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U.S. 45/70 reloader
#1
Several of us have been discussing the re-supply of ammunition for front-line soldiers in days gone by.  The problem is well known and battles have been lost (Isandlwana for one) for to failing to do so and we all know an army fights with its stomach.

Here are pictures of an American Army solutionto the ammo problem.  This is a U.S.  issue re-loading tool.  I have never seen another.  It makes a perfect 45/70 round loaded with the longer 500 grain rifle bullet.  It still works like new. I contains everything one needs to make a reload.  [Image: GunStuff0012.jpg]
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#2
Here's another picture:[Image: GunStuff0042.jpg]
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#3
It is a fantasy that Isandlwana was lost becasue of ammunition problems.  It was lost because no proper effort had been made to deploy the troops properly or to arrange any defences.  The camp was spread out all over the place to take advantage of water and forage. Chelmsford also made the mistake of dividing his force. There was no outlying picket in any direction far enough out to be of use and there was a complete contempt for the Zulu.  That contempt vanished that day and no mistake.
W. S. (Bill) Curtis
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#4
Quote:It is a fantasy that Isandlwana was lost becasue of ammunition problems.  It was lost because no proper effort had been made to deploy the troops properly or to arrange any defences.  The camp was spread out all over the place to take advantage of water and forage. Chelmsford also made the mistake of dividing his force. There was no outlying picket in any direction far enough out to be of use and there was a complete contempt for the Zulu.  That contempt vanished that day and no mistake.

Of course you may be correct, but the conventional wisdom is that the lack of ammunition was at least partially responsible for the loss.  However, the tale of  not enough ammo may have been used by some British to disallow the thought that the Zulu's were as effective fighters as they turned out to be, and a match for the thin red line. 

The American Islandlwana was the Custer defeat, when the fair haired colonel  was overrun by a large number of very dedicated savages who, like the Zulu, cut the dead up into bite sized pieces.  One excuse given was that the copper cartridges stuck in the chambers of their trapdoor Springfield carbines, thus slowing their rate of fire.

Truth is the Indians had more men who fired bullets and arrows from cover and overwhelmed the five companies of cavalry that made up Custer's battalion.  About an equal number of his command survived on a ridge-line three miles away. 

Chetswato was a hard task master and he drove his men. They dared not question his orders.  In this case (Isandlwana) their charges paid off.  They did not at Roark's Drift just a few days later and not many miles away.

Both armies were destroyed by masses of primitive and well led soldiers.  Neither "modern" army was prepared for such an onslaught and both were eventually overrun when their firepower failed to drive off the enemy. 
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#5
I have been to the Custer battlefield a dozen times and I feel like I know why his unit was defeated so soundly.  However, I have not been to the ground at Islandlwana.  I was in Africa not long ago and wanted to go there, but Africa is a very big place.   Were the English defeated because they did not know the size of the enemy and  underestimated their effectiveness?  That can be a killer.  Were they surprised?  That's another way to weaken one's effectiveness.

I can't recall how many VC's were awarded at Roark's Drift, but a bunch.  We handed out a few Medal of Honor's at the Custer fight too.  I guess to assuage our guilt of having our finest defeated by whay many considered as rabble. 
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#6
Conventional wisdom is usually suspect and starts soon after any disaster.  Add a hundred years and get some proper scholars digging into the records and you get a far more accurate picture.

Cetshwayo was not the aggressor and had done everything he could to prevent the British attack on Zululand.  When it came, he did not lead his armies but left the defence to the military commanders.

Rorkes Drift produced 11 VCs which it is suggested was intended partly to divert attention away from the disaster of a few hours earlier.

One of the latest studies on the subject is Crossing The Buffalo - The Zulu War of 1879 by Adrian Greaves, Weidenfeld & Nicolson,  London 2005 (ISBN 0 297 84700 7)
W. S. (Bill) Curtis
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#7
Quote:Conventional wisdom is usually suspect and starts soon after any disaster.  Add a hundred years and get some proper scholars digging into the records and you get a far more accurate picture.

Cetshwayo was not the aggressor and had done everything he could to prevent the British attack on Zululand.  When it came, he did not lead his armies but left the defence to the military commanders.

Rorkes Drift produced 11 VCs which it is suggested was intended partly to divert attention away from the disaster of a few hours earlier.

One of the latest studies on the subject is Crossing The Buffalo - The Zulu War of 1879 by Adrian Greaves, Weidenfeld & Nicolson,  London 2005 (ISBN 0 297 84700 7)

Thanks, Bill.  I've got a book entitled "Like Lions They Fought" by Edgerton, 1988.  Good book. I'll have to re-read it.
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#8
BTW: Bill have you read how the Zulu "fortified" themselves?  Makes the Mau Mau rituals seem like child's play.
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#9
I've done some more research on my Winchester reloading tool.  They were made from 1890 to 1893 and according to the article that I read were not too popular.  It was indeed a civilian tool and was made in five calibers.  This one is for the 45/70 500 grain bullet.  They also made one for the 405 grain bullet.  I've loaded both with this tool and it puts a perfect crimp on the 500 grainer and at the correct place. It works pretty well, but it's slow going. 
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#10
Custer was out gunned . try yellow boy
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