Friday, 16 November 2012

Battle of Rorke's Drift part 2 The Initial Attack.

The narrative in this week's instalment has been taken mainly from the excellent Osprey Campaign Book Rorke's Drift 1879 by Ian Knight. Any errors and mistakes of course, by yours truly.

Rorke's Drift part two - THE INITIAL ATTACK.

Time 4.30pm. From the store-house the garrisons lookout could see the Zulus, the iNdluyengwe approach from the Southern flank of the Shiyane Hill. They advanced rapidly to attack, fanning out into their usual crescent attack formation. There were perhaps 500 or 600 of the iNdluyengwe in this first rush. Chard gave the order to open fire at about 500 yds range. (film quote - "North ramparts stand fast, South ramparts at 100yds volley fire, present, fire". I think it was Michael Caine - Bromhead who shouted out this command in the film?)
The attack did not falter until it pressed close to the buildings, and Chard thought for a moment that nothing would stop them.

 However, at just 50 yds from the rear wall they were caught in a heavy crossfire from the buildings and the attack stalled.

Large numbers of warriors threw themselves down in the grass and wriggled forward to take possession of the cover offered by the cook-house, ovens and ditch, from here they opened a heavy fire on the back wall at just a few yards range.

Checked at the rear of the post, most of the iNdluyengwe veered to their left, passed round the end of the hospital, and poured into the bush at the front of the post.

From here, scarcely pausing to regroup, they launched the first of a series of attacks on the front of the hospital, and it immediately became apparent that this was the post's weak-spot. The Zulus were able to advance under shelter of long grass and bush up to a few feet away from the inadequate barricade. (Due to running out of time before the battle began, the defenders were unable to clear a field of fire, also this point in front of the hospital was the furthest away from the storehouse for the men to drag the heavy bags.)
Despite a heavy fire poured into them at close range, they rushed right up and engaged the defenders hand to hand.

This first rush was driven back by a squad of men in a bayonet charge led by Lieutenant Bromhead and Colour-Sergeant Bourne.

NEXT WEEK ................ THE MAIN ATTACK.

The main Zulu body come into sight and sweep round the front of the hospital ...........


  1. Cor, SW! Very imppressive collection and photography. Cast of thousands...

  2. You're doing a great job! Can't wait to see the next episode!
    Thanks for sharing!


  3. Gobsmakingly Amazing!!!! The film is one of my all time favourites and this is one of my all time favourite "wargames". Bloody brillaint mate!!

  4. Zulu's 100's of em...

    just Wonderful to look at again Pat , thanks

  5. Oh my days this is Wargames Porn mate :D

  6. There's thousands of 'em!
    Pure brilliance mr Smith :)

  7. So very very very jealous. Well done, Chaps!

    - D.

  8. Now I of course I have a well thumbed edition of the same Osprey title, but your photographs just bring the pages to life - just absolutely brilliant Pat.

  9. Wonderful wonderful photos Pat. Have to agree with FoW " Wargames porn"!

  10. What a great wargame! The zulu mass is awesome!

  11. Fantastic photos and post, looking forward to the main attack!

  12. WoW! That's the first thing that comes to mind! Awesome pics and great storytelling!


  13. I hope you don't mind, but I have to choose five of my favorite blogs to give the Liebster Blog Award to and you are one of those five! There are absolutely no strings attached, awkward questions to answer or any obligation to take part on your part. I hope to post my chosen 5 tomorrow.

    1. Michael, I am very honoured that you think my blog is one of your favourites when there are so many fantastic blogs out there, yours included.
      I must admit I have never heard of the Liebster Blog Award but then this blogging thing is fairly new to me and I am a bit of a dinosour, but your considering my blog is reward enough.
      Many thanks,

  14. Truly brillant Pat really enjoying these posts!

    Best wishes


  15. I'm really enjoying these posts Pat, thanks!!

  16. Pat congratulations on your blog deserve got a fantastic blog

  17. Not my period but this looks really good - and very scary for the redcoats! There really are "thousands of 'em!"
    Have fun,

  18. A minor thing that doesn't effect the game but will change more than a thousand perceptions, that little so called cooking hut that the Zulus took shelter behind was not a cooking hut as millions were led to believe. The Cooking was done on two massive pots on a trailer right up to the great War. That little stone hut , yes you guessed it was a drop box shit hole , Victorian times had respect, Officers used the Storeroom toilet and that for the soldiers . This could be the very first time ever that anybody questioned this ....SA Rorkes Drift researcher Shiloh Noone