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The Boer War 1899-1902 (Hardback)

Ladysmith, Magersfontein, Spion Kop, Kimberley and Mafeking

Boer/Zulu War Victorian Era Military

By John Grehan, Martin Mace
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Series: Despatches from the Front
Pages: 230
ISBN: 9781781593288
Published: 30th June 2014
Last Released: 11th June 2014



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Fought between the British Empire and the two independent Boer republics, the Orange Free State and the Transvaal Republic, the First Boer War (1880–1881) was a rebellion by the Boers (farmers) against British rule in the Transvaal that re-established their independence. The engagements that it involved, such as they were, were small and involved few casualties.

More commonly referred to as just the Boer War, the Second Boer War (1899–1902), by contrast, was a lengthy conflict involving large numbers of troops from many British possessions (up to as many as 500,000 men), which ended with the conversion of the Boer republics into British colonies. The British defeated the Transvaal and the Orange Free State, first in open warfare and then in a long and bitter guerrilla campaign. British losses were high due to both disease and combat. It was also the war conflict which saw Winston Churchill first achieve household fame.

The war had a lasting effect on the region and on British domestic politics. For Britain, the Boer War was the longest, the most expensive (£200 million), and the bloodiest conflict between 1815 and 1914, lasting three months longer and resulting in higher British casualties than the Crimean War.

This unique collection of original documents will prove to be an invaluable resource for historians, students and all those interested in what was one of the most significant periods in British military history.

Reviewed on History of War: Military History Encyclopedia on the Web

History of War Web

This work for scholars and history buffs gathers primary sources to tell the story of the sieges of the towns of Ladysmith, Magersfontein, Spion Kop, Kimberley, and Mafeking during the Boer War that began in late 1899 (also known as the Second Boer War or the Great Boer War). The book presents daily despatches (dispatches) written by commanders of the British Army, describing tactics, campaigns, and command issues on a day-to-day basis. The despatches are reproduced here in the same form as when they were originally published in the UK; they have not been modified or interpreted in any way. The book also contains b&w historical photos and maps.


For the military enthusiast, this book provides a very useful bridge from the military environment of the Napoleonic Wars into the global conflicts that marked and marred the Twentieth Century. This book is highly recommended.


If you are interested in the Boer War, or other wars and battles from the era, you would do very well to pick up a copy of this book, as the materials it contains will be of great value in your studies.

Suppressing Fire

The principle of this collection is to collect Official reports released by the officers of his gracious Majesty during their campaigns in South Africa against the Boers. Although the writings present only the views of the victors, it is very detailed with many narratives of fighting. Furthermore, a double indexes and units of the British Empire - this is a wealth of information. In summary, a good work!

Phillip Naud

About John Grehan

John Grehan has written, edited or contributed to more than 300 books and magazine articles covering a wide span of military history from the Iron Age to the recent conflict in Afghanistan. John has also appeared on local and national radio and television to advise on military history topics. He was employed as the Assistant Editor of Britain at War Magazine from its inception until 2014. John now devotes his time to writing and editing books.

About Martin Mace

Martin Mace has been involved in writing and publishing military history for more than twenty years. He began his career with local history, writing a book on the Second World War anti-invasion defences and stop lines in West Sussex. In 2006 he began working on the idea for Britain at War Magazine, This publication has grown rapidly to become the best-selling military history periodical.

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