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Anglo-Zulu War

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  1. Introduction
  2. Weapons
  3. Environment
  4. Training
  5. Conclusion

In their quest to conquer as many countries as possible, the British engaged in a number of wars. Some of these wars claimed the lives of thousands of soldiers, while others were won with minimal loss of lives. The British found strong opposition in some battles and were either were defeated or were able to win, but with huge number of casualties. One of such epic battles is the Anglo-Zulu war.

This war took place in South Africa from the 8th January to 4th July 1879. The military conflict was between the British Empire and the kingdom of Zulu land. The reason was as a result of the discovery of diamond in the Zulu land near a river known as Vaal in the year 1867. The discovery prompted the British Empire to gain interest in the land. However, they faced two main obstacles in their quest to get the diamond: the Boers and the Kingdom of Zulu land.

The area where the diamonds was discovered was known as the West Griqualand. It was allocated to the British Empire in the 1870s, but the indigenous people refused to pave way. In December of the year 1878, the then British High Commissioner by the name of Sir Henry Bartle sent an ultimatum to the King of Zulu land by the name of Cetshwayo. After the ultimatum deadline passed, about 15,000 British troops began the invasion of Zululand under the leadership of Lord Chelmsford. The invasion began a spate of eight battles beginning with the battle of Isandlwana, Intombe, Hlobane, Kambula, Gingindlovu, Eshowe, and Ulundi. In the series of battles, the British were beaten in the first battle of Isandlwana (Hanson 147).

In his argument, Hanson points out that ?the western' has some unique qualities that make it militarily and politically superior. One of the qualities that Hanson points out is relevant cultural attitudes; officers across all ranks enjoy close relationship with the top military commanders. The commanders also lead from the front thus giving the necessary morale to his troops. Hanson's argument might be true to some extent but there are some other reasons that make the west win in almost all the major wars (Hanson 149).

[...] The British were defeated by a group of warriors who were not as highly trained as they were in handling a number of weapons. The Zulu warriors even managed to get their hands on some of the weapons the British troops had left behind but they did not know how to use them. This proves that the Zulu warriors had not received immense training as the British. Although discipline and training matters, the fact that an army is highly trained does not make one triumph in war. [...]

[...] This made the troops to spend a lot of time trying to get the ammunition instead of combating the Zulu warriors. The weapons that the British used in the battle constantly jammed thus leaving the soldiers to fight with bayonets. This worked to their disadvantage because the Zulu people were more experienced in such close combats. The Zulu warriors used assegais and ox hide skins for protection (Hanson 154). Environment The environment worked against the British in the Battle of Isandlwana. [...]

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