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Osprey Campaign 45 : Majuba 1881 : The Hill of Destiny

In 1881 the tension between Britain and the Boer farmers of southern Africa that had existed for 75 years boiled over into open conflict. The British entered the war full of confidence, yet in a few short weeks they had suffered three separate reverses before suffering their final humiliating defeat on the isolated summit of Majuba. George Colley's force were swept off their 'unassailable' position and into headlong retreat. It was a defeat that sent shock waves reverberating around the Empire. In this masterful examination of the First Boer War Ian Castle looks at the battles of Laing's Nek, Schuinshoogte and the action at Bronkhorstspruit. Majuba is also looked at in particular detail. The commanders of the two sides and the opposing forces themselves are examined, as are their different ways of fighting. The regular British army proved incapable of taking on and beating irregular Boer commandos, who, favouring a defensive strategy, were happy to hold secure positions until such time as the enemy were about to close, at which point they would mount-up and retired to safety: this was, in many ways, the 19th century British army's Vietnam. Ian Castle explains clearly how the British were comprehensively beaten by a small infant republic with no standing army.

    Contents
  • The Road to War 1881
  • Opposing Commanders
  • Opposing Armies
  • Opposing Plans
  • Opening Moves
  • The Battle of Laing's Nek
  • Battle of Schuinshoogte (Ingogo)
  • The Battle of Majuba
  • The Aftermath
  • The Battlefields Today
  • Chronology
  • Further Reading
  • Wargaming Majuba

 

Osprey Campaign


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