The Mod

'Isandlwana - The Thin Red Line' - A 19th century battle mod (ver 0.2)

Medieval goes Victorian. Well, sort of ... what started as a small attempt to just change some minor things became bigger and bigger and is now a mod around the disastrous Battle of Isandlwana, where an invading British force was annihilated by a Zulu army in 1879.

I.     Features
II.    Units
III.   Installation & Download
IV.   Gaming Notes
V.     FAQ
VI.   Credits
VII.  Screenshots
VIII. History / Info
IX.   Known issues
X.    Teaser Video (by naxzul666)
XI.   Historical FA
XII.  Realis
XIII. Tactical map of the battlefield
XIV. Version History

I. Features:
- based on Medieval II: Total War Kingdoms (i.e. you need to have at least one campaign of the Kingdoms: expansion installed)
- more than a dozen historically accurate new models and many more with different textures
- all individual British units that took part in the battle down to company / troop level
- all individual Zulu units that took part in the battle down to regimental level
- authentic unit stats
- 'improved' ;) reloading animation for (dismounted) riflemen
- new menu, loading screens, quotes, music and such like
- new unit cards, units info cards and interesting unit descriptions

Main menu

II. Units:
 1.) British & Colonial Units
  - Col. Pulleine and Battalion Guard (1/24th Foot)
  - Col. Durnford (R.E.) with NNMC Troop
  - Lt. Francis Porteous' A Coy (1/24th Foot)
  - Capt. Reginald Younghusband's C Coy (1/24th Foot)
  - Lt. Charles Cavaye's E Coy (1/24th Foot)
  - Capt William Mostyn's F Coy (1/24th Foot)
  - Capt. George Wardell's H Coy (1/24th Foot)
  - Lt. Charlie Pope's G Coy (2/24th Foot)

  - Lt. Curling's Division, ('N'/5th R.A.)
  - Maj. Russel's 9 Pdr. Rocket Battery, (11/7th)

  - Imperial Mounted Infantry Squadron No.1 (Detail)*

  - Natal Mounted Police (Detail)*

  - Buffalo Border Guard (QM MacPhail's Detail)*
  - Natal Carbineers (Lt. Scott's Detail)*
  - Capt. Bradstreet's Newcastle Mounted Rifles (Detail)*

  - Capt. Krohn's Coy No. 6 (1/3rd, Natal Native Contingent)
  - Capt. Stafford's E Coy (1/1st, Natal Native Contingent)
  - Zulu Coy (2/3rd, Natal Native Contingent)
  - Lt. Raw's Zikhali Horse Troop No. 1 (Natal Native Mounted Contingent)*
  - Lt. Robert's Zikhali Horse Troop No. 2 (Natal Native Mounted Contingent)*
  - Lt. Vause' Zikhali Horse Troop No. 3 (Natal Native Mounted Contingent)*

*Units available mounted and dismounted

 2.) Zulu Units
  - inGobamakhosi ibutho warriors
  - uMbonambi ibutho veterans
  - uVe ibutho warriors
  - umKhulushane ibutho veterans
  - isAngqu ibutho veterans
  - umCijo ibutho elite warriors
  - umHlanga ibutho warriors
  - uDududu ibutho warriors
  - uNokhenke ibutho elite warriors
  - uThulwana Mounted Scouts
  - uDloko ibutho warriors
  - inDluyengwe ibutho veterans
  - iNdlondlo ibutho warriors
  - Iziduna Ntshingwayo kaMahole Khoza with elite bodyguard
  - Iziduna Dabulamanzi kaMpande with elite bodyguard

Iziduna = commander
ibutho = regiment

Note: Many units use the same soldier model.

Battle Screen Example (GUI)

III. Installation & Download:
Download from Hotfile via TWC (121 MB):

- there's no installer and you need Kingdoms
- just unpack the zip-file into your medieval folder (i.e. \Medieval II Total War)
- ready
- navigate to: mods\ThinRedLine\
- click " ThinRedLine.bat " to start

That said, I didn't test the mod on any other pc than my own (Athlon 64 - 3200+, 2,x Ghz, 2 GB RAM Win7 (64)), so please tell me int he forum or here if something doesn't work and your specs. For a sometimes occuring steam issue read section IX.

Natal Native Mounted Contingent Troopers with their European NCO (left: a Natal Carbineers NCO)

IV. Gaming notes:
 1. Play on 'huge' for historically correct unit sizes.

 2. Pre-configured battles (no actual recreation of battlefield)
    a) Variant 1: Pulleine/Durnford vs. whole Zulu force (correct unit size for the British)
    b) Variant 2: Pulleine/Durnford vs. whole Zulu force (correct ratio)

 3. Quite fitting maps
  - Lebanon
  - Carpathia
  - Morocco
  - Sea of Grass

Imperial Mounted Infantry Troopers

1. Why is the installation file so big (almost 300 MB unpacked)? It's just a battle mod?!?
Frankly, I'd like to know that for myself but the game isn't known for being particulary ressourceful. And changing just one animation, for example, demands for the whole animation pack to be rebuilt and included. And so on ...

2. Can I use your models, textures, whatever?
Yes. No restrictions. But don't be a dick and claim stuff as your own.

3. Will there be a campaign?
I won't lie to you and although I have a decent map and a little other stuff, the answer is no. The effort to re-skin, let alone re-model the buildings in 19th century colonial style would be insane. Your best bet here is to hope for the "African Conquest: Total War"-mod - which I contribute to - to be finished ...

4. Will there be some historic battle?
My computer is completely underpowered to make own battle maps and sadly I found nobody to help me make a map. Also, the regular total war battle map is way to small to accomodate all troops if placed in historically correct positions.
But if time allows and I can get hold of a better pc I'll do it but if you want to give it a try be my guest. :)
[Edit] Good news, alexandre dumas from is about to make a map when his time allows!

5. C'mon, how authentic are these models really, eh?
For the British authenticity is at a guesstimated 85 to 99 percent (depending on unit). The Zulus are improved vanilla models but have authentic shield patterns/colours and weaponry. Of course, the artillery guns and rocket battery are (still) medieval style.

6. This is a Beta. What about further development/debugging?
I've just no time for serious work. And there certainly are things that should be improved (e.g. the horrible menu colour scheme, arggh..) but won't unless someone else is going to do it. Feel free to do so ;) ...

7. Hm, ok, but why should I download this then?
Errr, tough question. If you are not a fan, it's probably nothing for you. Maybe just read into some of the period eyewitness accounts linked to in VIII and you might get hooked.

Zulu Village

VI. Credits:
 - Burrek's blood and dirt mod
 - Alpaca's base folder
 - the team from " Secession: Civil war " and it's mod for being a learning example :)
 - lots of the advise to be found in the TWC wiki, the forums and elsewhere
 - and those I forgot ...

Zulu Warriors

VII. Some screens:

' This force marched out from camp as soon as there was light enough to see the road. '
Maj. Clery, Senior Staff Officer to the 3rd Column, on the division of the force

' They disappeared over a ridge, and on coming up we saw the Zulus, like ANTS, in front of us [...] .'
J.N. Hamer, a civilian transport officer, who accompanied a NNMC cavalry troop

' Report just come in that Zulus are advancing in force from the left front of the camp (8.5 am). '
Message from Col. Henry Pulleine to Lord Chelmsford

' [...] the mounted force held most tenaciously, every shot appearing to take effect. '
J.A. Brickhill, an Isandlwana Survivor, about the white mounted force at Isandlwana.

' The enemy advancing still, we began firing case, but almost immediately the infantry were ordered to retire. '
Lt Curling's 7-pounder guns shelling the uNokhenke regiment

' Come in every man, for God's sake! The camp is surrounded, and will be taken unless helped at once. '
Message to Lord Chelmsford from Commandant Hamilton-Brown, advancing towards the camp

' All is as bad as it could be. '
Remark of Lieutenant-Colonel Russell after returning from the battlefield

2. Unit info cards

3. Banner textures

4. New face textures

VIII. Info:
1. Cool period stuff (free available online)

This one's well written and gives a great insight. Has much and detailed information on all British troops involved in the Anglo-Zulu War.
Colenso, Frances E.: History of the Zulu war and its origin. (1880)

Also very interesting; written by a colonial commandant participating in the war.
Hamilton-Browne, G.: A lost legionary in South Africa. (1912)

Written by one of the officers who commanded the force at Rorke's Drift
Chard, J.: The defence of Rorkes drift. (1879)

Mitford, Bertram: Through Zulu Country. Its battlefields and people. (1883)

Chadwick, G.A.: The Battle of Isandlwana and the defence of Rorke's Drift. (1978)

Holt, H.P.: The Mounted Police of Natal. (1913)

An online museum of authentic Victorian-era British military photographs.

Testimonies of the surviving officers of the force engaged at Isandlwana

2. Websites and modern articles

The list of casualties

Notes on the Composition of the British Force at Isandlwana by Lt. Col. Mike Snook

3. Some fine youtube clips

Some footage from history channel documentary

Zulu Dawn (1979) - The movie on Youtube

Teaser picture: Mounted Police, Natal Volunteer Corps and British Line infantry
firing volleys at the 'chest' of the Zulu formation

IX. Known issues:
This section will be updated regularly.
So far two persons have reported being unable to get the mod to work. Cause is unknown but both cases seem rather to be connected with a known steam issue which prompts an error message like this "This game is currently unavailable, please try again later". I can't give any advise on this but using the search function gives some ideas to solve the problem.

According to MarechalSoult from "you just simply need to make sure the game/launcher is switched off via your processors, otherwise you are still counted as playing the game"

This thread explains how to get around the steam installer, at all.

X. Teaser Video
This impressive video was kindly made by Naxzul666 from

Another great video made by alexandre dumas from

XI. Historical FAQ
1. Who were the main protagonists?
The British invaded Zululand in three columns with some additional (mostly native) forces as a quick reserve staying behind. The supreme commander Lord Chelmsford went with the ill-fated centre column. At the day of the battle he left the camp with half of the force leaving Colonel Pulleine in charge. On orders of Chelmsford, Pulleine was reinforced by Colonel Durnford just before the battle commenced. The Zulu overall commander was Ntshingwayo kaMahole Khoza.

2. Did the Zulus have much rifles at Isandlwana?
It is purported sometimes that the Zulus had thousands of even modern guns which is untrue as the following statement of Lieutenant Horace Smith-Dorrien, a surviving officer, proves.
"It was a marvellous sight, line upon line of men in slightly extended order, one behind the other, firing as they came along, for a few of them had firearms."
Firearms were also no part of the Zulu military doctrine and considered somewhat dishonourable. Under King Shaka's reign the Zulu warriors were even prohibited to throw their assegais (a thrusting spear). And the few Zulus who actually had rifles were generally deemed poor shots by the British.

3. Was the place of the camp poorly choosen?
Not really. From all the places available this was certainly one of the best. Clear and wide firing areas to three sides and a solid almost unsurmountable hill on the fourth side.

XII. Realism
Is this mod harder than reality would've been? Not if you play the Zulus :) ...well, joking aside. Translating the actual conditions to the game is not possible. In reality the British knew of the enemy in their vicinity and were prepared in a way. Some elements of the Zulu army were over hours and constantly submitted to a murderous riflefire and artillery shelling over a distance of about two to three miles.

In the game the Zulus are quite close so it should be next to impossible to inflict even half as much casualties on them as back then. Roughly 1,000 dead and 2,000 wounded. But since the AI is pretty much stupid and, unlike their living counterparts, 'Total War'-Zulus don't take any cover, this is clearly not the case.

And that's even though I firstly "lowered" the firing rate for missile troops and second, limited rifles to 400 and carbines to about 150 (even less when mounted).

Another reason for this is the ammunition limit of 70 rounds for missile troops. Which means that at an actual average firing rate of 6-8 shots per minute all your rounds would be spent after a couple of minutes. (All this regardless of the fact that it was even possible to fire up to 12 rounds per minute with the Martini-Henry Rifle).

A further discrepancy is of course the number of Zulus. At least twice as much (10,000-15,000) were engaged that day. To play in a ratio comparable to the actual conditions load the second pre-configured battle.

That said, I'll offer an alternative EDU with lowered unit stats for the Zulus soon and upload it on so everyone is satisfied.

XIII. Tactical map of the battlefield
Please use the link to go to the maps page

XIV. Version History
ver 0.1
ver 0.2
- some unnecessary files removed
- some descriptions fixed
- partly new music (some British marches)
- one new semi-historical unit for the British

well then, enjoy the mod ....


  1. War is a fascinating subject. Despite the dubious morality of using violence to achieve personal or political aims. It remains that conflict has been used to do just that throughout recorded history.

    Your article is very well done, a good read.