The Defense of Duffer's Drift
by Ernest Dunlop Swinton

Duffer's Drift Map

The river was a sluggish stream, not now in flood, crawling along at the very bottom of its bed between steep banks which were almost vertical, or at any rate too steep for wagons everywhere except at the drift itself. The banks from the river edge to their tops and some distance outwards were covered with dense thorn and other bushes, which formed a screen impenetrable to the sight. They were also broken by small ravines and holes, where the earth had been eaten away by the river when in flood, and were consequently very rough.

Some two thousand odd yards north of the drift was a flat-topped, rocky mountain, and about a mile to the northeast appeared the usual sugar-loaf kopje, covered with bushes and boulders—steep on the south, but gently falling to the north; this had a farm on the near side of it. About a thousand yards south of the drift was a convex and smooth hill, somewhat like an inverted basin, sparsely sown with small boulders, and with a Kaffir kraal, consisting of a few grass and mud huts on top. Between the river and the hills on the north the ground consisted of open and almost level veldt; on the south bank the veldt was more undulating, and equally open. The whole place was covered with ant-hills.

My orders were—to hold Duffer's Drift at all costs. That I should probably be visited by some column within three or four days' time. That I might possibly be attacked before that time, but that this was very unlikely, as no enemy were known to be within a hundred miles. That the enemy had guns.

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But before you continue with Swinton's fable, think very carefully about my Single Guiding Principle to Armed Conflict.  Your Lee-Metford rifles and the Boer's Mausers both have the same effective range as the modern AR-15; that is, they are typically zeroed at 200 yards and have a maximum range of 500 yards.  The Boer guns are accurate from as far away as Incidentamba Mountain, a mile distant.  Their effectiveness is aided greatly if the Boer gunners can arrange enfilading fire on a trench.

You are outnumbered 500 to 50 and the enemy has guns, while you have none.  The positioning of your trenches is paramount.  Heed my Single Guiding Principle and you will prevail.  But listen to the GPS Sniper School's siren song of 1200-yard AR-15 hits and you will find yourself in a duel with guns that really are accurate at that range.