Chicagoboyz community member Morgan Norval reminds us that January 22 was the anniversary of the Battle of Rorke’s Drift in 1879 (and immortalized in the famous movie, Zulu).
I’ve been to Rorke’s Drift and it was an interesting site. The Lutheran Mission is still there and Isandlwana is a few miles across the river and up the road. Fortunately for the Brits, the Zulus were unfamiliar with the rifles they picked up from Isandlwana as there was bluffs behind looking down on the Brits position at Rorke’s Drift and in the hands of skilled shooters shooting at the defenders would have been like shooting at fish in a barrel. Hollowood did a later move after Zulu called Zulu Dawn which was about the wiping out of the Brit’s regiment at Isandlwana. For one who wants to watch both just flip the sequence and watch Zulu Dawn before Zulu to get the complete historical picture Hollowood style.
(I’ve corrected the spelling of Isandlwana in Morgan’s passage.)
4 thoughts on “Raise a Glass”
Not to comment on the historical accuracy of Zulu, but this film was and may still be used as a training tool for Army junior officers to illustrate the Principles of War as they apply to small unit leadership in combat. It illustrates them very well as well as being riveting action. The positive and negative lessons come from both side of the battle. Since we expected to be fighting grossly outnumbers against the Warsaw Pact forces during my service, the secondary issue portrayed was what it takes to prevail under such numerical disadvantage. Thank God we didn’t have to test that particular issue.
Jonathon, thanks for being my spell checker.
Donald Morris wrote a history about the Zulus, from Shaka to the Battle of Rourke’s Drift: The Washing Of The Spears: The Rise And Fall Of The Zulu Nation. Donald Morris used to write a weekly foreign affairs column for the Houston Post editorial page. As Morris used to work for the CIA, his columns were more informative than the average pundit writing on foreign affairs.
About a quarter of the Zulus were on the Brit’s side in the 1879 Zulu War. They were living in the southern area of Zululand closest to Peitermaritzburg, the capital of Natal province. That is the area today where the ANC is strongest in KwaZulu and where Jacob Zuma is from–a coincidence? Zuma, by being a Zulu, can tap into the tribalism that pervades Africa and will get the traditional Zulu’s vote, much like Obama getting 90 percent of the black vote here in the US, but it is politically incorrect to point that out.
Yes, Morris’ Washing of The Spears is still the classic study of the Zulus.
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