Youjo Senki - Volume 2 - Chapter 2
Youjo Senki Volume 2 Chapter 2
Editors: Cwilliams, JcqC, Tear
If we are to send our young ones calmly to their death, there has to be an adult leading them from the front.
── Anson Suez 'Eternal Homeland'
U.E. 1924 November 4th First National Defence Ministry, Second Personnel Department Office
The man wore the type two uniform of the Federation army. He received a new rank insignia from his superior in the Army Personnel Department who had a mask-like smile on his face.
’’Congratulations on your promotion, Colonel Anson.’’
’’To be promoted after losing battles, this is the end for our nation huh.’’
Not agitation or complaints, this was just a remark he blurted out unconsciously.
Normally, this wasn't something an officer should say. However, the dire situation the Federation army was in formed a unique atmosphere, which allowed Anson to air such terrible thoughts.
They had lost. Losing the war was certain now. However, there was still some hope.
But it was a hope that would be scoffed at in a room of people who understood the situation and could foresee how things would develop.
’’Alright, this is your new rank insignia. I expect great things from you, Colonel.’’
And that was why the ones who understood the situation were both physically and mentally exhausted. Anger stemmed from deep within their heart, and their emotions had already been grinded down by these intense feelings.
’’Our homeland is currently experiencing a major crisis. We hope you can perform your duties to the best of your abilities. That's all.’’
’’I am honoured for the chance to defend my homeland.’’
They were simply mumbling the standard dialogues. In the tone akin to that of reciting scriptures, they said words of valour and glory, but they were probably looking down at such empty gestures. Despite saying they should perform their duties, the soldiers could do very little to make up for the horrendous strategical error made by their home nation.
And so, in response to the masses out in the streets walking around passionately, asking loudly for everyone to save their nation which was in great danger, Colonel Anson could only show an exhausted expression as he despondently spent his gloomy days.
Following protocol, he stepped backwards out of the room after saluting. As he watched the patriotic volunteers being mustered into units and sent off, his feet became heavier... Just what can this group of innocent young men do when they step onto the battlefield?
’’... Such incompetence. It is my misfortune to be born in this nation that could only call on their young to be sent to their death.’’
This would drive any patriot to tears. The homeland he should be defending committed a terrible mistake, resulting in the praiseworthy young men being shipped off to the slaughterhouse. Before he realized it, his tired tear glands became soaked again, blurring his eyes.
Colonel Anson eased the worries of the people before him as he made an oath in his heart. If they had to be sent to their death, then at the very least, he would carry out his obligation faithfully. This stemmed from the self-sacrificial feelings of a leader who felt helpless.
If the young ones were to die for their country, then he will accompany them as an adult who would fall with them. This was his solemn resolve to not let them die on their own.
Despite this resolve, mixed in the crowd who was sending the young men off were women carrying young children in their arms with a worried expression. He still couldn't bear seeing them. Whenever he thought about those who would be left behind, his sanity would want to scream. Someone, anyone, please end this nightmare.
He even thought about what hope he could cling on too, or what if the Republic or the other Great Powers could make it in time, then perhaps the Federation could avoid destruction. But was this really possible? When his thought reached this point, he felt a sense of emptiness for failing to deceive himself. This made Colonel Anson sneer.
He felt that he was forced to the very edge.
The country he should be protecting was losing its life like the sands of an hourglass slipping away. What awaited them was inevitable destruction.
In the face of imminent destruction, even the sense of helplessness was frustrating, and he could only stand there in a daze. He remained adamant in his resolve to go down together with his country and was unfazed by any doubts. But the suffering that would be brought onto his countrymen once his nation fell made him shed tears of sadness.
Suddenly, he realized something, perhaps influenced by something akin to fate. Even if his country was destroyed, that didn't mean the end for its citizens. If he couldn't protect his nation─
Then at the very least, he should let the citizens escape. Nations may fall, but the people would still live on. That's right, nations might perish, but nations were built by its people. A perished nation might be rebuilt again. At the very least, if the seeds known as its people were protected, they could dream of their country flourishing greatly in the world again. This would definitely be an arduous journey. But what awaited for them wasn't destruction, but the hope of making the Federation great again.
They weren't constrained by territory, as long as the country could live on in the hearts of the people living on this land, then it wasn't over.
He had to do what he can to evacuate his countrymen, this was the greatest obligation for a soldier from a dying nation, something worth dying for. No, for soldiers who swore to defend their country, this was a glorious moment for them to serve honourably.
’’I found it. That's right, I found it!’’
Colonel Anson shouted with hope and determination, making it difficult to imagine that he was wallowing in despair just moments ago. He made an oath to his country. My home nation, I won't let you perish.
This was also his home nation he was defending for the sake of his family. He was a father that seldom spent time with his family. He reflected on this, and with a heart filled with regret, he swore to leave a future behind for his wife and daughter. Only during times like this, he would remember that he disliked the career in the military. It felt this might be obnoxious and thoughtless yet he still felt joy over this newfound hope.
At the same time, on the gloomy faces of the entirely brand new members the Council were expressions of resignation and regret, as they tried to grasp for a plan to turn back the time that was bleeding away from the hourglass.
Starting the war with the Empire was beyond everyone's expectation. Several months ago, the people present in this room were completely stunned when they were notified that war had broken out. They wondered why their home nation did something so reckless. By pushing aside one's ideology or the fantasy that 'this was the right thing to do', if one faced reality, they would see that those arrogant enough to provoke the Empire would invite ruin.
Even though the surprise attack by the Republic halted the gears of destruction temporarily, the situation didn't improve at all. Not just that, even the good news of Dacia Grand Duchy sounding their horn of war ended a few short months later, as they were literally wiped off the map.
The overwhelming military might of the Empire and the sorrowful end of those who challenged them. For those in the know, this was a nightmare that laid out how the Federation would end.
During this process, the Council filled completely with fresh faces were deeply troubled, but still kept up the fight at the frontlines by exhausting the very limits of human intelligence.
’’Good news everyone. This might be very late in the game, but we have finally started working with our allied nations.’’
In the committee room where the 10 Councillors were gathered, Foreign Affairs Councillor Evansol reported the good news in an intentionally joyous tone as if he was trying to cheer everyone up. Hearing good tidings after so long made them feel a little excited.
Their diplomacy that had fallen into chaos alongside the war had finally obtained a favourable response. Ever since the Republic entered the war, the Federation finally received an answer after apologizing repeatedly to all of her allied states. After the Republic intervened in the war because their encirclement net was in danger of failing, the attitude of the other allied nations began to deteriorate drastically after the death toll started piling because of the war front turning stagnant. When Dacia joined in, they started ignoring the Federation, expressing their stance with cold contempt.
It was clear what they were thinking. 'The situation right now is all because of your reckless actions'. What a certain Republic diplomat blurted out after having too much of a drink explained it all.
’’This is indeed good news, but the real intention of the Republic is hoping for us to lessen their burden on the Rhines front, correct?’’
Because they understood what the Republic really thought, the ten men Council gave the feeling of emptiness, as if they didn't expect much from this. At the most, the Republic wishes for them to share their burden, and continue fighting as the second front against the Empire.
’’Councillor Cassol, your worries are warranted, but the Republic is afraid of making the same mistake as Dacia.’’
’’In other words, they are worried that after we lose, the Empire will throw the weight of their entire nation against the Republic? I understand, but this is still depressing news.’’
When he heard about repeating Dacia's mistake, Army Councillor Cassol shrugged unhappily. He had higher hopes than anyone that the intervention of Dacia Grand Duchy would lessen the Federation's burden, so his rebuttal lacked any strength behind them.
’’Councillor Evansol, there should be more news correct?’’
’’Apologies. Not just the Republic, I heard the United Kingdom will provide us aid too. It seems that the common consensus amongst the Great Powers is that they don't want our nation to perish.’’
Urged by an elderly Councillor, Foreign Affairs Councillor Evansol who was hesitant to speak mentioned the diplomatic stance of a neutral Great Power that was sympathetic to their cause as a separate topic of discussion.
Just like the Republic, this Great Power offered a helping hand because they were unwilling to see the Empire expand their influence. Possessing exceptional naval combat capability, the United Kingdom feared the rapidly expanding Empire, and finally gave the first inkling that they would intervene in the war. Although their intentions were to maintain the strategical power balance, looking from the perspective of power politics, they could be trusted on this.
’’Ohh, so we have to sign another gentle Londinium treaty, right? Although we were the ones who broke that agreement.’’
This was good news. Despite that, nobody in the room was willing to accept their aid. They knew what the Great Powers thought about them breaking the Londinium treaty, so they understood that the helping hand was extended to them with contempt.
’’So, what should we do?’’
’’After analyzing the result of the Dacian War, the Republic told us that our defense of the territories to the rear are too weak, and that could be dangerous.’’
Unlike the Republic that could stand toe to toe against the Empire on the frontlines, the Federation had to rely on the advantage of their terrain to keep the Imperials at bay. In actual fact, the Imperial Army just didn't think the Federation wasn't a threat, and was sparing minimal effort against them. That allowed the Federation to barely maintain their battle line.
’’... I envy those countries with ample national power to spare. Where can we find the numbers to defend our borders?’’
The Domestic Affairs Councillor started begrudging the difference in their national power. It was literally as he stated, this problem arises from the vast gulf in national power.
The truth was, just fighting one regional army of the Empire took most of their national power to maintain the frontlines.
’’For now, we are relying on the Mage units to guard against deep infiltration. We should remove the seeds of trouble before it blooms.’’
They did take some measures against sneak attacks to zones behind their frontlines. So far, there were no major changes to the situation, which was one of the few things the nation's leaders took solace in. The most serious event was a brigade of cavalry failing in their attempt to destroy their railway, or the airdrop mission conducted by a small group of mages. All these attacks were successfully repelled with haste by the Federation's Mage unit. Hence, they were confident in stopping the enemy's attack if the invader's numbers were limited.
’’The United Kingdom's military expressed concern over an attack by the Empire from the sea.’’
’’Attacking from the sea? But... It might be strange for me to say this, but can't we just chase them off the moment the Imperials make landfall?’’
Foreign Affairs Councillor Evansol had doubts about it too. There wasn't concrete evidence, but all the military officers from the United Kingdom gave the same warning, and were gravely concerned about the Imperial Army launching a sneak attack through an amphibious operation. Quoting their words, 'I understand the difficulties your nation is facing, but your coastal defences are too shallow.’’
’’With our main forces tied up, even an invasion force that is limited in number can easily deal a lethal blow to us.’’
If the landing forces couldn't be stopped in just one of their attempts, they could literally end the Federation by sticking a knife into their backs─ Since he received such a warning, Foreign Affairs Councillor Evansol could only relay the advice to his colleagues with grave concern.
’’Councillor Evansol, the navy of the Republic didn't have the capability to stop the Empire from pulling this off. Let me say this first, we only have two war vessels!’’
Despite all that, they still obtained one last hope.
’’This shouldn't be a problem. It isn't public yet, but the United Kingdom had started surveillance on the movements of the Imperial navy. If the need arises, the Republic's fleet will attack immediately.’’
In that case...
’’Gentlemen, the issue is time. We need to buy more time.’’
’’We need the Great Powers to intervene. This might be humiliating, but we don't have any other choice. It has come to this, let's do everything that we can.’’
U.E. 1924 November 5th 14th Imperial Base, Auditorium.
’’Welcome, Wing Commander!’’
Inside the auditorium where all unit members had gathered, First Lieutenant Weiss who led the 2nd Squadron stood up and said in a booming voice, then saluted to the Wing Commander. Tanya returned the salute, then gestured for them to sit easy. She then walked slowly to the podium in the center of the auditorium, and nodded with satisfaction after glancing at the troops.
’’Good work. I think everyone should have heard the news, we, the 204rd Guerilla Mage Wing received our transfer orders. We are going to Norden.’’
Tanya was extremely unhappy about this posting order. Using a tone unique to military officers where one's displeasure and emotions were concealed, she submitted a dozen reports to the higher ups through Lieutenant Colonel Lehrgen, protesting about how overworked they were. Recuperating and cooperation training would take four months, and the basic training to improve the fundamentals would require another two months. All in all, she should have half a year of leeway. So when the bigwigs considered the unit's training complete after the battle in Dacia that was closer to a live fire drill, Tanya was shocked.
She scanned the unit briefly, and they did look the part of being hardened and confident soldiers. Their field gears were polished to a shine, and their strides were uniform, as if they were measured by rulers. I see, they really resemble elites who have gone through thorough training.
However, the 203rd Mage Wing wasn't as invincible as the General Staff Office believes. As their commander, Tanya's head hurts because of the numerous flaws of the unit. Firstly, during the aforementioned Dacian War, First Lieutenant Weiss committed a mistake because of his adherence to outdated doctrine. Not all of them were affected, but most of the Wing members were influenced by such bad habits. And of course, after the baptism of a real battle, the change in their thinking was as dramatic as the Copernican revolution. It wasn't as sudden as Paul's repentance, but she still wanted to compliment them for gradually moving onto the correct path. However, it wasn't perfect yet.
’’And naturally, the General Staff Office is expecting the same skill and competence we displayed in Dacia, so prepare yourselves.’’
Tanya smiled as if she was expecting great things from her subordinates, but she was aware that her smile was a little stiff. But there was a reason for this. Before her was a unit that had yet to experience a trying and real battle. For young pups who had only tasted victory, there were countless examples throughout history of them becoming loser dogs after suffering defeat. Herself included, elites raised in a perfect environment tend to have difficulties in overcoming unfavourable situations.
’’Be proud, you have finally gained the chance to undergo the trial of fire and steel.’’
No army can keep winning forever. Even America who claimed they would send their enemies back to the stone age suffered nightmarish mental trauma because of guerilla warfare, which plagued them for long years. They were liberated from the mental anguish during the Gulf war, but the price they paid for becoming arrogant was Iraq. The Empire might have one of the top military amongst the Great Powers, but they didn't have the overwhelming military superiority of the super military prowess in Tanya's memories─ America. That was why she had to nurture subordinates that could handle unfavourable situations.
If she didn't handle this issue well, not only would she be branded as incompetent, it might even be a matter of life and death. After all, fools who had only fought winning wars were fragile, and wouldn't be able to recover after losing just once. An army that lost its will to fight was just a simple mob. Even with magic technology, there was no way to forge the determined souls of warriors. In a corner of her heart, Tanya felt that those maniacs would be able to do that somehow.
But for now, she had to make do with the cards on her hand. Considering her remarkable improvement in her resume and remuneration, her performance should at the very least justify her wages.
’’Ladies and gentlemen, Dacia is just a live fire exercise after all. What we have here, is the real war you have been craving for.’’
Speaking of good news, except for myself, the subordinates I recruited are all fellows with the scent of battle maniacs. Naturally, this isn't news that I would be happy about, but only in this instance, right before we set off for war, I feel grateful about this wondrous fact.
’’Give everything you have for the sake of the Emperor and the Fatherland. Do not forget your duties as a soldier.’’
’’Mdm Yes Mdm!’’ x4
The excellent answer temporary filled her with satisfaction.
From the perspective of human resource management, there was a need to remind them they had the obligation to put in the effort in exchange for their gains. But from their reaction, there didn't seem to be any problems. But she couldn't let down her guard.
Everyone had to give and sacrifice themselves for the sake of their beloved Empire and me;They had the obligation to give everything they had for the revered Emperor and Fatherland... Fortunately, my subordinates are all tough fellows, and can at least serve as human shields.
It was regrettable that they had the tendencies of battle maniacs, but they were a group of excellent mages who were a pleasure to work with.
’’Excellent. Next will be the announcement of the notification from the General Staff Office. First Lieutenant Weiss.’’
Alright, leave the trivial corporate communications for the deputy to do. After all, this is the reason why the Empire designated the post of deputies and adjutants.
’’Yes Mdm. As the Wing Commander said, our wing would be taking on the role of a guerilla force.’’
According to the message from General Staff Office, the 203rd Mage Wing was to be rostered as a guerilla wing. This meant that their deployment would be different, depending on the regional army they were posted to. After all, they were the first unit designated as a guerilla wing.
Naturally, there were many experimental elements involved, and the higher ups had great expectations to learn a lot from this. The General Staff Office didn't need to coordinate with the regional armies and could deploy this unit freely. If they could meet the expectations of the General Staff Office, they wouldn't face too much interference. In other words, they were an independent unit that was easy to order around, and there wouldn't be any issues if they complete the assigned mission in a timely manner. That's right, it wasn't stated explicitly, but they were basically an autonomous unit.
’’In other words, the wing will be rushing all over the place within the interior line.’’
This was the equivalent exchange between authority and responsibility. If anything happens on the frontline, they would be committed into battle immediately in the hope of resolving the issue. And so, Tanya used one sentence to describe the situation they were in.
’’Which means, the General Staff Office is working us like horses drawing carriages. Rejoice, they seemed to have prepared carrots for us.’’
She didn't know what the carrots were, but she could look forward to the best treatment during resupply and promotions. Even though she doubted these would fulfil her wishes properly.
Everyone laughed. That's true, they could only laugh. Who would be willing to enter the battlefield for the sake of special allowances. It might be a sizeable amount for officers and generals, but they were rather limited for the rank and file. Taking into account the risk to dying, it was unbelievably cheap. But of course, if a free market system was set up for this, there might be some who would consider the tradeoff acceptable.
When she thought about that, she couldn't help thinking that conscription was a very unreasonable policy. Just like Second Lieutenant Serbiakof who was conscripted just because she had magic potential, it seemed that the Empire couldn't spare the effort for personal liberties... That was why Tanya had no other choice but to volunteer to enlist.
If possible, she hoped they can change the conscription policy, or allow her to resign her commission immediately. It goes without saying that letting her take her bonus and annual remuneration was the minimum condition.
After shaking her head a little to clear her head, Tanya turned towards First Lieutenant Weiss, urging him to continue.
It pleased Tanya that the unit quieted down immediately on his command. At least they were trained well enough to follow orders. But this was only natural since they were soldiers.
’’Despite what the Wing Commander said, horses aren't that pampered, and won't get their feed for nothing.’’
With a tone advising caution, First Lieutenant Weiss subtly hinted the unit to show results. Tanya watched approvingly as she added points to the evaluation score of her subordinates. She was convinced that her second in command wouldn't be a problem for the time being.
No matter who it might be, they would prefer unnecessary expenses. In horse racing, they would want victory;for horses tending the field, they would need to do farmwork;For pedigree horses, they need to pass on their genetics;As for horse drawn carriages, they ran for the sake of feed. If her deputy could understand and explain this point, Tanya would want him as a subordinate and nurture him.
’’And of course, we need to prove that we are up to standard for our jobs.’’
She didn't really want to be a horse. She had never entertained the thought of being reared by others, this was a matter of her pride as a person. But since the carrot had been stuffed into her mouth, it would be a pity not to eat it. But it would be a shame to call herself a reared horse who had to work because of this.
Not having free will was a terrible thing.
’’We will be part of a mixed unit that includes forces from the eastern army and southern army, and will be despatched as a unit from central to work under the northern command.’’
Political pride was extremely retarded. The inability to provide consideration in a rationalized way showed how limited politics were. However, the dictatorship of nobles or emperors had their flaws too. Democracy falling into the hands of the foolish masses probably happened due to the intrinsic flaws in the governmental system. Humans were really political animals.
From this perspective, animals that didn't have the concept of pride might be more rational. However, this might be a misconception caused by being unable to ascertain if they had the concept of pride.
’’Regarding this part, the General Staff Office is looking forward to us affirming the experimental tactics in live battles in the north.’’