The Boer War (1899 to 1902) also known as the Anglo-Boer War and the Transvaal War, saw the might of the British Empire at its height, pitted against the small Boer Republics of southern Africa. It should have been an easy fight; instead the vastly outnumbered and under equipped Boers inflicted a series of humiliating losses on the British, who were forced to call upon reinforcements from all corners of the Empire to crush the Boer resistance. The unequal David versus Goliath struggle captured the imagination of the world and news headlines in the United States, Europe and the Empire announced every engagement and development. The public was so fascinated by the struggle of the unyieldingly independent Boers that showmen in the United States staged extravagant recreations of Boer War battles, complete with explosions and staged massacres.
The British Empire expected a rapid victory over the tiny Boer republics whose armies were outnumbered and outgunned. In fact, the Boer's strategy of mobile warfare inflicted numerous defeats on the British and forced the Empire to commit its world wide resources. In order to win, the British had to resort to rounding up the population into concentration camps.
The Boer took place just before the First World War and was in many ways a rehearsal for that conflict, one which the British failed to learn from. Instead of understanding the value of mobility as proven by the Boer commandos,, the British would embrace the concept of static trench warfare, leading to the carnage of World War 1.