James E McConnell (biography)Medium:
Gouache on BoardSize:
17" x 11" (420mm x 280mm)Date:
1973This is the original Gouache painting by James E McConnell.
Ulundi, the final battle of the Zulu War, at which the army of Cetewayo was destroyed 4th July 1879. The Zulu warriors were formed in regiments by age, their standard equipment the shield and the stabbing spear. The formation for the attack, described as the horns of the beast, was said to have been devised by Shaka, the Zulu King who established Zulu hegemony in Southern Africa.
The main body of the army delivered a frontal assault, called the loins, while the horns spread out behind each of the enemy's flanks and delivered the secondary and often fatal attack in the enemy's rear.
Cetewayo, the Zulu King, fearing British aggression took pains to purchase firearms wherever they could be bought. By the outbreak of war the Zulus had tens of thousands of muskets and rifles, but of a poor standard, and the Zulus were ill-trained in their use. The Zulus captured some 1,000 Martini Henry breech loading rifles and a large amount of ammunition. Some of these rifles were used at Rorke's Drift. All the British casualties, few though they were, were shot rather than stabbed.