A casual look at Tommy Atkins of the Victorian period gave little away about his fighting abilities. Standing 5´5" on average, and often shorter, he may or may not be able to read or write. This appearance was deceptive, however. The average British redcoat was the most dangerous animal in Africa, equipped as he was with the Martini-Henry breech-loading rifle which he was capable of firing 15 times a minute out to 1200 yards range in volley fire if needs be.
His legendary discipline, his marching ability ´enough to traverse all manner of terrain´ and his determination to fight his enemies, which were legion, all made the British redcoat an implacable foe.
Well led, well-equipped and thoroughly trained in his abilities, he blazed a trail for Empire all over the world. Cheerful and confident the redcoats of the County Regiments served their sovereign well, smashing their enemy with concentrated rifle fire and, if necessary, selling their lives dearly behind the thrust of their wicked long bayonets.
Providing support for the British army were Natal Native Contingents. Largely being used as support for the Main British forces in South Africa they became the main defense force against the Zulu forces. Recruited from the local populace, mainly from the Basuto and Mponso tribes, this force excelled in dealing with Zulu due to an extensive history of fighting them.
- 60 plastic British Infantry
- 20 plastic Natal Native Contingent
While stocks last, orders of this starter army box will also come with a limited-edition figure, Brevet Major Henry Spalding of the 104th Regiment of Foot (Bengal Fusiliers) was the officer commanding and Quarter Master General of the mission station at Rorke's Drift. He left on the fateful day of the Zulu attack to track down troops at Helpmekaar due to be protecting the pontoons Lt Chard was in charge of. Before he left he told Chard he was the senior to Lt Bromhead and "don’t worry – nothing will happen, and I shall be back this evening later”. A disastrous prediction as history tells us...
Major Spalding didn't reach Helpmekaar since he found, two companies of the 1st/24th heading towards him. One was to protect Chard’s pontoons and the other was to support B Company 2nd/24th at the Mission Station. They came within sight of the hospital and stores, just some 3 miles away and the attack by massed of Zulus with the Hospital is on fire. They chose discretion over valour and returned to Helpmekaar rather than affect a Rescue at Rorke's Drift...