Title: The Battle of Colenso 15 December 1899
Authors: S. B. Bourquin; Gilbert Torlage
Series: The Anglo-Boer War Battle Series
Publisher: 30 Degrees South Publishers (Pty) Ltd.
2nd edition. Johannesburg, South Africa 2014
ISBN 9781928211419 / ISBN 978-1-928211-41-9
Softcover, 15 x 21 cm, 48 pages, 25 b/w photos and maps
The Anglo-Boer War was in its third week when the newly appointed Supreme Commander, South African Field Force, arrived on the Natal front. General Sir Redvers Buller, VC, was one of Britain's most famous soldiers and there were great expectations that he would bring the war in South Africa to a speedy end. Buller himself expressed the fear that the war might actually be over by the time he arrived in South Africa. He was no stranger to the African sub-continent, having been a subordinate commander of mounted men during the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879, where, a Lieutenant-Colonel, he earned a Victoria Cross at Hlobane. Now, although a general, he had not been associated with active troops for some 15 years, and doubted that he really was the right choice for the command of a whole army. This was the biggest British army ever to have been assembled in South Africa, and indeed the biggest army anywhere in the Empire, outside of Britain, since the Crimean War. Buller's own self-assessment, that he would be better as a second-in-command than in overall command, was, sad to say, not merely modest, but an accurate perception. Poor preparation and reconnaissance as well as unflexible leadership led to a heavy British defeat as sketched in this book, The Battle of Colenso on 15 December 1899. It is the 4th volume of The Anglo-Boer War Battle Series published by 30 Degrees South Publishers (Pty) Ltd.
Actions at Chieveley and Willow Grange Boer defensive position at the Thukela
Buller's plan of action
The attack begins
The trap on the left
Stalemate on the right
Artillery exposed at the centre
Loss of the guns
The sites today