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One Hundred Years On

tshingengoma battle

The Battle of August 5th 1896

The sketch above will explain the nature of the operation which led to Colonel Plumer’s victory on August 5th - probably the most serious and important engagement which has been fought throughout the campaign in Matabeleland. Five allied impis of Matabele were attacked and completely routed. The position of Colonel Plumer's a main body at 7.30 a.m. as shown right in the foregroung. At six o'clock the infantry, together with two screw guns. was detached under the Chief command of Captain Beresford, with orders to advance to the right for the purpose of making a detour and shelling the valley preparatory to the general advance. While this force was moving forward, and as the gnus were being taken over a small isolated koppie, the Matabele, who had carefully concealed themselves, made a sudden and determined dash upon them. It was then that Lieutenant Hervey was mortally wounded, several other officers and men being hit at the same time. The enemy were eventually beaten off, but Beresford was unable to advance until supports had been sent to him. At eleven o’clock Major Kershaw stormed the range of hills to the left, and here, while gallantly leading his men, he was shot dead. A cross marks the spot where he fell. Robertson's attack was made at twelve o’clock, and at one o’clock the Matabele were in full retreat. The enemy’s total force was estimated at 4000 men and their losses at from 200 to 300. Our force numbered 760, of which we lost six killed and fifteen wounded.

A study of the Tshingengoma battle. Baden-Powell’s estimation of AmaNdebele losses are very probably greatly exaggerated, as is his claim that this battle represented a “victory” for Colonel Plumer.

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Acknowledgements:-Dave Anderson
Colin Anderson
BGK