Hill Of Squandered Valour

The Battle for Spion Kop, 1900

Ron Lock

The Battle of Spion Kop was fought during the campaign to relieve Ladysmith, South Africa, and was the single bloodiest episode in the campaign, as well as a harbinger of the bitter and desperate fighting still to come in the Second Boer War.
Publication date:
October 2011
Publisher :
Casemate Publishers
Language:
English
Illustration :
16pp of illustrations, 6 maps
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Hardback
ISBN : 9781612000077

Dimensions : 236 X 159 cm
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£25.00
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ISBN : 9781612000183

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Overview
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• A complete and detailed account of a devastating South African conflict Includes Winston Churchill's battle report

The Battle of Spion Kop was fought during the campaign to relieve Ladysmith, South Africa, and was the single bloodiest episode in the campaign, as well as a harbinger of the bitter and desperate fighting still to come in the Second Boer War.

Spion Kop, just northeast of Ladysmith, was the largest hill in the region, being over 1,400 feet high, laying almost exactly at the centre of the Boer line. If the British could capture this position and bring artillery to the hill, they would command the flanks of the surrounding Boer positions.

On the night of 23 January 1900, a large British force under Major General Edward Woodgate was dispatched to secure the height, with Lt. Colonel Alexander Thorneycroft selected to lead the initial assault. However, the Boers refused to give up the position and a bitter two days of fighting ensued. In the initial darkness the British mistakenly entrenched at the centre of the hill instead of the crest, and suffered horribly from Boer marksmen clinging to the periphery. Suffering badly themselves, the Boers were finally inclined to admit defeat when they discovered that the British had retreated, leaving behind their many dead. Yet, in light of the devastation wrought on both sides, the British were finally able to rally and relieve Ladysmith four weeks later.

Ron Lock, esteemed author of many Zulu warfare histories, brings to life this bitter and previously overlooked campaign in vivid and complete detail, with supporting sources including then-journalist Winston Churchill’s battle report, as well as many previously unpublished illustrations and six newly commissioned maps. His account will be valuable to both historians and strategists wanting to better understand this difficult and devastating conflict.

REVIEWS

Ron Lock"s well researched book brings to life this bitter and somewhat overlooked battle in vivid and complete detail.
Military Modelcraft International

I am very impressed with this publication and therefore have no hesitation in highly recommending it to Guild members and I feel that it would be a wonderful addition to the bookshelves not only of enthusiasts in the Anglo-Boer War but anybody with an interest in military history.
Guild of Battlefield Guides Member Tony Scott

I found it to be a very good read, particularly where it covers the numerous examples of incompetence by the British commanders. Highly recommended to those not of a nervous disposition.
Miniature Wargames