Thursday, January 22, 2009

Debrief for 21 January 2009

130 years ago the British launched a premptive invasion of the independent South African Kingdom of Zululand. On 22 January 1879 the British camp at Isandlwana defended by 1800 men was unexpectedly attacked by a Zulu army of around 25000. By the end of the day and despite horrific losses themselves, the Zulus had outmanouvred the garrison and overrun the camp. Less than 400 of the camp's defenders survived having fled for their lives after one of the most shocking defeats ever suffered by the British Army.

Considering the anniversary, it seemed appropriate for the Club to refight this evocative battle (and to give it a little more than the usual coverage on the Blog!). So with Rob providing the 10mm figures and setting up the terrain and scenario (Colonial wargames rules based on 'Pony Wars'), the remainder donned pith helmets or hefted oxhide shields.

British picquetts see Zulus approaching from the North. The British remain close to the camp with orders to defend it.


As the scale of the 'off table' Zulu attack becomes apparent, the British realise that they are unable to cover the whole front, so tents are collapsed and the British redeploy around the wagon park with the unsteady Natal Native Contingent sheltered behind the regular British troops who in turn anchor their flanks on the southern slopes of Isandlwana mountain.

The Zulu left horn and centre launch piecemeal frontal assaults on the British line suffering very heavy casualties.

British mounted forces are busy harrassing the Zulu flanks and disrupting their attack.
The Zulu left horn and centre are pushed back by the overwhelming concentrated fire power of the British redcoats just as the Zulu right horn appears to begin its own attack from the west.
At this point, the 'what if' element arrived. Unlike what happened historically, Lord Chelmsford has marched from Mangeni Gorge and arrived back at Isandlwana. The arrival of these reinforcements secure a British victory.
In an odd way it is just as well that, in reality, the British were defeated because without the Zulu victory at Isandlwana, there would never have been a defence of Rorke's Drift and therefore no film called 'Zulu'.......
An interesting game that demands a refight but with the combatants swapping sides!

Meanwhile, next table along was the Final of the Warhammer 2008 Tournament. However, time ran out to fight the battle to a finish. So instead, this evening was used as a warm up encounter with a view to fight the actual final battle within the next few weeks. In the meantime, here are some images to keep you awake at night.....




NEXT WEEK - will be the Test Play of the Boxer Rebellion Game in preparation for the Plymouth Show. Many thanks to Mick and James for basing the figures and to everyone else for getting their figures painted in the nick of time. With Chris's buildings, it should all look quite good. Thos not doing Boxer Rebellion will be with Uncle Brad who will be putting on an American Civil War game using Volley & Bayonet Rules. See ya'll later.

PRJA

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