“You will be in charge, although of course nothing will happen.”
- Maj. Spalding to Lt. Chard
In a smoky cinema in Gloucester, I saw the film Zulu and was bitten. Back then, in the 60’s, the selection of model figures was lamentably small, but from a distance, an Airfix WW1 German Infantryman with his pickle halbe painted white, and his tunic painted red just about passed as a redcoat – but Zulus?
When Nathan said he was putting on the Rorke’s Drift scenario at the club, I jumped at the chance. He has an enviable Anglo Zulu War collection and it was a real pleasure to be able to play with it.
In the scenario, the British have thirty-two regular infantrymen made up of six companies of eight figures. In addition, they have Surgeon Reynolds and his hospital corps, who can patch up the wounded and send them back to the barricades, a number of non-combatants, who can carry the wounded to the hospital corps, and of course, character figures including among others, Colour Sergeant Bourne, Sergeant Williams and Lieutenants Chard and Bromhead, not forgetting Pip, the dog.
The Zulu forces consisted of four amabutho (regiments), the iNdluyengwe, uDloko, uThulwana and iNdlondo, made up of between three and five izigaba (a division or group of related companies) making a total of – well, Fousands of em'...
Just then a cry went up.
In the end though, you run out of space and you have to face the music. None of us had played these rules before but they were quick to pick up and the game bowled along with minimum explanation required from Nathan, whose umpiring decisions did much to enhance the game. Imagine what we would have missed if the Zulus had followed the rules and stayed off the roofs. No ‘Zulus in the loft, Sir.’