It’s Ko-Fi’s Supporters’ chapter (20/60), enjoy~
Chapter 70 – Securing The Bridgehead
After a day of rest, we decided to leave Fort Beta, leaving a defensive force there as well. Gerda stayed behind to help organize it.
“I’ll call you if anything happens, so please be there to help.”
“Yes, I’ll leave this to you.”
We left 100 crossbowmen, 20 heavy infantry, half of which were heavy infantry, and five from the Harpy Air Force at Fort Beta, and we headed for Fort Alpha. With this, our strength in the main force is now about 380 strong. There were some casualties in the last battle, so the number was a little less.
“We still need more men.”
“That’s the problem. We can only hope that time will solve this problem.”
In order to control and maintain the base, it is necessary to have more troops. No matter how overwhelming the power to defeat the Holy Kingdom’s army and drive them out of their forts and towns, it will not matter much if there are not enough people to control the forts and stare down the surrounding areas effectively.
“We’ve got our hands full just occupying the forts currently.”
“As for the ability to maintain security in the surrounding areas…”
“We have captured a good number of warhorses in the past battles. We’re going to put together a patrol unit to help maintain security.”
There was no mention of cavalry. Well, I heard that cavalry takes a long time to train. Considering our current situation, the best we can do is simply use the horses as our legs and dismount to fight when the time comes.
We don’t have the luxury of raising cavalry now, especially in terms of time. There should be no shortage of fodder for the horses, though. We can grow as many crops and grass as we want.
As we discussed what we would do after taking over the three forts on the territory border, we headed for Fort Alpha.
At the moment, we had two main plans.
The first was to continue to conquer the surrounding forts and expand our control area as much as possible. The merit of this policy is that by recovering the territory of the Merinard Kingdom, we will be able to increase our influence with the people of the former Merinard Kingdom and gain the fields, roads, and cities that have already been developed.
The downside is that there will be a strong backlash from the new Merinard citizens who were born outside and moved into the Merinard Kingdom after it was turned into a dependency.
“As for me, I don’t want to take a policy of oppressing the new Merinard citizens.”
“That’s true, but that would not satisfy the old Merinard citizens.”
“I suppose so. That’s what I think, too.”
We will restore the old territory and free the old Merinard citizens. And make those who made their fortune by treating subhumans like slaves pay a reasonable price. I think it’s a necessary process.
“It’s been twenty years. If we do it right, most of the new Merinard citizens will go bankrupt.”
“Many of them will fall into slavery because their private property will be confiscated.”
“Can you run a healthy nation in such a state? I don’t think so.”
“Obviously not. We’ll just have to find the right balance.”
“In other words, you’re throwing the whole thing at me, aren’t you? I understand.”
Danan’s face twitches as Melty smiles at him. It’s hard for an ex-knight with a hundred years of experience in the field to maintain a level head in the face of Melty’s dark smile.
“The other plan seems more realistic. Although it will put a strain on Kosuke.”
“Well, if you want me to do it, I will.”
The other plan is to maintain the three fortresses on the territory’s border, keep the surrounding towns and mines under control, and aim to expand the power of the former Merinard citizens by gathering them. At the same time, we will open up a new land by cultivating the Great Omit Wilderness. This is a solid move anyway.
“In fact, even if we were to expand our power to the limit, we wouldn’t have enough troops to control it, would we?”
“That’s true. There will still be people who want to regain power in the main base and frontline bases and join the liberation army, but there should only be 300 more at best. In addition to maintaining security, it would be difficult to expand our forces any further if we wanted to have enough troops to deal with the Holy Kingdom’s army.”
“It’s important to decide on the final landing point.”
“Although it is still the ultimate goal to reclaim all of the Merinard Kingdom territories.”
Even though she said this, Sylphy looked as if she was having difficulty. In fact, reclaiming a territory that has been effectively controlled for twenty years is no small feat. The reason why the Holy Kingdom was able to do it was because their country had such a large population.
Although we are winning well, we are only a weak force of fewer than 1500 people.
“In the end, we’ll run into the problem of not having enough people.”
“It can’t be helped, you know.”
It’s not only Sylphy but also Danan, and Melty smiled bitterly. It’s a weak point for us.
“We have to try to expand our power based on the three forts on the territory border for a while.”
All of us nodded at Sylphy’s words. But first, we have to take down the third fort. After Alpha and Beta, I guess Gamma is next. I wonder what will happen to the battle for Gamma.
After taking three days to reach Fort Alpha, we took another day off to rest and started moving toward Fort Gamma. The army consisted of 20 heavy infantry led by Danan, 59 light infantry, 100 crossbowmen, 98 rangers including Shumer, five riflemen including Jagira, five harpy air force, five mages including Isla, three civil officers including Melty, and myself, Sylphy, and Ms. Zamir.
The number of light infantry and rangers had been reduced because of the casualties from the previous battle. We want to fight with as few casualties as possible.
“I’m a little worried that Harpy’s support will be thin.”
“I think we’ll be fine.”
We’ve deployed five Harpy air force members in each of the Alpha and Beta forts, so we only have Pirna and five others as our direct cover. If the Alpha and Beta forts are attacked, the Harpies can fly over the distance of three days on foot in about two hours, and if they can withstand the attack for two hours, five reinforcements can be flown in.
With the bombing support of ten Harpy air forces, they should be able to repel the attack unless the enemy numbers are more than ten thousand. We’ve also deployed a considerable amount of aerial bombs to both Alpha and Beta forts. If they lose and are captured, we’ll be in trouble, but I’ve heard that Beastman soldiers can normally use large grenades of that weight.
If the need arises, they can be thrown from the top of the fort’s defensive wall, so they should be fine. We have not only crossbows but also regular grenades, so I don’t think we’ll lose much.
We walked for three days. This time, we didn’t run into anyone on the way and reached Fort Gamma smoothly. Well, it’s the Great Omit Wilderness ahead, and according to the prisoners, no one has come near this area since Gizma’s big attack. I guess it’s no surprise.
“What kind of strategy are we going to use this time?”
“For now, we’ll start with a firefight as usual. We’ll attack them unilaterally to reduce their numbers.”
“There’s no need to take any risks, right?”
“Hmm, that’s right.”
We arrived at Fort Gamma while the sun was still high in the sky, quickly established a position, and entered the firing battle. Again, it’s a one-sided situation, as Sylphy is using spirit magic.
“Kosuke, this time we’re going to fight too.”
Jagira, holding a bolt-action rifle with a quadruple scope, appears in front of me with four of her subordinates. We’ve been saving them for the battle of Alpha and Beta Forts. If I don’t let them fight here, they’ll be dissatisfied.
“Yeah, let’s do that. Aim for the ones that look like commanders and the ones that look like junior officers giving orders to the others.”
Our second primary unit, the riflemen, scattered around the fort. Then, thunderous gunfire began to echo from everywhere. At the same time, enemy soldiers began to bleed on the walls.
“Aren’t the riflemen supposed to operate in close groups?”
”We’re not putting up a barrage, so there’s no point in being too close together.”
In fact, it is better to disperse and take the line of fire from various positions than to concentrate all together. This is even better than a bow because it can attack from a much greater distance.
Unlike the crossbow, which is an extension of the bow at a glance, it is difficult to understand what a bolt-action rifle is actually doing when you see it firing. The first time they see it, they won’t be able to relate the gun’s firing to the death and injury caused by it. I’m sure the soldiers of the Holy Kingdom who are being shot at will be confused as to what’s going on.
“How many enemy soldiers are there?”
“I heard less than three hundred.”
“Hmm, I wonder if they’ll surrender.”
It’s impossible to defeat all three hundred of them in a firefight alone. There’s nothing we can do if they’re holed up in the fort. So, eventually, we have to get into the fort and finish them off with hand-to-hand combat…
“They’re shutting themselves inside.”
“We can’t do anything about it. It’s natural to think that we don’t have any siege weapons at first glance, and if we can’t win in a firefight, it’s common sense to siege.”
And if that’s the case, we know what we’re going to do. It’s a bit of a pattern, but the Harpies are going to start aerial bombardment. There were only five of them this time, so they would have to go out again and again.
“Bombing is so fun!”
This is it. No, you guys. It’s not fun to make mincemeat out of a few to a dozen people with one of those bombs… No, I guess it’s okay. I’m sure it’s much better than being negative like me.
“They’re settling a long-standing grudge. Leave them alone.”
“Hmm. In the Holy Kingdom, the more different they look from humans, the more harshly they oppress them. Harpy, Lamia, and Lizardmen are among the most severe. Even the One-Eyed race, like me, had a pretty bad time.”
Revenge. I am not going to say that revenge is vain or useless. Sure, there’s nothing left behind, but at least it clears your mind and makes you feel better. I think it’s important to feel refreshed, yes.
But I don’t think it’s right to enjoy killing people. It’s dangerous to find pleasure in killing an unspecified number of revengeful people from the Holy Kingdom. Revenge has to end somewhere. I guess that wouldn’t be such a problem if you knew exactly who you were getting revenge on… It’s complicated.
I’ve never been in a situation where I wanted to kill someone, and maybe my idea is just a beautiful fantasy.
“You’re making a difficult face.”
“I’ve been thinking a lot about it…”
“Hmm, but don’t think about it too much right now. It’s dangerous.”
We’re in the middle of a battle, after all.
The commander of Fort Gamma, who had been heavily bombarded by the Harpy, offered to surrender before our infantry could move in. This is a development we’ve never seen before.
“I guess that’s because he didn’t die in the bombing.”
“Oh, the bombs have killed commanders before?”
If the person who can decide to surrender is dying in the bombing, then they can’t surrender and has to fight. Maybe because there were only five Harpies in the air this time, there was not enough firepower.
The surrendered soldiers of the Holy Kingdom army are currently being disarmed. The Mage Corps is also inside, treating the seriously wounded. There are no casualties on our side. A few people were injured by arrows that broke through the strong winds of spirit magic, but all of them were lightly wounded.
“The enemy commander was lucky that he wasn’t in command on the defensive wall.”
“If he had been, the riflemen would have killed him.”
The results of the riflemen’s battle were spectacular. In the short time, they made the enemy retreat into the fort; they had defeated less than fifty soldiers of the Holy Kingdom army. They are indeed impressive.
“It was over before we shot the second clip… We didn’t shoot enough at all.”
They were not happy. No, the five of them did less than ten rounds of fire and inflicted less than 50 casualties; what kind of hit rate is that? That’s almost one shot one kill.
If they were placed in the right defensive positions, five of them could finish off more than a hundred opponents, couldn’t they?
“Looks like you’re done disarming. Let’s see what the enemy commander looks like, shall we?”
“I don’t really want to meet him.”
Just because I am a human who works with Sylphy and the others, they might say something about me. From my perspective, it was them who were doing subhumans oppression with their human supremacy policy.
When we entered the fort, the situation was better than the previous two forts. At least there were no blown-off limbs or pieces of flesh scattered everywhere in sight. There were some bloodstains here and there, though.
“Your Highness, the commander of this fort, is in here.”
“I see. Then…”
“Kosuke shouldn’t see him.”
We were about to enter the building where the commander was supposed to be when Isla stopped me.
“Kosuke is different from the rest of our group. He may be the key to our ability to use weapons and tactics that we have never used before.”
“…I see. That’s true, too.”
“Hmm. From a security point of view, it’s best to keep Kosuke’s presence unknown to the Holy Kingdom’s military.”
Isla’s opinion was right, and I was assigned the task of looting… or rather managing the supplies in the warehouse without meeting the enemy commander. Once the supplies in the warehouse are put into my inventory, I can list them.
I can make a list just by counting the number of items I have in my inventory. If I rearrange the things in the warehouse, I can organize the warehouse and check the contents of my inventory. It can kill three birds with one stone.
“It’s really useful, that ability. Although I don’t envy you.”
“This ability has made Melty take notice of me and sometimes puts me to a great deal of work.”
As Melty was present at the meeting with the commander, the two civil servants who accompanied her to the fort were in charge of organizing and listing the warehouse. There are also a few civil servants left at Alpha and Beta forts which are managing the daily supplies.
“This fort has a lot of supplies. It may be that this fort has just received supplies.”
“Erichburg is nearby, so they must be getting supplies from there.”
“Is there a town called Erichburg?”
“Yes. It is a major transportation point for this whole area. The roads to the neighboring villages and towns are concentrated there.”
“Well, then I guess our immediate goal is to conquer this town.”
“That’s right. If we want to use a road that is suitable for moving a large army, we have no choice but to go through Erichburg.”
I listened to them talk about the geography of the area and the area’s specialties and went about organizing the warehouse. It was a bit amusing to see Melty, who had returned after the meeting, give a shocked look to the two civil servants’ girls who had somehow got along with me.