Thursday, 22 December 2016

Why do you come to the land of the Zulu

The massed ranks of the Zulu impi

Our last game saw us have our first game using my dads British and Zulu armies which had been his latest 10mm project. We used Blackpowder rules along with the supplement from the said rules. I took the role of the Zulus who had to intercept the two British columns which were heading towards the induna's kraal to destroy it. Five brigades of  Zulus started off table with the British in two columns deployed at the far edge of the table, I wrote down on a map the entry points for the Zulus and what turn(s) they would be appearing on. The kraal was situated on the opposite edge from the British with a crossbable river running across the table centre although it would take a full move to cross. I decided to have three of brigades of Zulus enter the battle on turns two and three hoping to catch the British  column off guard and attack them out of position before they managed to reach the river. The remaining two brigades would enter from turn 6 on the other side of the river.
The first of the British columns, 5 companies leave the camp and move towards the river at a slow pace with native light horse light horse scouting at the head of the column.
The first of the Zulus appear behind the hill as 4 regiments of Zulus threaten the flank of number two column 
British lancers and hussars are the first to cross the river at the forded area ahead of the foot columns who continued to make slow progress over the open terrain, it must be the heat slowing their progress
The British column behaves itself and adheres to its orders and forms into line on the crest of the hill, I announce the charge with one of my Zulu regiments and over come two volleys of closing fire although I did become disordered and suffered two casualties before crashing into the thin red line of British 
With the initial zulu regiment still locked in combat I announce two more chargers but they both fall just short of the British line. Another two brigades of Zulus now appeared behind the British columns. The British quickly reformed and some steady if not spectacular shooting kept the Zulus at distance disordered. The rocket battery also proved its use as some wayward rockets crashed around some startled Zulus who quickly became disordered when they were reading themselves for the charge.
The second British column finally reaches the river and starts its crossing, however this column was about to receive some company from their Zulu friends very shortly
The Zulus still tried hard to get into the British lines but we're finding it difficult to get past the British firing. The fight on the hill saw both units shaken but remain engaged and a regiment of Zulus was destroyed by some deadly British closing fire.
The British General oversees the back line defense and keeps the men in order as the Zulus are kept at a distance after a few dodgy command roll failures 
Another Zulu regiment is sent fleeing through closing fire but the fight on the hill starts to hot up as a second regiment manages to get into close combat and with the British company at the end of the line failing to disorder the oncoming Zulus, it's flank now looked dangerously exposed.
The second column comes under attack from the 4th Zulu brigade but some serious firing halts this attack with the Zulu regiments suffering as they attempted to charge over three moves ending up falling back disordered , although a couple of fluke pot shots by the Zulus manages to inflict some casualties on one of the British companies.
Back over at the fight on the hill saw mixed fortunes as the first of the Zulu brigades was broken finally after several rounds of combat as the British refused to give there ground despite taking heavy calculates. The British company with its flank Exposed was not so lucky as a regiment of Zulus was in inititive range and automatically charged straight into its flank.
The final brigade arrives for the Zulu reenforcements near the kraal itself lead by the induna himself and his bodyguard.
The Britsh company could not take the charge to the flank and was soon broken as the pursuing Zulus pursued deep into the British back lines, the fight on the hill was still stubbing continuing as neither side would give any ground. The Zulus had taken massive casualties and we're starting to get close to losing another two brigades which would see the army broken. The British 1st column itself was very close to been broken as it held on desperately in The face of the Zulu attack 
The second British column was finally charged and made quite light work of dispatching the remaining Zulu regiments of The 4th brigade as it became broken.
The arrival of the British cavalry back across the river saw the swift retreat of the broken Zulu brigade on the hill, the roaming Zulu regiment among the British formation found another flank charge into a company of British infantry but they were not supported as the Zulu regiment to the front of the British line was disordered, the final unit of Zulus able to charge manages to get past the closing fire but is badly shot up and disordered on the way in.
In the following melle both companies of British infantry hold there ground thanks to their steady rule and in the following turn they manage to shake the remaining Zulu regiments breaking the third Zulu brigade which saw the army morale broken. However the Zulu efforts didn't go in vain as they managed themselves to break the 1st column of British as another company had become shaken.
The Zulu warriors retreat away from the British lines defeated
Despite been able to break one of the British columns my Zulu army was broken and was ordered to retreat leaving the remaining British 2nd column and cavalry to advance onto the undefended kraal, leading the way to a British victory.
The game proved to be a very enjoyable encounter and played very differently from our other colonial games using the Mahdist forces. As would be expected if was very hard for the Zulus to get into the comfort of hand to hand combat, especially when announcing charges over three moves as the British get to do not one but two closing fires on you, this proved on a few occasions to be to much for for my Zulus who failed there morale test and were routed mid charge. Also the British with their stubborn rule were hard to kill, especially in this game as my dad always seemed to be sucessful in his reroll of a failed save,in fact he managed on a few occasions to roll really good saves when faced with the possibility of heavy loses in melees which could have proved disastrous on the break test. Another thing I learned was don't go any where near a rampaging unit of British lancers as a regiment of Zulus found out to disastrous effect when they strayed into charge reach..ouch!!


  1. Nice report and made me get my Zulu BP book out. Do you think the Ready, Aim, Fire rule (double fire against charges) gets the balance right? i.e without it, would the Zulu army be too effective on charging?

    1. Hello Norm,
      Yeah the balance does feel right, it only effects the Zulus at a charge distance of three moves, and to be fair covering so much ground it should be hard for them. It did have an effect on me in this game as on a number of occasions my Zulu regiments suffered failed morale completing the charge into the British as they became shaken and more often than not disordered through closing fire, this in my opinion does help give a feel to how it would have been in this period. So in hindsight with the Zulus it's probably best to get as many regiments as possible into charge range as at the end of the day you can only do closing fire against one of them, but as you know with Blackpowder your bound to fail your next command order just as those British are reloading their rifles!

  2. Also, meant to ask what frontages the Zulu bases are using. This would make a nice 2017 project. Thanks

    1. The Zulus are based as follows
      Warbands 60 x 40mm
      Skirmish 40 x 20 mm
      Artillery 25 x 10mm limbers 20 x 40mm
      Cavalry 30 x 25mm (2 bases per unit)
      Open order cavalry 60 x 30mm
      Infantry 30 x 20mm (2 bases per unit)

      Keep your eyes peeled on eBay as I think my dad is selling these armies off on eBay in the new year ๐Ÿ˜‰

  3. Lovely looking game as always:)

  4. Hi there
    I have shared your blog post on 10mm Wargaming Facebook Page ( and 10mm Wargaming Facbook Group (

    Why not join the 10mm Wargaming Facebook Group and post more about your project.

    Take care