During the reign of King Shaka of the Zulus, the Zulu tribe went from being a small, weak tribe to a powerful, feared tribe. This is mostly due to the military genius of Shaka. While serving in Dingiswayo’s army, before he was chief of the Zulus, he create the iklwa. This weapon was like the throwing spear that was used by most of the tribes except, it had a shorter shaft and a broader blade. Unlike the throwing spear, the iklwa was meant for close quarters combat. It was even named after the sound it made when it was tugged out of human flesh. After changing the throwing spear to a melee weapon, Shaka needed to improve the shields of his warriors. So Shaka developed the Ishlangu. The ishlangu was close to six feet tall and three feet across. The base of the shield was made from a layer of dense wood and had a handle affixed to its interior. Cowhide was layered on the shield, from 1 to 3 inches thick. The final layer was coloured to identify the warrior’s rank. Shaka himself would use a nearly pure white shield, while lower ranked warriors would have darker coloured shields. Shaka used this iconic shield to great effect by making a shield wall to stop light missiles, hide his true number of soldiers and as a great defense in a brutal hand to hand battle. But changing the conventional weapons of his warriors wasn’t enough; Shaka believed that all soldiers needed to be thoroughly trained using brutal methods. The first thing Shaka changed was the foot-wear of his army. He ordered his troops to discard their sandals and dance and run on thorns daily. Had anyone so much as showed discomfort, they were executed on the spot. He also made them go on a daily 50 mile run, no matter the conditions. One of the most brilliant changes he made though was the implementation of supply carriers. These supply carriers would have been men too young to be warriors. Their job was to carry food, water, supplies, and care for the cattle. Before Shaka had this idea, warriors would have had to scavenge for food and water from the surrounding terrain. Shaka then invented something called the bull formation. This simple yet brilliant strategy consisted of four parts. A vanguard that would meet the enemy head on, a left force that would encompass the left side of the enemy army in a horn like shape, a right force that would encompass the right side of the enemy army in a horn like shape, and a reserve force he dubbed the loins. Shaka’s ingenuity with war gave the Zulus a major advantage over the other tribes and made the Zulus a dominant power in South Africa in the 1800’s.