Crossing the Buffalo

July 4, 2011 in Colonials, Sharp Practice

In preparation for our Big Game in September we played out the first proper game in the Chronicles of Ferguson of the 99th.
The plan is to carry over the big men from each scenario for the British which will allow us to add a little flavour to each encounter. So here goes Chapter One. Crossing the Buffalo.
Ferguson had been in Natal for less than a week when orders came from up the line.

He was to take his platoon and with a detachment of NNC and cross the Buffalo River to provide a covering screen for a company of Engineers who were testing the drift for a suitable crossing place for the wagons of Chelmsford’s invasion force.

It was not known how long the mission would last the Engineers would fire a yellow flare once they had completed their scouting mission.

Ferguson being a pragmatic man decided to take his full platoon as he had no knowledge of what lay over the river. Sergeant Taylor his no.2 was his usual self, he had been in country for several weeks and was keen to get a closer look at the mighty Zulu.

The British forces advanced on table masked by Blinds, with the NNC securing the left flank and sections 1-3 across the centre of the able.

Sergeant Williams of second squad was unwell, as usual he had put his belly before his head and was under the weather after eating some of the local muck. This caused him to miss a couple of turns as he would nip away for a constitutional on more than one occasion – That was to be the least of his worries.

On the Right Flank Lt Henshaw was his usual snooty self, strutting about the table barking orders.

The morning started well for Ferguson as they march on table Zulu’s were spotted to the right and left of the advancing British however the first concentration of Zulu’s on the bluff turned out to be merely a scouting party. A small group of rifle armed Zulu’s appeared on the left but their occasional rifle fire an no effect on the advancing British.

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On the left flank a concentration of Zulu’s rushed down the bluff head start for Sergeant Williams Section and Ferguson who had attached himself to the section. A number of Volley’s crashed into the Zulu but they were simply to numerous and they drove into the British Section, first to fall was Williams who was otherwise engaged when the Zulu hit home.

The section fought back killing a number of Zulu’s. Ferguson threw himself into the melee in attempt to turn the tide but was over come by Zulu’s with a blow to the head, his efforts were not in vain as the remaining Zulu’s withdrew.

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Whilst the 99th were engaged to their front a number of Zulu’s burst from the grass land and charged head log into the NNC, they hoped that a full volley would be enough to slow the Zulu their poor fire only served to slow the Zulu advance for a few moments.

Faced with odds of 3:1 they at first waiver’d then broke head back across the Buffalo carrying Sergeant Taylor the platoons’ senior NCO with them.

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Taylor recovered his wits and broke away from the fleeing NNC with intention of saving the remaining men of 1 section who were now leaderless, reinforced by dutch courage borrowed from the quartermaster he ran back towards the now isolated section only to trip and fall knocking himself out for a round…..

The survivors of 1 Section were over ran by the main Zulu body.

On the right flank Lt Henshaw began to engage the Zulu skirmish line whilst at the same time turned 2 section to fire on the now advancing Zulu’s victors of the melee with the NNC, a number of long range volley’s were enough to force them backwards with the accumulated shock from a number of turns of melee and long range rifle fire.

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As a yellow flare was seen in the early morning sky, the Zulu’s began to fall back have leaving the field to the British who began task of seeing to their wounded and checking to see if their were any survivors of 1 section.

The flanking mission had been a success but at what cost?

Medical report to follow shortly.

 

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