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DateOriginal Topic
23rd June 2003The Zulus seen on the plain
By A. Maniac
I ask everybody's forgiveness if I am now continuing the discussion too soon after the sad news of the loss of one of your highly valued key members, but I have some questions concerning the Zulus seen on the plain throughout the morning of Isandhlwana (was it hundreds of them or thousands?).
Were they all foragers looking for food (presumably cattle) or local tribesmen going to join the impi (but they were seen moving away from the impi rather than towards it) or could it be that they belonged to the regiments which formed the horns and that they were either moving into forward position (which would imply the Zulus meant to attack soon instead of waiting for dawn as was their original intention) or scouting out the route for their planned manouvres?
A further question relates to the Zulus who caught Dartnell’s and Chelmsford’s attention. Could it be that these were freed up units from the siege position at Eshowe? Or was this a brilliant decoy manouvre being performed by part of the main impi (but I understand there were many women seen among them)? Or was it pure chance, i.e. the Zulus just happened to be there?

DateReplies
23rd June 2003John Young
Do you mean the plateau, rather than the plain? If so then I do think anyone actually quantifies a number, but I would terms suchas Curling's '...the large body of Zulus...' and Barry's report of three columns would suggest a large number. A read of 'The Game of Chess' chapter of 'Zulu Victory' by Ron Lock and Peter Quantrill might help you to understand the movements of the Zulu forces on 22nd January, 1879.

As to your second question - no they could not possibly have been 'freed up units from the siege position at Eshowe' - as the investment of Eshowe did not start until 23rd of January, 1879, which is of course the following day.

Hope that helps somewhat.

John Young
23rd June 2003A.Maniac
John,
Many thanks for this answer. Yes, I meant plateau rather than plain. I will try to obtainthe book you recommend.
As regards the Eshowe question I failed to do my homework properly. Again thankyou.
23rd June 2003A.Maniac
John,
Many thanks for this answer. Yes, I meant plateau rather than plain. I will try to obtainthe book you recommend.
As regards the Eshowe question I failed to do my homework properly. Again thankyou.