Military Review

Battle of Izandlwane and the role of the pouch

31
Nowadays it is difficult to meet a person who would not have heard of such an element of military equipment as a pouch. Over the course of many decades, it has constantly evolved following the change in rifle weapons. A pouch is quite a utilitarian thing: it is a small container bag that is worn either on a waist belt or on unloading equipment. The military used a pouch for placing and carrying ammunition (originally cartridges in the cage). History and the reasons for the appearance of the pouch go to the end of the XIX century, the British paid hundreds of lives of their soldiers for the awareness of the need for this element of equipment in the soldiers' equipment.


Crucial was the battle of Izandlwana (or the battle at the hill of Izandlwana, as it is also called). This battle took place on 22 on January 1879 of the year as part of the Anglo-Zulu war. The outbreak of hostilities was preceded by an ultimatum by the British to the Zulu king of Kechwayo, in fact it was about the kingdom becoming a protectorate of the British Empire. The king refused to accept this ultimatum, and Britain declared war on him. 9 January 1879, British troops crossed the ford of Rorks-Drift and 11 in January began crossing the Buffalo River, being in the territory of Zululand. On January 19, Colonel Anthony Durnford received an order to launch an advance to Izandlwana Hill.

January 20 British camped at this hill. Feeling their technical superiority over the Zulus in armament, as well as in organization and discipline, the British did not equip a protected camp. They did not dig in, build engineering fortifications, and did not even enclose their camp with carts from a convoy, so the British officers were sure that they would be able to repel any enemy attack. However, the British, who before the start of the battle could not estimate the scale of the Zulus troops, miscalculated. King Quechvayo brought about 22 thousand people to the battlefield, while in the English camp at that moment there were no more than 1700 people.



The composition of the forces of the British at that time was as follows. There were a total of up to 1700 people in the camp, of which 300 were civilians: they were mostly natives who did some simple work — porters, companions, groomsmen, laborers, and ordinary servants. Regular British units were represented by six companies of the 24 Infantry Regiment (5 company mouth from the 1 Battalion, and 1 company from the 2 Battalion company), a cavalry squad (104 man), as well as auxiliary units and a rear hospital. Auxiliary units of the native troops, recruited from the Natalu Zulu (Natalian native corps), Swazi and Basotho, also included cavalry detachments, a detachment of native carabineers and six infantry native mouths, as well as an engineering unit. The British also had two 7-pounders from the 5 artillery brigade and a Congrave missile battery from two launchers from the 7 artillery brigade. He commanded the English detachment in the camp, Colonel Henry Pullein. This officer had no combat experience, but was considered a good administrator in the army, so he was entrusted with the management of the British camp with all the supplies, wagons and equipment. Just before the start of the battle, Colonel Anthony Durnford arrived in the camp with five squads of native cavalrymen of the Natal Corps, this officer had combat experience and was considered one of the best saber fencers in all of South Africa. In fact, he led the cavalry in this battle, and Pullein commanded the infantry units.

The Zulu units that opposed the British were tribal militia and were armed with primitive weapons — asegai spears, wooden Kirri and other cold weapons. Some warriors were armed with obsolete firearms of various types, mainly they were flint rifles, which Ketchwayo managed to buy in Mozambique before the war, as well as a number of guns were purchased by Zulus for ivory from English merchants. In this case, the Zulus were distinguished by poor rifle training, they did not have experience in using firearms in battles, and the reserves of ammunition and gunpowder were small. The main advantage of the Zulus was their number, they are superior to the British more than tenfold.

22 January 1879, the British troops continued to have a peaceful breakfast and go about their business, when from the outposts sounded the alarm. Throwing their affairs, the soldiers rushed to the weapon. Having taken a defensive order, they watched as the black cloud of the Zulus fell on them because of the nearby hills, becoming more numerous. The soldiers watched as the Zulu lively crowded the exposed outposts, approaching the camp. Only then did the British begin to understand how misguided they were in determining the forces of the enemy.

Last minutes of the 24 Infantry. Artist Charles Edwin


As soon as the Zulus were close enough, the British used their trump card - artillery. The guns gave a volley of shrapnel that broke through wide gaps in the advancing "black wall", but this did not stop the Zulus. When they came even closer, the British opened fire on them with rifles, but this, in the end, did not bring the desired result. For some time they managed to force the enemy to lie down in the tall grass, but the Zulus again and again rose under the bullets and went forward. In place of the fallen, more and more new Zulu warriors appeared.

When Pullein gave the order to his soldiers, deployed on the ground in a thin chain in red uniforms, to retreat closer to the camp, some of the native soldiers simply did not stop at the new line of defense. They fled through the camp itself. There were gaps in the British rifle chain. Breaking through the British defense in several places, the defeat of their small forces by the Zulus was only a matter of time. They won a terrible hand-to-hand fight, the Zulus were not taken prisoners, they killed everyone they could overtake. The wild battle cries and whistles of throwing copies of assegasev were what English soldiers and officers heard before they died.

Parts of the Natalian indigenous corps stopped resistance before the soldiers of the 24 regiment, being partially dispersed, and partly turning to flight. It is worth noting that the cavalry detachments of the Natalian native corps commanded by Durnford were the first to join the battle on that day and used up all their ammunition before, their guns simply stopped firing. In this case, the Zulus pursued all fled warrior corps. Durnford with a group of Natal volunteers died on his flank, after the battle his body was found under a pile of corpses.

Zulus Warriors


In the end, the black avalanche of the Zulu army swallowed up the camp, while in the heat of the battle the Zulus even killed all oxen and dogs, as well as a large number of horses. The bodies of animals were lying in the camp mixed with human ones. After the battle was over, the Zulus, according to their traditions, ripped apart the corpses of their enemies and their dead warriors in order to free their souls. The whole area in front of the hill Izandlvane represented a huge mass grave.

The British lost an 1329 man in battle (more than 800 Europeans among them), including an 52 officer. After the battle, all 55 Europeans and no more than 300 natives were able to return to the location of British troops. Battle participant Lt. Horace Smith-Dorrien later in his memoirs noted that before the battle, King Kechvayo gave his soldiers the order to "kill soldiers in red uniforms," ​​so most of the survivors were officers (they wore a dark blue field uniform), gunners (they wore blue uniforms) or irregular forces. The Zulus lost about three thousand of their warriors directly in the battle, and a huge number of soldiers died later from wounds received in battle. Their trophies were two 7-pounders, near 1000 breech-loading rifles and 400 thousands of rounds for them, as well as the 3 banner.

The main reason for the defeat of the British was the banal underestimation of the opponent. But one of the reasons for the defeat was also a problem with the supply of shooters with ammunition. Pouches with cartridges in this battle, perhaps, would have saved hundreds of lives, if they were. The British infantry in the battle of Izandlwana were fairly modern and effective 11,43-mm Martini-Henry rifles, which had a good rate of fire - 10 shots per minute. From a technical point of view, this sample of small arms was a single-shot rifle with manual reloading of a block shutter. This rifle enjoyed love in the British army. The advantages of this weapon were strength, simplicity, rate of fire, reliability of the shutter and the substitutability of most parts. However, a small cartridge belt, which was located on the belt of the British soldier, could hold all 20 cartridges, all other cartridges were transported in special boxes.

One of the mounds marking the mass graves of British soldiers


In order to open such a box, it was necessary to first unscrew the 4 long screws, then use a special knife to open a thick sheet of zinc, which protected the cartridges from moisture. Only after that it was possible to take out the boxes with cartridges, which still needed to be cut with a bayonet, and only then take out the paper bundles of ammunition. Each box contained 30 cartridges of 10 cartridges each. At the same time, only the commissary could carry out a “ritual” of opening such a box. The autopsy procedure took up to 10 minutes, usually it was performed slowly, since a substantial fine was deducted for damage to each box from the quartermaster's salary. For each non-commissioned officer, the quartermaster was assigned a specific unit, which he had to supply in battle, given the expense of ammunition. With such a rigorous approach, cartridges were issued only to their carriers, whom the non-commissioned officer knew personally.

The line of defense of the British troops was located at a distance from the camp, as a result of this, the distribution of ammunition along the stretched rifle chain took time. During the battle at the Izandlwana hill, the British soldiers constantly faced “cartridge hunger”, as the carriers of the cartridges had to first run before the train, wait until they opened the cartridge boxes and then go back. At the same time, an occupant who could not give out cartridges to "alien" carriers could stand in an already opened cartridge box. All these delays almost completely negated the entire technical potential of a fairly modern Martini-Henry rifle.

It was after the defeat in the base camp near Izandlvane that the British decided to increase the wearable ammunition of the soldier by a factor of 3. Especially for this purpose, a special ammunition bag was created, which soldiers carried on the shoulder strap under the bag for things. It was from here that the name of this additional bag went - the pouch.

Information sources:
http://warspot.ru/1826-rozhdennyy-v-krovi
http://www.internetwars.ru/HISTORY/Isandlwana/Isandlwana.htm
http://weaponland.ru/load/vintovka_martini_henry/153-1-0-900
Open source materials
Author:
31 comment
Information
Dear reader, to leave comments on the publication, you must to register.

I have an account? Sign in

  1. Volga Cossack
    Volga Cossack 28 January 2016 06: 40
    +6
    It was smooth on paper ........... these are the little things that include victory .......
    1. hrych
      hrych 29 January 2016 20: 27
      0
      Zulu apparently do not clean their trunks with a brick ... laughing
  2. ICT
    ICT 28 January 2016 07: 03
    +5
    Quote: Volga Cossack
    Smooth was on paper


    description of the battle and in general the article is interesting. but I don’t agree with the conclusion. in fact, what now we have is not the same 2-4 store for the fighter (20 cartridges for the 11mm rifle is a maximum type) _. and opening zinc with cartridges may be a little easier. getting it is by no means easier
    1. Forest
      Forest 28 January 2016 09: 45
      11
      So who fought and carry up to five hundred rounds.
      1. combat192
        combat192 28 January 2016 20: 00
        11
        So who fought and carry up to five hundred rounds.

        Ammunition happens:
        - very little;
        - few;
        - not enough;
        - I won’t take it away anymore.
    2. voyaka uh
      voyaka uh 28 January 2016 14: 59
      +5
      "we don't have 2-4 stores per soldier as well" ///

      How is 2-3? Are you not mistaken?
      We had rates from 7 to 9 stores.
      Despite the fact that fire in bursts is strictly forbidden,
      only solitary.
      1. Orionvit
        Orionvit 28 January 2016 21: 23
        +1
        2-3 stores, this is on guard.
        1. saigon
          saigon 11 January 2017 17: 43
          0
          Hello, how is this 2-3 store?
          This is an army and two-three do not happen, in the SA on a machine gun the guard norm was exactly 60 rounds two horns the charter of the guard service.
  3. parusnik
    parusnik 28 January 2016 08: 07
    +4
    Feeling their technical superiority over the Zulus in armament, as well as in organization and discipline, the British did not begin to equip the protected camp.... The Angles relaxed ... didn’t want to build a fortified camp .. Thank you ... interesting material ..
    1. gladcu2
      gladcu2 28 January 2016 20: 37
      0
      parusnik

      And someone once didn’t clean the M-16 in Vietnam. Tradition however.
  4. semirek
    semirek 28 January 2016 08: 21
    +8
    A fascinating article, but the meaning in it is as I understand it — the British counted only on firearms - they apparently had no cold weapons, just for decoration. Russian troops in skirmishes with natives in Asia and the Caucasus often had such situations - but when the cartridges ran out - sabers and drafts, or even daggers, were used, not the pouches.
  5. Riv
    Riv 28 January 2016 08: 27
    12
    20 rounds per person could solve the problem. But the loss ratio indicates that the problem is not in the cartridges. In the end, during the battle, the issue is not the quartermaster's salary, but survival. Cartridge boxes could be pulled closer.

    The problem is different. The British were constrained by their tactics. They stood in a chain, waiting for a shot command and fired in volleys. They did not even try to take an advantageous position, although there was time. Against a maneuverable enemy, skillfully using the terrain, this is obviously a losing option. After almost twenty years, the Boer commandos in the Anglo-Boer War proved it once again more vividly to them.
  6. AK64
    AK64 28 January 2016 08: 36
    +6
    And what about "pouch" in English? Apparently, the author thinks that the pouch is in English underbag.

    So here's an English pouch pouch ("handbag"), and nothing remains of the author's entire theory of the origin of the name.

    Yes, the lid in the cartridge box was movable, it was held in ONE by a screw, and the soldiers were trained to kick it out with a butt punch. Such boxes open butt on the site of the battle found.
    The zinc cover under it came off the ring, as on some cans.

    The Zulu number is 20 thousand ... Yes, it is written in all reference books. However, according to more realistic estimates, half of this was not there. (There are opinions that in that Zulu battle were under the mushrooms, their sorcerers tried.)
    1. Alexey RA
      Alexey RA 28 January 2016 11: 14
      +4
      Quote: AK64
      Yes, the lid in the cartridge box was movable, it was held in ONE by a screw, and the soldiers were trained to kick it out with a butt punch. Such boxes open butt on the site of the battle found.

      EMNIP, bent screws and pieces of zinc sheets were found at the positions. That is, at least part of the boxes opened directly at the positions.
      The main ammunition reserves were 1 - 1,5 km behind. And for their tray were used all those not engaged in battle, including drummers.

      Incidentally, bourgeois slanderthat the soldier wearable ammunition had to be 70 rounds. But the only ones who had a regular number of BP. were the soldiers of company "A". The rest had only 40-50 rounds on hand.
  7. bionik
    bionik 28 January 2016 09: 35
    +4
    As a child, he read the book by A. Niman “Peter Maritz - a young drill from Transvaal”, where this battle is also described.
  8. Nagaibak
    Nagaibak 28 January 2016 09: 55
    +3
    Did the British have such rifles?
  9. Kim Klimov
    Kim Klimov 28 January 2016 10: 47
    +3
    I did not know that the British in Africa also got it. And on business, because they were invaders of a foreign land, and not liberators and "bearers of progress."
    1. Nagaibak
      Nagaibak 28 January 2016 11: 12
      +6
      Kim Klimov "I didn't know that the British in Africa also got it."
      They regularly got there. From the Zulus, Sudanese, Boers.
      1. voyaka uh
        voyaka uh 28 January 2016 15: 03
        +6
        True, in the end they drenched everyone ...
        The British are very stubborn guys, and solitary failures
        they were never stopped.
        1. RUSS
          RUSS 28 January 2016 20: 29
          0
          Quote: voyaka uh
          The British are very stubborn guys, and solitary failures
          they were never stopped.

          In the end, still lost all the colonies.
    2. RUSS
      RUSS 28 January 2016 20: 28
      0
      Quote: Kim Klimov
      I did not know that the British in Africa also got it. And on business, because they were invaders of a foreign land, and not liberators and "bearers of progress."

      They are also there and the Boers clicked.
      1. semirek
        semirek 28 January 2016 21: 17
        +2
        Quote: RUSS
        Quote: Kim Klimov
        I did not know that the British in Africa also got it. And on business, because they were invaders of a foreign land, and not liberators and "bearers of progress."

        They are also there and the Boers clicked.

        You forgot about Afghanistan: in one night, the Afghans slaughtered all the English garrisons. The British are not such warriors either.
        1. RUSS
          RUSS 28 January 2016 22: 30
          +1
          Quote: semirek
          You forgot about Afghanistan: in one night, the Afghans slaughtered all the English garrisons. The British are not such warriors either.

          From the last ....
          From the end of spring 1940 to the end of spring 1941, the British Empire experienced three of the largest and most shameful military disasters in its history: the defeat in France and the flight from Dunkirk, the defeat in Greece and Crete.
          1. bionik
            bionik 28 January 2016 23: 25
            +1
            Add:
            surrendered Hong Kong on December 25, 1941, February 15, 1941 Singapore.
          2. Venier
            Venier 8 February 2016 23: 14
            0
            You can still recall the largest failure of the Ingles at Gallipoli 1915.
    3. devastator
      devastator 29 January 2016 13: 55
      +2
      Quote: Kim Klimov
      I did not know that the British in Africa also got it. And on business, because they were invaders of a foreign land, and not liberators and "bearers of progress."

      And how did they get in the same Africa from other "carriers of progress" ...
      Everyone knows about the Boer War.
      But there were other wars.
      There was, for example, a tough guy Paul Emil von Lettow-Forbeck among the Germans. It was the whole of World War I, from bell to bell, so hurricane in Africa that even Sidor Kovpak could only smoke on the sidelines - the British lost only five times more troops from illnesses (not counting military losses) than Lettov-Forbek had when or under the head.
      1. Lone wolf
        Lone wolf 30 January 2016 16: 50
        0
        Quote: devastator
        Quote: Kim Klimov
        I did not know that the British in Africa also got it. And on business, because they were invaders of a foreign land, and not liberators and "bearers of progress."

        And how did they get in the same Africa from other "carriers of progress" ...
        Everyone knows about the Boer War.
        But there were other wars.
        There was, for example, a tough guy Paul Emil von Lettow-Forbeck among the Germans. It was the whole of World War I, from bell to bell, so hurricane in Africa that even Sidor Kovpak could only smoke on the sidelines - the British lost only five times more troops from illnesses (not counting military losses) than Lettov-Forbek had when or under the head.
        Here he is a tough guy ... maybe it’s not only his coolness but also the stupid self-confidence of the British who thought that the Germans in Africa could not do anything to them?
  10. Olegmog
    Olegmog 28 January 2016 16: 24
    +3
    I read it with interest! Article plus. Supply service
    more radishes .... A boot torn in the service.
    I went for a month for ensign until I got the others.
    And then a whole ritual of issuing cartridges ...!
  11. fa2998
    fa2998 28 January 2016 17: 27
    +2
    Quote: Olegmog
    And then a whole ritual of issuing cartridges ...!

    What does the extradition have to do with! You have to shoot normally. If you take those numbers in the article, they had over 1500 rifles X 20 rounds = 30000 rounds + artillery on their hands. And they shot not at a hare, but at a huge human wall. There’s every bullet will find a target. If the Zulus were to lose at least 50%, the attack would drown. hi
  12. Vadim42
    Vadim42 28 January 2016 18: 08
    +4
    Most of the 55 European officers who escaped escaped faster than the rest. Among so many Zulus, the color of the uniform did not matter.
    1. visitork67
      visitork67 28 January 2016 19: 08
      +5
      I agree. Definitely not divided by color, since the oxen and the dogs were settled. Athletes, however.
  13. moskowit
    moskowit 28 January 2016 21: 11
    +2
    When the Scottish poet Robert Burns wrote:
    "... The enemy enters the city,
    prisoners not sparing
    because in the forge
    there was no nail! "

  14. Warrior2015
    Warrior2015 15 February 2016 23: 58
    +1
    They did not dig in, build engineering fortifications, and did not even enclose their camp with carts from a convoy, so the British officers were sure that they would be able to repel any enemy attack. However, the British, who before the start of the battle could not assess the scale of the Zulus troops.

    The author is wrong. The secret to the success of the Zulus was, in addition to monstrous numerical superiority, precisely in the fact that this huge army approached unnoticed and unexpectedly attacked the British. Wines precisely on English horse intelligence first.

    The Zulus lost about three thousand of their warriors directly in the battle, and a huge number of soldiers died later from wounds received in battle. Their trophies were two 7-pounders, near 1000 breech-loading rifles and 400 thousands of rounds for them, as well as the 3 banner.

    From the white South Africans I will say a simple fact: the bestial attitude even to their Zulus was expressed in the fact that they also did not bury their dead, but left as is. And in the corpses of white they cut out the hearts, the liver and the spleen and devoured them raw ...

    When the whites came later, they not only buried what was left of their own, but also blacks were buried to put the battlefield in order, and an ugly memorial built by the black government of South Africa on the battlefield - just above the Zulus grave arranged by PERSONS. This is how things are.

    Quote: AK64
    Yes, the lid in the cartridge box was movable, it was held in ONE by a screw, and the soldiers were trained to kick it out with a butt punch. Such boxes open butt on the site of the battle found.
    The zinc cover under it came off the ring, as on some cans.
    Yep Only entered such a business EXACTLY AFTER ISANDLVANA.

    Quote: semirek
    You forgot about Afghanistan: in one night, the Afghans slaughtered all the English garrisons. The British are not such warriors either.

    Quote: RUSS
    In the end, still lost all the colonies.

    Well yes. Only while all of their colonies lost the Russian Empire, and then the USSR. And the British Commonwealth of Nations is still living and well, and all of them in no way want to leave it.

    And here only ONE small fact. On personal contact with the natives in Southeast Asia, I can say that it is the English that he considers the best warriors TO SOR; not the Americans or the Japanese, despite the technical superiority of the former and the absolute fanaticism of the latter.
    1. Molot1979
      Molot1979 6 October 2016 10: 49
      +1
      The Zulu tribes were not cannibals, so leave the stories about devouring hearts and liver of enemies on the conscience of the Boers, who have always been Zulu enemies. In general, do not trust propaganda so much. But what can you think of us, judging by the words of the enemies? And the natives of Southeast Asia - who exactly is this?
  15. Molot1979
    Molot1979 6 October 2016 10: 44
    +1
    What nonsense: did the Zulu army consist of tribal militias? Since the time of Chucky, the Zulu had at least a primitively armed, but REGULAR army. Which allowed them to attack, despite the huge losses. Discipline and training.