I stand up and do a stretch.
” Ahn… ”
Feels good that I couldn help but moan. My body is still not used to all the stress I put it through these couple of days.
” It has gotten a bit colder. ” Unbeknownst to me, I spent half an hour musing in silence in the radio room. So, when I opened the door, I was greeted with a very annoyed Bryn.
” Eh… I can explain. ”
” Ho? ” Yup, she is mad. ” You booked the radio room for the better part of the hour and refused any entry, not giving a reason why… Care to clarify? ”
” Yes, maam! I was having a private conversation with my mothers, maam! ” I tensed up and explained hastily, half-truth, of course.
Bryn squints her eyes, staring straight at me. ” Is that all? ”
” … I also need some time alone to gather my thoughts after all that happened. ” That also wasn a lie.
Inquisitively checking me out for a bit longer, Bryn sighs and fixes my clothes.
e still a child after all. Come, dinner is about to get cold. ”
She takes my hand gently then leads me back to our quarter. Inside, placed on the simplistic dining table, is warm soup and slices of bread.
” I told the chefs to make it light. Don want to put your body under much burden until you recover from your fatigue. ”
” Thanks, Bryn. ”
” Here, wash your hands with this. ” After I situated myself on a chair, Bryn handed me a bowl of clean water. I cleaned my hands before I picked up a piece of bread.
” I only realize now how starving I am. ” I chuckled before dipping the bread into the soup. It tasted great thanks to the cold weather and my hunger.
Bryn smiles and sits down on the other side of the table. ” Were you stayed in there any longer, I would have broken the door to get you out for dinner. ”
She also starts eating slowly but gracefully in small bites. ” You should pay attention to yourself more. You have been neglecting your health these two days, and that doesn sit well with me. ”
” Sorry that I worried you. Too much stuff going on my mind, thats all. ” I sincerely apologized as I did forget how weak this body was at times.
” Just be more mindful of yourself from now on. With the battle before, I can say for certain that you will be taking care of more people soon enough. ” Bryn closed her eyes as if to relish the taste of her food. I do not doubt that she is pondering on something else.
” Did you know something? ”
” Not knowing but predicting, or should I say guessing. ” She opened one of her eyes to look at me. ” While it was a short two days period, I have come to know that you will not obediently go home after the situation stabilize. ”
Hearing that, I can only smile wryly. ” What gave it away? ”
” One reason is the way you look at the tactical map. With my wealth of experience in warfare, I could say for sure that you weren just planning for this battlefield alone. No, you analyzed the entire battlefront and the impact this small victory had on the war situation. I dare say you want to do more here, no? ”
I down my soup, smack my lips, and laugh. ” You got me there. I want to stay here and do much more for my mothers. I stayed in the radio room mostly was to convince my mothers of the task I wanted to undertake. They won take it well for sure, but theyll come by eventually. But you said it was only one reason, no? Is there something else? ”
” Well, you did say you done being the nice guy, so I figure you may do more than giving the Ustians a bloody nose. ”
” Pfft- hahahaha! ” That got me good. ” Was I got figured out on that airplane? ”
” Thats a secret. ” Bryn showed me a smirk before we both giggles.
This woman knows how to lead a conversation. We keep chatting like that for a while until I yawn. To ensure I have enough rest, Bryn lay me down comfortably on a bed with a blanket draping over me. She then lay next to me, muttering. ” Good night, Little Princess. ”
Too sleepy to care for her way of addressing me, I return her a good night. ” You too, my Guardian. ”
Unknowingly, I made her blush a little. What I do know is that she turns to hug me and hums for me a tune that sends me off to dreamland.
Five days later.
” Come in, ” I said, still concentrating on filling out some paperwork. ” if its still about the papers then the signed ones are to my left. ”
” While its true that Im also here for those, ” Bryn picked the stack of documents I pointed out. ” but reinforcement has arrived. ”
I look up at her. ” They arrived earlier than I anticipated. ” I finish up the last of my papers. ” Here, this should be all. Thanks for the help, Bryn. ”
e welcome. Freshen up, you may need to address the troops later. ”
” Will do. ”
Bryn nods toward me with a smile before heading out. I reorganize my desk before going to wash my face, the cool water alleviates my fatigue. After Im done wiping my face with a towel, I start checking myself out.
Smooth gray hair, well-featured face, ruby-red eyes, and while Im only 15 years old I have a well-developed body. A bit on the short side of things, however.
” I look great in this grey uniform though. ” Seeing that I have no more need to look at the mirror, I put on a military cap and walk outside.
Making my way to a clearing outside of the Command Post, I come across a bustling sight. Per my request, the rest of the Kruger Division reconvenes here, with men and women dismounting and unloading supplies from their transport. I walk among the array of neatly lined up vehicles, taking a look at their condition and composition.
Ive requested mama for new armaments, along with firearms, we also have enough tanks and half-tracks to reform into a mechanized division. My vision is to have the division I have at hand performing a swift assault on Ustio soil. A motorized division just won cut it as they lack the speed and firepower.
e here, ” Bryn said as she spotted me near a Panzer III. ” the new arrivals, they
e waiting for you on the hill. ”
” I will head there at once. To be honest, I never thought mama would agree to my request that fast. Putting military power in the hands of a 15 years old girl was kinda unheard of. ” I couldn help but smile fondly at the imaginary image of my mama, forcefully enforcing my request on her throne while mom exasperatedly held her head with one hand.
” They love you a lot, spoil you more so. I doubt they will stop when someone advises them against it. ” Bryn chuckled. She and my mothers are friends so in a way, I guess I can call Bryn my aunt?
” Aunt Bryn? ” I suddenly said.
It amused me to no end when Bryn tripped over nothing and almost face-planted into the ground. Thankfully, I steadied her in time, I don want her to be mad at me.
” Thanks… What did you just call me? ”
I smirk. ” Since you are on good terms with my mothers, can I call you aunt to show our closeness? ”
” … I much prefer you call me by my name, thank you. ” Not knowing how to react to this situation, Bryn could only request me awkwardly.
” Hehe, fine. You look too young to be called an aunt. ”
” Your mothers gonna rip me a new one if you call me aunt, Princess. ” I smile, it was fun teasing her but now its time for work.
We reach the top of the hill and see a camouflage tarp blocking the sunlight for the gathering of officers below. They perform a salute and part a way for us to reach ar small wooden stage, previously erected for me to take a look at the men and women below. As I step on the stage, I can help but recall a memory long gone. A memory of a world where I also took the lead to burn it to a cinder.
I take a breath to calm the surge of memory. Now its the time to save one, unlike before. So, I stand tall with hands behind my back while Bryn steps forth, announcing the purpose of this gathering.
” Ladies and gentlemen, may I have your attention please. ” Calmly and confidently, Bryns words captured the sight of the officers below us. ” By now you should have heard of the untimely demise of your top executives in the Kruger Division. And with that many of you here become whats left of the Divisions officed cadre. ”
Bryn stops for a bit. ” You must have all been wondering who will lead you when the highest-ranking person among you, is only a Major. While battlefield promotion is a thing, examples being Captain Morrick, ” She points her hand to the Captain. ” or the men from the 13th Recon Platoon. We can fast-tracked everyone without proper consideration. For that, we apologize. ” I and Bryn slightly bow down. The action earns us recognition, with many of the officers expressing their understanding of the matter. Due to the dire situation at the time, it was thanks to the contribution of the 7th Infantry Platoon, the 13th Recon Platoon, and the 88th Artillery Squad that the frontline could be held. They all deserved the rewards from that.
” We are glad to have your quick acceptance of the matter. We can assure you that should you perform well on the line of duty, further promotions won be far off. Moving on, the issue of leadership has been considered carefully by the top brass. They decided, for the time being, to reinstate and transfer veterans from the Great War to fill in key positions of our Division. Report to the Command Post later to meet your future comrades in arms. ”
Bryn then steps aside. ” With that out of the way, I would also like to announce that 110th Kruger Motorized Division, henceforth, will be known as the 404th Ironblood Panzer Division. And the reformed division will be put under the command of Her Highness the Princess, Yukia Rosetta de Venusian. This is a direct order from Her Highness the Empress of Belka. ”
For the first time in a while, my full name was called out by someone. Most prefer to call me Princess, with only those close to me calling me Yuki. Its a strange feeling when you have a long, nice name but people like to resort to your title or nickname to address you.
Taking in the eyes below me, I feel the need to say something. ” My greeting to you, ladies and gentlemen. As youve heard, Ive been assigned the role of Commander of this Division. Its a surprise to be sure when earlier you heard that veterans will be joining us. You need not worry, however, Im not wet behind ears as some of you may have thought. ”
I pause before signaling Bryn to make some room. ” A few days ago, I had my first baptism of blood and fire. And from that, Ive racked up a reputation of sort amongst the members of the Division. For those that still don know or don want to believe hearsays then, ” I conjure a holographic map depicting a clash of two armies.
” Lets have a little war game, shall we? ”
Four hours later in my quarter.
” Beautifully handled. ” Bryn complimented.
I snicker. ” If you discount the part where it turned into an impromptu tournament for officers then, yes. ” I think I did well in asserting my dominance over my new underlings.
” While its true that wasn what I thought it mind. It resulted in a good activity for fellow officers to mingle with each other. Since the more familiar you are with your comrades, the easier it is to coordinate with each other. I suggest we find a way to make your interactive map ability more widespread. A sand table can only give you so much battle simulation, after all. ”
” Already have people working on it. Though we won be having any of them for at least a few months. ”
” … You sure work fast. ”
” Its a simple thing, thats all.
” I shrugged.
” So, care to show me the list you
e holding? ”
Bryn hands me a document that is pages long. ” Most of the stuff you requested has been procured, we are only waiting for troop rations as of now, which should take two days. ”
” They worked fast, guess I gotta thanks my mothers later. ” Reading the files, everything checks out.
” Currently, our nations mechanized and armored divisions, in my opinion, are lackluster. They
e still stuck in the old ways of thinking of the Great War. A battlefield is an ever-changing place, you can expect a slow attrition war in the current era. What used to be breakthrough tanks or mobile bunkers are no more, neither are static warfare and immobile defense line. So we cannot use the same tactics from the Great War here, else we incur a disastrous defeat. ”
I flip to another page, detailing a Panzer III. ” No, we must pave a new way of waging war. We shall bring forth a combined arms tactic that utilizes everything we have in our arsenal, in a quick and decisive strike on the enemy. Let them peruse books of the old days while we will carve a new page in the history of warfare. ”
Realization dawns on Bryns face. ” You meant to have this Division charges deep behind the enemy line. ”
” Close enough. What I want is to let them scamper around in vain. Should we be fast and strong enough, they will be unable to match our pace of advance. This will grant us the opportunity to reach our real objective. ”
I point to a named section on the file. Bryn reads it aloud. ” Surveillance report on the… Port of Arash? You don mean!? ”
” Correct, what I want is the Port city Arash. Home to the largest shipyard in Ustio, and to add the cherry on top, its also the home of their new Super Battleship. Currently under construction and will properly be the strongest battleship in the next 5 years, I want to either sink or capture it whole. ”
” They won hand it to us that easy though. ”
” Yes, thats why we need some help along the way. I got it covered so don worry. ”
I then create a new holomap, this time it shows the current frontline situation with much more detail. We are now looking at the entire Western Front, dominated by two colors. The color gray represents us, Belkas armies, while Ustio and her allied elements are in blue.
” We push here, ” I enlarged the map, showing the surrounding of our division. ” to capture the two towns of Bocage and Reno. Bocage is a frontline town so its expected to have an entrenched defense and at least two companies. I won trust the intel files Im reading here, however. ”
I take out a stack of papers, signed by the leader of our national intelligent group personally, and throw it into the fireplace.
” … I suppose theres a reason for that? ” Bryn quirked an eyebrow.
” For now, do not trust the wood elves. As in taking every word, they said as a lie. ” I then pull out a black briefcase beneath my bed, taking the content inside for Bryn to see. ” Check this out. ”
” This is a map of Bocage… with their defense plan. How did you even get this? I for once, don think this comes from our Intelligent Agency, no? ”
” Nope, explaining may take too long. ” I shrug then carry on. ” Bocage is defended by a motorized battalion and a logistic company. They don have heavy firepower but will receive reinforcement from another motorized company in five days. ”
I change the map for it to show the wine-making village of Bocage.
” Here, here, and here, ” I circled three parts in red. ” are the most heavily defended locations with anti-tank cannons and pillboxes. While the center of the town, a villa, is their command post. The courtyard of the villa housed their mortar squads so its best we not lazying around in one place. ”
” For a small town, they even have a trench system, ” Bryn commented with a squinted gaze. ” they sure are careful. ”
” Well, this was Jeoffs logistic base, after all. This near to the frontline, he probably feared an attack on the supply camp. ”
Jeoff was good, managed to destroy the Belkans here in the original storyline. Its just a bad matchup against me.
I move on to say my tactic. ” To be honest, a direct frontal assault can be costly even though we have a division at play. Peppering them with artillery only has a limited effect when they are entrenched this deep. We still need to get into the town and clear the resistance after all and collateral damage isn what we want to see. ”
I pause to drink some water. ” Thats why I reform our division into a mechanized one. Were we stick to the old division, I can see how we can win this one without heavy losses. ”
” Thankfully, mama went all out in her effort to help me. We have now numbered 14,750 men, numerous transports with 75% of them are half-tracks, and 110 tanks of various kinds. The division is comprised of one tank brigade, one mechanized infantry regiments, one artillery regiment, one reconnaissance regiment, and the following battalions: anti-tank, pioneer, field replacement, and communications. ”
Bryn shakes her head exasperatedly with a wry smile. ” Once your rank is formalized, you will be the youngest Major General in history. ”
I giggle. ” An unintentional award, but I like it. Anyway, I think our attack plan should be like this. ”
” We already have a detailed defense plan of the enemy, so lets have our artillery regiment do an opening blow. The 150mm SPGs will strike at their headquarter while the lighter 105mm artillery suppress the trench.
The recon regiment will flank behind the enemy line, West of the town, to run interference, and if possible completely take out the infantry company thats on the way. Any retreating enemy will be intercepted by the recon regiment.
Under the cover of our artillery, the bulk of our force will advance on the town from the North and South. As most of their defense is concentrated on the Eastern side, it will be fun to see the Ustian running around to mount a proper holdout.
The Panzer IIIs and Panzer 38s will be leading the charge, followed closely by infantry mounting on 251 half-tracks. While not capable of withstanding anti-tank fire, the half-tracks are more than enough to shrug off small-arms fires. Coupled with the modifications that our pioneers are installing as of now, a 251 can serve as a highly mobile base of fire for our infantry. ”
” And here I thought you completely discard the notion of moving bunker. ” Bryn jested.
” This and that are different. ” I quipped back. ” Once we breach the defense line and push deeper into the town, infantries will dismount and clear the way forward for our armored vehicles. They will have to coordinate well with each other as I don want any unnecessary loss in this situation. ”
” Moving on. With us pushing deep to take out a logistic base of the enemy. They will come at us with vengeance, which is why mama ordered the entire front to intensify their attack. This will divert the Ustian resources away from us, allowing us more room to maneuver right until we reach Arash. ”
” We will be stabbing deep into their guts. How are we supposed to handle the ground that we covered? ”
” A separate motorized division is tasked with cleaning up the mess we left behind. We only need to focus on charging ahead. ” Bryn nodded at the explanation.
” The only issue we may have is a potential enemy air raid while we are moving. Our division is one heck of a lucrative target for a bombing run and this issue can hamper our progress a lot. As a precaution, I have ordered modifications to some of the half-tracks, installing anti-air weaponry on them. A dedicated fighter patrol will be assigned to cover us also. With all of that, hopefully, it will be enough. ”
” Assuming we successfully taken Bocage, what next? ”
” Reno is our next stop, a town situated near the river La Pucelle. If we capture it, we can create a foothold in the region to allow us a safe river crossing. All the other bridges are blocked by the Ustian army, so our best bet is to make our own at Reno. ”
” Good idea. Though going past Reno, we will be coming face to face with the White Rock fortress. That will be a tough nut to crack. ” Bryn said concernedly. She is right on that one, we are ill-suited for a fortress assault.
” I have thought it through. While I do want to use another route, nones as fast as getting past White Rock itself. Such is the reason why I want your help. ”
My words caught Bryns interest. ” Oh? Do say. ”
” How do you feel about leading a squad? ” I grinned dangerously.
It took a while but we did finalize the plans for the upcoming push. After we brought it to officers, it then turned into a brainstorming session on how to pull it off, successfully. Contrary to expectation, the ones below thought very highly of the idea. They
e excited to see such a bold maneuver, saying It will bring out a new doctrine, upheaving the current concepts of war. ”, and couldn wait to partake in the fray.
Smiling at the fact that these guys and lasses may be battle freaks, I told them to follow me out to a clearing. At the site, multiple vehicles, and equipment are laying about, gathering a crowd already as they
e wondering what is the stuff for.
” Ok settle down people, ” I ordered as made my way to the forefront of the gathering, standing next to a pile of military crates. ” your questions will be answered shortly. ”
” With the recent refit of our division, many of you should have known by now that we
e about to do a big job. To save me the trouble of explaining, you guys can go pestering your commanding officers once we
e done here. They made me miss my lunch for a reason and Im sure they won mind you guys having them miss their dinner. ” I jested, earning the laugh from the soldiers while the officers can only smile wryly.
” Jokes aside, the stuff behind me contains new weapons and munitions for the tasks ahead of us. Let us start the showcasing from small to big, shall we? ”
I have two soldiers carrying over a green crate, unlocking the locks reveals the content inside. Picking the cold piece of metal, a Mauser C96, I play around deftly with it in my hand.
” This pistol should be familiar with many of you so I will have the expert explain this one. ” I give the gun to a middle-aged officer, he respectfully grabs the gun before going on to address the rest.
” Thank you for entrusting this to me, Your Highness. This here, my friend is a Mauser C96, a stable pistol of the nations arsenal. While somewhat heavy, its a robust, accurate, and powerful weapon to have by your side. When joining the military, all of you should have learned a course on how to perform maintenance on this pistol so I would skip most of the technical details. However, this one here, and the ones in the crates, are different. Unlike the pistols in the Bootcamp, the C96 Enhanced or the C96E is chambered in the more powerful 9x25mm and has a fire selector switch. Yes, this bad girl here can fire either on semi or full-auto. ”
Many of the men and women let out voices of surprise and excitement. They can help but expect that what comes next could be beneficial for them all.
” Many doctrines have stipulated that pistols can only be carried by officers, as only then they can show off their elegance. Well, we here beg to differ. Whats the point in being elegant on the battlefield? A pistol should be put in the good hands of a soldier instead. For when ones primary weapon fails to perform, a pistol like this one can buy him good times in dangerous situations. Thats why Her Highness has given us the C96s. From her coffer, the Princess gives each one of us a pistol for she cares for our lives. So I dare say, aren our Princess the greatest?! ”
Surprisingly to me, the veteran soldier suddenly started a spiel to hype me up. ” Eh… ”
My words were left unsaid when all the men and women present, officer and infantrymen alike, gave their shout of approval. Knowing I can not do anything, I just let the veteran carry on.
” Its good that you know then. All soldiers will head for the Armory to receive his or her C96 with four 10-rounds magazines and two stripper clips when this is over. ” He then hands me back the pistol which I take and holster it on my right side. Taking a breath to recover from the sudden mental attack from the entire division, I continue.
” While Im thankful that you all love your new toy, please don make me die of embarrassment, ok? ” And the peanut gallery laughs again, I promptly ignore it this time. ” The next showpiece, would you kindly? ”
This time, with a heftier thump, a long grey case is laid on the ground. Inside contain an infantrys answer to the increasing presence of enemy armored vehicles.
” This here should also be familiar with our anti-tank groups. ” I pick up the launcher, allowing everyone to take a closer look. ” This is a Grenade Buster 39, basically a converted Panzer Buster 39 rifle that has a shortened barrel and an affixed firing cup threaded to at the end of it. The cup is the standard type used with the Kar 98k and the ammunition is also interchangeable; there were three types of grenades, two of which are already in usage: an anti-personnel grenade, a light anti-tank grenade, and a newer large-diameter anti-tank grenade. The grenades are propelled by a special cartridge with a wood bullet. And the rifle itself is outfitted with a special sighting arrangement for firing up to 150m range. ” I then crouch down to pick up the new anti-tank grenade.
” Capable of penetrating up to 100mm of armor, this should be the strongest handheld infantry anti-tank weapon today. The fact can also be said that the grenade is also fin-stabilized, to ensure optimal accuracy at maximum range. Such can also guarantee the safety of the operators since they might not need a follow-up shot and expose themselves to retaliation. ” This earns the fervent looks of the anti-tank squad. Some did express concern about the fin-stabilization technology being untested in combat but I was quick to persuade them. ” Don worry, I have ensured the grenades will work wonderfully. Dwarfs and dark elves have worked ceaselessly to make this weapon after all. You can have a crate of ammo to test it out on the wrecks later. ” Fun fact, the weapon passes all trials.
” Last but not least for you all, colored smokes and signal flares. If none of the previously mention weapons can pull you out of a pinch, then its time to call in some help. While not at all lethal on their own, these tools allow you to have the means to quickly communicate with supporting units. Each squad should have at least one person carrying smokes and flares to signal for fire support, reinforcement, or just to mark an ally position. ” The auxiliary equipment was well-received by frontline infantries.
With that said, I leave the troopers to play around with their new gears and turn to to the vehicle crews.
” And you guys won be forgotten. You will also receive the C96Es while your vehicles already have modifications installed by now, right? ”
” Yes, Princess. ” Came the reply of a Colonel.
” Good, then, ” I open a crate and pick up a 20mm shell. ” this should be quick. This is a High-velocity armor-piercing tracer shell, capable of penetrating 64mm of armor at 10 meters, it will improve the firepower of all 20mm autocannon we have in service. The scout cars, half-tracks, and Panzer IIs gonna have some fun at killing enemy armor soon enough. ” Dangerous grins are the response now as the light vehicles finally have the means to bite back.
” Next up is the infantry support Panzer IIIs, you will receive a batch of new High-explosive anti-tank shells, this is an improvement of the older shell and it can punch through 100mm of armor no problem. ”
” Sadly I can provide you with much more due to the time constraint we are having right now. But Im glad that you all have accomplished my task wonderfully. ”
” The honor is ours, Princess. ”
I smile, and together with Bryn who has been staying quiet all this time, head to a corner of the bustling clearing. We stand and watch the merry gathering of soldiers and officers mingling with each other, regardless of their ranks. And to our right, we can see a lineup of vehicles of all sorts: Panzer IIs, Panzer 38(t)s, Panzer IIIs, half-track that is fitted with a 37mm cannon, or another one with 20mm autocannon,… all the vehicles our division has at our disposal are there.
” You know, I am glad that the division is shaping up so well. ”
Despite the short time frame, all the pieces are coming together. It is a pleasant surprise when the reply I receive is Bryn gently grasping my hand.
” You did well. ”
” Heh… Thanks, Bryn. ” To be honest, all I need was a simple compliment to end one, long day.
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