Stormberg - A Lost Opportunity
Product Code: 978-1-920091-50-7
Lieutenant General Sir William Forbes Gatacre came to South Africa, with its reputation of being the grave of many a military career, in the Anglo-Boer war with a service record which made him the hero of British sympathizers. Winston Churchill recalled at the time that in the Sudan he had shown great courage but also a rashness which provoked much criticism. To the Tommies under him he was “General Back-acher”, who drove them mercilessly, but won their respect by his willingness to do everything for which he called upon them, himself.
As commander-in-chief of the British forces in the North Eastern Cape he was opposed by the Boer Generals Olivier, du Plooy, Steenkamp and Swanepoel who built their defensive position around the solidly constructed fortifications at Stormberg Junction left by the Naval Brigade when they evacuated the region. They were content to play a waiting game, taking their cue from the old Boer adage: wait for the tortoise to put its head out and then cut it off.
The result was a battle characterized by strange blunders and confusion on the British side and almost incredible strokes of luck on the part of the Boers. The Boer victory took its place among the series of disasters known to the British as Black Week.
Johannes Meintjies examines the circumstances around the battle and attempts to uncover what really did happen, but his interest lies as much in the individuals who were a part of it and their fortunes, the vagaries of a man and his fate, as in the battle itself
The full preface can be read here.
Well documented with a good index, the book contains the following chapters:
1. The First Boer invasion of the Cape Colony
2. Sweet Aliwal
3. Rebel Burgersdorp
4. A Town in the Mountains
5. The Battle of Stormberg
6. After the Battle
7. Deaths and Departures
8. The Second Boer Invasion of the Cape Colony
9. End of the War
29 Photos and maps are also included - click here for a complete list
Pages: 208 (English)
Format: Downloadable PDF