Battle of Vaal Krantz

Last updated
Battle of Vaalkraans
Part of Second Boer War
Battle of Vaal Krantz Map.jpg
Date5–7 February 1900
28°40′S29°37′E / 28.667°S 29.617°E / -28.667; 29.617 (Battle of Vaal Krantz) Coordinates: 28°40′S29°37′E / 28.667°S 29.617°E / -28.667; 29.617 (Battle of Vaal Krantz)
Result Boer victory
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom Flag of Transvaal.svg  South African Republic
Flag of the Orange Free State.svg  Orange Free State
Commanders and leaders
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Redvers Buller Flag of Transvaal.svg Louis Botha
20,000 5,000
Casualties and losses
333 casualties 30 killed
50 wounded

The Battle of Vaal Krantz (5 February to 7 February 1900) was the third failed attempt by General Redvers Buller's British army to fight its way past Louis Botha's army of Boer irregulars and lift the Siege of Ladysmith. The battle occurred during the Second Boer War.

Redvers Buller Recipient of the Victoria Cross

General Sir Redvers Henry Buller, was a British Army officer and a recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces. He served as Commander-in-Chief of British Forces in South Africa during the early months of the Second Boer War and subsequently commanded the army in Natal until his return to England in November 1900.

Louis Botha South African politician

Louis Botha was a South African politician who was the first Prime Minister of the Union of South Africa—the forerunner of the modern South African state. A Boer war hero during the Second Boer War, he would eventually fight to have South Africa become a British Dominion.

Siege of Ladysmith

The Siege of Ladysmith was a protracted engagement in the Second Boer War, taking place between 2 November 1899 and 28 February 1900 at Ladysmith, Natal.



In the first and second attempts at relieving Ladysmith, Buller's army was defeated by Botha and his Boer army at the battles of Colenso and Spion Kop. British casualties soared to 3,000 men, while the Boers lost only a few hundred.

Battle of Colenso A battle between British and Boer forces, South Africa on 15 December 1899

The Battle of Colenso was the third and final battle fought during the Black Week of the Second Boer War. It was fought between British and Boer forces from the independent South African Republic and Orange Free State in and around Colenso, Natal, South Africa on 15 December 1899.

Battle of Spion Kop battle

The Battle of Spion Kop was fought about 38 km (24 mi) west-south-west of Ladysmith on the hilltop of Spioenkop(1) along the Tugela River, Natal in South Africa from 23–24 January 1900. It was fought between the South African Republic and the Orange Free State on the one hand and British forces during the Second Boer War campaign to relieve Ladysmith. It resulted in a Boer victory.


British naval guns in action at the Battle of Vaal Krantz Vaal Krantz Guns.jpg
British naval guns in action at the Battle of Vaal Krantz

Vaal Krantz was a ridge of kopjes (small hills) a few miles east of Spion Kop. Buller tried to force a bridgehead across the Tugela River with the Rifle Brigade and Durham Light Infantry prominent amongst his troops. After three days of skirmishing, the British general found that his position was so cramped that there was no room to drag his superior artillery up to support the British infantry attacks. Buller called a council of war and, "All his generals agreed that there was nothing for it except to try a new attempt elsewhere." [1] Pakenham wrote that the British suffered 333 casualties, [2] but Symonds put the British casualties at 30 dead and 350 wounded with Boers casualties were 30 dead and 50 wounded. [3] Vaal Krantz was a minor defeat. On 14 February, Buller launched his fourth attempt at the Relief of Ladysmith and finally succeeded.

Spion Kop (mountain) Hill in South Africa

Spion Kop is a mountain in the province of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. It is located near the town of Ladysmith, 27 km to the WSW and about 2.5 km to the north of the Spioenkop Dam, a reservoir for the waters of the Tugela River.

Tugela River river in South Africa

The Tugela River is the largest river in KwaZulu-Natal Province, South Africa. It is one of the most important rivers of the country.

Durham Light Infantry Former infantry regiment of the British Army

The Durham Light Infantry (DLI) was a light infantry regiment of the British Army in existence from 1881 to 1968. It was formed in 1881 under the Childers Reforms by the amalgamation of the 68th (Durham) Regiment of Foot and the 106th Regiment of Foot along with the Militia and Volunteers of County Durham.

Further reading

International Standard Book Number Unique numeric book identifier

The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a numeric commercial book identifier which is intended to be unique. Publishers purchase ISBNs from an affiliate of the International ISBN Agency.


  1. Pakenham, p 361
  2. Pakenham, p 322
  3. Symons, Julian (1963). Buller's Campaign. The Cresset Press. p. 257.

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