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é THE NATAL REBELLION OF 1906 BY WALTER BOSMAN CAPTAIN, ENGINEER OFFICER, NATAL MILITIA STAFF; AIDE-DE-CAMP TO COL. DUNCAN McKENZIE, C.B., O.6M.G., V.D. ; ASSOCIATE MEMBER OF INSTITOTE OF CIVIL ENGINEERS AND AN INTRODUCTION BY COL. DUNCAN McKENZIE, C.B., C.M.G., V.D. COMMANDING THE COLONIAL FORCES WITH TWENTY-ONE PORTRAITS AND OTHER ILLUSTRATIONS SEVEN PLANS AND A MAP LONGMANS, GREEN, AND CO., LONDON J. C. JUTA AND CO. CAPE TOWN, PORT ELIZABETH, GRAHAMSTOWN, JOHANNESBURG EAST LONDON, STELLENBOSCH, AND DURBAN (NATAL) 1907 140 THE NATAL REBELLION OF 1906 the rising of thesun. Forty of the enemy were found dead immediately round the laager. Two rebels were discovered close by, wounded. Their wounds were dressed, by Major Campbell himself who in civil life is one of the leading medical men in Durban. McColl ied of his wounds on the way to Thring’s Post. rm Rexer guns, which were used in repelling the attack on the convoy for the first time in active war- fare, were a gift to the Colony from patriotic Natalians in London, and were brought to Natal by Major- General Sir J. G. Dartnell. Three of the guns were handed to the ZM.R. Their portability and utility were fully demonstrated on the night of the attack. It may be of interest to those old Natalians, whose patriotism prompted the gift, as well as to others who ° are more closely concerned with machine-guns and their uses, to quote the following from a report by the Officer Commanding the ZM.R. who, after the guns had been some time in use, wrote:— “T am of opinion that the Rexer gun is admirably adapted for military purposes and is probably the best rifle calibre machine-gun of to-day. I have experi- mented somewhat largely with this gun since issued to the Zululand Mounted Rifles, and can speak with confidence of the following advantages possessed by the weapon, “Tts handiness and portability, which qualities are far in excess of other machine-guns, Being handled _ by one man only, who assumes the same position as an ordinary rifleman, the gun would be very difficult aa INSUZI FIGHT AND ATTACK ON CONVOY 141 to locate while in action. The same cannot be said of the Maxim gun which almost invariably offers a good target calculated to draw a heavy fire. The lightness of the gun renders it capable of being used in the roughest country with far less trouble than other machine-guns, the supply of ammunition also present- ing less difficulties :— “Its rapidity of fire is nearly, if not quite, equal to that of the Maxim or Colt gun, and I am of opinion that its accuracy is greater. During the time the guns have been in use not one single instance of a cartridge ‘jamming’ has occurred, a valuable point that needs no comment. “The number of spare parts that have to be carried are few, and easily adjusted, and the fact that no tools are required to strip the gun for minor repairs or clean- ing, naturally tends to lessen the impedimenta that must necessarily be carried in the field. “The ammunition magazines are rapidly and easily filled and the cartridges cannot take any but the proper position. In guns with a belt feed, hitches may occur through cartridges being improperly placed in the belt,-other difficulties of a like nature arising, as can readily be vouched for by anyone with a know- ledge of such guns. “T may mention that it would be advantageous for the magazines to be ‘browned’ similar to the barrel, ete, of the gun itself. At present they are of bright white metal which would necessarily be very con- spicuous on a bright day. 142 THE NATAL REBELLION OF 1906 “ Of the equipment supplied with the guns, I cannot speak favourably. The cavalry pattern saddle and bucket supplied are quite unsuitable for the class of horse common in this country. It would appear to have been overlooked that a man riding in this saddle, carrying the gun and a supply of ammunition, would be quite unable to carry his personal equipment, such as cloak, blanket, ete. The weight of the gun and bucket, viz. 224 Ibs., is too much to carry on one side of the saddle, and quickly causes rather bad cases of sore back. By having a few alterations effected on an ordinary general service pack saddle, I was enabled to have three guns in their buckets, and a supply of ammunition carried by one pack horse, the weight of the load being well under the maximum a horse is capable of carrying. This method of carrying the guns answered thoroughly well. “The ammunition pack-saddle supplied is in need of much improvement. The attachment of the magazine cases is wrong in principle, and the weight of the ammunition quickly tears the cases apart. This fault could however be rectified. Although these criticisms do not apply to the gun itself, it can easily be appreci- ated that such defects interfere with the capabilities of the weapon, as presenting possibilities of impeding the supply of ammunition, such supply being of vital importance.” a

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