The Drift 1879 – AAR – Part 3

Well, our boys were thinning out slowly, but taking a lot of Zulu Warriors with them. The Drift is still under heavy attack as we join the lads, back in the heat and dust of one of the bravest Last Stand’s in the history of the British Army.

By Turn 41, the tenacious Left Horn makes another push on the Kraal. The concentrated fire coming from the defensive stone wall inside the Drift coupled with the horror of having to clamour over the carnage of your fallen brothers leaves many Zulu’s routed before they enter the Kraal itself.

By Turn 42, with additional redcoats forming at the Kraal inner wall, the punishment on the way in, is just too much for some and the Zulu Left Horn routs.

Checking the numbers, by Turn 42 the British haven’t lost any more men, but the Zulu’s have lost another 12 men in the failed attacks.

By Turn 43, the Left Horn has rallied and reinforced and are ready for another push. They are relentless in their attacks, regardless of casualties.

 

A Malingering Right Horn push finally falters before they reach the plateau.

Looking at the overview on Turn 43, we can see the Left Horn’s attack in progress along with a gathering attack from the Chest. Don’t forget the odd sniper fire from the Zulu rifles on the crags to the North!

Two more Zulu’s are downed by successful British fire.

Turn 44 has the Chest rushing the Northern wall. Chard is there, giving measured commands to the soldiers. The troops are beginning to settle into a killing routine, whereby the volley is held slightly too long, to allow the maximum devastation as the Zulu’s come closer into range. Their speeding charge wading through the blood and bodies of their culled brothers.

As the Left plods forward, taking brutal fire from the Kraal, many are disrupted and routed before they reach the carnage laden slopes up to the outer wall. Martini Henry rifles stationed defensively behind that wall, can pelt them before they can loose their assegai’s and the wall itself provides very effective cover from the Zulu’s sporadic, hasty and often inaccurate rifle fire.

 

As the smoke settles, the Zulu waves from the Left Horn and Chest are thinned to become ineffective stragglers.

The Chest takes a particular beating and most are routed long distance.

 

By Turn 45, without another single British casualty, we take another 20 Zulu’s to their barren graves.

There is a brief lull in the assault, until Turn 45 when the Reserve come out into the open, along with yet another push from the Left Horn.

As they both charge, fire from the Kraal and the Southern wall (near the dirt track) disrupts the Zulu’s and even routs a number of them.

By Turn 48, the Right Horn has joined with the Reserve in pushing an attack on the South Wall. I bring Chard down to command the men stationed there. The medic helps keep morale around the dirt track wall.

No sooner had the Right Horn make an appearance, than another Chest wave begins its push. I think the Prince is trying to draw men away from one wall and then simultaneously assault the weaker side. They are testing our sides with their bodies.

Again, no more British losses, but 11 more Zulu’s down. I think we’re holding Sarge! If we can maintain this sort of killing rate, perhaps we’ll survive? How many more can they throw at us?

On Turn 49, when I’m distracted the Left Horn manage to flank Northwards and get Zulu’s to the wall near the Storehouse. My concern is palpable, if they torch the Storehouse, or jump into the inner compound, things could get nasty quickly.

Assessing our desperate situation, you can see all sides are engaged. Have I got enough men to cover it?

The company stationed next to the Storehouse wall, is ordered to “let them have it boys!”. With Attack Odds of 5/1 its looking good for the bayonet attack.

As the Zulu’s try to vault the stone wall, they tumble onto the British soldiers and their bayonets, a determined thrust is enough to gut even the most agile and persistent Zulu Warrior. The Zulu’s are slain and the walls are safe again. For now.

The Reserve have slipped up the dirt track and reached the wall there. Throwing spears and disrupting, then routing the British men stationed on that corner. They’re at the Southern Wall, and I have disrupted and routing men. I thought I had the Reserve covered!

I bring a man across to cover the track corner and add fire support, luckily a quick rally sees the routing men come back to their senses and maintain defensive integrity along that wall. The resultant erratic fire sees the Zulu’s routed before they get in. A brief sigh of relief goes around the inner compound.

By Turn 50, Chard’s men are spaced well along the South wall and it seems to be holding the remnants of the Reserve and the Right Horn. Volley’s hitting them well before they get anywhere near the wall itself.

The Chest are pummelled heavily by ranked fire, the majority of the attack is routed en route. Intermittent fire from the patients in the Hospital is very welcome. Each and every man, no matter his condition, is engaged in making this stand a defiant one.

By Turn 50, we have dropped another 33 Zulu’s but we’ve lost 4 men ourselves this time. Mainly down to melee. If the Zulu’s get anywhere near the wall, we pay the price with blood.

In the routing excitement, I fail to notice a singleton group from the Chest worm their way around the side and onto the Northern wall! The stragglers that our volley’s miss are becoming a big problem for me.

Time for the Cold Steel.

The odds are not brilliant at 3/2, but we’re desperate here to keep them out of The Drift. The Redcoats lunge over the lagered wagons.

Luckily, we manage to slay all Zulu invaders before they can jump into the compound itself. The remaining Chest look on.

Those persistent Zulu’s in the Left Horn make another move for the Kraal. I have a large proportion of my men stationed in the inner compound walls now. My men are desperately knocking rounds out as quick as they can. If we can just keep the pressure up.

 

Although disrupted a Zulu group from the Left Horn manages to clamber into the Kraal itself.

 

Firing by rank, we rain bullets down on the cowering Zulu’s unable to find any cover inside of the Kraal itself. We break, rout and disrupt in equal measure.

The Southern wall holds, and the attack from the Right Horn is finally repelled.

By Turn 54, the overview shows the Left and Right Horn attacks breaking up, with the Chest scattered and in disarray.

With the loss of another 5 men, we’ve managed another 32 Zulu’s killed. Our losses are getting serious now, it seems every wave we have, another one or two men are lost. I can see the concern on Chard’s face.

The Chest charges the wall!

I bring Chard up to command the men. If only Gonville were here, Chard wouldn’t be so hard pressed on all sides. Our desperate volley’s manage to put paid to the Chest charge again. Most of them are routed.

16 more Zulu’s are dead from the Northern wall fire. The Martini Henry’s are becoming hot to hold. Men are wrapping rags and torn tunic straps around the guns just to hold them.

The stubborn Left Horn inside of the Kraal, rushes forward, but is forced back into a rout by rapid fire.

By turn 56 a good number of the incoming Zulu groups have disbanded.

Turn 57 on to 58 sees a lull in the action. A respite for the men. The medic passes water, rations and ammo around the men.

As Turn 59 crests the wave, I move Chard into place on the Southern Wall to meet a renewed Right Horn advance. They’re not done yet! Keep firing!

With a bolstered morale, having had a brief rest, the men fire sharper for longer and manage to rout the Right Horn and force them back.

We lose one man to Zulu rifle fire into the compound, but take 7 more Zulu’s out, with constant volleys.

By Turn 60, we have another Left Horn rush on the Kraal. They fire rifles as they speed in, spread out well this time. I fear they’re going to attempt to come at us from many sides of the Kraal to dilute the fire by direction. A lucky shot or two manages to rout one of our companies on the defensive line.

This bitter fight isn’t over yet..

 

Join me and the lads next time, to see how we hold up. Pray to your Gods for us.

[On to Part 4]