Peter
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Denton Van Zan
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Chelmsford also had advice by someone, who apparently commanded in the earlier Cape Frontier Wars.

I've yet to find the detailed account noting his words of caution, but it's in my books.

He warned Chelmsford, that this command could damage his reputation.

C.J.
Denton Van Zan
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Further to the above.

I had it bookmarked in 'Zulu Rising'.

Sir John Michel -

'Do not hamper yourself with staff, they are all useless, as Colonels of the regiments do all the work...No plan or operation of yours can in any way circumvent the Caffre. He is your master in everything. He goes where he likes, he does what he likes, he moves 3 miles (5 kilometres) whilst you move one, he carries no commissariat or only a day's supply. You possess only the ground you stand on. All you have to do is take cattle, annoy him by burning his kraals, and eventually destroy his crops. You will scarcely believe that I who always commanded about half the Army, who was everywhere and saw everything, who nearly always commanded the whole patrol I was out with, never saw more than 30 Caffres together in my life...I am of the opinion that you cannot too carefully instil into comdg. officers and they their juniors, that in no case are they to move without their flanks fairly covered, unless where danger is not to be feared...The want of efficient Mounted Infantry will be a sad thorn in your side...I recommend you not to try night surprises....'

'Yours, my dear Thesiger, is a command of great danger to your reputation.'

C.J.
peterw


Joined: 30 Aug 2005
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Interesting, thanks.

Michel's medals are for sale if anyone has a spare $65,000US.

http://www.emedals.ca/catalog.asp?item=BAG192

He commanded the 6th Foot at home and at the Cape of Good Hope until 1854. He was in command of a brigade during the Kaffir war of 1846-47, and during part of the war of 1852-53 was in command of the 2nd division of the army in the Waterkloof (medal). At the close of the campaign he was made C.B. ‘for distinguished service in the Kaffir wars of 1846-7 and 1851-3.’ He became brevet colonel in January 1854 and was appointed to command the York recruiting district, but exchanged to half-pay in the 98th Foot, on appointment as Chief of Staff of the Turkish Contingent. With local rank of Major-General in Turkey, he held this post until the end of the Crimean war (2nc class of the Medjidie and Turkish medal). In 1856 he was appointed to a brigade at Fort Beaufort, Cape of Good Hope, at a time of great danger and threatened war, owing to the expected fulfilment in February 1857 of an old Kaffir prophecy of the destruction of the whites. The danger was hardly over before Michel was ordered to China for a command there.


Peter
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paul mercer


Joined: 04 Jul 2006
Posts: 37
Location: Tavistock, Devon
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Gentlemen,
I have read all your books and keep abrest of the discussions on this site, it is inevitable that there will be disagreement, particularly as you are all experts in the subject of the Zulu wars. Please do not let these disagreements get personel, everyone is entitled to their views and as a reletive newcomer to the site I enjoy reading those views even though I sometimes do not share them. Please keep on contributing, we all benefit from your knowledge.
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mike snook 2


Joined: 04 Jan 2006
Posts: 920
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Paul

To be quite clear old chap, Peter Quantrill and I enjoy a mature and entirely cordial relationship and correspond privately as friends and fellow historians. We share confidences together and we seek each other's opinions. The debates we used to play out here were stimulating games of mental chess for us, and were interesting and entertaining for those who followed them as well as for those who 'got it' and joined the debate in the same vein. Both Peter and I are old soldiers, he a Gurkha-sahib and me a Anglo-Taff; we have both seen much and neither of us is so foolish as to regard the Battle of Isandlwana as anything other than a historical conundrum and a curiosity - getting to the bottom of it is our hobby...perhaps you could say our obsession, though I would like to think that in our respective cases it has been an entirely healthy obsession.

It so happens that we don't agree on certain points of acute detail.....no matter. The battle happened 131 years ago and is of absolutely zero importance to the modern world, (though that is not to say it was not an important event in shaping South Africa and determining the destiny of the Zulu people). The place itself does have bona fide modern importance as a heritage site and a tourist attraction, but what Snook thinks about this point of detail from 1879 or Quantrill thinks about that one, does not ultimately, in either case, matter a hoot. People will not die, governments will not fall.....it does not matter.

Because we are both soldiers we are interested most in the tactical conduct of the battle - that is our field - but above us sit serious professional historians of Zululand like Knight and Laband. It is them, the doyens of AZW history, that Peter would have to convince with his paper, before it became accepted as history and not hypothesis. Peter and I can thrash out, to our hearts content, the military history at a level of acute detail far below that which actually counts for anything in the real world...but what we do as military historians doesn't really change the price of fish. Through a combination of British military incompetence and Zulu courage and audacity a great battle had a most unexpected outcome - an outcome so extreme that it is still deservedly remembered as a remarkable event - remarkable yes....but important in 2010....most certainly not.

The great tragedy is that the huge majority of people 'get' that the AZW is a hobby and an interest and is neither important, nor worth falling out over. A handful, for reasons best known to themsleves and presumably their therapists, are playing on another pitch. I feel sorry for them. But there is no point engaging with them. It is for moderators to deal with the problem (or not).

The great shame in a rdvc context is that Peter (and Ron) has put time and effort into his theory and wanted to have a measured and mature debate here - including with me from the metaphorical 'opposition' benches. You may see for yourself how unrealistic that simple and worthwhile aspiration is in the current environment. Pity, but there we are. So I won't be playing (not because I don't want to) but because there are those who would seek to prevent it.

Hope that contextualises what gives vis a vis Snook and Quantrill. I am not at war with anybody except the Queen's enemies.

Regards

Mike
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Denton Van Zan
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Mike

Not a handful, just myself - as usual.

My reaction to your original post, was to remind you of the huge influence you have, that with you posting in such a negative way, before the paper was even commented on by enthusiasts, many would be apprehensive of posting anything different to your opinion.

Your 2 latest posts, not including the recent post above, were an advertisement for your books and a criticism of other authors' paper, which were nothing to do with any ongoing discussions.

It is obvious people are enjoying your books in the two long discussions in the VWF, nobody as yet disagreeing with, or criticising them, hence your polite replies on that site, however, it did not stop you from adding a less-than-enthusiastic post here, about another author's work.

I'm sure I said I'll not post in a topic if you appear, but as you'll probably have noticed, not many were glad to see me back or hear my views, the past 4 weeks. Even Sheldon Hall.

So, as you must know, the majority of members here will very much appreciate your responses to Peter and Ron's paper, so therefore I remove myself from this, or any other topic that you participate in.

I'm not wishing to be blamed yet again.

C.J.
mons14


Joined: 23 Jan 2006
Posts: 64
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Very well said Mike!

I agree 1000%

mike snook 2 wrote:
Paul

To be quite clear old chap, Peter Quantrill and I enjoy a mature and entirely cordial relationship and correspond privately as friends and fellow historians. We share confidences together and we seek each other's opinions. The debates we used to play out here were stimulating games of mental chess for us, and were interesting and entertaining for those who followed them as well as for those who 'got it' and joined the debate in the same vein. Both Peter and I are old soldiers, he a Gurkha-sahib and me a Anglo-Taff; we have both seen much and neither of us is so foolish as to regard the Battle of Isandlwana as anything other than a historical conundrum and a curiosity - getting to the bottom of it is our hobby...perhaps you could say our obsession, though I would like to think that in our respective cases it has been an entirely healthy obsession.

It so happens that we don't agree on certain points of acute detail.....no matter. The battle happened 131 years ago and is of absolutely zero importance to the modern world, (though that is not to say it was not an important event in shaping South Africa and determining the destiny of the Zulu people). The place itself does have bona fide modern importance as a heritage site and a tourist attraction, but what Snook thinks about this point of detail from 1879 or Quantrill thinks about that one, does not ultimately, in either case, matter a hoot. People will not die, governments will not fall.....it does not matter.

Because we are both soldiers we are interested most in the tactical conduct of the battle - that is our field - but above us sit serious professional historians of Zululand like Knight and Laband. It is them, the doyens of AZW history, that Peter would have to convince with his paper, before it became accepted as history and not hypothesis. Peter and I can thrash out, to our hearts content, the military history at a level of acute detail far below that which actually counts for anything in the real world...but what we do as military historians doesn't really change the price of fish. Through a combination of British military incompetence and Zulu courage and audacity a great battle had a most unexpected outcome - an outcome so extreme that it is still deservedly remembered as a remarkable event - remarkable yes....but important in 2010....most certainly not.

The great tragedy is that the huge majority of people 'get' that the AZW is a hobby and an interest and is neither important, nor worth falling out over. A handful, for reasons best known to themsleves and presumably their therapists, are playing on another pitch. I feel sorry for them. But there is no point engaging with them. It is for moderators to deal with the problem (or not).

The great shame in a rdvc context is that Peter (and Ron) has put time and effort into his theory and wanted to have a measured and mature debate here - including with me from the metaphorical 'opposition' benches. You may see for yourself how unrealistic that simple and worthwhile aspiration is in the current environment. Pity, but there we are. So I won't be playing (not because I don't want to) but because there are those who would seek to prevent it.

Hope that contextualises what gives vis a vis Snook and Quantrill. I am not at war with anybody except the Queen's enemies.

Regards

Mike

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'Ah! Those red soldiers at Isandlwana, how few they were, and how they fought! They fell like stones-each man in his place.' - A Zulu Warrior
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