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Offline >Herman<

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Our KZN Battlefields trip
« on: April 19, 2006, 01:48:13 pm »
We left Centurion at 6 to meet the Adventure family at the Total garage on the N3 before Heidelberg. We were supposed to meet them at 7, but some mysterious cat tripped their alarm and they arrived a few minutes late. But no worries, as it allowed Marina & I to have a nice cup of coffee.

We were 5 people, 3 bikes. A great group!

From the garage we rode towards Standerton for breakfast at the Wimpy. The road there was bad, lots of potholes and traffic. In Standerton we met my boet-in-law from Secunda for breakfast.

From Standerton we left towards Volksrust. The road conditions worsened, sometimes it was faster to overtake the cars, taxis & trucks on the gravel.

After Volksrust we turned right, onto a lekker dirt road towards Majuba, our first battlefield to view.  Majuba in the background, with the bikes



Some of the graves & memorials:






The little house at the field:


From above:


We decided to carry on with the dirt road to Memel, thus we had to deflate the tyres.


The exist:


We headed towards Memel on one the best pieces of dirt I've ridden. It had nice hard pack dirt, with the odd sand, rocky section and ruts to deal with. It was awesome.


The road was littered with old grave sites & memorials


In Memel we enjoyed a Coke and some snack. A small town.


We enjoyed our first section of gravel so much that we decided to head to Ladysmith via dirt. Good idea!! When one travel of the beaten track, you can see so much more of our beautiful country.



In Ladysmith we signed in at the Boer & Brit (see my post in Interesting Places). That was day ONE.

The next morning after breakfast we headed to Blood River.  On our way there Adventurer saw a signpost indicating another battlefield, Elandslaagte. We turned, and what a good decision.


It was a spectacular site, two koppies from where the battle was fought.



Cool shot of Adventurer, Marina & Miss Adventurer


We then stopped at this little shop for cold drinks and chips


THEN BLOOD RIVER!! What a site!!!!

Typical dress for a Voortrekker from that era


Some background info at Reception



Outside wat this granite (I think, or it could be marble) replica of an oxwagon



Some pictures of the laer of oxwagons, as it was parked on that day.



We even had time for an oxwagon race, and because I'm younger that Adventurer, I choose the convertible  :D


The "Gelofte"


Marina:


The Adventure family


Cool shot


From Blood River we headed to Vryheid for petrol (I had 2km range left!!  :shock: ) From Vryheid we headed to Rouck's Drif. A battle between the Zulu Impi's and the Pommies. It has a good museum were you can see the items & clothing from that era.  What happened here was that the Zulus gave the pommies a beating and a half, the pommies retreated to Rouck's mission.




Die drif


The actual battlefield




The piles of white rock indicates mass graves of British soldiers, the closer to the top the bigger the graves. I felt sorry for those soldiers. They were sent here by a Queen that could not be bothered what happens to them, as long as her empire grew...





To be continued...


PS: Adventurer, please add your pictures and story. Thanks.

shark_za

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Our KZN Battlefields trip
« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2006, 02:10:35 pm »
Awesome trip to do man!
Jealous.

But you are lying, this is your sunday best for die kerk man, you wear it every week, admit it.




And the oxwagon pic is actually the parking lot at Centurion Mall.
 

Offline LuckyStriker

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Our KZN Battlefields trip
« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2006, 02:14:41 pm »
Great pics!
Great ride!

but it should have been called the AWB-tour! :lol:
 

Offline Grootseun

Our KZN Battlefields trip
« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2006, 02:21:53 pm »
Wow, reminds me of a trip i took with my parents when i was little....

Great report skaap...well done

cant wait for the rest...
 

Offline Maverick

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Our KZN Battlefields trip
« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2006, 02:32:19 pm »
Cool report BBBS, lekker trip back into history to remind us of humble beginnings and fighting the tommies :D You did not run into any penkoppe who might still be in hiding :)
Maverick Disclaimer: This thread is intended for the use of the individual(s) named above and may contain information that is confidential privileged or unsuitable for overly sensitive persons with low self-esteem, no sense of humor or irrational religious beliefs. If you are not the intended recipient, any dissemination, distribution or copying of this thread is not authorised (either explicitly or implicitly) and constitutes an irritating social faux pas.
 

Offline Leo

Our KZN Battlefields trip
« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2006, 02:38:05 pm »
Nice one skaapkop.

Please more..........  8)
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Offline macduff

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Our KZN Battlefields trip
« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2006, 03:17:51 pm »
gee, i just learned more than i ever did at school....
nice one bla bla..... keep them coming  :)  :)
 

Offline >Herman<

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Our KZN Battlefields trip
« Reply #7 on: April 19, 2006, 03:47:00 pm »
Part two:

Background detail of some of the battlefields we visited:

Battle of Isandlwana

Eleven days before the historic Isandlwana battle, during which the British army was to suffer its biggest defeat ever at the hands of a native military foe, British High Commissioner in South Africa at the time, Sir Bartle Frere, had launched an invasion of Zululand after the expiry of his impossible ultimatum to the Zulu King Cetshwayo had expired. Frere was trying to establish a confederation of white-led states in southern Africa, but the Zulus stood firmly in the path of his ambitions.

Under the command of Major General Lord Chelmsford, three columns were sent to converge on the Zulu Royal ikhanda ? or military camp ? at Ulundi. The coastal column was commanded by Colonel Charles Pearson, the central column by Colonel Richard Glyn, and the third ? highly mobile ? column by Colonel Evelyn Wood. In addition, Brevet Colonel Anthony Durnford and Colonel Hugh Rowlands each commanded an additional reserve force.

General Chelmsford accompanied the central column, thereby effectively over-riding the command of Colonel Glyn. This column crossed the Mzinyathi ? or Buffalo ? River at Rorke's Drift on Sunday the 11th of January 1879. Their first action took place the following day when they attacked the settlement of Chief Sihayo, after which they advanced to the site below the sphinx-shaped hill known as Isandlwana, where they established a camp. As they considered it a temporary camp, unlikely to suffer an attack, they undertook no entrenchments. The column totalled some 4,907 men and included 302 wagons and carts, 1,507 oxen and 116 horses and mules.

At dawn on the 21st of January Major John Dartnell led a party of about 150 men on a reconnaissance mission, some 16km to the south-east in the area of the Hlazakazi Hill. Commandant Rupert Lonsdale simultaneously led 1,600 men of the Natal Native Contingent in the direction of the Malakatha Mountain. During these movements some Zulus were observed on the Magogo Heights. After several skirmishes, Dartnell sent two men back to Isandlwana to report to Chelmsford, and inform him that his party would spend the night on the slopes of Hlakazi.

The following morning Chelmsford and Colonel Glyn rode out in the direction of Hlakazi and met up with Dartnell, leaving the camp under the command of Lt. Colonel Henry Pulleine, who at this point had a total of 1,768 men in the camp, it having also been reinforced by Durnford?s reserves.

On the 22nd of January, a scouting party of mounted troops, led by Lt. Charles Raw, observed some Zulus and set off in pursuit. As they approached the edge of the Mabazo overlooking the Ngwebeni Valley, they spotted the 24,000-strong Zulu main force camped below.

Meanwhile, on the 17th of January, the 28,000-strong Zulu army, under command of Cetshwayo's Prime Minister Mnyamana Buthelezi, had left kwaNodwengo ? near present-day Ulundi ? and proceeded across the White Umfolozi River. On the 18th 4,000 warriors under Godide kaNdlela set off from the main body to attack Pearson at Nyazane, near Eshowe. The remaining 24,000 Zulus camped at the isiPhezi ikhanda, their trail behind them leaving the grass flat for five months! On the 19th they split into two parallel columns and camped near Babanango mountain. On the 20th they moved a further 18km and camped near Siphezi mountain, and on the 21st they moved in small groups into the Ngwebeni valley where they remained hidden until their discovery by Raw and his men on the 22nd.

The Zulus had intended attacking the following day, but Raw's men fired into their ranks and they began to stream towards Isandlwana. Raw reached the camp around 12h15 to warn of the approaching enemy. A defensive line was established between the rump of the hill, across the rocky plan to the Nyokane donga. Durnford's men who had already commenced their advance withdrew to the donga when the rocket battery was overrun.

The main Zulu attack began at 12h30 with 20,000 men, 4,000 being held in reserve. At first the British line, comprised mainly of the 1st and 24th regiments, held firm with the two guns keeping a steady fire. However, as many as a third of the Zulus were armed with some type of firearm, which eventually began to take its toll and the warriors advanced to within 800 metres of the somewhat extended British line, due to a shortage of men who had also begun to run short of ammunition. A simultaneous partial eclipse of the sun during the fighting added an eerie quality to the battle.

Realising that the initial attack had failed, the Zulu commanders sent Ndlaka and an induna forward to encourage the warriors. At this point Durnford?s position on the right collapsed and his men fell back towards the saddle, through which the warriors surged across the British line. As their line fell back from the Zulu advance, the right horn of the Zulu force had made its way behind the hill to cut off any British retreat back towards Rorke?s Drift.

By about 3pm the British position had been overrun, and those who tried to escape the slaughter attempted to flee via the saddle between Isandlwana and Black?s koppie. Most of these fugitives were stopped by the Zulu?s right horn, and only a few on horseback got away.

Lieutenants Melvill and Coghill bravely attempted to save the battalion?s Queen?s Colour but were killed in the attempt, the colours being washed downstream and recovered on the 4th of February.

Chelmsford, who had been operating in the hills to the south-east, was informed of the disaster at 3pm and the remnants of the central column cautiously returned to Isandlwana as evening fell. The reality of the situation together with the reports of the ongoing battle raging at Rorke?s Drift made him resume his march before dawn, reaching the Mzinyathi River shortly after the Zulus had returned to Zululand.

Both sides lost heavily in the battle. Estimates of British losses were 1,357, and approximately 3,000 Zulu warriors were also killed. At this news, King Cetshwayo said ..'alas, a spear has been thrust into the belly of the nation'.

The site is open daily between 08h00 and 17h00. An entrance fee is payable. Toilets are also available.

ACCESS INFORMATION:
The battle site is situated off the R68 Road, between Nqutu and Babanango.


The Battle of Rorke's Drift

The Battle of Rorke's Drift was fought on the same day, 22 January 1879, as the nearby Battle of Isandlwana, where the British army suffered the most humiliating defeat in its history against a native military force, fighting the Zulu army of King Cetshwayo.

After the central column of Major General Lord Chelmsford had crossed the Mzinyathi River in its invasion of Zululand, It was on its way to its meeting with destiny at Isandlwana, the mission buildings below Shiyane Hill ? also known as the Oskarsberg ? were converted into a hospital and provision depot. Under the command of Major Henry Spalding, the camp included Lieutenant John Chard of the 5th company, Royal Engineers, who was tasked with preparing an entrenchment intended to be occupied by G Company of the 1/24th Regiment under Captain Rainsforth and which was due to advance from Helpmekaar on the morning of the battle. Also at the camp was B Company of the2/24th Regiment under Lt.Gonville Bromhead, and one company of the 2/3rd Natal Native Contingent. Chard, who had ridden to Isandlwana had returned by mid-morning.

There was no sign of G Company, so Spalding rode off towards Helpmekaar to look for them, leaving Chard in command during his absence.

Later that morning intense gunfire was heard from the direction of Isandlwana, and news soon reached Chard of the disaster that had struck the Central Column. Chard hastily ordered preparations for a defensive stand at Rorke's Drift.

Bromhead ordered mealie bags and biscuit boxes to be taken from the store and used in the fortifications. B Company?s tents were struck, the water cart filled and dragged into the yard between the two buildings, and two wagons were also pulled into the defences incorporating the two buildings.

Patients in the hospital who were able to bear arms were posted at positions in the hospital.

The Zulu reserves, under the command of Cetshwayo's brother Prince Dabulamanzi kaMpande who rode on a white horse, totalled some 4,000 warriors and had crossed the Mzinyathi River at a point above Fugitives' Drift and advanced towards the post. As they approached the Natal Native Contingent they and their white officers fled, leaving Chard with about 100 able-bodied men. This meant that the original perimeter was far too extended, so Chard hastily had a new barricade of biscuit boxes built from the corner of the storehouse to the front wall.

The Zulu attack was launched at around 4:30 pm, with the terraces behind the post having been occupied by warriors. Somewhat inaccurate rifle fire was directed at the defenders, who responded with well-controlled volleys. Several elements of the Zulu force charged toward the front of the hospital, but Prince Dabulamanzi dismounted and encouraged his warriors to attack en masses rather than in small groups. Repeated attacks were launched, and eventually sniping from the Shiyane terraces began to take its toll.

At about 6pm Chard decided to consolidate his position, which necessitated abandoning the hospital. The defenders withdrew gradually, room by room, assisted by Private John Williams who used a pick-axe to breach the internal walls. Their slow progress was marked by some acts of incredible bravery, especially since the Zulus had set fire to the roof. Chard's men provided covering fire to enable the men to cross the open area between the hospital and the new perimeter.

The Zulus launched waves of renewed fierce attacks crashing into the defences. The defender's rifle fire was so intense that their gun barrels glowed red-hot. Chard ordered a mealie bag redoubt to be built in front of the store to be used as a final stand. Snipers from the terraces now joined the attack, and the Zulus succeeded in occupying the stone kraal on the east side of the perimeter. Fierce, almost hand-to-hand fighting continued until around midnight, when the Zulu attack began to slacken due to sheer exhaustion. Firing finally ceased at around 4 am the following day.

At dawn the defenders gazed in amazement at the carnage that surrounded them. Then, at about 7 am the Zulus reappeared, only to sit down and rest on the western side of the post. The weary defenders prepared to face a renewed onslaught, only to witness the warriors rising up and moving back down to the Mzinyathi River where they crossed back into Zululand, within a few hundred metres of Lord Chelmsford who was returning with the remainder of the Central Column, who had left Isandwana shortly before dawn.

The defenders lost 15, plus two who were to die later from their wounds. Virtually every other man had been wounded. The Zulus lost over 370 warriors who were counted and buried in two mass graves, and at least a further 100 were dragged away by the departing warriors towards the river.

Subsequent to the battle the British awarded 11 Victoria Crosses, the highest decoration for bravery, to some of the defenders. This remains until today the largest number of VCs awarded in any single engagement, anywhere in the world!

There is a museum and interpretation centre at the site, which is open from 08h00 to 17h00 daily. There is a picnic site and toilets. The nearby ELC Craft centre is also well- worth a visit, and is open from 08h00 to 17h30 on weekdays, and between 10h00 and 15h00 on Sundays..

ACCESS INFORMATION:
The battle site is well signposted, and is situated off the R68 road between Dundee and Nqutu.


The Battle of Spionkop (Spioenkop)

The Battle of Spionkop also known as the Battle of Spioenkop was fought on the 23rd and 24th of January 1900, the Battle of Spioenkop was the scene of the most futile and certainly the bloodiest of the four battles fought to relieve the besieged town of Ladysmith from the surrounding Boer forces.

Having suffered the fiasco of the Battle of Colenso on the 15th of December 1899, where the British lost many men and 10 artillery pieces that were captured by the Boers in what was to become known in Britain as the Black Week, General Sir Redvers Buller's reputation was in tatters. Although remaining as commander in Natal, he was to be superceded as commander-in-chief by Field Marshall Lord Roberts who was to be accompanied by Lord Kitchener as his chief of staff.

Having been inactive for three weeks after Colenso, but now reinforced to a total strength of about 30,000 men by the arrival of Sir Charles Warren's 5th Division comprising the 10th and 11 Brigades, Buller decided to try to reach Ladysmith by way of Potgieter's Drift to the west. Leaving Barton's brigade facing Colenso, he set off on the 10th of January with Dundonald's Mounted Brigade, five infantry brigades, eight artillery batteries, ten naval guns and 650 transport wagons. From the heights above the north bank of the uThukela River the Boer forces watched the slow progress of the 27 kilometre-long column.

The alerted Boers prepared to oppose the British advance from Brakfontein Ridge. Buller planned to throw two- thirds of his force across the river, consisting of an attack on Brakfontein by Lyttelton with two brigades, two artillery batteries and the naval guns, with a separate flanking force under General Warren sent to turn the Boer's lightly- guarded western flank, consisting of General Clery's 2nd Division together with Woodgate's 11th Lancastrian Brigade, Dundonald?s force and eight artillery batteries. The planned operation would have greatly outnumbered the 7,000 Boer defenders, but would require speed of execution to be successful.

What ensued was a litany of delays, lost opportunities and mistakes. Although he had misgivings about Warren's capabilities, Buller rather concentrated his attention on Lyttelton's energetic attack. Warren's attack was a day late in starting and painfully slow in execution. At the same time Dundonald ? acting mainly on his own initiative ? displayed great initiative and tactical expertise but was then recalled by Warren to guard his baggage wagons! Warren delegated an attack that he had planned against Tabanyama to the command of General Clery, who displayed a similar lack of tactical expertise or vigour. For two days Hart's Irishmen fought their way to the crest only to discover that it was not in fact the actual crest, and was overlooked by well dug-in Boers. Only on the left did Dundonald ? again ? show any dash in sending forward the South African Light Horse to seize the important Bastion Hill, but despite this position being able to subject the Boer trenches to crossfire, Clery cancelled the whole operation!

In the week since he had issued orders to General Warren, Buller had witnessed the ponderous and ineffective movements of his forces. He did not, however, at any point, attempt to take control of matters himself. In exasperation on the evening of the 22nd of January he told Warren either to withdraw completely, or to take Spioenkop, which dominated the Fairview Road which was to be the route of the planned advance to Ladysmith. From this point the thoughts of all commanders turned towards the seizing of this objective, 450 metres above the Tugela River. The problem was that there was no information available whatsoever regarding the peak, its layout or the Boer dispositions thereupon.

Warren gave command of the operation to Coke, with the actual assault to be commanded by Woodgate with the 2nd Lancashire Fusiliers, six companies of the 2nd King's Own Royal Lancaster and two from the 1st South Lancashire, together with 200 dismounted men from Thorneycroft's Mounted Infantry ? a total of about 1,700 men.

At 11pm on the 23rd the ascent began in drizzle and mist, what appeared to be the crest being attained in thick mist at around 4am . A 275-metre long trench was dug in the stony soil, with a small rock parapet of boulders. At first light, however, it was seen that the trench was in fact situated on a small plateau, with the true summit some 50 to 140 metres away with dead ground in between. The British then proceeded to entrench on the crest. Little did they know that this was to be their 'death trap'. This position was clearly visible from alerted Boer riflemen who had taken on positions on 3 hills known as Aloe Knoll, Green Hill and Conical Hill, a Krupp field gun unit on Twin Peaks, a pom-pom unit on a ridge between Twin Peaks and Aloe Knoll and Boers who were advancing up the north-east slope of Spionkop. Artillery, consisting of four guns on Ntabamnyama and one at General Botha's HQ had also been positioned to fire directly on this position.

As the mist cleared away, the Boers fired heavily on the British exacting a heavy toll, which included the death of Major General Woodgate. These losses were compounded by the fact that a signaller with the name Louis Bothma, was able to use a heliograph to direct the fire of the Boer artillery.

The Lanchashire Fusiliers on the extreme right (North East) bore the brunt of the Boer 'fire' - particularly from Aloe Knoll and Twin Peaks. Many of these soldiers surrendered or were forced to retreat and as a result the Boers began to take control of the north western, northern and north-eastern crest line.

Thorneycroft, - managed to take control of the situation by shouting out to the Boers, 'I am the commandant here, take your men to Hell sir! There's no surrender.' These words together with reinforcements - the Imperial Light Infantry and Middlesex Regiments - inspired the British forces to retain their positions. The Middlesex Regiments were then ordered to fix bayonets and charge the Boers - this effort forced the Boers to retreat back beyond the crest.

Major General Lyttleton at Potgieters Drift had also ordered the Scottish Rifles and Bethune Mounted Infantry to climb the steep southern slope of Spionkop to render assistance. The Kings Royal Rifles were also despatched to seize Twin Peaks.

Just after five o'clock the King's Royal Rifles, supported by naval gun fire from Mount Alice, managed to gain possession of the Twin Peaks , forcing the Boers to remove their Krupp and pom-pom guns from the area. The British were now poised to drive the Boers off Aloe Knoll and from there they could have made the conditions for those holding the north-east line extremely difficult. However, at this crucial moment, Buller for some obscure reason, ordered the King's Royal Rifles to withdraw.

As dusk set in, Thornycraft was overcome by a feeling that he had been deserted by Buller and Warren. As he looked about him he saw a battlefield and trench littered with wounded, dying and dead men. They were all exhausted, thirsty and hungry. Even the Scottish Rifles, Imperial Light Infantry and Middlesex Regiment were badly in need of rest.

He thus, after conferring with other senior officers, decided to order a retreat at 20h00.

General Warren had himself spent most of the day displaying no sense of urgency, busying himself with minor administrative matters. Not until 8pm, when he received a gloomy report of circumstances on the hill, together with a graphic eyewitness report from Winston Churchill, did he stir himself. By this stage it was already too late as Thorneycroft, who had been in command of the situation on the summit all day, had announced that he was withdrawing his remaining men to avoid further slaughter. Informed of this at 2am Warren could still have rescued the situation by sending fresh troops to the summit, but neither he or Buller had the will to continue. The irony was that the Boers, who had also suffered substantial casualties throughout the day, had also withdrawn during the night, but upon discovering the British withdrawal the following morning they re-occupied the summit.

The dreadful day of bloodshed cost the British some 1,200 casualties, of whom over 300 were killed. In total Boer casualties amounted to some 300 men, 62 percent of whom were from the Carolina Commando.



The battle site is open daily. There is a self-guided trail amongst the trenches, graves and monuments.

ACCESS INFORMATION:

The Spionkop Battle Site is found at the end of a clearly signposted short gravel road from the R616 to Bergville. The R616 is easily accessible from the N3 at the Bergville/ Ladysmith offramps.

It is important to note that Spionkop also offers a panoramic view of the entire Northern and Central Drakensberg. The views of this world heritage site at sunset from this site are 'breathtaking'.


THE BATTLE OF BLOOD RIVER

16 December 1838

In 1838 the Voortrekkers in Natal suffered one disaster after another in their encounter with the Zulus under the direction of Paramount Chief Dingane.

Finally, in November of that year, they summoned Andries Pretorius from Graaff Reinet and appointed him, as Commandant General.  Towards the end of that month he departed on a punitive expedition against Dingane with more than 60 wagons and about 470 men, the so-called ?Wenkommando?.

On Sunday, 9th December a solemn vow was made that, if God granted them victory, they would build a House to the glory of His name and that they and their descendants would in the future celebrate the day of the victory in His honour.   After this, the vow was repeated every evening.

Slowly the kommando moved northwards, past the site of the present day Dundee, where they camped on the slopes of Talana hill and picked up coal to make their fires.

From the 12th December onwards, the reconnaissance patrols made contact with Zulu scouts and scattered groups of Zulu warriors.

On the 15th December the area where the battle was to take place was reached and the main Zulu force sighted.  Pretorius decided to form a laager west of the Ncome River (afterward known as Blood River) and immediately above a spot where a deep donga sloped towards the river.  Whilst the river and the donga would protect the laager on two sides, the position of Gelato Kopje (Vegkop) and a nearby marshy hippo pool would impede any attack from the other sides.  The main onslaught would of necessity have to come from the north-west, which would mean that the small Boer force would be in a position to direct their fire into a concentrated mass of the enemy.

Pretorius explained his plan to the laager commandant, Piet Moolman, who formed the laager with the assistance of 150 men.

That evening the vow was repeated, sentries were posted and the men tried to sleep.  The night of the 15th December was pitch dark with clouds and thick mist obscuring the moon, counting in the favour of the Voortrekkers.  When the Zulu commanders decided to attack, six regiments under Dambuza, consisting of about 6 000 warriors crossed the river.  They subsequently lost their way in the dark and only reached the laager towards morning.  Some of them crept down the donga and massed behind the laager whilst the majority took up position in a crescent formation extending from the donga to the river, to await daylight.

Those in front were crouched barely forty metres from the wagons and behind them the warriors were ranged solidly for hundreds of metres.  Meanwhile the main body under Ndlela, consisting mainly of Dingane?s prime regiments, the White and Black Shields, also moved up in front of the verge below the river and sat waiting on their shields.

The mist gradually cleared and Sunday dawned bright and clear.  Pretorius gave the order to shoot as soon as sights and targets could be distinguished.  With a total disregard for danger the Zulus charged, but within a quarter of an hour they were forced to withdraw to a position 500 metres away.

When they launched their second attack they were fired upon with deadly accuracy.  At this stage the bewildered livestock threatened to break through the wagon laager.  Under the direction of Sarel Cilliers, a few men raced to that quarter and drove the animals back, at the same time engaging the massed Zulus in the donga.

Once again the Zulu attack was repulsed and they retreated to a distance of 400 metres.  Pretorius now directed the copper cannon towards the hill where the leaders of the Zulu force congregated.  The second and third rounds burst among the indunas and led to a third fierce attack lasting for nearly an hour.

Soon after the Zulus had retreated once again, a mounted commando of a few hundred men led by Field Cornet Bart Pretorius launched an attack on them.  Twice the commando was driven back but at the third attempt they managed to split the Zulu force in two.  The greater part of the commando force now emerged from the laager and deployed to the north and south along the river where hundreds of fleeing Zulus were shot amongst the reeds and in the river.

At this point Ndlela?s three thousand crack impis went into action.  They attempted to cross the river at the drifts above and below the hippo pool, but were swept along by the hordes of fleeing warriors and shot down by the mounted Boers.  At last the entire Zulu army took flight in all directions.  The pursuit lasted until midday when the commando returned to the laager where 3 000 Zulus lay dead.

The Wenkommando continued on their way to the Royal Kraal at Umgungunhlovu, which they found deserted and burning, as Dingaan had fled.  He was eventually defeated in 1840 and then fled to Swaziland, where he was killed.

THE LAAGER

The reconstruction of this laager was undertaken by Battlefields of South Africa Limited, a non-profit making company under the chairmanship of Mr. Marius Jooste.

A group of historians determined the approximate situation of the laager, as well as the number and type of wagons, the form of the laager, the number, type and position of the cannons, the construction of the ?veghekke?, the corralling of cattle and horses, the placing of lanterns onto whip handles, etc.  Their survey was based on all the available sources regarding the battle, as well as an accurate survey of the site.  The latter was done by means of repeated visits to the locality as well as the employment of normal, oblique, coloured and infra-red aerial photographs, which enabled the researchers to determine the positions of the original swamps and pools of the area, as well as the direction and situation of rivers and dongas.

The wagons were manufactured of cast steel and plated with bronze and it was calculated that they would last for approximately two hundred years.  Although a cost factor prohibited the reconstruction of more detail, the laager is nevertheless considered a unique representation of an old and universal mobile defence system.

This laager of bronze wagons was constructed to be identical to the original laager as far as possible and is situated on the same spot.

The wagons were drawn up close to one another with the disselboom of one tied firmly under the deck of the one in front, while the wheels of one were joined to those of the adjacent wagon with trek chains.  The spaces between front and back wheels were closed with ?veghekke? or ?fighting gates?, tied to the wheels by riems.  This prevented the Zulus from storming through into the laager or pulling the wagons apart.

Openings were left in the ?crescent?.  To the north was the large gate which was closed with ?veghekke? and wagons.  Through this gate the 650 oxen and 700 horses of the Voortrekkers were brought into the laager at the last moment.  This opening was also used by the mounted commando through which to launch their attack on the enemy.  The cannon, affectionately known as ?Ou Grietjie? was also positioned here.  The two smaller openings at the eastern and western corners were left for two smaller cannons.  The small brass cannon which Pretorius had specially brought with him was placed at the north-eastern corner to cover the entire river frontage and even to fire on the Zulus across the river.

THE COVENANT

Here we stand, before the Holy God of heaven and earth,to make to Him a vow that, if He will protect us

And deliver our enemies into our hands, we will observe the day and date each year as a day of thanks, like a Sabbath, and that we will erect a Church in His honour, wherever He may choose and that we will also tell our children to join with us in commemorating this day, also for coming generations.  For His name will be glorified by giving Him all the honour and glory of victory.

Offline LuckyStriker

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« Reply #8 on: April 19, 2006, 03:47:27 pm »
Jeez! I hope that was a copy and paste post!


wie se bokkie staan daar tussen die leeus in die lang gras?
I hope missus skaap never finds out about your skelmpie, bla-bla :wink:
 

Offline >Herman<

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« Reply #9 on: April 19, 2006, 03:55:46 pm »
:oops: It was... the www is such a cool place to search  :wink:

Shhhh... don't tell Me Sheep about the bokkie.... she will slag my af!!  :twisted:

Offline X Banana Boy

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« Reply #10 on: April 19, 2006, 04:35:50 pm »
Very lekker report.  great to see Natal country side again. keep it coming.
 

Offline Adventurer

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« Reply #11 on: April 19, 2006, 09:42:38 pm »
Thanks to BBBS and Marina for a lekker weekend, it started out with us leaving late because one of our cats stuffed up my alarm clock settings but was a pleasure from there, total distance was around 1800km, about 600 of that was on dirt roads. It was my daughter's first 'real' biking weekend and she did very well, apart from the moaning about her sore knee, which she hurt the day before we left after falling off a scateboard. It was also my wife's first long trip on her 1200GS, some of the roads were worse than the GS Challenge, with no crashes from any of us, BBBS had just done the Ammersfoort course, so he had huge fun.
We will go back to the same area and do more of those wonderful dirt roads, the scenery is spectacular.
As soon as I get my picture story sorted on Imagecave, I will post more info and pics.
If you can keep your head in the midst of all this confusion, you don't understand the situation!
 

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« Reply #12 on: April 19, 2006, 10:26:04 pm »
Quote from: "michnus"
This is funny, we need some caption on this. Are you saying  BMw is as slow as a Oxwagon?



am glad Digital Dan hasnt been down there yet.... am sure he would have mounted double lamps already  :lol:  :lol:
 

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« Reply #13 on: April 19, 2006, 10:54:26 pm »
Awesome report Mr Sheep and nice pics.... JEALOUS!!!!!

How did the 2 up touring go and also how do the TKC's look after all the KM's?
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« Reply #14 on: April 20, 2006, 08:41:21 am »
It was quite a moving experience to walk around so many graves. Graves of people that lost their lives in a foreign country? War sucks!!!



On our way back we passed some traditional Zulu houses:


Back on the tar we inflated our tyres for the trip back to Ladysmith


With the sun setting we turned towards Ladysmith, the last few km of a great day.


Our B&B in Ladysmith:



So? what goes where???????  We were packing and ready to leave Ladysmith to go to Winterton via Colenso.


En-route we stopped at the Ladysmith museum for some pictures.  Ladysmith is renowned for being the siege town of the Anglo Boer war of 1899-1901 (if I remember the dates correct).



Colenso was a disappointment.  The Battle of Colenso is a barren piece of veldt, with cows crazing everywhere.  My GPS indicated that we were on the field, but there was nothing.  So we decided to ride of to Winterton via dirt (what else?)


The flowers on the left are called Cosmos, and were brought over to South Africa from Argentina.  The British horses had to be fed special food, which was sent from Argentina.  These flowers bloom in autumn, and can be found next to al the main roads where the Anglo war was fought.


We arrived at our B&B just outside Winterton, the Rose Cottages.  A beautiful B&B, with fair rates (R200/person/night incl. breakfast, kids under 10yr stay ?½ price)



We unpacked our stuff, and headed towards Spionkop.  We passed the overflowing Spionkop dam.


Spionkop was an important battle, and although no one won the battle, the Boers came of better.



A mass grave of British soldiers



The bikes on top of Spionkop


Coming down from Spionkop


On the road back we played at this water crossing.  Not deep, but fun.




Back in Bergville we stopped for something to drink and eat before we headed to Cathederal Peak via a road that was marked on the tourism map as ?Not Recommended?

Some of the scenic shots from that road?






We even caused a traffic jam at the bridge


Cool picture!!


At Cathederal Peak we relaxed a bit before we headed back to the B&B via tar to avoid hitting cows, children and/or coats on the way back.


The sun setting at Cathederal peak.  The end of another great day.  Tomorrow we must head back home.  The end of a great weekend was in sight   :(


I?m not sure about our distance, but it was close to 1900km for the weekend with some 600km of good, no great dirt.  Will I go there again?  Hell yes, there are so many places we had no time to visit.  And the people are great.

The road back was via Kestell, Oranjeville, Vereeniging and Centurion.

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« Reply #15 on: April 20, 2006, 09:10:09 am »
Quote from: "bla-bla black sheep"

En-route we stopped at the Ladysmith museum for some pictures.  Ladysmith is renowned for being the siege town of the Anglo Boer war of 1899-1901 (if I remember the dates correct).




Nice to see my old home town!

If anyone is interested in boer war stuff around Ladysmith, please contact me to put you in contact with my uncle. He is a guru on the subject, and can talk for days on end about this stuff. If you actually go into the museum in Ladysmith, you will see signs saying "on loan from the personal collection of Doug McMaster", my uncle. He has one of the largest private collections of Boer war stuff in the world, and have their own museum on their property. My aunt and uncle also run a B&B in Ladysmith. Very biker friendly too... :)
 

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« Reply #16 on: April 20, 2006, 11:50:05 am »
Very nice informative words and pics. Really like the picture of this dirt road, can only be fun to ride !

Little by little, one travels far

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Ride reports :
http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=134175.0 Penge's pass and the Old Forest http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=9421.0 - Orange Atlantic adventure http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=7514.0 - 805 km day trip http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=20260.0 - East Cape Bash http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=70199.0 - Two KTM thumpers head north
 

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« Reply #17 on: April 20, 2006, 12:13:30 pm »
can you imagine what it must have been like for the pommies to rock up in africa and having to fight elusive sniper boers who pick them off one by one from hills bigger than the highest scottish mountains.

and just when they thought they got a break a swarm of zulu impi attack them from out of nowhere and slaughter them to the last man

africa is not for sissies
 

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« Reply #18 on: April 20, 2006, 12:27:49 pm »
Well Said LS...

A very un-gentlemanly fashion to wage a war...
 

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« Reply #19 on: April 20, 2006, 05:40:55 pm »
Great pictures! I spent a couple of years in school near Winterton so this really brought back some good memories. Thanks!
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