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This article's subject appeared in or stemmed from It's a SpongeBob Christmas!
Location


Battle of Rorke's Drift
Battle of Rorke's Drift
Location Rorke's Drift, Natal Province, South Africa
Inhabitants Zulu Kingdom, United Kingdom

Known Amenities

Death

The Battle of Rorke's Drift (1879), also known as the Defence of Rorke's Drift, was an engagement in the Anglo-Zulu War. The successful British defence of the mission station of Rorke's Drift, under the command of Lieutenants John Chard of the Royal Engineers and Gonville Bromhead, began when a large contingent of Zulu warriors broke off from their main force during the final hour of the British defeat at the day-long Battle of Isandlwana on 22 January 1879, diverting 6 miles (9.7 km) to attack Rorke's Drift later that day and continuing into the following day.

Just over 150 British and colonial troops defended the station against attacks by 3,000 to 4,000 Zulu warriors. The massive but piecemeal attacks by the Zulu on Rorke's Drift came very close to defeating the much smaller garrison, but were consistently repelled. Eleven Victoria Crosses were awarded to the defenders, along with a number of other decorations and honours.

History

The Zulu army arrived at Rorke's Drift at 4.30pm. They spent the next 12 hours continuously storming the British defences, which were mainly held by soldiers of the 24th (2nd Warwickshire) Regiment.

At first, they were unable to reach the men behind the barricades with their spears. Many Zulu warriors were shot down at point-blank range. And the defenders forced back any who did manage to climb over.

British soldiers who were too badly wounded to shoot, were tasked with reloading guns and distributing ammunition to those who could still fire. Many of the Zulus who had firearms lacked training and were poor shots.

As the battle raged on, the Zulus targeted the hospital. They set fire to the building, burst in and began killing the patients with their spears. But the defenders managed to push them back with bayonets.

The surviving patients were rescued after soldiers hacked holes in the walls separating the rooms, and dragged them through and into the barricaded yard.

As night fell, the British withdrew to the centre of the station, where a final defence had been hastily built. They eventually succeeded in fighting the Zulus off.

Trivia

  • A hostile spear, a new frontier, the end is near.
  • There's no surrender.
  • The lines must hold, their story told, Rorke's drift controlled.
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