Topic: BatzB - Palmietfontein
The Battle of Palmietfontein
South Africa, 19 July 1900
Palmietfontein, an action fought on 19 July 1900 (during the Second South African War) some 7 5 kilometres east of Kroonstad in the Orange Free State, during the first British attempt to hunt down and capture the Boer general, Christiaan de Wet, while he was making north towards the Transvaal with 1,500 men. The engagement took the form of a running fight over about thirteen kilometres, after two British brigades came upon de Wet's supply convoy at 2 p.m. and tried to halt it. While horse artillery in the British centre shelled the last wagons in the enemy column, which extended over five kilometres, the mounted infantry commanded by Brigadier-General G.P. Ridley (which included the New South Wales Mounted Rifles and Army Medical Corps, along with the West Australian Mounted Infantry) continually pressed in against the Boer flanks.
De Wet had assigned a small division of his commando under the noted scout leader, Danie Theron, to protect the convoy, while he travelled about twenty kilometres behind with the bulk of his men to guard its movement. Theron mounted a vigorous defence against the harrying tactics of the British, suffering little damage himself but successfully mauling the West Australians under Major Hatherley Moor. At dusk Theron broke contact and disappeared after the convoy, which by now had made good its escape, and the pursuit was broken off. In the day's fighting the WAMI had five men killed - including Major Moor - and the NSWMR also had three men killed and a number wounded.
Extracted from the book produced by Chris Coulthard-Clark, Where Australians Fought - The Encyclopaedia of Australia's Battles, Allen and Unwin, Sydney, 1998, p. 82.
Additional References cited by Chris Coulthard-Clark:
John Stirling (1907) The Colonials in South Africa, 1899-1902, Edinburgh: W. Blackwood & Sons.
R.L. Wallace (1976) The Australians at the Boer War, Canberra: Australian War Memorial & Australian Government Publishing Service.
Citation: The Battle of Palmietfontein, South Africa, 19 July 1900, Outline