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Old July 11th, 2018, 08:28 AM   #1
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The Battle of Isandlwana


I made a short video on the battle of Isandlwana and British colonialism in South Africa I thought you guys might enjoy. Let me know what you think.

Battle of Isandlwana
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Old July 11th, 2018, 12:53 PM   #2

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Interesting, you love us British then, eh?

And what source, other than the cases lying about on the fields, confirm the ''lie'' about the supposedly awkward-to-open ammo boxes?
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Old July 11th, 2018, 02:03 PM   #3

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Another often repeated myth is that the Quartermaster sergeants of the 24th refused to issue ammunition to men from other units-- that's simply untrue not only was that standard practice during a battle its also largely based on anecdote from one of the few 'Imperial' survivors Lt (later General) Smith-Dorian.

When he came to 'help' distribute the ammunition he starts to unload an ammunition wagon he is told by QM Bloomfield

“For heaven’s sake, man, don’t take that—it belongs to our Battalion.” Smith-Dorrien, frustrated, replied, “Hang it all, you don’t want a requisition, do you?”

Now this has taken as Smith-Dorian being critical of Bloomfield when in fact he meant it to show how the 24th remained calm.

It is also is taken out of context -- Bloomfield who is QM for the 2/24th most of whom have marched off with Chelmsford -- was told to have an ammunition wagon ready for immediate despatch to his regiment who it was assumed may soon be fighting a major battle (only hindsight tells us it had already started right there) only to see some junior officer arrive and start unloading the wagon he'd just loaded!

Bloomfied (44) had joined at 11 and been promoted through the ranks for professionalism and competence, he was killed quite early in the battle by a rifle round to the head while standing on a wagon distributing ammunition.

The Zulu were not armed with 'sharp sticks' but lethal weapons and 20-25% had firearms. Durnfords rocket battery --which he left isolated -- were not 'over-run' by numbers at all but felled by an enormous volley of shots (most wounded at Rorkes Drift were also GSW's).

The other much maligned QM Sergeant Pullen of the 1/24th heroically rallies the band, Pioneer section and 'the Odds and Sods' (a 'glorious regiment') and leads them in an initially successful attack to halt the Zulu flank attack we last hear about him asking a civilian contractor to take a message to Col. Pulliene saying he was holding them for now but wouldn't for much longer.

It was onto Pullen's position that the survivors rally and where the 'last stand' is held.
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Old July 11th, 2018, 03:54 PM   #4

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Chelmsford, not 'Clemsford', but otherwise not bad, although I think the myth of the ammunition boxes has been well put to rest by now, at least among those who take an interest in military history. And Kevin, I think the reference to 'sharp sticks' was meant to be an indication of the incredulous reaction in Britain rather than a description of the Zulus themselves.

Last edited by Belgarion; July 11th, 2018 at 03:59 PM.
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Old July 11th, 2018, 04:08 PM   #5

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Belgarion View Post
........... And Kevin, I think the reference to 'sharp sticks' was meant to be an indication of the incredulous reaction in Britain rather than a description of the Zulus themselves.
Perhaps true but nevertheless 20-25% of the Zulu were armed with firearms of one sort or another which means the British were considerably out gunned.
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Old July 11th, 2018, 04:15 PM   #6

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevinmeath View Post
Perhaps true but nevertheless 20-25% of the Zulu were armed with firearms of one sort or another which means the British were considerably out gunned.
True. Zulus had a huge push to arm themselves with firearms before the war. Ammunition was a problem though and they had a beweildering variety of weapons and a lack of training which hampered effectiveness.
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Old July 11th, 2018, 04:20 PM   #7

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I suppose non-locals can be excused for mispronouncing Xhosa, Cetshwayo and Isandlwana, but surely not "Chelmsford".
NB There were no diamonds in Natal in the 1870s and if there are now, they remain to be discovered.
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Old July 11th, 2018, 04:37 PM   #8
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I found it quite credible that British leaders blamed the defeat on too few screwdrivers. I don't have specific evidence in this case, but it's very common for people to deflect criticism that way. There's even a proverb - "A bad workman blames his tools."
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Old July 11th, 2018, 06:38 PM   #9

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chlodio View Post
I found it quite credible that British leaders blamed the defeat on too few screwdrivers. I don't have specific evidence in this case, but it's very common for people to deflect criticism that way. There's even a proverb - "A bad workman blames his tools."

Who would think that blaming a defeat on a lack of screwdrivers is a better excuse than being beaten by superior numbers?
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Old July 12th, 2018, 12:34 AM   #10

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Oh - as a British officer, Pulleine would have been a LEFtenamt not a LOOtenant-Colonel.
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