The Great Boer War By Arthur Conan Doyle












 -  By a long succession of captures their forces were much
reduced in numbers. They were isolated from the world, and - Page 790
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By A Long Succession Of Captures Their Forces Were Much Reduced In Numbers.

They were isolated from the world, and had no means save precarious smuggling of renewing their supplies of ammunition.

It was known also that their mobility, which had been their great strength, was decreasing, and that in spite of their admirable horsemastership their supply of remounts was becoming exhausted. An increasing number of the burghers were volunteering for service against their own people, and it was found that all fears as to this delicate experiment were misplaced, and that in the whole army there were no keener and more loyal soldiers.

The chief factor, however, in bringing the Boers to their knees was the elaborate and wonderful blockhouse system, which had been strung across the whole of the enemy's country. The original blockhouses had been far apart, and were a hindrance and an annoyance rather than an absolute barrier to the burghers. The new models, however, were only six hundred yards apart, and were connected by such impenetrable strands of wire that a Boer pithily described it by saying that if one's hat blew over the line anywhere between Ermelo and Standerton one had to walk round Ermelo to fetch it. Use was made of such barriers by the Spaniards in Cuba, but an application of them on such a scale over such an enormous tract of country is one of the curiosities of warfare, and will remain one of several novelties which will make the South African campaign for ever interesting to students of military history.

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