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By Charles Richard Smith; United States. Marine Corps

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There were some technical problems - eg the Martini kicked like a mule, fouled easily, and suffered from spent cartridges jamming in the breech when, in the heat of battle their brass Boxer casings expanded too much. More importantly, the troops were woefully ill-trained to deal with sophisticated weaponry. At Gingindhlovu the scout John Dunn observed that when the Zulus came within 300 yards the British regulars "still had the long-range sights up", and that they were "firing wildly in any direction".

For rnost Africans firearms were a recent innovation, useful in slave-raiding or elephant hunting, but causing few changes in traditional tactics. The Zulus used rifles largely to cover the attack of their impis, but were completely unable to contest the British fire superiority (eg at Kambula, when they had captured modern weapons but found them strange and mysterious items). Ndebele warriors believed that by pushing the sights as far forward as possible they would make the bullet strike home harder.

RESULT Not chosen - the proposer thrown into jail! 2 Use the city of Omdurman as a defensive position. Uses protection of fortifications. Negate's army's offensive spirit; endangers civilians. Not chosen, partly because of recent enemy shelling. 3 Make a night attack on Kitchener's position. Negates Kitchener's massive f irepower. Loss of control, and of firepower. Not chosen. 4 Make a daylight attack on Kitchener's position. Maximises Mandist rifle fire and evokes the Mandi's vision of a victory outside Omdurman.

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A brief history of the 12th Marines by Charles Richard Smith; United States. Marine Corps


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