The South African War, or Boer War, was fought from 1899 to 1902 between Britain and the two Boer, or Afrikaner, republics.
Although it was the largest and most costly war in which Britain engaged between the Napoleonic wars and The Frist World War (spending more than £200 million), it was fought between wholly unequal foes. The total British military strength reached nearly 500,000 men, whereas the Boers could muster no more than about 88,000. The British were fighting in a hostile country over difficult terrain, with long lines of communications, while the Boers, mainly on the defensive, were able to use modern rifle fire to good effect at a time when attacking forces had no means of overcoming it.
The British were defeated in a number of major engagements and the key towns of Ladysmith (shown above) and Mafeking, were scouting began, where besieged.
Hear about the war and see the weapons used.