Episode 189

Linz Plains Giant Slalom (1)
1 week ago
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And the next day, on the Linz Plains.

110,000 troops of the Reich Empire and 180,000 troops of the Ostarica Grand Duchy were positioned at a slight distance from each other in a standoff.

Both armies, led by the Crown Prince of the Reich Empire and the Grand Duke of the Ostarica Grand Duchy, respectively, participating directly, had very high morale.

Both the Crown Prince and the Grand Duke, commanders of their respective armies, were confident of their victory in this war and were waiting for the right moment to attack.

The leaders of the Ostarican army, having a relatively larger number of troops, were more anxious.

“Your Grace, we have more troops. According to reports from Captain Matthias and Lieutenant Benner, the quality of soldiers is similar between our army and the Reich Empire’s army. Ultimately, it all comes down to the number of troops mobilized. We have the advantage. So, let’s attack quickly.”

Under the assumption that the quality of troops was similar, it was almost a given that the side with more numbers had the advantage.

So, there was nothing wrong with the Ostarica generals urging to hasten the attack.

And the Grand Duke of Ostarica also had a strong desire to move the troops immediately and face off directly…

However, there was one thing that made him hesitate.

‘The bastard I have to face is that damned General Peter Yaeger. That bastard can make a troop difference of 110,000 to 180,000 not a big deal in battle—a cunning and evil man.’

If Peter Yaeger himself heard this, he would counter, “Which general in this world wouldn’t think it’s a problem that the enemy forces are 60% larger than their own?”

Considering his track record on the Europa Continent, the Grand Duke’s thoughts had ample justification.

“Colonel Humpros, it’s not yet time. And what we’re up against is the damned General Peter Yaeger, not some foolish Crown Prince who almost got captured by a double agent, right?”

At that, Colonel Humpros, as he was called, quietly bowed his head and spoke.

“But if we continue like this, won’t the standoff unnecessarily drag on?”

“Ha, that’s true. But what can we do?”

“Although the four who defected from the Reich Empire have petitioned Your Grace and are now at the front lines, how about we call Lieutenant Benner and Captain Matthias for their opinions?”

To the Grand Duke, those two, who had risen to the rank of lieutenant colonel in the Reich Empire, were valuable spies who had laid the imperial army bare in his palm.

If those two come and spout nonsense, they could always be dismissed cleanly without any issues.

“Captain Matthias, Lieutenant Benner. What do you think? How should we handle the imperial army?”

Upon hearing this, Matthias, based on his experience commanding the imperial army up until two years ago and the insights gained from leading the soldiers of Ostarica, took a moment to gather his thoughts before responding.

“Push from the front. The 7th Division led by General Yaeger might be a bit of a concern, but the other units are weak.”

“As you said, no matter how strong a unit is, it can’t do much if it stands out alone. Since they won’t come to us, we’ll go to them first. What does everyone else think?”

The other generals, after further consideration of the option to attack first, then spoke.

“We have more troops, so if we push for a melee from the front, we can definitely win.”

“The opponent is General Yaeger. So, instead of trying to reduce troop losses through surprise or flanking maneuvers, it’s best to push directly from the front.”

“Please place our division at the vanguard. The Stainhoun Division will stand at the forefront and fight for Your Grace’s glory, offering the enemy’s heads.”

With everyone’s opinions aligning on a frontal attack, the Grand Duke commanded, waving his baton.

“The entire army will charge towards the Reich Empire’s military. Additionally, division commanders are not to use flanking or surprise tactics without my orders.”

Then, the entire Ostarica Grand Duke’s army was ordered to charge with spears towards the empire’s military visible in front.

The majestic sound of trumpets, the lively drum beats, and the flags of divisions, regiments, battalions, and companies fluttered, signifying that the orders were received.

Commanders at all levels shouted loudly as they marched.

“They have merely 110,000, and we are 180,000 strong! We outnumber them by 70,000!”

“If we lose here, your families will be killed by the evil Reich Empire! Young women and children will be raped and murdered!”

“Only listen to the company commander’s orders! Then you can return alive! Understand?!”

These were always the words officers say when dragging soldiers into war, and anyone at the level of a sergeant had heard them so much they were completely sick of them.

So, one might think these words were considered nothing special, but their frequent use was precisely because they always had an effect.

The soldiers were reassured by the fact that they outnumbered the enemy and were enraged at the thought of their families being ravaged and killed by the Reich Empire if they lost the war.

Moreover, even the cowards, who were always scolded by their company commander, were slightly reassured by his words that listening to him would allow them to return alive.

“Shit, man. This time, since we outnumber them by 70,000, we’re definitely going to win. How about stealing one of the enemy knights’ armor?”

“If we sell it off secretly, we could easily bring back two cows to our rural hometown, right?”

“That’s a damn good idea. But what if I’m lucky enough to grab armor from one of the higher-ups…?”

“Idiot, you’d have to give it to the higher-ups. The reward they give you would be worth more than the armor.”

Soldiers who had participated in a war at least once dispelled their fear with hopeful talks.

Papapa, papapa!

“Shit, arrows are going to fly soon! Everyone, don’t slow down and just look at the ground as you walk! The helmet and armor will protect you!”

Then, a few seconds later, arrows and magic fired by the Reich Empire’s army engulfed the Ostarica army.

“Return fire! Return fire, you idiots!”

“If you don’t want to die, shoot! Even if you’re dying from an arrow wound, keep shooting!”

“Hold your spears straight! If you don’t want to die, don’t think about running with your spear up! If the formation breaks, we all die.”

Even before the melee combat had officially started, the Ostarica army had soldiers panicking and breaking formation at the company and battalion levels due to the incoming arrows and magic.

Company and battalion commanders tried to control such soldiers by either killing them directly, beating them through non-commissioned officers, or slitting their throats.

They continued marching in a manner where killing one would maintain the order of a hundred.

In contrast, although arrows were flying towards the Reich Empire’s army too, their response was slightly different.

“Anyone who disrupts the formation because of incoming arrows will be punished according to military law! Act as we did during the mock battles!”

“Bow your heads and aim your spears at the enemy’s neck!”

“Each company and battalion commander, order your men to shoot arrows wildly! We need to reduce their numbers even a little here!”

Despite countless enemy arrows flying towards them, the Reich Empire’s soldiers acted very naturally, without any panic.

If it weren’t for the soldiers who were unfortunately killed or wounded by the enemy’s arrows from time to time, it would seem as if they were conducting a mock battle.

Archers, crossbowmen, and mages did not slow down their reloading or casting movements out of fear, even as arrows flew toward them.

The soldiers wielding spears maintained an unwavering combat readiness, as if they were detached from the issues of life and death, seemingly fearless of dying.

However, this was not because they had given up on the fear of dying or the desire to live.

“Sergeant, aren’t you scared at all? There’s not a single drop of cold sweat on you.”

“Cut the crap. I’m shaking with fear. Aren’t you scared too? But maybe because we trained hard, you’re not trying to run away even though you’re trembling?”

“Don’t even say it. Weren’t we whipped 50 times during mock battle training if we ran away or showed fear? It seems like getting beaten for not being scared back then is actually helping now.”

Indeed, it wasn’t because they had given up on the fear of death and the desire for life, but because the rigorous training and discipline had overcome their instincts.

Due to such a process, unlike the Ostarican army shaking with fear, the soldiers of the Reich Empire were able to look at the enemy with relatively clear reason and judgment.

Knowing this, the unit commanders shouted loudly at their soldiers with determination.

“We endured the hellish training given by those damn instructors from the 7th Guard Division wearing those shitty red hats all for this moment! Hang in there! Let’s outperform them!”

“Move as ordered. Those who are scared die first.”

“A charge order will be given soon; take a deep breath and get ready.”

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