Talk:Battle of Spion Kop

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Renaming of page[edit]

Discussion on renaming this page has been archived at Talk:Battle of Spion Kop/Archive 1.

A vote was taken, and the decision was to leave it where it is. Wizzy 13:50, Mar 16, 2005 (UTC)

For completeness I added the Dutch name of the battle to the text; as questioned in the archive on the topic, Dutch combines separate words the same as Afrikaans does, thus Slag bij Spionkop. The difference is that Afrikaans uses van, meaning of, while Dutch uses bij, meaning near or at for the designation of battlefields. Michel Doortmont (talk) 23:17, 25 March 2008 (UTC)

Lol, the official name is Spioenkop! — Adriaan (TC) 16:12, 3 May 2009 (UTC)


I have modified the article to provide a better picture of the actual events. I will undetake further modifications when I have time. I dont know how to reference things in wiki yet but my sources are "The Boer War" by Thomas Packenham and a visit to the battlefield an the literature available there.

Regards, Jon. 29/09/2006

Nice job. Wizzy 10:55, 3 October 2006 (UTC)

Reverse slope defence[edit]

Sorry but I dispute this

'The Boers sited their defensive positions not on the crests of hills but instead on the rear slope, out of sight of enemy forces, a tactic unfamiliar to British military orthodoxy.'

Since its what Wellington used in the Peninsula War and at Waterloo.Koonan the almost civilised 01:27, 1 June 2007 (UTC)

I agree with you and furthermore think its neither true nor relevant to this battle and so have removed it. 14:12, 27 October 2007 (UTC)

Boer artillery?[edit]

The infobox gives artillery strength for the British but not the Boers, although the article mentions Boer shelling. This seems like an anomaly. --Graminophile 17:39, 29 October 2007 (UTC)

The only reference that I can find is to "three field guns and two pom-poms" although this is hardly specific enough to include in the article. I'll see what I can dig up. Jonewer 08:25, 4 November 2007 (UTC)
I've found a source for information on the Boer Artillery at Spion Kop. In his message to Sir Charles Warren dated 24 January 1900, during the battle, Col. Thorneycroft states that: quote "They (the Boers) have the long-range gun, three of the shorter range, and one Maxim-Nordenfelt." I've added the reference. In his official report of the action dated 26 January 1900 he states that the Boers began the battle with 3 field guns and one pom-pom, but after the Scottish Rifles arrived: "The heavy fire continued, and the Boers brought a gun and a Maxim-Nordenfelt to bear on us from the east..." That makes a total of six guns including two pom-poms. Hopefully that helps. Tristan benedict (talk) 16:56, 5 May 2009 (UTC)
Almost forgot, there is a photograph of a captured Boer Maxim-Nordenfelt pom-pom at Wikimedia commons-[1], if anyone wants to add it to the article. Tristan benedict (talk) 17:02, 5 May 2009 (UTC)

Lancashire Fusiliers[edit]

In your report on the LFs Attempt to surrender appears to be a misunderstanding, I have enclosed a small extract from the fusiliers Museum web site which gives a different view of the circumstances surrounding this portion of the battle.

Soon after the Middlesex entered the fight, the Boers made another attempt to procure the surrender of our men by walking towards the trench with their rifles slung, as if they themselves wished to submit. This is typical of their tactics on too many occasions during the campaign, and the cool audacity with which it was carried out often ensured its success by disarming suspicion. In this instance, the particulars are best related by Major Savile, of the Middlesex Regiment, who was in command of an adjacent trench. The only troops actually close to me were a party of the Lancashire Fusiliers inside a schanze; ‘F’ company of other troops. A good many shells from the big guns burst near us, and a Lance-Corporal of the Fusiliers was killed. The only point I could see rifle-fire proceeding from was a trench, the third, I believe, occupied by our troops on the right. Presently I heard a great deal of shouting from this trench, where there were about fifty men. They were calling for reinforcements, and shouting “The Boers are coming up.” Two or three minutes afterwards I saw a party of about forty Boers walking towards this trench. They came up quite coolly; most of them had their rifles slung, and all, so far as I could observe, had their hands up. “Our men in the trench - they were Fusiliers - were then standing up also, with their hands up, and shouting ‘The Boers are giving in’! ‘The Boers are giving in’! I did not know what to think, but ordered a company of my regiment to fix bayonets. Just then, when the Boers were close to the trench, someone - whether an enemy or one of our men - fired a shot. In an instant there was a mêlée. We were fighting hand to hand. I shot the Boer, and he dropped, clinging, however, to his rifle as he fell, and covering me most carefully. He fired and I fell. Subsequently to my being hit, parties of Boers passed over me, trying on the same trick, holding up their hands as if they were asking for quarter. But our men refused to be taken in again, and fired, killing and driving them back.” The losses to both sides in this fight at close quarters are not known; but those who witnessed it say that they were heavy, and the occurrence as related by Major Savile is corroborated by Captain Tidswell, by whom it was witnessed. The Boers now realised that it was impossible to drive the British from the summit. If we were compelled to retire from the entrenchment we had a better position to fall back on, in the huge boulders which lay above the dressing station, which would afford us a good field of fire. They now resolved to shell our men off the hill-top. So, from all their sheltered positions, a perfect tornado of shell fire was poured on the hill-top, and maintained from three pm till the shades of evening mercifully interposed. At other places their shrapnel failed, the soft ground nullifying its effect, but the rock-bound summit of Spion Kop suited the percussion shrapnel of the Boers, which was accurately laid and swept the whole plateau with deadly effect.

To suggest that a regiment was attempting to surrender when in fact there seems evidence to suggest that it was in fact nothing more than a rouse by the enemy who where known to have attempted this kind of deception before. I have read other accounts of this battle and the Lancashire fusiliers came out of it covered in glory, it was because of the courage displayed here that the regiment was awarded the primrose hackle and many other honour’s and awards heaped on this distinguished Lancashire regiment.-- (talk) 12:51, 26 October 2008 (UTC)

Spion Kop height[edit]

The height indicated for the hill (430 m), is probably the relative height from the ground, not the height above mean sea level. In fact the plateau of Ladysmith has an average height of about 1000 meters. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Mario1952 (talkcontribs) 16:25, 25 April 2009 (UTC)

The article follows the common misconception that the British trenches were lower than the Boer positions, and that this is why the trenches gave liitle shelter from Boer fire. But, as the map in the article shows, Spion Kop is higher than the surrounding hills. The reason that the much of the British position was exposed to fire was that the ground was not level. Many sections of trench were on ground higher than, but sloping towards, the Boer positions. (See "Into the Jaws of Death", Lt Col Mike Snook, Frontline Books) Chris Jones. 24 Oct 2009. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:33, 23 October 2009 (UTC)