Boy Scouts Beyond The Seas
These “ring-kops,” as they were called, were the veterans and formed what was termed the “chest” of the army, while the younger and more active men formed the two “arms.” The army generally attacked in the formation shown above.
Sometimes it was described as the head and horns. Like a bull the head delivered the crushing blow, while the horns did the wounding.
However, Chaka, the chief, came to a violent end, for he was eventually assassinated by his own brother Dingaan in 1837.
Dingaan And Dingaan was just as big a brute in his turn, and more treacherous.
A large party of Boers who had been friendly with him came and paid him a visit to make an agreement as to some land that they were to occupy on the Zulu border. Dingaan received them in a very friendly way, but while they were all sitting round having a talk with him he suddenly gave the order to his warriors to kill the white men, which they at once did. The whole party of sixty were butchered, including two Englishmen.
Then the Zulus went out, and during the night reached the Boers’ camp, which they rushed, killing men, women, and children, to the number of two hundred and eighty, besides nearly as many more native servants. The scene of the massacre was called Wienen – the Dutch for “weeping.”
A small force of Dutchmen bravely went to avenge the disaster, but were themselves nearly slaughtered, and also a force of seventeen Englishmen with 1500 friendly Zulus set out from Durban to “go for” Dingaan. Though at first they succeeded pretty well, they were in the end utterly defeated, and only four of the Englishmen and about 500 of their men got away alive. Dingaan’s army followed them into Durban, and they only escaped by getting on board ship while the Zulus sacked the town and destroyed it.
But the Boers were brave fellows, and they said that unless Dingaan were overcome the Zulus would never cease to murder white settlers, so Andres Pretorius, the commandant, got together a commando of 500 of them and marched against Dingaan and his thousands of savage warriors.
They took their waggons full of supplies with them, and “laagered” them up at night in a square so as to form a defensive rampart, with all the oxen inside the square for safety. The waggon tarpaulins and ox-hides were stretched over the waggons and pegged to the ground outside, so that it was very difficult for an attacker to climb over. The Boers left nothing to chance.
When the Zulus saw this handful of whites come right into their country, they eagerly swarmed out to attack, and, as they expressed it, “to eat them up.” But the Boers had made their laager on the edge of a ravine, which prevented attack on two sides, and the great numbers of the Zulus did not tell so heavily, as only a certain portion of them could attack the front at one time, there was not room for all.
As they surged forward to scale the laager, the Boers waited till they were close up and then a volley rang out from five hundred rifles, not one of which was likely to miss its mark, and the whole of the front ranks of the attackers went down. Again their supporting lines rushed forward yelling their war cries, certain of their prey, but only to fall under the same unerring fire.
At times a few would get right up to the laager while the Boers were loading, but even then they could not scale the smooth rampart, and having nothing but their dagger assegais they could not reach the defenders after repeated repulses. Still they went on attacking, till at last they recoiled