Battle Report: 27th February 1990
~vs~ 1879 Zulu
Avery ~vs~ Andy Purcell)
British forces were marching through hilly veldt in an approved column format,
but without having scouts out either to their front or flanks. Just as they
were about to exit an awkward dip, the Zulus sprang a prepared ambush.
Immediately, the British infantry snapped from column to line, and prepared to blast the tribesmen away as they came.
the left flank this was indeed what happened:
two Zulu regiments being shattered from the first volley from six
companies and a field gun.
the right flank, however, the terrain and column of march deployment meant
that only three companies and the gatling guns faced the charge of 6 Zulu
impis. The rest of the British infantry, unable to shoot at the advancing
enemy, hurried to form a second line of defense, protecting the left flank of
the British cavalry left the column, and prepared to charge the flanks of the
Zulu forces. The two lead squadrons were faced by a hastily redeployed Zulu
regiment, but charged downhill at them: breaking
them utterly. Unfortunately, the British cavalry elected to pursue the fleeing
Zulus, effectively removing themselves from the battle as well!
this point, the British 2inC, commanding the left, felt able to send three
companies to his commander’s assistance on the right:
the forces opposing him being unable to make any headway.
the right, the Zulus charged home, but were blasted back time and time again
by three companies from the 90th Foot. As more and more British troops joined
them, the Zulus became more and more desperate, but were unable to cope with
the sheer volume of firepower.
several brave charges, the Zulu impis faltered, and then retreated:
leaving their dead strewn across the battlefield.
British lost approximately 150 men.
Zulus losses were estimated at about 1600 warriors.
total victory for the British: more
cavalry and they could have massacred the retreating Zulus as well.
the fact that the Zulus achieved an almost perfect ambush, the model marching
formation of the British allowed them to deploy almost instantly to meet the
Once the British had formed line, the Zulus couldn’t penetrate the hail of bullets: although for the three companies on the right, it was a close run thing!