rorkesdriftvc.com Forum Index


rorkesdriftvc.com
Discussions related to the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879
Reply to topic
Rob D


Joined: 01 Sep 2005
Posts: 93
Location: Melbourne Australia
Reply with quote
Tim:
Thanks very much indeed. Not only a clear explanation but color pictures too!
Rob
View user's profileSend private message
The Scorer


Joined: 27 Nov 2006
Posts: 324
Location: Newport
Reply with quote
Rob D wrote:
Scorer: Was the character based (perhaps unjustly) on Sir John Cope? Rob


I don't know, although having looked at the details on the Battle of Prestonpans on Wkipedia, there certainly seems to be a similarity! Mind you, even Wiki is divided as to whether Sir John Cope actually did "run away" ... the article on him says that he did, but a separate article on the battle says that he didn't.

I've looked at some information on "The Gondoliers", but it doesn't say whether any of the characters were based on real people. However, given G &S's fondness of using real people as "role models" it's not impossible. The best example of this is that the politician W H Smith is considered to be the model for Sir Joseph Porter, the First Lord of the Admiralty in HMS Pinafore, even though it was denied at the time.

Smile
View user's profileSend private message
timothylrose


Joined: 13 Jan 2012
Posts: 24
Location: Bognor Regis, West Sussex
Reply with quote
Peters - thanks for the comments - the photos bring back happy memories of running around the site in kit - a real bonus for the public who were there for the 125th commemorations. Sgt Booth would have been well versed in how to rally and retire in small groups - as would have the old 24th lads as well. When your backs are against the wall and there is nothing else then that's when you rely on your training to get you through.

Interesting to speculate whether Col Sgt Wolfe and his 20 men were what was left of a rearguard that the main company fell back through rather than a skirmish line? We will never know but it does follow the doctrine of the training.

Atb - Tim
View user's profileSend private message
The Scorer


Joined: 27 Nov 2006
Posts: 324
Location: Newport
Reply with quote
Peter Quantrill wrote:
The Scorer:
Could not resist the completion of another verse:

"When, to evade Destruction's hand,
To hide they all proceeded,
No soldier in that gallant band
Hid half as well as he did.
He lay concealed throughout the war, and preserved his gore, O!
That unaffected,
Well-connected
Warrior,
The Duke of Plaza Toro."

Peter


Thanks - I was going to put the whole song in, but I thought that it might be too off topic!!

Smile
View user's profileSend private message
Peter Quantrill
Guest

Reply with quote
Topic: Indeed Alan has been most indulgent.

To refer back to pickets/picquets :
Those posted at Isandlwana, namely Barry's NNC; Trooper Barker Natal Carbineers; Lieut. Scott Natal Carbineers and Trooper Whitelaw, Natal Carbineers all carried out their individual picquet duties in reporting the initial sighting of the Zulu army in the very early hours of 22 January.
They may well indeed have posed the hypothetical question, as to why, following their reports, the camp fell?
Rob D


Joined: 01 Sep 2005
Posts: 93
Location: Melbourne Australia
Reply with quote
Scorer:
Hope you took the opportunity to listen to the song (partial to the Planxty version myself).

Peter Q:
I thought the initial sighting of Zulus to the north of the camp was made by Chelmsford himself on the 21st - and duly ignored as it didn't fit in with his view of where they ought to be. No doubt he subsequently asked himself the same question.

Rob
View user's profileSend private message
Peter Quantrill
Guest

Reply with quote
Rob,
Chelmsford sighting Zulus to the north of the camp on the 21st:

Yes, but not in force; see page 141 Zulu Victory. (Fourteen Zulu horsemen.)
The strength of the Zulu force very early 22nd, was identified by the picquets mentioned in my earlier post.

Peter
Rob D


Joined: 01 Sep 2005
Posts: 93
Location: Melbourne Australia
Reply with quote
Peter Q:
Yes, I understand that Chelmsford did not see a major Zulu force then. But those horsemen were not insignificant - they could have been scouts for a possible attack, a screen for a larger force or a command group. Any of those could have represented a clear danger to the camp, so why on earth would Chelmsford not have investigated further before committing half his force to search in another direction?

Rob
View user's profileSend private message
Peter Quantrill
Guest

Reply with quote
Rob,
You are quite right, and that is a question that Chelmsford never answered.
(Not that he was asked!)
Peter
Mel


Joined: 31 Aug 2005
Posts: 345
Reply with quote
Arrogance, ignorance, complacency, underestimation of the enemy, product of his time, etc.?

(Even at the instance when it was apparent to Pulleine that it was the main impi which had just crested the Nyoni ridge, there was no immediate concern.)

PeterQ,
Good to see you back. Trust you are now well and up and running?
Of course, the answers to the hypothetical question have now probably been well covered in the various books and forums. (Subject to new primary evidence emerging) It's just that we can't all agree on what they are. Wink

_________________
Mel
View user's profileSend private messageSend e-mail
Peter Quantrill
Guest

Reply with quote
Thank you Mel,
Up, but not sure of running!
In my opinion your bracketed sentence holds the key to the outcome of the battle. Even more so, the reaction or non-reaction to all those very early morning picquets.
A subject debated endlessly I fear.
Peter
Coll
Guest

Reply with quote
It's kind of ironic, isn't it, that in order for Chelmsford/Pulleine to appreciate there was a real danger of a Zulu attack, it actually needed to physically happen to convince them, but then too late to do anything about Rolling Eyes

It appears that it would have needed word of Chelmsford's force further into Zululand to be attacked and defeated, before Pulleine stopped sitting on his hands and took the precautions he should have done at the get-go, for fear of the camp also being attacked.

Forewarned is forearmed so to speak....that said, Pulleine was forewarned with the Zulus on the ridge, and wasn't overly concerned.

We might even have had Isandlwana talked about like Rorke's Drift.

VCs all round methinks - for Durnford, Pulleine, etc., etc. !

Coll
Peter Ewart


Joined: 31 Aug 2005
Posts: 1797
Location: Near Canterbury, Kent, England.
Reply with quote
Mel wrote:
Arrogance, ignorance, complacency, underestimation of the enemy, product of his time, etc.?



Mel

Arrogance is a very strong word and carries with it personal overtones. The ignorance occurred partly through the conflicting, and often poor, intelligence gathered, as well as its interpretation. Complacency and under estimation of his foe? Yes, at all levels, despite the warnings.

Lord C's sighting of the mounted Zulu scouts on 21st and the reports Pulleine received early on the 22nd didn't fit with his pre-conconceived and disastrous belief - that the danger would be on his right. From before the war and after the actual invasion, his fixation was with his right - the ground between him and the river ("the two Matyanas" etc) and his right front, all the way to Middle Drift. On his planned journey to Ulundi, whether via Babanango, St Paul's, kwaMagwaza or wherever, the broken ground on his right all the way to the Nkhandla would be his main worry. The border was only thinly defended and his force could also be attacked from the right or rear if he did not pay attention to that flank. Natal was on his right. That would be his Achilles heel. The ground would not be ideal for the troops to fight in any more than the Amatolas had been in the various FWs and the river border must be protected. Hence his request in 1878 for troops from GB to defend that border, his fixation with Middle Drift and his later battles with Bulwer over control of the civilian levies there.

The central column needs a reasonably navigable route into Zululand in open country but he can't stray too far from the border to his right. Yet he can't travel in that part of the country and wouldn't want to fight in it. No guerilla warfare up here in Zululand thanks, just fight them in the open with Martinis. Everything will be geared to the timings and capacity of the transport system, which took months to put together. Then we fight them in the open (anything so inconvenient as the Zulu attacking when we're not ready or at a time or place not of our choosing will be inconvenient as I have many transport & supply requirements to fit in with). Perhaps he forgot that the Zulu also wanted to fight in the open, but could still use that broken ground, and did, to conceal their very clever deployment across his front by moving small, separate parties only, in case they were observed. Very clever.

Reports of Zulu on our left or left front? Interesting, but not really what we're looking for. We shall be doing the attacking, on ground of our choice, and it'll be over there on our right front. Dartnell's found the blighters just where I knew they'd be. Off we go. (Tunnel vision, or what?)

"The Zulus actually attacking our camp? How very amusing!"

Any number of warnings could have come in on the 21st and 22nd but if they didn't fit the plan ...

Even Pulleine (when it was rather later than he thought) humorously chided himself for appearing to have let his foe off the hook when he could have lured them on and snaffled the lot in his bag. An hour or so later he and his force was dead.

Peter

PS. Apologies for mixed tenses & wild syntax!
View user's profileSend private messageSend e-mail
Mel


Joined: 31 Aug 2005
Posts: 345
Reply with quote
PeterE
Yes, arrogance is a strong word and I did not use it lightly.

It seems that Chelmsford was well liked by the troops. However, to me, an arrogant person is someone who thinks he is superior, overconfident and just does not listen because he knows that he is right.

How many warnings and how much advice on the capability of the Zulu did Chelmsford choose to ignore?

I stood at the top of the Phindo hills looking into the Magogo/Silutshane Valley where he breakfasted and observed all the blind spots which would have concealed an Impi about to attack him. I looked around at the area from Mangeni to Siphezi and tried to imagine how spread out and vulnerable his force was on the morning of the 22nd. He didn't have a clue.

Hamilton Browne to Col Glyn: "In God's name Sir, what are you doing here?"

Glyn to HB: "I am not in command" Shake of head!!!

Unapproachable or what?

_________________
Mel
View user's profileSend private messageSend e-mail
Peter Ewart


Joined: 31 Aug 2005
Posts: 1797
Location: Near Canterbury, Kent, England.
Reply with quote
Mel

Can't argue with that. The wanderings around the Mangeni with a divided and widely separated force which was doing no more than exhausting itself a dozen miles from its own rations in very dangerous circumstances for itself alone, doesn't have a lot to recommend it. The arrangements to keep in touch with the camp via runners has to have been inadequate, as no one at the Mangeni end seemed to have known where he was at any one time. And the decision to send Gardner back with a message to pack up & bring the camp (or possibly half the camp) along as soon as possible beggars belief.

It was all the result of his almost never contemplating an attack anywhere by the enemy. And that the enemy was still out to the front somewhere, hopefully not too far ahead now. The fact that it never occurred to him to leave orders for Pulleine on whether or how to defend the camp from attack (until prompted by Crealock etc) shows that he never realised such an attack was possible, let alone likely that day. Only his actions would precipitate an engagement. His correspondence shows he planned the whole campaign in minute detail, giving his attention to the problems of horses, oxen, wagons, grass, mounted forces, the delicate politics in Natal, Zululand, the Transvaal and elsewhere , the topography, routes, etc. It was a logistical nightmare and he seems to have been equal to it, despite dreadful maps, intelligence, staff & weather. The fighting would be a subsidiary element of the campaign. He simply had to get the Zulu to fight a battle - one, preferably, somewhere between Natal & Ulundi, and above all out in the open. It never occurred to him that the Zulu might dictate the circumstances or surprise him - despite the warnings from Boers and others.

He appears to have put so much personally into the planning that anything not in the plan wouldn't happen - but it did. I see it more as tunnel vision & a lack of a challenging staff. His treatment of Glyn before the 22nd suggests he would stick to his own plans and the rest must follow them - but the Zulus weren't listening. They weren't the Galeka and they wouldn't ambush him in hills and forests.

Apart from a Boer or two, who challenged him? His staff? His staff were challenged - Melvill, Dunbar etc - but did they pass on these challenges to Lord C? His attention to detail & poor delegation skills led to tunnel vision I think.

P.
View user's profileSend private messageSend e-mail
Retiring and retreating - are they the same?"
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
All times are GMT  
Page 2 of 3  

  
  
 Reply to topic