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Andrew Ridgeley. Home Work. Julie Andrews. On Fire. Ben Stokes. Emily Maitlis. Step By Step. Simon Reeve. The Spy and the Traitor. As a result of these and other Boer successes, the British, led by Lord Kitchener, mounted three extensive searches for Christiaan de Wet , but without success.
However, the very nature of the Boer guerrilla war and the Boer raids on British camps were sporadic, poorly planned, and had little overall long-term objective, with the exception to simply harass the British. This led to a disorganised pattern of scattered engagements between the British and the Boers throughout the region. The British were forced to quickly revise their tactics. They concentrated on restricting the freedom of movement of the Boer commandos and depriving them of local support. The railway lines had provided vital lines of communication and supply, and as the British had advanced across South Africa, they had used armoured trains and had established fortified blockhouses at key points.
Eventually some 8, such blockhouses were built across the two South African republics, radiating from the larger towns along principal routes. However, they proved very effective. Not one bridge where one of these blockhouses was sited and manned was blown. The blockhouse system required an enormous number of troops to garrison. Well over 50, British troops, or 50 battalions, were involved in blockhouse duty, greater than the approximately 30, Boers in the field during the guerrilla phase.
In addition, up to 16, Africans were used both as armed guards and to patrol the line at night. The British also implemented a " scorched earth " policy under which they targeted everything within the controlled areas that could give sustenance to the Boer guerrillas with a view to making it harder for the Boers to survive. As British troops swept the countryside, they systematically destroyed crops, burned homesteads and farms and interned Boer and African men, women, children and workers in concentration camps.
Finally, the British also established their own mounted raiding columns in support of the sweeper columns. These were used to rapidly follow and relentlessly harass the Boers with a view to delaying them and cutting off escape, while the sweeper units caught up. Many of the 90 or so mobile columns formed by the British to participate in such drives were a mixture of British and colonial troops, but they also had a large minority of armed Africans. The total number of armed Africans serving with these columns has been estimated at approximately 20, The British Army also made use of Boer auxiliaries who had been persuaded to change sides and enlist as "National Scouts".
The British utilised armoured trains throughout the War to deliver rapid reaction forces much more quickly to incidents such as Boer attacks on blockhouses and columns or to drop them off ahead of retreating Boer columns.
Among those Burghers who had stopped fighting, it was decided to form peace committees to persuade those who were still fighting to desist. By the end of some thirty envoys were sent out to the various districts to form local peace committees to persuade burghers to give up the fight.
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Meyer de Kock was the only emissary of a peace committee to be convicted of high treason and executed by firing squad. Some burghers joined the British in their fight against the Boers. By the end of hostilities in May , there were no fewer than 5, burghers working for the British. After having conferred with the Transvaal leaders, Christiaan de Wet returned to the Orange Free State, where he inspired a series of successful attacks and raids from the hitherto quiet western part of the country, though he suffered a rare defeat at Bothaville in November Many Boers who had earlier returned to their farms, sometimes giving formal parole to the British, took up arms again.
This was less successful, because there was no general uprising among the Cape Boers, and De Wet's men were hampered by bad weather and relentlessly pursued by British forces. They narrowly escaped across the Orange River. From then until the final days of the war, De Wet remained comparatively quiet, partly because the Orange Free State was effectively left desolate by British sweeps. In late , De Wet overran an isolated British detachment at Groenkop , inflicting heavy casualties.
This prompted Kitchener to launch the first of the "New Model" drives against him. De Wet escaped the first such drive, but lost of his fighters. This was a severe loss, and a portent of further attrition, although the subsequent attempts to round up De Wet were badly handled, and De Wet's forces avoided capture. The Boer commandos in the Western Transvaal were very active after September Several battles of importance were fought here between September and March A time of relative quiet descended thereafter on the western Transvaal.
February saw the next major battle in that region. De La Rey succeeded in capturing many men and a large amount of ammunition. On the morning of 7 March , the Boers attacked the rear guard of Methuen's moving column at Tweebosch. Confusion reigned in British ranks and Methuen was wounded and captured by the Boers. The Boer victories in the west led to stronger action by the British. In the second half of March , large British reinforcements were sent to the Western Transvaal under the direction of Ian Hamilton. The opportunity the British were waiting for arose on 11 April at Rooiwal , where a commando led by General Jan Kemp and Commandant Potgieter attacked a superior force under Kekewich.
Four-War Boer: The Century And Life Of Pieter Arnoldus Krueler | Books, Book library app, War
The British soldiers were well positioned on the hillside and inflicted severe casualties on the Boers charging on horseback over a large distance, beating them back. This was the end of the war in the Western Transvaal and also the last major battle of the war. Two Boer forces fought in this area, one under Botha in the south east and a second under Ben Viljoen in the north east around Lydenburg. Botha's forces were particularly active, raiding railways and British supply convoys, and even mounting a renewed invasion of Natal in September After defeating British mounted infantry in the Battle of Blood River Poort near Dundee , Botha was forced to withdraw by heavy rains that made movement difficult and crippled his horses.
Back on the Transvaal territory around his home district of Vryheid, Botha attacked a British raiding column at Bakenlaagte , using an effective mounted charge. One of the most active British units was effectively destroyed in this engagement. This made Botha's forces the target of increasingly large and ruthless drives by British forces, in which the British made particular use of native scouts and informers.
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Eventually, Botha had to abandon the high veld and retreat to a narrow enclave bordering Swaziland. To the north, Ben Viljoen grew steadily less active. His forces mounted comparatively few attacks and as a result, the Boer enclave around Lydenburg was largely unmolested. Viljoen was eventually captured.