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    Following the failure of the action at Spion Kop, Buller prepared another offensive operation to relieve Ladysmith. His plan was to seize Vaal Krantz, almost in the centre of the Boer defensive positions, to serve as a base for artillery to provide supporting fire while his cavalry advances to Ladysmith.

    The attack began at 6:00 on 5 February with a feint from the Maconochie Hills, north of the Tugela River toward the Brakfontein Ridge. British guns on surrounding hills supported the feint while artillery on Swartz Kop bombarded Vaal Krantz. In mid-morning, a pontoon bridge was completed across the river, but not until the afternoon did Maj-Gen the Hon N G Lyttleton’s 4th Infantry Brigade cross.


    By this time the Boers had assessed that this was the main point of attack and became the focus of intense fire. Later, Vaal Krantz was taken by the Durham Light 
    Infantry and the Rifle Brigade, forcing the Johannesburg commando, led by Kommandant Ben Viljoen, from the crest and the British troops entrenched there for the night.During the night, Boer guns were relocated, and considerable reinforcements brought in. 

    Throughout the next day the Boers kept Vaal Krantz under constant rifle and shell fire and assaulted the hill twice. That evening Hildyard’s 2nd Infantry Brigade relieved the 4th Infantry Brigade.  Throughout 7 February, the 2nd infantry brigade was subjected to rifle and shell fire and in the evening, Buller ordered Vaal Krantz to be abandoned; it was evacuated that night. 
    “Boer War Gazetteer” by Jones & Jones.


    From the “War Record of the York & Lancaster Regiment”
    “Next day [5 Feb] the third attempt to relieve Ladysmith began. The men were up and off very early on Monday morning. The York and Lancaster Regiment and South Lancashires formed first line. Closer and closer to the Boer position we advanced, but not a sign of life was visible. When within 1500 yards of the enemy’s position, the order was given to lie down… still no sign of the enemy until close on 


    Then the Boer guns spoke… the enemy’s gunners quickly got range of our exposed batteries and directed a perfect storm of fire against them. This awful display of artillery fire lasted two and a half hours. General Wynne gave the order to retire. The Boers, for the first time that day, showed themselves, thinking, no doubt, that our retreat meant we had lost the day. But in reality, we had shown where the Boer guns were, besides keeping the Boers occupied whilst the battle on our right was won.


    Calmly and steadily the men withdrew from that circle of fire… total losses were surprisingly small, mainly owing to the men being well extended. One killed and 22 wounded, 2 died of wounds, comprised the York and Lancs casualties.”
    Pte Randall was one of the two men who died of their wounds on 5 February.


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