Rorkes Drift - South Africa

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janus :

In the Battle how many Troops in the British Force and how many had the Zulus and how many were KIlled on the British and Zulus Side. How did the Zulus manage with their Wounded and could they Doctor up their Wounds or did they just put them out of their Misery as they had no way of Healing Bullet Wounds Curious. You will notice that part of my Query was how did the Zulus manage with their wounded,did they have any Knowledge of Extricating Bullets from Wounds, or did they just finish off their Wounded as they did not know what to do with Bullet Wounds.Would anyone care to comment Thanks. Thanks Gentlemen very good answers so far .I will continue this for a couple of Days more.

1812 guru :
"Date: 22nd January 1879 Place: Tugela River in Natal Province, South Africa Combatants: British infantry with Natal irregulars against Zulu warriors. Commanders: The British garrison was commanded by Lieutenant John Chard, Royal Engineers, and Lieutenant Gonville Bromhead of the 24th Foot. The Zulus were commanded by Prince Dabulamanzi kaMapande. Size of the armies: 139 British troops against about 4,500 Zulus. Casualties: Zulu casualties are thought to have been around 500. The garrison of the mission station comprised 8 officers and 131 non-commissioned ranks. Of these 17 were killed and 10 wounded."
PaddyRanger :
"The British had 139 soldiers, on the Zulu side no exact figure just a estimate approx 5-6 thousand (some reports put it as low as 4,000 to 5,000) This action was at Rorke's Drift, Wednesday 22- Thursday 23 January, 1879, when some 150 soldiers defended a supply station against some 4000 Zulus, aided by the Martini-Henry rifle 'with some guts behind it'. Since the Victoria Cross was instigated by Queen Victoria in 1856, only 1357 have been awarded (the double awards for Arthur Martin-Leake, Charles Hazlitt Upham and Noel Godfrey Chavasse are included in the total). Rorke's Drift was a mission station in Natal, South Africa, situated near a natural ford (drift) on the Buffalo River at [show location on an interactive map] 28°20′57″S, 30°32′3″ECoordinates: [show location on an interactive map] 28°20′57″S, 30°32′3″E. During the Anglo-Zulu War, the defence of Rorke's Drift (22 January-23 January 1879) immediately followed the British Army's defeat at the Battle of Isandlwana earlier in the day. One hundred and thirty-nine British soldiers successfully defended their garrison against an intense assault by four to five thousand Zulu warriors. The overwhelming Zulu attack on Rorke's Drift came a hair's breadth away from defeating the tiny British garrison. The successful defense of the outpost is held as one of history's finest defenses. The Zulu's would take of as many of their injured as possible, the warriors also took a potion before battle which they believed made them bullet proof, its a kind of narcotic, the injured wouldbe taken to witch doctors or their women to try and heal them, I am not aware that they were able top extract rounds from shot warriors, maybe they tried if it was not too deep"
Korky :
"I'm sure I will be corrected but her goes Rorke's drift was defended by about 137 officers and men of mostly South wales borderers,they faced about 4,000 plus 15 British soldiers died in the battle 2 others died of wounds later,7 more were badly wounded with dozens slightly injured About 400 plus Zulu's were killed , as for weather the badly wounded were killed off there are conflicting reports, 11 Victoria crosses were won, the most ever given in one action. very brave men,"
Bill P :
"For the British appox. 100 men were defending Rorke's Drift. Of these 15 died in action,2 later of wounds, six were listed as severly wounded and 9 are listed as other wounded. The Zulu force was something north of 1000 and dead were estimated at over 500. For more info look at listed source."
"Rorkes Drift - try these links : - The Battle of Rorke's Drift - The Zulu War Place: Tugela River in Natal Province, South Africa. The defence of Rorke's Drift at the height of the battle The defence of Rorke's Drift at the height of ... - Cached Rorke's Drift, 1879 - The highest number of Victoria Crosses ... Website dedicated to the Victoria Cross Winners from Rorke's Drift, 1879. ... as the grave of Dalton in South Africa whilst on our visit to Rorke's Drift. ... - Cached - The Battle A synopsis of the battle. Rorke's Drift, as it looks today, ... In January 1879 the British invaded KwaZulu in South Africa, without the sanction of the ... - Cached Rorke's Drift - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Rorke's Drift was a mission station in Natal, South Africa, situated near a natural ... It was now that the most famous quote of the battle was uttered, ... - Cached KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa South Africa's KwaZulu-Natal Battlefields. ... Zulu wars, Shaka, Isandlwana, Rorkes Drift, Colenso, Spioenkop, Ladysmith, Dundee, Churchill, Blood River, ... "
Chariotmender :
"Most people have already answered the first part of your question, more or less accurately, so I won't bother to go over the number of combatants and dead and wounded again. To answer the second part regarding the wounded and their treatment please read on. Among the iziNyanga (doctors) there was one class which specialized in the medicinal use of plants and the treatment of sickness and wounds. In wartime these were directed to accompany the army as army doctors and would deal with wounds and injuries as best as they could. These services were, as a rule, applied only to their own people because Zulu ideology did not permit the taking of prisoners. A severely wounded enemy would thus be killed on the spot, and anyone whose wounds permitted him to get away would do so in an endeavour to save his own life. In the case of the injured who managed to get away, the wounds caused by assegais would be flesh-wounds and would readily respond to treatment. Severely wounded men, even their own men, had their skulls subsequently cracked by a blow from a knob-kerrie and needed no further treatment. For this reason, to this day, the knob-kerrie is regarded as the symbol of mercy as it was the tool by which a wounded man could be speedily released from his misery. In the Zulu army there had been no changes in the treatment of the wounded since Shaka's days. Seriously wounded friends or foes were put out of their misery through the merciful application to their skulls of the knob-kerrie. The walking wounded had their assegai wounds, invariably flesh wounds, treated by herbalists and other iNyanga (tribal doctors), but bullets caused far more horrible wounds, shattered bones and the like which no Zulu 'doctor' could treat. Many warriors who escaped from the battlefields died on the way, or at home, or remained crippled for the rest of their lives. In their fight against the white man the Zulus endeavoured to remove their own dead whenever circumstances and numbers permitted this to be done. At Isandlwana, for instance, the Zulu dead who could not be removed at once were subsequently removed and disposed of in dongas or in the grain pits of the abandoned kraals in the vicinity. As the latter were filled to capacity many kraals were relocated on the return of the inhabitants. Contrary to general belief amongst whites, it was not Zulu custom to torture fallen wounded soldiers. They were killed on the spot, but according to Zulu custom a dead enemy had to be disembowelled to release evil spirits and to prevent the swelling up of a corpse. Exceptions to the rule were notable, such as the case of trooper Raubenheim, captured and tortured to death by the Zulus at Ulundi. No prisoners were taken on either side; any encounter ended either in escape or death."
tammipup :
"At Rorke's Drift, the British/Allied troops, were a follows:- Wounded/Sick = 36. Those described as "WALKING WOUNDED" were issued with arms and ammunition. TWO of those, - "Private HENRY HOOK", and "Corporal FERDNAND FREDERIC SCHEISS", (who was SWISS by BIRTH, and was a member of "NATAL MOUNTED POLICE"), were amongst the ELEVEN, who were awarded Great Britain's HIGHEST award, for military courage, - the VICTORIA CROSS! Officers/Surgeon/Commissaries, etc. = 7 (8 including the Boer farmer "ADENDORFF") Fit for Duty = 97 As for the ZULU Ccombatants, there were, actually, about FOUR THOUSAND of them, - though, EXACT numbers were NEVER specified."
Phillip L :

im trying to do some research on the battle and i need detailed accounts by the survivors of all ranks. There was a website with them all on called victorian voices but the section of the site that had them is no longer available. the offical website for the battle only has 1 account so some others please

Beach Saint :
"Try this website: Here's a link to my google search in case you want to research other sites. "
Polo :
"Try this link: "
"There are many sites. the first site is a link to the VC winners At Rorke's Drift, eleven Victoria Crosses were awarded. Seven to the 2nd Battalion, 24th (2nd Warwickshire) Regiment of Foot, one to the Army Medical Department, one to the Royal Engineers, one to the Commissariat and Transport Department and one to the Natal Native Contingent. there is a link to FREDERICK HITCH VC's web page. the South African Museums web page The Zulu website, with sound recordings. web sites of the The Royal Regiment of Wales was formed in 1969 by the amalgamation of two of Wales' most famous and distinguished regiments, namely The South Wales Borderers (24th Foot) and The Welch Regiment (41st/69th Foot). The Royal Engineers Museum and Library tell the story of the Corps of Royal Engineers and military engineering."
Elizabeth :
"Try: There are many links in the text of this site. Some of the links take you to accounts of how the Victoria Crosses were won and by whom and other information."
Veritas :
"There's a lot of authentic detail in the film 'ZULU'."
Chariotmender :
"This one has a copy of the Roll Call taken after the battle by Lieutenant Chard. Reverend Smith's diary. Chard's report to Queen Victoria Surgeon Reynolds account of the Battle Private Henry Hook's account I wont bore everyone with the whole list. It is all supplied at the links provided."
maranta :
"Why don't you try reading the histories of Rorkes Drift of which there are many usually incorporated into books about the Zulu war. The Washing of the Spears is informative and exciting and so is John Prebbles account. Internet is good ---books are better. Cheers"


Comments on Rorkes Drift

Date: 2008-02-05 19:45:20

When David Rattray told a story, people listened. Whether around the roaring log fire of his South African lodge or out on a rocky outcrop in the majestic KwaZulu-Natal landscape, his arms flung out to emphasise a point, the historian was famous for keeping his audience spellbound.

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