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    Before dawn on 20 October 1899, General “Maroela” Erasmus' force occupied Impati Mountain north of Dundee. Gen Lukas Meyer's men occupied the Talana Hill east of the town and Lennox Hill south of Talana and dragged several German manufactured Krupp field guns to the top. As dawn broke and the British spotted the Boers on Talana Hill, these guns opened fire.


    The British 16th and 69th Field Batteries galloped to within range and opened fire. Leaving the 1st Battalion Leicestershire Regt and the 67th Battery RFA to guard the camp. The British infantry, led by the Royal Dublin Fusiliers and supported in succession by the King's Royal Rifle Corps
    (KRRC) and the Royal Irish Fusiliers (RIF), moved forward to make a frontal attack, and reached the foot of the hill where they were to advance through a small wood.


    However, they were pinned down by rifle fire from the top of Talana Hill. Lieut-Gen Sir William Penn Symons went forward and was mortally wounded. He was able to mount his horse and ride back into Dundee where he later died. Under Symons' successor, Brig-Gen J Herbert Yule, the KRRC managed to reach a small stone wall at the foot of Talana Hill, where the Dublin Fusiliers were pinned down by Boer fire.


    With the RFA laying down accurate fire on the summit the KRRC, supported by the RIF, were able to proceed up the hill. When they reached the top, they suffered casualties from their own supporting artillery. The Boers abandoned their positions on the 
    hill. Despite the British artillery being repositioned to harass the Boer retreat, they declined to fire, worried that they might hit their own troops again. General Lukas Meyer's forces mounted their ponies and made off.


    A squadron of the 18th Hussars and the British mounted infantry tried to cut off their retreat, but most of the British horsemen strayed onto the slopes of Impati. General Erasmus's men, who had so far played no part in the battle due to Impati being shrouded in fog, surrounded the British mounted detachment and forced them to surrender. Talana was a British victory: Penn Symons’s force drove off a Boer force at least twice its size, and one that had taken up just the sort of strong defensive position that would cause the British so many problems later in the war.


    However, it came at a high cost. Ten officers (including Penn Symons) and 31 other ranks were killed, 185 men were wounded and 220 men captured or missing (many from Möller’s cavalry). Boer losses were reported as 44 killed in action/died of 
    wounds and 91 wounded.


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