Thoughts on the military and military activities of a diverse nature. Free-ranging and eclectic.

Monday, June 19, 2006


This is coolbert:

[Click on the photo accompanying this blog to see a larger view. Much better!]

"Men of Harlech!
In the Hollow, Do ye hear like rushing billow Wave on wave that surging follow Battle's distant sound?. . . They shall bite the ground! Loose the folds asunder"

[sung by the Welsh Foot at Rorke's Drift - - 1879.]

Just as Hannibal at Cannae and Morgan at Cowpens were able to use the battlefield tactic of the double envelopment to destroy their adversaries, so did King Shaka of the Zulu utilize the same tactic [double envelopment] during this conquests of much of southern Africa.


A Zulu tactic probably based upon observations of the fighting style of the African Cape Buffalo.

M'bogo. The African Cape Buffalo. Within the big game hunting establishment, rated as the most dangerous of the big five game animals.

M'bogo. Fights with chest, horns, loins.

Probably from keen observation of the Cape Buffalo and how it fights, some sound intuitive conclusions were reached by Shaka. Conclusions as to how not only to fight and win, but fight, win, and annihilate your opposition. The tactic of the double envelopment was brought to high degree of development by Shaka and his highly trained impis [regiments].

"The Zulu tactic was a standard one; the horns and chest of a buffalo. The center, or chest, of the Zulu force advances, and when the enemy moves to engage it, the horns encircle the attacking force, outflank and strike it from the rear."

"He [Shaka] developed standard tactics, which the Zulu used in every battle. The available regiments (known collectively as the impi) were divided into four groups. The strongest, termed the "chest," closed with the enemy to pin him down, while two "horns" raced out to encircle and attack the foe from behind. A reserve, known as the "loins," was seated nearby, with its back to the battle so as not to become unduly excited, and could be sent to reinforce any part of the ring if the enemy threatened to break out."

"Isandlwana turned out to be an ideal location for the Zulu to perform their famous "horns of the bull" encircling maneuver.

In the technique, developed in the early 1800s by the Zulu king Shaka, one central body of experienced troops makes a frontal attack, while the youngest and fittest warriors simultaneously sneak around the left and right sides of the enemy forces, catching them off-guard and trapping them. Zulu chiefs, stationed on high ground, but out of sight of the enemy, coordinate the attack with hand signals. A key element of the method is to use the topography to conceal troop movements. At Isandlwana, for example, hills and tall grasses provided cover to the advancing warriors."

[speaking here of course about the victory of the Zulu over the British at the annihilation battle of Isandlwana.]

See a good web site about Isandlwana here. Go to the interactive and witness the battle and how it unfolded. Illustrates the double envelopment of the British position and how it proceeded. An outstanding interactive animated graphic.

Shaka of course COULD NOT HAVE LEARNED THE DOUBLE ENVELOPMENT TACTIC FROM ANYONE ELSE. Totally uneducated with little or no contact with outsiders. Shaka was a formidable man of great talents and obvious intellect, INTUITIVE. Ranks with such persons as Genghis Khan, Gustavus Adolphus, Hannibal.

"While all were great military men, with the exception of Caesar Augustus, they were also great political leaders who, in this capacity more often than through their feats of arms, shaped their societies. All were educated men, and all possessed the quality of imaginative reasoning."

Shaka - - great military man? Yes!

Shaka - - shaped their societies? Yes!

Shaka - - educated? NO!

Shaka - - quality of imaginative reasoning? YES!!!



Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home