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Encyclopedia > Battle of Paardeberg
Battle of Paardeberg
Part of Second Boer War
Date 18 February- 27 February 1900
Location Paardeberg Drift, Orange Free State
Result British victory
Combatants
The British Empire Boers
Commanders
Sir John French
Colonel Kelly-Kenny
Piet Cronje
Strength
15,000 men 5,000 men
Casualties
258 dead
1,211 wounded
86 captured
100 dead
250 wounded
4,096 captured
Second Boer War
Talana HillElandslaagteBelmontModder RiverStormbergMagersfonteinColensoSpion KopBloody SundayPaardebergLadysmithSanna's PostMafeking

The Battle of Paardeberg was a major battle during the Second Anglo-Boer War. It was fought near Paardeberg Drift on the banks of the Modderrivier ("Mud River") in the Orange Free State. Combatants United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand Orange Free State, South African Republic Commanders Frederick Roberts, Lord Kitchener Christiaan Rudolf de Wet, Paul Kruger Casualties 22,000 6,500 Civilians killed [mainly Boers]: 24,000+ The Second Boer War also known as the South African War (outside of South Africa... February 18 is the 49th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar. ... February 27 is the 58th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar. ... 1900 (MCM) was an exceptional common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar, but a leap year starting on Saturday of the Julian calendar. ... Flag of the Orange Free State Capital Bloemfontein Language(s) Afrikaans, English Religion Dutch Reformed Church Government Republic President  - 1854 - 1855 Josias P. Hoffman  - 1855 - 1859 Jacobus Nicolaas Boshoff  - 1859 - 1863 Marthinus Wessel Pretorius (also President of the South African Republic from 1857 to 1871). ... The British Empire in 1897, marked in pink, the traditional colour for Imperial British dominions on maps. ... Boer is the Afrikaans (and Dutch) word for farmer which came to denote the descendants of the Afrikaans-speaking migrating farmers of the expanding eastern Cape frontier. ... John Denton Pinkstone French, 1st Earl of Ypres (September 28, 1852–May 22, 1925) was a British soldier and Field Marshal, the first commander of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) in World War I. Lord French of Ypres Born in Ripple Vale, Kent. ... General Piet Arnoldus Cronje (1840?-4 February 1911) was a leader of the Zuid Afrika Republics military forces during the Anglo-Boer wars. ... Combatants United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand Orange Free State, South African Republic Commanders Frederick Roberts, Lord Kitchener Christiaan Rudolf de Wet, Paul Kruger Casualties 22,000 6,500 Civilians killed [mainly Boers]: 24,000+ The Second Boer War also known as the South African War (outside of South Africa... Combatants Great Britain Boers Commanders Major General Penn Symons † General Erasmus Lukas Mayer Strength 4000 8000 (c. ... Combatants Great Britain Boers Commanders John French Ian Hamilton General Kock † Strength 4000 2000 Casualties 261 c. ... Combatants Great Britain Boers Commanders Lord Methuen J. Prinsloo Strength 8,000 2,000 Casualties 200 casualties Unknown The Battle of Belmont is the name of an engagement of the Boer War in the town of Belmont, 23 November 1899, where the British under Lord Methuen assaulted a Boer position... Modder River - 28 November 1899 British Victory ~ Was a tiring day again with the heat and especially after forming at 430am and being the 3rd battle in a week. ... Combatants Great Britain Boers Commanders William Forbes Gatacre Field Kommandant Olivier Strength 1200 infantry 250 mounted infantry 12 guns 2300 total Casualties 90 killed and wounded 600 missing unknown {{{notes}}} The Battle of Stormberg was the first British defeat of Black Week, in which three successive British forces were defeated... Combatants Great Britain Boers Commanders Lord Methuen Piet Cronje Strength 13,000 8,500 Casualties Nearly 1,000 70 dead 250 wounded Unknown captured and deserted, but believed to be significant {{{notes}}} The Battle of Magersfontein was fought on December 11, 1899 at Magersfontein, on the borders of Cape Colony... Categories: ‪Battle stubs‬ | ‪Boer War battles‬ ... Combatants Great Britain Boers Commanders Charles Warren Alexander Thorneycroft Louis Botha Strength 11,000 infantry 2,200 cavalry 36 field guns 6,000 men Casualties 383 killed 1,000 wounded 300 captured 58 killed 140 wounded The Battle of Spion Kop (Afrikaans: Slag van Spioenkop) was fought about 38 km... Bloody Sunday of February 18, 1900, was a day of high Imperial casualties in the Second Boer War. ... The Siege of Ladysmith was a famous battle in the Boer War, taking place between 2 November 1899 and 28 February 1900. ... Combatants Great Britain Boers Commanders Brigadier General Broadwood Christiaan de Wet Strength 2000 12 guns 400 (1600 distantly engaged) Casualties 600 7 guns 8 (eight) {{{notes}}} Sanna’s Post (aka Korn Spruit) was an engagement fought during the Second Boer War (1899-1902) between the British Empire and the Boers... Combatants United Kingdom Boers Commanders Robert Baden-Powell Colonel B T Mahon General Piet Cronje Strength 2,000 8,000 Casualties 212 dead 600 wounded Unknown but significantly higher than British The Siege of Mafeking was the most famous British action in the Second Boer War. ... Boer guerrillas during the Second Boer War There were two Boer wars, one in 1880-81 and the second from October 11, 1899-1902 both between the British and the settlers of Dutch origin (called Boere, Afrikaners or Voortrekkers) in South Africa that put an end to the two independent... Modder River is an irrigation and stock farming town situated south of Kimberley near the confluence of the Riet and Modder Rivers in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa. ... Flag of the Orange Free State Capital Bloemfontein Language(s) Afrikaans, English Religion Dutch Reformed Church Government Republic President  - 1854 - 1855 Josias P. Hoffman  - 1855 - 1859 Jacobus Nicolaas Boshoff  - 1859 - 1863 Marthinus Wessel Pretorius (also President of the South African Republic from 1857 to 1871). ...


The battle started on 18 February 1900, when the British forces under command of Lord Horatio Kitchener surrounded the Boer forces, under General Piet Cronje, at Paardeberg. February 18 is the 49th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar. ... 1900 (MCM) was an exceptional common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar, but a leap year starting on Saturday of the Julian calendar. ... Horatio Herbert Kitchener, 1st Earl Kitchener of Khartoum Horatio Herbert Kitchener, 1st Earl Kitchener of Khartoum PC, KBE, KCB, ADC (June 24, 1850 - June 5, 1916) was a British Field Marshal and statesman. ... Boer is the Afrikaans (and Dutch) word for farmer which came to denote the descendants of the Afrikaans-speaking migrating farmers of the expanding eastern Cape frontier. ... A General is an officer of high military rank. ... General Piet Arnoldus Cronje (1840?-4 February 1911) was a leader of the Zuid Afrika Republics military forces during the Anglo-Boer wars. ...


Cronje had hitherto proved one of the Boers' most successful generals. Although he had failed to halt the British crossing of the Modder river, he had fought them to a standstill at Magersfontein 10 days later. In doing so he had not only inflicted a large number of casualties but had effectively halted the British advance that sought to lift the siege of Kimberely. Cronje's position was however made redundant when a British mounted column outflanked Magersfontein and lifted the siege of Kimberley.


On the 15th of February Cronje's men, some 5,000 Transvaalers and Freestaters, finally moved off. Their position was redundant and they were in danger of being outflanked. They successfully evaded the British 6th Division however, by the 17th the British cavalry managed to catch the Boers at Paardeberg Drift.


Cronje then inadvisedly decided to form a laager and dig in on the banks of the Modder river. His reason for doing to are unclear. The British now outnumbered his force significantly and enjoyed overwhelming superiority in artillery. All the British would have to do was lay siege to the Boer position and bombard them at their leisure. On the other hand, the British had insufficient cavalry and it would have been an easy matter for Cronje to brush them aside and link up with De Wet's Commando who were only 30 miles away to the north.


General Kelly-Kenny of the British 6th Division had a sound plan to lay siege to Cronje and bombard them into surrender. This would almost certainly have proved successful and cost the British very few casualties. Kitchener had different plans however, and over-ruled Kelly-Kenny.


It is likely that Kitchener was alarmed by the news that De Wet was advancing on Paardeberg to rescue Cronje. Possibly as a result, he decided that Cronje's position must be taken by storm immediately, before De Wet coulds intervene. Kitchener then proceeded to throw his infantry and his precious cavalry into a series of uncoordinated frontal assaults against the Boer laager.


This despite the fact that the cost of frontal assaults against entrenched Boers had been demonstrated time and again the preceding months. It was no different this time. The British were shot down in their droves. It is thought that not s single British soldier got within 200 yards of the Boer lines. By nightfall some 24 officers and 279 men were killed and 59 officers and 847 men wounded. Judged by British casualties it was the most severe reverse of the war and became known as Bloody Sunday.


Kitchener had not only squandered the lives of his soldiers, he had also squandered his strategic position. Kelly-Kelly had warned him not to leave "Kitchener's Kopje" underfunded. Possession of the kopje was essential to guard the south-east of the British position and prevent Cronje's escape. But kitchener, in his zeal for an all-out attack, had left the kopje defended by only a handful of Imperial Infantry (volunteer British colonists). De Wet was therefore able to take the kopje with minimal resistance. The strategic picture had no changed dramatically. De Wet could now make the British position on the south east bank of the Modder untenable, the Boers now commanded a swathe of front stretching from the north east right through to the south east. As darkness fell, Kitchener ordered his troops to dig in where they were. Few received these orders and fewer still obeyed them. Desperately thirsty and exhausted, the surviving British trickled back into camp. Rescue for Cronje now seemed the likely outcome.


But seen from the Boer side, things were also bad. Cronje and his men had been in headlong retreat for several days with the British snapping at their heels. While casualties from the bombardment had been reduced to around 100 dead and 250 wounded by the soft bank of the Modder, the horses, oxen and wagons had no trenches in which to shelter. Many wagons were destroyed. Ammunition exploded and stores were ruined. For many of the Burghers, these wagons carried the sum total of their worldly possessions. The loss of their horses was even worse, for the horse was almost as important to the fighting ability of a Boer as his Mauser. The morale in Cronje's laager was desperate.


The sun came up and General Roberts (GOC South Africa) now arrived on the scene. He initially urged a resumption of the frontal assaults but fortunately for the British, Cronje requested a cease-fire to bury the dead. The British refused (to their shame, as the Boers has allowed such truces in the past) and Cronje replied "If you are so uncharitable as to refuse me a truce as requested, then you may do as you please. I shall not surrender alive. Bombard as you will" The truce communications had taken up the rest of the day and there was no time for any more assaults.


The following day Roberts and Kitchener again planned to launch more assaults but were firmly resisted by the rest of the British senior officers. By the Wednesday, Roberts had lost his nerve and was intent on withdrawing. To do so would have allowed Cronje to escape and would thus have been one of the great blunders in a war made famous by its sheer scale of military idiocy. Fortunately for Roberts, it was De Wet whose nerve failed first. Faced with an entire British division who might be re-inforced at any time, and fearing for his mens' safety, he withdrew his Commando from the south east. Cronje had inexplicably refused to abandon his laager. Now De Wet would abandon Cronje.


Cronje surrendered with some 4,019 men and 50 women. It was the first (and some would argue only) great British victory of the war, around 10% of the Boers' entire army were now British prisoners. Cronje had done something extraordinary. He had out-blundered the British. If his initial decision to form a defensive enclave from which he could not hope to escape seems strange, then his refusal to extract himself from this position when the option was handed to him is even more bizarre. Kitchener on the other hand should also be judged harshly. He quite recklessly squandered the lives of his men and his strategic and territorial advantage. Kitchener, who had once been hailed as the hero of Khartoum and nicknamed 'Kitchener of Khartoum' or 'K of K', was thereafter referred to by some as 'K of C' for Kitchener of Chaos.


The Battle of Paardeberg also marked the first ever deployment of the Canadian Army. The Royal Canadian Regiment suffered nearly 100 casualties. Canadian Forces Land Force Command (LFC) is responsible for army operations within the Canadian Forces. ... The Royal Canadian Regiment is an infantry regiment of the Canadian Forces. ...


See also


  Results from FactBites:
 
Battle of Paardeberg - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1167 words)
The Battle of Paardeberg was a major battle during the Second Anglo-Boer War.
It was fought near Paardeberg Drift on the banks of the Modderrivier ("Mud River") in the Orange Free State.
The battle started on 18 February 1900, when the British forces under command of Lord Horatio Kitchener surrounded the Boer forces, under General Piet Cronje, at Paardeberg.
South African Military History Society - Northern Cape Anglo-Boer War - Centenary Programme 1999-2002 (2220 words)
The battle, between the Highland Brigade in their first engagement after Magersfontein (now under General Hector MacDonald) and the Boers (under General Christiaan de Wet), raged close to the Drift and on the summit of the mountain from 5-8 February 1900.
Paardeberg (Perdeberg on maps) is on the Modder Rivier 40 kilometres along the Petrusburg / Bloemfontein road.
This was the first battle in which wounded soldiers were evacuated in railway coaches, and the first time since the American Civil War that reinforcements were taken by train to the battlefield.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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