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In June 1900, the small Elands River Post was established to guard passing British supplies from Boer attack. On the 4th August 1900, a Boer force surrounded the post entrapping 301 Australian and 204 Rhodesian soldiers.

Fierce fighting erupted and 1,700 Boer artillery shells fired the first day killed many of the animals within the exposed, flat compound. The British command tried to relieve the garrison but the Boers repulsed them on 5th August, just 2 kilometres from Elands River. Believing that sustained resistance by the Colonials was improbable further rescue attempts were abandoned. On the 6th August, the Boers offered surrender terms to the Australians but they were bluntly refused.

The siege continued and the Colonials held the perimeter despite daily sniping by the Boers. Evidence of this continued resistance eventually reached British Headquarters and on August 15th, a large British column was dispatched forcing a wise Boer withdrawal the next day. Casualties during the siege were remarkably light with 12 killed and 58 wounded however 1000 horses and cattle were lost. Boer casualties were unknown.

This action was for Australia the most notable event in the War because it was a predominantly Australian force that significantly and successfully engaged a stronger enemy.


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