Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Mobile War Begins

As the Transvaal leaders decided not to defend Pretoria, Roberts entered the capital unopposed on 5 June. At Donkerhoek (Diamond Hill) from11-12 June 1900 and Bergendal (Dalmanutha) from 21-27 August 1900, Louis Botha failed to attain the same measure of success as in his earlier battles on the Natal front. He now fell back with the Transvaal forces eastwards along the railway line thus enabling French to occupy Middelburg on 27 July.
The success of Roberts' advance led to irresolution among the government, officers and burghers of the Transvaal. Kruger and Botha now informed their Free State counterparts that Transvaal regarded the continuation of the war as pointless. However, both Steyn and De Wet stood firm and insisted on continuing with the war. 

Roberts soon realised that although Pretoria had fallen into his hands the war was hardly at an end. There were still too many areas under Boer control and the lines of communication in the Free State were poorly guarded and vulnerable to Boer attacks. On 29 May 1900 General AJ de Villiers dealt General Sir Leslie Rundle a severe blow at Biddulphsberg near Senekal and two days later General Piet De Wet followed up the success at Lindley. To add insult to injury general CR de Wet managed to capture British supplies worth 500 000 pounds at Roodewal on 7 June 1900. 

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