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Osprey Campaign 38 : Colenso 1899 : The Boer War in Natal

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. Ian Knight examines the opening stages of the Natal campaign, the battle of Colenso and the battle of Spioenkop.

    Contents
  • The Origins of the Anglo-Boer War
  • Opposing Strategies and Armies
  • The Natal Campaign - The Opening Stages
  • The Commanders
  • The Battle of Colenso
  • The Battle of Spioenkop
  • Breakthrough
  • The Battlefields Today
  • Chronology
  • A Guide to Further Reading
  • Wargaming Colenso and Spioenkop

 

Osprey Campaign


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