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Water Bottle Carrier/Straps
Haydn Jones


Joined: 12 Jan 2006
Posts: 124
Location: Gloucester
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Can anybody help me with a point of detail please? I'm just returning to doing some military modelling after a break of many years and have a query regarding the correct colour to depict the straps holding the water bottles on 24th Infantry figures.

My old Osprey Men at Arms book and, indeed, the painting instructions with my earlier figures, all suggested that the water bottle carrier/straps should be depicted as brown leather. However, elsewhere (in paintings etc.) I have since seen them depicted white(ish).

Any thoughts on the correct colour to use would be much appreciated. Depending on the answer, I fear I may have to dust off and re-visit some of my earlier figures before embarking on anything new Rolling Eyes!!!!!

Thank you.

H
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GlennWade


Joined: 16 Jan 2006
Posts: 151
Location: Swansea
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Hi Haydn

The water bottle straps were buff leather, this would be white or an off white depending where and when you plan the figures to be located historically. When in Zululand, the leather was allowed to return to its original buff state of a light brown shade.

Cheers

Glenn
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John Young


Joined: 30 Aug 2005
Posts: 957
Location: Lower Sheering, Essex
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Haydn,

What Glenn has to say is fine if it relates to enlisted men, however, I have two officers' water bottles and the harness & strap for those is actually leather.

John Y.
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Haydn Jones


Joined: 12 Jan 2006
Posts: 124
Location: Gloucester
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Glenn and John

Thank you both. You've helped put my mind at rest. Appreciate it.

(Now where's my 00 Sable ...............?!!)

Thanks again

H
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GlennWade


Joined: 16 Jan 2006
Posts: 151
Location: Swansea
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Hi Both

Yes John, I was talking about enlisted men. Sorry for the confusion.

Cheers

Glenn
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Sawubona


Joined: 09 Nov 2005
Posts: 1179
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Someone told me once that officers had to buy their own gear. Could officers buy and carry any pistol as long as it would fire standard issue ammunition? Did it matter what color anything was for an officer if he bought it himself?
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diagralex


Joined: 31 Aug 2005
Posts: 208
Location: Broomfield, Essex
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An officer would supply all of the equipment he felt necessary for a campaign. To begin with he would require at least one horse- three to five for a Staff officer, which amounted to a considerable investment. If a horse was killed, the officer could claim the cost of it back from the govenment, but the process took time.
He would also supply his own uniform - made by numerous military tailors who knew exactly what was required of them.
Swords, revolvers and other equipment were purchased according to the particular officers requirements. Although different makes of revolver were used, they conformed to standard issue calibres.
Naturally, there would have been slight variations in the shades of colour of equipment, but an officer in the field stood out from his men already, so any differences woud hardly be noticed.
Lieutenant Linmitte of the 21st, summed up the whole process of equipment purchase. He served at Laings Nek, where he had his horse shot from under him :-
"My helmet had fallen off, my sword dropped out of my hand, and I lost my field-glasses. It was a dashed expensive day ! "

Graham
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John Young


Joined: 30 Aug 2005
Posts: 957
Location: Lower Sheering, Essex
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Sawubona,

To a modeller or a re-enactor it would certainly matter what the colour was, and as it was a modeller who asked the original question, I think it is valid that he knows.

As to the 'standard issue' ammunition, in 1879 there wasn't a standard issue for officers' pistols, I have seen a number of different calibres carried by officers in the Anglo-Zulu War suchas .32"; .38"; .44"; .450"; .455"; .476" & .50". Nothing standard there as you can see.

John Y.
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diagralex


Joined: 31 Aug 2005
Posts: 208
Location: Broomfield, Essex
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John

That's an interesting point about the ammunition and I stand corrected.
Did that mean then that an officer with an obscure calibre revolver was responsible for supplying his own ammunition as well ? It must have been a problem knowing just how much would be required on campaign.
Did the war office supply ammunition for revolvers in any calibre ?

Graham
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Mike Snook


Joined: 31 Aug 2005
Posts: 130
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No government revolver cartridge until standard service revolver adopted. Way after 1879. Hence, Graham, Smith- Dorrien asking Bromhead for revolver cartridges on the morning of 22 Jan. They had to buy (or scrounge) their own.

Mike
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diagralex


Joined: 31 Aug 2005
Posts: 208
Location: Broomfield, Essex
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Point taken - and I suppose that if an officer had to use his revolver to defend himself, then things must have been quite desperate by then anyway.

Graham
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Mike Snook


Joined: 31 Aug 2005
Posts: 130
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Graham

Yes, I have the (very general) impression that they might have had around three dozen rounds, though this will obviously vary from officer to officer. If the general practice was to buy and carry large quantities in their baggage (say a hundred), then one wonders why Smith-Dorrien had a problem in the first place, and why Gonny B could only spare the famous eleven rounds.

I seem to recall reading that the 7th US Cavalry had only two dozen revolver cartridges each when they went into action at LBH - the weapon of first choice being the carbine.

There is, however, that description in Maori Browne of him coming upon one of his (colonial) chaps left behind in the camp. He is propped up against a rock and surrounded by more than a hundred revolver cartridges. I think I reduced this to 'dozens' in HCMDB to allow for a bit of probable Maori-hyperbole! Anyway some chaps were obviously well supplied.

Revolvers are very definitely a weapon of last resort. As I understand it officers had to fire the annual Martini-Henry test. Not that they were ithen issued with a government rifle. I fancy a few of the subalterns might have got into the habit of carrying one in the bush fighting in the 9th CF War. But that's conjecture really. Carriage of rifles became commonplace in the 2nd Boer War as a function of camouflage and concealment - to stop brother Boer picking off officers. Though there was a general return to revolvers for 1914 and subsequently. I guess on the basis that a machine gun doesn't care who its killing.

As a subaltern I distinctly remember being told that I had no business firing my rifle - that there were much more important things for officers to be worrying about in a fight. So I think the general form in 1879 was that one wore a revolver but never really expected to use it in anger.

Of course apart from privately purchased revolvers the offrs of 1879 also tended to have a whole raft of privately owned hunting rifles and shotguns in their baggage. You will probably be aware of the stink that occurred as a result of Fred Burnaby using a shotgun on Mahdists in the Sudan. Not that it stopped Captain C B 'Bloody-Minded' Piggott doing exactly the same thing at Abu Klea, as the Kordofani tribesmen were dodging back and forth around and under the bellies of the baggage camels in the centre of the square.

The subject of 'spare' rifles on 22 Jan is quite interesting; whilst digging (metaphorically not literally) around RD I gained the impression that spare rifles were in distinctly short supply. I think, from memory, that it was Gunner Howard, who as a RA man would not have had his own rifle, who used Sgt Maxfield's M-H in the fight. Chard didn't have a rifle to begin with either - until later on - when Cpl Scammell saw him looking for cartridges - I suspect he was using Dalton's rifle by that stage. Conversely Dalton, who again would not have been entitled to a rifle in his own right, defintely had one from the very beginning, which I imagine he would have taken from one of the more seriously incapacitated patients.

Hey ho. Long post about nothing in particular. Aren't bank holidays great.

Regards

Mike
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Sawubona


Joined: 09 Nov 2005
Posts: 1179
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I tried to make my point as courteously and inoffensively as I could, but still plain. I'm sorry if I was obtuse because of that! More bluntly put, Officer's and OR's in 1879 were two entirely different worlds and "sauce for the goose" wasn't the same as that for the gander. Let's not forget the "privilages of class" when we discuss uniforms and equiptment in 1879! Didn't Chelmsford wear a woolen nightcap during a particular battle in Zululand? Does that trivial fact mean any thing to a modeler? I hope not, unless he's modelling His Lordship!
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diagralex


Joined: 31 Aug 2005
Posts: 208
Location: Broomfield, Essex
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Sawubona

Remember that Victorian society was extremely class conscious. The phrase " I know my place" was understood by all. The privileges of class or rank extended across all walks of life. Although todays society may look at the vast differences between officers and other ranks of Her Majesty's army and see a wide social gap, it was not considered so at the time.

A perfect example of privileges can be obtained from the soldiers who served in the First world war. A private soldier slept in a muddy trench and wished that he could be in a dugout. His officer slept in a dugout and envied the General who slept in a cosy Chateau. The General probably envied the politician who had placed him there in the first place, while being safely at home himself.

Graham
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John Young


Joined: 30 Aug 2005
Posts: 957
Location: Lower Sheering, Essex
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Sawubona,

Sadly, many people who view an artist's impression of a soldier or an officer in the Anglo-Zulu War, take that impression as gospel.

We have had this debate in the past relating to Mike Chappell's work in Ian Knight's Zulu Isandlwana & Rorke's Drift... Mike has shown a Colour-Sergeant wearing the wrong insignia for the serge frock, yet some will take that information as correct, because of the author of the work and Mike's own knowledge of military dress and equipment. Please don't get me started Plate D2 of the work by the way, or I will have a field day!

A closer examination of the Mike Chappell's work in the same book reveals other anomalies: the Natal Carbineer supposedly with a Swinburne-Henry carbine, yet the carbine doesn't have the distinctive Swinburne action's hump-back or external cocking handle. Look at Plate C, Mike's depiction of a Captain in the 24th, has him wearing the very thing you have a 'bee in your bonnet about', an other-ranks waterbottle strap. Yet in Angus McBride's Osprey publication The Zulu War, Angus depicts an other-rank wearing a brown leather strap, there other major inconsistencies in Angus' work, which you may find to be total inconsequential, but frankly I don't.

Christopher Wilkinson-Latham's work Uniforms & Weapons of the Zulu War should be the 'bible' for this particular forum, yet Jack Cassin-Scott's depictions of the British and Colonial uniform put pay to this assumption. Jack's illustrations with regard to accurate uniform details are found wanting, in my opinion. Leather straps for 'other-ranks', again!

I'm all for Coll's comment on another post, about posting illustrations and photographs, at least it would, hopefully, clarify certain differences of opinion. But in the meantime, I'll agree to differ you on the subject of waterbottle straps.


Haydn,

Back to your original posting, those figures would happen to be the old Hinchcliffe range would they? If they are you will notice a variation in the painting instructions on the release of the extended range which included the personalities, from the initial release. I know, because I wrote the second issue of the painting instructions!

John Y.
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Water Bottle Carrier/Straps
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