British Defeat at Isandlwana

Discussion in 'Military History' started by civfanatic, Feb 15, 2012.

  1. civfanatic

    civfanatic Retired Moderator

    Sep 8, 2009
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    "March slowly, attack at dawn and eat up the red soldiers."

    - Cetshwayo, King of Zululand.

    The Battle of Isandlwana took place on 22 January 1879 between a British column of around 2,000 regulars and colonial troops led by Lt. Gen. Lord Chelmsford, and a Zulu impi (army formation) of around 20,000 warriors led by General Ntshingwayo Khoza. It was the first major battle of the Anglo-Zulu War. The Zulu Kingdom, founded in the early 19th century by the legendary warrior-king Shaka Zulu, was one of the greatest indigenous powers of South Africa, and had fiercely (and successfully) resisted European encroachment for the majority of the century.

    Despite an overwhelming technological advantage over the Zulu, including having access to the latest breech-loading rifles, artillery pieces, and rocket batteries, the British force was decisively defeated and routed. The Zulu army outmaneuvered the overconfident and poorly-led British and won a stunning victory, killing 1,300 of the British while losing 1,000 of their own men. The Battle of Isandlwana marked the worst defeat suffered by the British Empire at the hands of a technologically inferior indigenous force, and gave inspiration to all the oppressed peoples of the world.

    Last edited by a moderator: May 10, 2015
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