Sunday, 10 February 2019

The Men Who Would Be Kings: Isandhlwana - the Refight

So following our recreation of the heroic defence of Rorke's Drift on the 140th anniversary (plus one day) we rolled up at BIG the following Sunday for an all day refight of Isandhlwana!

Using The Men Who Would Be Kings again, we upped the force levels to 48 points and decided to use the Zulu regeneration rules that had worked well enough during the Rorke's Drift battle.

The 'Horns of the Buffalo' looked very intimidating to the thin red (and undercoat white) line...


I decided to try and get into stabby hand-to-hand combat as quickly as possible and advance At The Double, but some of my units were not too keen, notably on the left flank...


And those that advanced soon found themselves under fire by the 24th and George's Irregular Cavalry...


The attack on the left flank had turned into a bit of a mess with units getting Pinned.


Meanwhile the right flank was advancing more successfully...


...but the cannon fire and rifles of the 24th cut down many brave Zulu warriors!



On the left one unit managed to get in stabby assegai range...


...as did one on the right!


But both were repelled by the sharp bayonets of the 24th!


The Zulus drew breath and charged in again!


And managed to overrun the cannon which had been causing havoc in the Zulu ranks!


Whilst the left and right flanks of the Zulu attack had been badly whittled down by the accurate fire of the 24th (although the Zulu rifles Pinned the Natal Native Contingent after one round of fire), the "loins" in the centre were now in a position to bring numbers to bear...


...crashing into one of the units of the 24th in the centre...


...and pushing it back and Pinning it after inflicting six casualties!


Next turn more Zulus rushed in on the Pinned survivors...


...and wiped them out!

Suddenly the British line was split into two parts as the Zulus poured through the centre.


The battlefield was looking a lot emptier than when we started!


The Zulu rifles skirmished forward and managed to inflict two casualties on a unit of the 24th who then failed a Pin test (this made me smile as George's Mahdists do this to me all the time!)


This allowed a unit of Zulus to charge into the Pinned unit and inflict eight casualties!


On the left the Zulus charged in again...


...winning a round of hand to hand combat three to two!


The British defence was now badly compromised and the NNC kept failing Rally tests...


...before bottling it and running off completely without doing anything in the game!

Fortunately for George this didn't affect the remaining British who passed their Pinning tests...


...not that it made much difference for the two survivors of one unit who went down under a flurry of assegais!


As the battle entered its final phase, George had just two full units of the 24th left, the remnants of two others and his Irregular Cavalry....


The Zulus charged in on the right...


...and managed to kill nine of the British, Pinning the survivors, who went down next turn.


On the left the remaining full strength unit of the 24th faced another round of hand to hand combat against the Zulus...



... and forced them back following a drawn round of combat!

However by now it was just a numbers game and more Zulus charged in reducing the unit by another three...


Leaving just six brave soldiers facing the remaining Zulus...


...who killed another three and Pinned them.


Now it was just a case of mopping up the remnants of the British Army for the Zulus....


And one small group...


... after another fell to the might of the amaZulu!


George's Irregular Cavalry decided to retire from the battlefield, leaving it to the remnants of the Zulu army! (it is worth comparing this shot to the opening one of the game...)


So, as happened historically, Isandhlwana was a mighty Zulu victory, but not one without losing a lot of Zulu warriors.

This was the casualty table at the end of the game and doesn't show the units originally wiped out that were regenerated!


Overall this was a lot of fun to play and showed that despite being designed for smaller games, The Men Who Would Be Kings is a robust set of rules than can handle larger battles outside its remit with ease and, as both battles have shown, gives a decent historical result (and is just six quid currently in the Osprey sale!)




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