Boer guerrilla fighters

Boer kommandos (militiamen) wait for the enemy during the South African (Boer) War, circa 1900. Having grown up on the veldt (open plains), the Boers knew the terrain and used it to their advantage. Kopjes (hills) and dongas (riverbeds) provided natural cover for marksmen in an otherwise open landscape.

We very soon came in contact with the enemy, on some high rocky ground, and they very soon let us have it; the bullets spattered around like hail … Then began a piece of real guerrilla fighting. From rock to rock we darted, the enemy doing likewise. It was only snap shooting, for neither side showed themselves much, and as soon as one came in view he quickly disappeared. They soon stopped firing … By the time we had worked round their cover, we saw them galloping away for all they were worth.

Corporal Frank Twisleton, Third Contingent, quoted in John Crawford and Ellen Ellis, To fight for the Empire: an illustrated history of New Zealand and the South African War, 1899-1902, Reed, Auckland, 1999, pp. 57–8

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