Azula vs. Galen Marek

After two days of prep time who will prevail in a fight to the death between the Dark Knight and the God of War?

Batman vs. Kratos

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Arminius of the Cherusci vs. Shaka kaSenzangakhona : Edges

Offensive Categories:

Long Range: Slings, Javelins, Early Longbow (limited) vs. Assegai, Thrown Knobkerries (both Limited)

    Shaka always disdained ranged combat, and its not hard to guess who gets the edge here. Not one of these projectiles are capable of penetrating their opponent's shields, so both sides will have to rely on quick  surprise attacks to do any damage. Unfortunately for Shaka, Arminius is kind of skilled at this type of warfare, and I can see him getting a fair amount of kills in each ambush. Of course he will have to choose what he ambushes with, as slings need a clear path to the enemy in order to be effective. For example if he decided to ambush with slingers he would only be able to effectively ambush with that, as the Impis will be ready by the time he gets close with the javeliners. If he chooses the latter then he has forgone the sling, though I could see some bowmen launching their arrows above their comrades and joining into the assault. In a stand up battle I can see him being able to use every type of missile troop as skirmishers, peppering the enemy before the infantry comes in. Of course by engaging in this type of warfare they are giving up their advantage of surprise, which means that they will get fewer skills then they normally would as the Ishlangu really does its job in terms of defense. I must also point out that the longbow is quite rare, which is unfortunate as it is the most powerful Germanic weapon here. 

  Things don't look to sunny on the Zulu side. Their main ranged weapon, the Assegai javelin, has been limited to just young boys and izikhulu auxiliaries; the former of which are nowhere near as experienced as actual warriors and the latter few in number. The weapon itself leaves much to be desired, and I can't really see it getting past the German shield . Even if it hit a German I am not entirely sold on its ability to immediately   kill, especially if said German is a crazy Beserker. The Thrown Knobkerry, if used quickly in a charge, may be able to score some kills on a couple of unwary Germans. Still most would have proffered to hold on to their weapons, as Shaka taught them to. 

With this is mind I hand the Long Range to Arminius and his Germans, though they are kept from full points by the power of the Ishlangu.

Edge Arminius

Mid Range: Spears of all Stripes vs. Isijula

The Isijula is really just limited to scouting forces and will not play a significant role on the battlefield. The spear is the Iklwa of the German forces, and Arminius brings everything from pikes to spears as long as the Iklwa (though these are rare and usually thrown). While this is another obvious German edge, one must also be aware of the "cramping" factor, or when a battle becomes too congested for spears and other long weapons to adequately be used.  Seeing as its the goal of Shaka to get close enough to stab with his Iklwa, and given the troubles Arminius had with Romans in close quarter combat, I think that this factor is more of a certainty then a conditional if. So while Arminius gets the edge, he once again fails to secure maximum points for the reason just mentioned. 

Edge Arminius

Close Range: Germanic Clubs and Early Langseax vs. Iklwa and Shield combo, Knobkerries 

 Now we approach the range that Shaka actually gives a shit about, close quarters! His Iklwa and Ishlangu combo utterly decimated the more traditional fighters of South Africa, and Shaka ensured that his impis would have had a great deal of state training with this weapon before heading to the field. Zulu tactics and hooking shield both amplify the power and effectiveness of this weapon, and the only real problem its going to run into is the rare Lorica Hamata. In comparison to its rival, the early Langseax, it is much longer and possesses a broader blade,  meaning its wounds will be grizzlier and more likely to be fatal. Zulu training with Iklwas trumps German training with any weapon besides their spear, which means that at close range the Iklwa will dominate. 

 A club comparison is more even but still waited towards the Zulu. I think that their stick fighting training will help them a lot in a duel with a German clubman, and in addition their club is longer. Though the Germanic weapon can be thrown the pure size of the Zulu shield makes this a rather impractical option, and all I can really see it doing (unless used as part of an ambush situatuion)  is deflecting harmlessly off the shield. 

Shaka takes it big time here
Edge Shaka 

Special Weapons: Longsword vs. Isizenze and Isijula

  The Celtic Longsword is truly a wonderful sword, and it was effective enough to replace the gladius.  It is superb at slashing, and its thrusting abilities, though not exceeding that of the gladius, are quite capable of running a man through. This sword has two main drawbacks in this battle however; its relative rarity and its disadvantage in close quarters. Less then 1/10 Germans carried this weapon, making it uncommon (but not uncommon enough to make it rare). It also may be difficult for a Germanic swordsmen to get past  the Ishlangu shield, which as always will be an annoyance to the Germans.

 The axes of the Zulus on the other hand can be used to get past the tower shields of the Germans, hooking them and prying them away from their owners like a crowbar, exposing the Germans to attack. While the axes are just as uncommon as the swords, I feel that they will have a bigger role to play when that above factor is put in. In addition they are capable of some nasty wounds, and were historically used as a anti armor weapon. For these properties, I am awarding team Zulu a slight edge.

Edge Shaka Zulu

Rare Weapons: Captured Roman Weaponry vs. Farewell expedition

    To start off, let me clarify exactly what captured Roman weaponry will be in this matchup : The Pilum, pugio and gladius. The scutum shield is to much of a symbol of the hated Rome to be used, and thus the Germans lose the benefit of that fine shield. The Pilum is a long range answer to the Ishlangu, its penetrative properties allowing it to enter into the shield and get stuck, after which it becomes nigh impossible to dislodge. At this point the Zulu will have to either drop his shield or possibly ruin his current one in trying to pull it out. The Pila is a reason why I will not do Zulu vs. Roman (either as a b4b or just a random matchup) among other reasons such as prominence of armor, artillery, organization ect. 

 Moving onto the gladius we have a weapon that rivals the Iklwa unfortunately, however,  I have my doubts about how effective it will be in the hands of the Germans, who lack the training with it that made the Romans truly fearsome. Still a great weapon, and one that can disembowel with ease.  The pugio is meant to be a backup, and will be hard pressed to compete with any other melee weapon. 

  Farewell brings about 30 Brown Bess muskets to the show. This weapon is the only thing in the Zulu arsenal guaranteed to get past a fully armored German, and will go through mail, shield and man in one shot. It is also a potent psychological weapon, as the Germans have never dealt with it before and will think that it is a weapon of evil magic or something like that. They may even flee upon contact with this weapon. Farewell's expedition brings some pistols, bayonets, and maybe  a few sabers to the fray, which only adds to their power. He will need to be properly supported by Shaka however in order to be truly effective, otherwise he'll be overrun from all sides. 

 This edge is very hard to give, and in the end I am forced to make it even. Choosing between a psychological super weapon and shield destroyers is to hard a choice for me. regardless neither team's weapons are particularly numerous and neither will have as much of an effect as, lets say, Iklwas or javelins. 

Edge Neither
Support Animal: Horses vs. Cattle!

  The horse is the animal that has been used in warfare probably longer than any other save the dog (if we count pre-civilization conflicts)  and Arminius was an expert with their use. He used his somewhat limited horse warriors to harass supply lines, conduct hit and run raids, and even encircle cut off Roman regiments. The horse is much faster then any a Zulu without any sandals, meaning that his hit and run raids will be much more effective then his infantry when assigned the same task. Other then the British expedition, the Zulus don't have much in the way of real ranged weapons to take the horses down, so at a certain range they will be able to kill with near impunity. However in my opinion I think that while they would  function as great skirmishers, should they move into closer quarters the Zulus will have a distinct advantage, with their short spears cutting deep into the horses and shields blocking lances. The terrain also plays a factor on the effectiveness of horse, and some terrains like dense forest or swamp will really hurt Arminius's Calvary. 

 The cattle is unusual, and a bit difficult to rate. While I am sure the cattle could stampede and trample those in their path, its real purpose is to divide the enemy force. As mentioned in the  bio, I have no doubt that Arminius will see through the ploy of Shaka. The problem is that he may not be able to convince the others to avoid the cattle, given the elected nature of the leadership of the German army. This has happened before, and if someone under his command gets to greedy and splits the army then his army will truly be in dire straits. Of course it isn't guaranteed that this tactic will split the army , particularly if his idiot uncle already lies dead, and other then the rare man killed from a stampede this tactic will do little save get rid of Shaka's food support. 

   Essentially the "cattle tactic" is a double-edged sword that, although sharper on one end, still stands a chance of hurting its owner. The horse is a animal that is tried and true, and it gets the edge over Shaka's cattle tactic. 

Edge Arminius

Defensive Categories 

Head: Crosband and  Captured Roman helmets, occasional hide vs. Leather necklace, Umqele, Amabhege 

Now here comes the easy section: armor. Arminius gets the edge here, as at most the Umqele provides a small layer of padding while the crossband and Roman helmets are actual head protection, while the hides are to a lesser extent (the latter also counts for a psychological factor as well!). Neither scores particularly high in this category though, as most of the Zulu weapons aim for the id section rather then the head, and the German helmets are few and far between.Both sets allow for freedom of the senses. 

Edge Arminius

Body: Animal Hide, Belt worn across shoulder, cloak, Lorica Hamata (rare) vs. Umnecedo, Unutusha, regimental dress,  insinba,  leopard skins

  Zulus possess minimal armor, which at most, may turn aside a blow or two (if the Zulu is lucky). Arminius has actual armor in the form of the rare hamata, and the cloak can be used to carry extra equipment. Even animal hide is better then essentially none. Arminius gets another edge here, though not overwhelming due to the rarity of Hamata. 
Edge Arminius

Arms: Long Sleeved Tunic vs. Leather bands

Neither is going to do much defense wise for the warrior possessing them, so this is a tie.

Edge Neither

Legs: Trousers, Belts, Shoes vs. Leather Bands

I am giving a slight edge to the Germans here, as there boots actually provide some protection. Shaka's shoe-less Impis will be able to run down the booted Germans, but that doesn't come into play. On the defense side of things, Arminius has it.

Shields: Shield Caste  vs. Ishlangu

 The most important defensive edge here goes to Shaka. While both shields here are formidable devices, capable of blocking most of the other's opposing weapons, the Ishlangu is uniquely designed to get around it opponents shield, by hooking onto it so the Zulu can pull it away. Thus for the first time ever we have a shield capable of directly combating another shield. The Germanic proto-Tseudo formation will not be very effective against the Zulus, as they are a people who for the most part disdained ranged warfare. Nor is it practical against the British expeditions, whose bullets are merely going to go through the shield. 

   The Ishlangu gets the edge for more coverage, hooking ability,and  greater training of the Zulus with their defense.

Edge Shaka 


Tactics: Arminius vs. Shaka 

It is often difficult comparing two masters of warfare, as their tactics are incredibly varied and often constantly evolving. My method here is to take apart each warrior tactic in order to fully analyze them, whereupon I will then give a final edge. First up are Arminius's tactics:

 As mentioned earlier, the shield wall was mainly an anti-projectile formation, and in this bout the Germans are fighting an opponent who do not care to throw their weapons away. The only people likely to have used  long range  weapons are the British expedition, and shields aren't going to stop that. Whether the javelin emphasis is going to be of an advantage depends on the situation; in an ambush the Germans may be able to mow them down before the Zulus can raise their shields, while on a frontal assault I would expect little to come of this tactic. 

 Hit and run style of warfare is another mixed bag tactic, as he is now facing opponents capable of running down his fleeing infantry. One of the big advantages he had over the Romans were the nimbleness of his soldiers compared to that of  the armored battle tanks that were the legionaries. That advantage is gone now, and the only soldiers of his capable of outrunning the Zulu are the horsemen. Everyone else may just be exposing their backs to some punishment. This may force Arminius  to let up on some of his infantry attacks once he sustains enough causalities.  

 Though Shaka has experience with ambushes, I would expect the aggressive and relentless German ambushes to give even him pause. While feigned retreats may  be the best approach given the above information, the encirclement tactic would serve to utterly annihilate Zulu regiments, should they fall for it given that they also employ such tactics.  Fake  and night attacks would constantly keep the Zulus on edge, which would eventually wear them down physically and psychologically. Arminius's uncanny ability to attack at the right moment when his enemy is already experiencing some difficulties will give even experienced generals like Shaka loads of trouble. 

 Arminius's  ability to launch well coordinated attacks and flank the enemy are both considerable pluses, but I feel that he won't be able to delay the fast moving Zulus as effectively as he did with the Romans. Thus he and his men are going to need to plan fast when it comes to ambushing. Finally Arminius was a master of using the terrain against the enemy, and I can see him adapting his tactics to fit a given environment. 

 Moving on to Shaka's tactics....his "bulls horn formation" is clearly superior to Arminius's shield wall, as it is a rare example of a double envelopment maneuver that succeeded time and again. It is not an end all be all formation though, as Arminius was a master flanker , which could prevent the horns from fully encircling a German formation. While both leaders have impressive scouts, Shaka's superior scouting record makes it more likely that he will pick out an enemy ambush from afar. Deception is another trait of his, and expect him to use whatever favorable conditions come his way to surprise the enemy. 

   Like Arminius, Shaka is rather skilled at both surprise attacks and attacking at opportune times. In fact he used much of the tactics that Arminius did; ambushes, surprise attacks, night raids, attacking at the right moment....these may serve just to cancel each other out. Like Arminius, he was great at terrain manipulation, and I cannot really predict who will do better in this category. While the Germans are very difficult to intimidate, Shaka is a more fearsome foe then they would usually have to face, and the impalement of his enemies is something I can certainly see  him intimidating both the enemy and his own men, who will fear their boss more then the enemy! Finally Shaka is more likely to lead from the front then Arminius, which will both make him more vulnerable and boost his own side's already impressive morale. 

 Overall I have to make this a tie. Its too hard to choose between the brutal German ambushes and the effective Bull Horn formation. 

Edge Even

Starting Morale : Relatively High vs. Extremely High: 

  Well the title kind of says who gets the edge here. While the Germans possess natuarally high morale, the Zulu's training, culture, witch doctors, drugs and pride in culture's achievement boosts their morale to a almost insane level,  to the point where they will willingly charge fortified enemy positions  that are armed with technologically superior weapons (guns) if their leaders   designate it necessary .

Edge Shaka 

Motivation: Keep Germany free from Oppressors, unified lands, rescue wife and son, some  personal ambition vs. unify tribes,  conquest for conquest sake, Revenge

   Both men are alike in that they sought unification of the tribes, though they differed on means. Shaka was perfectly willing to decimate tribes that did not want to join his regime, while Arminius relied more on his personal charisma to carry the day. One of Shaka's greatest desires was to keep expanding the Zulus until they encompass as much land as possible, and towards the end of his regime he just seemed to have been conquering for that reason, and wasn't motivated enough to lead in  person. Arminius was almost frantic in his pursuit towards unification of the tribes, and while he may have had personal ambitions to be king his ambitions seem, for the most part, genuine. He also never forgot that his wife and son were stolen from him, and this motivated him as much as nationalistic motivations to suceed. 

For this reason the Arminius, and due to the fact that Arminius has done nothing to merit Shaka wanting revenge (yet) , I am giving motivation to Shaka. 
Edge Arminius

Loyalty: Auxilliaries, army loyal, beware of family vs. Fanatical troops, beware of family

While both men are going to have to watch out for their relatives, only Shaka has men that are almost literally insanely devoted to him. The Germans under Arminius were free men who admired their commander greatly, Shaka gave his soldiers everything they could want in life, and made sure to support them above all others. 

Edge Shaka

Psychological Aspect: Raising own Morale!: War Chants and songs, dances vs. Spiritual Preparations, War Chants/Praises, drugs

  Another fairly straightforward comparison. While both the Zulus and Germans utilize war chants and praises to psych up their own forces, the Zulus go to much more elaborate lengths then the Germans. Their witch doctors "purify" the warriors pre-battle , as well as bless their shields, weapons and bands. Combine this with potent drugs and you have a warrior who is truly zealous for battle, and I believe the Germans will have a much tougher time scaring the Zulus then vice versa. 

Edge Shaka 

Psychological Aspects: Destroying Enemy Morale!Nonstop Attacks, taunts, Night Fighters, Animal Warriors, Naked Beserkers vs. Night Attacks, Impalement, Guns, taunts, Scorched Earth: 

  To start out, I am going to cut away the ineffective aspects.  Neither side's taunts will really do anything, due to two  factors. For once neither side is going to be able to understand the other. Secondly both soldiers are to well trained/used to taunts to flip out over it. Surprisingly, I do not think Naked Beserkers will terrify the Zulus, as the Zulus being less "civilized" then the Germans will not be afraid of men running around naked in the battle. Nor will they be too perturbed when the Beserkers show that they can take more wounds then a normal human being; after all, Zulu drugs do pretty much the same thing. Scorched Earth will not be a factor until relatively late in the game, if at all, as it will take a long battle for the Germans to run out of provisions.  Animal Warriors may be able to scare Shaka's men, but this is a big maybe as the concept of "animal warrior" is not unknown to South Africa. 

      Night attacks are probably going to be the most damaging of aspects psychologically, as its really going to cut down on the warrior's sleep. This will in turn result in nervous, groggy warriors. Impalement is a powerful fear tactic to be sure, and was used to great effect against the Turks by Vlad, but there are also stands the chance that a clever and persuasive man like Arminius can use such a gruesome scene to inspire his men into rage. Nonstop attacks will probably be the most draining, and if Arminius attacks in waves then I would expect the Impis to become progressively more exhausted. Do to the effectiveness of the latter tactic, I am going to give a tiny edge to Arminius here.

        Altogether, Shaka's success in raising morale overcomes Arminius's slight success in depleting it, giving him the edge. 

Edge Shaka (slight)
Rules of Combat: Javelin, Spear Oriented, expend javelins then charge, unconventional operations vs. get to close quarters ASAP, iklwa oriented, unconventional operations.  

     To most people this would be a clear Arminius edge, after all the Germans include both long and mid range options, while the Zulus have only short. However when one looks at the history of the Zulus it is clear that javelins and spears are clearly NOT effective options against the Zulus- after all they have been decimating spear and javelin armed soldiers throughout their history. I will admit that javelins have the potential to inflict terrific causalities in an ambush setting, but in other settings I cannot see regular German javelins doing much (the exception to this rule is the rare Roman Pilum). Nor will the spear when conditions become too cramped for it to use. Zulus have a clear close range edge in nearly every factor one can think of : training, martial art, tactics and battle formation, even "offensive armor" (hooking shields). 

Edge Shaka
Mobility: Light infantry , light Calvary vs. no shoes, high endurance, speed

  By far the Germans have the fastest troops here, the Cavalry, but that doesn't mean necessarily mean the edge. The German cavalry are not very numerous, and will be less of a factor then the infantry. Based on accounts of Shaka's battles, it seems that by forcing his men to run barefoot they actually became faster then their foes, and could run down fleeing foes. This is significant factor in this battle, as it will severely hamper his ability to launch hit and run attacks with his infantry. All Shaka has to do is order his troops to pursue his fleeing foes and they will be slaughtered in short order. The high endurance that comes with training means that in a pitched battle I can see them managing to be on their feet longer then the Germans, another important variable in this fight. 

 While cavalry  do even the odds, in the end I feel that the overwhelming mobility of the Zulu infantry over the Germans gives him the edge. 

edge Shaka

Known Weaknesses: Prone to anger, Pride, family members, orders can be overruled vs. Prone to rage, probably mentally unstable/depressed, disdain of ranged  warfare

       Starting from the beginning both men are hot headed, and will get pissed off pretty easily. Both men had better watch out when around their family, though Arminius's are worse then Shaka's as they A. want to kill Arminius or B. don't want to kill Arminius but are tactically incompetent and  popular, a  horrible combination.  His leadership was not uncontested, and his orders could be overruled by a council. Seeing as he is the greatest tactician in the German army this could be fatal to the German army, who are not going to prosper under his uncle Inguiomer's rule. It will also mean that the Germans are at a greater risk to fall into traps and ambushes then the Zulus. Pride is another flaw to this man's resume, and arrogance can easily lead to his downfall, though this doesn't seem to have happened in his lifetime. 

      Shaka comes with his own host of problems, a depression chief among them. Though he doesn't completely lose it until his mother's death, his moodiness does lead him to execute more then a normal ruler. On the plus side he doesn't seem to be prone to many tactical mistakes, despite his depression. Finally while the lack of ranged combat could be a significant deficiency, he seems to have adopted tactics to deal with those with superior range. 

      Personally, I think that Arminius's weaknesses are more glaring for one reason: the possibility that he won't have full control over his army. As he is the only one capable of competing with Shaka in the field of tactics this could destroy his army's chance of winning. 

slight edge Shaka (meaning he gets less points subtracted) 

Training/ Discipline/ Quality of Enemies: Arminius vs. Shaka: 

Inspired by Vercingetorix712, I am going to break this into three parts

Training: Simply put, Shaka's men had more of it. The German tribes had very little in the way of formal military training, being limited to hunting experience and presumably some training by more experienced warriors. They were not constantly at war like Shaka's troops, and their inter-tribal fighting nowhere near as severe. Zulu troops spent at least ten years learning their profession, and that plus their constant experience gives them the training edge. Half of the stuff listed for Arminius's side only applies to him and a few auxiliaries, that's it. Not enough to overturn the Zulu tide here. 

Discipline: A very easy edge to give. The Germans were famously undisciplined, considered almost incurably savage by the Romans, while the Zulus were drilled to follow their king to the death, and would have never questioned his orders or argued with him (unless this particular German has a death wish). 

Quality of Enemies: Though Shaka fights more, Arminius fights better. Nothing Shaka has ever faced can compare to the Roman Legions, while Arminius's experience fighting the latter will help a bit against the Zulus, who use a similar style.  Shaka's enemies, though including a few semi-capable commanders, are nothing to what Arminius has had to face. 

Conclusion: In my mind this edge is even.  Although Arminius has fought much better equipped armies then the Zulu, and fairly decent generals, I feel that the extreme Zulu training and Discipline equals the Germans. 

Martial Arts/Fighting Style: Master Spearmen, some martial arts, wrestling vs. Zulu Iklwa and Ishlangu, Stick fighting

      The Germans take it easily for their formalized training system ( Thanks Vercingetorix for description! :p  ) and intense nature of Zulu stick fighting. Without a doubt the Germans are skilled with their spears, and while I can see wrestling/pankration playing a part I really can't see them comparing with the Zulus here. The Zulus are better trained as duelists, and I believe that will show in this battle. 

Edge Shaka

Innovation: Arminius  vs. Shaka :

 First how this applies to the matchups. One of the biggest qualms with the inclusion of tactics is the unpredictability of it, especially when we are talking about great commanders. Tactics like "double envelopment" , "hit and run" and "feigned retreat" can  all be listed and described but is that really how these great generals would react? Would Hannibal really try to use double envelopment on Genghis's horse archers, or would he try to do something else entirely? The inclusion of the innovation category (only for army battles) will be used to show how likely it is, based on past history of innovation, that a given commander will try a new something new that will somehow win the day. There are some commanders, like Shaka and Genghis , that frequently tried new tactics on the field which resulted in successes,  while there are others like Atilla that basically used the same ones over and over again. 

  Now on to the edge...Shaka takes it here. While Arminius does score points for manipulating an existing system nearly everything that Shaka did was new, from the short spear to his regiment system to his bull horns. Creation of a new SUCCESSFUL system > exploitation of an old, even if it was a fairly powerful old. 

edge Shaka

Personality: Bright, Charismatic, fiery speaker, passionate vs. Bright, passion of warfare, morbidly curious, brooding. 

     In my view this is pretty even. Both men are bright, passionate individuals, capable of complex and effective tactics, with an eagerness to see it done. Arminius was well known for his charisma, and I can Arminius using his oratory skills to raise his troops morale and keep them from fleeing. Shaka on the other hand was known his morbid curiosity, and in this battle I can see him willing to at least look at the utility of his enemies weapons, perhaps even incorporating some. As I am unable to call it between the two I am going to go even.

Edge Neither

Well there is my opinions on the edges, now lets here yours? With Arminius's  superiority in weapons and armor help him trump Shaka, or will the Zulu X-factors dominate this match? 

Please leave any thoughts;  comment, concerns, criticisms, predictions, what have you, below. 

Explanation: College is starting up again and unfortunately that means that until I can adjust my blogs are going to be even slower to produce then before. Bear with me folks as taking 19 credits in one semester can be tough! 


  1. Cool stuff, I agree with you 100% so far. Perhaps you are right when you say that the intimidation of the muskets will offset the inexperience of Farewell's men, but for me at least the latter may be a greater factor than the former.

    My own close range edges should be up around midnight, and there is also a very special performance for the prefight show. We resurrect the greatest warriors to do battle; now one of the greatest performers also comes back to life!!!

  2. Well, still calling this for the Germans because of the armour but still rooting for the Zulu because of the fun factor. Although I suppose you could look at this as "Shaka Vs. Yet Another Talented African Commander who Somehow has Better Armour than Normal", with "Talented African Commander" meaing one of the various chiefs Shaka slaughtered in his conquests. Who knows, really?

    Also, didn't the Zulu attack in waves? I remember Terry Schappert mentioning that they did so at the Battle of Isandwana, and Mike's Zulu profile also suggested they did use reserves.

    Good luck with that 19 credits in one semester thing.

  3. Well, here's my official prediction for this match:

    I was a Shaka supporter in the beginning, and these edges only confirm my opinion that the Zulu would win in a battle against Arminius. I think that Shaka's men will be better pound for pound warriors than the Germans due to their dueling skills, unity, and the Iklwa/shield combo which will offset the fact that Arminius is superior in a few other weapon categories- the Zulu will always close to close combat, and with the Zulu mobility there is little that Arminius can do against these two weapons except trying to lure them into ambushes.

    In addition to weapon superiority, I think that the cohesiveness of the Zulu as a unit will also be a deciding factor because of the strict training and regimental systems that Shaka implemented. While Arminius was able to unite various tribes through his own charisma and a mutual hatred of the Romans, I think that he'll be hard-pressed to keep the warbands united against such formidable and intimidating warriors on the other side. Shaka on the other hand will be able to issue orders largely without opposition so he'll be able to keep his men together more effectively in tough situations. As we saw in the JC/Cao Cao simulation, the defection of important groups of men can open up huge gaps in strategy that may doom Arminius if he has to stand and fight the Zulu directly. If the Zulu are relentless in pursuing the Germans and their numbers start to fall in turn, I'm sure that the Germanic chieftains will start to question what it is they are risking their own men and treasure to fight for- the aspirations of a self-styled leader who wants to control them all?

  4. continued:

    What makes the Zulu different from the Romans Arminius defeated previously are two important factors: first of all, Shaka is not Varus and if anything he's probably the tactical equal of Arminius, and let's not forget that Teutoburg Forest was won on Germanic turf against an inept commander who was double-crossed by his own subordinate. Against Shaka, Arminius won't have these benefits and he'll be forced to win it on a neutral battlefield- I'm not sure that he could pull it off here. The second point has to do with mobility- while Arminius does have cavalry, the Zulu are on a whole faster so the Germans will take great risks with their hit and run attacks. If anything, the unity of the Zulu bands and their determination to hunt the Germans down could mean that Arminius may not want to risk sending his own men on raids that may not pay off. Also, Shaka's sadism may certainly give the Germans a taste of their own medicine and while it may not cause them to cower in fear it will show them that Shaka isn't a benign target like Varus was. The guerilla war may continue for a while, but eventually a full battle must take place and I think the Zulu mobility will make them much harder to keep track of than the Romans were.

    Lastly, I think another deciding factor will be Shaka's willingness to use whatever conditions he can to his advantage. While I think the Roman weapons will be on a whole more significant, the Zulus will try to defend Farewell and his men due to mutual loyalty in contrast to the Germans who look down on enemy weapons. I do think the muskets will take a toll, but most importantly I believe that Shaka will be able to alter his strategies more effectively if his first battle plans don't work- remember, Arminius tried guerilla warfare against superior leadership under Germanicus but ultimately he was unable to save Germania from devastation- I don't believe that he was able to modify his tactics enough in order to win in situations that did not favor him. Shaka by contrast won because he sepecifically took advantage of the opponent's weaknesses no matter what they were- in short, he was able to adapt while Arminius was not.

    So, there you have it- I think Shaka will triumph in the end because of superior weaponry, greater unity in his ranks, and better mobility. While Arminius was certainly a master of ambushes and terrain that could exhaust the Zulu and bait them into an ambush, I don't think this will work here because of the Zulu fanaticism and mobility plus Shaka's iron leadership. Besides this, I feel that Shaka is more tactically versatile and he can adapt to battlefield conditions better than Arminius. While the end result will be fairly close either way, I think that one side or the other will get a legitimate win that won't be a photo finish. With that in mind, I'm picking Shaka to win by a score of 2900-2100.

  5. Hey man :D Awesome work yet again. Don't worry about school, I've got the exact same problem coming up very soon.

    Shaka is a rather fascinating character, almost like an African Vlad the impaler.

    You have nothing but praise and clearly you set an example for us all.


    Master of teh Boot

  6. I have to call Shaka for this one. When given though, Arminius defeat against Romans took a long time planning and organizing, along with him double-crossing is own army (the Romans). It was a simple set up, while Shaka was able to create his own standing army from scratch.