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Armored Train Ambush 11-15-99 Chuchill & Haldane 4 months 2 weeks ago #81643

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Translation of the Kroonstad telegram ( see last post ), as printed in "War Telegrams. Officially Issued by the Late O.F.S. Government up to the Occupation of Bloemfontein", Curling's Standard Printing Works, Bloemfontein, 1900.

[Issued November 16, 1899]
Commandant General, Head Laager, Ladysmith, wires that he arrived at Colenso on the 13th inst., in order to acquaint himself with the positions, and saw the British advance guard. They advanced towards the patrol of Commandant David Joubert. Nothing happened, excepting that a train advanced on three of our burghers. These three fired on the train, after which it returned, but we wished to occupy this position.
The Ermelo and Middelburg Commandos went at once, together with a portion of the Krugersdorp Commando to take up the position, as the other burghers only left at 3 o’clock.
When we arrived at the spot we discovered an armoured train, which steamed back immediately, but one of our commandos had crossed over and placed stones on the line, which derailed her. The place was a very unsuitable one for our burghers, as also for our cannon. As soon as the train was derailed they began to fire on us with an Armstrong and a Maxim, with the result that five of our burghers and some horses were slightly wounded. At last the locomotive was freed, and proceeded with half the trucks that were not derailed. Thus we captured five trucks, three of which were armoured.
Two of the enemy were killed, 10 wounded, and 56 prisoners taken, amongst whom is Mr Winston Spencer Churchill – reporter for the "Morning Post".
It is raining heavily, so that all the burghers and prisoners are wet through. We are expecting a stronger onslaught.



Bloemfontein 16den Nov. 12.15, Ontv. 2.55 pm
Donderdag v.m., 16 Nov. '99. Commandant General Hoofd Lager seint dat hij 13 dezer te Colenso aankwaam ten einden de toestanden te verkennen en toen de brandwachten bespeurde zij trokken in de richting van de patrouille onder Commandant David Joubert het kwam echter niet tot eenig treffen met uitzondering dat een trein op 3 onzen Burgers afkwam. Deze 3 schoten op den trein waarna de trein terug keerde doch wij wenschten deze positie in te nemen onmiddellijk gingen dan ook Ermelo en Middelburg Commandos, en ook een gedeelte van Krugersdorp Commando om deze plek in te nemen terwijl de andere Burgers eerst om drie uur gisteren uittrokken.
Toen wij op die plek aan kwamen ontwaarden wij ook juist den gepantserden trein en die toen dadelijk terug stoomde doch een onzer Commando was in middels omgetrokken en had klippen op de rails gelegd waardoor de trein ontspoorde maar het was een zeer ongelegen plek voor de Burgers alsook voor de kanonnen. Zoodra de trein ontspoorde schoten zij op ons met een Armstrong en een maxim met het gevolg dat 5 onzer manschappen licht gewond werden eindelijk raakte de locomotief los en trok op met de helft van de wagens die niet ontspoord waren wij namen zoo doende slechts 5 trucks waaronder 3 gepantserde in bezit. Van den Vijand werden 2 gedood, 10 gewond en 56 gevangenen genomen waaronder Windstone Spencer Churchill, rapporteur van de 'Morning Post'.
Het regent nu hevig zoodat alle Burgers en gevangenen dood en door nat zijn wij verwachten veel sterker aanval.







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Armored Train Ambush 11-15-99 Chuchill & Haldane 4 months 2 weeks ago #81712

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Some time ago there was a discussion about armoured trains during the Siege of Ladysmith ( starting here ).
I, amongst others, stated that there was no armoured train in Ladysmith. This, I have just discovered, is quite incorrect.

This photograph, Plate XLIV in Kisch & Tugman (1900), "The Siege of Ladysmith", shows that they did have such a train but that it was never used.

Henry Kisch was the resident photographer during the siege.




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Armored Train Ambush 11-15-99 Chuchill & Haldane 4 months 1 week ago #81755

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This is a reply to post 81605 , in the Artillery & Ammunition thread.

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pfireman wrote: Adjutant Roos is the man who Churchill spoke with after the shelling of the armoured train.

"At length we reached the guns which had played on us for so many minutes—two strangely long barrels sitting very low on carriages of four wheels, like a break in which horses are exercised. They looked offensively modern, and I wondered why our Army had not got field artillery with fixed ammunition and 8,000 yards range. Some officers and men of the Staats Artillerie, dressed in a drab uniform with blue facings, approached us.

The commander, Adjutant Roos—as he introduced himself—made a polite salute. He regretted the unfortunate circumstances of our meeting; he complimented the officers on their defence—of course, it was hopeless from the first; he trusted his fire had not annoyed us; we should, he thought, understand the necessity for them to continue; above all he wanted to know how the engine had been able to get away, and how the line could have been cleared of wreckage under his guns. In fact, he behaved as a good professional soldier should, and his manner impressed me."

So lucky to put a face with a name. No wonder Churchill was impressed. Thanks Mr. Heunis!



Here is a photographic portrait of Lieutenant and Adjutant Carl Roos (with thanks to MC Heunis), and a second image showing him with his men (With the Flag to Pretoria, p. 181).





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