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Saturday 28 October 2017

Zulu assault

Today we could have been 4, but with 2 dropping out, it was Lawrence and I who faced the Zulus!
I diced and got command...
The Zulu right horn, they would have to filter through the trees to get on or flank...
 The 'Chest' held well back from the 'Horns'.
 The left 'Horn' - these had plenty of cover and easy to traverse terrain.
 I deployed our forces well forward from our defences, to weaken the enemy before their assault on our...
 ... mealie bag barricades.
 Lawrence held the left, but could not clearly see the Zulu right horn.
In the centre, Lawrence placed his line next to my units, in our advanced positions, we would be more accurate, and would fall back to the barricade. trying to extend our shooting time. 
The Zulu right moved forward, an ally contingent leading, towards the trees. 
 I extended the table length by the simple expedient of only giving the Zulu centre a half move in the first turn, this gave the flanks time to get into contact.
The Zulu left  moved rapidly and covertly towards my flank. I had placed half my men on a large hill to observe, and if possible engage them.
 My men on the hill got their first shots...
...The main line was split between shooting the chest and left horn...
...Lawrence's left shot as best he could to disrupt the Zulu right before they reached cover.
Several Zulus fell.
The chest units got their share of fire, but not many casualties. 

The Zulus were rapidly closing on our main line, not being slowed by our fire at all! 
I ordered the line to withdraw, shooting. 
Lawrence's left hand section delayed withdrawing, to keep firing at the right horn for as long as possible. 
 His fire was quite effective!
The Zulu centre continued to advance, it was taking few casualties as we were focusing on the horns, which were closer to us.
The Zulu left was pushing forward... 
...their right hand company was disrupted by the settler house... 
 ...and by my fire.
The majority of this wing was screened from my fire, and remained relatively untouched, and hence a great threat! 
 The centre of the Zulus was still closing.
 The right horn began to filter through the trees, screened by one company.
On my wing, my men fired rapidly as the Zulus appeared from cover. 
 One of the musket armed Zulus in the advancing horde wounded Tommy Atkins!
...and killed another! 
 Lawrence's exposed section had a man killed in the same way. 
I ordered a retreat to the barricades just in time to prevent my being overrun.
Lawrence's sections delayed to cover my move. 
They retired slowly, in good order... 
...firing at the by now quite short range! 
The Zulus suffered. 
 ...but doggedly continued to advance.
 Tommy Atkins was slowed withdrawing over the hill by his wound, the Zulus caught him!
 Lawrence's screening unit got charged!
 His men beat the Zulus back, but they were now approaching his section in overwhelming numbers!
On my wing, the Zulus were chasing my men.
The only slowing in the Zulu force was with the right horn, which was delayed going through the trees and undergrowth. 
 Lawrence's left section lost a man to a lance thrown by the Zulus
Th Zulus continued to close with Lawrence's men as they fell back! 
Lawrence drove them back again and withdrew to the barricades, covered by my men who were already in position. 
Dead Zulus came tumbling over the hill... 
The Zulus charged my line, but, protected by the defences, my men drove them away a short distance...
...and fired at point blank range...the Zulus began to withdraw in good order!
Lawrence's left hand section was now very exposed, even though it was facing off the surrounding Zulus magnificently! 
Covered by them, Lawrence's other section reached the barricade. 
 They were now able to support his last unit, which looked set to be overrun.
Our re-formed line now began to shoot at the advancing enemy as fast and hard as they could!
Lawrence's unit in the open now fired a crushing volley... 
...shredding the Zulus, who fell back in confusion... 
...this disclosed a company of Zulu musketeers... 
...it was a good job they are poor shots! 
The Zulu musketeers were hit by the British controlled volleys.
...and shredded!
My men were now attacked by a second Zulu company, but we drove them off too. One of my men was killed by a spear-thrust in the fight. Our losses were mounting! 
 My line held and we drove this second wave off again with fire.
This completed the defeat of the Zulu left horn... 
 ...as I drove the survivors away with fire.
Lawrence now extricated his covering section toward the barricade, just as the right Horn finally emerged on their flank!  
 Seeing the rest of the Zulu army in retreat, or stalled under fire, and coming under fire themselves, the Zulus reluctantly decided to retreat from the field.
As Wellington had said, it was a 'Damned close run thing'