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Colenso 1899: The Boer War in Natal
     

Colenso 1899: The Boer War in Natal

by ABC-CLIO
 

In 1899 Great Britain was at the pinnacle of its Imperial power. Yet the British army was destined to be defeated by a citizen militia composed of South African frontier farmers - the Boers. In one week in December 1899 the farmers of the South African Boer Republics of the Orange Free State and the Transvaal inflicted three serious reverses on British troops. This

Overview

In 1899 Great Britain was at the pinnacle of its Imperial power. Yet the British army was destined to be defeated by a citizen militia composed of South African frontier farmers - the Boers. In one week in December 1899 the farmers of the South African Boer Republics of the Orange Free State and the Transvaal inflicted three serious reverses on British troops. This book sets the battles in context and explains the failure of a professional army, skilled in the fighting techniques of the nineteenth century, when faced with an enemy whose weapons and tactics foreshadowed the warfare of the twentieth.

In 1899 Great Britain was at the height of its Imperial power. The Queen Empress had been on the throne for more than 50 glittering years, and her domain touched upon every continent. Yet, even at this very pinnacle of Imperial pomp and majesty, the British army, the guardian of Empire in countless wars across the globe, was destined to be humiliated by poorly-organised citizen militia consisting of men whom the British professionals despised as back-wood farmers. In one week in December 1899 the farmers of the South African Boer Republics of the Orange Free State and the Transvaal inflicted three serious reverses on British troops. In the hills around Stormberg railway junction, on the dusty plain before the Magersfontein heights, and on the grassy flats before the Thukela heights at Colenso, the highly trained British military machine ground to a halt in the face of the Boers' practised marksmanship and fieldcraft: nineteenth century techniques met twentieth century tactics and firepower ending in blood-baths for the British forces. In this book, Ian Knight examines the opening stages of the Natal campaign, the battle of Colenso and the battle of Spioenkop.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780275986384
Publisher:
Bloomsbury USA
Publication date:
02/28/2005
Series:
Praeger Illustrated Military History Series
Pages:
96
Product dimensions:
7.50(w) x 10.04(h) x 0.52(d)

Meet the Author

IAN KNIGHT has written widely on Zulu history and travelled extensively in Zululand. Ian was the editor of the Victorian Military Society journal for many years and is the author of a number of books.

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