De la Rey rules

Finweek English Edition - - Letters - PI­ETER KAPP

ALL THE CUR­RENT EX­CITE­MENT about Gen­eral Koos de la Rey re­minds me of the story that the well-known weapons ex­pert and dealer, Lukas Pot­gi­eter of Melville, Jo­han­nes­burg, used to tell. He was al­ways fas­ci­nated by the ques­tion of who was the bet­ter sol­dier, Gen­eral Koos de la Rey or Gen­eral Chris­ti­aan de Wet. One day he met an ex-sol­dier from Gen­eral De Wet’s com­mando, and he asked him. The old man’s re­ply was quick and to the point. “Koos de la Rey was the bet­ter sol­dier.” Pot­gi­eter was taken aback. “But, man, you fought un­der Gen­eral De Wet right to the very end. How can you sud­denly say Koos de la Rey was a bet­ter sol­dier?” “It’s sim­ple,” the old man said, “Look, both of them had more or less the same num­ber of men. Both fought in more or less the same num­ber of bat­tles. Both had more or less the same num­ber of vic­to­ries and de­feats. But De la Rey had to do it with that bunch of dumb West­ern Transvalers un­der his com­mand.”

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