Here are a couple of close ups of the Zulus, suitably frenzied with cries of "Usuthu"!
The game was played using the "Damned Wobbly Gentlemen" set of rules, free to download from Empress Miniatures here:
We found these rules to be very fast and highly enjoyable. They formed the basis of the game, although as is normally the case, various house modificatuions were introduced to add to the flow of the game as we both envisaged it (which was basically the scenes from Zulu the film!). The entire game was fought out in three and a half hours of play, involving up to three successive waves of zulus. As it transpired, only the unmarried regiment attacking Lt Chard on the right flank actually deployed three waves. The regiment attacking from the rear of the hospital used two, but the two other regiments hitting Lt Bromhead on the the left flank, in front of the hospital really only needed one.
Nelson had gone to great lengths to recreate small details, here is a picture of part of the interior of the hospital, which was the scene of some heroic defence. Sadly all the defenders copped it, well not all, I think we agreed to move "Hitch" to safety after he had survived over 5 meleees.
As the old cliche goes, this was a game of two halves, only this refers to the table and not time. On the right flank, Chard and the bulk of the British infantry proved extremely tough and wrought havoc on the advancing zulus with sustained fire followed by some hard fighting at the mealie bags that saw two successive waves sent back with their leopard skin tails between their legs!
In fact, as always, it was really about the roll of the dice. On the right flank time and time again the British (me) rolled high scoring dice, while the zulus (Nelson) managed to roll more ones and twos that seemed statistically possible!! The same could not be said on the left, except for one bunch of warriors who failed to gain entry to the hospital, managing not a single six in almost 30 dice rolled!
On the left the zulus quickly decimated the defenders and the thin line became distinctly "woobly" in a relatively short time.
Lt Bromhead was forced to draw his troops back to the perpendicular defensive wall but then, as the odds became overwhelming, he led a desperate dash across towards the other side of the mission. Alas, unlike the movie (and historical reality) Bromhead was caught in the open and received several assegais simultaneously, a moment captured forever in this tragic picture!!
All the pictures were taken as the game played out and none are staged except for poor Bromhead's demise and only insofar as he was not imstantly removed from the table but laid out flat for a snap shot for posterity.
On the right flank the zulus continued to press .
Eventually the British were forced to pull back into the final mealie bag redoubt for their heroic last stand.
The zulus swarnmed against this last defence and it was agreed that there would be a set number of turns with more nand more zulus being able to engage a single British infantryman (thereby increasing their odds of success as the British tired). Throughout, Lt Chard gallantly rallied the defenders.
After all the attacks, the game ended with a few brave survivors as the zulus finally gave up. They could have brought in a total of five more regiments if the three waves had been carried out to the full. As it was, there were very few survivors and a lot more VCs would have to be posthumous than in the historical battle.
The indunas on the distant hill had seen enough, and recognising the bravery of the defenders - and having suffered severe casualities themselves, called off the attack.
The battle is perhaps best summed up by a close up of a lovely conversion by Nelson.
The figures were a mixture of manufacturers. I believe the zulus were made up of mainly Black Tree while the British involved Old Glory and Wargames Factory amongst others.
All in all a fast and very tense game which, had the zulus learned how to roll the dice consistently, could very easily have seen the entire mission on the Buffalo River wiped out!!