'Isandlwana - The Thin Red Line' - A 19th century battle mod (ver 0.2)
Medieval goes Victorian. Well, sort of ... what started as a small attempt to just change some minor things became bigger and bigger and is now a mod around the disastrous Battle of Isandlwana, where an invading British force was annihilated by a Zulu army in 1879.
For the latest news and info on the mod and the Anglo-Zulu War please check out my website http://thinredlinemod.blogspot.com/.
Content & features list
III. Installation & Download
IV. Gaming Notes
VIII. History / Info
IX. Known issues
X. Teaser Video (by naxzul666)
XI. Historical FAQ
XIII. Tactical map of the battlefield
XIV. Version History [section added]
XV. CAMPAIGN! [section added]
XVI. Signatures [section added]
I. Features - based on Kingdoms (i.e. you need at least one campaign of the Kingdoms: expansion installed)
- more than a dozen historically accurate new models and many more with different textures
- all individual British units that took part in the battle down to company/troop level
- all individual Zulu units that took part in the battle down to regimental level
- authentic unit stats
- 'improved' reloading animation for (dismounted!) riflemen
- new menu, loading screens, quotes, music and such like
- new unit cards, units info cards and interesting unit descriptions
II. Units 1.) British & Colonial Units
- Col. Pulleine and Bodyguard (1/24th Foot)
- Col. Durnford (R.E.) with NNMC Troop
- Lt. Francis Porteous' A Coy (1/24th Foot)
- Capt. Reginald Younghusband's C Coy (1/24th Foot)
- Lt. Charles Cavaye's E Coy (1/24th Foot)
- Capt William Mostyn's F Coy (1/24th Foot)
- Capt. George Wardell's H Coy (1/24th Foot)
- Lt. Charlie Pope's G Coy (2/24th Foot)
- Lt. Curling's Division, ('N'/5th R.A.)
- Maj. Russel's 9 Pdr. Rocket Battery, (11/7th)
- Imperial Mounted Infantry Squadron No.1 (Detail)*
- Natal Mounted Police (Detail)*
- Buffalo Border Guard (QM MacPhail's Detail)*
- Natal Carbineers (Lt. Scott's Detail)*
- Capt. Bradstreet's Newcastle Mounted Rifles (Detail)*
- Capt. Krohn's Coy No. 6 (1/3rd, Natal Native Contingent)
- Capt. Stafford's E Coy (1/1st, Natal Native Contingent)
- Zulu Coy (2/3rd, Natal Native Contingent)
- Lt. Raw's Zikhali Horse Troop No. 1 (Natal Native Mounted Contingent)*
- Lt. Robert's Zikhali Horse Troop No. 2 (Natal Native Mounted Contingent)*
- Lt. Vause' Zikhali Horse Troop No. 3 (Natal Native Mounted Contingent)*
*Units available mounted and dismounted
2.) Zulu Units
- inGobamakhosi ibutho warriors
- uMbonambi ibutho veterans
- uVe ibutho warriors
- umKhulushane ibutho veterans
- isAngqu ibutho veterans
- umCijo ibutho elite warriors
- umHlanga ibutho warriors
- uDududu ibutho warriors
- uNokhenke ibutho elite warriors
- uThulwana Mounted Scouts
- uDloko ibutho warriors
- inDluyengwe ibutho veterans
- iNdlondlo ibutho warriors
- Iziduna Ntshingwayo kaMahole Khoza with elite bodyguard
- Iziduna Dabulamanzi kaMpande with elite bodyguard
Iziduna = commander
ibutho = regiment
Note: Many units use the same soldier model.
Battle Screen Example (GUI)
III. Installation & Download (Link!) Download from Hotfile via TWC (121 MB):
- there's no installer and you need Kingdoms
- just unpack the zip-file into your medieval folder (i.e. \Medieval II Total War)
- navigate to: mods\ThinRedLine\
- click 'ThinRedLine.bat' to start
That said, I didn't test the mod on any other pc than my own (Athlon 64 - 3200+, 2,x Ghz, 2 GB RAM Win7 (64)), so please tell me here if something doesn't work and your specs. For a sometimes occuring steam issue read section IX.
Natal Native Mounted Contingent Troopers with their European NCO (extreme left: a Natal Carbineers NCO)
IV. Gaming notes 1. Play on 'huge' for historically correct unit sizes.
2. Pre-configured battles (no actual recreation of battlefield)
a) Variant 1: Pulleine/Durnford vs. whole Zulu force (correct unit size for the British)
b) Variant 2: Pulleine/Durnford vs. whole Zulu force (correct ratio)
3. Quite fitting maps
- Sea of Grass
Imperial Mounted Infantry Troopers
V. FAQ 1. Why is the installation file so big (almost 300 MB unpacked)? It's just a battle mod?!?
Frankly, I'd like to know that for myself but the game isn't known for being particulary ressourceful. And changing just one animation, for example, demands for the whole animation pack to be rebuilt and included. And so on ...
2. Can I use your models, textures, whatever?
Yes. No restrictions. But don't be a dick and claim stuff as your own.
3. Will there be a campaign?
I won't lie to you and although I have a decent map and a little other stuff, the answer is [edit: probably] no. The effort to re-skin, let alone re-model the buildings in 19th century colonial style would be insane. Your best bet here is to hope for the 'African Conquest: Total War'-mod to be finished ... [edit: Please see section XV. Campaign]
4. Will there be some historic battle?
My computer is completely underpowered to make own battle maps and sadly I found nobody to help me make a map. Also, the regular total war battle map is way to small to accomodate all troops if placed in historically correct positions.
But if time allows and I can get hold of a better pc I'll do it or if you want to give it a try be my guest.
5. C'mon, how authentic are these models really, eh?
For the British authenticity is at a guesstimated 85 to 99 percent (depending on unit). The Zulus are improved vanilla models but have authentic shield patterns/colours and weaponry. Of course, the artillery guns and rocket battery are (still!) medieval style.
6. This is a Beta. What about further development/debugging?
I've just no time. There are still things that should be improved (e.g. the horrible menu colour scheme, arggh..) but won't unless someone else is going to do it. Feel free to do so ...
7. Hm, ok, but why should I download this then?
Errr, tough question. If you are not a fan, it's probably nothing for you. Maybe just read into some of the period eyewitness accounts linked to in VIII and you might get hooked.
VI. Credits - Burrek's blood and dirt mod
- Alpaca's base folder
- the team from 'Secession: Civil war' and it's mod for being a learning example
- lots of the advise to be found in the TWC wiki, the forums and elsewhere
- and those I forgot ...
VII. Screenshots, quotes and 2D-Art
' This force marched out from camp as soon as there was light enough to see the road. '
Maj Clery, Senior Staff Officer to the 3rd Column, on the division of the force
' They disappeared over a ridge, and on coming up we saw the Zulus, like ANTS, in front of us [...] .'
J.N. Hamer, a civilian transport officer, who accompanied a NNMC cavalry troop
' Report just come in that Zulus are advancing in force from the left front of the camp (8.5 am). '
Message from Col Henry Pulleine to Lord Chelmsford
' [...] the mounted force held most tenaciously, every shot appearing to take effect. '
J.A. Brickhill, an Isandlwana Survivor, about the white mounted force at Isandlwana.
' The enemy advancing still, we began firing case, but almost immediately the infantry were ordered to retire. '
Lt Curling's 7-pounder guns shelling the uNokhenke regiment
' Come in every man, for God's sake! The camp is surrounded, and will be taken unless helped at once. '
Message to Lord Chelmsford from Commandant Hamilton-Brown, advancing towards the camp
' All is as bad as it could be. '
Remark of Lieutenant-Colonel Russell after returning from the battlefield
2. Unit info cards
3. Banner textures
4. New face textures
VIII. Further info and cool web ressources 1. Cool period stuff (free available online)
Colenso, Frances E.: History of the Zulu war and its origin. (1880)
It's well written and gives a great insight. Has much and detailed information on all British troops involved in the Anglo-Zulu War.
Also quite interesting; written by a colonial commandant participating in the campaign.
Hamilton-Browne, G.: A lost legionary in South Africa. (1912)
Written by one of the officers who commanded the force at Rorke's Drift
Chard, J.: The defence of Rorkes drift. (1879)
Mitford, Bertram: Through Zulu Country. Its battlefields and people. (1883)
Chadwick, G.A.: The Battle of Isandlwana and the defence of Rorkes drift. (1978)
Holt, H.P.: The Mounted Police of Natal (1913)
An online museum of authentic Victorian-era British military photographs.
Testimonies of the surviving officers of the force engaged at Isandlwana
2. Websites and modern articles
The list of casualties
Notes on the Composition of the British Force at Isandlwana by Lt. Col. Mike Snook
3. Some fine youtube clips
Some footage from history channel documentary
Zulu Dawn (1979) - The movie on Youtube
Teaser picture: Mounted Police, Natal Volunteer Corps and British Line infantry firing volleys at the 'chest' of the Zulu formation
IX. Known issues This section will be updated regularly.
So far two persons have reported being unable to get the mod to work. Cause is unknown but both cases seem rather to be connected with a known steam issue which prompts an error message like this "This game is currently unavailable, please try again later". I can't give any advise on this but using the search function gives some ideas to solve the problem.
According to MarechalSoult "you just simply need to make sure the game/launcher is switched off via your processors, otherwise you are still counted as playing the game"
X. Teaser Video This Video was kindly made by Naxzul666
XI. Historical FAQ (What happened and why) 1. Who were the main protagonists?
The British invaded Zululand in three columns with some additional (mostly native) forces as a quick reserve staying behind. The supreme commander Lord Chelmsford went with the ill-fated centre column. At the day of the battle he left the camp with half of the force leaving Colonel Pulleine in charge. On orders of Chelmsford, Pulleine was reinforced by Colonel Durnford just before the battle commenced. The Zulu overall commander was Ntshingwayo kaMahole Khoza.
2. Did the Zulus have much rifles?
It is purported sometimes that the Zulus had thousands of even modern guns. Which is untrue as the following statement of Horace Smith-Dorrien a surviving officer proves.
"It was a marvellous sight, line upon line of men in slightly extended order, one behind the other, firing as they came along, for a few of them had firearms."
Firearms were also no part of the Zulu military doctrine and considered dishonourable. Under King Shaka's reign the Zulu warriors were even prohibited to throw their assegais (an thrusting spear). And the few Zulus who actually had rifles were generally deemed poor shots by the British.
3. Was the place of the camp poorly choosen?
Not really. From all the places available this was certainly one of the best. Clear and wide firing areas to three sides and a solid almost unsurmountable hill on the fourth side.
4. Why wasn't the camp laagered (i.e. fortified in a wagon fort)?
Many of the surviving officers afterwards blamed either the supreme commander Lord Chelmsford or camp commandant Colonel Pulleine for failing here. It was indeed a standard regulation by Chelmsford himself that a laager had to be established. However, the men were tired of repairing the road and the continuous marches and small fights. Also, the mounted scouts had found no immediate threat in the vicinity and the camp was supposed to be only temporary.
5. Wasn't the battle lost because of the troops not getting their ammunition quickly enough?
A soldier carried around 70 rounds with him which would've been spent fairly quick. But it is concluded that while Durnford's mounted troops outside the camp on the right flank probably ran out of ammunition the troops in the camp did not. (At least not before the troops made their last stands in isolated pockets of resistance.) The dispute over troops not getting the ammo boxes to open is misleading either since it has been proven that these could be opened with a bayonet or similiar easily. Boxes opened in such a way have been found at the frontlines.
Nonetheless the British's ammunition wouldn't have lasted for ever. For example Pearson's No. 1 column, as his statement shows, was munitioned like this.
' We have in round numbers 1,200 rifles and 332 rounds of ammunition for that number, [...]. '
Assuming a similiar number available at Isandlwana would leave ammunition for
- 55 minutes (at a standard firing rate of six rounds per minute)
- 41 minutes (at a standard firing rate of eight rounds per minute)
- 28 minutes (at a maximum firing rate of twelve rounds per minute)
Even when not all troops did fight from the start one must keep in mind that the battle lasted several hours.
6. But weren't some troops refused ammunition because they were from a different unit?
In general not but some cases of Colonel Durnford's mounted troops are reported to have been refused since their carbines used a different type of rounds.
7. Why did the force divide at that fateful day?
In fact this is and was nothing really unusual but rather necessary to achieve any military objective at all. And detachments of the main force operated indepently from the main body from the first minute of the invasion. The evening before the battle a substantial number of Zulus came into contact with British advanced parties and it was decided to engage them the next day.
9. What was the Zulu battle tactic?
The Zulus would invariably attack in a formation sometimes called bull's head. Here the left and right flanks (the horns) would try to encircle the enemy, while the main body (the chest) would fiercely engange the enemy head-on. The reserve (the loins) would stay behind the chest and reinforce if necessary.
10. Why didn't Colonel Durnford's reinforcement stay in the camp to fortify with the infantry but rode out to engage the Zulus miles away from it?
The full extent of the attack was not known by then and when Durnford learned of a number of Zulus to the Northeast he decided to clear this area from them.
When he later reportedly wished to concentrate the force it was too late.
11. Did more officers die in the Battle than in Waterloo?
Nope, a completly wrong common myth.
12. Why don't the British infantrymen fire volleys in the mod? Didn't they in reality?
I tried but I don't know how to achieve this. Nonetheless, until short after Isandlwana the actual British firing drill was to give the order "at xy yards, ready...present!". Each soldier would then present his rifle and count silently to himself for a count of three. He would then discharge his weapon without any command to fire. The volleys, thus, would have been fairly less crisp than depicted in the movie.
The British adopted a "fire" command soon after, whereby the section leader had final authority as to whether or not to release the volley, depending on if there was still a target present.
13. Were the Zulu warriors ordered to spare the civilians lives?
It is sometimes written that King Cetshwayo ordered his warriors to spare the civilians and that some officers escaped because of them wearing black/blue patrol jackets thus being mistaken for civilians.
While Cetshwayo indeed didn't want to provoke the British more than necessary the people in the camp there certainly considered enemies as a whole. The more so as the European civilians were generally armed and fought in the battle.
14. Did the black auxiliaries flee cowardly from the battlefield?
Some in fact did but just the same as their white officers and NCO's so that at one point the regulars could only with difficulty been prevented from firing on them. It must be noted, though, that these auxiliaries were remarkebly poorly led, trained and equipped. On the other hand many of them showed great bravery and fought to the death with their white comrades and helped many of these to escape.
15. Did the black auxiliary troops escape by simply removing their red head bands and mingling with the Zulus?
While many might have tried that it is a common misconception that the black troops on both sides looked the same. To the European eye this was certainly the case but the black troops belonged mostly to different tribes, spoke other dialects, had different shield patterns and would've been recognizable by many small details to the Zulus.
16. Didn't the British companies have more troops, like hundred men? And why had G Company so much more men?
The supposed strength is almost never achieved in combat troops. So the numbers are correct for a unit in service at that time. G Company, on the other hand, which did belong to the 2nd batallion had remained in the camp because it was the picket of the previous day. It was reinforced by a section of A Company from the 2/24th and other rear details of this batallion.
XII. Realism of the Mod Is this mod harder than reality would've been? Not if you play the Zulus ...well, joking aside. Translating the actual conditions to the game is not possible. In reality the British knew of the enemy in their vicinity and were prepared in a way. Some elements of the Zulu army were over hours and constantly submitted to a murderous riflefire and artillery shelling over a distance of about two to three miles.
In the game the Zulus are quite close so it should be next to impossible to inflict even half as much casualties on them as back then. Roughly 1,000 dead and 2,000 wounded. But since the AI is pretty much stupid and, unlike their living counterparts, 'Total War'-Zulus don't take any cover, this is clearly not the case.
And that's even though I firstly "lowered" the firing rate for missile troops and second, limited rifles to 400 and carbines to about 150 (even less when mounted).
Another reason for this is the ammunition limit of 70 rounds for missile troops. Which means that at an actual average firing rate of 6-8 shots per minute all your rounds would be spent after a couple of minutes. (All this regardless of the fact that it was even possible to fire up to 12 rounds per minute with the Martini-Henry Rifle.)
A further discrepancy is of course the number of Zulus. At least twice as much (10,000-15,000) were engaged that day. To play in a ratio comparable to the actual conditions load the second pre-configured battle.
That said, I'll offer an alternative EDU with lowered unit stats for the Zulus soon and upload it here so everyone is satisfied.
XIII. Aerial / tactical map of the battlefield Due to the high resolution this image takes slightly longer to load (~4 MB).
Spoiler Alert, click show to read:
XIV. Version History ver 0.1
- some unnecessary files removed
- some descriptions fixed
- partly new music (some British marches)
- one new semi-historical unit for the British
ver 0.3 (dead end)
ver 0.4 (not released)
- more units and models added
- campaign map
- new descriptions, faction symbols and 2D-art
I know I said no campaign will be had but then I had some spare time and against better knowledge invested it in ... a campaign. Doh! Well, there's still a long way to go but here's some concepts and ideas as to what a future release might look like. (Please note that part of the UI is still the very "empire-ish" UI Radboud made for the African Conquest-mod which I happen to collaborate with)
So here it is ...
... the campaign map preview for ... :
New Splash screen
The campaign map in the contemporary geopolitical context
Featuring authentic characters in rare original photographs in historic places, ...
.. real historical places, named forts and landmarks, like Rorke's Drift, Isandlwana and Blood River, ... (no invisivble texture has been applied yet, quite obviously )
... real characters with photos, lots of interesting info and the correct units under their command
.. real landmarks, realistic ressources in the correct places and character and village names, which had been almost forgotten, for the Zulu faction.
The Colony of Transvaal ... will the Boers side with the Empire to conquer the land of the Zulu or use the opportunity to get rid of the English?
Join the invasion and accompany Colonel Pearson's coastal column with the Naval Brigade!
Four factions: Zulu Kingdom, British Empire, Swazi Kingdom and the Colony of Transvaal
well then, enjoy the mod ....