The Drift 1879 – AAR – Part 2

We left the lads in the 24th Regiment of Foot in a bit of a predicament last time. The Zulu’s were at the South Wall of the Drift, and we’d lost a good few men at the point of some Zulu spears.

As a second company of Zulu’s hit the wall, I get the men to form up as tight as possible on the South Wall.

Brace yourselves boys!

Give them the cold steel!

On Turn 21, with the estimated attack odds of 2/1, I decide to order a bayonet thrust, as the Zulus hurriedly clamber over the mealie bag perimeter wall.

The bayonet defense is a disaster! My men are parried with shield and stuck deep with Assegai, their blood deepening the scarlet colour of their redcoats.

Sergeant Dalton orders a sturdier bayonet defense! “Don’t let these buggers in lads!” At a slightly higher estimated attack odds of 3/1 my boys lunge forward with their rifles and their steel.

This time our attack succeeds, and the dead Zulu’s lie across the mealie bags like marionettes with their strings cut, helplessly moaning, writhing and bleeding.

The men on the right flank step into the gap and attack the assaulting Zulus again. Thrusting for their lives.

Another successful defense, the Zulu breach is held back once more. But at what cost?

We’ve lost three good men to Zulu spear. However we have killed an extra 12 Zulu’s in the process.


Turn 22 sees another push from the Left Horn towards the Kraal. The firing line holds them back, for now.


Constant fire from the South Wall in front of the Hospital sees the Zulus in the Right Horn disrupted and routed.


Without any more casualties a further 12 Zulus are slain. Slowly eating away at their numbers, but they are so many!!


Once again, on Turn 23, the defensive line firing from the Kraal wall routs most of the advancing Left Horn.


The Chest sends another horde of Zulus to charge the North Wall. The open ground they have to cover to get to the wall goes against them, and our firing lines can disrupt some formations on the way in.

Looking at the overview on Turn 23, you can see we’re being surrounded on all sides, Chest coming from the North, Left Horn from the West (although they are routing and in trouble), whereas the Reserve and the Right Horn provide a broad advancing front coming in from the South. And lets not forget the harassing fire from the snipers on the bluffs to the North.


By Turn 24, the Chest falters before it reaches the Drift. The carnage left from previous Zulus, also hinders their progress through hails of bullets from our Martini-Henry’s.

We’ve lost four more men to Zulu rifle/musket and sniper fire. But we’ve clocked another 20 Zulu’s in the process.

On Turn 25, rallied, the Left Horn tries a cunning sweep Northwards as well as breaching the Kraal to try and throw our men off guard.


Fortunately the “L” formation the men adopted held fast, and the fire I was able to lay down, stalled and routed the Zulu advance.


The Zulus push towards the South Wall once again. It’s a disconcerting sight to behold, a long line of chanting, stomping Zulus charging across the track and grasslands, thumping spears, firing rifles and advancing regardless of casualties taken. Brave warriors these men are.


The men I can cluster on the South Western corner manage to hamper and weaken  the Reserve, leaving them in routed tatters.


Another 19 Zulus have fallen to the ground never to stand proudly again. We’re holding, just about.


By Turn 26 events take a turn for the worse, and the Right Horn have clambered up the rocky ledges to get to the mealie bag Southern wall. Darting spears come stabbing over the wall.

And poor Sergeant James Dalton is taken down.

We lose 4 men including Sgt Dalton in that melee without managing to take a single Zulu warrior with us.


In a desperate retaliatory attack, the men of the 24th foot lunge and swipe at the incoming Zulu warriors of the Right Horn. With estimated attack odds of 4/1 things look good on this counter attack.


And the Zulus who slay Dalton are left for dead on the wall. The lads give a cheer!


5 Zulus drop in that attack. And the remaining Zulus in the Right Horn are disrupted or routed by subsequent fire.

By Turn 29, we have another attack from the Chest, the Left Horn and the Reserve. The Right Horn having limped back is presumably steeling itself for another wave.


This time the Left Horn stands off and fires into the compound, disrupting two companies of men. I pull them back from the wall, in the hope they will rally next turn. Meanwhile a rather enthusiastic Zulu group make it into the Kraal perimeter.

The push from the Chest, disrupts my men on the Northern Wall, mainly with rifle and musket fire, but now they are close they pelt the redcoats with thrown Assegai. Things are looking bleak on the North wall.


However,  on Turn 30, I bring Chard up and after a rally, the men pull it together and manage to loose many a volley of fire to rout most of the incoming Chest warriors.


Another rally brings the Kraal men together, and they manage to disrupt and rout the Left Horn once again. Many breathe a momentary sigh of relief.


Another 3 Brits drop, but we manage to take a staggering 29 Zulus with us.

Turns 31 through to 33 see a brief calm in the battle, the men rally, and ammo up, readying themselves for more. It would be foolish to hope for an end to this carnage just yet.

By Turn 34 though, the Zulu Prince has ordered renewed attacks from the Left Horn, the Reserve and the Right Horn.


Turn 35 sees the Left Horn determined to breach the Kraal and they do so.

The corner facing the dirt track up to the Drift has a decent spread of men, so the withering fire manages to rout the Reserve before they can get near.


By Turn 36, the Zulus in the Kraal have been routed. I’ve been saved more than once by this trusty defensive structure. I hope it can hold future incursions.

The unrelenting fire is taking its toll on the Zulus having lost 30 more warriors in these last skirmishes. We’ve managed to dodge taking any casualties this time.

By Turn 38, most of the previous attacks have been dissipated. However, the Chest makes another go of it.

As the Chest charges once again, I bring Chard back up to rally the men and command them to hold the line once more! The disrupted Zulu group panic before firing.

On Turn 39, the Chest maintains its push though, and manages to get a group of warriors around the right hand side and up to the walls of the Hospital building.

More Zulu casualties, around 11 downed. No British Casualties. We’re holding!

By Turn 40, it’s clear the Chest have been beaten back once again. Even the Zulus at the Hospital wall have been routed with glancing shots from our North wall and shots coming from inside the Hospital itself. We have wounded men, crouching at windows, aiming as best they can. The Best of British.

Coming to the close of Turn 40, we have malingering attacks from both the Horns, the Left and the Right. Without a Chest or Reserve to back them up, I’m hoping we can keep them at a distance and avoid any more Spear and Bayonet clashes across soiled mealie bags.

We’ve maintained zero casualties for a few turns now, and we’ve eeked another 7 Zulu dead from the numbers. It’s not a lot, compared to what is sitting in the long grass on the hills surrounding the Drift, but at this point in time, we’re holding the place, just about.

Here’s hoping for some re-inforcements soon.

The men of the Drift need some relief.


Join me next time to see how the attacks develop.

[On to Part 3]



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Ian Bowes / spelk