Big Al wrote:Which tends to be how the rules play as they stand.
Cubster wrote:It's not a question of 'I wonder' though Al, it's a question of documented fact that Zulus stated they hated facing the bayonet and witnesses on both sides said unless the British soldier was outnumbered and attacked from more than one side, he had the advantage. Casualties from thrown weapons were very few and far between.
The British under Chelmsford pitched camp at Isandlwana on 20 January but did not follow standing orders to entrench. No laager (circling of the wagons) was formed. Chelmsford did not see the need for the laager, stating, "It would take a week to make." But the chief reason for the failure to take defensive precautions appears to have been that the British command severely underestimated the Zulu capabilities. The experience of numerous colonial wars fought in Africa was that the massed firepower of relatively small bodies of professional European troops armed with modern firearms and artillery, and supplemented by local allies and levies, would march out to meet the natives whose ragged, badly equipped armies would put up a brave struggle, but in the end would succumb. Chelmsford believed that a force of over 4,000, including 1,000 British infantry armed with Martini-Henry rifles, as well as artillery, had more than sufficient firepower to overwhelm any attack by Zulus armed only with spears, cowhide shields and a few firearms such as Brown Bess muskets.
The Zulus soon forced their way into the cattle Kraal and fought hand-to-hand with men of the 1/13th company. The cattle in the kraal hampered both sides, but with Zulu pressure mounting up the heavily outnumbered British troops managed to extricate themselves and pull back to the redoubt. Zulu riflemen were now able to open fire from behind the walls of the kraal to give their advancing comrades cover. At about this time the right horn came on again from the north-east, charging across the north face of the redoubt towards the guns and the eastern sides of the laager.
Although now attacked on both sides, Wood appreciated that the situation to the south was critical and ordered two companies to clear the Zulus off the glacis. Led by Major Hackett the men formed in line with bayonets fixed and charged across the open ground, forcing the Zulus back over the rim. The troops then lined the crest and opened volley fire into the packed warriors in the ravine. The counter-attack had succeeded perfectly but Hackett’s men suddenly found themselves under fire from their right, where Zulu marksmen had concealed themselves in a refuse tip. Hackett sounded the 'Retire' and his men returned to the cover of the laager, but not before losing a colour-sergeant, a subaltern and himself receiving a blinding head wound. The sight of this withdrawal encouraged the Zulus in the ravine to charge again, but along the narrow killing zone in front of the laager they could not this time prevail against the controlled volleys from behind the wagons and the redoubt.
Right, so you're saying that because the British relied on their principle strength, ie. their superior firepower, that disproves the documented accounts that Zulus attacking a bayonet armed man one-on-one were at a disadvantage?
zedeyejoe wrote:Nope, just saying that the idea of British beating the Zulus in hand-to-hand combat seems strange and I provided examples to back my view.
And yes an important part of that calculation was that there were:
a) more Zulus and
b) even though lots of them were killed, they still kept on coming.
So it does not matter if the British soldiers were better than Zulus in hand-to-hand combat (and I would prefer a spear and shield over a Martini-Henry with bayonet but thats just a personal choice) they were even better at shooting Zulus dead. As in the Indiana Jones film, when a man with a gun is faced with a man with a sword, the best idea is to shoot the swordsman.
So to get a better simulation of Anglo-Zulu warfare, the best idea is to switch the given shooting and combat factors around, so that the British play to their strength of shooting, rather than seeking to get into combat.
Tucker recorded. 'The sentries on the other side did the same. Of course the men were up in a moment, some men sleeping under the wagons and some in the tents; but before the men were in their positions the Zulus had fired a volley, thrown down their guns... and were around the wagons and on top of them, and even inside with the cattle, almost instantly. So quickly did they come, there was really no defence on the part of our men; it was simply each man fighting for his life, and in a few minutes all was over, our men being simply slaughtered.
1-to-1 the zulu (or any native), for all their skill at close range fighting, was no better than a Regular with his bayonet, and in most cases due to a lack of training or discipline actually worse. 1-2-1 I see little evidence in any colonial period of man with sword/spear beating man with bayonet, in fact I would say the fear of the man with the bayonet was far greater than the other way around in most cases.
The psychological effect was that war was regarded as the ideal state, the only state which gave a man what he wanted. Until he was old and wealthy, and naturally desired to keep his possessions in tranquillity, a time of peace was a time of trouble. He had no chance of distinguishing himself; and if he were a young bachelor, he could not hope to be promoted to the rank of 'man' and be allowed to marry, for many a long year. It is true that in a time of war he might be killed; but that was a reflection which, in those days, did not in the least trouble him. For all he knew, he stood in just as great danger of his life in time of peace. He might unintentionally offend the king; he might commit a breach of discipline which would be overlooked in wartime; he might be accused as a wizard, and tortured to death; the eye of the king might just happen to fall on him when the king thought that his vultures overhead might be hungry and needed some food or that an antbear hole should be filled with some corpses.(34) Knowing therefore, that a violent death was quite likely to befall him in peace as in war, and as in peace he had no chance of gratifying his ambitious feelings, the young Zulu was all for war.
Captain Parr(25) relates that not long before the Zulu war broke out, a missionary was expatiating to Cetshwayo, who had one of his regiments seated around him, of the danger he ran of hell fire. 'Hell fire!', repeated Cetshwayo, 'Do you frighten me with hell fire? My army would put it out. See!' he continued, pointing to a veld fire which was burning over a considerable tract, and calling to the officer commanding the regiment, 'Before you look at me again, eat up that fire.' In an instant the whole regiment, shouting the war cry, was bounding towards the fire, which was 'eaten up' without regard to those who were maimed and permanently impaired.
At one stage during the battle of Isandlwana, the British fire was so hot that the Zulus seemed to have had enough and a movement of withdrawal became noticeable, when, according to tradition, a lone voice filled a moment's silence and trailed across the field of battle: 'Ihlamvana bul' umlilo kashongo njalo!' 'The little branch which extinguished the fire (started by Walmsley and Rathbone at the battle of Ndondakusuka in 1856: a euphemistic reference to Cethswayo the king) never gave such an order!' The backward movement stopped immediately, the Zulu army rose as one man and made its final devastating rush upon the British camp.
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