Battle of Bronkhorstspruit

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Battle of Bronkhorstspruit
Part of First Boer War
Date 20 December 1880
Location At the Bronkhorstspruit River, Transvaal
Result Boer victory
Belligerents
United Kingdom British Empire  South African Republic
Commanders and leaders
United Kingdom Lieutenant-Colonel Philip Robert Anstruther (DOW) South African Republic Commandant-General Francois Joubert
Strength
268 250
Casualties and losses
156 dead and wounded
112 captured[1]
2 dead, 5 wounded (Boer claim)
44 dead (British claim)[1]

The Battle of Bronkhorstspruit was the first major clash of the First Boer War. It was a battle between a British army column and a group of Boers, fought by the Bronkhorstspruit River, a few miles east of the town of Bronkhorstspruit, Transvaal on 20 December 1880.

A column of British soldiers consisting of six officers and 246 men of the 94th Regiment, as well as 12 men of the Army Service Corps and four of the Army Hospital Corps, were marching on a road to Pretoria, when at least 250 Boers appeared to the left of the column.[2] Making use of the limited cover, the Boers crept to within 200 yards of the British. Lt. Col. Philip Robert Anstruther parleyed with a Boer envoy, who had brought a request from the Transvaal government to turn back.[3] Anstruther refused, but before he could move his column into skirmish formation the Boers opened fire at 12:30 pm.

Within fifteen minutes most of the officers were killed or wounded, and the horses and oxen pulling the covered wagons at the front and rear of the column were killed, preventing any movement. Shocked by the sudden and aggressive nature of the attack, Lt. Col. Anstruther gave the order to surrender. In a battle lasting just fifteen minutes, 156 British soldiers were killed or wounded, with the rest taken prisoner. Reported Boer casualties were only two killed and five wounded. Anstruther was himself wounded during the fight and died on the 26th of December following the amputation of one of his legs.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Castle, Ian. Majuba 1881: The Hill of Destiny. Oxford, Osprey Publishing, 1996, ISBN 1-85532-503-9. p. 27.
  2. ^ Ian Castle. Majuba 1881: The Hill of Destiny. p. 23. Retrieved 6 April 2014. 94th Regiment: 6 Officers, 246 Men. Army Service Corps: 2 Officers, 10 men. Army Hospital Corps: 1 Officer, 3 Men. Total: 9 Officers, 259 Men. 
  3. ^ Castle, Ian. Majuba 1881: The Hill of Destiny. Oxford, Osprey Publishing, 1996, ISBN 1-85532-503-9. p. 26.

Further reading[edit]

  • Castle, Ian. Majuba 1881: The Hill of Destiny. Oxford, Osprey Publishing, 1996, ISBN 1-85532-503-9.

External links[edit]

  • article by South African Military History Society