Luneberg had become a front line target. There was no other white settlement that had been subjected to the terror attack as had Luneberg, whose people had cause for panic - but had not done so. Over the past three months the white inhabitants had been shut up in their laager and in consequence had suffered the ravages of disease. The Hermansburg and Meyer’s mission stations had been destroyed, as had a number of homesteads, many Christian blacks had been killed, cattle stolen, crops destroyed and, to cap it all, almost a company of the 80th slaughtered only four miles from the Luneberg laager. Wood hoped that his visit and the punitive action he proposed to take would do much to restore local morale.
Recently, both Buller and Rowlands had attempted to storm enemy mountain strongholds with little success. Wood, therefore, did not intend to attack Mbelini’s fortress without infantry support. Perhaps he listened to Piet Uys expounding his theory that the easy way to beat the Zulu was relentlessly destroying his crops and burning his dwellings. In any event the destruction of the enemy’s crops was the course that Wood decided to pursue.
He first visited Pastor Filter and his wife, the leaders of the German community, seeking to reassure them with his show of force. The Filter’s son Heinrich, a youngster of about seventeen years, was serving on Wood’s staff because of his useful knowledge and language ability. Wood offered to post the boy back to Luneberg to be close to his parents, but Mrs Filter would not hear of it, replying that the boy was at Wood’s service.
It was not long before Mbelini was again raiding around Luneberg, but the wily warrior’s luck was about to run out and he would shortly die at the hand of the most unlikely assailant, seventeen-year-old Heinrich Filter. Since Filter’s father was described as ‘a severe specimen of the Lutheran pastor of the sixteenth-century type, equally prepared to lead his flock spiritually to heaven and bodily against the Zulu’, perhaps it was not so surprising that Heinrich, who had escaped from Hlobane only a week earlier, should be the one to rid the area of the man responsible for so much terror. On 5th April, Mbelini swooped on Luneberg, robbing a homestead of a number of horses. The raiders were spotted by a small British patrol led by a Major Prior of the 4th King’s Own Regiment, which included Heinrich as interpreter. The patrol opened fire, killing one man and wounding another. Heinrich, however, recognised the leader of the raiders as Mbelini and set off in pursuit, inflicting a gunshot wound from which the warrior bled to death. Heinrich was derservedly a hero - a status which sadly he did not enjoy for long. Some days later he saw another gang stealing his own family horses; with a few of his native workers he set off after them. He had a favourite well-trained horse by the name of ‘Garibaldi’, but as it was out grazing he saddled the first nag that came to hand, which was unfortunately green and unschooled. Soon he and his men were led into a trap, being surrounded by many warriors hiding in the long grass. Heinrich’s untrained horse let him down and, being soon dismounted, he was placed upon an anthill where he sat, head in hands, while the raiders discussed his fate. They were all local Zulus and Heinrich was known to many and well liked by some; he came close to being released, but among them was Mbelini’s brother who insisted on Heinrich’s death as royal blood had been spilt. With no more ado Heinrich was speared to death. Some stones and a rusty iron stake still mark the spot where he fell.