Saturday, June 11, 2011

Zulu Attack at Braun’s Drift

Another Battle over another ford. I now have a third unit of Zulu warriors, so it’s time for the Zulus to take the offensive!

We were also trying out a few more tweaks to the rules… mostly concerning movement distances and special rules concerning the movement of mounted troops.

Braun’s Drift, March 1879


After the debacle of the first invasion Lord Chelmsford is biding his time waiting for reinforcements to arrive so he can launch a second invasion into Zululand. In the meantime raids and patrols are being sent across the border to harass the Zulus and scout potential invasion routes.

A company infantry is stationed at Braun’s Drift along with a troop of mounted infantry. Nearby is a staging area for supplies to be moved north. Just across the Thukela river in Zululand is the Kraal of the feared Zulu cheiftan; mTi kaRbonw.


The British must prevent the Zulus from crossing the river. The Zulus must attempt to cross the river. The River is only crossable at the ford/drift.


The British

Major Burton-Linny - C-in-C
1 company British Infantry (15) Breach Loading Rifle
1 troop British Mounted Infantry (10) Breach Loading Carbine

The Zulus

mTi kaRbonwe - C-in-C
3 warbands Zulus Warriors (15-16 ea) Ferocious
2 units Zulu Skirmishers (10 ea) Rifled Musket, Skirmishers


John decided to play the British and I (along with a special helper) played the Zulus.

(Remember: click on the pictures for a bigger version)

Braun’s Drift with the British encampment on the Natal side of the Thukela River.

Another shot of the British and their camp on the Natal side of the river.

John set up his British infantry on the Natal side of the river and his mounted infantry across the river – from the start the mounted infantry galloped off to the flank to harass the advancing Zulus.

The Zulus advance.

In the background can be seen my dice rolling assistant who was exceedingly happy to get to stay up past his regular bedtime to play games with his dad’s friends and toys! He takes defeat a little hard and after the first volley from the British wanted to switch sides and roll dice for John… He was, however, convinced to stick it out with the Zulus!

That aforementioned first volley from the British – devastating! Almost half the Zulu unit was knocked out!

One unit of Zulus peeled off to try and deal with the mounted infantry. The British stuck around for one turn and tried to shoot up the approaching Zulus – The tall grass apparently offered better concealment that we imagined as only minor casualties were sustained…

The Junior Subaltern discussing the finer points of Zulu War Tactics with his rival…

The second volley from the British infantry at the drift did that first unit of Zulus in.. all but one were lost – the remaining one failed a number of morale tests and scarpered. The Skirmsihing Zulus with muskets were in position however and started pinking away at the British themselves.

The sniping from the Zulus with muskets compelled the British to retire from the ford – but they kept up their fire knocking off a number of the Zulus in the next unit that were about to cross the drift.

The mounted infantry decided to try and close with the skirmishing Zulus. Later we realized that they technically shouldn’t have been able to… but I may change that rule – I think rather than simply arbitrarily stating that they cannot do so – simply make it so there is really no benefit for them to do so… Anyway, they lost two in the charge in and the fight wasn’t very conclusive both sides lost d6-2 – unfortunately Zulus lost FOUR(!) and the British NONE! The Zulus failed a morale test and were obliged to retire back to the cover of the tall grass.

The Zulus finally rush the British!

Another view of things around the same time.

The Zulus lost SIX(!) to closing fire as they rushed in, but the shock and violence of the ferocious Zulus unsettled the British who lost five of their own in close combat and were required to retire the next turn.

The same unit moved in and again pressed the British back. There were more British losses and they were required to retire into the woods behind them!

On the final turn the third unit of Zulus passed through to press the attack! They darn near whipped out the British and at that point John conceded the game. I can’t remember if we bothered to roll for morale for the British that turn to see if they would have broke…?

The mounted infantry made it back across the river and galloped away back to the staging area to warn of the Zulus approach!

We had tweaked some movement rates from the last game and were trying out some new rules concerning the movement of mounted troops – which I think worked out well enough with rational players… we’ll see how well they work with (or how they can be abused by) rules lawyers – I’m just not clever enough to foresee these sorts of things.

I think I might also adjust the ranges of the firearms slightly…

John seems to think I need to paint more British. I think I’ll get to work on some artillery… or maybe the Gatling Gun… just to try something new. I think I’ll also work on some earthworkd to give the British something else to defend.

What I really need is a shedload of wagons and oxen to make a lager to defend!

Coming soon on Tim’s Miniature Wargaming Blog:

More Zulus (or British… or Martians) and GLADIATORS!!?

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