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Zulus at Balaclava

In the final battle of my gaming weekend, we played a Zulu’s vs British battle. The encounter was fictitious, although the battlefield layout was based loosely on the Battle of Balaclava from the Crimean War, with the Zulu’s playing the Russians. We have used this format of taking a battlefield from another period with great succes in our other games. It throws up some interesting problems for both players and of course some good talking points during and after the game!

Zulu’s scout the battlefield.

We also used the rules written by Andy Callan for Jacklex Miniatures ( Mark’s Company). They are available as a free download from the Jacklex site here:


Once again, Simon drew the short straw and was playing the defending British encampment. He was certainly low on manpower to defend the camp but help was on the way. The question was – would it arrive on time? The Zulu army consisted of 7 large regiments of 50 Zulu’s each. Although the units are huge compared with the British, the simple but clever morale rules help to even things out. The large Zulu units make the game look fantastic though and give some idea of scale as well as intimidating the opposition!

The battlefield set up

Mark had done a superb job in painting and organising all of the figures and of course supplied the scenery for the giant sized gaming table. To add some extra atmosphere, Mark put on the Soundtrack from the film Zulu, and with the two of us providing the Zulu war cries, it was game on!

The initial positions – the British defend their camp

The battle commenced with the Zulu’s left horn of two regiments entering the battlefield to attack the forward gun emplacements. The rest of the Zulus, would only arrive on the throw of a dice, the ‘Head’ of three regiments of Zulu’s being the next in turn. The first two regt’s of Zulus advanced at speed, quickly overwhelming the first gun emplacement, putting the supporting Native Natal contingent to flight and moving on to engage the next gun emplacement.

The Zulu’s charge the guns!
The gun emplacements are quickly overwhelmed
The British firing line advances but the Zulu’s move around the flank!

The victorious Zulu’s left one regiment engaging the remaining gun emplacement, whilst the other regiment, rushed down the left flank towards the British encampment. The three companies of British regulars were drawn towards the battle for the surviving gun emplacement. With hindsight, this was a rash move, as the other Zulu regiment scooted around the back of the hill covering the flank of the camp before any determined resistance could be organised. The Zulu’s poured into the camp, over running the limited defence and proceeded to loot . A Royal Navy detachment managed to get away and after some time they began to subdue the Zulu’s but the damage had been done.

The Zulu’s are in the camp!

The main bulk of the Zulu force ‘ the head and chest of the buffalo’ in the form of three addition regiments were now attacking over the front ridge and charging the forlorn British firing line. There was a glimmer of hope, The relief column had finally arrived and by a stroke of luck it was four companies of British regular infantry. They immediately formed a firing line and attempted to support their colleagues further out on the battlefield.

More Zulu’s are on the way!
Steady lads – open fire, mind your marks!
Reinforcements have arrived!
The Zulu’s charge in!

Alas, they were too late. the Zulu’s swarmed into the firing line and after a brutal fight, the line was broken, with the British forced into forming a defensive knot. More British reinforcements now arrived in the shape of the irregular cavalry and an artillery detachment but it was too little, too late. The British centre had been crushed and wiped out to a man. The camp had been looted and the supply base smashed, it was time for the Zulus to withdraw. Even better the Zulu’s had achieved this with just 5 of the 7 regiments available. The right horn of the Zulu army didn’t make it to the battle – perhaps they were diverted by the action at Rorkes drift….

The British crumble under the assault!
The survivors attempt a last stand.
The Zulu’s are victorious!
The British are overwhelmed…

It was also time for us to head for home after a fantastic weekend of gaming. Thanks again to Mark of Jacklex miniatures for not only hosting the games,providing us with superbly painted and organised armies but for his wonderful hospitality.


I hope that you all enjoy your hobby as much as I do – remember that our web site will have much of what you need! Click here to see our shop:


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Happy Modelling!