The Battle of Grebauvar
Editors: Darkdhaos, Ruzenor, Seir K
Imperial Year 851 July 25th, 1330 hours——
The sun had already moved to the west, and afternoon training would begin after lunch was over.
The staff officers gathered in the First Army headquarters.
The three Knight Commanders and other commanders of infantry and artillery made up a total of 13. The commanders of logistics and medical aid were also present.
All the members were standing together closely as if they were squeezing into the picture frame and awaited orders.
They were all looking at Field Marshall Latreille.
On his right was Germaine, to his left was Regis.
To be honest, Regis felt out of place standing there, as if he was alone.
Latreille looked at the staff officers one by one and announced:
“We will now begin the operation to rescue the captives from Grebauvar City”
Most of the staff officers looked surprised.
Knight Commander Batteren standing at the very front raised his hand.
“Field Marshall, we are starting right now!?”
“Yes, is there anything you are not happy about?”
“No… It’s just that I heard it would be on the 26th…”
“Because the enemy seemed to have caught wind of our plans in the first battle. I am not questioning anyone’s loyalty, but I can’t be certain that there won’t be any leaks for the entire army.”
“This is a battlefield. There might be some changes, but I am confident that we can still display the strength of our troops.”
“Ugh!! We will not let you down and do our best, Field Marshall Sir!”
Batteren glared at Regis for a moment, but still backed down.
He speculated that not telling the staff officers the real plan was Regis’ idea.
There might be spies after all.
There was a reason why the plan turned into a surprise attack.
And the troops felt tense because ‘today is the final battle’.
The camp felt quieter and stronger, and the meals were more luxurious…
The High Britannian commander was sharp, and might notice the slight change in atmosphere.
— This time, we will seize the initiative.
Germaine laid out the maps of the surrounding area.
And explained to Latreille in a tense voice.
“I will start the detailed briefing. The most important key point here is to follow the plan. If anyone acted on their own, the entire army might get wiped out.”
The staff officers started getting rowdy.
The Imperial First Army was the strongest, and only fought in an orthodox manner. A single misstep might lead to annihilation — They had never experienced such a battle before.
And they only learned the details of this plan for the first time now, so doubts and uneasiness appeared on the faces of the staff officers.
The elderly knight Olbas stroked his beard and said:
“Hmmm, this is… a rather bold strategy. Is Sir Auric the one who proposed it?”
All their gazes fell on Regis.
“... Yes, you are right.”
He had no choice but to admit it. He couldn’t keep silent.
Even though Olbas’ tone was calm, he didn’t hold back in the presence of Latreille and asked:
“I have never heard of such a plan before. Will it work?”
Even though Olbas was the one who raised the query, from the looks of unease on the faces of the staff officers, this was something they wanted to know too.
Even Latreille didn’t want to interject here. If he covered for Regis too much, it would give the negative impression that he values the new strategist over the old one.
— No matter how reputable Latreille may be, this is a battlefield. A place that will decide one’s life. And not just the lives of the staff officers themselves, but also their subordinates’ lives too.
In Altina’s Fourth Army, Regis could fall back on the results he achieved so far and get by with the words ‘please believe me’.
“... If you couldn’t trust me no matter what, then let that unit withdraw from this plan. If a majority of the units refuse to take part, then this plan would be forced to be suspended… And we will lose the chance to rescue the captives.”
“I see. However, whether Sir Auric’s plan is reliable and if we should carry out the captives rescue plan are two different matters.”
As expected of the staff officer of the First Army, he responded with keen insight.
It might be easy to seal off his rebuttal, but a forceful reply might result in the field commanders not following the plan in earnest. Trust was necessary for this plan.
He suddenly remembered a phrase — not something he read, but something he heard.
‘Since I am asking you to fight for me, then it is only natural for me to bet my own life too.’
That was what Altina said.
Regis said softly.
“... In order to save lives, we should risk our own life, correct?”
“Oh? If the plan fails, you will forfeit your life? Do you have the resolve to be beheaded if the battle is lost?”
“Yes, that much is fine with me.”
Regis himself was surprised by how firm he was.
Losing his head if he fails — Normally, one should be afraid after hearing that. And they would tremble, break out in cold sweat, their heart racing, their voice trembling or something to that effect.
But he felt calm.
He thought it was strange too, no resistance or hesitation, Regis just accepted it like that.
Not just Olbas, even the staff officers around them widened their eyes in surprise.
“Not a metaphor, you will really lose your life, you understand?”
“... Well… I planned many reckless battles so far, and risked the lives of plenty of soldiers… And there were times when the citizens would have fallen into danger if it failed. That applies to the plan this time too. For such an important matter… there is nothing to hesitate about in betting my own life.”
Before he realized it, he already had the resolve to bet his own life if the plan fails.
— He had really experienced many reckless battles.
Olbas held his breath.
Then fell on one knee.
With his head lowered deeply.
“My deep apologies for my probing questions. As expected of the strategist who grasped victory in countless cruel battles… So betting your life on the plan is a natural thing?”
“Ah, no, I don’t want to die either, my goal is for the plan to succeed…”
“If you can forgive my insolence, please allow me to participate in this plan!”
“The pleasure is mine. I will be in your care.”
The other staff officers didn’t raise any objections either.
After earning their trust, Regis sighed in relief.
“... As I thought, Sir Regis is not suitable to be a Third Grade Admin Officer.”
“Ehh? So Fifth Grade Admin Officer is more fitting after all?”
“Fufu… You have the makings of a general.”
“Alright, let’s leave that for after the battle. The people imprisoned in Grebauvar City are still waiting. I will cut to the chase, from here onwards—”
Latreille drew his sword.
The silver blade of ‘Arme Victoire Volonte’ glimmered, reflecting the figures of the staff officers like a mirror.
“— Victory will be ours!”
The staff officers raised their fists high and shouted.
When the sun went further to the west, the war horn was sounded.
The Belgarian Imperial First Army advanced.
Resupply from the capital also arrived, their infantry now numbered 12,000. The 2,000 artillery troops and 30 artillery pieces were situated in the middle.
Two knight bands secured either flanks. They were led by Olbas and Batteren, with a thousand riders each.
The headquarters were defended by one thousand knights of the White Wolves, and 3,000 infantry was placed to the rear as reserves.
The 50,000 pioneers were already enacting the plan as scheduled.
Grebauvar City was in a valley. As the Imperial forces had the high ground, Regis could see the entire battle field.
Even though the staff officers with Latreille at the lead all rode horses, Regis stood to one side as he couldn’t ride.
He took out a pocket watch to check the time.
“... It is almost time to launch an attack at the fortress side. This is a feint attack to draw the attention of the enemy so the rescue operation can proceed smoothly.”
Germaine pointed to the fortress.
“The enemy is coming out!”
“Ho… Things are suddenly different than expected.”
According to their prediction, the enemy should be hiding behind the walls for a defensive battle. After all, they won by doing so the first time, and should continue to do that.
But Regis remained calm.
“... There’s no problem, this much is still ‘an opening I know’, and I already conveyed the instructions to all the commanders.”
Germaine was puzzled.
“Doesn’t the situation seem strange? The soldiers at the very front ranks of the enemy…”
His vision appeared to be excellent.
Or rather, Regis’ eyes were weak. He couldn’t see that much detail.
Instead of that, the important thing was the time. Regis took out his pocket watch and checked it again.
“... It is time.”
The artillery manned by the soldiers spat out flames and smoke.
A moment later—
A shockwave that felt like a wall hit him. Not just his eardrums, he could feel the sound with his entire body.
All the cannons fired.
The ground was shaking.
At the same time, a loud noise rumbled behind Regis.
That was the sound of the mechanism churning.
— It will be a huge problem if it doesn’t work properly.
After that, the First Army started their assault. They needed to attract the enemy’s attention.
“The enemy before us are made up of High Britannia and Langobalt forces, with each contributing half the numbers. There are about 20,000.”
“They have rifles of the new model and the advantage in numbers. If they fought properly on the plains, they would be able to achieve victory quicker. This must be what they’re thinking, what a vigourous way of using troops.”
— They left the sturdy fortress for such a middling advantage? They must have other schemes in mind.
The distance between the two forces shortened.
The High Britannian forces with the advantage in range attacked first.
There was no way around that.
The new rifles of the Imperial Army — The Fusil 851 had just finished the prototype stage, and it would need some time before mass production begins. It might be ready next year, but it was impossible to garner enough numbers to be used in this battle.
Both forces continued to converge.
Huh, Germaine tilted his head.
“Why aren’t we shooting?”
“Our forces haven’t started firing?”
“I think we should be in range…”
Only one side was attacking. Not just Latreille and his staff officers, the other troops were also getting rowdy from confusion.
A rider charged over, and leapt off his horse before Latreille.
He went down on one knee.
“The enemies are holding captives before them! Those bastards are using the citizens as human shields!”
The crimson in Latreille’s eyes deepened.
Regis felt his stomach heating up.
— They are actually using such a tactic!
Germaine spat out in disgust:
“Unscrupulous! Is this something the head of a nation would actually do!?”
The new Queen of High Britannia was traveling with her army.
The plan of letting one’s subordinate become a suicide bomber was cruel, but using citizens as shields would definitely be criticized by the surrounding nations.
Germaine continued shouting.
“The front is in chaos! Your Highness, we should retreat—”
“No! The mechanism had started! No matter what, we have to hold the line!”
However, if they couldn’t fight back, it wasn’t so much a battle line but an execution field for the Imperial soldiers.
The enemy already held the advantage in numbers and equipment.
In this expedition, the attackers were assaulting the enemy who had more troops and was defending a fortress — That was how reckless this fight was. If they reacted too slow, the results would be fatal.
One night… No, if he had one hour to think, Regis might be able to formulate a perfect response.
But if they didn’t make a snap decision now, the battle would be lost.
— I don’t know if it will be effective, should we let the unit detour? The enemy’s level of training is low. And they are encumbered with prisoners who didn’t have the will to fight, so it will be impossible for them to change formation swiftly. A detour to loosen the enemy formation and charge with cavalry…
Regis was thinking about a countermeasure.
But before the plan took shape —Latreille issued his orders.
“Engage the enemy! We don’t have any way to save the citizens being used as human shields!”
Regis shut his mouth and stopped himself from saying anything.
Latreille’s decision could lower the unit’s losses. If they avoid a frontal engagement, they would lose more soldiers than expected.
— More importantly, canceling the order will throw the frontlines into chaos.
Several messengers had already sprinted off.
At the same time, the smoke signal for a charge was raised.
With the wind’s direction in mind, the smoke signal flares were positioned to the west of headquarters, and were kept burning.
By adding gunpowder, they could produce different colored smoke.
Shortly afterwards, the frontline units began their counterattack.
Countless gunshots sounded out.
The infantry charged.
The Empire weren’t idiots and had thought of ways to counter the rifles. Troops with sturdy shields were positioned in the front ranks to minimize damage.
But even so, they couldn’t block the rounds completely. As they drew closer, the bullets would be able to penetrate armor, and it became impossible to use shields thick enough to protect the entire body. Such bulky shields were impossible for normal people to carry to begin with.
Soon they managed to close the distance and the pikes could finally show some results. However, their current situation wasn’t much different from the Seventh Army’s defeat.
The battle was more dire than expected.
Latreille issued an order.
“Left flank — send Batteren’s White Hare knights out! Attack the enemy’s right flank, destroy their rifle formation!”
“Prince Latreille, doing that will expose them into the fortress’ cannon range!?”
Even though Germaine gave his opinion, he didn’t ask for the orders to be retracted.
“The enemy knows that too, so they will be wary of our right flank. We can’t defeat the enemy if we don’t do the unexpected. It won’t be so easy for cannons to hit our cavalry!”
A messenger was sent, and a new smoke signal was raised.
Even though the smoke signals were faster, a messenger could pass on detailed orders. They used both units earnestly.
— This was how the First Army fought.
The commander Latreille would direct the forces, and his adjutant Germaine would raise any queries.
There were no clashes of opinions.
In a corner of the headquarters, Regis muttered:
“... Doing the unexpected is a very orthodox way of fighting though.”
The White Hare Knights on the left flank advanced.
However, the charging cavalry suddenly lost their balance which made them fall off their horses on an open plain.
— There were traps.
Latreille Immediately ordered.
“Damn it! Left flank, stop the advance!”
Unfortunately, it would take some time to change the smoke signal colours, in addition, it would be a while before the frontline that had fallen into chaos noticed his orders.
“Ugh… It’s as if they had seen through our plans. They’re as fearsome as before…”
Using the captured citizens as human shields to seize the initiative of the battle, and setting traps in the possible attack routes.
They probably dug it out at night. It didn’t cause too much damage, but it made it difficult for the cavalry to launch a charge now.
At this moment, the two armies collided and engaged in melee battle.
The shield and rifle combination remained an effective way of fighting. If things remained like this, they would end up just like the Seventh Army.
Regis told Latreille who was on horseback.
“Field Marshall Sir, please pull the left flank further back.”
“What do you have in mind, Sir Regis?”
Germaine asked— but after pondering for a moment, Latreille made his decision immediately.
“Alright, let us see how Sir Regis uses his troops. Relay the orders to Batteren!”
Wasting time on explanations might lower the chances of success. Latreille was open minded enough to not doubt the people under him.
Regis started to explain his plans.
“The White Hare Knights are to go around the central infantry unit and move even further to the right of the right flank. After charging up the slopes, they should attempt to move to the enemy’s rear. It would be great if they could seize that position, but they must not force themselves if the enemy takes countermeasures.”
The messengers of the First Army were excellent as well.
They conveyed the orders with amazing speed and accuracy, so the knights began their move.
The sky was still bright.
If night falls, they wouldn’t be able to see the enemy and it would be difficult to even relay the commands to the units. The smoke signals couldn't be used by then. They could still depend on the moonlight, but not for large scale warfare.
Although it was possible to launch a surprise assault with a small elite force…
They have to conclude the battle before the sun sets.
The wind from the mountain top grew stronger.
The White Hare Knights passed behind the formation’s back, and moved to the right side of the right flank, attempting to seize the enemy’s rear.
To counter this, the enemy’s left flank changed their directions.
“... The formation of the enemy in front of our right flank is in disarray.”
The right flank was Olbas’ White Tiger Knights.
They used this chance to charge.
As expected of them.
Just like they foresaw, there were traps placed as well, but since the knights were already expecting these, it didn’t faze them.
Germaine cried out excitedly.
“We got into the enemy’s left flank! They must be Langobalt’s knights. They seem to be a good unit, but they won’t last long against the combined effort of the White Tiger and White Hare Knights!”
“Yes, that was beautiful.”
“Oh… The enemy is retreating!”
“Pursue them! But don’t be too hasty, there’s no telling what kind of traps there would be.”
“Understood! Relay the orders to maintain cautious pursuit.”
With their main forces being suppressed all this while, the headquarters turned lively after a successful attack on the enemy. The heavy atmosphere was swept away, and spirited cries erupted everywhere.
And stood besides Regis.
“As expected of Sir Regis, you found out that the enemy’s weakness was their left flank.”
“...No, if I had to say, the ones who failed to respond correctly was the enemy’s right flank.”
“Even if they couldn’t match the White Hare’s movement, the least they could do in response to our change in formation is to mimic us and flank around on our left side.”
“Indeed, if the enemy’s right flank had advanced, they would have broken through the sides of our central unit.”
“... That’s right.”
And of course, Regis had thought of a way to deal with that, but that wasn’t necessary now.
Latreille overlooked the battlefield.
“Hmm… Now that I think about it, the level of training for the High Britannians is quite low. On top of that, the units from Langobalt Kingdom are mixed in too. If they receive the orders to attack our left flank, it would be difficult for them to work in concert with their central unit — Were you aiming for this?”
“That is so. A unit with fresh recruits mixed in could fight unexpectedly well. But if you want them to move laterally or change the direction of their advance, their formation would crumble mid way.”
That was how the Fourth Army was, so this was something Regis experienced.
Because of their inexperience, the Mercenary King even broke into their headquarters.
Although they were saved by Altina’s duel…
“The training level of the Imperial First Army is high, so I neglected the weakness of units with subpar training.”
He felt that being able to change direction and move as one unit was a given, so he couldn’t come up with a tactic that made use of such inadequacy.
Regis didn’t like commanding units with low level of training either, but that experience had prove useful.
“... It’s great that things proceeded smoothly.”
‘Yes, a splendid tactic that could only be used by a strategist with plentiful experience.”
“Eh? Ah, alright… Erm, thank you for the compliment.”
Plentiful experiences and whatnots were too high a praise.
But no matter what, this was the first tactic that Regis formulated by drawing on his personal experience, instead of referencing something written in books. But Regis could think of numerous books with similar strategies written in them too. The fingers on both hands wouldn’t be enough to count the stories with tactics on this level.
However, this tactic was based on Regis’ experience.
If he didn’t have the experience of a strategist, he might have proposed another tactic, or maybe drew a blank.
— Was he used to it now?
An adjutant couldn't remain on horseback when his lord had dismounted — Germaine dismounted too.
“The enemy has reorganized themselves, the frontline is at a deadlock.”
“They have superior numbers after all. Things are going well if we fought them to a draw.”
‘Yes Sir! Sir Regis’ tactic was brilliant!”
Germaine didn’t hold back in his praises. It made Regis feel a little embarrassed.
Regis looked towards the river.
‘... The water level… had fallen a lot.”
“Hmm, the enemy haven’t noticed yet?’
Germaine squinted and looked towards the fortress.
“Yes— They are not reacting, so they probably haven’t noticed yet."
Regis looked at his pocket watch.
It wasn’t 1500 hours yet.
“... I hope we can stall for another hour.”
“Yes, the frontline is at an impasse… but things are just stabilizing, it isn’t enough to draw their complete attention. I wish there is something else.”
And that thing came from an unexpected direction.
Four columns of smoke rose from the mountains to the east.
The colours were white, black, purple and red.
Latreille felt baffled.
“Is that the enemy’s smoke signals? They actually sent them from deep within the mountains?”
“Scouts, reconnaissance!” Germaine issued the orders quickly.
Smoke signals were raised from the headquarters to relay information to the frontline units.
Or they could be a means for sentries at the edges to convey intel to headquarters.
However, what could the smoke rising from the mountains to the east mean?
At least, that wasn’t arranged by the Imperial forces.
If that was an ambush by the enemy, they wouldn’t expose their position, and there was no value in deploying troops at that spot.
“... The headquarters of a third party?”
When he heard what Regis mumbled, Latreille reacted immediately.
“... Ahh… Well, after eliminating the impossible, it is more appropriate to think of that as an order from a headquarters.”
It was possible that those weren’t smoke signals, but it was hard to imagine four columns of different colour smoke appearing coincidentally. Moreover, at such a timing.
“Sir Regis, are you saying that an army had placed their headquarters in that mountain? Is that the reason they raised a smoke signal there… However, where are the troops receiving the orders? That would be the crucial question. Could they be behind our formation?”
“If it was a sneak attack, they wouldn’t do something that will rouse our guard.”
“That is true.”
“And we have deployed our reconnaissance network fully, even if a new enemy appears to our rear, we could react to them.”
“Hmm… What about the pioneers?”
“They will send reports if they are attacked. There have been no delays in their periodical reports, so they should be fine.”
“Why have they issued such an order, and just where are the units receiving the command…?”
It was unnerving.
“A part of the enemy has detached themselves!”
Germaine pointed to the battlefield and shouted.
Regis and Latreille shifted their gazes back to the front lines.
It was a part of the enemy’s central unit. They were moving away slowly.
In the first place, being abandoned by an ally in the heat of the battle was a serious situation. On top of that, the ones leaving were the elites, and the repercussion could be seen immediately.
Just like a column of a building being pulled out, the whole formation collapses.
The enemy’s central unit was in chaos, and the Imperial Forces pushed in.
Latreille crossed his arms.
“I see, so the smoke signal just now was the reason behind this situation?”
“A revolt? From the equipment on the soldiers leaving, that is probably a mercenary brigade…”
“Mercenaries huh. It is normal for mercenaries to run away when the battle turns sour…”
“Don’t you find it strange?”
“Yes… It is strange. The enemy didn’t show any decisive disadvantages. From the fact that the fortress had not fallen, this could be considered an advantage. Mercenaries can earn a bonus even if they fought battles where they have the advantage. On the other hand, their reputation would fall if they deserted midway. Just leaving the formation will be enough to decide a battle, that was common.”
Regis mumbled to himself:
‘... Or maybe… Someone noticed my plan?”
‘... I am not sure how much they found out… Instead of ‘the Imperial Forces will prevail’, their thoughts are closer to ‘Our side will be wiped out’. If that isn’t so, it is too unnatural for the mercenaries to desert at this juncture.”
Their reputation would plunge, and in the worst case, they would lose jobs.
Latreille tilted his head in confusion.
“Sir Regis, do you think the commander of the mercenaries sent those smoke signals?”
“... That is just my speculation.”
Germaine chipped in:
“In either case, the scouts are headed over there.”
But that would be too optimistic.
“... If the smoke signals are an order for the mercenaries to retreat, they won’t gather at the place where the smoke was coming from correct? After all, that position is now known to both armies.”
Regis watches the battle and gave a suggestion.
“Field Marshall, please give the order to not push in too deep.”
“I already issued that order before the battle started… Seemed like some units can’t restrain themselves. After all, the High Britannians used unscrupulous methods on us several times already.”
In the past when the First Army’s headquarters were attacked, there was that incident where someone hid in a gunpowder barrel as a suicide bomber. This time, they encountered the inhumane tactic of using captured citizens as human shields, and many of their brethren in arms were lost.
So it was natural for the soldiers to be extra motivated.
It wouldn’t be a problem if they could win this way-...
“... Field Marshall, I think the enemy have reinforcements. Please prepare our forces immediately.”
Latreille looked to the distance.
But didn’t see any signs of reinforcements.
Germaine was puzzled too.
“Sir Regis, where will the reinforcement come from? From the fortress?”
“No, the direction of the enemy’s retreat is strange. They are not moving towards the fort, but simply backing away.”
“Lord Germaine, the soldiers will run to the safest place when they flee… And that is normally the fortress.”
“But there aren’t any signs of reinforcement. If we issue the order to be cautious, we will be criticized for being cowardly.”
Germaine pointed out accusingly.
This situation was familiar. Regis’ proposal was rejected.
And so far, Regis had always backed down.
— No! If I act weak as usual, I will commit the same mistakes!
Regis didn’t give in.
“Please reconsider it. It will be too late when the reinforcement shows up.”
“But, Sir Regis…”
After hearing both their arguments, Latreille issued his order.
“The enemy is showing signs of reinforcements! Stop the pursuit and prepare to engage them!”
“Ugh!? Your Highness Latreille…!?”
Germaine looked as if he had taken a huge blow. Because instead of his advice, Regis’ proposal was accepted.
In that case, if the enemy reinforcement didn’t appear, it won’t end so simply with just Regis’ position becoming more precautions…
Regrettably, his ominous prediction came true.
To the north—
Downstream of the river, enemy units appeared from the direction of Langobalt Kingdom.
The cavalry was kicking up dust from their charge.
Latreille clicked his tongue.
“Reinforcement from Langobalt huh. That is why they left the fortress and fought on the plains.”
The enemy formation that was crumbling because of the desertion of the mercenaries was reorganized because the Imperial Forces didn’t keep up their pursuit.
Regis won’t back down anymore.
“Field Marshall, please order the units to rotate clockwise.”
“What do you…”
Germaine shut his mouth right after he was about to question Regis. He probably realized that he shouldn’t interrupt Regis’ tactics.
“Fine, I will leave it in your hands for now.”
It has been half an hour since Regis said he wanted another hour more.
Latreille meant that he would leave the command of the army to Regis in the time that remains, before the real operation begins.
Regis’ clenched fists were sweaty.
“... Yes Sir.”
It was finally time for him to command the First Army. What a heavy responsibility.
At this juncture, even if he lacked self-confidence, he couldn’t refuse.
Regis started issuing orders one after another.
“The White Hare Knights are to move clockwise. They are to move at high speed, so the other units would look as if they were moving counter clockwise, and return to their original position in the left flank.”
“The enemy’s right flank would fall into disarray because of the direction change. The 12th infantry are to assault the enemy right flank. But don’t go too deep, be ready to pull back at a moment’s notice.”
“The White Hare Knights are to attack in concert, supporting the withdrawal of the infantry. If the enemy cavalry rushes to their collapsing right flank, both units are to withdraw immediately at that point.”
“Immediately after, the White Tiger Knights are to charge the enemy left flank after their cavalry has left for support their right flank. The 1st to 3rd infantry are to attack in unison.”
“At that moment, the enemy general will ignore both flanks and attack with their central unit. The 4th to 10th infantry are to continue moving clockwise, while the 11th to 18th infantry are to move counter clockwise to evade the enemy —then launch a pincer attack on the enemy’s main forces that are protruding out. But don’t push too hard, it will be fine for them to breakthrough. The time would be up by then.”
On the vast battlefield, no matter how formidable the first Army was, it still took more than 5 minutes to relay the orders.
It was impossible to convey such complicated orders with smoke signals.
Not just Latreille and Germaine, even the messenger couldn’t understand the orders. After all, the instructions given by Regis didn’t match the situation before them.
Should he be stopped…?
However, Latreille gave his silent consent.
The combined forces of High Britannia and Langobalt Kingdom—
The one who came out from the fortress with overall command was the new king of Langobalt, Paul Langschultz.
He was about 25 and looked capable, he was still young.
Paul was infatuated with the new queen of High Britannia — Margaret Steelart.
Because she said ‘just defending a fortress is boring’, he personally came out from the fortress to battle on the plains.
This was completely unrelated to her pulling up her skirt to reveal her legs when she said that — at least Paul thought he wasn’t influenced by that.
“Ohh! I have been waiting! They are finally here, Ricks!!”
He raised a hand towards the knights that came as reinforcements.
The troops around him erupted in cheers too.
Their morale that had fallen earlier because of their slow responses against the enemy’s knights and the desertion of the mercenaries had recovered.
“Alright, the real battle starts now! Kill all the Galians! Rifle units forward!”
Even though Paul was a strict and by the book person, he was open minded enough to accept the advancement in technology.
He had even implemented the use of High Britannia’s new rifles into his strategies.
The Belgarian Empire didn’t have such high performance rifles.
They could only charge like feral beasts.
Weaken the charging enemy with rifles, and breaking the enemy formation with the charge of the cavalry reinforcement to the enemy’s flank — That was what he planned.
Paul would usually make the right calls. It was true that this would maximize the results with the smallest losses.
But a gloom covered the face of the king.
The enemy unit was moving to his left.
— They are not charging?
The Imperial forces were shifting their formation clockwise.
“Hmmp, they want to detour to the side and attack. Trivial tricks!”
The left flank was broken through after they have done the same method earlier, and the lack of coordination with the central unit resulted in the left flank’s formation collapsing.
Paul issued an order.
“Relay the order to Ricks! Reinforce the left flank!”
The knights that went to support were different from the poorly trained soldiers of High Britannia. They were a unit that could fight on par against the knights of Belgaria.
And in response to the changes in the enemy formation, the rifle unit also shifted position. Even though their movement were more sluggish, they managed to change their position on the even plains. On the other hand, the Imperial forces were making a huge detour, and even ran up the slopes.
— We can handle this.
“Your Majesty! An Imperial Knights unit is coming from the opposite direction!”
“I see it, I get it!”
From the banners, that was the White Hare Knights, the unit originally positioned on the enemy’s left flank.
— Damn it, running left and right restlessly!
“Let the right flank deal with them! Recall the rifle units!”
The orders were relayed speedily.
However, the movements of the riflemen units carrying rifles and shields that were as heavy as lumps of steel were more sluggish than normal infantry.
On top of that, after they ran on the command to ‘shift formation to the left’, they received the orders to return to the right.
The idea of going back had a very heavy toll mentally.
Their physical fatigue was already accumulating, and after receiving such an instruction, their movement turned more dull. They weren’t horses that could run all day, but humans that would complain.
Paul’s adjutant screamed:
“The enemy infantry is attacking!”
“What!? At a time like this!?”
It was as if they knew about the chaotic situation in the right flank, a part of the Imperial infantry closed in.
— Was I seen though? Not just my plans to recall the rifle unit to engage the White Hare Knights, but the fact that the formation would be a mess at such a time?
“Hmmp, too naive! Our formation won’t crumble with just that! Get Ricks to go around to the right flank!”
This was the right decision for the elite knights that came from their home country.
The Belgarian knights were fast and formidable. For the High Britannian riflemen with subpar training, it was difficult for them to handle the knights that moves extremely fast on the battlefield.
But it won’t be a problem for Ricks’ knights to engage them.
As for the battle between the infantry, Paul planned to use the power of the rifles to achieve victory.
— We can win!!
Paul imagined his victorious pose when he present the news of victory to the High Britannia’s Queen.
— However, the cries of battle came from an unexpected direction.
It wasn’t from the right flank where Ricks’ knights were heading, but the left flank where he had just drawn away the knights, which was under attack.
— Did they see through that I would send the reinforcements to the right flank!?
They wouldn’t be able to act this quickly if they issued the order after seeing Paul’s unit moving.
Even if the commander on horseback saw a weak point, they will still need time to relay the orders to the soldiers.
Judging from the current situation, the enemy commander already gave the order before Paul did.
“No, that is impossible…”
Not only did they saw through his plans, and also predicted that timing very accurately.
“... Impossible, this is just a coincidence.”
However, the fact remains that his left flank was being attacked by the enemy. As the knights reinforcing them had been drawn away, they were in danger of collapsing.
“Ugh… I am the King of Langobalt, Paul Langschultz! If the enemy increased the ferocity of their attack on both flanks, then the middle would be weakened! Break through the center of the enemy!”
He drew his sword and thrust it forward.
The soldiers who were panicking roared.
The orders were relayed, the horns were sounded and the charge began.
The enemy before them parted to the left and right as if they had agreed to this beforehand.
The mostly unharmed enemy seized the position to their sides.
This could only be done by issuing the orders to move before Paul gave his command.
“Ugghhhh… I-Impossible… Impossible!”
“Your Majesty! We are being attacked from both sides!”
“I said I know that!!”
Since just now, all the plans he came up was on point and should be effective for the situation. But at the same time, the enemy countered his orders perfectly.
The flanks of his main forces were exposed.
His troops kept falling.
And their target was gone. The soldiers probably think ‘since a charge was ordered, the enemy should be in front of them’.
But the soldiers in massive formation don’t have a clear view of the situation like the commanders on horseback. They could only follow orders blindly as if their eyes were covered.
“Ugh… How was the attack seen through…!?”
In the end, there wasn’t a single chance for the rifle unit to aim and fire a volley.
Even though there were still some enemies before them, it was completely different from the time he issued the order. They were toyed by the speed of the Imperial cavalry and its movement.
Also, as if his army was offering itself, they weakened the direction facing the enemy and exposed their flanks.
… What is happening? It’s as if the enemy saw through what I was thinking?
“Ugh… The commander of the Imperial Army… I heard he is the new Emperor, but to such an extent…”
Or maybe he had an extraordinary strategist.
His staff officers asked:
‘Your Majesty, what should we do!? We are taking heavy losses, there is nothing to gain from fighting on here!”
“Imbecile! You want to retreat!? We have superior numbers, and even used the new rifles from High Britannia, and you want me to run away after being toyed with!?”
“This battle is being watched by all the neighboring nations!? You want the reputation of Langobalt to wipe the floor!? Have you lost your nerves!?”
“No, m-my apologies!”
Paul appointed young officers with similar mindsets as his staff officers. Hence, even though they were united, but there wasn’t any old experienced soldier who could teach them the correct time to withdraw.
“W-What… exactly is going on…?”
Germaine was more surprised than the enemy general.
Latreille also opened his eyes wide.
“Why? Why are you able to predict the enemy’s movement so accurately? Could it be that your title is more than meets the eye… You are a real ‘Wizard’?”
Regis scratched his head.
“No… Well… From the banners, the enemy commander should be the King of Langobalt right?”
They could see the banner of the Langobalt Kingdom flying in the center of the enemy formation.
But they didn’t know about his capability as a commander. Langobalt didn’t have many records of battles with Belgaria, and he might have a strategist with him.
“... Well, it doesn’t matter if it was the King or his adjutant that is directing the battle… The enemy commander is very faithful to the fundamentals of warfare, and is the type with great learning skills. We also know that the level of training of their messengers is high, so it is very easy to predict his actions.”
“Huh? The personality of the commander? How do you know that?”
“... Well— … Before the enemy reinforcement arrived— We moved the White Hare Knights from the left flank to the further right side of the right flank, and then attacked the enemy’s left flank right?”
“From that assault and the reorganization of their formation afterwards… The King of Langobalt… Or his strategist… is someone who adheres to the fundamentals of tactics rather strictly, and is the type who will reflect strongly on his failures. Also, we can grasp the training level of their messengers from that.”
“I understand when you explain it like this… But it’s not quite clear why I should call that characteristic as a bad thing?”
“... From the perspective of his movements being easily read, it couldn’t be considered a good characteristic. The fierce attack of the White Hare Knights left a deep impression on the enemy commander. And so, he would use the most dependable unit to engage them. Which means, he would definitely dispatch the fresh knights corp that had just arrived to counter.”
“That much is predictable.”
“... And so, the left flank that was organized under the pretext that this knights corps would be there would fall into disarray.”
“How did you grasp the timing?”
“Because this was a repeat of the first order. How fast would the White Hare Knights respond to the orders of taking a detour and how long would it take for the enemy to react. I already saw it once.”
“They would move in exactly the same way?”
“... If it was just one or two person, the margin of error would be quite large. But if it is the movement of a large group of people, there would be surprisingly little difference when repeating the same actions.”
Even though Latreille couldn’t really accept this, he couldn’t think of any specific examples to refute that. He then changed his question.
“I understand the reason why the left flank would be a mess. Then why did the enemy attack the center of our formation instead of reinforcing the left flank?”
“Ahh, that was the result of ‘strongly reflecting on failures’. The first time, the left flank collapsed because he reacted too late. The second time, he sent the knights with the fastest speed in response, but it resulted in the left flank crumbling. In that case, he won’t use the same tactic. Similarly, he most probably won’t use the idea of ‘sending another unit to shadow the opponent’.”
“So that’s the reason. Didn’t Sir Regis mention that ‘all it takes is the will of a single man’? How could you tell that the enemy won’t act unexpectedly on a whim?’
“Yes… If that happened, our preparation to attack would have become useless. Using pierre, papier, ciseaux (rock, paper, scissors) as a metaphor, this would be like the enemy choosing pierre(rock) or papier(paper). We just need to choose papier, so the worst that could happen would be a match nul (draw).”
If the enemy commander could understand this much and was capable of formulating a plan to counter the Imperial’s action, he would have already done so.
“Well… Simply put, the enemy commander is too straight forward, that’s all.”
When Latreille and Germaine heard that, they looked speechless.
Regis was a bit anxious. When the plan worked and he explained the reasons behind it, Altina, Jerome and the others all looked glad and impressed. But Latreille’s reaction was very different from them.
— Surprise? Didn’t seem to be that either.
In truth, the two of them felt ‘fear’. However, Regis evaluated himself lowly as usual and didn’t notice.
As if he remembered something, Regis looked at his watch.
“... It is a little different from what we planned… but it is time.”
Just as planned. The dam upstream cut off the water flow, and the appearance of the river changed. There was almost no water in the river bed right now.
And of course, it was the same for the moat around the city.
The waterway was also devoid of water, revealing a path.
Even if the people couldn’t dive underwater for extended periods like Third Grade Combat Officer Vallis, it wouldn’t be an issue.
A hole that could accommodate numerous people to pass through at the same time opened in the walls covering the steel production street.