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Chapter 511: Major Battle (II)
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
In an instant, almost a hundred of the s.h.i.+eld-wielding warriors were sent flying into the air. No one could describe the power of the Tibetan cavalry fusing with their mounts when they smashed into the Tang defensive line. This power was not something any ordinary person could resist.
Loud and fierce voices echoed through the clouds as countless orders were issued from the army. All of the officers were shouting so wholeheartedly that their voices were going hoa.r.s.e.
The intense collisions were still ongoing. The attacks of the Tibetans were like a vicious storm, far fiercer than had been antic.i.p.ated. The clash of horse against s.h.i.+eld, spear against scimitar, halo against halo, drew an arc between the two armies. The battle was violent to the extreme, with soldiers constantly dying, their bones shattered and organs pulped. Yet more soldiers continued to fill the breach.
At this moment, everyone's minds were stretched taut.
Li Siye, Old Eagle, Zhao Jingdian, Commandant Xu, and all the other officers were tightly clenching their fists. In a battle between two armies, the moment of first contact half-decided victory and defeat, almost deciding the fate of the army on its own.
The first wave of the cavalry charge was always the strongest. Similarly, the infantry defensive line was at its hardiest and most powerful on the first wave. If it could not last through the first wave and was broken, the only thing that awaited the rest of the army was death.
The mountain trembled more and more fiercely as the TIbetan a.s.sault continued, smas.h.i.+ng like endless waves on the Tang army's defensive line. Everyone felt like their hearts had traveled up to their throats.
"We've held! We've held!"
Suddenly, Commandant Xu's excited voice came from the summit. Although the army's defensive line had been stretched very tightly, hundreds of s.h.i.+eld soldiers being flung into the air by the cavalry charge, dead before they had even hit the ground, the army had managed to hold against the first wave of Tibetans.
w.a.n.g Chong's formation had proved effective!
In the army, all the vice-commandants and captains appeared excited.
They had partic.i.p.ated in countless battles, large and small, so they all understood what the first wave meant. Although the battle wasn't over, the great danger of the first wave had pa.s.sed.
"Hmph, I don't believe that I can't break the defensive line of these Tang!"
At the foot of the mountain, Xiangyang Dalu watched this scene with an icy expression. No matter what sort of plans these Tang had, if they thought that enduring this one wave was enough, they were making a fatal error. The Tibetan Echelon Formation relied on one wave striking after another wave, their attacks never stopping until their enemy finally crumbled.
"Get up there! I want everyone up there! Break that defensive line or face punishment by martial law!"
Xiangyang Dalu's roar reverberated through the skies, giving the order for an all-out a.s.sault with the wave of his hand.
"Second Square Formation, Sixth Square Formation, Seventh Square Formation, move out!"
Before Xiangyang Dalu had even given his order, w.a.n.g Chong had waved his hand and given his own order. The second, sixth, and seventh Square Formations, made up of reserve troops, took up their large s.h.i.+elds and stepped forward. At almost the same time, the earth shook as the second wave of Tibetans surged forward.
Almost immediately after the second, sixth, and seventh Square Formations got into their positions, Xiangyang Dalu's thunderous offensive smashed into the front lines.
At this moment, the thought sprang into everyone's mind that w.a.n.g Chong had somehow foreseen Xiangyang Dalu's intentions and pre-empted him with his own order.
At this sight, Xu s.h.i.+ping and the others turned their heads to look in shock at w.a.n.g Chong.
They had never fought in a battle with w.a.n.g Chong and didn't comprehend his commanding abilities. But this sort of battlefield foresight alone was enough for him to surpa.s.s the vast majority of generals.
Cavalry moved like lightning, and they charged much faster than infantry marched, covering several dozen zhang in seconds. If w.a.n.g Chong had not issued his order so early, the first defensive line might have broken!
Rumble! Cras.h.!.+ The battle continued to rage.
"Third, Fifth, Eighth, and Ninth Formations, axemen, spearmen, hammermen, forward!"
w.a.n.g Chong stood on the summit, his mind as unperturbed as an ancient well. Not long after his second order, his third order came hot on its heels.
The stalwart figures of the axemen, spearmen, and hammermen roared as they charged into battle like tigers. Infantry had never been ones to pa.s.sively take a beating. The most powerful aspect of cavalry was the strength of their charge. If infantry could endure the first wave of charges, they could then begin to display their mighty power.
Axes, spears, and hammers whistled through the air. The Steel Guards of the Chi Clan were among them, flas.h.i.+ng with cold light as blood splattered around them.
Squelch! A Tibetan cavalryman and his mount had just sent a s.h.i.+eld soldier flying when he was run through by five spears. Tibetan cavalry were famous throughout the world, but even their thick plate armor had places where it could not defend. The neck, the face, the crotch, and the warhorse beneath them were always weaknesses that could be exploited.
At the same time, bangbangbang! One hammer after another smashed down with the force of ten thousand jun. Cavalry plate armor could guard against the stabbing of sabers and swords, but it couldn't block the blunt force of hammers. Not even a fully-armored Tibetan would be able to block the simultaneous strike of five or more hammers.
The advantages of the mountain w.a.n.g Chong had chosen for this battle were now apparent. Although this mountain was wide at the base, it narrowed as one got closer to the summit, increasingly limiting the area of movement. Although the Tibetans outnumbered them, they couldn't utilize that advantage here.
Before the outcome of this phase could be decided, w.a.n.g Chong quickly issued his fourth and fifth orders.
"The archer Square Formation on the right wing, get ready! Fire at the enemy one hundred and fifty paces ahead!"
w.a.n.g Chong's expression was frigid, his profound gaze devoid of emotion.
"The archer Square Formation on the left wing, get ready! Fire at the enemy one hundred and eighty paces ahead!"
A rain of arrows shrilly whistled through the air, a cloud of locusts tearing open the heavens. Everyone was surprised that it was now, and not before the battle or right before the clash of the two armies, that w.a.n.g Chong chose to use his archers. In normal circ.u.mstances, using archers at this point was meaningless.
But w.a.n.g Chong did not carry this mindset.
As the rain of arrows descended, a most unexpected thing occurred, almost like a magic trick…
Horses whinnied as the arrows fell upon them like locusts. This number of arrows falling in an area only ten-some zhang in radius, just through pure strength, was enough to eliminate this part of the army. One Tibetan after another began to crash to the ground with their horse, sharp arrows flying through the c.h.i.n.ks in their armor and nailing them dead to their horses.
The death of thirty to forty cavalry was insignificant to a force of more than ten thousand, a splash of foam on the ocean. But in the middle of a charge, the death of these thirty to forty hors.e.m.e.n resulted in a surprising effect.
Neiggggh! Several hundred Tibetan cavalry were unable to stop in time and crashed into the deceased hors.e.m.e.n, and the cavalry behind them were also affected. Some of the cavalry attempted to detour, but then, plingplingpling! The second and third wave of arrows fell into the army, causing the cavalry in other areas to attempt a detour.
As the cavalry crashed against each other as they attempted to stop, the formation was thrown into chaos.
Crack snap cras.h.!.+ As horse smashed into horse, the sounds of cracking bones and tearing muscles was heartrending. One wave, two waves, three waves… only three waves of arrows, the death of only a hundred-some people, ended up causing ma.s.s chaos. If one looked down from the sky, one would be able to see that the line of areas struck by the arrows had thrown the center of the Tibetan formation into utter chaos.
The area of chaos continued to expand, and the charge could not stop. And when these charging cavalry reached the front lines, they also threw them into chaos.
Three arrow volleys, several thousand arrows, seemed insignificant in this sort of large-scale battle. Yet in w.a.n.g Chong's hands, these three arrow volleys had completely wrecked the Tibetan offensive.
Xu s.h.i.+ping and his officers looked at this scene, their eyes wide and jaws agape in speechlessness.
Even Old Eagle and Li Siye felt a ma.s.sive shock.
If several thousand arrows could always have this effect on the fierce battlefield, then any faction would do so. But every experienced soldier knew that it was essentially impossible to achieve such an effect. This was not a normal happenstance. The only reason those several thousand arrows had had such an effect was that w.a.n.g Chong had chosen the right time!
The probability of producing this effect was truly far too low.
This was also the first time Old Eagle and Li Siye were experiencing w.a.n.g Chong's terrifying intuition and calculations. This was completely different from w.a.n.g Chong leading one thousand cavalry to defeat Batunlu.
This had an especially deep impact on Li Siye. In one aspect, he had wanted to fight in Beiting because there were wars to fight there, but another aspect was that there were talented commanders there who he found worthy enough to follow. But for the first time, Li Siye discovered that this teenager also had the same qualities.
The last time he had seen such a thing, it had been done by the Beiting Vice Protector-General, An Sishun.
But unlike An Sishun, w.a.n.g Chong appeared to be intentionally hiding his skills. Yet this aspect alone made him seem even more impressive than An Sishun.
The more time he spent with w.a.n.g Chong, the more Li Siye felt that this teenager was shrouded in a befuddling fog.
But no matter what, Li Siye had finally realized that there was something else about this youth that made him worth following.
At this moment, w.a.n.g Chong suddenly spoke. "Old Eagle, get ready! It's going to be your turn soon!"
His expression was cold and calm, carrying not a sliver of emotion. At moments like these, he would always enter a most rational state, and it was only in this state that he could fully utilize an army's power.
"Yes! Young Master!" Old Eagle immediately replied, his right hand reaching for the Wootz Steel sword at his waist as he quickly turned and went down the platform.
And when Old Eagle was turning, a fierce gale blew across the peak. n.o.body noticed that momentary flash of light in w.a.n.g Chong's eyes!