This one's for Shazzy.
From the 1964 film ZULU, A small company (149) of Welsh soldiers, horribly miss-managed by their English superiors and nearly out of ammo, sing Men Of Harlech in the face of an overwhelming (over 3,000) force of Zulu Warriors.
Filmed in 1963 and Directed by American blacklisted director Cy Endfield, ZULU tells the story of the Anglo-Zulu war fought in the 19th century and marked the end of the Zulu empire in Africa.
The sequence is notable for its use of music, juxtaposing the Zulu war chants with the Welsh singing. The action is fairly accurate to 19th century British warfare and accounts of the battle of Rorke's Drift.
Also accurate are the construction and use of the Zulu Iklwa. Invented by Shaka Zulu himself, the Iklwa was a short spear with a long metal head used like sword or bayonet rather than thrown and the heavy shield. Known as the Spartans of Africa, these methods and weapons built one of the world's great empires.
Africans used call and response singing in warfare for perhaps thousands of years to intimidate the opposition, but Shaka Zulu was particularly noted for his effective use of the method and his songs are remembered by his people to this day.
News reached the company at Rorke's Drift that a much larger Brittish force was slaughtered by the advancing Zulus. More British forces were days away from offering any relief so the Welsh company at Rorke's Drift knew they had to defend themselves.
With only two stone and thatch buildings to protect them, the Welsh company of less than 150 and a handful of African guides made a perimeter around their camp using wagons and sacks of flour and provisions when a cloud of over 3,000 Zulu warriors appeared on the horizon.
The Zulus attacked in waves and the Welsh repelled them with volley fire of single-fire rifles and a few pistols. Through the night the Zulus set fire to the roofs of both camp buildings and continued their attack.
The Welsh suffered fourteen dead to over six hundred Zulu. At dawn the Zulus abandoned the field, not knowing the Welsh were moments away from being entirely out of ammo and defenseless save their bayonets and valor.
Men of Harlech is a traditional Welsh song dating to the fifteenth century and used as the official march of Welsh forces even today.
Men of Harlech, march to glory,
Victory is hov'ring o'er ye,
Bright-eyed freedom stands before ye,
Hear ye not her call?
At your sloth she seems to wonder;
Rend the sluggish bonds asunder,
Let the war-cry's deaf'ning thunder
Every foe appall.
Echoes loudly waking,
Hill and valley shaking;
'Till the sound spreads wide around,
The Saxon's courage breaking;
Your foes on every side assailing,
Forward press with heart unfailing,
'Till invaders learn with quailing,
Cambria ne'er can yield!
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