Title: The Battle of Talana
Author: Pam McFadden
Series: The Anglo-Boer War Battle Series
Publisher: 30 Degrees South Publishers (Pty) Ltd.
2nd edition. Johannesburg, South Africa 2014
ISBN 9781928211396 / ISBN 978-1-928211-39-6
Softcover, 15 x 21 cm, 48 pages, 25 b/w photos and maps
At the outbreak of the Anglo-Boer War on 11 October 1899, Britain had 27054 troops of all ranks, both imperial and colonial, deployed over a wide area of southern Africa. The major concentration of forces was in Natal, with Ladysmith as their base.
A detachment of 4000-4500 men, under the command of Major-General Sir William Penn Symons, had been sent forward to Dundee, arriving in the latter part of September. British military consensus held that the northern Natal triangle, vulnerable to attack from several points from across the Buffalo River and over the Drakensberg, should not be defended and the principal towns evacuated. However, a strong lobby, swayed by colonial mining interests, demanded the defence of Dundee and Elandslaagte; their mines were vital to the shipping companies. The British Government was relying on the shipping companies to transport men and materials from Britain and the Empire. Moreover, rebellion by dissident Boers in the Biggarsberg and by disaffected Africans was a real threat. The decision was therefore taken to defend Dundee. The Battle of Talana was to be the first major engagement of the Anglo-Boer War and is subject of this first volume of The Anglo-Boer War Battle Series published by 30 Degrees South Publishers (Pty) Ltd.
The first encounter
The start of the battle
The attack up the hill
The Boer withdrawal
The capture of the cavalry
Counting the cost
Retreat to Ladysmith
Dundee under occupation
The battlefield today