Monday, January 22, 2007


This Day in the Long History of Humiliating British Defeats

On this day in 1879, the central column of a three prong invasion of Zulu territory in Natal, South Africa by British regulars is met by several Zulu impis (12,000 men) near the mountain of Isandlwana and most of the 2nd Battalion, 24th Foot, nearly 1200 British troops, armed with Martini-Henry rifles in .577/.455, are killed by tough, black warriors armed only with cowhide shields and spears (assegais--short stabbing spears).

The three central reasons for this overwhelming defeat are British overconfidence; too stoutly sealed ammunition boxes that cannot be opened fast enough to pass out the cartridges in order to prevent the soldiers, out of ammunition, from being enveloped, overwhelmed and slaughtered; and, Zulu discipline and courage.

Which defeat made possible the Battle of Rorke's Drift fought january 22-23, 1879.

Ave Lts. Chard and Bromhead.
I could have gone with Rorke's Drift, but I chose the defeat instead. Not that I'm down on England. One of the two leftenants was deaf as a post (the Stanley Baker one--Bronhead--I think). I always liked the VC winner Hook in the movie and the Zulu chants were so magnificent they're recycling them into Battlestar Galactica and Gladiator Thanks for the RD yin to the Isandlwana yang.
Lt. John Chard wasplayed by Stanley Baker;Lt. Gonville Bromhead was played by Michael Caine in his first starring role.

Lt. Bromhead did suffer from profound deafness which is probably why he ceded commanded to Chard.

Boy. You don't hear names like Gonville Bromhead anymore except in the NFL.

I have read that Pvt Henry Hook returned to London where he eventually died of TB.

Oh yeah, give me the bad news about Hookie. Well, I guess I figured he was no longer alive.
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