Chapter 3 Episode 17
Early 10th Month, the Year 2812, Western continent calendar: (The Eastern Invasion 1)
Around the time Mikoshiba Ryouma was learning the way to master the magic arts, the clouds of war were covering the skies of the neighboring country, the Kingdom of Zalda.
The Ortomean Empire, the sovereign of the Western continent’s central regions, finally bared its fangs and started the invasion of the eastern parts of the continent.
One side fought for the sake of development and hegemony. The other fought for their very survival.
Set on the Notiz plains bordering the two countries, the battle where defeat wasn’t an option for either side was about to start.
“What’s the status?”
At the imperial invading army’s headquarters, Sardina glanced over the huge map spread in front of her.
On the map, red and black coloured pieces were arranged in some sort of formation.
“According to the report, the main force is progressing en route as planned, Your Highness. The report also mentioned that three of our vanguard troops are facing against the Zaldian Royal Knights at the east of the Notiz plains.”
Saying so, Saitou repositioned the red pieces facing against one of the black pieces at the east of the Notiz plains from three directions.
These pieces represented the friendly and enemy units.
The red pieces represented the empire’s forces, while the black ones represented the kingdom’s.
The number of red pieces placed in the center was 15. Five were placed far away to the north and five more the south.
Each piece represented a troop of 1000 soldiers, which meant that around 25,000 soldiers were deployed on the field on their side.
“What about the enemy?”
Saitou arranged the black pieces near the border between the Notiz plains and the mountain area.
The number of pieces was 20.
“An army, composed only of knights, they number about 20,000”
Following Saitou’s words, Sardina lifted the corners of her mouth.
She smiled like a hunter who was convinced that her prey had fallen into her trap.
“Good… They seem to have moved the entirety of the forces under direct command of their king… Just as planned.”
“Well, Your Highness, we have been doing our best to create the situation where they do not have any other choice after all…”
Following Sardina’s words, Saitou replied while shrugging his shoulders.
“Only five days have passed since we declared war… Which means, there wasn’t enough time for them to properly recruit soldiers.”
As a result of their successful efforts at information manipulation, the Kingdom of Zalda was unable to grasp the movements of the imperial army.
The kingdom had a mountainous area that served as their natural protection.
However, much like this time, if they failed to notice the advances of their enemy’s army, their natural barrier could very well turn into a liability instead.
The area where the steep mountains were located was a treasure that yielded abundant ore mines, but was an unsuitable locality for placing soldiers.
Deploying an army there without any preparation and strong positioning would only cause a disaster.
“On purpose, we leaked the numbers of our main force, coupled with the limited time they had, it forced them to mobilize the Royal Knights in haste with no other support, and draw them towards an open field.”
Sardina praised Saitou’s ingenious scheme from the bottom of her heart.
Even though she was an Imperial Princess of the Ortomean Empire, she also had great talent for leading armies to war.
The enemy side reluctantly understood this fact all too well as well.
The Kingdom of Zalda’s total military force numbered approximately 70,000. However, that also included the conscripted commoners and the nobles’ soldiers.
The force that the Zaldians could mobilize in such short notice was the combatants under direct royal command, which numbered approximately 25,000 men.
Having failed to grasp the enemy’s movements, led to having no time to arrange the nobles’ soldiers and to conscript the commoners, which in turn led to having only a third of their actual strength to stop the foreign invaders.
Zalda’s military command was caught by surprise and ended up being impatient. They then desperately endeavored to gather any and all information available regarding the enemy’s forces in order to find a breakthrough for their current predicament.
They tried to find out about the enemy’s general, their number of soldiers, the enemy’s expected advance route…
They also gathered innumerable bits of other information. Then they analyzed them and devised some measures. By then, they noticed something.
The ‘fact’ that the size of armed forces under Sardina’s command was not so large, and that even if they could mobilize the army under the King’s command alone, they could still expect to come out of it victorious.
At first, the Zaldian military command was thinking of pulling the Ortomean army into their country and dealing with them in their own turf. However, there was a big flaw to that strategy: if the war was fought within the Zaldians’ territory, then even if they won, the consequences would still be quite drastic.
Even after taking into consideration the sacrifices that would be made if that were to happen they were going to go ahead with it until they received the momentous report that the contingent that Sardina led appeared to not be large. This made them change their plans in consequence.
If they presented battle in the open fields near the border, the kingdom’s territory and population wouldn’t need to suffer too much.
No one likes losing.
Besides, the creature known as human always chooses the option where they don’t lose anything if the option is presented.
The Kingdom of Zalda’s military command then took their army towards the Notiz plains while leaving 5,000 knights behind as reserve.
However, little did they know, that it was Sardina who made them think like that. The ‘truth’ that they knew would go on to become the lie that would eventually defeat them.
“What about our detached forces to the north and the south? It’s going forward as planned, right?”
Sardina turned her sharp gaze towards Saitou.
For now, the trap her side had set was working perfectly.
However, Sardina understood from her experience, that a small carelessness could turn everything upside down.
That was why she always did her best to be cautious.
The experience she got from going through many battlefields, and the setback and lesson she had learned from Ryouma made Sardina grow into a meticulous yet daring military leader, into what could be considered an ideal commander.
“Yes, Your Highness. We have been informed that both units are waiting for our orders and in position.”
Hearing Saitou’s report, Sardina felt satisfied. She smiled and nodded her head.
“Good… Then execute the next phase, you remember the arrangement right, Saitou?”
“Yes, Your Highness. Please leave it to me.”
Saitou’s tone of voice was the same as ever.
A calm and polite tone. He bowed towards Sardina and left the tent.
People could hardly believe that such a polite and calm man was about to head towards the battlefield.
However, Sardina could clearly feel Saitou’s hidden fighting spirit.
Within the eyes he used to gaze at her, Sardina could see violent flames raging.
“Is everyone ready?”
Saitou mounted his horse then called out to the surrounding officers.
Short and powerful words entered Saitou’s ears.
The heavy knights under his command stood behind him. They numbered 10,000 men.
Only 2,000 men were left behind to protect Sardina.
They reduced her guard to the bare minimum. This was a gamble, where they bet the entire battle in this one move.
This battle, this war, and the future of the invasion, all of it now rested on Saitou’s shoulders.
Before Saitou’s eyes, the advance troops were fighting against the Zalda kingdom in a bitter struggle.
“Commander. Please give us your order, sir.”
<EN: He’s the second-in-command of the army, so when soldiers talk to him, they refer to him as deputy general, or in this case, since he’s leading a unit in battle, just commander.>
One of Saitou’s adjutants asked him.
Saitou then unsheathed his sword and pointed towards the sky.
Everyone silently waited for what would happen next.
All of them stood by while feeling elated. Saitou stayed silent for a few seconds.
And then after feeling the fighting spirit of the soldiers behind him, Saitou dropped his sword silently and pointed it toward the enemy.
The soldiers then run past Saitou while raising a battle cry.
Bows were drawn taut following which, arrows were released.
The knights, on their fearsome steeds, rushed towards the enemy.
The knights were wearing heavy armours of steel, covering their entire bodies, and the horses they rode were also protected by rigid pieces of plate armor made of both of leather and steel. If the foot knights were considered living fortresses, when mounted they were nothing short of the tanks of this world!
They strengthened their bodies with magic arts, rushing towards the enemy, who they then trampled underneath their warhorses and pierced with their long lances.
“Kill them all! Show no mercy!”
“Don’t escape! Those who turn their backs towards the dogs of Ortomea are cowards and traitors!”
“Damn it! My arm… My arm is…”
“Shut up! If you have the time and energy to yell and cry then just swing your sword and kill them!”
Savage voices could be heard from all across the battlefield.
This was the result of the imperial cavalry units storming towards the enemy comprised of foot soldiers.
They charged against the Zaldian army with great effect, not only wounding and killing many, but also destroying their formations.
However, the Zaldian knights weren’t so incompetent that they’d let themselves be trampled for long.
“Everyone! Re-group! Spearmen, to the front! Immediately form a spearwall to stop and skewer the enemy’s cavalry!”
“The rest, listen up! You don’t have to fixate yourself with your platoons! Form up on the wings and close in on their cavalry once it’s engaged. Form up immediately!”
The commanding officers were quick to perceive the situation and immediately issued the orders.
Rather than using cavalry against cavalry, they chose to get the infantry in formation and used that to face the enemy’s cavalry charge.
The confused Zaldian knights immediately followed their commanding officers and reorganized their formations.
“Infantry! Attention, forward!”
Noticing that the enemy’s army had regrouped and reorganized their formations, Saitou immediately pulled back his cavalry troop and in return ordered his foot soldiers to confront the enemy line.
Heavy cavalry units were very powerful, but they were not without flaws.
Although the average warhorse here was bigger than the Japanese horse, their strength and stamina still had a limit that needed to be taken into consideration.
The advantage of a cavalry unit was its weight and speed.
Conversely, if the horses were stalled in place, they would only become an easy target for the enemy.
Mixed units battle tactics were like playing janken(rock-paper-scissors).
<TLN: Based on my experience playing RTS game, Cavalry>Knight>Spears Knight>Cavalry… The circle of evil… >
<EN: in my experience it was more along the lines of cavalry > archers/swords > spears > cavalry but i guess it depends on what you played. Also, it goes beyond saying that reality is infinitely more complex.>
No single unit variant stood supreme.
“Listen up! Send the invaders to oblivion! Push them back! Don’t let them advance!”
The commander of the Zaldian army, after making sure that his army formation had become solid, raised his voice.
The Zaldian infantry stood in formation and began to move forward with uniform steps.
“Don’t let those sissy knights from Zalda daunt you! We’re the proud Imperial Knights of Ortomea! We shall crush our enemies and see them driven before us!”
Following their commanding officer’s words, one after another, the knights from the empire plunged into the front lines.
At first, the armies from both sides stood in formation, but as soons as they collided with each other, their front ranks got distorted and collapsed.
Both forces were now comprised of foot knights only.
Their armours consisted of a complex series of garments, chain mail and thick iron plates. They used not only broadswords, but also two-handed swords, battle axes, maces and spears as weapons. Their bodies were also strengthened by way of using magic arts.
At the time, no big difference in fighting power between them could be discerned.
Both sides seemed equal in this battle, every time an enemy got killed, an ally soon followed him to the underworld.
At this point, the battle had become one of attrition.
However, the difference in the commanders’ abilities would decide the fate of the two forces.