Sunday, December 12, 2010

British Defeated Again In Zululand: Casualties Unacceptable! Captain Brightly Sent Home In Disgrace!

A Colonial Adventures Game 

Captain Brightly received word from friendlies that the Kretzmeier farm had a contingent of Zulu near it.  He managed to scrape together a platoon each from the 24th  and 80th foot.  To this he added a detachment from the Royal Navy with a Gardiner gun.  When the locals saw that he was marching out, a small detachment of the Frontier Light Horse and the Border Horse volunteered to help him.  And the local commander of a group of the Natal Native Infantry insisted that he be allowed to come along.  Though Captain Brightly wasn't thrilled with his offer, he felt the NNI has been too idle, and "a walk'll do 'em good".

24th foot, Rep 5 unit, officer Rep 5, with 2 Rep 4 Sgts, and a Rep 3 Cpl.  80th foot, Rep 4 unit, officer Rep 4, with 2 Rep 4 Sgts, and a Rep 3 Cpl.  Naval Brigade, Rep 5 unit, with a Rep 4 officer, and a Rp 5 CPO, and 2 Rep 4 POs.  Gardiner gun manned by 2 Rep ABseamen.  Frontier Light Horse, Rep 4 unit with a Rep 4 leader.  Border Horse, Rep 4 unit with a Rep 5 Leader.  Natal Native Infantry, Rep 3 unit with a Rep 3 officer. Cpt. Brightly is mounted and a Rep 4.

Upon reaching the Kretzmeier farm and seeing Zulu in the distance, Cpt. Brightly decided to defend the enclosure behind the farm house, putting the 24th and the Naval Brigade in the front line with the Gardiner gun between them.  He put the 80th in reserve, and sent the horsemen out to the flanks.  He put the NNI in the rear to guard against a possible flanking movement by the Zulu.

The Zulu opposing him consisted of 6 bands in the traditional buffalo horn formation.

Zulu leader Rep 4.  Zulu band 1,  Rep 5 with a Rep 3 leader.  Zulu band 2, Rep 6 with a Rep 4 leader.  Zulu band 3, Rep 5 with a Rep 4 leader.  Zulu band 4, Rep 6 with a Rep 4 leader.  Zulu band 5, Rep 5 with a Rep 5 leader.  Zulu band 6, Rep 5 with a Rep 3 leader.

Here's the look of the table as the two contingents eyed each other.
Turn 1:  British 5, Zulu 6  No activation for the Zulus.  Cpt. Brightly sends the two horsemen units out to the flanks to draw the horns away from the flanks of the main body.

Turn 2:  British 2, Zulu 1.  Frontier Light Horse and Border Horse fire on the bands to their respective front, causing one casualty each.  The wings carry on and advance.  The main Zulu body advances.

Turn 3: British 6, Zulu 4.  Zulu band 3 charges and causes the Border Horse to take a Being Charged test.  They pass 1d6 and fire, and retire.
Zulu band 1 is unable to advance.
Zulu main body advances, and causes the 24th foot and the Gardiner gun to take a Test of Wills on Zulu band 5 only.  Both fire, and cause a total of 6 hits.  The 24th runs low on ammo.  Zulu band 5 carries on.
Zulu band 3's charge leads them still into the Test of Wills area of the Border Horse, who fires again, missing. The ferocious Zulus charge, the Border Horse fires, causing 1 hit, which band 3 shakes off, and the charge just contacts the front of the Border Horse.  Bowie knives against spear and shield shouldn't prevail, but they do, and 1 Zulu goes down. They pass 1d6 on Received Casualty and 1 in 3 Runaway.  (I forgot to remove 1 figure from each side at the beginning of the melee this time only.)

Turn 4: British 5, Zulu 2. 
British Activation:  The 24th sends a runner back to collect ammo, and fires on Zulu band 5, achieving one hit, and another low ammo marker.  The Zulu pass 1d6, and 1 in 6 Runaway.
The Border Horse retreats to its right flank and fires at Zulu band 3, missing, and they pass 1d6, but can only turn 90 degrees to face their enemy.
Zulu Activation:  Zulu band 1 advances and causes a Test of Will for the Frontier Light Horse, who pass 2d6, and stand adding 1d6 to their next Being Charged test.
Zulu band 4 charge the Naval Brigade, who volley fire and miss.  In the melee, the Royal Navy loses 1.  Both units carry on.
Zulu band 5 charges the Gardiner, which wreaks such havoc, that the entire front line is killed.  Remarkably, they carry on.

Zulu bands 2 & 6 follow the bands in front of them.

Turn 5:  (I failed to record the activation dice roll)
British Activation.  The Navy fires, and misses again, and Zulu band 4 carries on.
The Gardiner misses.
The Border Horse fires, misses, is charged and caught by 3 to 1 odds, and ties Zulu band 3 in melee.
The 80th foot turns to face the treat to the rear.

24th foot volley fires, hits and caused 1 in 6 to Runaway on Zulu band 6.
Zulu Activation:  Zulu band 3 destroys the Border Horse.
Zulu band 4 melee the Navy, killing their officer, but they pass with 2d6.
Zulu band 6 charges the 24th, and takes 1 hit, and carries on.
Zulu band 2 charges the Gardiner, the gunners run to the Navy, and they find a gap to get over the wall, but only a few can cross.
Zulu band 1 charges the Frontier Light Horse, receiving a casualty to their fire, closes to melee, and the second band of horsemen falls.

Turn 6:  British 5, Zulus 4
British activation:  The 24th closes ranks, and melees, with no casualties to either side beyond the automatic 1 each.  Both carry on.
Zulu Activation:  Zulu band 2 turns to try to take the 24th in the flank.
Zulu band 6 melees the 24th with only the automatic 1 each.
Zulu band 4 melees the Navy with only the automatic 1 each.
Zulu band 3 charges the poor NNI, who stand, lose 1 and 2, and 5 Runaway.

Turn 7 & 8 So messy that I'm combining the 2 turns.
British Activation:  The 24th turns its rear rank to face the threat from Zulu band 2.  Melees are fought, and the 24th does not do well, and are reduced to 2 figures, who retreat to join the 80th.
The Navy loses 5, but holds.
The NNI holds, but 2 Runaway.
The 80th reverses face again, and fires into Zulu band 2, who turn to face them.
Zulu Activation:  Zulu band 4 melees the Navy, killing the last leader, and reducing them to 2 figures, and the gunners.
Zulu band 3 wipes out the NNI.
Zulu band 2 charges the combined 80th & 24th, who both volley fire, and still can't break them.  The melee brings the 24th to its officer only, but both units hold, as do the Zulu.
Zulu bands 1 & 6 were unable to activate.

Turn 9: British 2, Zulu 6:
British Activation:  The Navy pulls back and fires at Zulu band 4, misses, and they charge in reaction.  The Navy volley fires, misses, the charge goes home, the Navy is wiped out, and the gunners Runaway.
The 80th pulls back to the wall, and fires at Zulu band 4, destroying them.

Turn 10:  British 1, Zulus 2
Zulu band 2 melees the officer of the 24th foot, and kills him.  80th foot, as the last surviving British unit, becomes Rep 5.
Zulu band 6 charges the 80th, who volley fire at them, causing 2 hits, one of which is the leader, pass 0d6, and should have Runaway, but I rolled on the Received Casualty table by mistake, so they charged.  In the melee, the 80th loses 2 figures.
Zulu band 1 crosses the wall.
Zulu band 3 moves to the wall.

Trun 11:  British 2, Zulu 4
Zulu Activation: Zulu band 6 melees the 80th, and takes down 2 more.  The 80th carries on.
Zulu band 2 charges the 80th, who volley fire and cause 2 hits, which the band ignores and charges home, taking out 2 more of the 80th, who carry on.
Zulu band 3 throws spears into the rear of the 80th, with no effect.
Zulu band 1 advances, but can't find a way to attack.
British Activation:  The 80th falls back to the edge of the table, and fires into the rear of Zulu band 3, causing no damage, and they turn to face.

Turn 12:  British 4, Zulus 3
British Activation:  The 80th, and Cpt. Brightly retreat off the table.

The Butcher's Bill
British:                                                                              Zulu:
80th foot, 14 men                                                             Band 1, 3 men
24th foot, 20 men, eliminated.                                           Band 2, 16 men
Naval Brigade, 20 men, eliminated                                    Band 3, 16 men
Natal Native Infantry, 20 men, eliminated                          Band 4, 20 men, eliminated
Frontier Light Horse, 4 men, eliminated                             Band 5, 20 men, eliminated
Border Horse, 4 men, eliminated                                       Band 6, 18 men
Gardiner gun, lost, crew Runaway.

My two mistakes really didn't change the outcome very much.  The Border Horse would have still been eliminated.  And Band 6 was nearly eliminated anyway.  Band 1, combined with the remnants of bands 2 & 3 would still have been more than enough to have eliminated the 80th foot.  However, a Zulu unit running away would certainly given heart to the 80th.  They were so diminshed by the time that they should have run that it is unlikely that they would have influenced another unit to have done so.

I was attempting historical tactics, with the light horsemen drawing off the Zulu units by firing on them and retreating.  Obviously, those units need to be stonger, perhaps 8 figures each.  I can see Greater Endeavors will be getting another order.

I played the British, and Ron Gros played the Zulus up to turn 9, when he was called away.  I was rolling better than I ever do, so that the Brits, with 5 dice in melee, where beating or tying the Zulus with 7 or 8 dice in melee.

Ron really enjoyed himself.  He had only played the European troops before and it was early Egyptians verses the Dervish, which is a different kettle of fish altogether.  He wants to play it again.  I may substitue a piece of artillery for the Gardiner, and beef up the light horse.

Any comments, positive or negative, are appreciated.


  1. This is awesome. What scale and brand are these figures? Excellent post and really great write-up. I am going to watch Zulu now. haha


  2. Ken,

    It was good to see these "old" 25mm Ral Parthas still going strong. Looks like you had a good time even though things went badly for the British.


  3. As ColCampbell50 says, they are all Ral Partha figures. Still available from Great Endeavours at 15-years-ago prices, $8.50 for 10 foot.

  4. Great write & photos! I await a report in future of a re-match!