Boer Troops Heading for the Front

Boer troops boarding a train

Leaving Johannesburg: a Boer Commando to the front early in the war.

Although the Boer republics were generally poor and rural, they had seen some modernization in the years just before the war, including the construction of a few railway lines. Here women and children have come to see their husbands and fathers off as they board a train that will take them to the front lines.

After the British occupied most of the country, the Boers no longer had the luxury of trains and instead lived off the land in agile and extremely mobile small horse mounted commando units.

The term commando did not have the same meaning as it does today, and did not refer to special or elite forces. Commando simply meant a command, in other words a small tactical group of men.