This is your opinion, and that's fine. But once again, I am basing my estimation of their value on written accounts of what they were able to accomplish for those who used them (to "maul" and mow down large numbers of soldiers from groups who were probably at least as good in warfare as the Zulu, if not better. . .)Machine guns are not that important, for instance in 1914 a long way into the 'machine gun age' the British only had two per battalion, other machines, technology and logistics were far more important.
They were the new 'wonder weapon' of the age and were very much liked by the public but in reality more mundane things were important.
Also, with Maxims and their descendants, I don't see why more than a few at any one time would ever be needed to do massive damage unless one knows beforehand that the force one is facing will be so very large or well equipped that tens of them might be needed. So "only" two, is, in my opinion still powerful.
Can you provide sources or analyses of some sort showing that the Gatling guns used by the square that advanced to Ulundi were not important in destroying large numbers of the Zulu while taking minimal casualties? I certainly don't think that the importance of the Gatling guns in bringing about the result that occurred could somehow just be assumed to be low/minor without evidence. . .not after the other descriptions we have of what machine guns could do in that era.Simple really after the defeat of the first invasion (an action not sanctioned by London using only 'local' troops and the existing Imperial garrison troops ) the British were humiliated. Londons response was to send Chelmsford re-enforcements in the face of a barrage of criticism and even hysteria.
More battalions of redcoats,Naval Brigades and even a couple of cavalry regiments (something the Zulu simply couldn't cope with). Now the invasion columns had lots of Imperial troops who simply formed a square and allowed the Zulu to surround them and charge-- volley fire from Martini-Henry's slaughtered them-- then the lancers and dragoons left the square and rode down the survivors.
The impression I got was that he didn't have much experience against African opponents at all (besides Ethiopians), but I guess when he was in the Cape in 1878 he was actually doing some fighting. Thanks.He'd fought several 'wars' against tribes in South Africa whose main tactic had been to avoid battle (wisely) and he assumed that the Zulu would be the same.