It is true that at certain points in the Swakop and other of the large rivers of South-West Africa you can find water by digging very near the surface perhaps. But when you have a parched army at your back you must deal as little as possible in speculation. At Riet and Jakalswater the enemy had determined to hold the valuable water-holes at any cost, but especially at Riet.
Before sundown General Botha, with Staff and Bodyguard, fell back two miles on the Husab-Riet Road and camped there for the night. Scarcely had the Headquarters party arrived before news came that the enemy was in precipitate flight, had evacuated Riet and had blown up his small ammunition and railway water-tanks at the Riet terminus of the narrow gauge railway line to Jakalswater.
Bodies of the Union troops had occupied Riet on the evening of the 20th. The actions at the Jakalswater and Pforte fronts, to fight which the columns had swept away to our left the night before, were equally successful. That is the general story of the fight of the 20th March on the inland edge of the Namib Desert. But how to picture vividly the scene before Riet that day?