Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Up the creek (Part Eight)

Brave Havildar and section covers retreat of the wounded
but they are caught by the advancing Pathan warriors
Officer and wounded party nearly make the compound wall
and are themselves intercepted by Zulus
The officer rallies the men and beat off the assault inflicting heavy loss on the Impi...but they watch in horror as the brave Havildar is hacked down
Meanwhile, over the water, the German native levy hack away at the brush (it being impenetrable to European troops) but why?

The little steamer races ahead to scout, Leading Seaman Fred 'Miss Marple' Haley on the prow
The Gray Funnel Line forges on despite the fusillade
but the little boat is raked stem to stern by the now alerted Pathan/Ruga Ruga combine losing the gun and many a straw hat
they exact revenge... What Ho? A steamer coming down channel...and French! The 'Chien de la Mare' poodle steamer taking US Marines on a good will tour of the water that flows out of the tiny bit of Africa the French own... Things ashore are sticky Diverted warriors attack the farmers but are shown the door
the other flank is harder pressed, although some 200 odd warriors have fallen so far less those eaten... and the dhow floats gently downstream the wounded aboard unable to steer (Dhow!) and the Pathan swimming team make the shore
but some support has at last arrived, even if from an unexpected quarter...the flowing wine, the garlic and the strains of Oklahoma rendered by the French Infantrie de la Marine (OK it's pronounced 'Eaukla'omeur') waft over the river. It is so wonderful a sight you could almost forgive them for being..well..French