As the war staggered into 1902, there were many signs that British tactics were finally exhausting the Boers. After months of chasing shadows, Kitchener’s men had become quite adept at hunting their quarry. The blockhouses were providing a steady stream of intelligence, and the increasingly barren countryside meant even resupplying often forced the commandos into […]Read more "The End of the Second Boer War"
As the situation outside the camps devolved, a combination of neglect and evil intent were creating an altogether different kind of war crime inside of them. By the end of 1901, 45 camps for white Boers and 64 for African natives had been established, ostensibly, according to Kitchener, to keep the white populace safe from […]Read more "Death in the Concentration Camps."
Accompanying his mass internment of the Boer Republic’s populations, Kitchener also devised a solution to flushing out the Boer forces; one that also capitalized on his eye for big picture planning. Dividing both former republics into a grid, Kitchener’s forces began to build physical barriers around each cordoned space. British soldiers would then sweep the […]Read more "The Breaking of Harry Morant"
As November 1900 rolled around, Roberts, Salisbury and the rest of the political and military leadership of Great Britain were feeling quite pleased with themselves. While much of the Boer soldiers were still unaccounted for, they had full control of all but the northern part of the Transvaal. It was good enough for the commanding […]Read more "Insurgency, Scorched Earth, and Reconcentration"
While Buller continued to alternately slam his head into the Tugela line, try to look for a flanking edge, then concuss himself again, the new commander of the Boer War arrived. Field Marshal Frederick Roberts already had a personal stake in this war, as his young son Freddie Roberts had been killed at Colenso leading […]Read more "The Tide Turns"
Back in London the news of Black Week stunned the British. Writing just before the grisly losses, Churchill’s brilliant prose captures the feeling of the time: “The enduring courage and confident spirit of the enemy must also excite surprise. In short, we have grossly underrated [the Boer’s] fighting powers. Most people in England-I among them-thought […]Read more "The Nightmare of Spion Kop"
By 1899 war between Britain and the Boer republics seemed very likely, but it was hardly inevitable. Though Milner and Kruger both anticipated the war with varying degrees of glee and resignation, they weren’t the only voices in the conversation. The Orange Free State’s President Martinus Steyn favored further negotiations, though he was just as […]Read more "The Second Boer War"