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Thread: Battle of Isandlwana, were there many survivors?

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    ♔Charles the Bold♔'s Avatar Ishiyumi no shashu
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    Default Battle of Isandlwana, were there many survivors?

    Recently I've been re-watching the film Zulu Dawn, the film is about the apparently total annihilation of the British Army at Isandlwana in the early part of the Zulu War, 1879.



    Anyway, the film appears to make it seem as if almost no British soldiers survived the battle. From what I know I think that about 5 British officers survived, I'm not sure if these were Infantry/Cavalry/Artillery. I was wondering if anyone knew as to whether many more survivors got away.

    I know that a few fled to Fugitives Drift, about 1/2 a mile down river from the battle, but I'm not sure how many survived.



    Here's some further infomation I found on a Pvt of the 24th foot.

    Four horsemen were known to have ridden to Rorke's Drift, these being Lt VANE, Lt ADENDORFF (Natal Native Horse), Pte Frederick EVANS attached to the Mounted Infantry and one other and it is he I believe was the EVANS we are looking for, more about him later. As stated, Frederick EVANS was in "H" Coy 2 /24th. Before I reveal the identity of the fourth horseman, a little background on the Mounted Infantry. Due to a shortage of cavalry, mounted infantry were recruited on loan from regular battalions. The 24th were the first such unit raised alongside with elements from the 88th. It was the 1st/24th that supplied nearly 100% of the men from the 24th; both regiments served in the 9th Frontier War. In 1878 1st and 2nd Squadrons were formed with 150 men in each divided into two troops and drawn from the 2/3rd, 1/24th, 1/13th and 80th regiments. 20 Mounted Infantry were in action at Isandlwana with a loss of 13 of their number. As Frederick EVANS 953 is shown on the Chard roll (no number mentioned) and the Bourne roll (amended) and the Maj Dunbar roll, it is quite clear that this man must be severely in doubt as to his participation in the defence on Jan 22nd 1879.

    It appears that these above were the riders that warned Rorkes Drift of the Zulu advance.



    The vast majority of 1/24th men as Mounted Infantry are listed in No 1 Squadron and Frederick EVANS was in the 2/24th. Very few were listed in the 2nd Squadron if at all. In his book "Rorke's Drift", Dr Adrian Greaves on page 106 states: "the dreadful news from Isandlwana had been re-confirmed by three more breathless horsemen, all survivors from the battle including Pte Frederick EVANS 2/24TH on loan to the Mounted Infantry (he may have been in the 2nd Squadron). Having made their report they then rode off to Helpmekaar". Now if Frederick EVANS rode off as stated he could not have been at the defence as seems to be the case due to the confused recording of the facts. Remember Chard did not know any of these men except the sappers under his command and of these four had been killed at Isandlwana early on the 22nd Jan, Bourne included EVANS on his amended roll and Maj Dunbar who compiled the fourth known list was not even at the battle!

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    Beorn's Avatar Equites Alares
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    Default Re: Battle of Isandlwana, were there many survivors?

    IIRC, the British army had divided into 2 parts. The part that was attacked by the Zoulou at Isandlwana was the one that stayed in the camp. Of its ~1600 soldiers, the ~1300 were killed. Later, the Colonel of the expendition came back with the other half of the army, and found the survivors.

    That's all I remember....

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    jackwei's Avatar Sagittarius
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    Default Re: Battle of Isandlwana, were there many survivors?

    I don't think anybody on foot managed to survive especially the redcoats and most of the surivors were either cavalry men wearing blue or african auxillaries as the Zulu imps were told to mainly kills the Redcoats.

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    cpdwane's Avatar Silent and Sneakretive
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    Default Re: Battle of Isandlwana, were there many survivors?

    One of my distant relatives was actually in the column that left the camp that morning with Lord Chelmsford, and so survived the battle, but as for the ones that stayed behind were concerned I think only a handful escaped. But don't make the mistake of thinking the Zulus were any more humane to the Natal volunteers or Black auxilliaries, although more may have survived because they retreated rather then fight to the death.

    __________"Ancient History is my Achilles' Heel"___________

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    Blatta Optima Maxima's Avatar Definitely banned
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    Default Re: Battle of Isandlwana, were there many survivors?

    Quote Originally Posted by Beorn View Post
    That's all I remember....

    Yeah, a long time since that day...

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    ♔Charles the Bold♔'s Avatar Ishiyumi no shashu
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    Default Re: Battle of Isandlwana, were there many survivors?

    Quote Originally Posted by cpdwane View Post
    One of my distant relatives was actually in the column that left the camp that morning with Lord Chelmsford, and so survived the battle, but as for the ones that stayed behind were concerned I think only a handful escaped. But don't make the mistake of thinking the Zulus were any more humane to the Natal volunteers or Black auxilliaries, although more may have survived because they retreated rather then fight to the death.
    I think many of the Native auxillaries actually took off their red head bands and mingled with the Zulus in an attempt to escape.

    I also read somewhere that the Zulus gave a warriours burial to a British officer who fought to the last bullet and many Zulus. I think this is similar to an event at Little Bighorn (Custers last stand) in which a Bugler was buried with full Apache warriour rights because he fought for so long.

    Here's some more info I found.

    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.
    Private Samuel Wassall was awarded the Victoria Cross for his conduct at the battle. Attached to the Mounted Infantry, Wassall escaped on his horse from the battle and crossed the Tugela. He then saw a comrade from the Mounted Infantry struggling in the water. Wassall recrossed the river, tethered his horse, swam over to the soldier and dragged him ashore on the Zulu side. The two men plunged back into the Tugela and swam to safety on Wassall’s horse as the Zulus came up.
    http://www.britishbattles.com/zulu-war/isandlwana.htm
    Last edited by ♔Charles the Bold♔; January 10, 2011 at 07:29 AM.

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    vopohame's Avatar Princeps Prior
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    Default Re: Battle of Isandlwana, were there many survivors?

    There were no apaches at the little big horn, only cheyenne and sioux, and everyone was mutilated as to prevent their afterlife from being so good including Custer whose penis was cut off and shoved in his mouth because he raped a cheyenne woman from an earlier battle and his ears were punctured by the cheyenne women with sewing awls so he could hear his promises better.
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    Exarch's Avatar Praefectus Castrorum
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    Default Re: Battle of Isandlwana, were there many survivors?

    Quote Originally Posted by vopohame View Post
    There were no apaches at the little big horn, only cheyenne and sioux, and everyone was mutilated as to prevent their afterlife from being so good including Custer whose penis was cut off and shoved in his mouth because he raped a cheyenne woman from an earlier battle and his ears were punctured by the cheyenne women with sewing awls so he could hear his promises better.
    wow, that's harsh but fitting for a rapist

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    white-wolf's Avatar Centurio Primus Ordine
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    Default Re: Battle of Isandlwana, were there many survivors?

    Quote Originally Posted by vopohame View Post
    There were no apaches at the little big horn, only cheyenne and sioux, and everyone was mutilated as to prevent their afterlife from being so good including Custer whose penis was cut off and shoved in his mouth because he raped a cheyenne woman from an earlier battle and his ears were punctured by the cheyenne women with sewing awls so he could hear his promises better.
    Good for the old Custer. May he will burn in Hell forever.
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  10. #10
    Daily's Avatar Flingin' ma mace son
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    Default Re: Battle of Isandlwana, were there many survivors?

    Well that day I think I would have regretted ever getting up from bed...
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    ♔Charles the Bold♔'s Avatar Ishiyumi no shashu
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    Default Re: Battle of Isandlwana, were there many survivors?

    Quote Originally Posted by vopohame View Post
    There were no apaches at the little big horn, only cheyenne and sioux, and everyone was mutilated as to prevent their afterlife from being so good including Custer whose penis was cut off and shoved in his mouth because he raped a cheyenne woman from an earlier battle and his ears were punctured by the cheyenne women with sewing awls so he could hear his promises better.
    Jeez, they didn't hold back did they.

    Whoops on the Apaches thing, and I'm studying American history. I think I'm right about the bugler, it just wasn't at Little Bighorn.

  12. #12
    vopohame's Avatar Princeps Prior
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    Default Re: Battle of Isandlwana, were there many survivors?

    Honor and Bravery were the two of the highest virtues of the american indian warrior culture. Often those who demonstrated this at rare levels were honored so that story is highly possible. In some rare cases those men were even offered to join the tribe.

    Cowardice and things like surrendering were considered dishonorable for a warrior so those men were immediately killed.
    Névé'novôhe'étanóme mâsęhánééstóva, onésetó'ha'éeta netáhoestovevoo'o, onésęhestóxévétáno mâsęhánééstóva!

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    Daily's Avatar Flingin' ma mace son
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    Default Re: Battle of Isandlwana, were there many survivors?

    I saw Zulu this weekend with a friend. It is the movie before Zulu Dawn. I liked it quite a lot, even though the "old" factors was pretty obvious with plastic bayonets. The movie depicts around 100 British soldiers fending off 4000 Zulu warriors in a last stand kind of movie. Quite cool. The Zulu did not attack all at once of course . It seems that the problem for the 1200 soldiers was that they got caught in the open and was surrounded but at the smaller camp they had time to set up defenses and lay out a tactic + spreading the soldiers evenly about the choke points.
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    ♔Charles the Bold♔'s Avatar Ishiyumi no shashu
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    Default Re: Battle of Isandlwana, were there many survivors?

    Zulu is a good film, although it has a lot of anachronisms. Like the main officer characters (Bromhead and Chard) and other soldiers, not having the large beards of the time and the fact that the Boer scout character (Ardendorf) was not actually present at the battle have run away with the native auxilaries.

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