Sunday, January 9, 2011

Tommy Atkins Puts Paid To Johnny Zulu! Zulu Find The Thin Red Line Unbreachable! Captain Woolstonecraft And His Boys Feted in Helpmaeker!

Captain Woolstonecraft cleverly set up his boys from the 1/13th Light Infantry, 90th Foot, and the Naval Brigade in an abandoned cattle enclosure, and let the wave of Zulus come to him.  The almighty Martini-Henry in the hands of our troops proved too much for the Zulus.

1/13th Light Infantry: Rep 5 with a Rep 5 Lt. 1 Rep 4 Sgt, and 2 Rep 3 NCO's
90th Foot: Rep 5 with a Rep 5 Lt., 1 Rep 4 Sgt and 2 Rep 3 NCO's
Naval Brigade: Rep 5 with a Rep 5 Lt, 1 Rep 4 PO and 2 Rep 3 PO's.
Royal Artillery:  Rep 5 with Rep 5 Sgt.
Frontier Light Horse/Natal Carbineers: Rep 5 with a Rep 4 officer and a Rep 3 NCO.
Irregular Horse: Rep 4 with Rep 5 officer and a REp 3 NCO.
Natal Native Contigent:  Rep 3 with Rep 3 officer and NCO.
Captain Woolstonecraft:  Rep 5.

White dots: Rep 5 with a Rep 4 Leader.
Blue dots: Rep 5 with a Rep 3 leader.
Red dots: Rep 5 with a Rep 3 leader.
Orange dots: Rep 5 with a Rep 4 leader.
Yellow dots: Rep 5 with a Rep 4 leader.
Purple dots: Rep 5 with a Rep 4 leader.
Mounted InDuna: Rep 5.
All Zulu are Ferocious and shielded.

The center and right of the main line.
The center and left of the main line with supports visible.
Right flank support
Left flank support

Turn 1: British 6 Zulu 2
The Zulu move into sight in 2 wings.
Turn 2:  British 5 Zulu 2
The Irregular Horse moves to extreme range and fires at the Orange Zulu, who sustain no hits, and move to within 12" of the Irregular Horse, who prepare for the soon-to-follow charge.

Turn 3:  British 1  Zulu 3
The Orange Zulu charge the Irregular Horse and catch them as they volley fire from horseback, knocking down 1 Zulu.  The hit is ignored and the Orange Zulu catch them, and kill 3.  The rest Runaway, leaving the right flank exposed.
As soon as the Irregular Horse run, the Royal Artillery fires into them, causing 1 hit and going Low On Ammo.
The 90th fires at the Red dot Zulu, but their fire control is poor, as they miss, and go low on ammo.  They send a runner for more.
The Frontier Light Horse/Natal Carbineers fire at the Red dot Zulu, and knock one down.  They Carry On.

Turn 4: British 5 Zulu 4
The 90th Foot fire at the White dot Zulu, and miss.  The White dots charge in response, the 90th volleys, misses again,  but kill 2 Zulu in the melee.  They Carry On.  The FLH/NC turn to their right and fire into the unengaged White dots, causing 2 casualties and 1 Runaway.  The White dot Zulus steady themselves and remain at the wall.
The Orange Zulu charge the gun taking 3 hits and 4 Runaways before they kill the gunners.  (They finally passed 2d6) .
The White dot kill 4 of the 90th Foot, but they are unshaken and Carry On, as do the Zulu.
The death of the Royal Artillery causes a Test of Will for the 1/13th and they hold and prepare for volley fire.
The Blue dots advance, causing a Test of Wills for the FLH/NC.  They also hold and prepare for volley fire.

Turn 5: British 1 Zulu 3
The Orange Zulu charge the 1/13th, who volley fire, causing 2 hits, and in the excitement go Low On Ammo.  However, the 1/13th outnumbers the Orange Zulu by 2:1, and they begin to filter away, until they have all Runaway.
The Purple dots ignore their fleeing cousins and advance on the 1/13th, causing a Test of Will.  The 1/13th volley at them, doing only 1 hit, which the Zulu shake off.
The White dots melee the 90th Foot, who lose 2 more soldiers, but both side Carry On.
The 1/13th retires and volley fires on the Purple dots, hit 2 and 7 Runaway.

They advance, the 1/13th takes a Test of Wills, volleys at the Purple dots, taking 2 down and 1 Runaway.
The Naval Brigade fires at the Red dot Zulu, who have now reached the wall, do 3 hits in volley fire, and the Red dots Runaway.  The White dots are wetting their spears and ignore the cowardly Red dots.
The FLH/NC fire at the Blue dots, and miss.  The Blue dots stare at them.

Turn 6:  British 4 Zulu 3
The 1/13th fire at the Purple dots, casuing 1 hit, and the Purple dots Runaway!
The 90th backs away and fires at the White dot, causing 1 hit, but they Carry On.
The FLH/NC fire at the Blue dots, causing them to charge, but the horsemen do not stand the charge and Runaway.

Here is the situation before Zulu activation.  The are 2 Zulu units in good shape on the table and 1 below half strength.  The Blue dots are facing away from the enclosure, and must activate to turn around.  The Blue dots have a Rep 3 leader.  The untouched Yellow dots, with a Rep 4 leader are more than a foot away from the 1/13th, so chances are very good that the 1/13th will get to fire at them andthen get a favorable result on the Test of Will.  The White dots are below 1/2 strength.

We decided that though we could play out the game, the Zulu were to seperated to make any deadly attacks.  The InDuna is in an unfortunate position where he is only helping a 1/2 strength unit with his Rep 5.

Playing the Received Casualty as Ed intended it changes the game completely.  I now do not have enough Zulu to give the British force a run for it's money.  The breech-loading rifle is now queen of the battlefield.  We were both very happy with the result, feeling that the results were "historical."  The Zulu had a very difficult time defeating entrenched British.

Perhaps a few words about how I paly the light horse are in order.  Basically, I treat them as Mounted Infantry firing from horseback.  The time it would take for them to dismount, fire, and remount will result in them dieing in the second turn.  I try to reflect thier fighting method by treating them as infantry if they would charge, infantry if they would fire in the crises tables, and mounted if they would Runaway.  I feel this reflects their fighting style more than treating them either as cavalry or mounted infantry.  These were small local volunteer units, equiped with carbines, and no melee weapons other than a bowie knife, no match for a shield and spear.  Most were excellent horsemen, and able to fire from the saddle.  At Ulundi, they stood on their horses backs and added their fire by firing over the ranks of the square. Since they have no sabres, they do not get the mounted +1 in melee.  They are a brittle unit who's purpose is to get the Zulu out of position to help in the all-important main charge.

You can see that in this game they did this, adding turns before the Zulu units distracted by them could attack the British firing line.


  1. Ken,

    This now appears to work better. All that's left is to paint more Zulu!


  2. No more Zulu for me. These games were just a test to see why the Brits had no chance of beating the Zulu. Now I've found out, they go back in the box.

  3. Hi

    I really like your blog on the Zulu War. It's inspirational for me as I just bought the THW's Colonial Adventures just before Xmas. Your idea of basing your figures is similar to what I envisaged for my NW frontier/Sudan games especially mounting the Zulus on circular bases for the "mob" formation. Are you bases magnetic or metal paper covered? Well done on the figure painting and the battle reports - very impressive

  4. Thank you! My figures are all based on 3/4" washers, and the moving bases have magnetic material stuck to the top. The round bases are 4" electrical conduit box covers from Home Depot/Lowes. They were chosen because 20 figures just fit on them. Dead cd's or dvd's would work, but they are 5" across, so more base would show.
    My friends and I were heavily influenced by David Helber's "Major General
    Tremorden Rederring's
    Colonial-era Wargames Page" so we went for the smallest possible bases, to take up the least table space. I'll add the link to the links.

  5. Here's the link. The blog isn't cooperating today.

  6. Hey, I was going to run a Zulu game at Bayou Wars this year. But, if you are thinking about doing it, my 300 Zulu's are at your disposal!


  7. Thanks, Duane. Please run the game and you can use my 120. I really don't want to run a Zulu game. I have some other things in mind.

  8. Hi - Thanks for the link to the Major General and the tips on your basing and movement trays. I'm already an avid follower of the Major General and anything of the colonial era. I'll await your next battle report with anticipation - keep up with the good work