My name is History, and my Art is War.

Johann Hamman British Army Anglo Boer war battlefield guides KwaZulu Natal tour guides Dundee history military Boer A battlefield tour is probably the last thing you are thinking about right now. I have been conducting battlefield tours in this part of the world for over twelve years now, and the people I have met many people lured here by the pull of the tales of yesteryear, to put it mildly. History and more apt, military history is the domain of interesting people looking up heroic deeds of forgotten soldiers from equally forgotten battlefields.

I have been on many battlefields. The most epic tour I had done so far was my all too short visit in In Flanders Field museum in the Belgian town of Ypres. The all-consuming confrontation that burst upon the world in the first week of August 1914, and soon became known as the First World War, destroyed every known order, nuance and system known to Mankind at that point in time.

It also, in my humble opinion, made us familiar with the sight and smell of blood in our way. It also established and cemented published opinions of men like Count Von Clausewitz and his ilk in our collective psyches. I have read Von Clausewitz, Liddell Hart, Pakenham, Kruger, Crisp, Farrell and many others who recognized the fact that armed conflict is but a continuation of politics by more persuasive means.

It is also a very convenient legalization of one of mankind’s very basic urges, namely the need to kill your enemy as quickly and as efficiently as possible, without him the same to you. Quite simply put, it is the Art of War. I do not propagate war. I do not support war. I, like any old soldier who came before, or with me, will do anything I humanly can to prevent armed conflict.

Those that eagerly propagate armed conflict in any of its forms, usually as an enhancement of pursuing political dreams or objectives, have customarily never experienced the blood-curdling fear of combat, the visceral reality of people dying violently, or, quite frankly, the smell and sound of it.

I am a battlefield guide. More specifically, I am a military historian that have registered as a tourist guide in KwaZulu-Natal province, South Africa, for the simple reason that we are sitting in the midst of the largest concentration of battlefields in the Southern Hemisphere. There are many stories to be told here. The spellbinding tale of our history lies in wait. Are you game for it…?

 

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