Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Day of the Zulu Part two Rorkes Drift

      After a quick barbecue we resumed our Zulu Day with our second battle, Rorkes Drift. The last time we had played this game was January 2012, but I had few ideas how to improve it. I had converted my original barricades into stonewalls for my Gettysburg game, so with being on summer holiday I decided to make new ones. Also I revamped my hospital and storehouse to appear more accurate.
The Zulus were split up into 4 regiments of a hundred figures on ten bases, each regiment was placed on different  sides of the garrison. Kevin changed allegiance to the Zulus, so four of us commanded one Zulu Regiment each. To stop the Zulus making co-ordinated attacks and potentially massacring the British in their first attack I used a rule that each Zulu regiment had threes stages before they attacked, they were ;
1) Resting,
2) Standing up 
3) Chanting 
the Zulu player had to roll 1D6, 1-3 the level stayed the same, 4-5 the level changed up one step, 6 the level changes up two levels. So when the Regiment is on Chanting  a 4-6 means they charge.  

  The first to start chanting were Luis´ Zulus, I expected the British players to reinforce this threat but they didn´t move any of their figures. Once again I put on the Zulu film for effect ,  I know there are quite a few inaccuracies but I never tire in watching this great film. The Zulus charged the hospital and wrapped around the barricades, however they made little impression, apart from killing and wounding the gallant defenders at the barricades in front of the hospital verendah. Luis´Zulus skulked back to his line to rest and form up. Each Regiment had five charges in them before they gave up and went back to their kraals.

The next Zulus to charge were Kevins , the problem for him was his Zulus had to climb a few fences and walls to get to the barricade. Quite a few of Zulu were killed by the defenders firing from in the Hospital
Now the barricade in front of the hospital was unmanned, so it was easier for them to cross over and reach the front doors.

 When I revamped my buildings, I decided to fix the roofs on, so figures could fight on them in true Michael Caine style. To make it more interesting I made simple floor plans of the building where we could recreate the struggle inside, In the above photo the Zulus have broken into the side door and killed the defenders inside the room, Fortunately for the other defenders, its a dead end, so they have to go back out and try their luck at another door.

Kevin´s attack had finished, but due to great throwing of the dice (to kill a British Soldier you need throw a six) the south barricade has only 2 men and 1 wounded left. At this point I thought the game was going to finish quite early.

In the last attack, Lt Chard was wounded, so he visited Surgeon Reynolds and his dog, in the Hospital. However unlike the film this had a different ending. Jose who was playing Surgeon Reynolds, threw a 1 meaning that Chard had died whilst being treated, much to the anguish of Javi who was controlling Chard.

I kept throwing three or under so my Zulus were still asleep, as the 4 soldiers in the middle of the open ground made a redoubt out of the mound of sacks. The men on the storehouse roof spot Miguel´s Zulus beginning to  charge. 

The Zulus hit the south barricades and enter the hospital killing most of the defenders including Pvt Hook. 
With the Hospital severely depleted with only a few wounded soldiers to defend it. The British players decided to abandon it and move to the barricades by the store house.

With the hospital deserted apart from the dead, there is no-one to stop the Zulus setting it on fire.

At last my Zulus wake up and attack the west end of the barricades.

Some of my Zulus manage to climb on the roof and enter into hand to hand combat with the British on the roof , who manage successfully  to push my Zulus off the roof. 
In the pause of the action the redoubt was finally built and Surgeon Reynolds tried to treat more patients, however Jose kept rolling them ones and he killed more patients than he saved, the other players gave him  the nickname of Doctor Mengele.
The next attack is a two pronged attack with mine and Miguel´s Zulus, who set fire to the cookhouse as they attack.

Maybe this was the attack that would finish off the garrison.

Two of my Zulus manage to fight their way through the storehouse and enter the courtyard. However Pvt Dunbar the best shot in the company (in the game he can fire twice at +1) kills both from his vantage point in the redoubt.
The last of Miguel´s Zulus try to make it across the empty courtyard but the British rifles kill most of them before they get to the ramparts.
Next it was Kevin´s and Luis´ Zulus turn to  make a two pronged attack,  

All of the are players involved in the last attack whilst Colour Segt Bourne looks on from the televisión in the background. (unfortunately in the game he was another of Surgeon Reynolds´ victims)
The defenders are forced to abandon the Kraal and reinforce the redoubt.

The game ended in game time at 19.10 when it was getting dark. The defenders still had over half their numbers left, including Lt Bromhead, Pvt Dunbar and Surgeon Reynolds who it seemed finished off more soldiers than the Zulus did.
This was a great game to play, plenty of action and twist and turns. After the second attack it looked like an early defeat for the defenders, but once they consolidated their forces they were able to give a better defence. Everybody seemed to be enjoying themselves and once again the rules although slightly different can be played without resorting to any charts.
I played the game with each British figure representing 2 real men, next time we play this I want to change to a ratio of one to one with each figure been labelled with the soldiers name. Also I am going to improve the hospital and storeroom floor plans making them more 3D.

Monday, 12 August 2013

Day of the Zulu Part One Isandlwana

Last month I decided to put on Zulu Day for a few of my wargaming buddies, I planned on playing the Battle of Isandlwana in the morning and after a Barbecue, we would play Rorkes Drift in the afternoon. In the end there was seven of us playing and everybody arrived on time.
 On the Zulu side there was myself controlling the centre, Miguel the right horn and Luis the left horn. On the British side, Jose controlled the cavalry, Javi the left flank and centre, Angel the right flank and artillery and Kevin was in control of Durnford`s  column. Before the game started the Zulus had to decide on their off table position, waiting to be discovered by the British scouts. They would only be triggered to start the attack when the main Zulu force, the chest and loins were found. To add a little background atmosphere, I also put on the DVD "Zulu Dawn".
Zulus arrive on the table
Jose sent out his cavalry at 7.00 a.m with two units in the middle and the other to units at the far end of the table. Unfortunately for the Zulus the Natal Carbineers headed straight towards where the Zulu main body was hiding . After 2 quick moves Jose threw a six and his troops discovered the mainbody triggering the attack to begin, a lot earlier than the real battle.    

The Zulu advanced rapidly with the British mounted troops firing and retreating in front of them. To represent the ammunition rules, I had a small box for each British unit with homemade plastic bullets in them (Wall plugs) I was going to paint to make them look more realistic, but I had run out of time. Each time the unit fired the player had to give me a bullet, when the unit`s ammunition reached a certain point they had to send a runner to get more ammo.

On the Zulu left with Durnford not appearing yet, their largest regiment the InGobamakhosi Regiment crossed the Donga whilst the Zulu center was held up by the cavalry. 

The Camp´s horses and oxen are moved towards the rear.

View from behind the British camp.

The British companies begin to give a telling fire on the Zulu´s, you can just make out the range marker stakes that have been hurriedly put out.
Lt Col Pulline, Lt Melvill and the standard bearer in the camp, watching the artillery help support the British right flank.

The Zulu extreme left flank come into range of the British rifles although the Natal Native Contingent only had two rifles per base and very little ammunition.

A casualty marker is placed next to a Zulu base to show that the are pinned and cannot move until rallied. In the foreground four boxes of the cavalry ammunition.

Behind the Zulu left flank the Mounted Infantry begin to fire  into the back of the formation.

The Zulu centre is still making little headway but the Cavalry are now low on ammunition.

Due to the low rate of fire from the N.N.C the Zulus are getting closer to the British right flank.

The Carbineers with no ammuntion left and waiting for their runner to return, finally make it back and take their place in the British Lines.
Behind the companies of N.N.C the  runners are queuing up to receive ammunition from the quarter masters wagon. In the background behind the wagons. Durnford´s column finally arrives. 

The Zulus go into close combat with the N.N.C and are virtually destroyed as the victorious Zulus begin to chase them through the camp.

Only a small amount of ammunition is getting through and now most of the British Companies are down to their last few bullets or are completely out of ammunition. Also there is a gap in the British lines and a Zulu base attacks the artillery from the flank.

All the bullets that the British have used and not been given back.

Even though Durnford´Troops are stabilising the Right flank, nearly all the British companies are now out of ammunition, as can be seen by the turned up boxes in the background.
Unfortunately due to time constraints we had to end there, although almost certainly in the next few turns the British left flank and centre would have been broken by the Zulu onslaught.
The game worked out very well, the Zulu´s were found a lot quicker than I expected but this was something that always happen when its random mechanism. The ammunition mechanism worked very well and it was good watching the players getting worried when they started scratching around their ammo  boxes for their last cartridges.  They only problem was probably the Quartermaster was too stingy with his supplies, and I might have to adjust the table for next time. The Shooting rule worked ok, but I feel it still needs a little improving and I will probably run through the game again a couple of times in the next two weeks to get that aspect better.
We then enjoyed a quick Barbeque outside and moved the figures upstairs to play our next game, Rorkes Drift.
I will post an account of this in the next few days.