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    Posted (edited)

    “General Tobias Smuts, with a force of about 2600 men, and Lieutenant-Colonel S P E Trichardt with 11 field-guns are ordered to cover Chief Commandant De Wet’s secret expedition to the Bloemfontein Waterworks near Sannaspost.


    Neither of them is familiar with the vicinity and they have to wait for guides before taking up their positions. Where they could have easily prevented it, the delay allows the British to cross the Modder River without opposition. In a desperate race for positions near Tafelkop, the burghers reach it first and the British cavalry is repulsed.


    They have to make a huge detour to work around the Boer flank while the infantry, supported by the artillery, occupy the enemy’s attention with assaults on their front. 


    General Chermside’s Scottish Borderers, convinced that the Boers have been cleared out by the overwhelming barrage, are rudely disillusioned when the burghers open up from invisible positions in their front and completely shocked when Trichardt’s shells land among them. 

    The British guns are pushed forward with every charge, but they remain inefficient in silencing either their counterparts or the enemy riflemen.


    On their flank Captain Danie Theron and seventeen of his scouts delay General Tucker’s vanguard, a unit of about 400 men, for most of the day – even taking the time to capture 100 oxen in the process. The action is inconclusive and General T Smuts returns to Brandfort when, at dusk, the Britich take heights west of the railway line and threaten their line of retreat. 

    The British lose 30 killed, 155 wounded and five missing in action. Boers lose three killed and 18 wounded.”
    “The Anglo-Boer War: A Chronology” by Pieter G Cloete.

    The battle was important, nonetheless, in opening the way for Roberts to resume his advance across the northern half of the Free State and on to the Transvaal.

    Also see “War with Johnny Boer” p165.


    Edited by archie777
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