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

Friday, August 5, 2011

Shaka Zulu: Warrior Bio

* DONE!!!!!!!!
Background: Color Scheme, Short Biography and Greatest Battle

Color Scheme: Red, Green and Black
Today the Zulu's are part of the Nation of South Africa

In the Zulu culture each color has symbolization behind it, both positive and negative. I will be using three that apply to Shaka more then all others.

Black represents marriage and regeneration. However it can also represent sorrow and death. Black is often worn with other colors as a symbol of unity. Unity is what Shaka managed to achieve near the end of his death, as he unified or destroyed every tribe near his own.

Green represents contentment and a happy home life. It can also be used to represent illness and chaos. Green is an important color for the Zulu and often used in tribal ceremony. Green leaves and stalks adorn the body and incorporated as part of dance rituals. Shaka emerged out of a time of chaos, and brought a unified government to the people of his area, though his home life was anything BUT happy.

Red is a primal color among the Zulu and means physical love and strong emotion. It can also mean anger, heartache or impatience. Warriors paint dashes of red paint on their bodies before entering battle. Shaka's life was driven in part by anger, and he was a warrior to the core.


A statue of the Great South African King, Shaka . The man himself would have disapproved over the sculptor's choice to give him the long-javelin Aesegai over his preferred Iklwa.

Shaka was born around 1787 C.E., son of Nandi of the eLangeni Tribe and Senzangakhona, Chieftain of the Zulus. His birth was the result of an adulterous and possibly incestuous affair between the two, and it was clear that both parties were pretty much fed up with each other. Senzangakhona did not acknowledge the child as his own initially, and the story was circulated that the boy's conception was not the result of the Zulu Chieftain, but the ishaka, or intestinal beetle on which menstrual irregularities were blamed.

For the first six years of Shaka's life, he and his mother stayed with his father's tribe where they were badly treated and openly mocked. His father never really acknowledged him as his own, and when Shaka accidentely lost a pet goat of his he had the boy and his mother thrown out, sent back to his mother's tribe. Amazingly, things were even worse there, as the eLangeni looked down upon Nandi for her affair and her failure to preserve the marriage, and thought of them as nothing more then a great disgrace. For ten years Shaka endured brutal harassment, ranging from endless taunts and insults levied against him and his mother, to brutal beatings. Eventually they were evicted during a great famine, and forced to fend for themselves .
Shaka as a young warrior. He would never forgive the eLangeni tribe for the trauma they inflicted upon him in childhood, and he would eventually extract horrible vengeance on them.

Eventually Nandi and her son wandered into Gendayana's tribe, who was once a suitor of Nandi. Showing remarkable generosity, he took them in and became something of a mentor to the young man, who grew into a great warrior under his care. His fame was so great that both his mother's tribe and his father wanted him back, but Shaka would have none of it, and fled after he got in a terrific quarrel with his father. They arrived in the camp of the powerful Mtetwa, whose Chieftain Dingiswayo took them in.

Shaka's fame as a warrior continued to grow, and became famous for his exploits(killing a Leopard in its own tree, bravely rushing the enemy), skill (Shaka was described as nigh-unbeatable in a duel) and stature (6 foot 3 and all muscles). Yet perhaps none of these traits could compare to the man's keen intellect and curiosity. He observed how many of the tribes that Dingiswayo defeated revolted the following season. He watched with disgust as warriors threw sticks at each other from distances of fifty paces, never bothering to get closer.

Eventually he gained enough influence among the tribe to push for some of the warriors to be put under his command, to fight by his style. Shaka ordered all of the warrior's Aesegai's to be reforged, and he had the handle shortened from six to four feet, before giving it a heavy broad blade. This newly christened "Iklwa" (which he may or may not have invented personally) became the staple weapon of his armies. Shaka introduced a larger, heavier shield made of cowhide and taught his warriors how to use the shield's left side to hook the enemy's shield to the right, exposing his ribs for a fatal spear stab. He did away with the ox-hide sandals to increase his soldiers's speed and instituted the "buffalo horn" envelopment tactic (more on that later).

Shaka's favorite weapon

How did Shaka's new tactics fare against the previous model? Well that also depends on your definition of warfare. In the tribal traditionalist mindset where the goal of war is minimize causalities as much as possible, Shaka failed utterly. However in his mindset where the goal is nothing other then complete destruction of your enemies, he succeeded spectacularly. The Butelezi opposing troops threw there Aesegai javelins at Shaka's men, who simply blocked them with their extra strength shields, and closed in. Once in close they butchered the Butelezi, who by this point were mostly unarmed and prevented from retreating by the Buffalo horns .

Shortly after demonstrating his successes to the world, Shaka received news that his father had recently died. Wasting no time, he, after securing Dingiswayo's permission, marched up to the Chieftain's throne, butchered its weak-willed occupant(his own half-brother) , and installed himself as king. He then butchered nearly everyone who had ever wronged him or his mother (who went wherever Shaka went). Next he turned on his mother's tribe, the eLangeni, impaling all those that had wronged him as a child. Shaka spent the next couple of month's subjugating or destroying the neighboring armies, and gradually increasing the size of his army.

Dingiswayo called upon Shaka to participate in a campaign with him against a rebellious chief of the Ndwandwe named Zwide and Shaka , who did not have enough troops to challenge the great king, was forced to oblige. Dingiswayo had a major problem in that he was too generous and forgiving, even letting Zwide off the hook when the man killed his son, and beat him and let him go two times, much to Shaka's chagrin. Zwide did not possess such courtesy, and the one time he managed to capture his rival he had him executed. Shaka's troops were only just able to prevent a full-scale rout. A mass civil war soon broke out for Dingiswayo's empire.

The only known picture of Shaka, sketched by Henry Flynn
Greatest Battle: Gqokli Hill

From the Site "Badass of the Week"

It  is hard to pick the greatest of Shaka's Battles: The man fought and won so many. One of his best though was that of Gqorkli hill, where Africa's most brilliant general all bu secured his title of the most powerful ruler in South Africa. Zwide was eager to succeed in the Civil War, and in the process of trying he quickly came to the conclusion that Shaka was his greatest foe. With a force of around 7-8,000 he marched on Shaka's 4,000, intent to finish the upstart king off for good. Unfortunately for him Shaka had other plans....

Falling back to the White Mfolozi river, he ordered the majority 4,000 troops to hold off the enemy as long as possible, before falling back to Gqorkli Hill. Crossing a heavily defended river without bridges is a difficult task, and Shaka's men were able to inflict a great amount of causalities on Zwide's men (commanded by his son, Nomohlonjana) before being forced to retreat. Shaka meanwhile had stationed a reserve force in a shallow depression on the southern portion of the hill (the Ndwande advanced from the North) before stockpiling the hill with food, water, oxen, and firewood. He also had his men burn down much of the surrounding area, so the Ndwande couldn't forage for supplies.

Having now crossed he river at a great cost, Nomohlonjana was thirsty for Zulu blood. With his 7,500 men, he formed a semi-circle around the hill, and advanced upon the 2,000 strong Zulu front line. Unfortunatly for him he and his men hadn't gotten the memo about javelins not being effective against the tactics and heavy shields of the Zulus, and Shaka's men cut great swabs of them down in close quarters combat. In the thick of the battle, Shaka had some of his men lead the cattle away, a ruse that the hungry Nomohlonjana fell for, dividing his force in an attempt to capture the oxen for provisions. The rather inept Ndwande had forgotten to stockpile water, and many more of his warriors dispersed to find some.

He began attacking in waves, to which the crafty Shaka responded by alternating his men so that his force was always fresh. At no time were the Ndwande aware of how many men Shaka had. Getting frustrated, Nomohlonjana tried to have his men feign retreat, only for his sandal-wearing men get run down by Shaka's sandal-less , and a fake rout turned into a real one. Now at wits end Nomohlonjana formed a 200 yards wide giant column of men, and sent it straight towards Shaka's front line. This gave Shaka the golden opportunity to deploy his "buffalo horns" formation, and he succeeded in enveloping the Ndwande force, and utterly destroying it. Nomohlonjana and four of his brothers (five of Zwide's sons!) lost their lives in that battle, along with 6-7,000 other Ndwande, though Shaka's men were to exhausted from the carnage .

Biography: Continued
The Zulu King in his prime

Zwide was of course pissed by this news, and after gathering an army of over 14,000 men he made a bull rush for Shaka's army, making sure to adopt his weapons and armor along the way so his forces wouldn't be screwed in close quarters again. While Zwide may have brought his army on par with Shaka's equipment wise, he could never do the same in the tactical field, and Shaka whittled down Zwide's army through guerrilla hit and run style attacks. His most terrifying tactic took place at night time, when Shaka and his men infiltrated the Ndwande while they slept and butchered them. By the time the alarm was finally raised hundreds, if not thousands, of Ndwande lay dead, and many more routed. Not long after Shaka took advantage of a moment of weakness in the Ndwande army (when it was temporarily split in two) and utterly destroyed it.

By 1820, he had won the war, and extended his kingdom over much of South Africa. Astonishingly he actually ended the war with more troops then he had when he entered it, as he gave every defeated army a choice to "Join or Die". By the end of his life he had over 25,000 soldiers, which is again astonishing given that he entered with less then 500.  Shaka however was one of history's greatest warmongeres, and was never satisfied with what he had. Like Alexander he sent men far and wide to conquer new lands, keeping his people in a near constant state of war. Around this time the Zulu's first encountered the British Settlers, and Shaka had the good sense to form trade ties with them. Though he was disdainful of firearms, believing that hsi warriors could overwhelm them while they reloaded, that did not stop him from planning to acquire and train some of his men with them in the near future (though negotiations with the British over this collapsed) .

Even these brave Zulus are a far cry from the Impis Shaka had

While a genius of war, at home this man was a cruel tyrant and frequently executed people for the most frivolous of reasons. Not even his own family was saved, and Shaka killed any children he had out of fear that they would dethrone him one day. When his mother died (a woman who Shaka may have worshiped), Shaka lost his mind.

Shaka was demented with grief and ordered a few thousand people executed in memory of his mother. Somehow 7000 people were slaughtered. He furthermore, demanded that his tribe go on a fast to commemorate Nandi, and ordered no new crops to be planted and for every calf to have its mother killed, so it could know what the death of a mother felt like. Though he eventually came to his senses and rescinded these declarations, the damage was done.

    Taking advantage of the absence of his armies(all of which he sent off on campaign) , on 22 September 1828, his bodyguard Mbopha, and his half-brothers Dingane and Mhlangana, stabbed Shaka near his military barracks at Dukuza. As the great King Shaka’s life ebbed away, he called out to his brother Dingane: “Hey brother! You kill me, thinking you will rule, but the swallows will do that.”
                        (Part 1 of the epic 10 Part Shaka Zulu series{1986}. The beginning shows how right Shaka's prediction was) 
         He meant the white people, because they made their houses of mud, like the swallows. This was too much for his assailants and they leapt upon him, stabbing. According to members of his family, Shaka’s last words were, “Are you stabbing me, kings of the earth? You will come to an end through killing one another.” Unfortunately for the Zulus, Shaka seemed to have been endowed with an extraordinary amount of foresight prior to his death, and both of his predictions came true.
Though the Zulus managed to shock the British by completely annihilating  one of their regiment, eventually the British overwhelmed them . Zululand was annexed in 1887 

Offensive Category:
Long Range: Assegai javelin, thrown Knobeire (both limited) 
Assegai Javelin:
The weapon that Shaka hated the most
 Prior to the reign of Shaka the Assegai throwing spear was the staple weapon of all South African tribesmen, and Shaka himself was described as an expert shot with it, despite loathing the weapon with a passion. Usually possessing a narrow, leaf shaped blade, the Assegai javelin was around 1.8 meters tall (about as tall as a man), and could be thrown at distances of 60-70 feet, though its optimum range was around 30. It could easily impale men and pass through the thin early Zulu hide shields  though Shaka's later invention proved too much. There was also a class of chiefs, the izikhulu, who submitted willingly to Shaka’s regime, and functioned basically like client states. They seemed to have been afforded enough autonomy to maintain small armies, and could even challenge the king on rulings occasionally (though this right wouldn’t have been used when Shaka was in charge). These men’s armies were more likely to carry the traditional assegai then the iklwa, which reflected the extreme conservatism many African tribes possessed towards warfare, particularly those not actively seeking an empire.

     Click here to watch Terry Schappert's Warrior Episode Zulu Siege 

   The advantages of the Assegai are obvious, giving the Zulus a chance to compete with the Germans at range, and being able to impale enemies from afar. Unfortunately for the Zulu, its disadvantages are much more numerous. For one, very few if any Zulus would have carried this weapon during Shaka's reign, as the great king considered it a weapon for cowards. The only people that could have possibly carried the  Assegai were the young Zulu boys, known as the izindibi, who accompanied the army with extra spears. Material wise this javelin is unlikely to pack enough punch to penetrate German shields, nor will it  do anything against chainmail. Given the lack of power and rarity, expect this weapon to merit only a few points. 

Thrown Knobkerries 
This Knobkerry has marks on it to signify how many times it has killed.
           There are a few sources available that suggest that  the Knobkerries clubs did have long range applications as well. In general, the clubs of the Zulus were around 2-3 feet in length, and weighing only a couple of pounds. They were cut from a single piece of wood and usually had a straight shaft with a long bulbous end. the purpose of the club  simple: to beat the enemies brains out! This relatively harmless looking weapon could hit with the force of a baseball bat, and the blunt force trauma inflicted by them can render some forms of armor ineffective

   Based on my studies of other cultures that used the throwing club, the Zulu club could be thrown at a considerable distance of around 50 feet, though accurate range was probably around 30.  As deadliest warrior demonstrated the knobkerrie could be thrown with little "wind up" and could be used to surprise an unwary foe. A hit from a thrown knobkerrie  could shatter bones, break ribs and bust skulls. While it wouldn't shatter chain, the lack of padding underneath Roman chain means that the blow could cause trauma to the organs, through the mail. Zulus used to hunt with throwing clubs, so they could possess a skill bonus here as well. 
A victim of the violence in South Africa. This man's head wounds were inflicted by a Knobkerrie. 

  The throwing club is not without disadvantages , the least of which is its relative rarity. I cannot emphasize enough how much Shaka detested ranged combat, and very few warriors would have thrown their  clubs unless they were in dire straits, had multiple clubs, or were given a direct order. To do so otherwise could net them a accusation of cowardice, which could be fatal. . Despite its bone crushing power, the club  lacks the outright lethality of the longbow/javelin, and will have a difficult time getting around German tower shields. 

Mid Range: Isijula 
The Isijula or "long spear" 
 This 7 foot long giant spear was originally used as a hunting weapon, but soon found wartime applications, mostly with scouts.  It possessed a 7 to 10 inch blade and was very thin, meaning it was also relatively lightweight. In combat it could be used to both thrust and slash, or in an emergency situation as a throwing weapon. The Isijula is able to be used effectively both in conjunction with the shield or as a two handed weapon.
                                          Part 2 of the 10 part epic
 Scouts are an important part of any army, as they are the ones that a general needs to consult with when it comes time to advance. A good scout should be able to alert the army to possible ambush points, identify and navigate around environmental hazards, and discern the enemies positions. The Isijula suits the fast paced style of the scout, and its length could give it an edge in a dueling scenario that may happen if a scout is discovered. The downside of the Isijula is the weapon's fragile nature, along with its rarity and lack of effectiveness in formation combat. 

Close Range: Knobkerrie, Iklwa and Ishlangu combo 
Knobkerrie :
The head of a Knobkerrie 
      The Zulu Knobkerrie was the second most common weapon in the Zulu army, and Shaka seemed to have allowed its use in close end fighting, often being paired with a sheild. This club can strike with slightly more force then a baseball bat, and can break bones and shatter ribs quite easily. The lack of padding on chainmail means that even men wearing Lorica Hamata will feel the sting. It suffers in outright lethality however, and the German helmets will provide some defense to it . Since the whole point of  the weapon is to knock an opponent's brains out, a helmet can render this weapon near ineffective.  In addition the knobkerrie needs a wide range of motion to be truly effective in melee combat, which it may not get in a formation battle.

Iklwa and Ishlangu shield combo
Shaka's weapon of choice
   The Iklwa was the staple weapon of Shaka's Impis, and it was named after the sound it makes when it thrusts into someone(Ikl) , followed by the sound it makes when it is withdrawn(WA). Allegedly this weapon was invented by Shaka, who hated the previous Assegai dominated warfare. The blade itself is around 18 inches, while the shaft is about two and a half feet in length. Like the Roman gladius, it was thrust with an underhand motion. Also like the Roman gladius, it could be used to slash, though this behavior was frowned upon. The Impi's were trained to use this weapon in combination with their Ishlangu shield, which would be used to hook behind the enemies shield and push it away, exposing the opponent's underbelly to an Iklwa thrust. They were trained to quickly do this, without much thinking, and move on to the next foe once done. 
                                       (Shaka's tactics vs. the Old Ways)

            The tactics, formations, and fighting style of the Zulu Impi will all help the Shaka dominate the close quarter theater, and the vast majority of Germans have no body armor, so a Iklwa thrust will finish them. Neither the Seax nor German clubs will be able to give much of a defense here, as the Zulus use both shield and spear offensively, in combo with each other. I have no doubt that the Iklwa will be one of the Zulu's most dangerous weapons, given the above factors. 
                       (part 3 of Shaka Zulu, goes back in time to Shaka's beginnings. )
 The Germans are used to fighting against the similar Roman Legions, which also rely on a short weapon + shield combo, so they won't be completely surprised by the Zulu fighting style. The auxiliaries under Arminius's command will also have some resistance, as the Iklwa will not be able to pierce the chain of Hamata. These are the only two factors that I can see holding the Zulus back in the close range section.

Special : Isizenze and Isisila (axes) 
The Isizene or "commoners axe"
    For axes there seems to have been two type; the Isizenze and the Isisilia. The former was a commoner's weapon, possessing a slightly curved blade on the front and a short spike on the back. The rarer Isisilia was usually reserved for clan royalty, and was the famed "Zulu axe" from the show. This possessed a very pronounced curve, to the point where the middle is almost a sword-like tip. While mostly ceremonial in use, there is enough evidence to suggest that it was used in battle. In battle, the axes would have been used to hack downward and to hook around an opponents shield to pull it away or knock them off balance, which would probably be followed up by the Zulu sliding his axe directly into his foes face. Naturally it would be used in conjunction with the Ishlangu.  
Zulu Isisilia 

  Obviously being able to pull the shield away from a foe without exposing yourself is a plus, and it can quickly lead to a finishing strike, with the above being one example. The axe can be used to inflict injuries to even  the mail armed Germans, as historically the axe was used against this armor.On the flip side however, it might not be  the best to use in tight formations, requiring a bit of room to maneuver.     

Rare Weapons: George Francis Farewell's expedition!

Henry Flynn and George Francis Farewell, respectively
      Though controversial, I have decided to include George Francis Farewell and his expedition after finding numerous source which state that they were forced to march alongside Shaka and raid with him. The expedition would have been rather small, perhaps as few as 20-30 men, and would have truly been a "rare" but prominent sight in the Zulu armies. The staple weapon of these men was the Indian Pattern Brown Bess. (with credit from here from my next quote) " This light and short (39-inch barrel) musket became the preferred musket of manufacture by the Board of Ordnance for the British Army in 1797.  Prior to this, this pattern was developed and adopted by the armies of the East India Company, hence the name.  Throughout the Napoleonic Wars nearly 3 million of these brown bess muskets were manufactured and distributed to Britain's infantry regiments.  The only change in their manufacture during this period was the switch from a swan-necked cock to a reinforced style in 1809.   This 3rd Model Brown Bess  offered here was the more common swan-necked style.   Aside from being a pound lighter and 3 inch shorter barrel, the main differences from the previous "Short Land" pattern and the India pattern were ones of style (removal of the thumb plate and only three pipes for the ramrod instead of four).  Because of the numbers manufactured, this pattern saw use as late as 1850 in the British army and militia." The India Pattern Musket can fire at 2 and a half shots per minute, and possessed a range of 175 yards. Could be fitted with a bayonet.
Brown Bess India Pattern

     For backups, the expedition would have possessed several flintlock pistols , which normally have a max range of 20 yards. Should fighting come to close quarters, the expedition would have to rely on the club-like butts of their weapons or their bayonets/knives. Farewell as a officer would likely possess an officer's sword, so he may fair the best in this range.
1796 British Infantry sword
      Should Shaka use them correctly, Farewell and his men could be a great boon for the Zulus. Gunpowder has always shocked native cultures when it was introduced, and just by firing these weapons the British traders will landing a pertinent psychological blow. A couple of gunshots could incite a rout, depending on the state of German morale at the time.  Both the musket and pistol are going to penetrate whatever the holder is aiming at, and neither sheild nor mail will be an effective defense.
                              (Part 4 of the epic Zulu series)
 Farewell does have two problems going for him in this matchup, namely his lack of defense and lack of  close range prowess. Neither he nor his men use sheilds, and have no protection against the avarious projectiles of the Germans . His men are not accustomed to close quarter combat, and will suffer if placed in such a position.  His men are irreplacable, and every man dead is another musket lost, as the Zulus are not trained to operate firearms. 

Support Animal: Cattle!
Traditional Zulu cattle

          This is not really a weapon per say, although one could certainly get trampled in a stampede. What this is really going to be is a test of Arminius’s ability to hold his coalition army together. I have no doubt that he will be able to see through the ploy and he will certainly be able to keep his loyal and trained auxiliaries in check, but historically his advice has failed to the greed of his warriors (particularly his uncle) . In many ancient societies cattle were prized possessions, giving it owner food for when the lean times come. So valuable were they to Zulus that Shaka often paid those who he conducted business with in cattle, and in many agricultural societies they served as a system of currency, as well as a symbol of status and sacrificial animal. 

        The ancient Germans were like the Zulus in that they were also an agrarian society, and used their cattle in a similar fashion.  Should Arminius’s council fail he may find that his army will split, with many of the less disciplined warriors (ancient Germans were famous for their lack of discipline) running after the cattle instead of staying with the rest of the army. The motto “divide and conquer” has held true throughout history and it will hold true here as well; a divided army is at the mercy of a unified one.
                (We are halfway done with the Shaka Zulu series!)
     This animal of course offers far less options then horses, and cannot be used to directly cause harm to Arminius and his forces. Still the brilliant Shaka could use it to distract his foe and throw them into confusion, as well as feed his troops should the battle exceed a certain amount of time.

Defensive categories:

Head: Leather necklace, Umqele, Amabhege
This is the only picture I can find that accurately shows a Zulu 

 Many warriors wore a leather necklace to which the cow-tails featured below were attached. The Umquele was a padded roll of leopard or otter skin that was stitched into a tube, stuffed with dried cow dung and neatly tied behind the head. I assume this provided padding. Hanging down from the sides were ear flaps known as Amabhege which were usually made of monkey and hund all the way down to the collar bone. Stitched to a headband were bundles of feathers that could symbolize various traits like youth, experience, ferocity, seniority etc. These were rather uncomfortable however, and were not often worn into battle. Offers a very low protective score , though its better then nothing. 

Body:Umnecedo, unutsha , regimental dress , insinba, leopard skins
A Zulu in War Regalia

Zulus did not wear much in the way of armor, or clothes for that matter. The Umnecedo was a small sheath worn over the penis, that if a Zulu ever neglected to wear he would be considered indecently exposed by his peers. Conversely a Zulu was considered properly dressed if he only wore an Umnecedo in public. On top of this was usually placed a loin covering known as a Unutsha, which was made up of animal hide and skin. On top of this was the regimental dress, which was made of conspicuously arrayed cow tails which were described European observers as “obscuring the body”. The more senior regiments included to this the insinba, which was a kilt of twisted tails that circled around the waist and hung to the knees. Chiefs and other senior officers were allowed to wear leopard skins, as a well of signifying their status and prowess. Usually only worn in ceremony, there are  instances of it being worn on the battlefield as well.
Models replicas of Zulus in uniform 

    Admittedly, all of this possesses a rather slim defensive value, and will only be able to turn aside a weak sword thrust or glancing blow. Does not inhibit their movement whatsoever. 

Legs: Leather bands, no sandals
Zulu Warriors were forced to dance on thorns to toughen their feet up

Often warriors wore leather bands on their wrists which were taken to be blessed by a witch doctor, adding a spiritual advantage to their armor. Cow tails were often attached to these bands.   Impis did not wear sandals, allowing for greater mobility. 
Arms: Leather bands
  (See the above description for legs)
Shield: Islangu
A White Ishlangu, which would belong to a veteran in Shaka's time

Finally we come to a defensive category where the Zulus truly excel at. The Ishlangu in Shaka’s day was a massive shield, said to be 54 in. by 30 in (or 4.5 feet by 2.5). The construction of a shield was a rather complicated affair involving multiple layers, but the end result was a shield that could repel javelins and even deflect a spear thrust. The shield was blessed prior to it being given to a warrior, giving the warrior a sense of spiritual empowerment, , and warriors were trained to use this shield offensively as well as defensively. Shields were painted different colors which were used to signify age: black shields were given to the young warriors, while in Shaka’s time white shields belonged to Shaka’s elite cadre of his most experienced and favorite warriors.  The shields were state owned, which was to prevent any rebels during an uprising from possessing this valuable defense.
                                     (Part 6 of the Zulu masterpiece!) 
 The Ishlangu was a Zulus greatest defense against enemy projectiles and close quarter weapons, and did a wonderful job adequately protecting the Zulu’s body, making up for his lack of  armor.  It was much stronger then it was portrayed on DW, and I can see it being able to stand up to many of the German’s weapon initially, though repeated fighting may wear it down fast. The rare Roman Pilum, which was designed to penetrate shields, may also be a problem, though I must again emphasize its rarity. 

Tactics and formations : Bull horns formations (double envelopment) , effective scouting, use of deception, surprise , attack at opportune moments,  guerrilla warfare , commando raids (night attacks), terrain manipulation, terror tactics,led from the front. 
The Bull horns formation. Credit to MeibukanMaster for the photo

 Shaka’s most famous tactic was known as the impondo zenkomo or “bulls horns”. This tactic called for two “horns” to flank the enemy, while the head would move in for the kill. The loins would act as a reserve. This was essentially a double envelopment tactic similar to Hannibal’s legendary feat at Carthage, though on a smaller scale.

 Shaka was also a master scouter, and his men were trained to identify hostile’s miles away from his main force. Sometimes he would have these men advance in regiments, to trick the enemy into thinking that they were the main force. Once the enemy was goaded into attacking the main Zulu force would identify itself, shocking and disheartening the enemy. In the battle of Gtorqli hill he hid a large amount of Zulus behind a ravine, allowing them to have enough numbers to encircle the Ndwande.  
                            (Part 7 of the Zulu series)
 Guerilla tactics and surprise attacks were another forte of his, and after his Gtorkli hill he managed to slowly white down the 20,000 man Ndwande army with guerilla attacks and scorched earth, before surprising the divided army when they were crossing a river.  After winning the battle he tricked his foes once more, by approaching the Ndwande compound singing their national victory song. When the residents let down their guard and went out to celebrate with him, Shaka slaughtered them.  Commando raids were also used in the war, such as when Shaka gathered up volunteers, and dressed them similarly to the Ndwande, before sending them into their camp. Once there the Zulus slaughtered many Ndwande while they were sleeping, causing chaos and spreading fear, and making the Ndwande fear the night.

 As I have repeatedly said throughout this bio, Shaka is a master of terrain manipulation, and can use various environmental notables like fords, ravines, rivers to his advantage. Shaka was also a master of terror, and not unlike Vlad he often impaled his enemies and subjects that displeased him. He completely massacred some of the tribes who resisted him. He was SOO terrifying that he almost single-handily caused a period of turmoil in Southern Africa, known as the Mfecane. This caused massive displacements of all South African tribes, as many of the tribes near his empire fled to get away from him, coming into conflict with more tribe (think something along the lines of what the Huns did to the ancient Germans/Steppe Tribes). These fleeing tribes brought along the Zulu system of warfare, causing even more tribes to be displaced as the newcomers proved that the javelin had become outdated. All in all, there is a reason the Shaka is called the “Napoleon of South Africa!”

Morale:Extremely High

   Zulu morale was extremely high going into battle, to the point where in the later half of the century they actively charged British guns without concern for their well being, so eager were they for battle.  A combination of a lifetime of  training and discipline, as well as blessings from witch doctors and drugs taken before the fight caused them to enter battle without fear in their hearts. They believed their shields had the power to repel everything, from assegai (true) to bullets (not true). Indeed they were so ridiculously eager for battle that officers had problems keeping them from engaging the enemy, and after the British-Zulu war many Zulus described what they were feeling as nothing short of blood lust.  Even orders from the king could not cure this incredible bloodlust, and in their rage they killed no combatants, livestock, and even pets! 

Motivation: Unify Tribes, Conquest for Conquest's sake,  Revenge
The Green in this map would be around the size of Shaka's kingdom

      Like many great conquerors, Shaka seeks unification of some kind. His vision was to destroy all Tribal establishments and unite all of them into one kingdom - his kingdom!  Before Shaka came there were many tribes that dominated the region now known as Zululand - when he died there was only one, the Zulus. The dramatic increase off his armies - from 400 in 1816 to 50,000 in 1828 - shows just how successful the man was in this regard. 

   Later in his reign,it appears that this man's desire to fulfill his original goal weakened, and it appears towards the end of his reign his conquests were motivated by cattle, desire to keep his subjects constantly occupied, and sometimes even just for conquests sake. A far cry from his early days where he actually had a vision, or was conquering to avenge ancient wrongs (eLangeni) 
                               (Shaka Zulu part 8) 
Loyalty of Men: Fanatical, beware of family
Dingane, Shaka's half-brother and assassin
    Throughout Shaka's entire reign, there was never a mutiny of soldiers nor a armed uprising within the Zulus. This was partially because of the precautionary measures Shaka took to avoid such a event (have men spy on each other, state owned shields), but it was also do to the fanatical devotion some of these men had towards him. Shaka gave them their cattle, wives, he often personally trained them and disciplined them, and he usually fought on the front along side them. Throughout Shaka's entire history, I have yet to read of a single battle lost because his men routed, even when faced with a numerically superior foe. 

       Like Arminius though, Shaka will need to beware of his family, particularly Dingane and Umhlagana, his two scheming half-brothers. 

Psychological Aspects: Raising own morale: Spiritual Preparations (witch doctors), War chants/praises,  drugs
Destroying Enemy Morale: Night attacks, Impalement,guns taunts, scorched Earth
Zulu witch doctor, late 1800s
        The Zulu army was very effective at raising its own morale, and they rarely if ever retreated.Prior to battle they would ingest a spiritual liquid provided by the witch doctor which would usually cause them to vomit; this ritual was known as "purging" and it was supposed to prevent the Zulus from falling victim to any supernatural aspects of their enemies. Witch doctors also blessed bands and shields of the soldiers, boosting their confidence and giving them the feeling of invincibility. 

 As they were marching in they would sing or chant praises; of themselves, their ancestors, their king whatever, which would serve to kind of pump them up. Once on the field they would clash their spears against the Ishlangus, in a effort to boost their own excitement.

 Finally once the battle was about to begin Zulus would be given a most potent drug by their witch doctors. While the exact composition is still unknown two flowers are suspected to have been mixed in; Boophane Disticha, which had hallucinatory and pain relieving properties, and mushrooms which were said to increase their user's perception. While undoubtedly terrible in the long term, in the short run they drastically increase Zulu morale.  

 Destroying Enemy Morale: 
This grizzly picture shows what happens to those that piss Shaka off

  As mentioned in the tactics section, Shaka did launch night attacks on the enemy. The purpose of these was not only to kill off many men, but to make them wary of sleep. As any health specialist will tell you, your body needs sleep and a lack of sleep will drastically effect your performance in whatever you attempt to do. What this translates to is essentially the less sleep the Germans get, the more exhausted they will be when they actually get on the battlefield.

    Shaka operated on a "no quarter given" philosophy of warfare. He sought nothing less then the complete destruction of the people who he fought as a independent political entity. To that end, any German unlucky enough to be captured is likely to find himself impaled on a pole, a warning to all of his countrymen about who exactly they are messing with. Guns will also make an appearance here, as these weapons that "shoot fire and thunder" having always been a shock to the native civilizations of the Americas when they first encountered them. 

   Finally, in a drawn out battle Shaka's Scorched Earth tactics will come into play,  and without proper supplies the Germans will find themselves parched with thirst and ravenous with hunger. This will lead to a decrease in morale. 
*credit goes to the owners of all the wonderful site below and above. 

Rules of Combat:  Get to close quarters ASAP, iklwa oriented, unconventional operations
Iklwa and shield 

 A lot of what was already said for Arminius regarding unconventional operations holds true here. The two armies are rather similar in the range of unconventional operations at their disposal. Zulu fighting style demanded that the regiments quickly get into close quarters, where they could use their iklwas with deadly skill. This was their main goal in a battle from the time of Shaka all the way into the Zulu wars with Britain. 

Mobility:  No shoes, high endurance, speed

Zulus would start training around these men's age

    The Zulus were quite famous for their policy of not wearing any sandals, as Shaka felt that it hindered their mobility. Once the sandals were off he trained them to ignore the pain inflicted by the environment on their vulnerable feet, by having them dance on thorns. Anyone that complained or cried out in pain was executed. He had them jog many miles a day, across the hot scorching Earth to further toughen their feet. When their training was complete their endurance had been built up to where they could run an amazing 50 miles a day! In contrast British armies at the time could only do 15 – on paved roads.

      The lack of shoes greatly improved the Zulus speed as well, to the point where in the battle of Gtorqli hill they were able to run down the fast light infantrymen of the Ndwande who were attempting hit and run attacks. Against Arminius, a man who relies on hit and run tactics, this legendary mobility is going to be major cog in his tactics, as the only part of his army that can outrun the Zulus are his cavalry, which are far from the majority. 

Known Weaknesses :  Prone to Rage,  probably mentally unstable/depressed, Disdain of Range Warfare.
Young Shaka telling his father to shove it in the T.V. series.

  Shaka Zulu is a controversial character in history, and whether he was a tyrant or a just ruler has often been disputed by scholars. His genius allowed him to form one of, if not the greatest, Sub-Saharan African empires, but he did so on the bodies of perhaps a million people.  Shaka was very wrathful  and prone to acts of extreme violence. He routinely executed his advisers, soldiers, subjects, and just about everyone else who displeased him, which could harm his cause should he execute a capable subordinate in battle. 

    While I must stress that this probably won't come into play in a battle, Shaka probably suffered from a lifelong depression, and was generally unhappy.  He was brutally humiliated and bullied throughout his childhood, and until he was 15 he probably didn't have any prolonged periods of happiness. When his mother died (the only one who ever suffered with him and for him)  he went insane, butchering 7,000 of his own people and ensuring that his country suffered from a famine in the future. Though he did come to his senses later and rescinded the order, his country reaped what he sowed later on. 

 Finally  Shaka's disdain for ranged warfare means that, even though he does have the shields capable of warding off projectiles, he doesn't get the advantage of really softening up the enemy before he engages. Conversely, his own forces are going to take some loses, even with their giant Ishlangus. 

Training/Discipline/Quality of Enemies: Zulu Childhood, Age grade regiment system, discipline instilled since childhood, sometimes supervised personally by Shaka, non-stop warfare, Quality of Enemies: Medium

One of my favorite pictures of the Zulus in action

      Around the age of six young Zulu boys were expected to become herdsmen, and had to protect the valuable cattle from predators, natural hazards, and protect the crops from cattle. It was in this profession that young Zulu boys learned many skills that would help them prepare for military life; a respect for authority, especially those older then himself (head herdsmen), to be responsible, to be self-reliant and function in a group, and familiarity with the outdoors. From an early age Zulu boys carried sticks, and they were taught both to fight with them (mostly against other boys) and to hunt with them (often with throwing sticks that were similar to the adult Knobkerrie). A popular game of the Zulu youth was to throw sharpened into a passing melon, teaching them accuracy. Real stick fighting came when they were a bit older. At about 12 years of age they would become carriers or servants to their older brother or fathers that are summoned to take part in a military venture. Known as the izindibi, they carried their master’s drinking gourd, head rest, food, and skin cloak, and were expected to travel up to twenty miles a day! This would improve their stamina, and help them get used to unfamiliar environments.

 At 17 they would join they could enlist and become unkwembane or cadet warriors. For three to four years they took part in runs across the country, learned the basics of Zulu fighting techniques (including stick fighting), helped farm nearby fields, repaired buildings and did chores for the King. They were taught to respect their military superiors, and to revere their king. Any lapse in duty was immediately punished through beatings. Eventually the King would gather them together to enroll them in a regiment(often comprising of 900 individuals) , ending their almost ten year long recruitment process. Rivalries between regiments were encouraged, as it led to superior performance on the field.
Zulu warriors

 Now that the Zulu is a full-fledged warrior, he was often allowed to return home to help his village, on call at all times (though some warriors were fulltime). There they served as labor, maintenance, secret police and were allowed to take part in religious hunts. Formal training often featured mock battles, usually between javelin throwers and iklwa wielding soldiers (this was to show some of his more skeptical troops that hand-to-hand Iklwas were clearly superior).Warriors were taught about Zulu formations, how to perform complex maneuvers without breaking ranks, and how to respond quickly to orders. Eventually, warriors were rewarded for their service with the right to marry and cattle, though they were still able to be called up for war after these were given. 
                                (Part 9. We are nearing the end folks)
    Shaka was to all extents and purposes, a warmonger. The Zulus were constantly at war throughout his reign, and Shaka's Impis would have fought numerous unrecorded skirmishes, sorties and battles throughout the years. His enemies were often Minor Tribes, with few warriors to defend themselves, but he did defeat native confederacies like the Ndwande, so his Quality of Enemies category escapes the "low" designation. His foes were nothing to the legions of Rome, the best of them being a kin to Macroduus of the Germans, but his men do make up for their low quality of enemies with constant military engagement and lifelong  formal training, which Arminius's men do not have. 

Martial Art/Fighting Style: Iklwa and Ishlangu, Zulu Stick fighting

Zulu stick fighting

            As mentioned in the Iklwa section, the most prevalent style of fighting in the Zulu military was the Iklwa and shield. As mentioned earlier the standard Zulu battlefield tactic would be to use their shields to hook around another warrior’s shield, move it out of the way and stab him in the gut. Since Shaka insisted that they train all the time with his personal invention, expect them to be very skilled in this fighting style. Zulu boys fought with sticks so that they can improve their combat prowess, reaction time, speed, and dueling tactics.  As always, detailed Martial Art descriptions aren’t my forte, so please click here to read about the history and application of this martial art. Shaka himself was a master of this martial art, and was described as unbeatable in duels

Innovation: High
Shaka holding one of his military innovations

     This man was all about innovation. He created his own primary weapon (Iklwa), his own fighting style, he redesigned the Ishlangu to make it more formidable, he created his own regimental system,  he created his own envelopment tactic, the tactics he used in battles frequently caught the enemy on the unaware ect ect.  A full list and details of his innovations would be longer then my training section. What innovation means in terms of this matchup is Shaka has a high possibility of trying a new weapon, or trying a new tactic. I will not give Shaka full points here as although he was generally innovative, he relied too much on his bull horn tactic, and did not fully see the benefit of firearms in his lifetime (though he did plan to have some of his men train  with them)  .
               (The conclusion to both Shaka's life and the epic ten part series) 
Personality: Bright, passion of warfare, morbidly curious , brooding

        Shaka was a genius among his peers, and this was demonstrated frequently in his tactics, innovation, and his political maneuverings. His brilliant tactics actually earned him the title “The Napoleon of South Africa” which, considering what the Corsican general was able to accomplish within his years in power, is a wonderful monicker to have. He had a passion for warfare, that when combined with his natural curiosity, led him to accomplish what no other Zulu tribesmen was able to accomplish, and it was his tactics that won  the battle of Isalanda , against the technological advantage of the British firearms.  He was so curious that, in one of the more grizzly stories of his life, he would have eyes removed from their sockets to see how the unfortunate victim adapted, and had pregnant women disemboweled at various stages of their pregnancy. While many other Zulus were Xenophobic he was fascinated by white technology, and may have even sough a “merging” of the two worlds.   Finally Shaka wasn’t the most social of men, and a lot of the warriors who he initially trained with report him as distant, moody, and note that he often sat away from the others. 

Zulu Sources: 
Assegai: Here
Zulu Impi here
Zulu Firearms here

Tshaka Zulu here
Zulu Military Organization and the challenge of 1879 here

King Shaka Zulu here
Lessons on Leadership by Terror: Finding Shaka Zulu in the Attic here
exotic Zulu weaponry here
Washing of the Spear here
Zulu 1816-1906 here
Nathaniel Isaacs here
Shaka : 1787-1828 here
The Rise and Fall of Zulu King Shaka here
Zulu drugs here
Warrior Cultures by it HERE
Shaka Profile by Meibukan Master. Read it here 
The Black Napoleon Shaka here
Stick Fighting here
"Sticking Fingers" here
Zulu Cattle here
Chaka Zulu here


  1. ZULU zulu ZULU zulu ZULU!

    That is all.

    Looking forward to seeing Shaka's arsenal and seeing if he stands any chance against Herman the German.

  2. Some great information on Shaka here!

    I was surprised to see how much Shaka despised ranged combat, given how pragmatic he was in his unification of the Zulus. Maybe Shaka is right and the javelins will just bounce off his shields, but in my mind by not using ranged attacks extensively he is already pulling one of his cards off the table.

    Also surprising was the Africans' very ritualistic approach to warfare. I'd imagine that their stickfighting and wrestling were no-holds-barred, so it's surprising to see Zulu combat so regulated (with the sides not even closing to melee combat). Do you know why they fought this way, perhaps tradition or cultural norms? Also, did the Germans have ritualized combat?

    The Knobkerrie should be quite effective against the Germans, given that its range would probably be longer than the Germanic counterpart. Also, the bludgeoning ability of the weapon should allow it to override the crude Germanic helmets. An easy edge here.

    I don't know if Shaka used spear wall tactics with the Isijula, but I doubt it. I don't see this weapon being a major factor- for Shaka to win, he must force the issue with close combat (something the Romans tried but failed to do).

    .....And if he can force the issue, with the Iklwa at his side victory may be very likely for Shaka's Impis- the Iklwa has greater range than the Spatha, and the spear point should be very effective against the unarmored Germans (the Hamata should be very rare). With their training in highly mobile and unconventional African dueling (see the DW episode), I highly doubt that the average German can stand up to the average Impi in hand-to-hand combat.

    So, the, it comes down to Shaka's close range superiority versus Arminius' projectiles and tactical genius. I am very interested in seeing Shaka's other weapons, including the secret animal weapon!

  3. @Vercin712: The African combat was so retail due to training and economy. It took years of training to become skill closed range fighters, as you had to develop fighting skill and the guts of fighting close quarters.

    Two lines of men throwing spears at each other resulted in low casualties for each side, meaning there would still be men left to farm and herd. Shaka trained his men better than anybody else for his time, and made his men believe that they could not be killed. This made them not afraid to engage in close combat, with the hard training making them the best close range fighters, meaning even lower causalities for Shaka.

  4. That's a heck of a way to give Shaka guns. Did Shaka really let a European expedition fight using their guns? I thought he would have forced them into an Impi unit and had them fight like the rest of his warriors for the laughs.

    So, looks like it’s coming down to Zulu mobility, fanaticism, and close quarters attacking ability Vs. German spears, ambushing prowess, and armour. The fight is looking good so far.

  5. Agreed, you've done an excellent job portraying both sides so far - especially the Zulu. No complaints from me; keep up the good work.

  6. Anyone else find it amusing that the guy's name was farewell? Heh Heh. I don't know enough about them to comment further, but I don't see them having much of an impact in a battle involving thousands of warriors. More important are the Zulu Axes; they look like they could leave right through a Germanic wood shield, if they didn't pull it away first.

    Now for some major news: after months of work, Sora's Warrior Profile is finally done! Check it out and let me know what you think of the Keyblade Master.

  7. Hm. Well, Shaka's armour is as terrible as expected.

    Still, his animal is hilarious. Not awesome, but pretty amusing in its own right. I see it being useless against Caesar.

    Also, what match are you going to do next? Your poll had a tie.

  8. really tired tonight, will answer comments tommorow.

  9. Hahaha, that cattle thing was really creative! I thought it was going to be Shaka's pet lions or leopards or something, but the cattle will probably have a bigger impact. I'd think that the bulls at least would fight back against the Germans as well, goring a few of them.

    The Ishlangu was impressive as always, Thrand seems to believe that it was about 2 inches thick and able to stop muskets at a distance.

    I'm not sure of how the scorched-earth tactics will play out against Arminius, considering the German is an accomplished master of terrain ang guerilla master himself. If anything, Arminius may have the edge here due to the irregular nature of his forces (small groups that could work independently or coordinate attacks)unless Shaka had similar war-bands. I don't even know what to say about the drugs!

    Also, I'm curious as to the quality of Shaka's generals, I'm assuming that he had underlings who helped to plan his battles. What were their records as opposed to Arminius' men?

    If you wanna see more tactical musing, Link's Tactics section is now done.

  10. An excellent analysis of Shaka's personality and other intangibles, love the detail in those. Unfortunately I can't do the same for my match since I can't measure personalities or innovation like as with real warriors. I do go into specifics about training, though (Link's Experience is now done).

    The Shaka music was excellent, I wish you had put in the video earlier so I could listen to it as I read.

    I'll post my Edge predictions tomorrow, I have to go over this and Arminius and piece it all together first.

    May I suggest that you end Shaka's profile with a Closing Statement where you briefly review Shaka as a whole, perhaps reflecting on his impact on history or what he may look forward to entering this match? I found that it worked very well with Sora, just an idea.

  11. Thanks for all the comments guys!

    Ill try to address the questions in order (and will be split up into a couple of parts)

    I Believe the Pre-Shaka South African cultures were steeped deeply in tradition,and had been using that style of warfare for at least 200 years. It minimized causalities, provided an outlet for violence where only a few warrior would have to die and helped settle disputes. The problem is the results were never conclusive, and a defeated tribe could restart a grudge the following year . You also couldn't permanently conquer tribes that way, as they would just renew hostilities the following year. Obviously this type of warfare was obstructive to Shaka's goals of unity and conquest, so he did away and achieved phenomenal successes.

    The Germans did have small scale combat, though I wasn't sure if it was ritualized. I remember reading something about duels, but in truth not much is written about Intra-tribal warfare, except that the Germans were so fiercely independent that it was often difficult to unify them.

    @ MeibukanMAster

    Thanks for helping me man with the explanation.


    Actually yes! He did seem to have genuinely taken them with him when he was raiding, if only to see first hand what guns would do And he respected the whites, particularly a doctor named Henry Flynn who saved his life after a botched assassination attemopt

  12. @Mike
    Thanks. Your Matchup is looking excellent btw!
    @ Sweet
    True, his armor was more for show then to actually stop blows. Still the Ishlangu is a great sheild, and will lower projectile deaths.

    @ Vercingetorix

    Actually it was pretty much all Shaka. Seriously this man entered the battlefield without telling anyone his plans (to prevent spies from finding out), and only started to when the battle was about to begin. This had the advantage in making sure no general became good enough to really challenged him, though it did make it so his generals slightly lacked in ability.

    Nice job posting at 8:48 am and 8;48 pm!

    You have a point about innovation , though if you wanted I think you could include a bit about personality and personality weakness, such as Sora's temper .

    Ill do a closing statement when i get the time, and I will post something on your profile tmw as well. Looknig forward to your edges!

  13. Whew! Man, you're thorough. Excellent work, I'm looking forward to the conclusion.

    As for edges, I can't remember all of the weapons and such, so I'll make do.

    Short Range - I think that the Zulu have the better weapons at this distance, but not the better armor. In my mind, that makes them even here, as though the German weapons are inferior to the Zulus, they won't have a hard time getting through their armor. However, that's not accounting for the ishlangu; with it in hand, it sways the scales enough for the Zulu to get the edge in this category.

    Medium Range - the Zulu really can't compete with spears at this distance, the sheer volume of spears available to the Germans is staggering. However, the longer Zulu axes and knobkerries are going to do a ton of percussive damage to the *many* unarmored Germans, really killing (pun intended) morale. Still, I give the Germans an edge in this category.

    Long Range - limited numbers of German archers, slingers and javelineers would certainly take their toll on the Zulu infantry. That said, I feel that the British expedition will make a big impact on the battle, provided they can be protected well - otherwise they'll be overrun with disastrous results. Beyond that, however many assegai that Shaka's men used in the battle would not be very effective, especially compared to their German counterparts. Then again, the ishlangu will do a much better job of protecting the Zulus from missiles than the German shields will (especially against firearms), so I call this a tie based on greater volume of German missiles, but better protection for the Zulu.

    Special: As awesome as the idea of a stampeding herd of cattle is, I don't think that it will make as big of an impact on the battle as the legendary German cavalry will. Though significant numbers of the Germans will break rank to try to capture the valuable cattle, I feel that their cavalry will maintain discipline enough to race all over the battlefield, harassing the Zulu flanks and hammering weak points in the lines. Edge Germania.

  14. God I'm loving this :D This is easily one of your best warrior bios ever. The shaka vs Wallace episode of the show was fun but this stuff here is just brilliant. It's so damn informative and I loved the comparisons and contrasts you to the romans you throw it. They're enough to provide perspective but not enough to get repetetive. I think that Vercingetorix is going to have his work cut out for him when one psycho Zulu and his army show up with thirty english guys who really want to be somewhere else.

    Is it bad that I could easily imagine Shaka Zulu firing a loaded gun at his TV in a fit of rage? He was brilliant no doubt, and psycho. But he loved him mom. I love my mom but I'd never kill seven thousand people to honour her. A bouquet of roses would do, lol.

    Either way, this is fabulous work and I try to live up to your example. My own back for blood match is coming along nicely. We've got some great guest stars and I make fun of the third season ;)

    TAke care and I'll be waiting for this match :D


    MAster of teh Boot

  15. Now the fun begins......

    Long Range: A clear advantage for Arminius here. Even if the bows and slings can't get past the shields, they are still better than Shaka's disdain for ranged warfare. The Africans may not be as familiar with these projectiles either, so they may lose a few men to ambushes and the like..

    Mid Range: Arminius carries the day again, but frankly this category should not play a major role in the battle. The Isijula will pretty much be useless, while the Germans will have plenty of experience with spears. I doubt that Arminius' collection of warbands will be able to maintain a spear wall for long against Shaka's Impis with their fearsome styles. In fact I'd almost think it's a liability for the Germans if they try this strategy- the Zulus will just be too quick for them, and the Ishlangus will be important.

    Close Range: Shaka owns Germania in this category, plain and simple. Shaka's entire strategy revolved around the Iklwa, and the Africans literally trained their whole lives to be able to use it with the Ishlangu effectively. To respond to Mike about the armor, I don't think that enough Germans will have Hamata to make up for their inferior shields and shorter range weapons. The knobkerrie outranges the Germanic clubs as well. That is enough for me to give Shaka the definitive edge here.

    Special Weapon: Shaka gets the Edge here, but only because of the comparative rarity of the Longsword. It seemed to me that more Impis would carry axes than Germans would own swords, so even though the sword is probably a better overall weapon the Axe will have a greater impact on the battle. The axe's hooks will also be useful against Germanic shields.

    Rare Weapons: This one was tough for me to decide, but I feel that Arminius should get the edge. While Farewell's thirty men will be lethal with the musket, they are few in number compared to the greater armies engaging each other. Also, if you have ever read "Heart of Darkness", you'll know that the Europeans even with guns could be paranoid and easily ambushed. They likely won't know what hit them when they get pelted by arrows and rocks, and Arminius' tactics makes this even worse. The Roman weaponry on the other hand will all be quite useful- Scuta are good shields, Pila are good javelins, and the armor will be a boon to the Germans. Speaking of them, I doubt that they will be afraid and just run away from the muskets- remember, they have faced Roman Scorpions before and they are also utterly fearless. They won't think they are gods either, unlike the Native Americans.

    Support Animal: Arminius gets the edge again. While the Cattle are an interesting concept, nothing beats horsepower in warfare and the horses will give the Germanics an important mobility edge. The horses will also be quite intimidating. If Shaka can get the cattle to stampede at Arminius' army however, things may be different....

  16. Continued...

    Armor: Shaka takes the edge, and for only one reason: the Ishlangu. This shield is frankly superior to what the Germans bring to the table, and every Zulu has one and is trained in its use. The Hamata will be great for those who have it, but only a few men will and the wool cloaks will not stop the Iklwa. Their helmets are superior, but it's not nearly enough to get the edge.

    Psychological Aspects: Frankly, it's even here. MAYBE Shaka would get a narrow edge simply based around the fact that his men are more unified than Arminius' tribal bands and they could take the stress better, but the two are so similar otherwise that it's too close to call!

    Rules of Combat: The Edge goes to Shaka here, except in one specific circumstance. If Arminius can surprise Shaka's men with the javelins, then he has the advantage. Otherwise, it's all Shaka for me- the Zulu are extremely quick, and capitalizing on their greatest strength, the Iklwa, is the right move.

    Mobility: Believe it or not, it's even here. While Shaka's men probably have a faster running speed with their lighter gear, Arminius' men are masters of stealth and they also have some horses to help close gaps in the line. These two factors offset each other for me.

    Personal Weaknesses: The Edge goes to Shaka here- even if he is a depressed wacko, Shaka is still an excellent strategist and any defections of Arminius' men could be fatal for the Germanic warlord. Shaka doesn't have this problem.

    TEQoE: Advantage Arminius. His Germans fought the superpower of the time and somehow won, that's enough for me to give him the edge. Shaka's men may have more training, but I'm willing to bet the Germanics have plenty of experience in the front. Plus, some of the lessons learned against Rome MAY be helpful against Shaka.

    Martial Arts: Shaka gets the edge fair and square. His formalized military training and stickfighting are enough for the edge alone, but what really puts him over the top is the extremely intense nature of Zulu dueling- the Germans may not be quite prepared for it.

    Innovation: I'm not sure how much this will affect the battle, but I will give Shaka a slight edge here if only because he was constantly trying out new tactics on his enemies. To be fair, though, Arminius was plenty innovative to use the Romans' weaknesses against them.

    Personality: I call it even here, there isn't enough of a difference between them to warrant an Edge here. Shaka's curiosity is offset by his moodiness and instability. Arminius is passionate but not as innovative.

    Well, I hope I gave you some insights with this analysis, I'm looking forward to seeing the real edges, and then I'll give my official prediction.

    As a side note, I think it's a bad idea to pit the winner of this against Caesar- IMHO, a return for the Egyptians (perhaps under Ramesses II) would be a much fairer and entertaining competition. Also, you could cover some new ground as well about whatever Egyptian leader you pick.

  17. Oh, and one more thing: thanks for the advice, I created a psychological aspects profile for Sora and Link will get one too! Link's opponents profile is half done as I write this.

  18. Thanks guys for all the comments!

    Thank you for your edges, Ill make sure to take them into account.Both men are masters of unconventional warfare, though capable of conventional, and I will to include both in the sim. Night attacks and beserkers will also be included. I hope Napy vs. Washington is going well!

    Thanks for commenting! Haha Shaka without a doubt had some issues but I don't expect many of them to come into play in this match. I do not plan on including Nandi (his mother) so that should tone down the craziness a bit. Personally I think they should use the image of Shaka as part of a anti-bullying campaign. After all you have no way of knowing if that kid that's bullied in school going to grow up to be a ruthless dictator and empire builder who shoves stakes up people's asses!

    And I am very happy that your B4B is coming a long nicely! Are some of those guest stars upcoming warriors, and will you include regular dead contenders in your b4b? the reason I ask is because an undead elephant is simply to golden an opportunity to miss lol. Also I really want to here your commentary on season 3!

  19. @ Vercingetorix

    Thank you very much for those detailed edges! They are really going to come into play when I judge this thing!

    Good point on LR, the Zulus may have not had experience with the slings, though I believe a relatively obscure tribe near them used bows. Still your point has merit.

    Germans will not have the Scuta in this matchup; it carries the very symbol of the empire they hate etched on it. More so then any other legionary equipment, it symbolizes Rome, and I can't imagine Arminius or his men carrying it.

    Thanks for making that point about the scorpion! However while I agree they won't flee on sight of the musket, I do think that it will unnerve the Germans a bit,as the weapon is unlike anything the Germans ever encountered, which will provide a slight psychological bonus to Shaka's army.

    Hey you skipped Tactics/battle formation (very important) , Morale, Motivation, Loyalty!

    Anyway thanks for the comments, and about Arminius/Shaka vs. Caesar....i don't think its going to happen, ill just have to wait for another opponent to come along for him and Cao Cao (who will be fighting in the resurrection half) .The Egyptian prospect intrigues me, and I may do it if I can find a suitable Mayan canidate to take on the loser of this matchup. Otherwise I may save the army fights till next B4B.

    Good that you are adding Personality! I feel it will really add detail and further humanize the characters that you are working with, how many points are allotted to the category?

    And once your Link profile is finished I promise ill give it an analyses just as detailed as the one you gave me!

  20. Close Range: The common Germanic solider can't compete with the common Zulu warrior. The Zulu Iklwa is equipped to every Zulu, meaning they can tear through a group of germans at a decent rate. The German club however is just as common, and while not as advance as the iklwa, can be wielded just as fiercely and can even damage lower rank Zulu shields. Shakas clubs will not be as effective on Germans shields, nor will his fight sticks. For Arminius and other Germans armed with the seax may have a small advantage at in close quarter envoirments like the forest, but the Zulus have an overall edge here for vast supply of Iklwa and proper training with said weapon.