At around 8am, mounted vedettes reported large numbers of Zulus on the high ground to the left of the camp. World War I, an international conflict that in —18 embroiled most of the nations of Europe along…. A short time after the main battle a Zulu force numbering in excess of warriors advances on a British supply dump guarded by Welsh infantrymen. Chelmsford knew nothing, Col. In some ways, Bourne is the key character in the film. A dangerous mix of self-confidence and contempt for their foes infected many in the British Army during the Zulu War.

So great were the distances involved, and so slow the methods of communication, that British governors often took it upon themselves to start wars and annex provinces. Chelmsford said no doubt poor Col. The British might be armed with rifles, but so are the Zulus, and in any case these slow-loading carbines are little use when you’re outnumbered 40 to one and the enemy is already upon you. One senior officer wrote: During the afternoon a message was brought to the drift that the Zulus were approaching the Mission Station.

Most of what Chelmsford told the Queen was a pack of lies.

Cetshwayowho became king of the Zulus inwas unwilling to submit to British hegemony and assembled a well-disciplined army of 40, to 60, men. Dan Snow asks why so many soldiers survived the trenches in WW1.

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rorkes drift essay

This dangerous mixture of self-confidence and contempt for their foes infected the whole British force. Chelmsford said no doubt poor Col. Frere had been sent out to to Cape Town with the specific rorrkes of grouping South Africa’s hotch-potch of British colonies, Boer republics and independent black states into a Confederation of South Africa.

Instead, Benjamin Disraeli’s government – preoccupied with the Russian threat to Constantinople and Afghanistan – made every effort to avoid a fight. The British might be armed with rifles, but so are the Zulus, and in any case these slow-loading carbines are little use when you’re outnumbered 40 to one and the enemy is already upon you.


Zulu: The True Story

Explore the British History Timeline from the Neolithic to the present day. Many generals blunder in war, but few go to such lengths to avoid responsibility.

About the author Dr Saul David is the author of several critically-acclaimed history books, including The Indian Mutiny: The man to whom this letter was addressed – Sir Bartle Frere – had others ideas, however.

Thank you for your feedback. Please note that our editors may make some formatting changes or correct spelling or grammatical errors, and may also contact you if any clarifications are needed. The Victorian public was dumbstruck by the news that ‘spear-wielding savages’ had defeated the well equipped British Army. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets CSS if you are able to do so.

The Battle of Rorke’s Drift | Anglo Zulu War Historical Society

Realising they had been spotted, the Zulus rose as one and began their attack, using their traditional tactic of encirclement known as the izimpondo zankomo ‘horns of the buffalo’. During the second half of the 19th century, the British were interested in Zululand for several reasons, including their desire for the Zulu population to provide labour in the diamond fields of Southern Africa, their plan to create a South Africa federation in the region thereby destroying autonomous African statesand Boer land claims supported by the British on territory held by the Zulu kingdom.

Perhaps more than any other film, Zulu is about pure heroism.

Many of the lower-rank VC winners from Rorke’s Drift were also forgotten when the media circus moved on. Thank You for Your Contribution!

The Battle of Rorke’s Drift, 22nd – 23rd January The British soldiers are apolitical to a man, and the malingering Private Hook is downright subversive.


rorkes drift essay

In a moment of last-ditch inspiration, Chard turns the attackers’ tactics against them, luring the Zulus into a murderous trap and slaughtering untold numbers with close-quarters rifle fire. Sign up here to see what happened On This Dayevery day in your inbox!

EMPIRE ESSAY: Zulu Review | Movie – Empire

On 22 Januaryat Rorke’s Drift on the Natal border with Zululand, in South Africa, a tiny British garrison of men – many of them sick and wounded – fought for 12 hours to repel repeated attacks by up to 3, Zulu warriors. He is the experienced old soldier, resolutely unflappable in the face of the Zulu onslaught, stoically mediating between the bickering officers, the frightened and bewildered rankers, and the troublemaking Hook.

In the end, the British prevail because they pull together, hold fast rlrkes follow orders without question. As a Member you get access to hundreds of articles which cover every aspect of the war in more details.

Anglo Zulu War Historical Society

But the Zulu conflict was unique in that it was to be the last pre-emptive war launched by the British, prior to the recent campaign in Iraq. Colonel Pulleine, in command at Isandlwana, dashed off a quick note to Chelmsford, reading: Each room tells a different story.

rorkes drift essay

Like the defence of Rorke’s Drift itself, its legend grows with the passing of time. Such unilateral action by an imperial pro-consul was not unusual during the Victorian period. There was a problem with your submission. Few, however, remember that it was fought on the same day that the British Army suffered its most humiliating defeat at nearby Isandlwana.