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DateOriginal Topic
27th May 2003Ammunition
By Trevor
Could anyone tell me what kind of ammunition the Artillary had at Islandlwana?
I am especially interested to find out if the cannons used canister against the attacking Zulu?
27th May 2003Adrian Whiting

I believe the artillery carried shell (the fuse being adjustable to explode after a particular time had elapsed after firing) and case - effectively canister. Others may be able to assist with contemporary accounts of what the guns actually fired at the battle, but usually case would be a relatively short range type of ammunition.

I hope this assists.
28th May 2003Trevor
What I was wondering was. If the artillery had a kind of grape shot. As used for close quarter with the enemy. Such as in the Napoliaonic wars.
I just thought this kind of weapon would have decimated the Zulu's at close range.
I seem to remember the Boar Pioneers used this kind of weapon to great effect earlier on in the 19th Century.
31st May 2003Adrian Whiting

Case shot was pretty much what you have in mind.

At trials at Shoeburyness in 1867 the Gatling was trialled against a 9pdrArmstrong gun firing case. The Gatling achieved more hits on the target after the comparison than the Armstrong did (bearing in mind that the Gatling was firing case rounds itself). A further trial in 1870 eventually help lead to the Gatling's introduction into British service. The point here is that the artillery piece had a relatively low rate of fire. True, the artillery case shot was devastating at close range, but it then took effort to reload.

I think that the other issue at Isandlwana was one of the guns being outflanked, obviously the muzzle can only point one way !

Hope this helps !

2nd June 2003Trevor
Point taken Adrian!
Thanks for the reply.