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21st March 2005The Importance of Initiative
By Paul Cubbin
Much is made of the superiority of Imperial weaponry in the AZW and its devastating effect on the enemy - and rightly so. However, despite poor training, quality of firearm and ammunition, the Zulus were often able to bring a greater number of 'guns' to the battle than the British and allies. It occurs to me that the AZW of 1879 would be a wonderful training model to teach military students the importance of that elusive and dfficult to define creature, initiative. I can think of no occasion when the side that held the initiative did not end up victorious on the battlefield - except, perhaps, Rorkes Drift. Even then, it can be argued that intelligent defence and swift action before hostilities began handed the initiative if not entirely to the British, at least towards them.
The Zulu victories certainly illustrate this point clearly, as well as a few missed chances where the initiative was there for the taking.
22nd March 2005Derek C
Hey Paul,

Good point. Just a quick interjection here regarding the Zulu fire from obsolete weapons. I guess it doesn't matter a whole bunch what the ememy is firing at you or how accurate it is, the fact that there are projectiles flying close to your head is still un-nerving. Bullets versus spears ..... one can dodge a spear.