Battle In Africa 1879-1914, Fieldbooks by Howard Whitehouse

By Howard Whitehouse

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Three works - a laager, a cattle kraal and a redoubt - had been placed to give mutual support on a hilltop. As the Impi approached, Buller led a mounted force out to trigger a premature attack by its right 'horn'. This brought an immediate assault, which was broken up by massed fire. More threatening was the attack by the Zulu left and centre, which used the 'dead ground' of a ravine to get within 200 yards of the south face. A company holding the cattle kraal was forced to retire: Zulu riflemen took their position and covered the advance of their comrades.

PURSUIT: Reserves moue up to pursue the enemy as the assault force and supports rally (the latter must overcome the tempation to continue charging in confusion). Retreat from a lost battle was one of the most difficult tanks that might cônfront a commander. Few African armies had effective plans for such a contingency, and the Zulus placed such a total emphasis on the need for victory that their morale broke completely if they were defeated, so they would offer little resistance to pursuers. In contrast to this, the Mandists beaten at Abu Klea (1885) remained unbowed, and simply walked away from the field.

1-lis command was small - 2,000 men and six 7 pdrs. - but his site was well selected and fortified. Three works - a laager, a cattle kraal and a redoubt - had been placed to give mutual support on a hilltop. As the Impi approached, Buller led a mounted force out to trigger a premature attack by its right 'horn'. This brought an immediate assault, which was broken up by massed fire. More threatening was the attack by the Zulu left and centre, which used the 'dead ground' of a ravine to get within 200 yards of the south face.

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