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DateOriginal Topic
20th January 2005wat would u do
By kieran
wat would u do if u were put in the postion like rorkes drift would u cower and run or would u fight
20th January 2005geoff
If I were in the British Army I would do whatever my NCO told me.
20th January 2005Andrew Holliday
If I was giving the choice I would have stayed and fought becuase all of my mates were there and I would not be able to live with the fact of living while they died.
20th January 2005Paul Cubbin
We've all got to go sometime, the manner of our passing is rarely a choice given. I would like to think that I would behave with honour (I have very old fashioned, almost archaic views about such things), but no-one can possibly know for certain until placed in that situation. Geoff has hit the nail on the head with his NCO comment; one reason why the British Army has historically been so difficult to defeat is the exceptional level of discipline and trust between (and within) ranks. When a squaddie (in this situation, probably me) or young officer is confused, terrified and generally brainless with fear, the NCO steps in and shouts an order. It is instinctively obeyed and a terrified, quivering jelly becomes a fighting man. Most battles are lost by a breakdown in morale as opposed to loss of numbers (although the one can occur due to the other).
21st January 2005Graham Mason
Dear Kieran ,
being an " old sweat " myself discipline would take over . One man stands head and shoulders above the reat and saved the day . This was James Langley Dalton who knew his foe , advised the officers fully and the knew the country well . He knew he knew the Zulu did not like attacking defended positions but would rather have fought in open country , had they made a run for it to Helpmekaar it would have been all over in 30 minutes or less . The Zulu at that time were the finest light infantry in the world and they were not held back by bulky stores etc , fighting with what they could carry into battle . By using the stores and geography of Kwajimu the odds of survival mounted and he suggested that if the foe wanted them then let them " winkle " the defenders out and we all know what happened over the next 13 hours ! , yes thanks to James Langley Dalton and a lot of courage the day was won , remember there were no NCO`S in the hospital and yet the training and discipline along with some " old sweats " carried the day , remember that this Jan 22 , Graham .
21st January 2005Coll

There is no doubt it was a terrifying situation, but waiting for the zulus to appear and the battle to start, wondering if you will fight well, must have been unbearable, the sheer anticipation of what lay ahead.

I think one of the actual defenders left an account of how he felt, something along the lines of being fearful and not being able to stop shaking, but when the zulus arrived and he fired, on seeing the warrior that he was aiming at fall, his nerves steadied and professionalism took over.

Hopefully, that is the way I would have acted and I think most others as well.

How do you think you would have coped Kieran ?.]
22nd January 2005Michael Boyle

The natural inclination for one facing his first combat experience is "no way can I pull this off,my mates know what they're doing but this is just too intense for me!" At this point the choices are cut and run or pull the trigger. With proper training and motivation one finds himself pulling the trigger, whether or not a conscious action, and immediately introspection surrenders to training and discipline.Trust it.One doesn't arrive in that position (in a well trained army) without others, more experienced, having previously determined that one is capable.Fear is natural and accounted for in military training, it is a catalyst for awareness and action that tries it's best to ensure survival.

Having said that,the lads at Rorke's Drift could have had no illusions,after Isandhlwana, that they could run.They were the only force in place to at least delay the percieved counter-invasion of Natal as Durnford's column had already been eliminated.


Spot on, having survived one's first combat one tends to concentrate on aiding one's mates to survive as well. Not all will. One can't train for that. One may enter combat with thoughts of 'saving the world for democracy' or such, but once involved it's just getting yourself and your squaddies back home sans box.(Good officers and ncos will tend to see that the mission is accomplished in the process.) However many find that rather than joining those who didn't make it, that living for them is more appropriate.


23rd January 2005Martin Boyle
My first thought would have been to run. I don't know what my second thought would have been. I hope that I would have stayed. I would have died had I not. As others have said, training would have taken over and guided me in my actions.
23rd January 2005Chris
Well hopefully we'll never come up against this type of situation.