Visiting Fort Klapperkop.
Fort Klapperkop is one of four fortifications that were built prior to the out break of hostilities between the Boer people of the OFS, Transvaal and the British Empire.
The Fort is situated on a hill south of Pretoria it faces towards Johannesburg with a commanding view of the surrounding countryside. To my surprise I was expecting to find the area dry and the vegetation brown as have previous visits to the area, however this visit fell between the winter and the South African summer, typically spring time in the UK.
This was my first experience of how green it can get here, previous visits have been made during the hot and dry season.
There had been in fact quite a bit of rain over the past few days and the area was quite obviously very green but quite cold at night and fresh first thin in the morning. The soil, rocks and dirt here are a reddish brown something one should consider if wanting to build terrain for any South African Wars.
History of the Forts.
Worried about the increasing tension and possible conflict with the British the Zuid Afrkaanche Republiek (ZAR) government took the decision to fortify Pretoria to protect the nations capital.
Owing to the politics of empire and expansion the Cape Colony Government egged on by Cecil Rhodes who wanted to gain control of the two Boer states, owing to their rich deposits of gold and diamonds found within each Boer Republic.
The Jamison raid of 1895-96 and the finding of a detailed spy map of Pretoria alerted the ZAR government of the inevitability of war with Britain. The threat to the Boer republic and the descent of Uitlanders caused a plan of miltarisation and want of modern arms, these were ordered and plans were established for the defence of the Boer lands.
A French military engineer Leon Grunberg who had previously served in the French Army as an artillery officer was commissioned to draw up plans for the defence of Pretoria. Eight sites were identified for the building of a ring of forts strategically placed around these eight hills which surrounded the capital.
These sites were of strategic value and his suggestion that each be built with revolving dome towers with each equipped with a heavy artillery gun. The eight places were Klapperkop, Schanskop, Kwaggaspoort, Daspoortrand (West), Magaliesberg West, Wonderbommpoort, Derdepoort and Strubenkop, with these places erected Pretoria would have been turned into a virtually impregnable fortified town.