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32Bravo
12-04-2007, 04:05 AM
Rorke's Drift

Was it a victory for the Henry Martini, or was it the bayonet with '...a bit o' guts behind it'?

George Eller
12-04-2007, 12:11 PM
Rorke's Drift

Was it a victory for the Henry Martini, or was it the bayonet with '...a bit o' guts behind it'?
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I would lean towards the Martini-Henry, although the bayonet, good tactics and improvised fortifications were an important part.

And possibly the arrival of Lord Chelmsford's column the next morning (although IIRC Chelmsford's force was almost out of ammunition - the Zulus didn't know that).

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Rorke's Drift
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rorkes_drift

Battle of Isandlwana
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Isandlwana

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1000ydstare
12-04-2007, 03:14 PM
The Martini Henry didn't tip the balance at Isandlwana though.

The poor layout of the defences led to the defenders being to thinnly spread. After a while in the heat of battle the rifles began to fail. Spent rounds would not eject from the rifle, and others would likely have discharged (cooked off) in the barrel.

When a mans rifle failled so, a weak point was opened in the line, and the Zulus would get through.

At Rourkes Drift, there was more overlapping of fire. Also the fabled 3 ranks of fire, allowed the defenders to unleash horrific amounts of firepower over a sustained period. Without the rifles overheating.

More importantly the Zulu force, despite numbering in their thousands, were exhausted, hungry and low on rations and far from their home areas. Likewise they ended up with a good few hundred casuatlies to care for. They could only loiter for so long before heading home.

George Eller
12-04-2007, 05:25 PM
The Martini Henry didn't tip the balance at Isandlwana though.

The poor layout of the defences led to the defenders being to thinnly spread. After a while in the heat of battle the rifles began to fail. Spent rounds would not eject from the rifle, and others would likely have discharged (cooked off) in the barrel.

When a mans rifle failled so, a weak point was opened in the line, and the Zulus would get through.

At Rourkes Drift, there was more overlapping of fire. Also the fabled 3 ranks of fire, allowed the defenders to unleash horrific amounts of firepower over a sustained period. Without the rifles overheating.

More importantly the Zulu force, despite numbering in their thousands, were exhausted, hungry and low on rations and far from their home areas. Likewise they ended up with a good few hundred casuatlies to care for. They could only loiter for so long before heading home.
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IIRC at Isandlwana there were issues concerning the way the troops were deployed to meet the Zulu onslaught, ammo distribution (lack of adaquate tools for opening ammo crates), the cartridge itself (tendency to deform due to the way the early version brass cartridge was manufactered) and problems extracting the empty cases from the breech, as well as complaints concerning the Martini-Henry's bayonet. British firepower began to slacken as a result of inadaquate resupply of ammo. IIRC, in hindsight the British would form infantry into squares when fighting the Zulu, as they would against cavalry. This was a practice used later in the Sudan against the Dervishes.

With the Martini-Henry the British stood a chance, provided the right tactics were employed and using their superior firepower to keep the numerically superior Zulu at bay. Once the Zulu closed in with overwhelming numbers the advantage swung in the Zulus' favor.

Without the Martini-Henry and relying on the bayonet alone, IMHO the British would have been toast.

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[EDITED TO ADD MORE INFORMATION AND SOURCES: 12/05/2007]

Martini-Henry
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martini-Henry


During the Martini-Henry period in service, the British army were involved in a large number of colonial wars, most notably the Anglo-Zulu War in 1879. The rifle was used by the company of the 2nd Battalion, 24th Regiment of Foot present at Rorke's Drift. During the battle, approximately 150 British soldiers successfully defended themselves against several thousand Zulus. The weapon was not completely phased out until 1904.

The weapon is partly blamed for the defeat of British troops at Isandlwana prior to Rorke's Drift (in addition to poor tactics and numerical inferiority) - while the Martini-Henry was state of the art, in the African climate the action tended to overheat and foul after heavy use. It would eventually become difficult to move the breech block and reload the rifle. After investigating the matter, the British Army Ordnance Department determined the fragile construction of the rolled brass cartridge and fouling due to the black powder propellant were the main causes of this problem. To correct this, the cartridge was switched from weak rolled brass to stronger drawn brass, and a longer loading lever was incorporated to apply greater torque to operate the mechanism when fouled. These later variants were highly reliable in battle.

Martini-Henry - More:
http://www.martinihenry.com/
http://www.antiquestopic.com/martini-henry-rifle-1881/

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Anglo-Zulu War
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anglo-Zulu_War

http://www.kwazulu.co.uk/
http://www.kwazulu.co.uk/home.html

http://rapidttp.com/milhist/vol044sb.html

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Battle of Isandlwana
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Isandlwana


Debate persists as to how and why the British lost the battle.

The initial view, reported by Horace Smith-Dorrien, was that the British had difficulty unpacking their ammunition boxes fast enough and that the quarter-masters were reluctant to distribute ammunition to units other than their own. The lack of ammunition caused a lull in the defence and a subsequent rout. (In subsequent engagements with the Zulu, the ammunition boxes were unscrewed in advance for rapid distribution.)
Donald Morris in The Washing of the Spears argues that the men, fighting too far from the camp, ran out of ammunition, starting first with Durnford's men who were holding the right flank and who had been in action longer, which precipitated a slowdown in the rate of fire against the Zulus. This argument suggests that the ammunition was too far from the firing line and that the seventy rounds each man took to the firing line was not sufficient.

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Rorke's Drift
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rorke%27s_Drift

Siege of Eshowe
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_Eshowe

Battle of Intombe
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Intombe

Battle of Hlobane
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Hlobane

Battle of Gingindlovu
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Gingindlovu

Battle of Kambula
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Kambula

Battle of Ulundi
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Ulundi

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32Bravo
12-05-2007, 04:02 AM
Interesting coments, fellas. It was reported by the dfenders of Rorke's Drift ('Jim's place' to the Zulus) that the Zulus were more concerned about the bayonet than the rifle. There was much contest between bayonet and assegai on the barricades, and it was generally the bayonet which prevailed.

At Isandlwana, Pulleine formed his troops according to the written recommendations of Chelmsford - when defending against an attacking Zulu force - a copy of which was found on Pulleine's corpse. Chelmsford, as proven by Pulleine, got it totally wrong. The best defense against Zulus, was the Laager.

32Bravo
12-05-2007, 08:07 AM
Chelmsford’s instructions made a point that any Zulu attack would threaten ‘one or both flanks, as well as the front.’

‘British infantry in the Front Line, deployed or extended, with one or both flank companies thrown back.’ The guns should be slightly forward of the centre of the front line and an infantry reserve well behind. Supporting the British infantry, but in echelon to the rear and ‘well clear of each flank’, should be the Native Contingent.
Finally, Mounted Infantry were to be placed to the rear of each flank, ‘ready to move around the flanks, and rear, of the enemy’.

This suggested formation is very similar to the one Pulleine adopted. His flanks were left hanging in the air, and he took companies from the front line to reinforce Durnford and others, piece meal, thus depleting his force. The front line was over extended, and once the flanks had been turned, that was that. The whole situation at Isanlwana, from the Brtish point of view, is probably best described by the American term FUBAR!

But one shouldn’t take it away from the ZULUS!

George Eller
12-06-2007, 11:40 PM
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Thanks for the interesting information 32Bravo :)

Wikipedia shows 600-700 Zulu dead at Rorke's Drift. Do you know of any figures that show the percentage killed by rifle versus bayonet?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rorke%27s_Drift

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George Eller
12-09-2007, 01:16 AM
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Zulu (scene from 1964 movie depicting battle at Rorke's Drift)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IWuaSww3JnA

Zulu Final Battle Scene (from 1964 movie depicting battle at Rorke's Drift)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YrZbUS0MaY4

Men of Harlech march
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I2Gxd9zhsag

Men of Harlech - Charlotte Church with Welsh Male Choir
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hz9_ELpil9w

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1000ydstare
12-09-2007, 02:39 AM
The film Zulu, isn't that factually accurate, there have been many changes to make it more watchable.

WRT to ammo and tools to open the ammo boxes. There was no shortage of ammo to the front line troops, nor was there a problem with opening the boxes.

The 24th was quite an experienced unit. On a recent hunt many brass screws were found that had been bent in the middle. It appears that whilst on the ranges, or similar the screw would be unscrewed the lid slid off and the foil ripped open.

The Rifle and bayonet of the British would have offered a fair advantage over the Zulus, whose weapons were shorter. Zulus still had weight of numbers and a fair degree of extra strength to fight with.

George Eller
12-10-2007, 12:09 AM
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I've been busy most of this evening, but wanted to post this before turning in for the night. I plan to post more in the coming days from the following and other sources.

Rorke's Drift 1879, Ian Knight, Osprey Publishing Ltd, ISBN I 84176 100 1, 1996, p 67, 69


The Fighting After Dark

...Chard's men were also exhausted, and in addition to the seriously wounded, most of them had suffered cuts and knocks, or had burned their fingers on the barrels of their rifles, which had grown almost red hot with the constant firing. Many had badly bruised shoulders from the heavy recoil of their rifles; when it became too painful to fire from the right shoulder, they had swapped arms, until their left shoulders also became bruised. Finally they had simply rested their rifles on the barricade, held them at arms length, and fired away, hoping to discourage the Zulus by the volume of their fire rather than the accuracy. Loss of blood, adrenalin, and the sheer emotional ordeal of the struggle had left the men desperately thirsty...

...the last shots were fired at 4:00am on 23 January, shortly before dawn.

The Morning After

...The yard was littered with discarded and torn uniforms, battered helmets, shields and spears, and carpeted with cartridge cases and the brown paper packages with which they had been supplied. Chard's men had started the battle with a full company reserve supply of ammunition, around 20,000 rounds; as Chard admitted, by the morning they had only one box and a half - 900 rounds left.

The post resembled an abattoir, with corpses piled up in grotesque positions all around the barricades. In front of the hospital, where the Zulus had charged back and forth across the veranda several times, the bodies were piled up on one another three deep in some places, their limbs grotesquely twisted around one another, dead hands reachng out imploringly from the tangle. Below the ledge and against the barricade they were also heaped up...Chard noted some of the curious wounds - one man's head split in half as if with an axe, and another with just a small mark where a bullet had struck him between the eyes, but with the back of his head blown away. A number of corpses were found in a similar position, crouched foward with their knees drawn up, their chins almost resting on their knees; no doubt something in the velocity of the Martini-Henry bullet had caused them to double up in this way.

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1000ydstare
12-10-2007, 01:24 PM
Missed a bit in my last post.

In battle to open ammo boxes, the box was held in a vertical position and then the butt of rifle brought down on to it. Hard.

This slid the lid off the box, bending the brass screw in the process. hence on the scavenger hunt they found lots of bent brass screws.

George Eller
12-10-2007, 11:14 PM
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Battle of Isandlwana
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Isandlwana

1,400 British and 2,500 African auxiliaries versus 22,000 Zulu.


...The British under Lord Chelmsford pitched camp at Isandlwana, but because of the size of the force (precluding a laager, or circling of the wagons), the hard ground and a disbelief that they were in any danger, did not fortify the camp. In addition, it was believed that 1,000 British infantry, armed with Martini-Henry rifles, superior weapons to the Zulus' primitive muskets, could meet any attack and overwhelm it through sheer firepower. However, the lack of defensive preparations, in hindsight, proved to be a major factor in the camp's defeat by the Zulu impis (regiments) which attacked on 22 January and was a costly lesson to learn. It would have been possible to bring in the troops to a closer formation, with the rocky Isandlwana feature securing the rear and the overwhelming British firepower beating back the attacking force, even when this greatly outnumbered the defenders...

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The Battle of Isandlwana
http://www.britishbattles.com/zulu-war/isandlwana.htm


...The danger to the British line was presented by the Zulu “horns” which raced to find the end of the British flank and envelope it.

On the British right the companies of the 24th and the NNI were unable to prevent this envelopment. In addition the Zulus were able to infiltrate between the companies of British foot and the irregulars commanded by Durnford.

It is said that a major problem for the British was lack of ammunition and failings in the system of re-supply. It seems that this was not so for the 24th. However Durnford’s men on the extreme right flank did run out of ammunition and were forced to mount up and ride back into the camp, thereby leaving the British flank open.

The Zulu chiefs took this opportunity to encourage the warriors of the “chest”, until now pinned down by the 24th’s fire, to renew their attack. This they did causing the British troops to fall back on the encampment.

A Zulu regiment rushed between the withdrawing British centre and the camp and the “horns” broke in on each flank The British line quickly collapsed.

As the line broke up, groups formed and fought the Zulus until their ammunition gave out and they were overwhelmed. A section of Natal Carbineers commanded by Durnford is identified as giving a heavy fire until their ammunition was spent. They fought on with pistols and knives until they were all struck down.

The “horns” of the Zulu attack did not quite close around the British camp, some soldiers managing to make their way towards Rorke’s Drift. But the Zulus cut the road and the escaping soldiers from the 24th were forced into the hills where they were hunted down and killed. Only mounted men managed to make it to the river by the more direct route to the south west.

A group of some 60 soldiers of the 24th Foot under Lieutenant Anstey, were cornered on the banks of a tributary of the Tugela and wiped out.

The last survivor in the main battle, a soldier of the 24th, escaped to a cave on the hillside where he continued fighting until his ammunition gave out and he was shot down.

The final act of the drama was played out along the banks of the Tugela River. Numbers of men were caught there by the Zulus. It is thought that natives living in Natal came down to the river and on the urgings of the Zulus killed British soldiers attempting to escape.

Casualties:
52 British officers and 806 non-commissioned ranks were killed. Around 60 Europeans survived the battle. 471 Africans died fighting for the British. Zulu casualties have to be estimated and are set at around 2,000 dead either on the field or from wounds. The Zulus captured 1,000 rifles with the whole of the column’s reserve ammunition supply.

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I go back to my original statement concerning Rorke's Drift:

I would lean towards the Martini-Henry, although the bayonet, good tactics and improvised fortifications were an important part.

And possibly the arrival of Lord Chelmsford's column the next morning (although IIRC Chelmsford's force was almost out of ammunition - the Zulus didn't know that).

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At Isandlwana, without adequate defensive preparations (as were made at Rorke's Drift) and choosing not to bring in the troops to a closer formation with the rocky Isandlwana feature securing the rear, the British force was eventually flanked by the Zulu after Durnford’s men on the extreme right flank ran out of ammunition. Soon after, the British line collapsed. The groups that fought on were overwhelmed once their ammunition gave out. In open country, whatever advantage the British bayonet had over the Zulu assegai was cancelled by the fact that the Zulu outnumbered the British by more than 5 to 1.

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32Bravo
12-11-2007, 04:03 AM
Sorry for not responding sooner, am a little busy at the mo.

I haven't seen any stats regarding rifle-to-bayonet kills, George. I think your comment regarding the Brits being toast without the rifle is more than accurate, simply because of the Zulu numbers. Isandlwana proves that. A tighter British formation affording all around defnce would probably have taken care of the Zulu encirclememnt as it had on other occassions, but Chelmsford's arrogance and failure to appreciate Zulu tactics scuppered the column.

At Rorke's Drift, I believe it to have been the combination of fire-power and the use of the bayonet that saved the day.

The Zulus tended to use three weapons, being the throwing spear ( I have the name somewhere); the stabbig spear -Assegai (which was short handeled with a two foot blade, and the Knobkerry, a club consisting of a four feet shaft with a wooden ball on the end - very effect for cracking skulls. The Zulu witch doctors ahd given them a potion to keep bullets at bay, but not bayonets, hence the Zulu respect for the bayonet.

http://www.trocadero.com/faganarms/items/298468/en1store.html

http://www.oriental-arms.com/photos.php?id=1681

As mentioned above their are a lot of inaccuracies in the film, but it still makes for compelling viewing. :)

32Bravo
12-11-2007, 04:09 AM
By the way. I haven't had time to read all of the above, as yet, but it was Comissary Dalton that planned the defence of Rorke's Drift and put fire into the bellies of Bromhead and Chard - not portrayed in the film.

32Bravo
12-12-2007, 08:38 AM
George, regarding Zulu dead.

The figures I have, and none are absolutely certain, is that about 350 were killed in the battle for Rorke's Drift.

Somewhere around 500 wounded were left in the surrounding area, and they were finished off with the bayonet. War crimes??? The Zulus asked and gave no quarter. The soldiers were a bit peed as they had witnessed the mutilation of some of the sick escaping from the burning hospital. It was Zulu belief that when a body swells after death, it was it's spirit trying to escape that caused the swelling. If they didn't allow it to escape then the spirit would later haunt them. So, in order to free the spirit, they disembowelled the dead. Of course, the Brits were not aware of this, for the most part, and thought it mere savagery.

Another number of casualties, again about 500, were recovered by the Zulus, but most of these died of their wounds later. The Zulus thought the bullets were poisoned, but, in effect, they didn't possess the medical skills to deal with gunshot wounds. Generally, an Assegai wound was clean and could be treated by them, but bullet wounds were a different kettle of fish, particularly those of the calibre of the Martini Henry.

George Eller
12-12-2007, 09:15 AM
Sorry for not responding sooner, am a little busy at the mo.

I haven't seen any stats regarding rifle-to-bayonet kills, George. I think your comment regarding the Brits being toast without the rifle is more than accurate, simply because of the Zulu numbers. Isandlwana proves that. A tighter British formation affording all around defnce would probably have taken care of the Zulu encirclememnt as it had on other occassions, but Chelmsford's arrogance and failure to appreciate Zulu tactics scuppered the column.

At Rorke's Drift, I believe it to have been the combination of fire-power and the use of the bayonet that saved the day.

The Zulus tended to use three weapons, being the throwing spear ( I have the name somewhere); the stabbig spear -Assegai (which was short handeled with a two foot blade, and the Knobkerry, a club consisting of a four feet shaft with a wooden ball on the end - very effect for cracking skulls. The Zulu witch doctors ahd given them a potion to keep bullets at bay, but not bayonets, hence the Zulu respect for the bayonet.

http://www.trocadero.com/faganarms/items/298468/en1store.html

http://www.oriental-arms.com/photos.php?id=1681

As mentioned above their are a lot of inaccuracies in the film, but it still makes for compelling viewing. :)

By the way. I haven't had time to read all of the above, as yet, but it was Comissary Dalton that planned the defence of Rorke's Drift and put fire into the bellies of Bromhead and Chard - not portrayed in the film.


George, regarding Zulu dead.

The figures I have, and none are absolutely certain, is that about 350 were killed in the battle for Rorke's Drift.

Somewhere around 500 wounded were left in the surrounding area, and they were finished off with the bayonet. War crimes??? The Zulus asked and gave no quarter. The soldiers were a bit peed as they had witnessed the mutilation of some of the sick escaping from the burning hospital. It was Zulu belief that when a body swells after death, it was it's spirit trying to escape that caused the swelling. If they didn't allow it to escape then the spirit would later haunt them. So, in order to free the spirit, they disembowelled the dead. Of course, the Brits were not aware of this, for the most part, and thought it mere savagery.

Another number of casualties, again about 500, were recovered by the Zulus, but most of these died of their wounds later. The Zulus thought the bullets were poisoned, but, in effect, they didn't possess the medical skills to deal with gunshot wounds. Generally, an Assegai wound was clean and could be treated by them, but bullet wounds were a different kettle of fish, particularly those of the calibre of the Martini Henry.

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Many thanks 32Bravo for the casualty figures and very interesting supplemental information. Fascinating subject :)

I would like to post more from books that I have and other Internet sources.

Here is an interesting website concerning myths of the Anglo-Zulu War:

Myths of the Anglo-Zulu War
http://www.kwazulu.co.uk/fact-fiction.html

Covers myths regarding the following topics:

The Welshmen at Rorke's Drift
Saving the Colours at Isandlwana
Zulus using British rifles at Rorke's Drift
The Zulu Salute at Rorke's Drift

The Ammunition Boxes at Isandlwana - BTW many thanks 1000ydstare for pointing this out earlier in this thread :)

http://www.kwazulu.co.uk/Images/webpic17ammobox.jpg


The disastrous British defeat at Isandlwana is often attributed to a failure of ammunition on the part of the unit most involved in the defence - the 24th Regiment. This is variously ascribed to the unwillingness of Quartermasters to issue rounds without due paperwork, to the difficulties of opening the ammunition boxes themselves - which were supposedly bound tight with copper bands - and even to a lack of screwdrivers with which to do so.

In fact, any careful analysis of the evidence doesn't support any of these claims. While it is true that some of the Colonial units - those under the independent command of Col. Durnford - did run out of ammunition and have difficulty replenishing their supplies, there is no evidence whatever to suggest that shortage of ammunition influenced in any way the tactical decisions of the officers of the 24th Regiment.

There were huge quantities of ammunition in the camp at Isandlwana - about 400,000 rounds in all. General Lord Chelmsford had taken the 2nd Battalion, 24th Regiment, out on reconnaissance, but left their reserve of ammunition in the camp, with orders that it be made ready to send to him if he requested it. The camp was guarded by the 1st Battalion, 24th, whose reserve supply was in the camp. The ammunition itself was stored in the Mark V ammunition box, which was a stout wooden thing, lined with tin, and held together with two copper bands. Obviously, such boxes were designed to take rough treatment on campaign - no point in them bursting open every time they were dropped - but access to the rounds was via a sliding wooden panel in the centre of the box. This was held in place by just one screw, and in an emergency it could be opened by the highly unorthadox method of giving the edge of the panel a hefty clout. This had the effect of splintering the wood around the screw.

When the battle first began, one of the Staff Officers collected a number of men not engaged in the fighting, and set about ferrying ammunition out to the firing line - this was the standard procedure at the time. One rather over-enthusiastic young officer attempted to requisition the 2/24th's supply, but was sent away with a flea in his ear by the quartermaster, who was quite rightly mindful of his responsibilities to Lord Chelmsford. At that stage, the camp was not in serious danger, and in fact fresh supplies were organised from the 1/24th's reserve. Later, when things started going badly, the 2/24th's supplies were also broached, so that when - at the climax of the battle - the 24th companies abandoned their forward positions and fell back on the tents, they were still firing heavily. The reports of survivors - including half a dozen Zulu eye-witnesses - were unanimous on this point.

Once the Zulus penetrated the British line and over-ran the camp, however, there was no possibility of anyone renewing their supplies. The various groups of 24th - and others - therefore stood back to back and fired off what ammunition they had, after which the Zulu closed in. And therein lies the origin of all those reports which refer to the 24th being 'overwhelmed when their ammunition was expended'.

Of course, it is far easier to believe that a modern, Western, industrialised army could be defeated through some folly of its own, rather than that it could be out-generalled by a part-time civilian army armed primarily with spears - an army, moreover, of men with black skins.

But such a view is based on false assumptions of racial and technological superiority, and a misunderstanding of the tactical realities. It is a view, moreover, which denies the tactical skill, discipline, and sheer raw courage of the Zulu people. It is time to stop seeking excuses for the British defeat at Isandlwana, and to start instead to think of it as a Zulu victory.


Missed a bit in my last post.

In battle to open ammo boxes, the box was held in a vertical position and then the butt of rifle brought down on to it. Hard.

This slid the lid off the box, bending the brass screw in the process. hence on the scavenger hunt they found lots of bent brass screws.

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32Bravo
12-12-2007, 11:32 AM
Zulu Tactics.

You may know this already George, but others might find it interesting.

King Shaka was the founder of the ama-Zulu (heavenly people) nation and it was he, in the main that developed Zulu fighting methods.

The Zulu were a regiment/clan in the army of the Bantu chief Dingiswayo, and Shaka was the regiment’s commander.

Bantu tribes fought each other by throwing spears at each other. When one side had exhausted their supply, they picked up those that had been thrown at them and threw them back, not many battle casualties.

Shaka, had his regiment break the shafts of their spears and use them for stabbing instead of throwing. When the enemy exhausted their spears, the Zulus, who had sheltered behind their shields, then ran forward and waded-in, stabbing with their shortened Assegais. This transformed the battle to one of anihilation.

The Assegai is a Bantu term for a spear of any kind. The Zulu name for the stabbing Assegai, was the iklwa, which represents the sucking sound the blade creates when being withdrawn from its victim. I would suppose that Assegai, which is a somewhat powerful name to the European ear and tongue, was that favoured by the Euopeans when describing the iklwa.

In his first battle, fought by Shaka to avenge the murder of his chief Dingiswayo, whom he loved as a father, he had in the region of four thousand Zulus whom he formed in a circle around a small hill or knoll. The opposition fielded about twenty thousand. Shaka defeated them using the above mentioned tactics. When the enemy withdrew, he pursued them the following day. His main Impi loped after them at a jog-trot pace (I forget the Zulu term for this, but the translation meant ‘Eating up the earth’), while he sent companies of sprinters in relays after them to wear them down until, eventually the main Zulu Impi caught them. He also sent warriors to infiltrate the enemy camp when they were settling down for the night. These warriors would then rise in the middle of the night and begin stabbing their neighbours. The enemy would panic and begin killing each other while the Zulus melted away.

The only natives to defeat the Zulu, were the Matabele (Moles – a name awarded to them by Shaka as a battle honour). They were a renegade Zulu clan which fled north and founded Matabeleland (Rhodesia/Zimbabwe and Northern Rhodesia/Zambia). Being renegades they used the same tactics as the Zulus. It just so happened that their commander was a better general than the pursuing Zulu commanders.

32Bravo
12-13-2007, 08:32 AM
The film Zulu Dawn, released in 1979, portrays the events of Isndlwana quite well. It does, perhaps, put a little too much emphasis on the ammunition situation, but one can see that once the British flanks had been turned, as they were, and by the way the companies were spread out, that it would have been no time at all for the Zulus to overwhelm the camp, as they did.

George Eller
12-14-2007, 12:37 AM
The film Zulu Dawn, released in 1979, portrays the events of Isndlwana quite well. It does, perhaps, put a little too much emphasis on the ammunition situation, but one can see that once the British flanks had been turned, as they were, and by the way the companies were spread out, that it would have been no time at all for the Zulus to overwhelm the camp, as they did.
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Yes, I've seen the movie several times. And I have it on DVD, along with Zulu (1964) and the television mini-series Shaka Zulu starring Henry Cele (South African actor and former soccer star) as the Zulu chief Shaka. Very interesting movies, even though they may not have been completely accurate.

Here are some critiques from the website Myths of the Anglo-Zulu War:
http://www.kwazulu.co.uk/fact-fiction.html


ZULU (1964)
http://www.kwazulu.co.uk/anglo-zulu-war-zulu.html

ZULU remains the best-known film to be made about an aspect of Zulu history. Although popularly associated with Michael Caine these days, the film was in fact a very personal project for the film’s main star, Stanley Baker. A character actor from the South Wales valleys, Baker (later Sir Stanley) had a considerable reputation at the time for hard-bitten tough-guy supporting roles but was keen to establish himself in a more creative capacity on the other side of the camera. He was attracted to the story of the battle of Rorke’s Drift by his perception that the British regiment involved, the 24th Foot, was predominantly Welsh in character. He worked closely on the project with American director Cy Endfield (who had been living in Britain since 1952 having been blacklisted for alleged Communist sympathies in the US during the Mcarthy era). The film was inspired by an article on the battle written for Lilliput magazine in 1958 by the Scottish historian John Prebble (under a pseudonym). The film was shot in South Africa and at Twickenham studios, England, in 1963. It was not shot on the location of the real battle of Rorke’s Drift; the site was considered cinematically uninteresting, and opposition was anticipated from the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Sweden, who still owned the site. Instead, the locations – both the Rorke’s Drift mission and King Cetshwayo’s royal homestead at oNdini – were built within the confines of the Royal Natal National Park, in the shadow of the spectacular Amphitheatre in the Kahlamba (Drakensberg) mountains, the source of the Thukela river. The mountains provided a stunning visual backdrop and helped establish the film’s South African identity in the minds of overseas audiences since the British Royal Family had enjoyed a much-publicised stay in the park in 1947.

The filming was carried out under the careful eye of the apartheid Nationalist Government who specified that the British actors and white extras should not fraternise with the Zulus who worked on the film. The Government provided troops from the South African Army to play British soldiers while Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi – then emerging as a Zulu nationalist politician – was instrumental in securing the services of the Zulu extras. Prince Buthelezi (recently a Minister of the Interior in the new South African Government and leader of the Inkatha Freedom Party) accepted a small cameo role as King Cetshwayo, of whom he is a descendant.

The film is arguably one of the best-ever British action films and is greatly served by an intelligent script (by Endfield and Prebble) which concentrates on tensions within the small British garrison as it awaits the Zulu attack. Ideologically it betrays a world-weary anti-Imperialisms symptomatic of the 1960s rather than the 1870s, a factor which has ensured its popularity into recent times. No historical context for the battle of Rorke’s Drift is offered beyond a marvellously atmospheric opening sequence, depicting the devastated field at Isandlwana; instead, it concentrates on the predicament of individual soldiers, pawns in a war not of their making. ‘Why is it us?’ asks a nervous young soldier as the Zulus draw near; ‘Because we’re ‘ere’, replies the Sergeant. ‘Nobody else; just us.’ The grandeur of Imperial folly, represented by Michael Caine’s aristocratic Lieutenant Bromhead (‘My grandfather – he was the johnnie who knelt beside Wolfe at Quebec’) is deflated by Baker’s gritty realism as the pragmatic Lieutenant Chard (‘Hold our ground? Who thought that one up? Somebody’s son and heir, got a commission before he could shave?’). When, at the end of the film, Baker’s fellow Welshman, Richard Burton, intones the names of the Victoria Cross winners he does so mournfully as the camera lingers over images of wounded soldiers and burial details.

The film is wonderfully spectacular, making unparalleled use of the landscape and of the rich colours of the sky, the veld and the uniforms. The battle is superbly paced, each Zulu attack giving way to another of greater ferocity, and expertly choreographed (only the relative lack of blood jars with modern audiences, more used to the graphic imagery of Saving Private Ryan). Most remarkable is the treatment of the Zulu people themselves. The film offers no Zulu perspective on events but instead invests the Zulu warriors with a sense of menace which hearkens directly back to the awe they created in British minds in 1879. They rise up out of the long grass or appear in long lines over the hills as if they are an extension of a hostile and inexpressibly alien African landscape which threatens to swallow up the British interlopers.

The film does, of course, take huge liberties with historical fact. The real battle was more chaotic and less structured and, moreover, largely took part in the dark – which has obvious cinematic limitations! The class conflict which frames Chard and Bromhead’s relationship is a product of the 1960s, and, indeed, almost all of the historical characters have been greatly altered for the film. Colour Sergeant Bourne – a career-best performance from Nigel Green – was in fact only 23 at the time of the battle; Private Hook, the ‘insubordinate barrack-room lawyer’, was a model soldier and a tea-totaller. The Reverend Witt (played against type by Jack Hawkins) had sent his daughter away before the battle; she was in fact only a child at the time and, even had he wanted to, he could not have visited oNdini and returned before the battle as it is sixty miles from Rorke’s Drift. The enduring impression that Rorke’s Drift was defended entirely by Welshman remains a legacy of the film; in fact there were only a handful present. Nobody sang ‘Men of Harlech’, nor did the withdrawing Zulus salute their victorious enemies.None of which, actually, detract from a superb piece of cinema. Zulu may follow in the tradition of popular British mythology about Rorke’s Drift, recasting and reinventing it for new generations, but in its way it captures an essential human truth about the story and has ensured that an event which might otherwise have disappeared into obscurity continues to be vividly remembered today.

If you are interested in the making of the film Zulu, we recommend Sheldon Hall’s book, Zulu; With Some Guts Behind It, available from

www.tomahawkmedia.co.uk

(CONTINUED BELOW)

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George Eller
12-14-2007, 12:38 AM
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(CONTINUED FROM ABOVE)


ZULU DAWN (1979)
http://www.kwazulu.co.uk/anglo-zulu-war-zulu-dawn.html

Zulu Dawn was filmed in South Africa in 1978 – hoping to capitalise on the reputation of the earlier Zulu, and on press interest in the forthcoming centenary of the Anglo-Zulu War – and tells the story of the battle of Isandlwana. It begins with a cursory run-through of the events leading up to the British invasion – 10 minutes of Sir John Mills looking smug and conspiratorial as Sir H Bartle Frere, in charge of British imperial policy in South Africa. Then comes Lieutenant General Lord Chelmsford's advance to the fatal field of Isandlwana.

There is no doubt it is an uneven film, partly as a result of problems which beset the production. On the plus side, it is visually stunning, and was filmed close to the real locations. Siphezi mountain, near the modern village of Babanango, stood in for Isandlwana hill, since the producers were not allowed to film on the real battlesite and the presence of monuments, in the days before CGI, would in any case have been difficult to mask. The camera relishes the spectacle of lines of red-coated soldiers crossing rivers on ferries hauled by sweating Africans, or marching in great columns through the tawny veld. Indeed, the landscape is rather more aridly splendid than it should be, since the real events took place in the Zululand summer when the grass is a lush green. Film makers do not love the Zululand summer, however; it rains a lot and the light is a little too unreliable. The crossing of the Mzinyathi River by Chelmsford’s column, is suitably epic, but in fact, the actual morning of the invasion was cloaked in dense mist that limited visibility to a few yards – there was clearly not much cinematic mileage in that. The sequence was filmed at the real Rorke's Drift, but the column deploys from the Zulu bank into Natal, a reversal that somehow sums up the wasted opportunities of the film as a whole.

A host of well-known British actors appear in little more than cameo roles, most of them reduced to the level of historical stereotypes. Peter O'Toole plays Lord Chelmsford with an edge of icy arrogance; whatever his military failings, however, the real Chelmsford was noted for his impeccable manners. Burt Lancaster, brought in to secure American finance, struggles manfully with a spurious Oirish accent as Colonel Durnford, ‘the man-who-knows-but-no-one-will-listen-to’. Denholm Elliott plays Colonel Pulleine, Nigel Davenport Hamilton Browne, Bob Hoskins Col. Sgt. Williams, Dai Bradley Pte Williams, Phil Daniels Boy Pullen – the list is seemingly endless, but their talents are largely wasted with no character depth to get their teeth into. Whereas the narrative of Zulu is driven by the internal conflicts within the British garrison, there is a large hole in Zulu Dawn where the dramatic wellspring should be, and it is not filled by the mere hint of a romance between Durnford and Francis Colenso (who was known, incidentally, as Nel, not Fanny!), or by the woefully under-employed sparks between Durnford and Chelmsford.

Moreover, the British army in 1879, it seems, was populated by breezy young officers ('What an adventure we are on, what a spree!' declares Christopher Cazanove’s Lt Coghill, as the advance begins), by officious quartermasters who need chits to issue ammunition even at the height of battle (a deliciously over-the-top Peter Vaughan), and by cor-blimey other ranks who drink gin and play brag. There is a serious attempt to get most of the British uniforms right but there is rather too much 1970s polyester on display, and the scenes of volley-firing are undermined by the use of Martini-Henry carbines instead of rifles (not enough working rifles to be found, apparently).

It can only end one way – and indeed it does. 'It serves you damn well right,' the young Zulu warrior is surely saying as he skewers Colonel Pulleine through the chest at the film's dramatic climax. Bob Hoskins finally gets it in the back (surviving trims suggest this scene was filmed a dozen different ways) – few of the redcoats seem to die in a fair fight – and even Burt has to take it like a man, after being shot, falling off a wagon and being impaled on a spear.

In its concentration on British failings – 'Have we weaknesses, quartermaster?' – the film echoes traditional British attitudes towards the war, perpetuating myths as excuses (‘It ain’t my fault, all the lids are screwed down’) and reducing the Zulus to exotic cannon-fodder who, on this occasion, merely serve to look good and dish up well-deserved retribution. Although the film begins with an impressive ceremony at the recreated Zulu royal homestead (where King Cetshwayo is played by Simon Sabela, who also appeared in Zulu), it fails to offer any convincing Zulu perspective, and its apparent sympathy for the Zulu cause is undermined by an entirely fictitious gladiatorial contest between warriors that might have been written by Rider Haggard in his best 'noble savage' mode.

It is, moreover, a curiously bloodless film, in more ways than one. In the stunningly choreographed battle scenes, hundreds die but very few bleed, and the film captures little of the apocalyptic horror of the real Isandlwana. Apparently, by the time the film was edited the production was beset by financial wranglings and most of the gory scenes were cut to secure a family certificate in the hope of reaching a maximum audience quickly. Scenes of minor characters dying, of blood spurting through the canvas as a soldier is stabbed in a tent, and of wounded men being slaughtered in the field dressing-station all ended up on the cutting-room floor. There is, too, an odd lack of the sort of choreographed close-up fighting which made Zulu so compelling, and its absence makes the killing seem distant, anonymous, and far less viscious than it should be.

Not that there aren’t some superb moments in the battle scenes. The discovery of the Zulu impi is genuinely tense, and there are some remarkable panoramic shots of the Zulu army storming through the camp. The ‘saving the Colour’ sequence was filmed at Fugitives’ Drift, although the dramatic contrivance – a Zulu carries off the Colur in triumph, only to fall to a last shot to Simon Ward’s Lt. Vereker – is a rather limp nod to historical accuracy, an unecessary attempt to inject some personal drama and still get the Colour into the river where, historically, it belongs.

Zulu Dawn apparently ran considerably over-budget and ended amidst writs, allegations of unpaid bills and the exploitation of African extras. These problems led to a chequered cinematic and video release at the time, and seem to have only been resolved after the passage of twenty-five years. This has, at least, facilitated its release on DVD.

There is much in it to enjoy but it remains on the whole – aptly, perhaps – something of a heroic failure.

Come to that, the officers of colonial units didn't wear those chic powder-blue uniforms in real life, either.

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Shaka Zulu - The Complete Miniseries (1986)
http://www.amazon.com/Shaka-Zulu-Miniseries-Edward-Fox/dp/B00006JDQO/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=dvd&qid=1197608905&sr=1-1

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Shaka Zulu - Last Great Warrior (2005)
http://www.amazon.com/Shaka-Zulu-Last-Great-Warrior/dp/B0007PALUC/ref=pd_bbs_sr_2?ie=UTF8&s=dvd&qid=1197609056&sr=1-2

The sequel to the 1986 Mini-series - I have not seen this yet, although I did see the original 1986 mini-series.

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Zulu Wars: Shaka-King of the Zulu/Blood River/Red Coat Black Blood
Zulu Wars Trilogy (2003)
http://www.amazon.com/Zulu-Wars-Shaka-King-Blood-River/dp/B0000C506S/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=dvd&qid=1197609709&sr=1-2


Essential for Zulu War Enthusiasts!!, February 29, 2004
By Howard S. Matheney "Sam Matheney" (Fredericksburg, VA United States)

If you are a fan of the Zulu and Zulu Dawn movies, this is a DVD that you should own. Mind you, it is a documentary feature, but it is extremely well done. History buffs in general should love it. The production values are outstanding, the narration by John Hurt is excellent, and there are commentaries by Ian Knight, surely, for we Americans, the leading expert and writer on the Zulu Wars. The great majority of the trio of features consist of live action reproduction, brialliantly acted, and filmed on location in South Africa. I hesitated before buying this, as I had never caught it on the Learning or History channels, there were no extant reviews, and the packaging did not initially inspire confidence. However, my hunch paid off, and this outstanding little gem is worth every penny.

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More from Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_gw/104-7012193-8219923?url=search-alias%3Ddvd&field-keywords=shaka+zulu&x=15&y=23

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32Bravo
12-14-2007, 04:02 AM
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Yes, I've seen the movie several times. And I have it on DVD, along with Zulu (1964) and the television mini-series Shaka Zulu starring Henry Cele (South African actor and former soccer star) as the Zulu chief Shaka. Very interesting movies, even though they may not have been completely accurate.

Henry Cele's portrayal of Shaka wasn't convincing enough for me, George. In the first instance I didn't think he looked the part. It's probably on account of having read a lot about Shaka, decades ago, that I had my own impression of him and how he would have looked and behaved.

George Eller
12-14-2007, 01:50 PM
Henry Cele's portrayal of Shaka wasn't convincing enough for me, George. In the first instance I didn't think he looked the part. It's probably on account of having read a lot about Shaka, decades ago, that I had my own impression of him and how he would have looked and behaved.
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Shaka
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shaka_Zulu

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/73/KingShaka.jpg

Only known drawing of Shaka standing with
the long throwing assegai and the heavy shield
in 1824 - four years before his death.

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Henry Cele
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Cele

Henry Cele (Jan 3, 1949 – November 2, 2007) was a South African actor famous for his chilling portrayal of Shaka Zulu in SABC's Shaka Zulu miniseries. He was born in Durban, South Africa. He landed the role of Shaka Zulu after playing Shaka in a South African stage production of Shaka Zulu.

Henry also played a minor role in The Ghost and the Darkness. After Shaka Zulu he held various minor roles in action films like Point of Impact, and The Last Samurai. He had major roles in South African movies and television series. His son is a South African musician.

Prior to acting in Shaka Zulu, Henry 'Black Cat' Cele was a football (soccer) goalkeeper. He coached a professional soccer club in South Africa until his death.

After his acting career, Cele moved from his suburban home in Glenmore, South of Durban, and went back to Kwamashu township.

At the time of his death he had been in hospital for two weeks.

He was married to Jenny Hollander.

His last name is pronounced with a dental click (similar to the English click "tsk-tsk" used for disapproval). In isiZulu, the letter c is a tenuis consonant.

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Shaka Zulu star Henry Cele dies
http://www.int.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=1&click_id=13&art_id=nw20071102175937939C777165

November 02 2007 at 06:21PM

Actor Henry Cele, famous for his role as Shaka Zulu, died in Durban's St Augustine's Hospital on Friday afternoon.

The 58-year old actor passed away on Friday afternoon in the intensive care unit of the hospital, a statement released by hospital said.

He had been admitted to the hospital more than a week ago with a chest infection.

Cele became famous for his chilling portrayal of Shaka Zulu in the SABC's 1986 Shaka Zulu miniseries, and the subsequent film that also starred Edward Fox and Christopher Lee.

He also starred in films such as the 1993 film Point of Impact and the 1990 film The Last Samurai.

Born in Durban in 1949, Cele was a professional soccer player prior to becoming an actor.

He was known as Henry 'Black Cat' Cele in his position as goalkeeper for several professional soccer clubs.

His funeral will be held next week in Durban. His wife, Jenny Hollander, was at his bedside when he passed away. - Sapa

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Memorial Tribute:
http://www.respectance.com/henrycele
58 years old
Jan 30, 1949 - Nov 2, 2007
Durban, South Africa

http://m1.respectance.com/data/photos/8Fr1KV0GT0GTG0T_o.jpg

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ALSO:
http://www.actors-sa.com/a_cele.html
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0147962/
http://blog.fring.com/southafrica/?p=111

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32Bravo
12-16-2007, 10:01 AM
Interesting picture, George. It was a part of the front cover design of a book about Shaka which I read back in 1973. I believe the book is out of print but could probably be acquired from second-hand bookshops.

I never thought the picture to be a genuine likeness, even though it is contempory. Shaka was reported to have gained a lot of weight over the years which made him quite large in his later life. This is not inconsistant with the Bantu culture, as their Kings were often referred to as the 'Great Elephant' as they were considered rich in knowedge, authority and majesty. A thin or lean man was considered to be a poor man without stature or presence and could never be a king. Of course it was inconsistant to portray Shaka, the man who is reputed to have developed the stabbing spear and the tactics of mobility, as holding an over-sized spear and shield.

Francis Fynn wrote much about Shaka, and I always assumed the picture to be an artists impression, not authentic in dress and accutrements, as with many romantic pictures of that time.



Nathaniel Isaacs, who wrote about Shaka in Travels and Adventures in Eastern Africa, published in 1836, wrote to a fellow author, Henry Francis Fynn, advising him to smear Shaka and his successor, Dingane: "Make them out to be as bloodthirsty as you can and endeavour to give an estimation of the number of people they have murdered during their reign[s]." This would help sell Fynn's book and encourage British annexation of Zulu lands, which would mean a "fortune" for both authors. Dr Wylie said this had set the tone for future distortions, such as the 1980s television series Shaka Zulu, starring Henry Cele.

Not all accept the debunking. Petros Sibani, a historian and tour guide of Zulu battlefields, said there was no doubting Shaka "was a cruel and ruthless man but they were cruel and ruthless times".

George Eller
12-16-2007, 05:01 PM
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Thanks for the insight 32Bravo,

Yes, I guess it was not uncommon to romanticise the illustrations of that era. The shield does seem to be overly large even for the larger shield that Shaka was reputed to have introduced. According to wikipedia, the Zulu retained the larger throwing spear as an initial missile weapon, until the impis closed with the enemy, hand to hand (citation needed). Have you read anything that would confirm that statement?

Reading the quote below, their tactics sound very similar to those of the Roman legions.
With regard to long throwing assegai, the short-handled/long-bladed "Iklwa" stabbing spear, large cowhide shield and tactic of using shield's left side to hook the enemy's shield to the right, exposing his ribs for a fatal spear stab.

Similar to Roman legionary armed with two heavy javelins called "pila" (pilum - singular), the short sword called a "gladius", chain mail (lorica hamata) or banded armour (lorica segmentata), helmet and rectangular shield (scutum). Conventionally, the javelins would be thrown before engaging the enemy, at which point the gladius would be drawn. The soldier generally led with his shield and thrust with his sword.

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Shaka's social and military revolution
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shaka_Zulu#Shaka.27s_social_and_military_revolutio n


Weapons changes

Shaka is often said to have been dissatisfied with the long throwing assegai, and credited with introducing a new variant of the weapon—the Iklwa, a short stabbing spear, with a long, sword like spearhead. It was named, allegedly, for the sound made as it went in, then out, of the body. Shaka is also supposed to have introduced a larger, heavier shield made of cowhide and to have taught each warrior how to use the shield's left side to hook the enemy's shield to the right, exposing his ribs for a fatal spear stab. The throwing spear was not discarded, but used as an initial missile weapon, until the impis closed with the enemy, hand to hand[citation needed].

Introduction of a shorter stabbing spear area makes practical sense if an attack is to be pressed home, versus ritualized stand-off encounters involving throwing spears, as is the use of a larger shield in such close quarters combat. Implementation of a more reliable hand-held weapon would have been a must for aggressive raiding operations implemented under the Shakan regime[citation needed].

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Roman legion
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_legion


Roman Republic (509-107 BC)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_legion#Roman_Republic_.28509-107_BC.29

Heavy infantry: This was the principal unit of the legion. The heavy infantry was composed of citizen legionaries that could afford the equipment composed of an iron helmet, shield, armour and pilum, a heavy javelin whose range was about 30 meters. after 387 BC the preferred weapon for the hastati and principes was the gladius, a short sword. Their hobnailed sandals (caligae) were also an effective weapon against a fallen enemy. Prior to the Marian reforms (see below) the heavy infantry was subdivided, according to the legionaries' experience, into three separate lines:

The hastati (sing. hastatus) were the youngest, less reliable troops.

The principes (sing. princeps), men in their prime ages (late twenties to early thirties).

The triarii (sing. triarius) were the veteran soldiers; only in extreme situations would they be used in battle and rested one knee down when unengaged. They were equipped with spears rather than the pilum and gladius (the hastati and pricipes stopped using them during 387 bc), so they fought in a phalanx, and the sight of an advanced shield wall in front of them discouraged exultant enemies pursuing hastati and principes.

Each of these three lines was subdivided into maniples, each consisting of two centuries of 60 men commanded by the senior of the two centurions. Centuries were normally 60 soldiers each at this time in the hastati and principes(no longer 100 men), with 120 strong maniples. There were generally 10 maniples of hastati 10 maniples of principes and 5 triarii, plus about 1200 velites and 300 cavalry which wre as mentioned many times before made of 10 units 30 men strong, giving the mid republican legion a nominal strength of about 4200. Later on when the legions undertook the marian reforms and was made up of 80 strong centuries each century had its standard and was made up of ten units called contubernia. In a contubernium, there would be eight soldiers who shared a tent, millstone, a mule and cooking pot (depending on duration of tour). Because maniples were their main tactical elements, the legions of the early Republic are sometimes referred to as Manipular legions.

Late Republic (107-30BC)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_legion#Late_Republic_.28107-30BC.29

The legions of the Late Republic and Early Empire are often called Marian legions. Following the Battle of Vercellae in 101 BC, Marius granted all Italian soldiers Roman citizenship. He justified this action to the Senate by saying that in the din of battle he could not distinguish Roman from ally. This effectively eliminated the notion of allied legions; henceforth all Italian legions would be regarded as Roman Legions, and full Roman citizenship was open to all the regions of Italy. Thus the three different types of heavy infantry were replaced by a single, standard type based on the Principes: armed with two heavy javelins called pila, the short sword called gladius, chain mail (lorica hamata) or banded armour (lorica segmentata), helmet and rectangular shield (scutum).

The role of allied legions would eventually be taken up by contingents of allied auxiliary troops, called Auxilia. Each legion had an auxilia of similar size, which contained specialist units, engineers and pioneers, artillerymen and craftsmen, service and support personnel and irregular units made up of non-citizens, mercenaries and local militia. These were usually formed into complete units such as light cavalry, light infantry or velites, and labourers. There was also a reconnaissance squad of 10 or more light mounted infantry called speculatores who could also serve as messengers or even as an early form of military intelligence service.

As part of the Marian reforms, the legions' internal organization was standardized. Each legion was divided into cohorts. Prior to this, cohorts had been temporary administrative units or tactical task forces of several maniples, even more transitory than that of the legions of the early republic themselves. Now the cohorts were ten permanent units, composed of 6 and in the case of the first cohort 8 centuries each led by a centurion assisted by an optio, a soldier who could read and write. These came to form the basic tactical unit of the legions. The senior centurion of the legion was called the primus pilus, a career soldier and advisor to the legate that sometimes was promoted to the higher rank.

Every legion had a baggage train of 640 mules or about 1 mule for every 8 legionaries. To keep these baggage trains from becoming too large and slow, Marius had each infantryman carry as much of his own equipment as he could, including his own armour, weapons and 15 days' rations, for about 50–60 pounds of load total. To make this easier, he issued each legionary a forked stick to carry their loads on their shoulders. The soldiers were nicknamed Marius' Mules due to the amount of gear they had to carry themselves. This arrangement allowed for the supply train to become detached from the main body of the legion, thus greatly increasing the army's speed while on the march.

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Marian reforms
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marian_reforms

Gladius
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gladius


Gladius is a Latin word for shortsword...A fully-equipped Roman soldier would have been armed with a shield (scutum), several javelins (pila), a sword (gladius), probably a dagger (pugio) and perhaps a number of darts (plumbatae). Conventionally, the javelins would be thrown before engaging the enemy, at which point the gladius would be drawn. The soldier generally led with his shield and thrust with his sword.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gladius#Description
Gladii were two-edged for cutting and had a tapered point for stabbing during thrusting. A solid grip was provided by a knobbed hilt added on, possibly with ridges for the fingers. Blade strength was achieved by welding together strips, in which case the sword had a channel down the center, or by fashioning a single piece of high-carbon steel, rhomboidal in cross-section. The owner's name was often engraved or punched on the blade.

Stabbing was a very efficient technique as stabbing wounds, especially in the abdominal area, were almost always deadly (see the quotation from Vegetius under pugio).

Pilum
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pilum


The pilum (plural pila) was a heavy javelin commonly used by the Roman army in ancient times. It was generally about two meters long overall, consisting of an iron shank about 7 mm in diameter and 60 cm long with pyramidal head.

Legionaries of the Late Republic and Early Empire often carried two pila, with one sometimes being lighter than the other. Standard tactics called for a Roman soldier to throw his pilum (both if there was time) at the enemy just before charging to engage with his gladius.

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32Bravo
12-17-2007, 03:58 AM
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Yes, I guess it was not uncommon to romanticise the illustrations of that era. The shield does seem to be overly large even for the larger shield that Shaka was reputed to have introduced. According to wikipedia, the Zulu retained the larger throwing spear as an initial missile weapon, until the impis closed with the enemy, hand to hand (citation needed). Have you read anything that would confirm that statement?

Reading the quote below, their tactics sound very similar to those of the Roman legions.



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Yes, george, I have read of them using the throwing spear in the initial contact, particularly the 'chest ' and 'loin' formations'. As I mentioned earlier, their main weaponry seemed to consist of the throwing and stabbing spears and the club. However, it was the Iklwa, stabbing spear, for which they were most feared, as it 'took no prisoners'. I have considered the same comparison with the Roman legions gladus and javelin. They both often used their weapons in a similar fashion. I guess the discovery and use of these methods is a result of the natural and technological progression of an emergent, military society intent on anihilation and conquest as opposed to minor skirmishes over cattle and women?

32Bravo
12-17-2007, 08:12 AM
Some Zulu elephant culture:


Zulu Name: Indlovu - The forceful one!


The royal kraal - Umgungundlovu (the place of the Great Elephant).

Elephant's Wisdom Includes:

* Strength
* Royalty
* Connection to ancient wisdom
* Removal of obstacles and barriers
* Confidence
* Patience
* Using educational opportunities

32Bravo
12-17-2007, 08:23 AM
Once the Zulu warriors had set upon the British forces, they were able to engage in brutal hand-to-hand combat. A number of seemingly simple yet deadly weapons filled their arsenal. The most devastating was the iklwa, or stabbing spear, which is said to be named for the sound it makes as it is drawn from a body. According to legend, the iklwa was developed by Shaka, who wanted his warriors to engage their enemies at close range, and not simply toss their long spears from a distance, leaving them unarmed. The iklwa had a long, wide flat blade, about 14 to 18 inches long, attached to a staff. The entire spear was three-and-a-half to four feet long, and was thrust into the enemy with an underhanded motion, to maximize the force of the blow.


Warriors also carried an iwisa, or knobkerrie -- a stick with a round knob at the end, about four inches or so in diameter, all intricately carved from a single piece of wood. Zulu craftsmen used the hardest possible woods for the weapon. The best was iron wood, a dark, almost black, heavy wood, which produced an elegant, vicious weapon. "If you can dissociate what they were used for, they are quite interesting and attractive artifacts," says Knight. Like the stabbing spear, the iwisa was a close-quarter weapon. "You'd sort of try and knock the other guy's brains out with it," Knight says. "There was nothing very sophisticated about it."

Zulu warriors also wielded shields, which they used both to protect themselves and as an offensive weapon. They were trained to hook the shield behind their enemy's shield, and push it out of the way, which exposed the foe's body to attack. In addition, some warriors still carried long throwing spears; others had European firearms, like old flintlock muskets, "but they weren't very skilled in using them, and had to use poor powder and homemade bullets," Knight says. Chiefs often carried axes with triangular-shaped blades, "although these were more of a symbol of status," Knight adds.


Of course, the Zulu might never have vanquished the British at Isandlwana without the help of traditional Zulu medicines. Some scholars have suggested that Zulu pharmacopoeia provided more of a psychological boost than any real physiological effect. But recent scientific studies show that the medicines contained some very potent drugs. For example, warriors were given a cannabis (marijuana)-based snuff to take during battle. Analysis of the snuff has revealed that it contained extremely high levels of THC, a powerful hallucinogen, and yet no detectable levels of the chemicals that cause the sedative effects of marijuana.


At the beginning of the battle of Isandlwana, the Zulus were discovered as they sat around a waterhole taking snuff. Somewhat akin to the British taking their Gin ration. :)


In addition, warriors sometimes ingested a hallucinogenic mushroom containing a toxin called muscimol. The chemical, present in fly agaric -- a mushroom that can attract and kill flies -- is said to induce a state of expanded perception in those who ingest it. Warriors who consumed those mushrooms, researchers speculate, might have been utterly without fear, believing themselves impervious to British bullets.

When, at Isandlwana, the British used canon against the attacking Zulus, the Zulus went to ground. However, they observed that the gunners stepped away from the guns at the point of firing, so the Zulus merely dropped as they saw the gunners step back, and then continued their charge once the shell had exploded - not quite the ignorant, nonthinking savage.

George Eller
12-17-2007, 10:06 PM
Yes, george, I have read of them using the throwing spear in the initial contact, particularly the 'chest ' and 'loin' formations'. As I mentioned earlier, their main weaponry seemed to consist of the throwing and stabbing spears and the club. However, it was the Iklwa, stabbing spear, for which they were most feared, as it 'took no prisoners'. I have considered the same comparison with the Roman legions gladus and javelin. They both often used their weapons in a similar fashion. I guess the discovery and use of these methods is a result of the natural and technological progression of an emergent, military society intent on anihilation and conquest as opposed to minor skirmishes over cattle and women?
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Thanks for the confirmation 32Bravo,

Reminds me of that Biblical Proverb about there being nothing new under the sun.

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George Eller
12-17-2007, 10:08 PM
Some Zulu elephant culture:


Zulu Name: Indlovu - The forceful one!


The royal kraal - Umgungundlovu (the place of the Great Elephant).

Elephant's Wisdom Includes:

* Strength
* Royalty
* Connection to ancient wisdom
* Removal of obstacles and barriers
* Confidence
* Patience
* Using educational opportunities
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Thanks for the insight into Zulu culture. Very interesting 32Bravo :)

-

George Eller
12-17-2007, 10:17 PM
Of course, the Zulu might never have vanquished the British at Isandlwana without the help of traditional Zulu medicines. Some scholars have suggested that Zulu pharmacopoeia provided more of a psychological boost than any real physiological effect. But recent scientific studies show that the medicines contained some very potent drugs. For example, warriors were given a cannabis (marijuana)-based snuff to take during battle. Analysis of the snuff has revealed that it contained extremely high levels of THC, a powerful hallucinogen, and yet no detectable levels of the chemicals that cause the sedative effects of marijuana.

At the beginning of the battle of Isandlwana, the Zulus were discovered as they sat around a waterhole taking snuff. Somewhat akin to the British taking their Gin ration. :)


In addition, warriors sometimes ingested a hallucinogenic mushroom containing a toxin called muscimol. The chemical, present in fly agaric -- a mushroom that can attract and kill flies -- is said to induce a state of expanded perception in those who ingest it. Warriors who consumed those mushrooms, researchers speculate, might have been utterly without fear, believing themselves impervious to British bullets.

When, at Isandlwana, the British used canon against the attacking Zulus, the Zulus went to ground. However, they observed that the gunners stepped away from the guns at the point of firing, so the Zulus merely dropped as they saw the gunners step back, and then continued their charge once the shell had exploded - not quite the ignorant, nonthinking savage.

-

Fascinating 32Bravo :)

The Zulu's use of drugs and their ferocity reminds me somewhat of the Moro warriors of the southern Philippines during the Moro Rebellion of 1902-1913.



http://www.chuckhawks.com/45_back_military.htm

In the late 1890s when we were at war in the Philippines the Army had switched to a DA .38 Long Colt caliber revolver. We were facing a new type of enemy, the Muslin extremist, the Moro. They were known to use native drugs that inhibited the sensation of pain. This meant that when they went into battle with US soldiers and got shot by a rather anemic .38 caliber revolver it just did not reliably stop the Moro. After numerous US deaths, old Colt 45 revolvers, long in storage back in the States, were rushed to the Philippines and issued to the troops.

Even hopped-up Moros were unable to disregard the pain of a 45 round, no matter how big a dose of native pain killer they had taken.



http://www.donaldsensing.com/2003/12/nato-standard-pistol-is-worthless.html

In fact, the .45 Colt was developed to replace the .38-caliber revolver used by US soldiers fighting the Moros, tribesmen in the Philippines who rebelled against US rule (and Spanish rule before that). The .38 couldn't be relied on to put the Moros down; they would go into battle well fortified with homemade booze and local drugs. Some American soldiers were killed after pumping all six shots of the cylinder into a Moro, who was so anesthetized he couldn't feel the pain and so lean muscled that the weak .38 round often would not penetrate deep enough to drop him. And of course, reloading a revolver then - before speedloaders were invented - was a lengthy task.



http://www.tacticalforums.com/cgi-bin/tacticalubb/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=78;t=001448

The young aspirants for martyrdom were then bathed, the nails were trimmed to the quick and the teeth were washed. The eyebrows were shaved until they resembled "a moon two days old." The head was shaved, the scanty beard was plucked, and the waist was encircled with a tight, wide band for strengthening effect. The candidate was clothed in a white robe and crowned with a white turban. The genitals were bound tightly with cords, and the body was bound here and there with cords, tightly, to prevent circulation and loss of blood. A man so prepared was able to remain on his feet although dying from fatal wounds.



http://www.tacticalforums.com/cgi-bin/tacticalubb/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=78;t=001448
Wound ballistics as it pertains to firearms was probably not something that they considered. You have to remember that for centuries Moro warriors used edged weapons as a way of life. Typical injuries to extremities and even amputations of arms in particular would be a consequence of such close range fighting with swords such as the Kris. Tying off extremities would limit blood loss from such injuries (basically you have tourniquets before you get wounded). The use of drugs was also encouraged to reduce fear and reduce pain (also not uncommon in many African and Middle Eastern regions). Not to mention that these men were extremely determined and raised from the time they were children to be warriors (ultimate example of warrior mindset).

The result is that these men were prepared to die and fight till the end. The wraps on their bodies that restricted blood loss from severe cuts due to edged weapons tended to do the same for rifle and pistol wounds (which are often much less severe)

Moro Rebellion
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moro_rebellion
http://www.ezania.net/library/articles/philippines/moro_muslims_engage_usa_army.htm

ALSO:
http://morolandhistory.com/Articles/Legend%20of%20Colt%2045.pdf

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32Bravo
12-18-2007, 03:59 AM
The .45 round was devastating, especially the high velocity type. The wounds they inflicted caused massive internal trauma to bone and tissue. I doubt there's a drug which could enable a person to absorb the pain and remain alert. What the drugs did achieve, was to remove the fear of becoming a casualty.

George Eller
12-18-2007, 09:28 AM
The .45 round was devastating, especially the high velocity type. The wounds they inflicted caused massive internal trauma to bone and tissue. I doubt there's a drug which could enable a person to absorb the pain and remain alert. What the drugs did achieve, was to remove the fear of becoming a casualty.

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BIG .45's: :)

British Martini-Henry
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martini-Henry


http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/e/e4/Martini-Henry_1867.jpg/800px-Martini-Henry_1867.jpg

Specifications
Weight 9 lb 5 oz (unloaded)
Length 52in (1250mm)
Cartridge .577/450 Martini-Henry
Calibre .577/450 Martini-Henry
Action Martini Falling Block/Peabody action
Rate of fire 10 rounds/minute
Muzzle velocity 900 ft/s
Effective range 600yds
Maximum range 1500yds
Feed system Single shot
Sights Sliding ramp rear sights, Fixed-post front sights

In their original chambering, the rifles fired a .451-inch (11.455 mm) rimmed cartridge, known today as the .577/450, a bottle-neck design with the same base as the .577 cartridge of the Snider-Enfield and, with 85 grains (5.51 g) of powder, notorious for its heavy recoil. The cartridge case was ejected to the rear when the lever was operated.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/9/99/Snider-Martini-Enfield_Cartridges.JPG/800px-Snider-Martini-Enfield_Cartridges.JPG
(From Left to Right): A .577 Snider cartridge, a Zulu War-era rolled brass foil .577/450 Martini-Henry Cartidge, a later drawn brass .577/450 Martini-Henry cartridge, and a .303 British Mk VII SAA Ball cartridge.


http://www.martinihenry.com/

The original cartridge case was made of a thin sheet of brass rolled around a mandrel, which was then soldered to an iron base. These cartridges were assembled by the orphaned children of British Soldiers, and were relatively cheap to produce. They were found to be vulnerable to being easily damaged, and produced inferior muzzle velocities. Later, the rolled brass case was replaced by a solid brass version which remedied both of these problems. There was also a Carbine version of the Boxer-Henry .45 Caliber cartridge. This round used a 410 grain bullet with 70 grains of black powder, instead of the 480 grain bullet and 85 grains of powder used in the infantry rifle load.

Consider the 480 grain bullet of the .577/450 Martini-Henry cartridge compared to the 230 grain bullet of the .45 ACP ball ammunition used by the Colt M1911A1 automatic (service pistol).

Martini-Henry - More:
http://www.martinihenry.com/
http://www.antiquestopic.com/martini-henry-rifle-1881/

------------------------

American .45-70
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.45-70


The .45-70 rifle cartridge, also known as .45-70 Government, was developed at the U.S. Army's Springfield Armory for use in the Springfield Model 1873 .45 caliber rifle, known to collectors (but never to the Army) as the "Trapdoor Springfield." The new cartridge was a replacement for the stop-gap .50-70 Government cartridge which had been adopted in 1866, one year after the end of the American Civil War.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f1/45-70_Government.JPG
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a7/45-70_Sample.jpg
For comparison: a .30-06, .45-70, and .50-90, respectively.

405 grain bullet and 70 grains of powder initially.

It was last used in quantity during the Spanish-American War, and was not completely purged from the inventory until well into the 20th century.


1873 Springfield Trapdoor Rifles and Carbines
http://www.marstar.ca/gf-pedersoli/Pedersoli-1873-Trapdoor.shtm



http://www.marstar.ca/gf-pedersoli/images/PD-Trapdoor-x3.jpg

The design of the Springfield Trapdoor action is largely based upon its predecessor whose designer, Master Armourer E.S. Allin of Springfield Armory, developed as a conversion for the approximately 1,500,000 muzzle- loading percussion rifles left over from the Civil war - which while servicable were demonstrably obsolete with the advent and adoption of reliable cartridge-firing long arms. As was the case with many other armies the world over (one notable example being the British with their Snider-Enfield conversion rifles) the U.S. army were more open to adopting a cost-efficient conversion system than buying all new rifles (not to mention retraining tens of thousands of troops) but by the 1870s a replacement was badly needed for the aging M1868 .50 calibre Springfield. The 'Second Allin' (or 'trapdoor') action was modified but retained, the bore diameter reduced to .45, and the new rifle given the designation of its year of adoption (1873).

M1873 to M1888 US Springfield:
http://www.militaryrifles.com/US/73-88Allin.htm

http://www.militaryrifles.com/US/88Allin07a.jpg

http://www.wildernesstrading.com/1889trapdoor2.jpg

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32Bravo
12-18-2007, 05:43 PM
Bayete Nkosi.

I'm not that much of a spec/tech type of chap. I only used to take in as much as was required to do the job. So, I'm not much of a one for lecturing others on balistics as there are others on this site, perhaps, better qualified than I. However, for those who do not have much knowledge and are interested I think I'll explain one or two things, and maybe others can elaborate.

In the time of the smooth-bore musket, the ball would more or less bounce along the barrel of the weapon before exiting from the barrel, and it's inal flight was unpredictable. As technology improved, a spiralling groove (which we call rifling) was added to the inside of the barrel in order to make the round spin which in turn made it more accurate (much the same as spinning a rugby ball or American football, when passing). As the round travels through the air at supersonic speed, it creates a vortex caused by the spinning bullet leaving a vacuum behind and the air rushing back into the void. This vortex is known to trained marksmen and spotters as 'Swirl', and, basically, a trained observer is able to follow its progress to a target and give corrections to the marksman.

Now, the spinning does not end when the round strikes its target. The round punches its way through any resistance i.e. bone and tissue and as it does so it creates a vacuum within the body which sucks in air at great force. The larger the calibre of weapon, the greater the damage to soft tissue and bone. So, the inrush of air sucks in loose material (clothing, bone and tissue) which has been damaged by the round passing through the body, and bursts out of the other side creating an exit wound. The round doesn't drill through resistance, it punches its way through with great force.

Sometimes, when the round strikes hard tissue i.e. bone, it is deflected or even broken, but it usually continues travelling at great speed causing massive internal injuries, which might not be observable externally (and explains why the Zulus thought the bullets were poisened), and/or gaping exit wounds.

As one chap in the film Zulu Dawn commented "Yeah, but bullets run-out...but spears don't!" :)

32Bravo
12-19-2007, 04:00 AM
George, here's a little I found in book, hiding in the loft, regarding shields and spears:

"Each warrior carried the characteristic oval cow-hide war shield of the Zulu. These shields were the property of the state rather than the individual, and were kept in special stores and issued when mustered for duty. The original Shakan shield, the isihlangu, was as much as five feet tall by thirty inches wide, and was designed to shelter a warrior from chin to ankles. By 1879 most isihlangu shields were perhaps six inches smaller all round, and a smaller shield was most popular. This was the umbhumbulosu, which had been intoroduced by Cetshwayo in the civil war of 1856, and was about 40 inches long by 20 inches wide.

The isihlangu was probably confined to older, more conservative men." :)

More on the spears later.

32Bravo
12-19-2007, 08:22 AM
“The iklwa, the prototype weapon introduced by Shaka, had a fearsome blade some 18 inches long and an inch and half wide at the base, mounted on a 30 inch shaft. By 1879 such impressive weapons were losing their popularity in favour of narrower, shorter-bladed variants, but the stabbing spear remained an extremely effective weapon under the right circumstances. It was wielded in practised harmony with the movements of the big leather shield recalling classic combat techniques of the ancient Roman legionary with his short sword.

Most men also carried one or two lighter throwing spears, izijula, with smaller blades. In flight the weapon could achieve considerable velocity, and it must have been able to transfix a human target easily; on the whole, however, the British were unimpressed.”

"..on the whole, however, the British were unimpressed" I'm sure those at isandlwana might beg to differ. :)

32Bravo
12-19-2007, 09:16 AM
By the way. I've just purchased a copy of this book for a friend as a gift. naturally, I had a peak - it's a good read in its own right.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Zulu-Some-Behind-Making-Movie/dp/0953192660

32Bravo
12-19-2007, 02:16 PM
By the way. On matters ulu, did anyone ever see the film the 'Naked Prey'?

http://videodetective.com/default.aspx?PublishedID=504

Not unlike the early scenes of 'The Run of the Arrow'

http://www.channel4.com/film/reviews/film.jsp?id=107837

George Eller
12-20-2007, 12:31 AM
Bayete Nkosi.

I'm not that much of a spec/tech type of chap. I only used to take in as much as was required to do the job. So, I'm not much of a one for lecturing others on balistics as there are others on this site, perhaps, better qualified than I. However, for those who do not have much knowledge and are interested I think I'll explain one or two things, and maybe others can elaborate.

In the time of the smooth-bore musket, the ball would more or less bounce along the barrel of the weapon before exiting from the barrel, and it's inal flight was unpredictable. As technology improved, a spiralling groove (which we call rifling) was added to the inside of the barrel in order to make the round spin which in turn made it more accurate (much the same as spinning a rugby ball or American football, when passing). As the round travels through the air at supersonic speed, it creates a vortex caused by the spinning bullet leaving a vacuum behind and the air rushing back into the void. This vortex is known to trained marksmen and spotters as 'Swirl', and, basically, a trained observer is able to follow its progress to a target and give corrections to the marksman.

Now, the spinning does not end when the round strikes its target. The round punches its way through any resistance i.e. bone and tissue and as it does so it creates a vacuum within the body which sucks in air at great force. The larger the calibre of weapon, the greater the damage to soft tissue and bone. So, the inrush of air sucks in loose material (clothing, bone and tissue) which has been damaged by the round passing through the body, and bursts out of the other side creating an exit wound. The round doesn't drill through resistance, it punches its way through with great force.

Sometimes, when the round strikes hard tissue i.e. bone, it is deflected or even broken, but it usually continues travelling at great speed causing massive internal injuries, which might not be observable externally (and explains why the Zulus thought the bullets were poisened), and/or gaping exit wounds.

As one chap in the film Zulu Dawn commented "Yeah, but bullets run-out...but spears don't!" :)
-

Definitely would not want to be on the receiving end of the Martini-Henry's .45 caliber 480 grain bullet. :)

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George Eller
12-20-2007, 12:40 AM
“The iklwa, the prototype weapon introduced by Shaka, had a fearsome blade some 18 inches long and an inch and half wide at the base, mounted on a 30 inch shaft. By 1879 such impressive weapons were losing their popularity in favour of narrower, shorter-bladed variants, but the stabbing spear remained an extremely effective weapon under the right circumstances. It was wielded in practised harmony with the movements of the big leather shield recalling classic combat techniques of the ancient Roman legionary with his short sword.

Most men also carried one or two lighter throwing spears, izijula, with smaller blades. In flight the weapon could achieve considerable velocity, and it must have been able to transfix a human target easily; on the whole, however, the British were unimpressed.”

-

Guess we were not alone in noticing the similarities between Zulu and Roman combat techniques and weaponry. :)

-

"..on the whole, however, the British were unimpressed" I'm sure those at isandlwana might beg to differ. :)
-

Amen to that :)

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George Eller
12-20-2007, 12:53 AM
By the way. I've just purchased a copy of this book for a friend as a gift. naturally, I had a peak - it's a good read in its own right.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Zulu-Some-Behind-Making-Movie/dp/0953192660
-

Wow...thanks for the tip 32Bravo. This is a book I plan to order. :)



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"Zulu": With Some Guts Behind It, The Making of the Epic Movie (Hardcover)
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Zulu-Some-Behind-Making-Movie/dp/0953192660

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51SVG6C857L._SS500_.jpg

Synopsis

This is the full story of the making of Zulu, one of the best-loved and most enduringly popular British films ever made. It tells the epic story of the Battle of Rorke's Drift of 1879, in which barely 150 soldiers of the British Army in South Africa fought for twelve hours to hold an isolated mission station against sustained assault from 4000 highly disciplined Zulu warriors. Zulu enjoyed blockbusting box office success and now holds near-legendary status in the British popular imagination. Written in a lively and accessible style and lavishly illustrated throughout, this is the definitive account of the filming of one of the great movie epics. Covered in fascinating detail are such topics as: How hundreds of Zulu tribesmen, many of whom had never before seen a film, were taught to perform for the camera; Filming under Apartheid: vivid reminiscences of working in the midst of an oppressive political regime; We are taken behind the cameras with actors Stanley Baker, Michael Caine, Jack Hawkins, James Booth, Nigel Green and Ivor Emmanuel; How the battle was reconstructed against the spectacular backdrop of Natal's Drakensberg mountain range. The book is based on three years of original research and dozens of new interviews with cast and crew members and their families. It includes: The original article by John Prebble, never before published in full; First-hand accounts of shooting the film, many never before published; Extracts from the screenplay and script notes, never before published; Extracts from letters and production documents, never before published; Hundreds of rare and unusual illustrations, many never before published; Biographies of all the principal actors and filmmakers.

-

Most Helpful Customer Reviews:

An Excellent book!!!, 6 Oct 2005
By Gene R. Obrien (Union, New Jersey USA)

If you love the movie 'Zulu' as I have since my father took me to see it in 1964, then this is the book for you. The only other way to get thisclose is to have actually been there during the filming. Probably one of the best 'making of' books written and Dr. Hall has done a superior job!!

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The Making of an Epic Book., 16 Aug 2007
By Quiverbow (Kent, England)

Anyone interested in how the film making process works should take note of this book. It may only concern itself with Zulu (the best film ever in my humble opinion) but it envelops far more: how screenplays come into being, casting actors, location and prop management, editing, and the trials of submitting a film for certification.

Until I read this, I knew nothing of the background to the film, merely what it was about. I knew 11 VCs were won at Rorke's Drift, but not that 17 of the 112 men died. Filmed between 25th March and 26th July 1963, the inception went back as far as April 1958 with an article called 'Slaughter in the Sun' published in 'Lilliput' magazine. The author of that, John Prebble, turned it into a screenplay called Zulu (after many rewrites and revisions).

Sheldon Hall's exhaustive research details scenes left on the cutting room floor, and not in a passing manner, with explanations of why they were excised. With this information, you'll know why certain scenes would never have worked, too. Dozens of both on and off set photos compliment the commentary and every page is turned in anticipation of what secrets will be revealed.

You'll also realise how much reviewers seem out of touch with the man-in-the-street. Reviewers shouldn't concern themselves with speculation as to the likely social effects of the subject but to tell the reader whether it's any good. This is more than good: it's a work of art itself.

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More books: (194 results)

http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_ss_b?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=zulu+war&Go.x=11&Go.y=10

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George Eller
12-20-2007, 01:20 AM
George, here's a little I found in book, hiding in the loft, regarding shields and spears:

"Each warrior carried the characteristic oval cow-hide war shield of the Zulu. These shields were the property of the state rather than the individual, and were kept in special stores and issued when mustered for duty. The original Shakan shield, the isihlangu, was as much as five feet tall by thirty inches wide, and was designed to shelter a warrior from chin to ankles. By 1879 most isihlangu shields were perhaps six inches smaller all round, and a smaller shield was most popular. This was the umbhumbulosu, which had been intoroduced by Cetshwayo in the civil war of 1856, and was about 40 inches long by 20 inches wide.

The isihlangu was probably confined to older, more conservative men." :)

More on the spears later.
-

Looks like that further discredits the accuracy of the image depicted below. The shield is too tall and too wide. And as you pointed out earlier in this thread, the Zulu chief Shaka would likely have been quite stout.

Shaka
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shaka_Zulu

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/73/KingShaka.jpg

Only known drawing of Shaka standing with
the long throwing assegai and the heavy shield
in 1824 - four years before his death.


Interesting picture, George. It was a part of the front cover design of a book about Shaka which I read back in 1973. I believe the book is out of print but could probably be acquired from second-hand bookshops.

I never thought the picture to be a genuine likeness, even though it is contempory. Shaka was reported to have gained a lot of weight over the years which made him quite large in his later life. This is not inconsistant with the Bantu culture, as their Kings were often referred to as the 'Great Elephant' as they were considered rich in knowedge, authority and majesty. A thin or lean man was considered to be a poor man without stature or presence and could never be a king. Of course it was inconsistant to portray Shaka, the man who is reputed to have developed the stabbing spear and the tactics of mobility, as holding an over-sized spear and shield.

Francis Fynn wrote much about Shaka, and I always assumed the picture to be an artists impression, not authentic in dress and accutrements, as with many romantic pictures of that time.

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32Bravo
12-20-2007, 03:50 AM
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Wow...thanks for the tip 32Bravo. This is a book I plan to order. :)



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More books: (194 results)

http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_ss_b?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=zulu+war&Go.x=11&Go.y=10

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Do you really see Michael Caine beating that bloody, great Zulu in a wrestling Match??? :)

Rising Sun*
12-20-2007, 06:16 AM
Regarding drawing of Shaka, it was standard practice for the period for Western artists to render Africans and other native peoples as idealised versions of European bodies (or caricatures, depending upon their intent).

Like this, which bears no resemblance to what Australian Aborigines looked like and has everything to do with classical European artistic renditions of the male form at the time. Note the bloke in the middle, in particular, whose body looks like something from an art student's book from da Vinci onwards.

http://www.lib.monash.edu.au/exhibitions/aborigines/xab4.jpg

32Bravo
12-20-2007, 07:27 AM
Regarding drawing of Shaka, it was standard practice for the period for Western artists to render Africans and other native peoples as idealised versions of European bodies (or caricatures, depending upon their intent).

Like this, which bears no resemblance to what Australian Aborigines looked like and has everything to do with classical European artistic renditions of the male form at the time. Note the bloke in the middle, in particular, whose body looks like something from an art student's book from da Vinci onwards.

http://www.lib.monash.edu.au/exhibitions/aborigines/xab4.jpg


Yes, that remained pretty much the norm, until someone brought a Hottentot woman, whom they named Venus, to Britain and then took hero on a tour of Europe. The 'bustle' was designed for women to replicate her curvacious behind. Suddenly, art, regarding Africans, began to resemble their true anatomy although some caricatured it, which was rather more demaning than the those pictures posted by RS.

http://hellonegro.wordpress.com/2007/07/26/hottentot-venus-or-just-a-big-booty-magazine-cover-model/

George Eller
12-20-2007, 02:46 PM
-

"Zulu": With Some Guts Behind It, The Making of the Epic Movie (Hardcover)
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Zulu-Some-Behind-Making-Movie/dp/0953192660

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51SVG6C857L._SS500_.jpg

-


Do you really see Michael Caine beating that bloody, great Zulu in a wrestling Match??? :)

-

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Well, er um...actually no :)

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32Bravo
12-21-2007, 09:05 AM
Perhaps, that which most of us forget, or neglect, when discussing the Anglo Zulu War, is that there were 3 British columns which invaded Zululand.

Number 4 Column was lead by, arguably, the two most able British commanders of the time. They Being: Colonel Evelyn Woods and his deputy Lt Colonel Redvers (Reevers) Buller. Both men were prot'eg'es of Sir Garnet Wolsley.

http://www.britishbattles.com/zulu-war/khambula.htm

32Bravo
12-21-2007, 09:14 AM
The last of the three British invasion forces was N01 Column inthe south, under Colonel Charles pearson of the Buffs.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_Eshowe