Military Manuals: Never Read’em!

“In this commando system , it was no one’s job to to train the burghers. Apart from the annual wappenschauw (or shooting practice), the men were left to fight as they had always fought – with the tactics of the mounted frontiersmen.

If the enemy were superior in numbers, they would provoke the enemy’s attack, dismount, take cover and shoot,remount and ride away.

In European military manuals it was a formula known as ‘strategic offensive, tactical defensive’. The Boers had never seen the manuals. (Pakenham, 2004, p.105).

The British would eventually copy the Boer tactics in the Boer War, and also during the early stages of World War I.


Pakenham, T. (2004) The Boer War. London: Abacus.


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