Zulu army Weapons and organisation
The Zulu miltary system was based on service due to the the ruler and consisted of seperate kraals housing warriors
Ambutho who would be "called up" to constitute the Impis.
The ruler would delay the marriage of these warrior groups as long as possible sometimes the age of 40 on average. It was then they gained the "headring" or
isicoco
,a fibre ring woven into the hair and blackened and stiffened with beeswax.

The assegai
Umkhonto
would be the main weapon of the bulk of these formations,or warclubs
iwisa
although some groups were forced to adopt firearms as their principal weapon and become proficient despite the antiquity and poor quality of the 10,000 or more weapons which were smuggled into Zululands mostly by Portuguese traders.
One of the commonest found in Zulu hands was the "tower musket" or "Brown Bess". Powder was always available but the ammunition was scarce and more often pieces of stone or pot were used.
the Broader bladed assegai iklwa was for close in combat whilst the assegais umkhontos could be thrown, or again used as a stabbing weapon. Although some 30 inches in length and up to 1.5 inches at the base the blade caused deep penetrating wounds they could usually be treated easily and with time heal cleanly. the Five foot shields of stiffened Cowhide were used to buffet an enemy off balance or to the ground to be finished with a spear thrust. Smaller 4 foot shields were commoner and as with the larger shields they were colour patterned in regimental organised schemes. but this practice was less common towards the end of The zuluwars' period.
I became fascinated with the variety of shield patterns as I bought and painted more Zulu regiments. It was beneficial to have different colour schemes using the units in "heart of africa" scenarios so as to tell them apart. After sifting through many sources these designs appear to match the most accepted interpretation for each regiment. as I discover the meaning behind each regiments' name I will update them.where more than one name is below a shield it indicates that pattern is shared by more than one regiment. if anyone has any background or info on Zulu impis please submit them.

uThulwana "Dustraisers"
umCijo "sharp points"

iMgombamakhosi - the humbler of Kings



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