Siege of Ladysmith

A view of Ladysmith, 1899

A view of Ladysmith, 1899

The Siege of the important town of Ladysmith during the Boer war too place between 2 November 1899 and 28 February 1900, At the outbreak of the war, the Boer forces took the offensive and invaded Natal province, a formerly Boer territory which had been ceded to the British empire during earlier conflict.

Capture of this strategic town would have allowed the Boers to control most of the territory and freed up their forces to meet the British counterattack. However the Boers were not able to follow up on initial successes by seizing the town, and the situation devolved into a siege.

The initial British war plan and effort was aimed at relieving the town, while the need to maintain a strong blocking force around the city depleted the Boer forces in the field. The British ultimately broke the siege of Ladysmith, and scattered the Boer field army. It was a much needed morale boost for the Imperial forces and the public at home.

The fact that so much blood could be spilled over what appears to be a dusty and unimpressive little village is due in part to a British sense of pride, but also the natural resources in the area.