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.

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