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Rorke's Drift

Battle Name : Rorke's Drift

Date(s) : 22 January 1879 - 23 January 1879

Part of : British Victorian Colonial 'Small Wars' , Zulu War ,

Outcome : A victory for British 24th Line over Zulu Warriors

Type of battle : Land


A famous stand made by heavily outnumbered British soldiers against attacking Zulu warriors demonstrating above all the effectiveness of discipline, training and fire power. Or as the film expressed it; "'If it’s a miracle it’s a short chamber, Boxer Henry, point four five calibre miracle."
"And a bayonet Sir with some guts behind it.


Mission station and garrison post on Buffalo River, Zululand, South Africa. (South Africa)

More details

Early in the afternoon of the 22nd January 1879, elements of the native infantry which had been encamped at Isandhlwana arrived at the station telling of the massacre and warning Lieutenants Chard of the engineers and Bromhead of the 24th that the Zulus were on their way.

This gave the defenders time to arrange a defence of the hospital building and a 2nd building, constructing walls from mealie-bags and loop-holing the walls of the buildings.

At arround 4:30 in the afternoon the force of around 4,000 Zulu warriors converged on the small British force of 139. Successive, continuous waves of warriors threw themselves at the volly fire of the line of the 24th until the early hours of the morning when, Lord Chelmsford being drawn by the noise of battle and expecting to find yet another massacre, approached with his column. The Zulu force retired to the hills.

Casualty figures

British 24th Line

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Zulu Warriors

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