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King Shaka revolutionized the way the Zulu fought insuring Zululand’s military might and his political power. Prior to his reign, opposing armies had lined up and lobbed their spears at each other. Shaka introduced close hand-to-hand combat using long bladed, short-shafted stabbing spears. His best warriors used the isihlangu shield, which means “to brush aside” and was to be used on the offense as well as the defense. He had them hook their shields under their opponent’s and wrench it aside, exposing the enemy’s left flank to the Zulu warrior’s spear. But perhaps his most significant (and to them revolutionary) tactic was the famed “Horns of the Buffalo” – a fighting formation employed by Hannibal in the Battle of Cannae some 2,000 years before and 8,000 miles away.
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