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    During the guerrilla phase of the War, while Lord Methuen pursued General Koos de la Rey in the southern part of the Western Transvaal, General Jan Kemp, based at Tafelkop near the Koster/ Lichtenburg road, was active in the Swartruggens area.


    This threatened Brigadier General H.G. Dixon who was encamped at Naauwpoort in the Magaliesberg. 


    On 26 May 1901 Dixon set out with a force of some 450 men to clear farms and search for hidden guns and ammunition west of Naauwpoort on the farm Waterval near Vlakfontein, in the vicinity of present-day Derby. Dixon’s force marched in 3 columns led by Major Chance R.A. on the left, Colonel Wylly in the centre and Lt-Colonel Duff on the right.


    General Jan Kemp, laagered at Waterval northeast of Krugersdorp, initially had 400 burghers, including his scouts, some members of the Staatsartillerie (without their guns) and men from the Krugersdorp, Pretoria and the Rustenburg commandos.


    They had buried some of their remaining guns to have artillery available when required, but also to provide unhampered mobility to commandos.


    On 29 May Dixon’s men set out to recover these guns. Their search revealed no guns, but a large cache of ammunition was discovered. In this search the British came under sniper fire on Duff’s Ridge and the heavy fire from Kemp’s burghers.


    When the British attempted to arrange their defence, Kemp’s men under cover of the smoke from a fire they had started, charged Chance’s rear-guard Yeomanry with (now) 500 burghers. 

    The Yeomanry suffered heavy casualties and the Boers overran the 2 guns of the 28th battery. 

    Dixon ordered Duff to reinforce Chance, who had returned to the scene of action with men of the 1st Derbyshire Regiment.


    On Chance’s Ridge the Derbys, and what remained of the Yeomanry, charged the Boers with fixed bayonets. The Boers galloped off and the British retrieved their guns. The British suffered heavy casualties (6 officers and 51 other ranks dead) while only 7 burghers died in the battle and 2 later from wounds.


    Kemp’s new strategy of lightning strikes behind a smoke screen had been effective.

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