; about it.
“D-don't be too passionate about cleaning, Jin-Ho.
Just do it in, uh, moderation.

“But, sir? I was told to make everything spotless?”

“…Well, we were wrong.”

“I don't follow, sir?”

“Just do it in moderation, will ya?!”

“…Understood, sir.” Kang Jin-Ho tilted his head ever so slightly, then resumed cleaning the living quarter once more.

'Holy cow.
I wonder how he would've organized those fancy new beds if he was assigned to one of those new barracks…'

Jeon Hyeok-Su tutted inwardly while lamenting the fact that their living quarter just so happened to be an old-school one with wooden floors and futons.[1]

The evening roll call followed the end of the cleaning.
Everyone turned in for the night as the lights went out.

Seong Tae-Ho quietly called out from his futon.

“Private Kang Jin-Ho, sir.”

“Well, tomorrow's the start of your on-site training, so…”

“Yes, I'm aware, sir.”

“We're artillery operators, so our training will get dangerous.
That's why the seniors will be on edge.”

“I see, sir.”

“That means you gotta be extra sharp tomorrow.”

“Understood, sir,” Kang Jin-Ho replied.
He wasn’t even concerned about what would happen tomorrow.
Even though Seong Tae-Ho was offering advice out of concern, the Korean military as a community was simply too 'insignificant' to worry him.

'They are all pretty weak.' 

That was Kang Jin-Ho's evaluation of the soldiers around him.
He could already picture what might happen if these people living this sort of lifestyle were thrust into a combat situation.

Back in Zhongyuan, or more correctly, in the demon cult, the trainees were pushed to the absolute extremes to bring out their sleeping potential.
That was their preferred training method.
Obviously, sleeping was a luxury the trainees didn't have.
Sometimes, they weren't even allowed to eat.

After rising to the position of the cult leader, Kang Jin-Ho prohibited the practice of throwing the trainees inside a pit and letting them fight to the death until only one survived.
However, he didn't stop those so-called basic training regimes that utterly trampled on human rights.

Having experienced such inhumane training as both a trainee and an instructor, the South Korean military came across as nothing more than a hangout place of a bunch of stiff macho-wannabe men to Kang Jin-Ho.

'Still, I want to see more…'

Kang Jin-Ho wanted to participate in the training exercises.
He didn’t want to waste time doing nothing like this.
That was why he was looking forward to tomorrow's itinerary.
What would the on-site training hold in store for him?


Kang Jin-Ho asked curiously, “Is this a cannon, sir?”

“Yup, it's the 155mm towed howitzer.
And you'll be its devoted partner for the next two years or so.”

“A howitzer…? This?” Kang Jin-Ho took another look at the 155mm towed howitzer's barrel rising high above his head.


The mobile cannon was much larger than he had expected.
Of course, Kang Jin-Ho already knew what self-propelled artillery was.
Mobile cannons that could be driven around, such as tanks, often appeared on TV, so it was hard not to have some ideas on how they operated.
However, he had never seen a howitzer before in his life.

Kang Jin-Ho's curiosity compelled him to continue, “Sir, how much does this weapon weigh?”

“Around seven tons.”

Most basic compact hatchbacks weighed just over one ton, so this single howitzer was as heavy as seven of those little cars piled on top of one another.

Jo Won-Gu, the senior soldier in charge, warned in no uncertain terms.
“That's why getting crushed underneath will be certain death.
Keep your wits about you at all times.
Even a little tap from the cannon will shatter your bones, easy.”

“Yes, sir.” Kang Jin-Ho nodded slowly.

Cannons existed even back in Zhongyuan.
The army possessed many cannons, and sects like the Thunder Hall openly deployed gunpowder and explosives.
Kang Jin-Ho had encountered quite a few large cannons back then, but the size of this howitzer really was something else.

He continued with his questioning, “Sir, what is its range?”

“With self-propelled rounds, about thirty clicks.
With regular ammo, it should be around fifteen.”

Fifteen kilometers?

“…What about its casualty radius, sir?”

“Huh? What a weird-ass brat you are! Why is a private like you so curious about everything, eh? The blast radius is around twenty-five meters.
There, you happy now?” Jo Won-Gu replied with a raised eyebrow.

Kang Jin-Ho's expression rapidly stiffened as he studied the howitzer.
Could he dodge an explosive projectile flying toward him from fifteen kilometers away? One with an explosion radius of twenty-five meters, to boot? Even if he managed to dodge it, how would he close the distance of fifteen kilometers and destroy the howitzer?

'…So, there's a good reason why martial artists died out, then.'

Kang Jin-Ho realized that he had been too focused on firearms.
Instead of guns, cannons like this would've been far more effective against martial artists in real combat situations.
The difference in the effective range was just too insurmountable.

This separate company alone possessed six howitzers.
Imagine all these cannons firing simultaneously on a single target and bombarding the area with explosives—it wouldn't have mattered one jot whether you were a peak master or a first-rate warrior; you'd still be slaughtered in an instant.

'This is how far science has come…'

In all honesty, Kang Jin-Ho couldn't quite grasp the concept of things like bombardment or missiles.
He didn't know what to make of them.
Now that he had seen one for himself…
His eyes were now wide-open, that was for sure.
At this point, it would be safe to assume that martial artists could never win against the modern army in a frontal assault.

'In that case…
What are those people aiming for?'

What were the modern-era 'Martials' aiming to achieve?

Jo Won-Gu issued a new order.
“Alright, listen up.
Since we won't be firing the cannons today, everyone except our maknae should head off to your individual training areas.
As for maknae, you'll join other 'jackey' soldiers and train today.”


Kang Jin-Ho tilted his head a little.[2]

Jo Won-Gu noticed Kang Jin-Ho's confusion and smirked slightly.
“What's the matter, scared?”

“No, sir, but…
I was wondering what's a jackey.”

“You see that pillar-like thing at the bottom of the howitzer?”

“Sir?” Kang Jin-Ho shifted his gaze and looked at the lower part of the cannon.
There he spotted large pillar-like structures supporting the weapon itself.

Jo Won-Gu chuckled.
“What does 'towed' mean in the towed artillery, soldier? It means this weapon can move, right?”

“Yes, sir.
That's correct.” Kang Jin-Ho nodded.

“However, even you should be able to tell that the howitzer can't move in this state, right?”

“I do, sir.”

“So, you raise those supports when we need to move the howitzer.
And, after reaching our next destination, you lower them and fix the weapon on the ground.” Jo Won-Gu explained as if he was a kind old school teacher.

“I see…”

Jo Won-Gu ruefully shook his head.
Although, he was still putting on an act.
“The thing is, humans don't have enough strength to do that.”

Kang Jin-Ho studied the supports with renewed interest.

This was when a suspicious grin floated up on Jo Won-Gu's lips.
“What's the matter, private? Are you amazed?”

I'm amazed, but this system seems a bit cumbersome as well.
I don't understand why people have to do this when simply using machines would've been more efficient, sir.”

“Machines? That would be self-propelled artillery, then.
Whether it's a self-propelled or towed artillery, they all have their own uses.”

Kang Jin-Ho tilted his head again.
“But, wouldn't self-propelled artillery be superior in that aspect?”

“There's a trade-off, private.
Self-propelled artillery can't navigate through some environments, you see? However, a howitzer like ours can be airlifted by helicopters.
And it's also much more useful in occupying a stronghold.”

“Mm…” Kang Jin-Ho scratched his chin, still not fully seeing it.

Jo Won-Gu laughed loudly at how Kang Jin-Ho was staring at the howitzer with narrowed eyes.
“Listen up, Jin-Ho.”

“Private Kang Jin-Ho, sir!”

“That's not important for you now, is it? Do you know what is, though?”

“No, sir.”

“Usually, soldiers going through this training for the first time froth at their mouths and collapse.
And now, you will also learn what it takes to be a real artillery gunner today.”

It seemed that Jo Won-Gu still had no idea what kind of a person Kang Jin-Ho was.

The soldiers in the Korean military used to sleep on raised wooden floors with futons.
However, newer barracks have Western-style beds. ☜

“Jackey” is a Konglish term where “-ey” from “jockey” is tacked on at the end of “jack”.
Basically, a soldier that operates howitzer's jacks. ☜

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