Black Iron's Glory - novelonlinefull.com
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“What did you come all the way for?” Claude asked Major-General Eiblont, the linesman of 3rd Monolith with a smile. He got the orderman outside the tent to get a basin of clean water for the general to wash his dust-covered face.
Eiblont seemed rather frustrated. “I came here as fast as I can with my troops because I heard you encountered the Canasian reinforcements and wouldn't be able to take them on, so I came to help you out and also tried to reap some benefits in the meantime. I didn't think you'd be able to take them all out in a short 20 days… You move too fast, you know.”
Claude shook his head. “Eilon, I appreciate your goodwill, but you have to take your unit into consideration too. Thundercrash travels on four legs, you know. Even if our attack failed, we can still escape to thousands of metres away. 3rd Monolith is only an infantry unit. If we weren't able to deal with the Canasian troops and escaped and ran into you, wouldn't you just be sitting ducks?”
He didn't mean anything else by it. He knew that Eiblont had indeed come with good intentions to save Thundercrash. Usually, useless teammates only sat and watched once you were in a pinch whereas there were all too many who only came to offer help once the enemy forces were already at the brink of extermination.
But as field marshal, he couldn't really approve of that. The main problem was mounts. Thanks to Miselk's scorched earth tactic, there wasn't a complete town in the whole of Balingana. It was quite dangerous for 3rd Monolith to enter a territory with nowhere to fall back on without any information on their enemy.
If the Canasians really didn't fall into his trap and dismount to dig trenches, choosing to continue to fight on horseback, they might eventually discover traces of 3rd Monolith marching through Albator Plains. If they decided to use a small force to hold Thundercrash back and secretly send the main force to target 3rd Monolith, Eiblont would've suffered a huge loss.
The strength of cavalry was unparalleled on the plains. That was where they could fight to their fullest potential. There was no way infantry could set up proper defences to fend them off. They couldn't defend against an attack from all directions either.
Eiblont knew what he was referring to and shook his head before he wiped his face with a wet towel. “I've considered what you said. Actually, I had even hoped you wouldn't take them down and let them seek me out so I can test the might of the carriage formation. After all, you can't really tell if it'll work based on training alone. If we don't put it into practice, we might not be able to use it on the battlefield on a large scale.
He finally realised what the general was going to count on. The carriage formation was actually something Claude came up with. Around half a year ago, he and the four other linesmen ran even more simulations and unfortunately drew the lot for the Great Plains of Canas to be the setting. Claude played the role of the commander of the eradicated Bluefeather while Bolonik became the leader of the Canasian light cavalry. They expected that he wouldn't be able to prevent Bluefeather's extermination and the most he could save would be a few units.
They didn't think he would use the carriages to form walls and retaliate against the cavalrymen with scatter shot. Had Bolonik not rallied his men back and conserved most of his forces, Claude could've turned the tables of battle around and emerged victorious.
That simulation had broadened the horizons of the officers there. In the end, Claude decided to have Bluefeather and the other two irregular corps retreat, so it ended in a draw.
That was when he introduced them to the slanted carriage. Its construction was easy and could easily be put together to form a wall in a short time by infantry troops for reliable cover. He didn't think Eiblont would be able to actualise the idea. It was too bad that the timing was bad and Claude had dealt with the Canasian troops before he could put it to the test.
However, he did seem curious about one thing. “Eilon, where did you get so many work horses to pull the carriages? Aren't those what we badly lack now?”
He grimaced. “Don't mention it… I begged all over the place and cast away all my dignity to be able to borrow the work horses from Senior Bolonik in 1st Monolith and Senior Sevict in 2nd Monolith. Coupled with the horses I have in my folk's logistics unit, we have two thousand in total. While one work horse can pull one carriage fine, sometimes, we need the soldiers to help out. That's why it took me so long to get here.”
Claude burst out in laughter. “Alright, fret not. We've exterminated all the Canasian light cavalry and have more than enough war horses and work horses. I'm going to send the work horses to the market to satisfy the demand. You can switch your work horses out for war horses. I'm sure two of them pulling one carriage will greatly increase your speed.”
“Oh, right! How could I have forgotten that? No… I have to get them to switch them out quick to test the speed out.”
Eiblont left without waiting at all. Having no choice, Claude got Anders to tag along with him and solve any problems that might arise so as to prevent any accidents. The spoils were Thundercrash's, after all, so Eiblont was likely to run into trouble to ask for the horses without his permission.
But soon, the general returned. Claude was approving some of his folk's doc.u.mentation, inspecting the ways issues were dealt with and checking the accounts of logistics. Those doc.u.ments could only be archived after he signed them. As long as he wasn't satisfied with certain matters' settlement, he would have to write down how he thought it should be done and let the corresponding department implement it according to his new plan.
Eiblont was well aware of the procedures. He was a folksman himself, so he merely sat there quietly and tasted the red tea. Claude went through the doc.u.ments rather quickly. Most of the matters were dealt with in a satisfactory manner. He easily signed his name and stamped his folksman's seal to close the cases. The last thing he had to do was account inspection, which would take a little longer.
It was only after he finished dealing with it that he noticed Eiblont sitting there blankly, seemingly thinking about something. After checking the time, Claude pulled on the rope bell and summoned Anders from outside the tent. He asked him to go to the cafeteria to get them some food. He would be hosting Eiblont in his tent.
Eiblont had snapped out of his daze and wasn't opposed to sitting in for the meal. When Claude asked him what he was daydreaming about, he said he was recalling the formation of the colonial corps a couple of years ago.
Claude didn't have a good understanding about them and only knew that Miselk appointed Eiblont and Birkin to pick out the best men from the local colonial defence forces to form the colonial corps as reserve forces for Ranger.
However, both those corps had been disbanded, and their men absorbed into the five enhanced folks. Claude wondered if Eiblont had anything to share. Perhaps he had been invited by certain powerful figures and managed to spend some good times with beautiful ladies.
Eiblont merely grimaced and said that it was just an exaggeration. He didn't think his posting in the colonial corps would be so dangerous. He and Birkin had been targets of a.s.sa.s.sination a number of times. Birkin fared worse and was even hurt so bad during one attempt he had to spend half a year to recover. Nubissia seemed not too far off from the wild west where crimes and undertable dealings were allowed to proliferate in that manner, given how far it was from the Aueran mainland.
After that, Claude listened to a tirade of complaints from him. From a certain point of view, it wasn't too appropriate for the kingdom to directly administer the colonies. While there was separation between military and administrative powers in the colonies, they would often get into conflict with one another. As such, the local people of power could only stand neutral to protect their own interests. If either the viceroy or high-commissioner had a clear head on his shoulders, the colonies could still continue to develop. But if both of them didn't fulfill their responsibilities and only cared about lining their pockets, then the situation in the colonies would only worsen.
Thàt was the reason for the attempts on Eiblont and Birkin's lives. The high-commissioner and viceroy didn't get along and split the colonial government into two opposing sides, effectively giving up on proper management, caring about nothing but collecting taxes. In the end, power fell to the hands of the local people in power, some of whom even treated the local garrison or keepers as their personal army.
Eiblont and Birkin's mission was to gather the local forces to form the colonial corps, but the powerful tyc.o.o.ns in the area took it as the kingdom intentionally trying to suppress them by taking their armies away. They conspired together and decided to show the kingdom's officials what they were made of and tried seducing them with beauties, money, and resorted to a.s.sa.s.sination when none of those worked.
He complained that he had to sleep with one eye open during the past two years to make sure n.o.body could snuff him out. Fortunately, he managed to survive that and things got better after the colonial corps was formed. He and Birkin weren't promoted to major-generals because they had been able to complete their mission of forming the corps. Rather, it was mainly due to their overhaul and stabilisation of local affairs and successful suppression of the ambitious local tyc.o.o.ns, which led to the kingdom firming its grasp over the area.
Claude now understood why his two less-heard-of seniors were also promoted to major-generals. Had Eiblont not told him about it, he would've been under the impression that the two seniors had opened some unorthodox doors to be made one of the five folksmen of the enhanced folks.
Food was served and he invited Eiblont to take a seat. After their meal, the orderman poured the two generals wine. Claude had him leave before asking whether using two war horses actually increased the speed by much.
Eiblont said that he didn't use war horses, since there wasn't a need. The whole reason the slanted carriages were employed was to defeat the Canasian light cavalry. Now that they had been exterminated by Claude, there was no longer a need for those carriages. They would simply be distributed to the various folks' logistics departments. Apart from using them as cover against small groups of enemies, there wouldn't be much use for them.
As such, he turned his attention to the war horses themselves. He hoped that Claude, as field marshal, could a.s.sign his folk some of them to make a second Thundercrash. That way, they could play an offensive role instead of just sitting around in reserve for 1st and 2nd Monolith.
This, however, just happened to be in line with Claude's own plans. He stated plainly that he already had plans to form 2nd Thundercrash, but he wanted to first check which units of the war theatre were suited to be part of it since this was a crucial endeavour. They would be following his commands in battle to suppress the enemies, after all.
Eiblont was overjoyed and said there was no need to discuss it any longer. He was set on making his own unit 2nd Thundercrash. The reason for that was simple, Bolonik, Sevict and even Birkin were more adept at defence. In terms of offensive manoeuvres, he was second to Claude. He wasn't boasting and this was in fact proven from the sand table simulations they ran. It could be said that Eiblont was the one who learned and adopted Claude's tactics the fastest.
Seeing him considering the matter, he decided to strike while the iron's hot. He said that after so many simulated battles with Claude, while he did lose often, he did come to understand his tactics somewhat. He could definitely work well in tandem with him on the battlefield and promised he would not go about things on his own and would make sure to obey his command. There was no question that 3rd Monolith was the perfect candidate to become 2nd Thundercrash.
Additionally, 1st and 2nd Monolith were tasked with defending Claude Defence Line and Dorinibla River. The two seniors that commanded those folks were also more conservative and defensive, so giving them war horses would be pointless anyway.
As for Birkin's 4th Monolith, they only had ten thousand men so far. They could barely even be called a proper folk. The last batch of 20 thousand households had yet to be sent over from the kingdom, so 4th Monolith remained a husk. There was no way they could be transformed into 2nd Thundercrash.
As such, he believed his 3rd Monolith was perfect for that role. Claude, as field marshal, could immediately order for the reorganisation of the folk on the spot, with his folk already there, without having to first send the war horses back to the war theatre first.
Claude laughed and said, “Well, I'll give you a chance. Have two of your lines send the captives and work horses back to Robisto and change the rest of the men into light cavalry. Then, follow Thundercrash to Cromwell.
“I heard Nasri's voluntary combat corps have been felling trees en ma.s.se in Wickhamsburg to construct a supply base. I want to get rid of this problem at its root. If your folk performs well in this battle, I suppose I could let it become 2nd Thundercrash.”