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Top frequently asked questions. Does backward compatibility cost extra? Is Xbox Live Gold required for backward compatibility? Is there a comprehensive list of all the titles? Which one is yours? Follow Xbox. The British had failed to exploit their initial success, and the initiative now passed to the Boers. Morale began to sag on both sides as the extreme heat, exhaustion and thirst took hold.

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On one hand the Boers on the kop could see large numbers of burghers on the plains below them who refused to join the fight. A sense of betrayal, the bloody failure of the frontal assault, the indiscipline inherent in a civilian army and the apparent security of the British position proved too much for some Boers, who began to abandon their hard-won positions. On the other hand, the bombardment began to take its toll on the British. Woodgate fell at about , mortally wounded by a shell splinter. Massy, and Woodgate's brigade major , Captain N.

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Vertue, were killed. The British artillery, positioned lower down the slopes of Spion Kop, were unable to hit back at the Boer guns. Colonel Malby Crofton of the Royal Lancasters took charge and semaphored a plea for help, "Reinforce at once or all is lost. General dead. Thorneycroft seems to have taken charge, leading a spirited counterattack that failed in the face of withering fire.

Warren had already dispatched Major General John Talbot Coke 's brigade of two regular battalions and the Imperial Light Infantry raised in Durban to reinforce the summit. However, he refused to launch an attack on Tabanyama and barred his guns from firing on Aloe Knoll, believing this to be part of the British position. At , Buller, who could see that things were not going well, suggested to Warren that Thorneycroft be appointed commander on the kop.

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The first runner to Thorneycroft was shot dead before he could utter a word. Finally, a second runner brought the news, "You are a general. Winston Churchill was a journalist stationed in South Africa and he had also been commissioned as a lieutenant in the South African Light Horse by General Buller after his well-publicised escape from Boer captivity.

Churchill acted as a courier to and from Spion Kop and Buller's headquarters and made a statement about the scene: "Corpses lay here and there. Many of the wounds were of a horrible nature. The splinters and fragments of the shells had torn and mutilated them. The shallow trenches were choked with dead and wounded. About , the situation proved too much for some men of the Lancashire Fusiliers who attempted to surrender.


Thorneycroft personally intervened and shouted at the Boers who advanced to round up prisoners, "I'm the commandant here; take your men back to hell sir. I allow no surrenders. A vicious point-blank firefight ensued but the British line had been saved. At , Thorneycroft sent Warren a plea for reinforcements and water. Meanwhile, Coke never reached the summit. He saw Thorneycroft's message for help but then did nothing to assure the lieutenant colonel of his nearby presence or support.

The Middlesex Regiment and the Imperial Light Infantry, under Colonel Hill, who was senior to Thorneycroft in the army list and who also believed he was overall commander on the kop, held the British right for two and a half hours until a second crisis occurred when they too began to give way. The Cameronians Scottish Rifles arrived at this point, and drove the Boers back with a bayonet charge. The fighting on the British right now became a stalemate. In the morning, Warren had asked for reinforcements from Lyttelton's division, even though he had eleven battalions of his own to draw upon.

Without asking Buller, Lyttelton sent two battalions toward Spion Kop. After losing Lieutenant Colonel Riddell killed and other casualties, the rifles cracked the thin Boer line and carried the double summit at Shattered by the loss of Twin Peaks, General Schalk Willem Burger took his commando out of the battle line that night.

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  4. On Spion Kop, the Boers who had fought bravely since morning abandoned their positions as darkness fell. They were about to retreat, when Botha appeared and persuaded them to stay. The Boers, however, did not reclaim their positions, and unknown to Thorneycroft, the battle was as good as won.

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    But Thorneycroft's nerve was also shattered. After sixteen hours on the kop doing the job of a brigadier general in total absence of instructions from Warren, he ordered an unauthorised withdrawal from Spion Kop after reporting that the soldiers had no water and ammunition was running short. Churchill said 1, men were on the way with two large naval guns. Thorneycroft told him, "better six good battalions safely down the hill than a bloody mop-up in the morning. When morning came, the Boer generals were astonished to see two burghers on the top of Spion Kop, waving their slouch-hats in triumph.

    The only British on the kop were the dead and the dying. The British suffered fatalities during the battle; many were buried in the trenches where they fell. Approximately 1, British were either wounded or captured. Mohandas Gandhi was a stretcher-bearer at the battle, in the Indian Ambulance Corps he had organised, and was decorated. The Boers suffered casualties of which 68 were dead, including Commandant Prinsloo's commando casualties of 55 killed and wounded out of 88 men.

    The British retreated back over the Tugela, but the Boers were too exhausted to pursue and follow up their success. Once across the river, Buller managed to rally his troops. Ladysmith would be relieved by the British four weeks later. Penning's story concerns the very real Commandant Louis Wessels, [20] [21] who leads the Boer commando to defeat the British at the battle.

    Buller erred in appointing Warren an independent commander, despite his own doubts about his subordinate's capacity. Medical assistance, water and ammunition were also tardy in arriving. Still, perhaps it was not Warren's failure to remedy these deficiencies that proved his worst error.

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    It was his failure to tell Thorneycroft of his plans to do so. Astonishing as it may seem, he had sent no direct instructions to Thorneycroft since the heliogram appointing him a general at midday. He had left it to Coke to reassure Thorneycroft, although by another astonishing blunder Warren had never actually told Coke that he had put Thorneycroft in charge.

    Then, to compound all these blunders, at pm Warren had ordered Coke to return to the HQ for consultation, leaving Thorneycroft alone among the horrors on the summit.