Rorke’s drift – Zulus Vs Praetorian Guard 

As I am yet to finish the British troops for my Rorke’s Drift project the Praetorian, once again, made a good stand in. I have plenty of Zulu warriors though (although there’s still lots more to come) so I thought hmmm Zulus against Prae Guard could be fun. In the last game it was Orks Vs Praetoian Guard at Rorke’s Drift haha.

Big Waz, best mate and co-host of our zero award winning podcast Fly On The Wall Podcast, joined me for the battle. 

He would be the Praetorian Guard who were also joined by the 701sf BannaRoff Guard. 

I was fielding the Zulu warriors. 

Objective: 

The game would last a total of five turns and my mission was to annihilate every trooper Warren had. His goal was to survive the five turns with at least one soldier. 

This was the first time I’d ever used movement trays and I’ve got to say it made life a hell of a lot easier. As you’ll see, I need to base the movement trays which is a failure on my part. 

The forces:

Praetorian Guard 

1 small contingent of BannaRoff 701st consisting of 11 soldiers, five cavalry all lead by Captain Flatley. 

2 ten man squads of Praetorian Guard soldiers

1 Praetorian Guard Command squad including Chard, Bromhead, Surgeon Reynolds, Kevin the Bugler and a few champions. 

Zulus

70 Unmarried Veterans 

40 Unmarried Reserves 

4 command including Dabulamanzi kaMpande on horseback 

The Drift: 

I set everything up to be historically correct (again). I get such a buzz from doing this haha, I can’t explain why. 

Here’s some shots of the drift before it’s filled with troops. 

Big Waz set a lot of his small force up around the compound trying to man the barricades as best he could but they were noticeably spread thin. 

I decided my main approach would be from the North-East but I also had several units coming from the North-West and one unit from the South-West. For now, I kept my reserves in reserve. 

Turn 1:

I rolled highest so I went first. In retrospect I would’ve preferred to have gone second ensuring I would have the final turn. 

I immediately moved up the unit in the South-West to take up position from behind some shrubs offering them some intermediate cover. They fired their old rifles and hurled some spears but failed to hit the few troops manning the mealie bag barricade. 

Next, I moved the same unit up to the barricade and by rolling a 5 they managed to pull down the stack of mealie bags allowing them access into the compound. With adrenaline pulsing through their veins the Zulu warriors set upon a couple of redcoats and hand to hand combat ensued. They killed the redcoats but a few brave warriors were cut down too and, unfortunately, they were unable to retreat. 

Big Waz ordered his troops to rebuild the mealie bag wall which they did in no time then he sent his BannaRoff Cavalry charging at the invaders caught behind the defences. They killed all ten of the Zulus and only lost one of their own. Feeling quite triumphant they leapt the barricades on the their chargers and crashed into the enemies lines in the North-West 

A good many Zulu warriors fell in the attack before another three of the cavalry were killed leaving only the bugler on horseback who retreated back to the relative safety of the barricades. 

Turn 2: 

Seeing that the storehouse and the west side of the drift wasn’t well manned a ten man unit of Zulus ran forward as fast as they could. Unable to break into the storehouse at first they, instead, fired at the redcoats through the window and killed three or four before smashing in and slaying the last trooper alive. They then ran through the storehouse and out into hellfire. 

Big Waz brought in two five man units who opened fire with volley after volley at the attackers bringing them all down in a flurry of gun smoke, screams and blood. 

Turn 3: 

Over on the North-East side of the fortified outpost I sent in another ten man unit to try and set fire to the hospital. Unfortunately they were unsuccessful in this but they did manage to break in and then engage in bloody hand to hand fighting with the hospitals occupants. Unfortunately the Praetorian Guard fought back hard and reduced my ten man squad down to three. 

These three busted out of the hospital and flung spears at the nearest troops and two BannaRoff Guardsmen fell. 

Captain Flatley, shocked but stoic took careful aim with his pistol and took down one of the Zulu warriors while his standard bearer, Private Dandy Andy, slaughtered the other two with his feathered standard. 

Big Waz then decided it was time to rally all the troops he had and positioned them in and around the redoubt over by the storehouse (I loved that he did this because it was historically accurate as Lieutenant Chard did exactly the same thing in 1879 at the real battle of Rorke’s Drift). 

Turn 4: 

Feeling somewhat desperate now, and knowing that the Zulu units in the North-East were too far away to be able to engage the enemy, I went back to probing from the North-West. I brought in two ten man reserve units and sent them charging at the barricades that were the least manned. At first they had trouble knocking the barricade down but finally got through and went on the attack. However the Praetorain Guard and what was left of the BannaRoff Guard were all waiting for them. 

The first unit of Zulus were absolutely obliterated by volley fire and then were viscously assaulted. The second unit faired better and took down half a dozen redcoats before they too were all killed in action. 

Turn 5: 

With the barricade still down I sent in one more unit of reserves as a last ditch attempt to kill the remaining men in the compound. They found themselves toe to toe with Lieutenant Chard, Captain Flatley, Dandy Andy and a couple of other soldiers. The fight was close and in the fracas Captain Flatley was slain. At one point Dandy Andy was seriously injured but thankfully Surgeon Reynolds was nearby to patch him up but no sooner had he returned to the fighting he was stabbed through the heart with an assagai and was killed.  

Several redcoats in the redoubt shot and killed the remaining zulus within the compound. 

Seeing that the fight was entirely fruitless the three Zulu units in the North-East turned and left the battle. 

Big Waz had his last few 10 – 12 men rebuild the barricade and then they waited silently through a long hot night and prayed that the Zulus did not return. 

Conclusion: 

Such a fun and succinct game that only took two hours to play. I loved that it played out fairly accurately to the real battle but it did leave us pondering how we could change the game for the next time(s). Despite not being a devoted gamer Big Waz is an ideas man and came up with some cool little things that could make the game all the more interesting. Such as making better use of the hospital and only releasing troops once they are healed and capable of fighting. Or the zulus purposely targeting ammo supplies thus limiting the firepower of the defenders. All good stuff. 

Cheers

IRO 

23 thoughts on “Rorke’s drift – Zulus Vs Praetorian Guard ”

  1. All looks really good and sounds like you both enjoyed it! 🙂 Games with two armies that have very different characteristics can be very difficult to balance, but it sounds like this one seemed to have its fair share of action and that the defenders were under quite a bit of pressure throughout.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. This is a great looking game and I’m glad to hear it was tense and well-fought. I have to admit, I had a chuckle when you were talking about how important historical accuracy is for you in this game. That might be the first time such a thing has happened on this blog but I’d say your games are better for it 🙂 Nobody can say that you don’t surprise us from time-to-time either!

    Liked by 1 person

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