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Author Topic: African Stockade  (Read 3495 times)
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Furt
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« on: June 28, 2010, 01:02:22 PM »

Can someone please show me what a typical European stockade in 19th century Africa could or would look like, if such a thing existed?

Thanks

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« Reply #1 on: June 28, 2010, 01:46:39 PM »

notwithstanding actual evidence of such things, I would not expect any "european version"  in colonial Africa, maybe apart from the stuff one can see in Western movies.
European settlers would maybe built fences around their farms, like in Texas
but this would be only a modern version with razor wire - given the vast size.

otherwide cattle were grazed (southern Africa) like in a western movie and then brought to urban slaughtering houses
or alternatively bought from natives, if these would sell.

koralling cattle inside a settlement is a matter of traditional african lifestyle, where wild animal threat cannot be controlled through firearms. The european version of such "control" would be exterminating wildlife - the reason why national parks were founded in post colonial africa (and btw not because the natives would do this - but this is another, more political topic)
« Last Edit: June 28, 2010, 01:50:19 PM by bedwyr » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: June 28, 2010, 02:41:24 PM »

I don't think there is such an animal as a 'typical' stockade. There was huge variety of fortification types depending on the where and when. From thorn scrub/stone/mud brick bomas in East Africa, to concrete and corrugated iron blockhouses in the Boer War, to full-blown Foreign Legion-style forts in North Africa and even such places as Cameroon.


I fear Bedwyr may have got the wrong end of the stick, translation-wise. A stockade is a military fortification (usually means one made of wood), it has nothing to do with corralling animals, though it can be used to mean a military prison.
« Last Edit: June 28, 2010, 02:48:33 PM by Plynkes » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: June 28, 2010, 03:12:53 PM »

oh, sorry

I apologize
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« Reply #4 on: June 28, 2010, 04:55:42 PM »

No need to apologize, friend. We all make mistakes.  Smiley
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« Reply #5 on: June 28, 2010, 08:47:29 PM »

Not really stockades either, but I found this fascinating article on South African forts, mostly built by the British. 

http://www.fsgfort.com/DB/F034/04/Text.htm

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« Reply #6 on: June 28, 2010, 09:00:42 PM »

Also, the wagon laager, sometimes augmented with earthworks, was a common temporary fortification in southern Africa, used by both the Boers and the British.
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« Reply #7 on: June 28, 2010, 10:14:53 PM »

From thorn scrub... bomas in East Africa,

One's heard a lot of these. Were/are they not as all prevailing as one's been lead to believe?
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« Reply #8 on: June 28, 2010, 10:36:03 PM »

Not sure what you are driving at, mate. Could you expand your question a bit, as I'm not sure quite what you want to know.
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« Reply #9 on: June 28, 2010, 11:21:51 PM »

Thanks for the replies - I certainly did mean a military fortification.  Smiley

I don't think there is such an animal as a 'typical' stockade. There was huge variety of fortification types depending on the where and when. From thorn scrub/stone/mud brick bomas in East Africa, to concrete and corrugated iron blockhouses in the Boer War, to full-blown Foreign Legion-style forts in North Africa and even such places as Cameroon.

Thank you Mr. Plynkes - I think some more details are required.

The game I'm hoping to run will center around a small British outpost in "Darkest Africa" based on the "By Jingo" Ubonga campaign. The outpost starts as little more than a run down missionary's house, but it's the player's task to improve on the outpost. A good starting point are some barracks for his troops and a defensive stockade. What I wanted to know is what kind of stockade would look right, built under British supervision, somewhere in a fictitious "Darkest Africa". I was really hoping for more than a thorn/scrub "zareba", less than a stone/mud wall - but got lost somewhere in between pondering how to build semi-permanent defenses in a hostile land. Any pictures of an appropriate stockade would be much appreciated.

Again thanks.
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« Reply #10 on: June 29, 2010, 12:11:54 AM »

I would say in East Africa it would go like this: First thing would be thorn scrub zariba, as that is quick to build. Then perhaps a ditch around it. Next step would depend on local materials. It would be quite common to make a native style boma, with a somewhat rough wooden stockade around it like this:




A European one might have a larger gateway (and probably not the heads on poles). The locals made the entrances so small so that attackers could only get in one at a time, with a bit of a squeeze, and you could wallop them as they did so.

Or the boma might have mud-brick walls, or even have a stone wall built if stone was to hand, like the one in the other thread where we talked about this kind of thing:




They don't seem to have gone in for loopholed defences or firing steps or anything like that, as often as not they weren't built as war time fortifications, but as garrisons and administrative centres in already friendly territory. I fancy these walls are as much to keep wild animals out as anything. Given trouble with the natives in the "Darkest Africa" region a European force would generally be aggressive, and march out to fight them rather than holing up.


On the other hand, a fort in implacably hostile territory might be a bit different. Fort Nandi (built on Nandi lands in Kenya for the express purpose of putting down the Nandi) was a collection buildings protected by ditches and earth berms with clear fields of fire for machine guns, all surrounded by wire entanglements.

As years went by and the area became more settled it might grow into something as grand as this:


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« Reply #11 on: June 29, 2010, 12:41:58 AM »

Thanks for the informative and visual reply - it seems your knowledge is limitless on African subjects.  Smiley

As the stockade (or should I say boma) is to be built in sections I will have to look at it with this in mind. The rough wooden stockades looks aesthetically more "Darkest Africa" to me, but a mud brick wall, like in the 4th picture is tempting for a sectional build perspective. I will definitely have a scrub zariba in place where the wall lies unfinished.

And I will remember to omit the heads on poles.  Wink
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« Reply #12 on: June 29, 2010, 10:02:35 AM »

Not sure what you are driving at, mate. Could you expand your question a bit, as I'm not sure quite what you want to know.

My impression was that African herders all kept (keep) their kattle in thorn hedge enclosures during the night. I seem to recall that the Boer name for the is kraal. It appears to me now that this may not have been the common solution at all.
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« Reply #13 on: June 29, 2010, 10:24:31 AM »

I would say you are correct in that. That would be the commonest way for Africans to keep their cattle safe.  Though kraal is just the Afrikaans for corral, and its meaning doesn't specify the building materials. A kraal can have a stone wall, or anything else really. Boma originally had the same meaning as kraal - a livestock enclosure, but it has come to mean any east African fenced-in enclosure, including ones for defensive purposes, and administrative or military ones built by Europeans.


Confusingly the word kraal is often used for a Zulu settlement. I guess this is because their settlements tended to be built around their cattle enclosures - cattle in a big open space in the centre surrounded by a wooden fence, and then outside this the human huts, surrounded by another fence. In large kraals this interior space was also used as a military parade ground and place for dancing, etc.
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