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This Week In History: The Battle of Rorke's Drift
YouTube ^ | 1/20/13 | Me

Posted on 01/20/2013 4:05:47 PM PST by Argus

This week, January 22-23 marks the 134th anniversary of the Battle of Rorke's Drift in Natal Province, South Africa. Everyone knows the story of the small company of Welsh troops from the 24th Regiment of Foot who held off a force of up to 4,000 Zulu warriors who outnumbered them twenty to one.

I plan to celebrate the occasion tomorrow by viewing the classic movie of the siege starring Stanley Baker and Michael Caine, made fifty years ago. It looks like there won't be anything else worth watching on TV that day anyway.


TOPICS: Chit/Chat; History
KEYWORDS: battle; victoriacross; zulu
I remember watching it first run at the Liberty Theater in Plainfield, NJ, when I was thirteen:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1csr0dxalpI

1 posted on 01/20/2013 4:06:00 PM PST by Argus
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To: Argus

Everyone knows about Rorke’s Drift but hardly anyone knows about the main show at Isandlwana. What a horrifying deal that was (from the British POV).


2 posted on 01/20/2013 4:11:05 PM PST by skeeter
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To: skeeter

Both were well documented in a Flashman book, called “Flashman and the Tiger”. As will with all of the Flashman books, the research is pretty good..


3 posted on 01/20/2013 4:18:48 PM PST by cardinal4 (Constitution? What Constitution?)
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To: Argus

I saw it at The Lincoln Theater in Kearny, NJ. I believe however it was a company of Royal Army Engineers, supported by Welsh Infantry and Natal Border guards. An amazing and trenchant example of a first class civilization over an inferior one. The fact that they were engineers and were based at a small compound of buildings, they were able to fortify the compound to their advantage and make the enemy come to them. Remarkable still when you realize that only a week earlier 1,000 British troops were caught in the open at a place called Iswandala by the Zulus and were slaughtered to a man. 22 Victoria Crosses were awarded in connection with this battle, the most ever awarded in all of British military history.


4 posted on 01/20/2013 4:18:57 PM PST by jmacusa (Political correctness is cultural Marxism. I'm not a Marxist.)
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To: jmacusa

The officer commanding was an engineer, Lt. Chard. The main body of troops were infantry.


5 posted on 01/20/2013 4:21:45 PM PST by Argus
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To: jmacusa

The battle at Isandlwana was not a week earlier; it was earlier that day.


6 posted on 01/20/2013 4:29:39 PM PST by DuncanWaring (The Lord uses the good ones; the bad ones use the Lord.)
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To: Argus

I will set down tomorrow and watch ZULU DAWN and ZULU! Two of the best action movies ever made. Will not be watching the coronation in DC.

Back in 1968, the NY Times published a book of movie reviews by Rex Reed released to TV. Being 1968, I immediately looked up ZULU.

Talk about a crying baby. He was crying about how such a “racist” movie could be released in these hard times of 1968 with all the race riots going on!


7 posted on 01/20/2013 4:43:27 PM PST by Ruy Dias de Bivar (Click my name! See new paintings!)
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To: Argus

The Washing of the Spears: A History of the Rise of the Zulu Nation Under Shaka and Its Fall in the Zulu War of 1879

By Donald R. Morris

http://books.google.com/books/about/The_Washing_of_the_Spears.html?id=CIWjmKPLCoUC


8 posted on 01/20/2013 4:47:05 PM PST by abb
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To: skeeter

Watch ZULU DAWN with Burt Lancaster and Peter O’Toole. It covers Islandwana very well.
Two Soldiers in the firing line talk while shooting.

Soldier 1 speaks well of the .557 Martini rifle and how the bullets smash ‘em, flatten out!

Soldier 2 says... “The bullets give out! The bloody spears don’t!”


9 posted on 01/20/2013 4:49:37 PM PST by Ruy Dias de Bivar (Click my name! See new paintings!)
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To: abb

Read it! Great book!

Anyone ever notice how the Germans in GLADIATOR sound so much like the Zulus in ZULU?


10 posted on 01/20/2013 4:52:25 PM PST by Ruy Dias de Bivar (Click my name! See new paintings!)
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To: Argus

I am not qualified to make a serious assessment of the British outfits involved but I do remember thinking it was a combination of Engineers and Infantry along with some Boer scouts.

I am not sure how accurate the movie was but it showed a group of Engineers working before the attack.


11 posted on 01/20/2013 4:55:47 PM PST by yarddog (One shot one miss.)
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To: Argus

Men of Harlech
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0NuTaQsMNaE


12 posted on 01/20/2013 4:58:56 PM PST by BenLurkin (This is not a statement of fact. It is either opinion or satire; or both)
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To: Argus

January is not a particularly good month for the British army, as it is also the 171th anniversary of the annihilation of Elphinstone’s army in retreat from Kabul, Afghanistan.

Ironically, the Elphinstone family produced some of the finest Admirals in British naval history, and the worst General in world history.


13 posted on 01/20/2013 5:01:37 PM PST by yefragetuwrabrumuy (Best WoT news at rantburg.com)
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To: Ruy Dias de Bivar

My favorite secen from Zulu http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IWuaSww3JnA


14 posted on 01/20/2013 5:02:59 PM PST by BenLurkin (This is not a statement of fact. It is either opinion or satire; or both)
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To: DuncanWaring

Yes, that’s correct.


15 posted on 01/20/2013 5:04:56 PM PST by jmacusa (Political correctness is cultural Marxism. I'm not a Marxist.)
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To: abb
The Washing of the Spears is a superb book.

May I recommend as additional reading a book called Against These Three-A Bio of Paul Kruger, Cecil Rhodes & Lobengula by Stuart Cloete http://www.amazon.com/Against-Three-A-Kruger-Rhodes-Lobengula/dp/B0017DSLLO

16 posted on 01/20/2013 5:06:21 PM PST by BenLurkin (This is not a statement of fact. It is either opinion or satire; or both)
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To: Argus

Bromhead was the other subaltern. I didn’t know the Royal Army at that time used infantry troops to do engineering details.


17 posted on 01/20/2013 5:06:34 PM PST by jmacusa (Political correctness is cultural Marxism. I'm not a Marxist.)
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To: Argus

One of my favorite movies. I watch it every chance I get.

They used Zulus as extras and you could see them charging with war cries and assegais in hand. Very realistic battle scenes.

I always wondered if any of the actors representing the British army garrison ever had a moment’s thought about: “Hey, what if one of these guys gets excited and has a “flashback” about being a warrior?”


18 posted on 01/20/2013 5:08:11 PM PST by wildbill (You're just jealous because the Voices talk only to me.)
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To: jmacusa

The opposite might be true.

My Father was in the combat engineers and I was recently reading of their normal assignments. In addition to all their engineering duties they were to be used as infantry as needed.

They were fully trained as infantry in addition to their specialized training. They carried what was basically infantry weapons. For instance they carried M1 Garands, not carbines or pistols.


19 posted on 01/20/2013 5:16:59 PM PST by yarddog (One shot one miss.)
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To: yarddog
God bless your father. What was his unit? A uncle of mine served as a combat engineer attached to Patton's Third Army, my late Uncle Bill. Originally he served as an Army Air Corp mechanic at Hickham Field, Pearl Harbor with dreams of becoming a pilot.That fateful Sunday however saw him get his knee shot out and there went the dreams of flying. After a long recuperation he was assigned to , I believe it was the Fourth Engineer Combat Battalion and ended up at St. Vith during the Battle of the Bulge where he was wounded again, in the shoulder. He used to laugh and say "The Japs and the Nazis tried but couldn't get me!''. If you want to learn about a truly exceptional US Army Engineer outfit check out the story of the 291st. Engineer Combat Battalion and it's commander Lt.Colonel David Perrgrin.
20 posted on 01/20/2013 5:31:01 PM PST by jmacusa (Political correctness is cultural Marxism. I'm not a Marxist.)
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To: BenLurkin

What?

No semi-automatic, assault weapons?

No “High-capacity clips”?

How could such carnage happen?

/sarc


21 posted on 01/20/2013 5:35:39 PM PST by BwanaNdege ("To learn who rules over you simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize"- Voltaire)
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To: Ruy Dias de Bivar

“Soldier 2 says... “The bullets give out! The bloody spears don’t!””

They must have had those illegal, high-capacity-clip spears.

(full auto is not always your friend)


22 posted on 01/20/2013 5:38:55 PM PST by BwanaNdege ("To learn who rules over you simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize"- Voltaire)
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To: jmacusa

His was the 208th Engineer Combat Battalion. Daddy always called them “Combat Engineers” but I noticed in their official history the Army always says “Engineer Combat Battalion”.

His outfit was what they called a Bastard outfit because they were not attached to any army. I think they mostly built pontoon bridges. The one they put across the Rhine was constructed while under artillery fire.

Daddy always claimed the truck drivers killed more men than the Germans.


23 posted on 01/20/2013 5:40:28 PM PST by yarddog (One shot one miss.)
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To: jmacusa

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_E._Pergrin


24 posted on 01/20/2013 5:58:12 PM PST by packrat35 (Admit it! We are almost ready to be called a police state!)
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To: Argus
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eSZXo9mfPg8

Zulu, the complete original movie. BTW: The Brit uniforms are not completely correct. In the field, these guys didn't wear the bright helmet badge, and the sun helmets were dyed a tan color, not bright white.

25 posted on 01/20/2013 6:00:59 PM PST by Lockbar (Quality Factory Loaded Ammunition ------- The New Gold)
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To: Lockbar

Working link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eSZXo9mfPg8


26 posted on 01/20/2013 6:08:04 PM PST by Rebelbase
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To: BenLurkin
I liked the scene where they sang Men of Harlech just before the final battle...

From Wiki:

"Men of Harlech" or "The March of the Men of Harlech" (in Welsh: Rhyfelgyrch Gwŷr Harlech) is a song and military march which is traditionally said [1] to describe events during the seven-year siege of Harlech Castle between 1461 and 1468. [2][3] Commanded by Constable Dafydd ap Ieuan, the garrison held out in what is the longest known siege in the history of the British Isles. [4]


Men of Harlech, stop your dreaming

Can't you see their spearpoints gleaming

See their warrior pennants streaming

To this battle field


Men of Harlech stand ye steady

It can not be ever said ye

For the battle were not ready

Welshmen never yield


From the hills rebounding

Let this war cry sounding

Summon all at Cambria's call

The mighty foe surrounding


Men of Harlech on to glory

This will every be your story

Keep these burning words before ye

Welshmen will not yield.

27 posted on 01/20/2013 6:25:34 PM PST by fattigermaster
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To: Mears

bfl


28 posted on 01/20/2013 6:41:35 PM PST by Mears
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To: Argus

My son and I watch the movie on a regular basis. Never quit! Never give up!


29 posted on 01/20/2013 6:45:43 PM PST by Ecliptic (.)
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To: Ecliptic

Some historians say that so many VCs were given at the Drift to try to cover up the loss earlier in the day.


30 posted on 01/20/2013 6:53:19 PM PST by Ecliptic (.)
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To: Rebelbase

Thanks for the link. I need a good movie tonight-—I’m a Pats fan.:=(

.


31 posted on 01/20/2013 6:55:31 PM PST by Mears
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To: packrat35
Col. Pergrin was quite a officer. Not profane or flashy, just a level-headed, straight-forward Pennsylvanian who trained his men and officers to all be masters at every level of their jobs so that every man and officer could do what was needed when it was needed to be done, ''cross-training'' as it became to be known. The 291st. was an exemplary engineering outfit and became the model for future Army Engineer units.
32 posted on 01/20/2013 7:00:13 PM PST by jmacusa (Political correctness is cultural Marxism. I'm not a Marxist.)
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To: Mears

“I’m a Pats fan”

Ouch.


33 posted on 01/20/2013 7:00:31 PM PST by Rebelbase
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To: Argus

There is an even more amazing story set in SW Africa. Four German Soldiers held a fort being attacked by hundreds of natives. I think it was 400 against 4. The Germans held it for a long time too.


34 posted on 01/20/2013 7:53:43 PM PST by yarddog (One shot one miss.)
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To: yarddog

Now there’s irony, I had an great uncle I met as a kid who was addled from surviving running a jeep into a loaded ammo truck and it went up, right in the area of one of the first crossings. He got blown hundreds of yards away and was paralyzed for quite a while on one side. I don’t think they even found tags for the guy with him...


35 posted on 01/20/2013 10:11:27 PM PST by Axenolith (Government blows, and that which governs least, blows least...)
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To: jmacusa

First it is the British Army, not the Royal Army. Lt. Gronville Bromhead commanded Co. B 24th Foot. Lt. John Chard of the Royal Engineers, was senior to Bromhead in DOR and therefore commanded the action at Rourks Drift.


36 posted on 01/21/2013 5:23:59 PM PST by X Fretensis
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To: BenLurkin

In addition to “The Washing of Spears”, I would highly recommend “How Can Man Better” about the Battle of Isandlwana, and “Like Wolves on the Fold”, about Rourk’s Drift. The author is Lt.Col. Mike Snook. The author was a former commander of the Royal Welsh Regiment


37 posted on 01/21/2013 5:32:02 PM PST by X Fretensis
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