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  #1  
Old 18-04-2011, 17:51
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Angry COLENSO-The Sunset of General Buller


Colenso was the third and final battle of Black Week
and saw the denouement of General Buller as C in C South Africa.The Battle of Colenso was an abject failure because the British Force was commanded by an officer; promoted way above his capabilities.For a man decorated with the VC
he showed remarkable timidity.He lost 1240 officers and men in killed ,wounded and missing along with 10 guns;all for something less than nothing!!

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http://www.historyofwar.org/articles...s_colenso.html
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Old 19-04-2011, 05:27
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Default Re: COLENSO-The Sunset of General Buller

Colenso was indeed a disaster for the British and Buller went on to repeat his poor generalship at Spioenkop and Vaalkrans a month later. Even his ultimate success at the Battle(s) of Tugela Heights was blood-soaked and his forces prevailed only because of the weight of numbers of very brave men.

One of the best assessments of Buller and his other generals was written at that time by Captain C E Radclyffe of the 1st Battalion, Rifle Brigade:

"Charging hills is an absolutely irresistable temptation to Generals out here."

I have a particular interest in the operations to relieve the Siege of Ladysmith, probably because I lived in Estcourt for many of my younger years and Buller's headquarters at Frere were only a few miles away. I have collected medals of men who fought in the Relief and two of the men represented in my collection were wounded during the Battle of Colenso. One was a Sergeant in the Royal Dublin Fusiliers, a regiment that was part of the Irish Brigade, which was the one that suffered the heaviest casualties that day. A visit to the area where he was wounded reveals the absolute stupidity of the close-order approach of the Irish to entrenched Boers on high ground on the far side of the Tugela River. The Irish would not even have seen the enemy, never mind being in a position to evict them from their trenches.

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Old 19-04-2011, 08:05
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Unhappy Re: COLENSO-The Sunset of General Buller

Thanks Brett for your usual knowledgable comments.General Hart marched his men forward in quarter column in clear daylight across a coverless veld,exposed to every Boer gun and rifle in range.He eventually got himself lost ,like Wauchope, by advancing too far and further exposed his men to the accurate fire of the Boers.Buler sent an order to Hart to pull back with the aid of Lyttleton's Brigade.What an absolute shambles.Then came the loss of Colonel Long's guns.
PS I too collected QSA's to Hart's and Barton's Brigade.
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Old 23-04-2011, 12:30
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Angry Re: COLENSO-The Sunset of General Buller

Gol. Long had been given the position, where to site his Battery of 10X12pdr guns by Gen.Buller, who pointed with his finger at a very rough sketch map. Thistook him into a loop of the R Tugela, 1000 yds from the river, near Colenso Station, far too near Boer sharpshooters ;which made a trap from which he could not extricate himself.
He lost his nerve and retreated; leaving his precious guns to the Boers to take away.All concerned should have been courtsmartialled; but for the usual cover up-,with Long shouldering the blame until 1906; when evidence from Botha exonerated him.

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Last edited by jainso31 : 23-04-2011 at 13:01.
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Old 24-04-2011, 06:26
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Default Re: COLENSO-The Sunset of General Buller

The small town of Colenso is now a messy and run down shadow of its former self. Most of its former inhabitants were once proud of its place in the military history of the British Empire, but I doubt that a visitor to the town today would find a single person with any interest in the town's past. In time even its name is likely to be changed and Colenso will exist only on the pages of history books.

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Old 24-04-2011, 08:07
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Cool Re: COLENSO-The Sunset of General Buller

Thank you Brett for your obsevation and description of the presentday Colenso.As Colenso is a place of shame in the Annals of the Brtish Army-maybe to rename it, would perhaps breathe some new life into it and I do not think the British Army would be all that saddened.
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Old 29-09-2011, 09:54
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Default Re: COLENSO-The Sunset of General Buller

Of the many commentaries on Colenso the briefest are the best-"The general and not his gallant focewas defeated" declared the German Staff Historian."We all hammered our heads against a stone wall of which nobody knew anything" wrote Lt. Leslie Renton of Dundonald's Force."Fight? Och,it was no fight at all,at all" said a Dublin Fusilier. Of Col. Long's guns what can be said!!

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