Battle of Ulundi by Brian Palmer (P)
After coming out of the British Square The 17th Lancers charge by the 58th Regiment. The Battle of Ulundi took place at the Zulu capital of Ulundi on 4th July 1879. Ulundi became the last battle to be fought during the Zulu war and the British victory finally broke the military power of the Zulu Nation. The battle began at 6 a.m. when Buller led out an advance guard of mounted troops and South African irregulars. The British force comprised of five companies of the 80th regiment in square in four ranks, with two Gatling Guns in the centres, two 9-pounders on the left flank and two 7-pounders on the right. The 90th Light Infantry with four companies of the 94th regiment made up the left face with two more 7-pounders. On the right face were the 1st Battalion of the 13th Light Infantry, four companies of the 58th Regiment, two 7-pounders and two 9-pounders. The rear face was composed of two companies of the 94th Regiment and two companies of the 2nd Battalion of the 21st Regiment. In the middle of the square were headquarters staff, No. 5 company of the Royal Engineers whhich was led by Lt John Chard who had commanded the troops at Rorkes Drift, the 2nd Native Natal Contingent, fifty wagons and carts with reserve ammunition and hospital wagons. Bullers horsemen protected the front and both flanks of the square. A rearguard of two squadrons of the 17th Lancers and a troop of Natal Native Horse followed. In total the British force stood at just over 5300 against the Zulu warrior regiments in total over 15000. The Zulu warriors charged again and again at the square but with the strong British firepower of tifle and gatling gun, they could not get close. As the Zulu warriors strength weakened, Lord Chelmsford ordered the cavalry to mount, and the 17th Lancers and the 1st Kings Dragoon Guards along with colonial cavalry were ordered to charge the now fleeing Zulus. The Zulus fled towards the high ground with the cavalry in pursuit. The Lancers were checked at the Mbilane stream by the fire of a concealed party of Zulus, causing a number casualties before the 17th Lancers overcame the Zulu resistance. The pursuit continued until not one living Zulu remained on the Mahlabatini plain, with members of the Natal Native Horse, Natal Native Contingent and Woods Irregulars slaughtering the Zulu wounded, done in revenge for the massacre at Isandlwana.