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Isandhlwana Origin - NNH 'Discovery' Is The Wrong Way Round
Colin


Joined: 22 Nov 2017
Posts: 72
Location: U.K.
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Interesting point sort of in relation to Ron's take on events -

'A Soldier's Life And Work In South Africa' page 227

'The two troops sent to the hills on the left "to ascertain the enemy's movements" had proceeded three or four miles from the camp, when the troop on the ridge saw a party of Zulus driving some cattle away, and was ordered by Captain Shepstone to capture them. On moving forward a few hundred yards, the whole Zulu army suddenly showed up, advancing towards the camp.'

Now even if they were seen earlier sitting quietly and motionless by the Natal Carbineer vedettes, they were alert and on the move when seen by the NNH, before being 'discovered' by them.

Edward had no other reason to say this, hence lack of mention of being at the edge looking down into a valley, but instead, as mentioned on the plain later, along similar wording as this - 'they (the Zulus) suddenly appeared in front of the firing line only a short distance away'

There is a Zulu account saying they saw the horsemen up on the ridge, but not that the horsemen saw them too at this time, so quite possibly the account meant it was Zulu scouts, The cattle herders didn't actually disclose the fact the Zulu army was nearby, they merely ran when chased, the NNH unsuspecting else they would not have pursued them. It was the Zulus that 'discovered' the horsemen, not the other way about. It is fair to say then, it was just a matter of time before the Zulus were seen, so as with any other 'ambush' they let them get only close enough, then advancing being more at a sprint the moment the horsemen started approaching at speed no longer scouting for signs. A head-on 'collision', both sides rushing towards each other unseen.

Such an 'ambush' almost caught out Buller (not at Hlobane) but later in the campaign, if he hadn't felt that where the horsemen were heading was a trap.

It might have worked at Isandhlwana, but the Zulu Commanders couldn't initially control the warriors, they were too keen to fight rather than wait for the right moment, else the Commanders could have 'taken out' many of troopers had they rode right into their midst, at the very start of the engagement.
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Isandhlwana Origin - NNH 'Discovery' Is The Wrong Way Round
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