NGDALA

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NGDALA

Postby JOHN THURSTON » Sat Jun 12, 1999 5:12 am

Hello All:

Actually this forum was intended to deal with "tactics" as well as some of the political matters I have thrown open.

If I am incorrect, perhaps someone like Cecil San can make the correction since I have searched the house over and canoot find my copy of "Chaka Zulu".

Ngdala was the battle shout of the warrior of the Zulu "Impi" or regiment.

It was a "blood cry" maybe part Kiai maybe part exultation?

Chaka revoultionized warfare on the ground in South Africa. Cteswayo (Zulu King in 1879) was I think, his grandson. Withouth my book, I can't check.

Cteswayo's troops armed with spears and virtually no missile weapons closed with and annilihated 1500 British Troops at Isandlwanha (dont' aske me to spell it again thanks) in 1879.

The "thrust" of his tactics was to make the IMPIS second to none in close combat and mobility.

He forbade the usual ritual exchange of throwing spears between his men and his opponents and created or adopted the "thrusting assegai" held near the blade and not thrown.

He adopted the "horns and body of the bull" formation.

He forbade sandals and made the Impis run 30 miles barefoot in a day.

The basic tactic was to hook the opponents shield with your left, and strike into the armpit area with the stabbing assegai with your right.

Too the looser formations of opposing tribes of the time, this was fatal.

Another Phalangial connection by parallel evolution?

J.

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NGDALA

Postby Cecil » Thu Jun 17, 1999 2:43 am

That's basically all I know about Chaka Zulu as well. I know he also used to toughen the bottoms of his feet so that he wouldn't need the sandals. No sandals=greater mobility.

The ramshead strategy was basically a way to charge the enemy and surround him, zulus attacking from all sides.

But lets not forget the other tactic used by warriors in the forest: camouflage.

I believe Chaka Zulu also designed his own type of spear that he could use at close quarters.

The man was definitely a military genius.

Cecil

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NGDALA

Postby JOHN THURSTON » Thu Jun 17, 1999 7:29 pm

Cecil San:

The Short Zulu "Stabbing" Assegai was invented with a 8-12' cut and thrust type blade. The Haft of the weapon was not overly long and the iron or steel blade was bound thereto. It was, of course, more of a thursting or stabbing short sword, than an assegai or spear.

Zulu opponents were not used to this type of "shock" warfare.

the weapon appears to have been gripped neer the juncture of the blade and haft....

The Zulu's tactics were a little disoriented by having to deal with the British. The Zulus feared horses, had no firearms, and had eschewed most other missile weapons, and managed to destroy Lord's Chelmford column, in part, at Isandlwhana.


I could not find the Assegai design in the "Weapons" book.

sorry.

JOHN

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[This message has been edited by JOHN THURSTON (edited 06-17-99).]

[This message has been edited by JOHN THURSTON (edited 06-17-99).]
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NGDALA

Postby Paul_C » Thu Jun 17, 1999 7:54 pm

In accordance with the other thread "Paper Covers Rock". Would this be an example of a rock being crushed by a bigger rock?
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NGDALA

Postby JOHN THURSTON » Thu Jun 17, 1999 11:03 pm

Paul and Cecil:

To make a long reply brief, Chaka had to face a tactical situation where he made the impis the biggest baddest "rock" around.

They were paper only in the sense that they would be flexible enough to wrap their flanks around an enemy and fold them in.

Not to put to fine a point on things, in a game without scissors (cavalry or artillery) and paper is of limited utility, the big rock thing works pretty good. So one word answer, Yes!

I addition, as Cecil Mentions, and although the "Impes" preferred to fight in the open, South Africa was a mixture of Savannah, and "scrub" country cut by ground covered "arroyos" (spanish word, I don't know the African one).

Even though in full battle dress (which isn't exactly understated fashion in Zulu terms) Chelmford's column marched right up to 10,000 warriors hidden in a gorge near Isandlwanha AND MADE CAMP. So there were plenty of places where the Zulu Generals knew they could hide large bodies of men without spraying them with flat colored paint or the need to "dress them in camos".

Cecil, if my basic knowledge of the topography in the vicinity of the Buffalo River and Zululand is deficient, let me know.

My perception is that, although it is not easy ground, it didn't appear to be "jungle" as one would find in central africa.
In any event, lack of jungle notwithstanding the next morning, the British got up and viewed the Impis, who then displayed themselves in a "intimidatory" form by simply turning their buffalo hide shields from their side to face front, thus appearing to triple the size of the onrushing force.

The reaction from the British camp was probably a collective "Oh------" when they knew they had been had.

Chelmsford had been advised not to divide his forces or leave this section of the column without a cavalry screen. But he held the africans in some contempt and did not understand they could move 10,000 men in a run for days and hide them in what looked like "open" country.

Each Impe (or Impi depending on how the word is Latinized) had it's own distinctive "shield pattern" as did each Roman Legion.

Chaka's style of warfare would, or should I say, may not have given him such success in a true "Jungle" (two and three canopy first growth forest as in Vietnam and, perhaps, the larger part of the Congo (Zaire) now Congo again).

The "jungle" belt runs around Central Africa perhaps starting as far south as Zimbabwe (to where Chaka's enemies the Matable reired) and down the well watered area of Botswana.

Correction on these point requested.

"In understanding Black Africa, Geography is more important than history" -Ferdinand Braudel cited in "Conquests and Cultures" by Thomas Solwell.

He had no idea where Cteswayo's main Impes were.

They were more mobile.

Eventually tecnology (rifles and artilery) and Chelmsfords Cavalry did the big rock in.

Too bad paper, scissors rock doesn't exactly fit.

Well, I tried.

JOhn
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Postby JOHN THURSTON » Mon Apr 14, 2003 12:45 pm

brought forward
"All Enlightenment Gratefully Accepted"
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Re: NGDALA

Postby LeeDarrow » Mon Apr 14, 2003 6:40 pm

[quote="JOHN THURSTON"]
The Zulu's tactics were a little disoriented by having to deal with the British. The Zulus feared horses, had no firearms, and had eschewed most other missile weapons, and managed to destroy Lord's Chelmford column, in part, at Isandlwhana.


I could not find the Assegai design in the "Weapons" book.

quote]

John,

One of the notable things involved in the Battle of Isandlwhana was the problem faced by the defending troops not being positioned in the column with their own quartermasters.

The quartermasters of that day were each inventoried on each round of ammunition, cup of water and ration pack given in the field. Any such that was not given to his assigned troops was deducted from his pay!

Thus, there was great reluctance to provision the line trools when they ran out of ammo during the opening moments of the battle. According to several theorists, this was one of the real problems with the battle.

Also, unlike Roark's Drift, it was more of an open field engagement as opposed to a defensive site action (Roark's Drift being somewhat fortified by the troops there, led by Marion Chard). His use of the sandbag redoubt was a stroke of genius, frankly.

There are several excellent sites on these two engagements, just do a Google search on the names and there's lots to be had, including the "Myths of the Movie Zulu" page that has some fascinating stuff on it.

Lee Darrow, C.Ht.
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Postby Hugh » Mon Apr 21, 2003 5:25 pm

The Assegai was also called the "iklwa" in the Zulu language as that was the sound it made as it was pulled from a body. It was designed to be used in conjunction with the shield, a large bullock hide tanned and hardened and threaded onto a long shaft. The Zulu warrior could smash his opponent with his shield to knock him off balance and then stab him with his iklwa or u7se the edge of his shild to pull the opponent's shield out of the way so that he could stab him. Does any of this sound familiar? Much of what Chaka tought was very similar to the Roman Legions' sword tactics, or so it seems to me.
Trying to Walk in the Light, Hugh
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Postby JOHN THURSTON » Sat Apr 26, 2003 12:34 am

Hi:

One of my weapons Books has pictures of the "Stabbing Assagai" (Ikwla ) and I will post a description.

If I have not already mentioned it, Chaka Bade his "Impis" to forego sandals, as they were in no way as securely attached as the Roman Caligata.

Some warriors objected.

Chaka allegedly had them impaled.

The Next day the Impis were happilly dancing about on thorns.

Hmmm.

Well, this is a bit of a different training tactic.

J
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