In the Battle of Groenkop (Battle of Tweefontein) on 25 December 1901, Head Commandant Christiaan de Wet's Boer commando surprised and defeated a force of Imperial Yeomanry under the command of Major Williams.
Christiaan Rudolf de Wet was a Boer general, rebel leader and politician.
The Imperial Yeomanry was a volunteer mounted force of the British Army that mainly saw action during the Second Boer War. Created on 2 January 1900, the force was initially recruited from the middle classes and traditional yeomanry sources, but subsequent contingents were more significantly working class in their composition. The existing yeomanry regiments contributed only a small proportion of the total Imperial Yeomanry establishment. In Ireland 120 men were recruited in February 1900. It was officially disbanded in 1908, with individual Yeomanry regiments incorporated into the new Territorial Force.
By late 1901, de Wet's guerilla force based itself near the settlements of Lindley, Bethlehem and Reitz in the northeast part of the Orange Free State. On 28 November, de Wet called a krijgsraad (war council) of the still-active Boer leaders near Reitz. They determined to strike back at their British tormentors, who numbered 20,000 men.
The Orange Free State was an independent Boer sovereign republic in southern Africa during the second half of the 19th century, which later became a British colony and a province of the Union of South Africa. It is the historical precursor to the present-day Free State province. Extending between the Orange and Vaal rivers, its borders were determined by the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland in 1848 when the region was proclaimed as the Orange River Sovereignty, with a seat of a British Resident in Bloemfontein.
As part of Lord Kitchener's strategy, the British constructed lines of blockhouses and barbed wire across the veld. The blockhouse lines were designed to restrict the movements of the Boer guerillas so they could be trapped by British mobile columns. One line of blockhouses reached from Harrismith to the Tradoux farm, 25 miles (40 km) east of Bethlehem. To protect the construction, Major General Sir Leslie Rundle deployed four dispersed forces. Rundle with 330 men and one gun guarded the wagon road; the end of the blockhouse line was held by 150 infantry; a 400-man regiment of the Imperial Light Horse lay 13 miles (21 km) to the east at Elands River Bridge; Major Williams with 550 men, mostly of the 11th Battalion, Imperial Yeomanry, a 15-pounder gun and a pom-pom held the 200-foot (61 m) high Groenkop.
Harrismith is a large town in the Free State province of South Africa. It was named for Sir Harry Smith, a 19th century British governor of the Cape Colony. It is situated by the Wilge River, alongside the N3 highway, about midway between Johannesburg, about 300 km to the north-west, and Durban to the southeast. The town is located at the junction of the N5 highway, which continues westward towards the provincial capital Bloemfontein, some 340 km to the south-west. This important crossroads in South Africa's land trade routes is surrounded by mesas and buttes. It is located at the base of one of these called Platberg.
General Sir Henry Macleod Leslie Rundle, was a British Army general during the First World War.
De Wet carefully scouted the Groenkop position for three days. He noted that the British posted their sentries atop the sheer west side of the kop, instead of at the bottom where they could give timely warning of an attack. The Boer leader determined to scale the west side using the trace of a gully.[ citation needed ]
At 2:00 am on Christmas morning, de Wet's commando clambered up the steep slope in single file with their boots removed so as to minimise any noise. The surprise was nearly total. Challenged by a single sentry when they were over halfway to the top with a few scattered shots, the Boers, who were ordered into battle by de Wet shouting "Stormt Burgers" swarmed up and over the crest. They began firing downhill into the British tents, inflicting a "massacre."Savage fighting lasted about 40 minutes before the British gave up.
The next morning, one of the 206 British prisoners of the Boers noted that his foes were so short of clothing that some wore women's attire. The 250 unwounded British prisoners of war were stripped literally naked before they were turned loose the next day.Kitchener wrote, "It is very sad and depressing that the boers are able to strike such blows, but I fear ... we shall always be liable to something of the sort from the unchecked rush of desperate men at night."
By 5 February 1902, Kitchener's blockhouse lines were completed and he sent 9,000 men on a massive sweep through the countryside. In this first operation, 285 Boers were captured but de Wet and President Marthinus Steyn and their men escaped the trap. The second drive lasted from 16 February to 28. Again, de Wet got away, but this time he had to abandon most of his cattle. On 27 February, Colonel Henry Rawlinson's column encircled and captured a 650-man Boer commando at Lang Reit, a few miles from Tweefontein. This brought the British "bag" in the successful sweep to 778 surrendered Boers. The third drive by Major Elliott's division, from 4 March to 11 March, was a failure, with only about 100 Boers captured. Worse, de Wet escaped to join Fighting General Koos de la Rey in the Western Transvaal.
The Second Boer War was fought between the British Empire and two Boer states, the South African Republic and the Orange Free State, over the Empire's influence in South Africa. It is also known variously as the Boer War, Anglo-Boer War, or South African War. Initial Boer attacks were successful, and although British reinforcements later reversed these, the war continued for years with Boer guerrilla warfare, until harsh British counter-measures brought them to terms.
Lindley is a small town situated on the banks of the Vals River in the eastern region of the Free State province of South Africa. It was named after an American missionary, Daniel Lindley, who was the first ordained minister to the Voortrekkers in Natal.
The Maritz rebellion, also known as the Boer revolt or Five Shilling rebellion was an armed insurrection which occurred in South Africa in 1914 at the start of World War I, led by Boers who supported the reestablishment of the South African Republic in the Transvaal. Many members of the government were themselves former Boers who had fought with the Maritz rebels against the British in the Second Boer War, which had ended twelve years earlier. The rebellion failed, and the ringleaders received heavy fines and terms of imprisonment.
Jan Christiaan Smuts, OM was a prominent South African and Commonwealth statesman and military leader. He served as a Boer General during the Boer War, a British General during the First World War and was appointed Field Marshal during the Second World War. In addition to various Cabinet appointments, he served as Prime Minister of the Union of South Africa from 1919 to 1924 and from 1939 to 1948. He played a leading part in the post war settlements at the end of both world wars, making significant contributions towards the creation of both the League of Nations and the United Nations.
The Battle of Paardeberg or Perdeberg was a major battle during the Second Anglo-Boer War. It was fought near Paardeberg Drift on the banks of the Modder River in the Orange Free State near Kimberley.
The Battle of Berg-en-dal took place in South Africa during the Second Anglo-Boer War.
The Battle of Diamond Hill (Donkerhoek) was an engagement of the Second Boer War that took place on 11 and 12 June 1900 in central Transvaal.
The Battle of Rooiwal was an engagement of the Second Boer War. It took place on 11 April 1902 and resulted in a victory by a British force commanded by Colonel Robert Kekewich over a Boer commando led by Generals Ferdinandus Jacobus Potgieter and Jan Kemp.
The Battle of Bothaville (Doornkraal) on 6 November 1900 was a rare defeat of Christiaan de Wet's Boer commando at the hands of a force of British Mounted Infantry (MI).
In the Battle of Blood River Poort or Scheeper's Nek on 17 September 1901 a Boer commando led by Louis Botha crushed a British force commanded by Major Hubert Gough during the Second Boer War.
The Battle of Elands River took place near the Elands River Poort mountain pass on 17 September 1901 during the Second Boer War. During the battle a Boer raiding force under Jan Smuts destroyed a British cavalry squadron led by Captain Sandeman, a cousin of Winston Churchill, on the Modderfontein farm. This battle is therefore also known as the Battle of Modderfontein.
In the Battle of Tweebosch or De Klipdrift on 7 March 1902, a Boer commando led by Koos de la Rey defeated a British column under the command of Lieutenant General Lord Methuen during the final months of the Second Boer War.
In the Battle of Nooitgedacht on 13 December 1900, Boer commandos led by Generals Koos de la Rey and Christiaan Beyers combined to deal a defeat to a British brigade under the command of Major General R. A. P. Clements during the Second Boer War.
In the Battle of Groenkloof on 5 September 1901, a British column under Colonel Harry Scobell defeated and captured a small Boer commando led by Commandant Lotter in the Cape Colony during the Second Boer War.
Major-General Sir Henry Jenner "Harry" Scobell, KCVO, CB was a British military leader who served as the last officer in command of Cape Colony before the formation of the Union of South Africa.
Battle of Poplar Grove. was an incident on 7 March 1900 during the Second Boer War in South Africa. It followed on from the Relief of Kimberley as the British Army moved to take the Boer capital of Bloemfontein. The Boers were demoralised following the surrender of Piet Cronjé at the Battle of Paardeberg. General Sir John French's cavalry attacked the Boer force from the rear while mounted infantry and horse artillery attacked from the right flank. The Boers abandoned their positions in panic before the cavalry. The commander-in-chief of the Free State forces, Christiaan de Wet, in his book called the chapter on the subject "Wild Flight from Poplar Grove".
The Battle of Elands River was an engagement of the Second Boer War that took place between 4 and 16 August 1900 in western Transvaal. The battle was fought at Brakfontein Drift near the Elands River between a force of 2,000 to 3,000 Boers and a garrison of 500 Australian, Rhodesian, Canadian and British soldiers, who were stationed there to protect a British supply dump that had been established along the route between Mafeking and Pretoria. The Boer force, which consisted of several commandos under the overall leadership of Koos de la Rey, were in desperate need of provisions after earlier fighting had cut them off from their support base. As a result, they decided to attack the garrison along the Elands River in an effort to capture the supplies located there.
The Battle of Boshof was a battle fought during the Second Boer War on 5 April 1900 between British forces and mostly French volunteers of the Boer army.