Elandslaagte

Description

Historically, the place of Elandslaagte is known for the Second Boer War, which was tactically won over by the British Forces. A bitter battle was fought here on 22 October 1899 between the British forces and the Boers, with the Brits laying siege on the forcibly occupying Boers.

The railway station of Elandslaagte was the first to be attacked, when a battalion led by General Kock accomplished the occupation. This resulted in the Boers cutting off any communication between the mainstream British forces in Ladysmith and their detachments in Dundee. This really was the prelude to the battle. The British forces then went on to retaliate by sending Major General John French to expedite the recapturing of the station.

The main attack comprised of continuous bombardment of the station by three batteries of field guns. While the field guns did the job of ‘softening’ up the target, the main offense was carried out by the Devonshire Regiment, commanded by Colonel Ian Hamilton. With enough support from the Manchester Regiment that was moving upwards through the flanks of the opposition, the scene was set for a classic showdown.

What happened next was true chaos. The weather conditions weren't in favour of the British forces, with thunderstorms lashing Elandslaagte. Barbed wire was set around the station to trap the forces, and the British forces faced fierce resistance from the Boers.

Finally, after many days, the British forces were able to occupy Elandslaagte. This allowed the detachments at Dundee to connect to the main British forces in Ladysmith. The battle of Elandslaagte went on to dictate the course of many events in South African history.

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