The siege of Ladysmith during the Anglo-Boer war is the stuff of legends. The Boers had surrounded General Sir George White and his troops since the start of November 1899, but they had been generally inactive and unwilling to launch a frontal assault on the town.
That changed on 6 January 1900, when the biggest engagement of the siege was fought on the Platrand (a ridge to the south of the town). At Platrand, the Boers stormed the British defensive positions at Caesar’s camp and Wagon Hill.
Under the cover of darkness, the Transvaal and Orange Free State Commandos climbed up the steep slopes taking the British by surprise. The battle that followed was confused and bloody. If the British were pushed off the ridge, then the Boers would be able to fire their rifles into the town itself, making its surrender inevitable.
In this video, Christian Parkinson (@redcoathistory) takes up the story, walks the ground and brings the engagement to life.
Christian Parkinson is a filmmaker and journalist based in South Africa. He has a passion for military history, especially the campaigns of the British army between the Napoleonic Wars and World War Two.