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4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 18 January 2013
The oracle of the Zulu Wars, Ian Knight, takes a team to re-examine the battlefield of Isandhlwana to try to uncover answers to the mysteries which shroud the defeat of an imperial, modern, British army, armed with the new Martini-Henry rifle.
One thing they've always thought is the difficulty getting into ammo boxes. But a box of the period is hit with a piece of wood and easily comes away, so that particular theory is a bit weak. So what caused it?
Well, the shamen would prepare a concoction for the Zulu before battle - a 'snuff' which, under forensic examination in England (a sample purchased by Ian from the Zulu) shows very high content of THC, which they conclude would have made the Zulu trance-like, extremely aggressive and able to keep attacking even with one or two wounds from British fire.
Includes nice footage of the battle site with the team finding bits from the battle with metal detectors.
There is examination of the rifle also. The Martini-Henry heats up very quickly to a very high temperature which could cause a bullet cartridge to stick and need taking out with a bayonet - perhaps leading to a breakdown in the thin red line, allowing Zulus to penetrate. The other thing was the accumalation of smoke from the gunfire which could have made visibility poor. If you're into the Zulu War battles, I would definitely buy this. I got it originally on video from the States as you couldn't get it in the UK back then.
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on 12 February 2013
This DVD seems an accurate reconstruction of the action but misses out both the opening moves and the aftermath.

The British regiments at Isandlwhana Stood To in good order and for nearly two hours their heavy and accurate rifle fire held off the Zulu attacks causing heavy casualties and coming close to winning the battle.

It was only after prolonged firing that the Martini Henry rifles were overheating and becoming fouled which gave the Zulus the opportunity for a renewed attack. I doubt that a modern rifle would have performed much better without cleaning.

Nothing can ever detract from the courage of the Zulus defending their homeland but the action was a hollow victory as one man in three was dead, one of the three injured and the harvest almnost due to be taken in.
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on 15 August 2015
Some interesting matters brought to light by Ian Knight such as the myth of the ammunition being denied to the soldiers either by the book Quartermaster or the ammunition boxes being hard to get into.Also he sheds some light on the drugs the Zulus used to enhance their ability to fight.What this dvd does not show is the contempt and arrogance that the British army felt for the native forces Lord Chelmsford being the main protagonist not only did he split his forces by two thirds he failed to take advice from the Boers to Laager the camp, i believe this is the main reason for the massacre that followed. Chelmsford made the running out of ammo story up to save his own neck and also tried to blame the dead Durnford for not obeying orders by staying to guard the camp, as no such order was given.I believe it was a German General in the second world war who said of the British soldier...Lions Led By Donkey's or one Donkey in Chelmsford's case.
Looking at the firepower and weakness of the Martini rifle i wonder what the outcome would have been if the 1000 British soldiers would have been armed with the Winchester 1876 15 shot repeating rifle,just a thought.
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on 25 October 2014
I have to add that the Amazon review of the Battle of Isandhlwana is totally inaccurate. It falsely states that the British forces outnumbered the Zulu army, this is blatantly false, as the opposite was true. It was fought by 1,500 British soldiers against PPROX. 20,000 Zulus.

So whilst it was a shocking defeat for the British army, it was not totally unexplained, as as soon as the British began to run out of ammunition their fate was sealed. They also were not helped by the pre-battle decision to split up the British forces.

Of course the Battle of Isandhlwana led up to the famous British victory at Rorke's Drift.
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on 29 October 2013
While I enjoyed what I could hear of THE MYSTERY OF ZULU DAWN, I was equally frustrated by what I couldn't hear, due to the lack of subtitles/captioning. As is often the problem with shows like this, here we have a bad sound balance, with the intrusive musical score poorly mixed in places with rather monotonously read narration.

Don't get me wrong, I love these kinds of shows and the content was very good with some genuine insight about the battle, but many viewers like myself are hard of hearing. Come on studios, don't diminish our enjoyment! Captioning on everything, please!

Jon
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on 13 January 2015
Excellent documentary, highlighting some new and revised thinking on the battle of Ishandlwana. Ian Knight displaying his usual high standard of knowledge in all things Zulu.
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on 23 March 2014
RATHER DISAPPONITING AT ONLY 60 MINUTES. IT DOES GO SOME WAY TO GIVE THE BACKGROUND TO THE BATTLE, IN THE FILM "ZULU DAWN" - THE SEQUENCES ARE HARD TO FOLLOW.
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on 31 March 2015
Another take and look at what really happened at the worst massacre in the Zulu war , if you have seen the film, this gives the real perspective on that tragic day
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on 18 May 2015
Great DVD.Brings The story of the battle up to date.Arrived on time well packaged and at a good price.
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on 17 January 2015
A great movie which puts some meat onto the story.
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