Images of War: The Battle of Isandlwana

The Image:

The Heat of the Battle: Isandlwana

This is detail of an image published in the Illustrated London News, on 7 March, 1879,

The Words:

Soldiers were charging with their bayonets held before them skewering the nearest Zulu through the throat or chest. But, taking up the bodies of their dead comrades, the Zulu warriors were hurling them forward upon the points of British bayonets, bearing their victims down and then deliberately stabbing their way through the dwindling ranks. Tasting excess and consumed with the crazed exhilaration of violent conflict, the Zulus were slashing, smashing, and lunging upward with their stomach-ripping assegais and the harassment of battle was rising as the carnage spread thicker and denser where the slaughter was achieving its most savage concentration. Without doubt, the redcoats were being ‘eaten up’. The sky, the sun, the stars, the very world had ceased to be.

Extract from The Zulu Kings: At Bay by Penny Howcroft.  Posted by Captain Kirk

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NEW ISANDLWANA MAPS

I was reading Chapter 5 of the third book in the Zulu Kings Trilogy, titled The Zulu Kings: At Bay, available for the Kindle from Amazon.   While Penny Howcroft’s descriptions of the terrain were clear and evocative, I found myself without a visual reference.  So I have produced two images, derived from Google Maps.  What I did was I overlaid the historical maps, and identified the key positions and geographic markers.

It wasn’t easy.  The hand drawn maps were created before the space age, and did not benefit from any form of aerial reconnaissance.

So here they are:

The main features mentioned in the descriptions of the Battle of Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift. The satellite photo is modern, the labels are old.

And in this next one, I have done the same thing.  I have overlaid the hand drawn maps with an up to date satellite photo.  The steepness of the hills that the Zulus charged down is clearly shown.

The British were accused of spreading their men too thinly, as can be seen in this image. The Zulu Horns and Body formation is clearly evident.