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Zulu !

10mm C.19th Colonial Game

Maidstone Wargames Society have been invited to participate in a joint Museum / Victorian Military Society event at the Royal Engineers Museum in Chatham over the weekend of 5/6 June.

As the organisers requested something in keeping with the Victorian theme, Mike has offered his 10mm Zulu wars game as being suitable. Andy, Steve and Mike have run some playtests and it's shaping up well as a participation game.

Skirmish at Ngoway’s Kraal

The Anglo-Zulu war of 1879 was engineered , without British government sanction, by the British Governor of the Cape Colony, Sir Bartle Frere, to enable expansion of the colony following the discovery of gold and diamonds at Kimberly. Frere’s pretext for the war was a series of small border incursions by Zulu raiders; he sent a ultimatum to Cetywayo, the Zulu king, with a series of demands the latter could never have been able to accept; when Frere’s demands were refused, the war began.

The first invasion took place from January – April, with three columns, under the command of Lord Chelmsford, converging on Ulundi, the Zulu King’s homestead. Within a fortnight the British had suffered their worst ever defeat at the hands of native forces; at the battle of Isandlwana around 1800 men of the 3rd Column were all but wiped out by an army of 20,000 Zulus. Later the same day a small detachment of around 100 men held the mission station at Rourkes Drift against 4000 Zulus for twelve hours. 11 Victoria Crosses were awarded for Rourkes Drift, although many feel that this was partially a political decision to draw attention away from the disaster at Isandlwana.

To the north the 4th column under Colonel Wood narrowly escaped a massacre at Hlobane, and then inflicted a severe defeat on the Zulus at Kambula.

To the southeast the 1st column under Colonel Pearson were initially more successful, but on hearing news of Isandlwana fortified a disused mission at Ekowe, and were besieged there for 10 weeks. When news of Isandlwana reached Britain substantial reinforcements were sent to the Cape, which enabled Chelmsford to relive the siege at Ekowe, and withdraw his forces back to Natal.

The second invasion began in late May, the British forces, now reinforced and with better understanding of the Zulu way of war crossed into Zululand once more. This time the invasion was successful with relatively few British casualties, culminating in the battle of Ulundi. Despite being outnumbered 4:1 overwhelming British firepower easily repelled Zulu attacks. The Zulu fighting spirit had almost been extinguished, the last pockets of resistance were quelled in September, Cetywayo was deposed, and the Zulu nation split into 13 regions. This led to a brutal civil war that resulted in the complete destruction of the Zulu kingdom. Today Zululand forms part of the Republic of South Africa.

Our scenario today is set during the first invasion, some days after Isandlwana. A company from the 1/13th, part of the 4th column, has been sent to destroy a Zulu kraal and capture what cattle it can. The march to the kraal took longer than expected, and the company spent the night at the deserted kraal. As dawn rises part of the company is sent to the river to refill canteens, and the remainder prepare to fire the kraal and surrounding crops. Suddenly the dreaded Zulu war cry uSuthu! is heard…

Figures are from Magister Militum, Pendraken, scenics from TSS and Battlezone

Photos from Practice Games


Sentries have come in from the hill, sir.... They report Zulus to the southeast. Thousands of them.


You mean your only plan is to stand behind a few feet of mealie bags and wait for the attack?


Front rank fire! Rear rank fire, reload!

Photos from the Event


Battle Rages


Sunday crew and participent


The battlefield


The end approaches


The zulus close in


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