Saturday, April 9, 2022

Musket Girls! Chapter 22 ~26

 Chapter 22: Recon in Force by the Hunter Troops

Translator: Skythewood

Editor: Hiiro

At the foot of the hill below Godo Stronghold, a small unit was approaching quietly, an apparent recon in force.

Captain Dumble raised his saber.

“Suppressive Fire! Don’t let them out of the forest! Begin bombardment!”

“Suppressive Fire”

“Suppressive Fire”

The Sergeants repeated his orders, and the artillery soldiers fired ‘grapeshot’. When fired, a cluster of balls scatter out from the muzzle, and have a ballistic effect similar to a giant shotgun. The balls were bigger than musket bullets, and were also more destructive.

As expected of a professional, the shots were precise, making the enemy squirming in the forest retreat. We probably got a few soldiers.

However, it wasn’t possible to end this with just cannon fire.

After a few salvos, the opponent got used to the attack, and started crawling forward. They were spread out, and we didn’t have many cannons, so we had a hard time against scattered soldiers.

We had to depend on muskets now, but they were still far away.

Colonel Alzer shouted.

“First Platoon, hold your fire! The enemy is out of range, stay hidden before it is time!”

Wise judgment, she was dependable despite this being her debut battle.

On the other hand, the Fort Zeffel musketeers who should be more professional had sub par performance.

“Hey, wait! Don’t shoot!”

A Sergeant leading a 30 men squad shouted, but a musketeer still fired.

For line infantry, the firing timing was important. It was tough for the commander if the troopers fired on their own.

This fort had never been on the frontlines before, so they lacked live combat experience. We couldn’t expect much from their side.

“The enemy! The enemy is coming!”

“I know! Shut up and reload.”

The middle aged Sergeant with a big beard said sternly.

None of the soldiers in the Sixth Special Brigade fired. They all held their muskets and hid behind the embrasures, waiting for the order to shoot.

The Colonel chose the right people for her unit. This was the first battle for everyone, but they were all calm.

A while later, shots could be heard from time to time. The sound of bullets hitting the wall could be heard. The bullets fired were heavy and powerful, and made a loud sound on impact.



The girls from the Sixth Special Brigade curled themselves up in a ball, but no one fled. They all looked at the Colonel, and then at me.

The Colonel and I were both calm… And they felt at ease when they saw us.

On the other hand, the actions of the Fort Zeffel guards were horrible. This is your fort, so defend it properly.

This was weird if the problem was just inexperience, I couldn’t tell why they were acting like that.

The Colonel whispered to me.

“Lieutenant, the guards’ morale is crumbling, will that be fine?”

Could it be…?

With that in mind, I took a closer look, and the guards looked flustered. They were spilling their gun powder, forgetting their ramrods, and a complete mess.

The battle was still in the preparatory phase, there was no way they would crumple like that.

However, “impossible” was a taboo, so I thought of it from another angle.

I then told my superior about the possibilities.

“Morale has plummeted because the Godo Stronghold has fallen. There is no point for an Outpost Fort to keep fighting after the Stronghold has fallen.”

“I see, for outsiders like us, that is just a Stronghold, but for them, that is their mental support, and a reason for them to fight.”

The Colonel nodded and smiled at me.

“Shall we send them a commisar?”

“I’m moved by your kindness.”

It was true that having commissars standing behind them with guns would reduce the number of deserters.

She cracked a joke like that so easily, was this really her first battle?

However, Hannah was spooked.

“The conversation between the Colonel and the Lieutenant is scary…”

“War itself is scary, I’m actually trembling inside.”

The Colonel said with a smile.

“When I think about the soldiers fighting on the frontlines, I feel that I don’t have the right to be scared. The same goes for you, Hannah.”

Indeed, commanders like us had the authority to risk the soldiers’ lives in battle, and they had no choice but to obey.

“I-I understand!”

Staff Sergeant Hannah saluted in a hurry.

Colonel Alzer was more dependable than I thought, so it should be fine on this side, her leadership was probably better than mine.

Well then, the problem was with the Fort Zeffel guards.

“Your Excellency, I want to check on those soldiers.”

“I understand, come back soon, I will get scared if I’m alone.”

Sigh, she said she was scared, but she was still smiling. I was impressed by how brave she was.

Envious of the Colonel’s courage, I walked towards the guard’s infantry.

Their 30 infantry was guarding ten embrasures. The shooters and reloaders all looked frightened.

This wasn’t good, if anything happened, these guys would flee with the wind.

“Gentlemen, how’s the situation here?”

I said to them with a smile, and the guards nodded fearfully.

“Y-You’re the one drinking tea on top of the wall…”

“It was my break time, so of course I will be resting.”

I nodded calmly and peeked out an embrasure.

“Hmm, the weather is nice, we have a lot of visitors.”

“T-That’s dangerous, Lieutenant!”

“They are too far away, their shots have no power.”

If the shots would really hit, the 【Scythe of the Death God】 would warn me. There had been no warning so far, so it was easy for me. And with how this world was, I was fine with dying. I have already died once after all.

The enemy’s bullets splattered on the walls, but the noise was soft. If we got into combat range, the noise would be louder.

I turned back, and smiled at a soldier who had a grim face.

“Gentlemen, is the enemy scary?”

The soldiers looked at each other, and a few of them nodded quietly.

I nodded too.

“Being afraid of the enemy is proof of a true warrior. I’m scared too!”

“No, you’re definitely not scared…”

“You look like a battle maniac.”

Someone muttered, but I pretended to not have heard.

“However, the enemy that makes us shiver in fear, is afraid of us too!”

All of them made a face that said: “Is that so?” You guys, wasn’t it clear that the enemy was also fighting desperately?

“Think about it, gentlemen, the enemy fought an intense battle at Godo Stronghold, and is already exhausted. They think it’s already over, but now they have to face the tenacious garrison in Fort Zeffel.”

“What… We are famous?”

That wasn’t true.

“Of course, when I was in the Fifth Division, I already heard about you all.”

That was a lie, I had never heard of them before.

But the soldiers looked more motivated, and some of them were whispering.

“Aren’t we amazing?”

“Now that he mentioned it, I do feel that way…”

I continued to emphasize:

“That’s only natural, the Sixth Special Brigade was sent here to reinforce you. This is a crucial fort that links the famous Godo Stronghold to the Empire, so we have to defend this place at all cost.”

I roused their morale with a little compliment, but they needed to find their own reason to fight.

Next, I needed to spice things up.

“Speaking of which, if the fort gets captured after borrowing a hundred soldiers from another Brigade, you might become the laughingstock of the army. They will probably call you criminal scums or walking garbage.”

Schweidel wasn’t my mother tongue, but I learned a lot of proverbs during my wandering days. I wasn’t too keen to use them, but I knew these words would be effective on them.

After all, Schweidel men have too much ego, so inciting them like this was very effective.

As expected, their expressions turned serious. Good.

“Lieutenant, we are not weaklings!”

“That’s right! We are men who don’t fear death!”

Talk was cheap…

I nodded along, then grinned happily.

“You’re right. I don’t want to die either, so when considering which fort to reinforce, I advised my Brigade Commander to choose Fort Zeffel.”

That was all rubbish, but the soldiers were lapping it all up, and sighing in awe.

“Good judgment.”

“That’s right, renowned Strategist Sir!”

I raised my hands in response, then turned towards the girls from the Sixth Special Brigade.

“Our girls are cute, right? They are kids who have no choice but to enlist for various reasons. If you guys are as strong as the rumors say, you will protect their smiles, right?”

When they heard me, the guards all breathed out loudly.

“Yes, leave it to us!”

“We will kill those monkeys from Bruges!”

Good, good, things would be fine now.

I patted the shoulder of the dumbstruck Sergeant, and smiled.

“To counter their recon in force, we need to lure them in deep before firing. Just one volley can deal enough damage to strike fear into their hearts. Please follow our lead and fire on our command.”

“Y-Yes Sir!”

The Sergeant saluted me, and I returned with large strides.

They could more or less fight properly now, right?

Chapter 23: Sixth Special Brigade, Battle Start

“What about now?”

“Not yet.”

“… It’s almost time, right?”

“No, it’s way too early.”

Colonel Alzer and I repeated this conversation at the top of the wall.

The Colonel might be brave, but this was still her first battle, so she still didn’t know the tricks to a fight.

So I explained to the Colonel:

“Unlike us, the enemy had to fire upwards, so they needed to get closer than normal effective range before firing.”

The reason was simple, they were firing against gravity, and would lose some momentum.

“On the other hand, we are firing downwards. The bullets will be traveling in an arc, so the kill zone will be shorter than normal.”

And the embrasure here were made for bows, so the projectile arc was different from muskets, making it difficult to use.

The Colonel nodded in agreement.

“Which means, this will be different from fighting on level ground?”


Muskets couldn’t be fired rapidly, so the first shot was important.

“The enemy is doing reconnaissance by force, so the precision, firing density and coordination of the infantry and artillery will be gathered as intel by them.”

The Colonel thought about it, then answered:

“Which means, we need to make them think that it won’t be easy to attack Fort Zeffel?”

“It’s as you say, that’s correct. So we need to deal enough damage to them on the first salvo.”

The enemy was pitiful, but I still need them to die.

Looking through the telescope, I confirmed that the enemy had reached the stone I used as a marker. I measured it ahead of time, it was about 50 m away.

The enemy would attack in another 10 m, so I told the Colonel:

“It’s time”


The Colonel nodded, and gave her orders.

“Prepare for salvo! All units, aim at your closest target! Fire!”

Gunshots echoed out crisply. As expected of line infantry, the fire timing was grasped nicely. The guards performed admirably.

I looked through my telescope, and saw three Bruges soldiers had collapsed. They must have fallen from the concentrated fire from the First Platoon and the guards.

The most important thing was significant damage, that was one condition for our survival.

The enemy retaliated immediately, but they rushed their shots, and no bullets hit the embrasures. This was a given, since they weren’t in range yet.

The Colonel shouted:

“Next volley! Fire!”

The shooters took the musket from the loader, and fired their second shot. Two more enemies fell.

The third volley hit another enemy, we had taken out six soldiers.

The accuracy of the muskets were low, so this was a good result. We might have injured some of them too, but I couldn’t see because of the white smog.

The enemy was scattered, but they weren’t stupid enough to force themselves into range, and retreated swiftly.

There wasn't any cover around the fort, so they couldn’t hide when they were in firing range.

From their proficient training and the way the soldiers were used like disposable pawns, they were probably from a penal unit. How pitiful.

I sighed, and the Colonel turned back.

“What now? Should we fire?”

“No, let’s conserve our bullets. Use this chance to clean our guns.”

Muzzle loaded guns would get clouted with soot after use, so they needed to be cleaned periodically. Or else, the bullet would become stuck, and it wouldn’t be able to fire. If we leave it be, the gun might even rust.

And so, I needed to check on their guns too.

I conducted a spotcheck on the First Platoon’s shooters, confirming whether they fired their guns.

There were surprisingly many people who couldn’t dare to shoot at the enemy. Refraining from killing people was a normal state of mind. Those who could fire at others without any restraints were the ones who had a problem.

Luckily, the kids in our Platoons all had some problems, and fired smoothly. As expected of soldiers who had gone through a round of selection by the Colonel.

The guards’ morale was high too, so they shouldn’t have any problems. I would get hated if I interfered with soldiers from another unit too much.

As for the guilt from killing the enemy, we could only lighten it through salvo fire. This way, it wouldn’t be clear whether your shot was the one that killed them.

However, we would only know through long term observation, so we needed to take note of it.

Oh right, I needed to check on the cavalry guns too.

“Lyra, how’s the new gun?”

I found the one who was using the cavalry gun, and she nodded lightly.

“It’s good, I fired two shots at a target away from the Platoon, and nailed one person.”

“So one of the kills was made by you?”


She seemed happy…

We only brought two cavalry guns with us, so we couldn’t even shoot three times.

The old muskets fired three salvos, 120 shots with 40 people, and killed five people.

In contrast, the cavalry gun fired twice, and killed one.

There weren’t enough shots to make a solid conclusion, but I could still feel the prowess of this gun.

The usually quiet Lyra was actually speaking on her own initiative.

“The bullet in this gun is long, and flies true without drooping. The flight path doesn’t waver, as if it is being sucked into the target.”


“With enough practice, I can hit a target twice as far away. This gun is amazing, Strategist Sir. If I had one in my home, my father wouldn’t have died…”

This child became talkative when the topic was about guns.

And she suddenly started a heavy topic.

“Do you like it?”

That surprised Lyra, and she smiled bashfully:

“Yes… I like it a lot.”

“I will leave it to you then, don’t lose it, alright?”

I smiled at Lyra, then started work on my next task.

… Lyra had been saluting me with a serious face since just now, what was going on?

I returned to the Colonel, and she was encouraging the troops.

“Good work everyone, you’re moving like veterans in your debut battle, and it makes me proud. But don’t let your guard down, the enemy is coming.”

No no, it was still…

I signalled with my eyes that they wouldn’t come any time soon. Would my message reach her?

The Colonel looked surprised, and then cleared her throat softly.

“That might be so, but we have to be mindful of our rest. After checking your guns and munitions, we will take turns to rest.”

That was fine, but I didn’t think my intentions could be conveyed with just my eyes.

The Colonel approached me and asked quietly:

“How do you know that the enemy won’t be coming?”

“Because we dealt a big blow to their recon in force unit, so they will take some time to prepare before attacking again. They might bring cannons next time though.”

We had cannons, so we could engage the enemy outside of musket range. Without any cannons, they wouldn’t be able to attack the fort.

Before massing enough infantry and cannons, the Bruges army probably wouldn’t attack.

After hearing my explanation, the Colonel nodded.

“That’s true, so the next battle will be the real thing?”

“It’s as you say, we probably can’t avoid any losses in the next battle.”

The possibility of someone dying in battle was high, and I couldn’t do anything about it.

“I don’t know where the enemy will attack, but logically speaking, they will aim for the places that are structurally weak.”

“Such as?”

“The east side of the fort doesn't have a guard tower, so they will probably attack there. It will likely happen in the morning, with the sun shining from their backs.”

The glare of the sun would make it hard for us to fire, while the attackers would have a clear view. If the offense wanted the initiative, they would need to take note of that.

“The sun is going to set soon, so they won’t attack for today. However, they might aim for a sneak attack, so we still need to post guards.”

“I see. Well then, go and rest, Lieutenant. You’re our Brigade’s lifeline.”

“I’m honored to hear that.”

I felt a little bashful, the Colonel was good at this. This was a little troubling.

The situation was dire, but I didn’t feel nervous at all.

Chapter 24: Enemy Assault at Dawn

They didn’t send another recon in force team after that, but we still posted guards at night to stop any sneak attacks.

I used this chance to confirm the fort’s structure again.

“I see…”

I rubbed the stone of the guard tower, and reached a conclusion.

“What are you doing, Sir?”

Hannah who was passing by looked puzzled, so I explained:

“The stones used to build this fort have a different color from other places, and they are stacked in a different pattern too. So this place must have been built a long time ago.”

Mildor was a hilly region with a plentiful supply of stones. The stones from the mines nearby would be enough to build this fort, so it was strange that the tower had a different color.

“On top of that, the tower is an independent structure, so its structural load isn’t spread onto the walls. Furthermore, the embrasures are spread evenly between the courtyard and the outside, so I think the tower is the only structure here in the beginning.”

“Oh… I see?”

Hannah didn’t get the significance of this, and cocked her head.

I said to her with an awkward smile.

“It’s my job to think about all this, so don’t worry, Staff Sergeant Heiden. Go and rest, you will be very busy once the fighting starts.”

But for the sake of survival, I should secure some insurance. Let’s discuss this with the Colonel.

   *   *

At daybreak, the girls from our Brigade came to wake me.

“Strategist Sir, Strategist Sir.”

“Hmm? Ehh?”

“Why are you making cute sleepy noises?! Get up, the enemy is here!”


I jumped up immediately, and saluted in a daze.

“Good Morning!”

“Erm, yes!”

I was teased hard, and lost face as an Officer.

I used my service cap to cover my bedhead and put on my shirt. During this time, my head was gradually clearing up.

“Situation Report.”

“We discovered signs of the enemy to the east of the fort. We can’t determine their exact numbers, but there are lots of them.”

They made a detour and came from the east, huh? As I expected.

There wasn’t a guard tower to the east, so that side was weaker. We didn’t have any cannons there, just embrasures.

Because of the fort’s oval shape, there was a narrow tip, so the number of embrasures aimed at the enemy was reduced too/

“Aside from the east, are there enemies elsewhere?”

“We don’t have a clear view, but there are small signs of movements to the west and north too.”

I couldn’t be sure yet, but this was a simple encirclement. The enemy was serious this time.

I had washed up after hearing all that, and left my tent. I continued asking the soldier behind me.

“What about our unit?”

“We have carried out the orders laid out by you, Strategist Sir.”

“Very good.”

I climbed up the wall and checked the eastern side with my telescope. The sky was getting bright, and I could vaguely see the enemy’s unit. There were 300, maybe 600? Definitely less than a thousand… From what I could see.

They were 500 m away from here, wary of our cannons.

At a glance, the enemy didn’t have cannons, which was a relief. If they had cannons, the situation would be much more dire.

It was hard to bring the cannons over in one night, and if they had them, it would be quicker for them to attack the main gate.

The Bruges army didn’t have a proper artillery unit, but they still had cannons. Their mountain hunter troops had a type of portable mini cannons known as Hand cannons. It was powerful enough to destroy the thin walls of embrasures.


“You are here too, Lieutenant?”

I turned back after hearing my name, and saw the Colonel who was dressed fluffily standing there. She was short, so this made her look more like a child.

The fluffy Colonel smiled coldly.

“Good Morning, this is a really cold morning.”

She might look like a child, but she had strong nerves. It wasn’t often that she gave such a greeting.

Let me mimic her.

“It’s cold indeed, the enemy must be cold moving through the night. Let’s give them some warmth.”


The Colonel laughed heartily, then said quietly with a quivering voice.

“Actually, I’m really scared.”

“It’s the same for me too.”

The killing was about to start, so there was no way I wouldn’t be scared.

When the Colonel and I were both smiling, the Second Platoon Leader, Staff Sergeant Midna, walked over.

“My Lady, your platoons are all in position, the guards are ready too.”

“Very good. And also, address me as Colonel.”

“My apologies.”

Midna smiled. She was the Colonel’s nanny, so she could joke like that. The Colonel pretended to be expressionless, but her cheeks were a little red.

“Lieutenant, is there anything else we need to prepare?”

“Not for now, our greatest enemy right now is fatigue. We might not be able to relax mentally, but we have to rest our bodies.”

I had experience defending a fort, and at times like this, we would be surrounded by enemies. Because of the pressure, we would get tired even just sitting there, so it would be better to not accumulate fatigue from the start.

To ease the tension of the Colonel and the others, I said with a smile:

“I can’t say this openly, but in the worst case scenario, we can choose to surrender. Or we can negotiate to give them the fort in exchange for our retreat. So don’t be too worried.”

Unlike the Middle Ages, the rules of modern wars were laid out better, and were less likely to fight to the bitter end… And of course, there were times when entire units were massacred.

The Colonel laughed.

“Thank you, Lieutenant. I will take command of the tower, are you really going to the east walls?”

“The Guard Commander is there, so our Brigade has to send an Officer over.”

Captain Dumble planned to engage the enemy main forces at the eastern wall. I didn’t have any soldiers under my command, so I decided to lend Captain Dumble a hand.

Oh right, I should warn Colonel Alzer now.

“If the enemy isn’t close enough, you just need to fire warning shots, don’t try to engage, that will just be a waste of bullets. If we run out of ammunition, it will be all over.”

The enemy was scary, but running out of bullets was scary too. Without bullets, we couldn’t stall for time.

The Colonel looked at me with a smile.

“You can’t die, you know?”

“I will try not to.”

I couldn’t promise that though.

   *   *

I then headed to the eastern walls and linked up with Captain Dumble.

“You’re here, Lieutenant Krombertz.”

“I have come.”

“We shifted a cannon here during the night, and it’s the only one we can fire directly at them.”

There were five cannons in the tower, but because of the buildings and walls, it could only fire indirectly in an arc, and would be useless when the enemy was close to the walls.

But the cannon deployed here wasn’t reliable either.

The embrasures were too small for the cannon, so it could only be deployed at the top of the wall. It was hard for it to fire downwards, rendering it ineffective when the enemy got close.

“Having just one is tough, and it is deployed so high up too.”

“That’s right, but we don’t have any other places to deploy cannons here. However, the artillery troopers here are elites, so it will be fine.”

That was what he said, but the truth was, only these men were brave enough to carry out this dangerous mission here.

“And the escort infantry?”

“They are fully motivated, and will show us their guts.”

I wonder what would happen…

The enemy moved out right before dawn.

The Bruges military band started playing a tune I didn’t know. I prefer this one over the Agan army tune.

The line infantry rushed towards the wall like waves hitting a beach. With the rising sun behind them, their long shadows loomed at us.

“T-They are coming…”

An artilleryman on the wall muttered, another one of them gulped.

I leaned on the wall and shielded my eyes with my service cap.

“It’s about to start, Captain.”

“That’s right. Gentlemen, let us show those Bruges boonies what is a real war.”

Captain Dumble pulled out his saber and announced with a calm voice.

“Target, the back of the enemy’s left wing, start the bombardment.”

The cannon fired.

Chapter 25: The Hidden Cannon

With Captain Dumble’s instructions, the artilleryman fired with great accuracy.

The first round landed in front of the military band, blowing away several infantrymen. A cliche way of dying.

“Targeting correction, right three! Up one!”

“Right three! Up one!”

The cannon were moved a little, and the next shot and gunpowder were loaded.


The next shot hit the back of the military band. It didn’t hit the target, but I was still impressed.

“Nice shot, Captain.”

“Spare me the pleasantries, that was a miss.”

We didn’t hit the target, but we finished the zeroing with just two shots, and the military band had been zeroed in. There was no need to make any further corrections.


The enemy military band realized they had been marked, and if they fell apart, the means of communicating with the entire army would be lost, and the chain of command would be broken. That was a good reason to aim for them.

But the band couldn’t stop playing nor retreat. If their performance couldn’t reach the front, then there was no reason for them to be here.

In other words, they had to endure our bombardment.


The fourth shot finally hit the band, blowing apart the drummers and trumpeteers. They weren’t armed, but they were more dangerous than the line infantry. I still felt they were pitiful though.

After we scored a direct hit, the band was a mess and the playing stopped. The line infantry fell out of step too.

… That was what I thought, but the tune was still being played.

It was just quieter than before.

“Captain, look over there.”

I handed my telescope to Captain Dumble.


It was normal for the Captain to groan.

“They have a band at the back too?”

“That is probably the main band, there’s a guy dressed like an officer, and they are out of our cannon range.”

“I underestimated them, huh. They have the upperhand.”

From yesterday’s recon in force, the enemy had grasped the power and accuracy of our artillery. They probably knew the capabilities of our artillery commander and soldiers too.

And they prepared a ‘target’ for us to aim at.

So the group blown away was something like a penal unit?

The enemy maintained their formations, and the infantry was slowly approaching the walls.

Seeing the distance between the enemy’s front ranks and us, Captain Dumble had a sour face.

“We don’t have enough angle.”

Walls built in the middle ages were very tall, so cannonballs fired from the walls would fly at an arc.

Modern cannon platforms were situated at a lower position, allowing the projectile to fire close to the ground and shoot through the enemy formation in a straight line.

The purpose of the walls would differ by era, depending on what was needed.

And so, Captain Dumble changed his mindset and ordered his artillerymen.

“Continue attacking the back of the enemy, and cut off the link between their front ranks and their headquarters.”

One cannon couldn’t create too much pressure, so this was the best it could do.

When the enemy was almost in musket fire range, Captain Dumble and I climbed down from the top of the walls to check on the Embrasures.

The garrison here was guarding the Embrasures fearfully.

“There are more enemies than I thought…”

“There are only ten Embrasures here, how can we fight them…”

This was the fault of the guys who made this place an oval. The trend nowadays was to have protruding gun platforms in bastion forts. This place was completely outdated.

Captain Dumble patted the shoulders of the troops and encouraged them.

“Don’t worry, men. We don’t have to wipe them out, just keep them out of the walls. Just take it easy. Besides…”

I listened to the Captain and glanced at the outside of the Embrasures, and saw something strange amongst the enemy line infantry. They were holding short strange guns, which were obviously not muskets with bayonets.

I suddenly felt the caress from the 【Scythe of the Death God】 on my neck.

I didn’t need the Death God to remind me this time.

I backed away from the Embrasures and yelled at Captain Dumble:

“Captain, there are cannoneers amongst the infantry!”


When Dumble ran to the Embrasures, the enemy cannoneers had already taken up position a hundred meters away.

“Get down!”

The moment the Captain shouted, sounds of terrifying destruction echoed out.

“Ehh?! Uwah”


The Embrasures were blown apart, and the light of the morning sun shone in through the dust flying in the air.

“W-What happened?!”

Someone asked, and I yelled while prone on the ground.

“Stay down! Those are hand cannons!”

Hand cannons were basically huge caliber muskets. It was useless in melee range, but the range and power were monstrous, and they were a type of portable anti-material cannon.

The recoil and weight were huge, and not anyone could wield it. Even the cannoneers had to deal with the recoil by rolling.

“There are cannoneers with hand cannons amongst their line infantry!”

Which meant the hand cannons were advancing together with their line infantry.

No wonder their cannons were nowhere in sight.

“Damage report!”

Captain Dumble yelled, and a Sergeant answered.

“We lost three men!”

Their survival was uncertain, but at least three men could no longer battle. There were only 30 men here, so it was a troublesome loss.

Luckily, the cannon above was safe. It could switch to smoke rounds, and by firing it at the enemy ranks, we could stop the enemy cannoneers from firing.

However, it was difficult with just one cannon.

“There’s no other way, infantry, engage them! Don’t let the cannoneers get any closer!”

Unlike them, our muskets were still out of range, but if we didn’t do anything, the Embrasures would be blown apart, and endanger the cannons.

However, there was a problem.

“Damn it, it’s hard to Fire!”


Another man was shot, and the Embrassure had gotten bigger from the explosion. It was difficult to take cover and take aim.

The enemy cannoneers stopped 80 m away and continued their bombardment.

The line infantry continued their advance. When they were 50 m away, they fired a salvo at the Embrasures.


“Wait, no!”

Our soldiers shirked away as bullets flew in through the enlarged Embrasures. It was dangerous for me too.

“Captain, the enemy’s attack is too intense, we can’t engage!”

The big bearded Sergeant yelled, and Captain Dumble yelled back:

“Then don’t aim, just point your guns out and fire.”

That wasn’t good, the firing density would fall drastically.

There were only ten Embrasures, so we could only hit ten men at best with a salvo. Realistically speaking, just hitting one would be a huge success. That was how it was if we couldn’t aim properly.

The enemy… There were hundreds of them. Our losses would pile up like this, and it was obvious that this would become a battle of attrition.

I crouched and approached Captain Dumble, then whispered to him.

“Captain, we would be forced into a dead end if this continues.”

“But we have to engage.”

Captain Dumble whispered back, and I shook my head.

“The enemy isn’t planning to scale the walls, they are just laying down suppressing fire. Muskets and hand cannons can’t bring down the walls.”

“It’s as you say. So they just want to keep us suppressed?”


There weren’t many cannons and Embrasures on the east wall, so Bruges wouldn’t suffer much losses when they attacked here.

However, infiltrating from the east was tedious, since there were no openings, and they had to scale the wall

Their problem was the walls which had the style of the middle ages, and were ridiculously tall. There weren’t any openings down low for cannons, and we could keep them out if they tried to climb up.

With that in mind, it would be easier to invade from another place to capture Fort Zeffel.

Where would that be?

The other walls?

If they attacked the main gate from the south, our west tower would retaliate fiercely.

Even if they performed a night raid, their presence would be exposed because of the noise. Since their target was the gate, their movement could be predicted, and we could wipe them out with cannon fire.

Conversely, if they hug the eastern wall and approach the gate that way, the defense tower wouldn’t be of any help because of the walls, and the muskets that could aim this way was limited. With enough people, they could reach the gates.

Normally, a moat would be dug around the fort to stop this from happening, but Fort Zeffel didn’t have such a thing.

The enemy only had the support of hand cannons, and the cannoneers could move swiftly with the line infantry, making full use of the only good point of hand cannons— its mobility.

If they were close enough, the firepower of the hand cannons could destroy the walls.

Thinking about it carefully, the enemy made the best choice given our relative combat capabilities and conditions. They had a good commander.

Hence, I advised Captain Dumble:

“Captain, the enemy is planning to silence the Embrasures on the sides, then move along the walls to attack the gate. That’s easier than scaling the walls, and the towers can’t attack because they're blocked by the walls.”

“Is that so?”

The Captain sighed, and smiled at me.

“Everything is going as you predicted, I’m glad we adopted your plan.”

“Yes, we can keep on fighting with that.”

Because of the heavy casualties they suffered yesterday, the enemy was worried about the west tower. Naturally, they would choose to go around the tower, and the sandbox exercise we ran confirmed that the tactic of hugging the east wall to attack would be effective.

The situation was still within my grasp, and I didn’t plan to hand over the initiative.

The crucial moment was coming right up…

Chapter 26: Hospitality of the Death God


I lent a shoulder to a casualty as I shouted:

“Those who can fight, go to the Embrasures at the gate! Those who can’t, retreat with me to the defense tower!”


I was impressed with myself, pretending to help the casualty and fleeing with grace.

I didn’t have any command authority over the troops, and didn’t need to help Captain Dumble with his tactics, since everything had been planned.

“Don’t stick your head out! They will focus on you, and concentrate on our side! You over there, don’t go to the courtyard! Did you forget that the entrance to the first floor had been blocked!”

I ordered the troops around and brought a few casualties past the wall and to the second floor of the defense tower.


Inside the tower, my comrades from the Sixth Special Brigade welcomed me with looks of relief.

“The Strategist is back!”

“I’m so glad that you are alright!”

“Bring over the bandages!”

“Ah, is the Strategist hurt?!”

“No, it’s this person over here!”


There was a slight uproar, but we still took care of every one who survived.

There were soldiers who were beyond saving, but we couldn’t just leave them be. If they thought I was a superior who abandoned his soldiers easily, they wouldn’t risk their lives in battle.

I left the treatment of the wounded to my subordinates, and sneaked a peek at the castle walls. There was intense sounds of gunfire, they were probably attacking the soldiers close to the walls.

The walls from the middle ages had narrow slots that went right to the bottom, meant to drop rocks, boiling oil or to attack with spears.

But the defenders were too few in number, despite our relentless attack, the number of enemies didn’t reduce too much. The enemy would attack those slots too, dealing damage to our side.

I was wondering about Captain Dumble’s side when Colonel Alzer came over.

“Good work, you made it back safely.”

“I have already decided that if I have to die, I will die by your side.”

I was half joking and half serious. If I had to die, I might as well die by the side of a superior that I could accept.

Colonel cleared her throat, then covered her face with her service cap.

“Stop, it’s embarrassing.”

“You are embarrassed?”

She was really direct…

The Colonel patted her cheeks and looked at me:

“The defense tower is suppressing them with our attacks, but we aren’t doing much damage. But if we don’t fire, they will be more bold in their movements.”

“Suppressing them is enough, we have to conserve our ammunition.”


The Colonel nodded, then looked a little uneasy.

“Giving up everything aside from the tower is a bold strategy.”

That was right, the plan I proposed to Colonel Alzer and Captain Dumble was to retreat to the tower and hold it out.

“After all, all the buildings aside from the tower were erected after the tower, so its construction was illogical. And with our meagre numbers, we couldn’t hold the entire fort. Unless we concentrate our limited forces together, we couldn’t hold out for long.”

My understanding of forts were limited to Japanese castles. Breaching the gate wasn’t the end, and even if half the fort was lost, we could still retreat to the main castle.

Luckily, Fort Zeffel’s tower might be old, but it was tough. So, instead of defending the gates stubbornly and incurring losses, it was better to gather in the tower swiftly.

When I first proposed the plan, Captain Dumble had a bitter face, but accepted after Colonel Alzer convinced him.

“The only thing that could be used properly is this tower, it’s fine to give up the rest.”

“I never thought you would say that before the Guard Captain.”

“I couldn't do my job as a Strategist if I stayed quiet…”

I knew he had emotional attachment to the fort, but regrettably, I wasn’t on good enough terms with him to die for this fort.

However, I had to admit this strategy wasn’t pleasant for him, and I would be reluctant if I was in his shoes.

However, we all had our own responsibilities, so it couldn’t be helped.

“We can’t hold the gate for long. It’s time to show them our ‘hospitality’.”

“That’s right, if we don’t let them feast on cannon balls, that will tarnish the reputation of the Schweidel army.”

This was her debut battle, so why was she smiling so cheerfully? How scary.

Soon, the infantry firing from the top of the gates had all retreated to the tower. Captain Dumble and his Sergeant were fine, but they lost some men.

“Captain, glad to see you safe.”

“Yes, but we lost two men.”

The Embrasures meant for crossbows had wide openings, and could be hit easily with musket fire.

In the end, the damage was just shouldered by the garrison unit. This was a strategy based on retreating in the first place, so it was natural for the soldiers familiar with the fort to take on this task.

And of course, we had to fight too.

Captain Dumble ordered the garrison to rest, and the Sixth Special Brigade would engage the enemy in their stead.

The sound of something being battered came relentlessly. With our retaliation subsiding, they had quickened their pace of attack.

There was no moats nor fence, so I had no plans to defend the gates. They were free to do as they wished.

Colonel Alzer, Captain Dumble and I waited alongside the girls for that crucial moment.

Shortly after, they broke down the gates, and Bruges soldiers in blue uniform flooded in.

But they quickly lost their momentum and stopped in their tracks.

Because of the tents we erected in the courtyard, the entrance was blocked, and the thick canvas blocked their vision and hindered their movements.

The soldiers following behind didn’t notice, and there was chaos at the entrance.


I muttered, and Captain Dumble yelled:

“Got it. Alright already, fire! Fire!”

The cannons in the tower had already locked onto their targets, and fired at the same time.

The shots went through the tents easily, and the blue uniforms of the Bruges soldiers were dyed red, scattering in shards of purple. Dozens were killed in an instant, and the place turned into hell.

The next moment, the tents exploded too.

This caused a secondary explosion that collapsed the gates. It was deafeningly loud.

“Sigh~ what a pity.”

Captain Dumble showed a bitter face, and I pretended to be retarded and whistled.

Actually, the private letter from Duke Ritreille actually had an important secret.

Captain Dumble didn’t tell us, but Fort Zeffel appeared to be an ammunition dump, and was well stocked in order to supply Godo Stronghold.

By the way, using this place as an ammunition dump was a wise choice, and Captain Dumble wasn’t at fault for keeping quiet. After all, this wasn’t something he should share with allies.

But with the huge amount of ammunition, it would be scary to store them all in the tower, so we decided to use the excess to blow up the gates. From the explosion earlier, this was the right call.

But for Captain Dumble, he lost the huge amount of ammunition and the gates to defend the fort.

Sigh, the plan that led to such great losses was from me though…

Even the Bruges army wouldn’t expect the defenders to blow up their own gates. The siege had just gone on for two hours.

If I was the enemy commander, I would think the defending commander was insane.

Never mind, all that didn’t matter. I cheered up Captain Dumble:

“Captain, the enemy can’t bring in cannons through the gates now. Now that the bothersome gates are gone, the tower has an open view to fire freely.”

“You are calling the renowned gates with centuries of history bothersome…”

The Captain sighed, but I think it’s better to blow away the gates that couldn’t defend anything, and get House Mildor to build another one. This place wasn’t some historical site.

However, I still apologized out of courtesy.

“My apologies. But now, we can prevent the ammunition from falling into enemy hands. That is of the utmost importance to you right, Captain?”

“Hah, that’s true… I should be thanking you instead of holding a grudge.”

“We should observe the enemy for now. They probably won’t attack before putting out the fire.”

There wasn’t just gunpowder, I also added some oil barrels to set the area around the gates on fire. The enemy would have to deal with that.

We were fine with the gates burning, but for the enemy, they couldn’t attack before extinguishing the fire.

Line infantry were afraid of fire by nature. Their gunpowder satchels were stored like candy with paper, and wouldn’t explode without being tightly packed. However, the waterproof oil paper was flammable.

So we could rest for now. Defending a fort meant a lack of freedom, so we had to relax as much as possible during the process.

“A fire strategem is the best…”

The flames kept the enemy at bay like our new comrade.

The Colonel hummed carefreely as she watched the blazing flames, then sighed:

“I finally get why you are called the 【Death God】.”

“I don’t know why though.”

No comments:

Post a Comment