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Saturday, 15 July 2017

Return of the Zulu

Today, with Phil away, and still no sign of Alex, Lawrence and I had a Colonial game using my Zulus and British.
We had a company of the 24th foot facing nearly 400 warriors of the uThalwana Ibuthu.
The scenario had our company defending a stream bridge, with its 2 redoubts, reinforced by a mealie bag redoubt. We rapidly decided to deploy in front of the defences to try and weaken the attackers, and fall back to the redoubts if we could not stop them. Had we started in the defences, much of our fire would have been screened by terrain.

Our starting positions, in front of the defences.
The Zulus! 
By deploying on a broad front, we hoped to prevent the encirclement of any of our men. 
We fired at the advancing warriors. 

 At long range, our fire was ...less than spectacular in effect!
We began to fall back towards the defences. shooting as we went. 
Lawrence's shooting was taking a toll on the lead Zulu units. 
 The brave warriors, urged on by their izinDuna, kept up their steady advance. 
I had trouble keeping a steady fire on the Zulu right, as my left hand unit would lose sight of the advancing Zulus as soon as I left the hillock. After a volley, I withdrew them at the run towards the sandbag redoubts. My other unit, in the open, kept a steady fire into one of the enemy groups...
... which halted, allowing me to retreat with greater safety. 
Lawrence had no such terrain problems... 
Both his units were shooting well. 
 Their leftmost unit also ...paused... in the face of such fire! 
The unit to their left continued to advance despite it! 
The Impi was now attacking in echelon!  
The Zulu right, having been screened from much of my fire, was now in advance of the rest. 
The lead units of the Zulu line were now beginning to halt... 
...leaving the second line to pass through them to keep up the momentum of the attack. 
As the Zulus opposite me emerged from the cover of the mound, my men halted to shoot. 
My other unit in the centre continued falling back to keep the line contiguous.
On Lawrence's wing, a unit of musketeers passed through the halted spearmen... 
Lawrence focused on these - they are one of the most dangerous units in the Zulu force, we have found!
The musketeers continued to close through heavy fire to get into effective range! 
In the centre, there still seemed still to be a lot of Zulus! 
Lawrence could not bring his full force against the centre of the Zulu line, as his force was still being threatened by the Zulu left. 
The musketeers were still gamely advancing! 
On my wing, I finally got my 2 units shooting at one enemy unit... 
 ... we managed to halt it, just!
Lawrence now withdrew towards his redoubts. 
My centre unit and Lawrence's left hand unit reached the big redoubt. 
 Lawrence bought himself some time as he halted the musketeers.
 In the centre, the Zulus were still advancing steadily.
 On my left I halted the lead unit, allowing me to retreat to the small redoubt...
 ...but a musket shot from the Zulus killed one of my men.
My men made a dash for the redoubt. 
Having entered the main redoubt, my other unit fired on the advancing Zulu. 
Lawrence's unit joined me in relative safety. 
Lawrence's flank unit was now being outflanked by the Zulu centre... 
...what should they do? 
Urged on by the inDuna, the musketeers were edging forward again. 
The first Zulu unit routed trying to close with my unit in the redoubt... 
...jeered by the second line units! 
These now charged Lawrence any my men in the great redoubt. Several Zulus and one of Lawrence's men fell in the melee. One of my men was wounded too!
My flank unit in the little redoubt was keeping the Zulus facing them at a distance. 
The Zulu units fell back from the redoubt... 
...only to be shot at and badly mauled. 

The Zulu right now held back, doubting their chances of victory. 
A final unit now charged the great redoubt, but were overwhelmed and broke. 
All the Zulu units now began to fall back... 
...We had survived!

That was a scary game, we very nearly got overrun, especially on my wing, and but for a couple of of lucky volleys which caused Zulu units to hesitate at key moments, who knows?


  1. Very enjoyable read! I miss my old Zulu war collection.

    1. I would be heartbroken if I lost my Zulus, I hope you get a good one going soon!
      I plan to use my Zulus into my dotage, but wait, maybe I am already in it!!!
      I just want to be motivated to paint more colonial wars figures! Its always fun