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Four Months Besieged
The Story of Ladysmith

written by "Pearse, Henry H. S., 1844-1905"
...ifle sangars, girding us about until his grip is so strong that even cavalry scouts cannot push five miles from camp in any direction without having to run the gauntlet of shells or Maxim bullets. There are three positions which we might have held, or at least prevented the enemy from occupying, and thereby frustrated all attempts for at least a week longer, so that our communications southward would have remained open until ample supplies of war material of various kinds, much needed here, and especially appliances for long-distance signalling or wireless telegraphy, could be brought up. But the time for that went by while we were engaged inPg 72 preparing positions for the passive defence of Ladysmith, and the Boers, with the "slimness" that has always characterised them in such operations, slipped round our flank to cut us off from railway or telegraphic communication with lower Natal. Even the guns of H.M.S. Powerful, on which we rely for keeping down the enemy's long-range fire, did not get their full supply of ammunition before the line was closed, and if any signalling appliances more far-reaching than those ordinarily in use with a field force were applied for in accordance with Captain Lambton's suggestion, they never came. As events have turned out, this was the gravest mischance of all, since the next step which our wily enemies took was to close every means of egress from this camp by placing their lighter artillery or mounted riflemen on kopjes whence all open ground over which troops might move could be swept by cross-fire. In other words, they took all the rough eminences of the outer ranges best adapted for their own tactics, and left the bare, shelterless plains or ridges to us. So far, therefore, Boer cunning has proved itself more than a match for Staff-College strategy, and nothing can restore the balance now but a strong blow struck quickly and surely from our side. Against that the Boers are naturally weak in p...

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