Friday, 23 January 2015

Isandlwana 22nd January 1879

I am still "buzzing" after last night's game-a re-fight of the famous battle of Isandlwana,on the actual 136th Anniversary.
Everyone knows the facts of the battle,but for wargamers to try and re-fight it,poses a few problems:mainly,will our rules work? where do you start the battle? should we take into account he various factors that,apparently,led to the British defeat?
Well,I decided to start the battle just as the Zulus were about to crest the main ridge,having already disposed of the rocket battery,the left horn about to contact Durnford,and the right horn still moving into position.

I drew heavily from this magnificent book(top photo) and based the battle on the map,as you can see...........

This is how the table looked before any movement-Dave took command of the right horn of the Zulus,and part of the centre,I was in command of the left horn and the other part of the centre,Brian was in charge of the left of the camp,and Paul the right and Durnford's trooops.
The British and NNC were allocated limited ammunition,as were the guns-this was to prove a real factor in the game,and echoed the actual battle.
In the above photo,my left horn is advancing rapidly against Durnford's position,but the camp is,as yet,not too alarmed!!

Things are beginning to hot up in the centre,but,as you can see from the "dead" figures,the Zulus were being cut down in swathes-my left horn is being similarly devastated,but as yet Dave's right horn is being left alone to continue their move against Brian,and the mountain.

Paul is using his mounted troops well,by firing and retiring,but his ammo. is being used up at an alarming rate,and still the left horn advances-Brian is looking worried,and Dave is looking at his phone(????)-come on lad,concentrate!!!!

Dave has now got his right horn into position,and is pinning Brian to his front whilst moving around to the back of the camp-great stuff!!

The British are falling back,making their line smaller,and causing Dave and I some problems-we are taking too many casualties-our centre is almost wiped out,but our reserve troops are about to make an appearance,from behind the ridge-hurrah!!

Is that a worried look on Brian's face?it should be! Dave has managed to get around the back of the camp and is now in a position to attack-a last blast of "cannister" from the gun proved to be ineffective-is all lost?

Now he looks worried!the reserves are gaining ground,and with hardly any ammo. left things are looking grim,to say the least!!-in the background,Durnford has been caught and wiped out!

One last volley,and then" die like English soldiers do"-in the background the camp is under serious attack-save the colours?-not in our game-officers die with their men!!

The camp is lost!Dave's encirclement is complete,the British are out of ammunition,time to fight back-to-back,maybe the Zulus will offer terms!!!!!!

NO!! not even the wounded were spared!!
This was  a fantastic game by any standards,tense,exciting,colourful,but above all enjoyable-well done lads.
I hope that this refight gives a flavour of what it must have been like on that fateful day 136 years ago-it must have been horrific.
Roll on Sunday-don't know what we'll be playing yet.


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks Rodger,it was a very enjoyable game,tense and,I think,very realistic-keep the comments coming