1887

n Historia - Die emosionele toestand van generaal sir George Pomeroy-Colley (1835-1881) tydens die slag van Amajuba

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Abstract


George Colley had a brilliant career as a military administrator, but had never seen military action when he was appointed as commander of the British forces in Natal in 1880. Soon he had to contend with a military operation, the scope of which he could not have foreseen when he marched on the rebellious Transvaal Boers at the beginning of 1881. After suffering serious losses inflicted by the Boers at Laingsnek on 28 January and at Schuinshoogte on 8 February, the British force of about 579 officers and men were crushingly defeated at Amajuba on 27 February, leaving 286 dead - including Colley himself. The Boer casualties numbered three.
Soon after the battle questions were raised about the reasons for Colley's misjudgements at the three battles. Lack of experience alone could not account for the magnitude of his blunders. It was reported that he had been sleeping during the battle and had been wakened twice. His officers had not been given any indication of his plan of action. Certain reports and rumours had it that Colley had had serious emotional problems on the eve of the battle and that he seemed to have lost contact with reality. These are investigated and psychological knowledge is applied in an attempt to find answers to the baffling questions raised over the century after the battle.

George Colley het 'n skitterende loopbaan as militêre administrateur gehad, maar toe hy in 1880 as bevelvoerder van die Britse magte in Natal aangestel is, het hy nog nooit aksie in die veld gesien nie. Hy raak spoedig in 'n militêre operasie betrokke waarvan hy nie die omvang besef het nie toe hy begin 1881 teen die opstandige Boere van die Transvaal opruk. By Laingsnek word hy op 28 Januarie gevoelige verliese toegedien en ook op 8 Februarie by Schuinshoogte. Maar op 27 Februarie word die Britse mag van 579 offisiere en manskappe verpletterend by Amajuba verslaan. Colley sneuwel saam met 286 ander soldate. Die Boere se ongevalle was drie.


Spoedig na die slag begin vrae aangaande die rede vir Colley se oordeelsfoute tydens die drie veldslae opduik. Gebrek aan ondervinding was nie genoegsame verklaring vir die omvang van sy mistastings nie. Daar is berig dat hy tydens die slag geslaap het en twee maal wakkergemaak moes word. Hy het sy offisiere glad nie ingelig oor sy strategie nie. Verslae en gerugte dui daarop dat Colley ernstige emosionele probleme die aand voor die slag ondervind het en dat hy voeling met die werklikheid verloor het. Dit word in die artikel ondersoek en kennis van die psigologie word ingespan in 'n poging om 'n antwoord op die raaisels wat reeds 'n eeu gevra word te vind.

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/content/hist/38/1/EJC37772
1993-05-01
2016-12-06
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