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The Invasion Of Zululand

Today the lads from the club played an epic Anglo-Zulu War game using Carlo Pagano’s great set of rules ‘Sands of the Sudan’ however we made a few little changes just to suit the Zulus. This meant no mounted units, no artillery but loads of spear chucking Zulus…rather nasty once in hand to hand contact. The scenario was loosely based around one of the invading columns invading Zululand in 1879. The British or Imperial invasion force mustered a good many battle tested troops. There were eight companies of Infantry, four companies of Natal Native Contingent (NNC), two squadrons of Mounted Infantry, a Naval Brigade of one company and a Gatling gun and finally a Royal Artillery section of 7 pounder.

The Zulus, however, were run by myself, the umpire, and I think we managed to place on somewhere close to 20 odd units of warriors and three Zulu rifle armed units. The Imperial objective was to clear the Buffalo River and secure the village and high ground to the west, then clear any Zulu units directly to their front. All was going to plan until the third turn when only four to five Zulu warrior units were seen to their front….then on the forth turn a strong Zulu Impi turned up on their right flank. Then on the fifth turn, another strong Impi arrived on the left flank. It was the classic ‘Horns of the Bull’.

With strong Zulu Impi’s on both flank and more to the front, it was only a matter of time before the numbers would tell. The Mounted Infantry and NNC companies of the Imperial left flank were the first units to be overwhelmed. They did fire off some well directed volleys of rapid fire but that was not enough to halt the charge. The next few turns then saw the British on the back foot and they were never able to organise a strong well supported front. Company after company was overrun and finally, the last company died to the last man and the colours fell into Zulu hands….sounds all too familiar.

In all the lads had a great time playing Carlo’s rules and they were easily converted to use in the Anglo Zulu war. Figures came from a wide variety of collections including some very nice figures painted by Dave Imrie.

Imperial Mounted Infantry cross the Buffalo River and into Zululand.

Two companies of NNC also cross over.

Some beautiful figures (above and below) painted by Dave Imrie.

Two British columns advance over the river.

Looks like a mass invasion force…marching to their deaths

The Naval Brigade bringing up the Gatling gun.

A peaceful Zulu village.

The Zulu Commander looks out over the battlefield.

Mounted infantry, Natal Police and NNC deploy onto skirmish line

The first Zulu Impi (their right flank attack) comes into view and the NNC plus two companies of infantry deploy into line.

The first of the Zulu warrior units charge in but all three are shot down

The head of the Bull moves in.

Another two companies of Infantry and NNC deploy into line

Another wave of Zulus hit the British left flank.

With casualties mounting rapidly the NNC are the first ones to give way and those who are not fast on their feet are overrun.

After a few rounds of rapid fire and numerous casualties the Mounted Infantry fall back out of the fight to a good defensive position

The whole ground seemed to get up and move. Second and third waves of Zulus charge in. They are shot down or receive a good piece of English cold steel for their trouble…but ammunition is starting to run low.

More Mounted Infantry fall back to a wagon larger and safety.

But the veteran British Infantry have never known defeat and stand firm repelling charge after charge.

However, with a huge gap created by the retreating NNC has left the British line vulnerable to flank attack and the quick foot Zulu warriors see and opportunity and charge.

On the British right flank, the Zulus have closed in fast trying to cut the hated redcoats of from their supply lines and withdraw routes. But the first warrior unit is shot to pieces by the Naval Brigades Gatling gun… turn it last a wheel on the Random Cards and could not fire for four turns…not good.

From about the seventh turn until the last turn the British fought hard and many fine Zulu warriors fell to the Martini Henry’s powerful bullet.

Cut off from retreat and with many men wounded or dead the British slowly ran out of ammunition and were cut down.

Then with the Gatling gun’s wheel falling off and unable to fire so too was the brave Naval Brigade lads overrun.

The last brave lads defended the Regimental colours to the last man never to see home again….sounds all too familiar. The invasion failed on this front anyway.


0 thoughts on “The Invasion Of Zululand”

  1. Looks absolutely sensational Nathan. Breathtaking in fact. Very impressed by your game and so pleased to hear that the conversion from Sudan to Zululand was as straight forward and as enjoyable as we had hoped!

  2. A failed invasion, that is clear. Fantastic gaming terrain and figures, really nice.
    I´m very interested in this ruleset, and now I have clear I want to try it.
    Great AAR.

  3. Amazing looking game…..

    I wish I'd been party to the belligerence!!

    I hope you don't mind me asking a question? How many of the Zulu's are metal and how many plastic? would it be possible to point them out in the pics…. just say pic 1, pic 3 etc??

    I'm thinking of buying some of the plastics but I want to know that they stand up to the quality of the metals before opening the old wallet!


  4. Splendid stuff! Great figures and terrain. I've played these rules for Sudan gaming many a time, and recommend them highly to any who haven't tried them.

    Games seldom go the way the Imperial player would like, which is historically accurate. I've had a few games that were a walk in the park. I've had others where the Mahdists were all over the British from the get go. When those first hostile warbands begin to appear on the flanks and rear, you know you're in for a fight.

  5. Thanks everyone for the fantastic comments and I am happy to read that you enjoyed the images.

    Bedford – all the zulus are plastic warriors from the very nice Warlord games box sets. The only metal Zulus in the collection are the commanders which also come from the same box or can be purchased from Empress Miniatures.

  6. Splendid game, lots of excellent eye candy and reminds me of some hard fought games against my 20mm Zulus. Used a set of rules based on Pny wars so the Zulus were umpire controlled (at least by dice)

  7. "Bedford – all the zulus are plastic warriors from the very nice Warlord games box sets. The only metal Zulus in the collection are the commanders which also come from the same box or can be purchased from Empress Miniatures"

    I thought quite a few of them in the regiments were matals so worth the investment then. good news!

  8. Beautiful collection – please take my following comment as a helpful reference: Glengary caps for the 24th should be dark blue with a brass badge, likewise the blue patrol jackets on officers shouldn't have green facings; they are simply blue jackets with black braid.

    Stunning figures, they'd be even better 100% historically correct.


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