The most famous engagement of the Victorian era. 11 Victoria Crosses won during a few hours of vicious hand to hand fighting, forever immortalised on film. But how much do most of us really know and understand about the battle? Was the film historically correct? In episode three of the Redcoat History Podcast, I take a long, hard look at the battle through the eyes of those involved.
If you’ve never been to the site of the battle then have a watch of the video I made there, it will give you a good sense of the geography and the course of the fighting.
The great thing for the visitor to the battlefield is that it is a tiny area – compact and easy to follow the course of the day.
Below is a nice little map taken from The South African Military History website – do check them out as they some excellent articles.
And this sketch was made by Lt. John Chard, Officer Commanding at Rorke’s Drift.
Researching this episode of the podcast was much easier than other episodes as so many of the participants (at least the British ones anyway) have left accounts of the battle, the site is little changed and there are literally dozens of books about it.
Some of my most referenced sources were:
My favourite books that cover the battle include:
and one of my new favourite books on the Anglo-Zulu war, Victoria’s Harvest by David Truesdale and John Young.
If you want to become an expert then these books and articles should move you in the right direction.
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A modern day view of Rorke's Drift. This photo is taken from the south side of the position looking towards the hospital. The defence of Rorke's Drift is one of the great tales of British military history. Less than 150 defenders held out against nearly 4000 Zulus and won a staggering 11 VC's in the process. #anglozuluwar #britisharmy #militaryhistory