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The Death of Louis,
Crown Prince of France

Being a skirmish scenario set in Zululand, 1879,
for the Rencounter rule set by Ed Allen.


Louis Napoleon, Prince Royal of France, had come to serve as an aide-de-camp to General Chelmsford in africa by way of a long chain of events. His father, Napoleon III, and his family had come to England in exile from France in 1870. Louis was admitted to the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich (where officers of the Engineers and Artillery were trained) but was ineligible for commission as an officer of the artillery due to his background. Anxious to prove himself in combat, Louis asked to be allowed to go to Africa when reinforcement began to leave for Zululand in February, 1879.

General Chelmsford was understandably nervous about the responsibility of having such a personage on his staff. He gave orders that Louis was never to leave camp without an officer and an escort. Another member of the staff, Lieutenant Carey, had been educated in France and quickly befriended the Prince Royal. Before long the young Napoleon was assigned to help Carey with his task as Deputy-Assistant-Quartermaster-General: the surveying of the terrain in front of the advancing British army.

On one such mission, the pair were met by half of their escort, six colonial mounted infantry. The other half of the escort, six troopers of the Edendale troop, apparently reported to the wrong tent and were not available. Reasoning that a proper escort could be formed by rounding up six troopers from the scouts out in front of the army, the group set out on their mission.

Carey, technically the superior officer of the group, was somewhat overawed by the charisma and natural leadership of Napoleon, and soon demurred command of the patrol to the young Prince. When no scouts were found to add to the escort, Louis decided to continue and Carey said nothing to stop him.

The group rode out to the limit of their assigned reconnaissance and stopped to sketch the terrain. Some distance off there was a small kraal on the north bank of the Ityotosi river, and Louis suggested that they stop there and gather fuel and water so that the men could prepare coffee for themselves. The kraal was surrounded on three sides by close and dense brush, but Carey gave in and the group settled in by the bank for lunch.

Lunch over, the patrol stood by there horses to mount. Louis was about to order the mount when a volley of rifle shots rang out and a group of thirty Zulus charged from the nearby underbrush. This scenario attempts to recreate the situation at that moment. The outcome, hopefully, will be somewhat different from what actually transpired.


Scenario map image

Each square in the map above represents 6" x 6" of table space.

Notes on the terrain

British Game Information

Victory Conditions

Escape off the North side of the table, taking as few casualties as possible. If five or more British figures (including the guide), or the Prince Royal, are killed or left behind, the game is lost.


The British forces set up at point A on the map, next to their horses, with the exception of Carey, who is already mounted. Being caught by surprise, all pistols are holstered, and all carbines are slung.


For this scenario, each British figure acts as an independent unit.

Zulu Game Information

Victory Conditions

Kill as many of the British invaders as possible. If the Zulus kill at least 5 of the British figures (including the guide), they have won.


The Zulu units set up at the positions indicated with each unit's description.


Group 1: (Set up at position B)

Group 2: (Set up at position C)

Group 3: (Set up at position D)

Group 4: (Set up at position E)

Group 5: (Set up at position F)

Special Rules


Terrified by the noise, Rogers' mount bolted, and he got off only one shot before being stabbed by an assegai. Carey, already mounted, followed by Willis, Grubb and Cochrane, galloped straight for the donga. Abel managed to mount, but was shot in the back and fell. Le Tocq dropped his carbine, dismounted to retrieve it, and remounted. As he fled he saw Louis running alongside his own horse, trying to get into the saddle. Gripping his saddle by the holster and running with the animal, the leather tore and he fell.

As the horse ran, it's hooves smashed his right hand. Seven Zulus approached and Louis, his sword missing, drew his revolver left-handed and ran to a low mound. He was struck in the thigh by a thrown assegai, which he pulled out. Assegai clutched in his injured hand, he charged the Zulu, firing his pistol twice. He missed, and a second thrown assegai stopped his charge. The Zulus advanced and were seen stabbing over and over again.

When his body was recovered, Louis was found to have seventeen stab wounds, all in front.

Lieutenant Carey was court-martialed for Misbehavior Before the Enemy, but was eventually cleared of the charges.

Notes on Uniforms

Louis Napoleon wore the uniform of the Royal Artillery: blue patrol jacket, blue serge trousers with a single red stripe tucked into black gaiters, and the foreign service helmet.

Staff officers, too, favored the blue patrol jacket and so Lieutenant Carey was probably dressed in similar fashion.

The notes in my reference book are unclear as to the uniforms of the Natal Horse. The troop was formed from the colonial officers and NCOs of the disbanded 3rd Natal Native Contingent, but whether they maintained the same uniforms from their prior service or not is unclear. I would suggest using the uniforms of the Colonial Mounted Infantry: foreign service helmet, scarlet serge frock coat, blue trousers with a single red stripe, and an ammunition bandoleer in place of the infantry's belt pouches.


"The Zulu War: A Pictorial History", Michael Barthorp. Blandford Press, Ltd. 1984, London. ISBN 0-7137-1469-7.

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Page last updated: January 13, 2003
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