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Boer War Essay - by Jenna1991 - Anti Essays

Unfortunately, these guns became bogged down at the varioussiege points of the war, and from then on the growing strength ofthe British artillery meant that it was British guns, not Boer,that held sway on the battlefield. At the battle for Wynne Hillin February 1900, the Boer defenders could only muster eightguns, against which the British deployed fifty. Additionally, theBritish were often able to float observation balloons with whichartillery fire could be directed; this was a luxury not availableto the Boer gunners.

The Anglo-Boer War of 1899-1902 was more than the first major military clash of the 20th century

Multi-barreled machine guns of the type invented by JohnGatling in 1862 had become common in the years leading up to theBoer War, but by 1899 these cumbersome weapons had been replacedby single-barrel, belt-fed machine guns such as the Colt-BrowningModel 1895 and the Vickers-Maxim. As early as 1869 it had beenknown that machine guns could duplicate or even exceed theeffects of aimed volley fire. At one test, held in Germany in1869, a cumbersome Gatling gun showed better results over aminute of continuous firing at paper targets over 800 yards thana company of 100 riflemen firing aimed shots. Machine-guns,therefore, had become highly effective tools of war, and by 1899their use had become embedded in military strategy. In addition,as can be seen in the example above, they multiplied the amountof firepower that a small force could bring to bear in afirefight several times over. As would be demonstrated again inthe Great War, machine guns excelled at sweeping open ground andlaying down suppressive or harassing fire over trench lines;their use in the Anglo-Boer War was to be both in the offensiveand defensive theatres of the war, as will be discussed later.

Boer War - Essay by Garry121212 - Anti Essays

The adoption of the Lee series ran simultaneously with thedevelopment of two other significant firearms of the period; theMauser, which was developed in 1888 and refined in 1898, and theDanish Krag-Jorgenson. These two weapons were used extensively bythe Boers, and provided them with equivalent firepower to theBritish; the Mauser used slightly heavier bullets (.317 caliber,or 7.92mm) and fast-moving (777 m/s compared to 607 m/s) than theLee-Metford, with a subsequent increase in the potential severityof wounds inflicted. Additionally, the Mauser had more slightlyelaborate sights; graded out to 2000 meters compared to the 1829meters of the Lee-Metford, this meant that the Mauser was morelikely to perform better at long-range shooting than theLee-Metford.

In terms of artillery, the Anglo-Boer War was the first to make use of automatic light artillery. The "Pom-Pom" was a converted Maxim machine gun used widely by the Boers. It fired a 1-pound, percussion-fused shell. This weapon was the precursor to the tracked 20mm "Tank killers" of the Second World War, and its main use was against enemy emplacements and fortifications, as well as for use against locomotives and armoured carriages.

Essay on Boer War - 960 Words | Bartleby

Smokeless powder changed the status quo for three reasons;firstly, the absence of fouling meant that weapons could bemachined precisely without having to leave a tolerance forresidue. This meant that infantry rifles, for instance, could bemade more accurate. Secondly, without the obscuring effect of theback-powder charge, aimed shots could be made one after theother, with no deterioration of accuracy. This also meant thatsharpshooters - firing from cover or across a large distance -could no longer be spotted simply by the plume of smoke issuingfrom their weapons. This phenomenon was to have a particularlynoticeable effect during the Anglo-Boer war, as we shall seelater. Thirdly, smokeless powder was far more efficient duringignition; whereas black-powder weapons could rarely propelbullets faster than 450 meters per second, projectiles firedusing smokeless powder could achieve speeds of up to 1200 metersper second.

In terms of more conventional artillery, the British startedout fairly badly equipped; initially, only a small artillerycontingent could be fielded, and initial confrontations with Boerforces led to many pieces being overrun or "shot free"(all crewmen killed), and then captured. This was often the casewhen bad arrangement of forces in the case of a mobile enemy ledto units becoming isolated from one another. Common Britishartillery pieces were the 12 and 15 pound field guns, which had arange of around 5000 yards, and 5-inch howitzers which could hurla 50 pound shell over the same distance. The British also fieldednaval cannon in their desperation, stripped from the cruisers Terrible,Powerful, Monarch and Doris. These weapons hadlonger ranges than the other British guns (up to 10 000 yards forthe 4.7 inch guns). Home-made artillery pieces were also employedduring the sieges of Mafeking and Kimberley; these rose to alevel of renown far beyond the reach of their possibleeffectiveness. British cannon were often loaded with lydditeshells. This high-explosive compound was more effective thanstandard high explosive, and was used to terrible effect inseveral artillery engagements later in the war, when Britishartillery sections had been filled out and more guns had beenshipped to the South African theatre of operations.

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Boer War Essay ⋆ History Essay Examples ⋆ EssayEmpire

This essay is not intended as a general guide to theAnglo-Boer War. Hence, it is assumed that the reader ismoderately familiar with the causes of the war and itsconclusion, and the focus will lie on examining why the war tookthe form it did, and how this form was shaped by the weapons andtactics with which it was fought.

FREE Boer War Essay - Example Essays

After initial defeats, the British rallied their troops and in 1900 appointed Horatio Herbert Kitchener, who had just successfully taken the Sudan, as the commander in chief. With superior firepower the British army successfully lifted the sieges, but the Boers then resorted to hit-and-run guerrilla warfare tactics, some of which they had learned from the Zulus in earlier confrontations. To defeat the Boers, Kitchener adopted techniques that were used against guerrilla fighters throughout the world in the 20th century. These included slash-and-burn attacks against civilian farms and cutting off supplies of food and arms to Boer fighters by placing the civilian population in concentration camps. Thousands of Boer women and children were rounded up and placed in armed camps, where many starved to death. Their farms were then burned to the ground, thereby depriving the Boer fighters of cover and food supplies. Many indigenous Africans were also placed in camps. Some were sent to camps in Bermuda, India, and St. Helena. Almost 30,000 Boers, mostly women and children, and 14,000 Africans died in the camps. The destruction of much of the countryside also led to food shortages. In the spring of 1902 the Boers were forced to accept defeat. Under the Treaty of Vereeniging all of South Africa became part of the British Empire.

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The Boers also had several massive 115mm Creusot field gunswhich fired 88-pound high explosive shells. Aptly named"Long Toms", these weapons have passed into the realmsof popular myth, ranking with the "Big Berthas" of theGreat War. What is certain, though, is that with an effectiverange of over 11 000 yards, these huge guns could out-range anyfield artillery the British possessed.

SparkNotes: Hound of the Baskervilles: Key Facts

Appraisals of tactics in the Anglo-Boer War must give acertain bias to Boer initiative; if there is an overall theme tothe cut-and-thrust of the war it is one of "Boer movement,British response". Initially, at least, this was partly theresult of sound tactical thinking on the part of the Boergenerals, and partly the result of the precarious Britishstarting position in the war. Britain had massive military andeconomic resources, which when brought to bear on the two Boerrepublics could have no result but victory. The only chance forthe Boers was to strike quickly, and to cut off the British linesof re-supply from England - namely, the ports. As a strategy,this counted on the fact that when war was declared, Boer forcesactually outnumbered British forces by a slight margin. Thismeant that the British were forced by circumstance into a holdingstrategy - to meet the Boer invasions of the Cape Colony andNatal, contain them, and if possible turn them back.

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