Why were British troops slaughtered at Isandlwana - Page 5




 
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December 16th, 2011  
BritinAfrica
 
 
Before any battle the Zulu Impi would be "blessed" as it were by a Sengorma or witch doctor to make bullets go around them, and believe it or not Sengorma's also carried out brain surgery. Quite how many lived after such surgery is unknown.

Strange you mentioned the bayonet. A few years ago in my shop I was serving a buddy of mine when he asked if I still had my Number 1 Lee Enfield with the 18 inch bayonet, when I said I did he asked to look at it. I went out to the vault got the rifle and attached the bayonet, when I walked into the front of the shop a black fella was talking to my salesman, his eyes opened like organ stops and backed off telling my salesman he don't like the bayonet.
December 16th, 2011  
Trooper1854
 
 
I have read alot of accounts from soldiers from this war and many mention how the Zulus would charge against volley fire in what the Europeans called a reckless manner but they would show the bayonett some healthy respect.
December 16th, 2011  
BritinAfrica
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trooper1854
I have read alot of accounts from soldiers from this war and many mention how the Zulus would charge against volley fire in what the Europeans called a reckless manner but they would show the bayonett some healthy respect.
I have no idea why, but tribesmen do not like cold steel.
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December 16th, 2011  
muscogeemike
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BritinAfrica
Before any battle the Zulu Impi would be "blessed" as it were by a Sengorma or witch doctor to make bullets go around them, and believe it or not Sengorma's also carried out brain surgery. Quite how many lived after such surgery is unknown.

Strange you mentioned the bayonet. A few years ago in my shop I was serving a buddy of mine when he asked if I still had my Number 1 Lee Enfield with the 18 inch bayonet, when I said I did he asked to look at it. I went out to the vault got the rifle and attached the bayonet, when I walked into the front of the shop a black fella was talking to my salesman, his eyes opened like organ stops and backed off telling my salesman he don't like the bayonet.
About these “religious” ceremonies - in 1970-71 I witnessed such a ceremony in Japan. One of our Japanese workers had lost part of his hand in one of our machines and the other workers refused to work until the US Authorities brought in “shaman” to drive the “daemons” from the machines.
Might have been a scam to get a couple of days off work, but we had to honor it. The image of (I assume) Shinto priest in costume dancing around our machines will always be with me.

Belief in a supernatural source of evil is unnecessary - men alone are quite capable of all kinds of wickedness. Joseph Conrad
December 16th, 2011  
Trooper1854
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BritinAfrica
I have no idea why, but tribesmen do not like cold steel.
It was explained to me that they had a better understanding of stabbing weapons as it was what they used as firearms may still have held some magical, mystical qualities about them.
They were considered "magical" so could be defeated with more magic, whereas 18" of cold steel was, cold steel! as Corporal Jones so rightly put it; "They don't like it up 'em!"
December 16th, 2011  
Del Boy
 
Yes, a speciality of British infantry right up the 1960s at least, as far as training was concerned certainly. At that time the pig-sticker was preferred in combat to the flat blade generally. (unless my Regiment differed from the rest of the Army!) Either way, it is a nasty weapon to face.
December 16th, 2011  
BritinAfrica
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by muscogeemike
About these “religious” ceremonies
I suppose you could call it a religious ceremony, kind of.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trooper1854
It was explained to me that they had a better understanding of stabbing weapons as it was what they used as firearms may still have held some magical, mystical qualities about them.
They were considered "magical" so could be defeated with more magic, whereas 18" of cold steel was, cold steel! as Corporal Jones so rightly put it; "They don't like it up 'em!"
If you pointed a firearm at a Xhosa or Zulu, he'd laugh at you, but present something like a Bowie knife and he'd probably run.

I wouldn't like one up me either lol
December 16th, 2011  
Trooper1854
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Del Boy
Yes, a speciality of British infantry right up the 1960s at least, as far as training was concerned certainly. At that time the pig-sticker was preferred in combat to the flat blade generally. (unless my Regiment differed from the rest of the Army!) Either way, it is a nasty weapon to face.
It was used in the Falklands. The battle for Mount Tumbledown saw the bayonett put to use. Wouldn't like to be on the receiving end at all, nearly stabbed once while at work and that was bad enough
December 16th, 2011  
LeEnfield
 
 
It was used in Iraq, by a Scottish Regiment


The Bayonet Charge



The battle began when over 100 Mahdi army fighters ambushed two unarmored vehicles transporting around 20 Argylls on the isolated Route Six highway near the southern city of Amarah. Ensconced in trenches along the road, the militiamen fired mortars, rocket propelled grenades, and machine gun rounds. The vehicles stopped and British troops returned fire. The Mahdi barrage caused enough damage to force the troops to exit the vehicles.The soldiers quickly established a defensive perimeter and radioed for reinforcements from the main British base at Amarah – Camp Abu Naji. Reinforcements from the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment assisted the Argyles in an offensive operation against the Mahdi militiamen. When ammunition ran low among the British troops, the decision was made to fix bayonets for a direct assault.




The British soldiers charged across 600 feet of open ground toward enemy trenches. They engaged in intense hand-to-hand fighting with the militiamen. Despite being outnumbered and lacking ammunition, the Argylls and Princess of Wales troops routed the enemy. The British troops killed about 20 militiamen in the bayonet charge and between 28 and 35 overall. Only three British soldiers were injured.This incident marked the first time in 22 years that the British Army used bayonets in action. The previous incident occurred during the Falklands War in 1982.





II. Why the Bayonet Charge Was a Tactical Success

The bayonet charge by British troops in Basra achieved tactical success primarily because of psychological and cultural factors. It also shows that superior firepower does not guarantee success by either side. In this case, the value of surprise, countering enemy expectations, and strict troop discipline were three deciding characteristics of the bayonet charge.


December 16th, 2011  
Del Boy
 
Nice one Le. My own experience is of a Scots infantry regiment, and the bayonet charge is indeed a psychological weapon. An advancing ans dtermined line of fixed bayonets, firing volleys on each single command of 'Bullets', and shrieking like banshees and fully intent upon leaping on and into their opponents as against simply thrusting is intended to strike terror, and my verdict on such Scots regiments is the famous quotation:- I don't know what the effect on their enemies is - but, By God (sic)- they terrify me!' Was that Wellington'?
 


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