Chapter 184: Crisis of the Imperial Army (2)

“Count Boris, the scouts discovered enemies on the left and right sides.”

“Is that so?”

The corners of his mouth rose as he listened to the messenger’s report. Secrecy was absolutely necessary for an ambush. An ambush that was discovered can be used against the people who had set up the ambush.

“Give orders to the entire army, advance slowly with the heavy infantry in the front. Wait for the rear troops!”

“Yes, sir!”

Just as Count Boris commanded, heavy infantry with thick armor and shields took the lead.

“Line up in four columns! Close the gaps in front and behind you as much as possible!”

“Yes, sir!”

An elite was an elite. At their commander’s order, the heavy infantry moved as if they were one body. They even marched in step as they slowly advanced forward.

“They’re coming. They’re really coming.”

“Don’t be nervous, we just have to follow instructions.”

“Right, we can do this.”

The people inside the Republic’s defensive barrier were recruits with zero practical experience. Although they had voluntarily joined the army, that didn’t mean they weren’t afraid of war. Nevertheless, Siegfried had placed them at the front of an important battle. However, he hadn’t placed them there to be cannon fodder. He had given them two orders that even recruits could carry out.

One of such orders was the ambush, but unfortunately, that had already been spotted by Count Boris. In fact, any skilled commander would have realized that their ambush had been spotted if they saw heavy infantry approaching them from a distance. But, these recruits lacked such judgement and experience and were impatiently waiting for their enemies to come to the prepared area.

“They’re almost there.”

“Just a little bit more… just a bit more…”

The recruits took a deep breath as they watched the heavy infantry of the Imperial Army advancing boldly with a heavy presence. If the enemy approached just a bit more, the ambush team would riddle them with arrows. But then…

“Infantry! Separate!”

“Yes, sir!”

Answering loudly to that single order from their commander, the infantry moved as one. The four columns of infantrymen had split into two columns each and looked towards either side. And then…

“Attack!”

“Wahhh!!”

Immediately after the commander gave the order, the heavy infantry dove into the forest on either side, startling the ambush team who had been waiting in the woods.

“Gah! It’s… it’s the enemy!”

“Shoot! Shoot them!”

“Guhh!”

In order to fully utilize the forest’s foliage as a cover for the ambush, the men who had been waiting on either side of the road were mostly arches. For archers, the heavy infantry that Count Boris had put in the front were the worst type of unit to fight against. The arrow didn’t work against the heavy armor and there was nothing an archer could do once the distance got close enough for close combat. Screams were heard from either side of the road as Count Boris made his next move. 

“Follow me! Charge!”

He stood in the front and personally led his knights to attack the enemy. While the heavy infantry grabbed the attention of the enemy with their presence, Count Boris was preparing to advance with his Knights. Then, using the gap between the heavy infantry, he shot forward like an arrow with his knights.

“H...huh?”

“They’re coming. The enemies… The ambush…”

“No! They’ve already… Gah!”

By the time the recruits realized it, the Knights led by Count Boris had smashed through the hastily built barriers and entered the enemy camp.

“I am Dune Boris of the Andrews Empire!”

Count Boris stood at the front and devastated his enemies. Their ambush had failed and his knights had collapsed the enemy’s line of defense. In a war that they had already lost, the recruits continued to die in hoards in a blink of an eye. At that moment…

“Retreat! Retreat!”

“All forces, retreat!”

The Republican Army commanders ordered them to retreat. Then, not only the recruits who were placed as infantrymen as defense, but the archers who had been fighting on either side of the road also retreated. This had been the second order given to them by Siegfried: if the situation turns unfavorable, do not look back and retreat to the previously set location. He had given them such an order because he prioritized the survival of his soldiers over victory. 

Of course the enemy would pursue, however…

“Fire!”

The elite soldiers of the Republican Army were stopping the cavalry from pursuing the retreating Republican soldiers. Siegfried had previously arranged it so that the recruits could retreat safely.

“Ugh…”

“These bastards…”

Count Boris, who had been chasing after the retreating Republican soldiers, was a bit flustered. He never thought there would be another line of defense behind the previous line, and unlike the first one, the men guarding the second line of defense seemed to be elite soldiers.

‘If I recklessly charge forward with the same momentum, then I might lose my troops.’

Having made that judgement, Count Boris immediately gave an order to his men.

“Fall into formation! Knights in the back and the infantry in the front! Archers will respond as necessary!”

He fixed the formation of his soldiers, stopped pursuing and began to counterattack instead. Once the Republican army realized that their allies were safe, the second line of defense also fell back. 

“Count Boris! The enemy is retreating.”

“I see that.”

“Should we chase after them?”

“...no, since we’ve captured the enemy’s camp, it’s fine.”

Count Boris felt uneasy and stopped pursuing the enemy.

‘Either way, I won.’

Though there were only a few enemies left, there was a chance that he might lose if he unreasonably continued to chase after them. Having captured the enemy’s camp, Count Boris straightened out his army and once the central army arrived from the back, he reported the results of the battle to them.

***

“Sir, it’s reported that Count Boris won.”

“How big was the enemy’s troop?”

“It’s said that they had about 5,000 to 10,000 men and that there was little damage to his men, sir.”

“That’s not a bad result.”

Duke Sebastian smiled as he nodded in approval. If you think about it, this was the first victory since this war had started. How could he not be happy? On top of that, his aides also began to subtly praise Count Boris in front of him as if they wanted him to hear it. 

“After all, Count Boris is considered to have both intelligence and bravery.”

“He has properly shown them our Imperial Army’s strength and spirit.”

“Just as we expected, there doesn’t seem to have been a lot of men left behind in the enemy’s camp.”

“If we had hesitated, we might have instead given the enemy a huge opportunity. Then, it would have been a complete disaster, am I right?”

What the officers were saying seemed to be directed towards Marquis Ryan Catel - Look, you were wrong, and we were right. Since they couldn’t say this outright to his face, they were twisting things around and being sarcastic about it.

“......”

Marquis Catel kept silent and looked at them with a calm expression.

‘Hmph, guess he doesn’t have anything to say since he’s keeping his mouth tightly closed like a clam.’

‘He’s refusing to acknowledge his mistake till the very end.’

‘What a shameful and dishonorable man.’

The officers all mocked Marquis Catel mentally.

***

After his first victory, Count Boris quickly advanced with his army and soon, the enemy appeared in front of him once again. Just like before, the enemy had about 5,000 men. However, from what he could see, the enemy had a few wounded soldiers with minor injuries. They seem to be the defeated soldiers who had retreated in the previous battle.

“Brave soldiers of the Empire! Defeat the enemy!”

“WAAHHHH!!”

Count Boris took advantage of the fact that his soldiers’ morale was high and aggressively attacked. It was a much more offensive attack than the first battle. First of all, he knew that the enemy’s troops weren’t elite and he also knew there weren’t many of them. He kept in mind that there might be ambushes and traps but focused on aggressively attacking. 

“Fire! Don’t be scared and fight!”

“Don’t be afraid just because they’re the Imperial Army!”

“WAAHH!!”

Of course, the Republican soldiers fought back hard. Using wooden fences as defense barriers, the infantry with long spears held their enemies in check while the archers shot them with arrows. It was a typical defensive method - simple but effective.

“So they’re managing to hold one. But it’s useless.”

Count Boris watched the enemy struggling from behind his army. Then, he called for his knights.

“You called for us, Count Boris?”

“Yea, in order to reduce the damage to our men, we will be personally attacking them. Follow after me.”

“Yes, sir!”

He personally led his knights and charged towards the point of attack he had observed. In order to properly perform a simple operation like this, the quality of the soldier was important. Elite soldiers would have united themselves and sharply carried out the plan without a single gap, but because they were recruits, there were a lot of obvious holes. Without missing the opportunity, Count Boris led his knights directly to attack those holes.

“Piss off!”

 “Ack!”

“E… Enemy, gah!”

Count Boris personally destroyed the enemy’s defenses and created a gap for the knights to enter, and with that small gap, the enemy’s entire formation collapsed like a dam with a hole.

“Attack!”

“Show the Republic’s trash the might of the Empire!”

“WAHHH!!”

With morale as high as the sky, the soldiers of the Empire brutally attacked the enemy. As for the Republican soldiers…

“Retreat! Retreat!”

“All forces, retreat!”

As soon as their formation collapsed, they chose to retreat. Of course, Count Boris ordered his men to pursue them.

“Don’t let them escape! Have the enemies permanently remember the terror of our Empire!”

However, the Imperial Army’s pursuit did not last long.

“Tsk, it’s the double defense line again?”

One of the knights led by Count Boris clicked his tongue when he saw the line of defense waiting in front of him. It happened before, but because of the second defense line waiting behind the first, Count Boris and his men weren’t able to pursue their enemies any further. The recruits in the first line of defense seemed clumsy and were easily dealt with, but the enemies in the second row were quite strong. In other words, Count Boris and his men had to reorganize before they could deal with them. 

“Retreat! All forces, retreat!”

It was difficult to fight the second line of opponents head-on. The second row simply retreated once their allies had enough time to retreat. 

So far, there had been two battles and both of them had been won by the Empire. But their enemy retreated too quickly and it didn’t seem safe to pursue them, so Count Boris and his men weren’t able to achieve much.

“Tsk. Do those Republican bastards even plan on fighting?”

Count Boris began to slowly feel nervous.

***

The third battle.

Same as the previous two battles, the Republican Army set up a defensive formation on the road and waited for the Imperial Army.

“Foolish bastards.”

“Maybe they’re just stupid? They lost both times, but they’re still doing the same thing?”

The aides around Count Boris all laughed as if they found it ridiculous, but Count Boris was frowning with a serious expression.

“Maybe they’re…”

“Count Boris, what’s the matter?”

“No, it’s nothing. Let’s defeat the enemy in front of us first! Fight normally, but watch out for any traps they might have planted!”

“Yes, sir!”

And so, the third battle started. The result was the same as the previous two. 

The two armies collided like standard warfare and the Imperial Army with more and better soldiers won. But, like before, the enemy quickly retreated and because of the second line of defense, Count Boris and his men couldn’t pursue them. 

Once the battle ended, Count Boris held an emergency meeting with his officers and the first thing he saw was:

“The enemy is trying to reproduce the Miracle of the Salière.”

At that, the other officers began to clamor as they nodded their heads.

“Ah! Then…”

“I see. So that’s why they’re fighting like this.”

The Miracle of Salière. It was a record of a war fought roughly 700 years ago that took place in a kingdom called Rosian that no longer existed. In the kingdom was a valiant king, and while that king was out on a military expedition, one of his allied countries took that chance to invade the kingdom of Rosian. The country fell into a crisis as the people began to feel anxious. At that time, Queen Salière, the queen of the country, saved her kingdom from a crisis. 

She personally appeared in front of the people in order to recruit troops and promised to fight on the battlefield first. However, she knew that because she recruited commoners, her soldiers were badly trained and weren’t very good. So, rather than fighting the enemy, she used a tactic that dragged things out and bought them some time. That tactic was to set up a defensive formation on the enemy’s path and fight as hard as they could. Once they were disadvantaged, they would quickly retreat. And with that back formation, they would quickly confront the enemy again, trying to impede them as much as possible. 

With that tactic, she dragged things out as she endured again and again against their enemies until the brave king returned and defeated the enemies. In the end, thanks to the Queen’s dedication and wisdom, the kingdom of Rosina was able to avoid a national crisis. The king praised his beloved queen and ordered that the battle in which she saved them be called a miracle. Later, strategists would call this the most beautiful and noble battle in the history of war.

Even if they didn’t study strategic tactics, it was a famous battle that they would all know as part of the nobility. 

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