Zulu Army 1800-1850, Ancients
Carl Holliday

The Zulu army is a pet interest of mine, and I have over the past couple of years written a couple of experimental Lists, for use with WRG DBM/DBA, to play as an Ancient army. There are many problems involved with creating an army list, so I have decided to turn it into a National Project. In this and future issues Information and possible Army Lists will be published, until a working list can be finalised.

...a report by his 'Intelligence Department' - compiled mainly by a seasoned border agent named Bernard Fynney, who had a penchant for collecting facts about Zulu arms...

The Zulu army is drawn from the entire male population, every male between the ages of sixteen and sixty-five being called upon to serve without exception. The military force (ie the effective field force) consists of fourteen corps or regiments divided into wings, right and left, and the latter into companies. These, however, are not of equal strength, but vary immensely, even from ten to two hundred (men), according to the numerical strength of the corps to which they belong. In fact, the companies and regiments would be more correctly termed families, or clans, and each corps possesses its own military headquarters, or kraal, with the following hierarchy: namely, one commanding officer, or chief, or Induna-Yesibaya; one second-in-command, major, or Induna-Yohlangoti, who has charge of the left wing; two wing and company officers, according to the need of the battalion. As a rule, all these officers have command of men the same age as themselves, and the method of recruiting is as follows:

At stated and periodic intervals, usually from two to five years, a general levy takes place, when all the youths who happen at the time to have attained the age of fifteen are formed into a regiment and undergo a year's probation, during which time they are supposed to pass from boyhood to manhood. As the regiment becomes disciplined and seasoned, it receives large drafts from other corps, so that as the elders die out young men come in to fill the ranks. The entire Zulu army consists of thirty-three regiments, married or unmarried. No one in Zululand, male or female, is allowed to marry without the king's permission, and this is never granted till the men are forty years of age.(1) Then they have to shave the crown of the head, put a ring round it, and carry a white shield, in contradistinction to the unmarried regiments, who do not shave their heads, and who carry coloured shields. Many of these regiments are too young for active service, others are too old...

We have heard a great deal about the drill of these, but their movements, so far as we can learn, are few and very simple, but very quickly performed in their own way. They form circles of regiments in order to outflank the enemy. From this formation they break into columns of regiments, or companies, and from these into skirmishing order, with supports and reserves. The sole commissariat [logistical support] of the Zulu army consists of three or four days' grain, carried by the lads who follow each corps, and, if necessary, of a herd of cattle driven with each column.

Taken from: Lloyd, A. 1973. The Zulu War 1879. Hart-Davis, MacGibbon: London.

1. In fact, it was granted earlier, sometimes as an individual reward, occasionally to an entire regiment in token of meritorious service - Author.