Why were British troops slaughtered at Isandlwana - Page 2




 
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November 4th, 2011  
Warwick
 
Nordenfeldts I think were available but left back at Cape Town?????
November 4th, 2011  
BritinAfrica
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Warwick
Nordenfeldts I think were available but left back at Cape Town?????
There were rocket batteries and 2x 7 pounders at Isandlwana, but badly sited. If I remember correctly Nordenfeldts were RN issue, and considered too cumbersome for a mobile force. However, after the debacle at Isandlawana the British government rushed reinforcements to Natal: 2 regiments of cavalry, 2 batteries of Royal Artillery and 5 battalions of Foot.
November 23rd, 2011  
Yossarian
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spartan613
I recall in a documentary about the battles that one of the failings was the brass cartidges being too soft to handle a high rate of fire. The cases being much thinner and softer compared to what is used in small arms ammunition today.

A similar arguement was stated about the cratriges in the carbines used at Little Big Horn, I have heard this tale more than once it seemes.
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November 23rd, 2011  
George
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yossarian
A similar arguement was stated about the cratriges in the carbines used at Little Big Horn, I have heard this tale more than once it seemes.
Was it the cartidges or the rifles that caused a well known disaster in Sudan....
November 24th, 2011  
Warwick
 
The Martini Henry was a good firearm and the cartridge was pretty powerful, so other than overheating from prolonged use and being rough when extrcting cartridges (jerking extractor lever tooo hard ?), Im not sure what else was considered wrong with it?
The waxed paper that the bunches of cartridges were wrapped in could be used to help hold the rifle when fireing, as well as leaving the action open to help cool it down ( not fun if the natives are coming at you), heard this from acounts of the Maiwand battle in Afghanistan.
November 25th, 2011  
84RFK
 
 
How about visibility, was it affected by the smoke from the black-powder charges or was there enough wind present to present a clear line of sight for the troops?
November 25th, 2011  
BritinAfrica
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Warwick
The Martini Henry was a good firearm and the cartridge was pretty powerful, so other than overheating from prolonged use and being rough when extrcting cartridges (jerking extractor lever tooo hard ?), Im not sure what else was considered wrong with it?
The waxed paper that the bunches of cartridges were wrapped in could be used to help hold the rifle when fireing, as well as leaving the action open to help cool it down ( not fun if the natives are coming at you), heard this from acounts of the Maiwand battle in Afghanistan.
One of the problems with the Martini Henry was black powder fouling jamming cases in the chamber. Quite a few people own the rifle here today firing black powder rounds, they experience the same problem.
November 25th, 2011  
Alan P
 
[QUOTE=BritinAfrica;610614]Why were over 1000 British troops massacred at Isandlwana 22nd January 1879 against a force of 25,000 Zulu's (25 to 1 Zulu advantage) while Rorkes Drift 22nd to 23rd January 1879 with just over 100 troops held out against 4,000 Zulu's (44 to 1 Zulu advantage).

I have visited both battlefields and I have my own conclusions.

Historians have stated a number of reasons, among which are:-
(1)Lack of ammunition at the firing line.
(2)Difficulty opening ammunition box's which were screwed shut.
(3)Firing lines extended far beyond then they should have been.
(4)Lord Chelmsford should never have split his force to go searching for the Zulu
(5)Poor command by *Brevet*Lieutenant Colonel*Henry Pulleine.
(6)British commanders severely underestimated the Zulu capabilities.*

Recent discoveries have been made that disproves (1) and (2) , proof has been found suggesting the there was plenty of ammunition available, screws used to close the box's were bent suggesting that troops used rifle butts to smash open ammunition box's. Further proof has been found that the firing line extended far beyond then what was originally thought.

In my opinion (3) (4) (5) and (6) are mainly responsible. Could the outcome of battle been different if fought differently?

While it was a close run thing, Rorkes Drift held out with junior officers in command.

I'd be interested in other views.[/QUOTE

This is a very interesting post and it is obviously a specialist subject for you BritinAfrica. There is no doubt a lot of brave men died on both sides.
I never realised that some British soldiers escaped from the battle, I thought everyone on the British side was killed.
A very good post
November 25th, 2011  
BritinAfrica
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan P
This is a very interesting post and it is obviously a specialist subject for you BritinAfrica. There is no doubt a lot of brave men died on both sides.
I never realised that some British soldiers escaped from the battle, I thought everyone on the British side was killed.

A very good post
Ty Alan.

Actually this was a bit of a pilgrimage as my mothers great great (whatever) uncle died at Isandlwana.

A few survived Isandlwana along "Fugitives Trail" to the Buffalo River, marked by stone cairns of those caught and killed by the Zulu. The river snatched the regiment's Colour from Lt. Melville's exhausted arms, which was recovered days later.

Both battlefields are interesting to visit, but at Isandlwana there seemed to be a strange heavy atmosphere as soon as I walked through the gate. Rorkes Drift on the other hand, had a totally different atmosphere.

One positive that came out of the Anglo Zulu War was a deep respect for each other's fighting men
November 28th, 2011  
dombarber
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BritinAfrica
Why were over 1000 British troops massacred at Isandlwana 22nd January 1879 against a force of 25,000 Zulu's (25 to 1 Zulu advantage) while Rorkes Drift 22nd to 23rd January 1879 with just over 100 troops held out against 4,000 Zulu's (44 to 1 Zulu advantage).

I have visited both battlefields and I have my own conclusions.

Historians have stated a number of reasons, among which are:-
(1)Lack of ammunition at the firing line.
(2)Difficulty opening ammunition box's which were screwed shut.
(3)Firing lines extended far beyond then they should have been.
(4)Lord Chelmsford should never have split his force to go searching for the Zulu
(5)Poor command by *Brevet*Lieutenant Colonel*Henry Pulleine.
(6)British commanders severely underestimated the Zulu capabilities.*

Recent discoveries have been made that disproves (1) and (2) , proof has been found suggesting the there was plenty of ammunition available, screws used to close the box's were bent suggesting that troops used rifle butts to smash open ammunition box's. Further proof has been found that the firing line extended far beyond then what was originally thought.

In my opinion (3) (4) (5) and (6) are mainly responsible. Could the outcome of battle been different if fought differently?

While it was a close run thing, Rorkes Drift held out with junior officers in command.

I'd be interested in other views.
Also to take into consideration this was the first time the British Army came into contact with an invisible Army
 


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