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During the Boer War, the Germans were sent in to fight the Boers, and it was Britain that footed the bill. Despite this, the Africans were not completely lost. This article discusses why the Boer War wasn't a total loss for the Africans, and how the role of horses in the conflict played a much larger role.
Britain footed the bill
During the Boer War, Canada played a significant role in helping to win the day. Despite Canada's small contribution, it was a key factor in the eventual defeat of the Boers.
At the start of the war, Canada had a vested interest in the outcome. Its military contingent had been sent to South Africa to help out in the relief of General Robert Baden-Powell's besieged Mafeking garrison. It also participated in the search and destroy missions against the Boer commandos.
The second phase of the war lasted from February to June 1900. It was the longest and most controversial. It involved the capture of the Transvaal capital of Pretoria and the Orange Free State. It also included the largest single action for Canadians, the Battle of Vimy Ridge.
The Boer War also raised questions about the British Empire's moral purpose and the effectiveness of its military. Although there was plenty of talk of the military achievements of Canada, the actual contribution was small.
Horses played a more important role
During the Anglo-Boer War, horses played a critical role in military operations. They served in two primary missions: pulling supply wagons and as gun horses.
Initially, the two belligerent countries relied on mechanical transport to move equipment. In the later stages of the war, steam engines were used to pull the wagons. However, the horses were not adequately acclimatised to the conditions of war. They were also loaded with unnecessary equipment.
There were a wide variety of breeds used during the war. The Cape Horse was one of the most common breeds used. They were descendants of the Cape Horses that were first imported in the 1700s.
The Boer War was fought between Britain and its colony in South Africa. The two countries' rivalry had lasted for over 50 years. The war was largely driven by nationalism and power politics. In 1899, four million black Africans outnumbered one million whites.
The Boer army included militia-like mounted fighters known as "Boer commandos." The commandos besieged British garrisons in Ladysmith and Mafeking and occupied northern Natal. They subsequently defeated the British in "black week" of mid-December 1899.
Germans sent arms to the Boers
During the Anglo-Boer War of 1899-1902, Germany sent arms to the Boers to counter Britain. This was a very unusual relationship between the two countries.
The Boer government was not a dictatorship. Instead, the Boer government was an assortment of volunteers from different commandos. These men were well trained in European methods. These men were well equipped with Mauser and Krupp weapons.
The Boers were also well trained in artillery. The Boer Government purchased eight Krupp field guns and four Krupp howitzers. They also bought three Maxim machine guns and four thousand Enfield rifles. These weapons were shipped to Johannesburg by train.
The Transvaal and the Orange Free State also imported arms from Germany. These countries began to buy modern weapons in 1887-1899. These countries also formed an alliance to defend their territories against the United Kingdom.
The Germans also purchased a large number of Mauser cartridges for both the Republics. They also smuggled 200,000 rounds of ammunition into Johannesburg.
Africans lost little from the Second Boer War
Thousands of Africans died in the Second Boer War, but it was a short war. In fact, most of the Boer Republics were under British control by the end of September 1900. After that, the two republics were annexed to the British Empire.
The British enacted a scorched earth policy, which involved burning crops and livestock in an effort to stop Boer fighters from being resupplied. The British also built blockhouses, which were small fortified structures, to secure supply routes to the British forces.
The British were already having difficulties supplying troops in South Africa. During the Boer War, the British authorities decided to send many Boer prisoners of war overseas. During the Second Anglo-Boer War, these prisoners made up more than 20,000 Africans in camps.
In the first weeks of the war, the Boers had outnumbered the British by a large margin. This was especially true during the first guerrilla phase of the war. The Boers fought mainly in small groups called "commandos," and used hit-and-run tactics.
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