The Human Emperor Chapter 519
Chapter 519: The Superior General Breaks The Enemys Schemes
Chapter 519: The Superior General Breaks the Enemy's Schemes!
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
"Listen up! Starting from now, no one is allowed to approach without my order!" Li Siye suddenly declared.
"Any who defy this order will be executed!"
Li Siye's right hand swung down, the Wootz Steel sword in his hand unleashing a stream of Sword Qi into the earth. Rocks splattered everywhere and dust plumed into the air, leaving behind a massive slash in the ground. In an instant, the crowd was silenced, the soldiers subconsciously beginning to back away.
"Yes, Milord," someone said in a soft voice.
Li Siye had never put on airs for no reason. If he ever got serious, then it meant that the matter was of utmost importance. At this moment, no one dared to provoke him.
Young Master, is that the crucial point of the war that you spoke of to me? Li Siye thought to himself.
By now, he understood why Wang Chong had given him this chest. The sheep plague was a rare sight on the steppe, but when it appeared, it was a disaster. Unlike the people of the Central Plains, the people of the steppe had little understanding of medicine. Unlike the people of the Central Plains, they did not know to bury the bodies of sheep that died from plague.
And this was coupled with the fact that the people of the steppe were herders, their herds of cattle and sheep numbering in the tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, even millions. Thus, once a sheep plague broke out, it was always a large-scale calamity.
The people of the steppe would turn pale at the mention of the plague.
However, because the steppes had always been the enemy of the Central Plains and because cattle and sheep constantly roamed in pursuit of new pastures, the sheep plague was a very rare occurrence. Many shepherds didn't even know what the sheep plague was. This lack of knowledge could allow someone to take advantage of the nomadic people of the steppe.
It was very clear what Wang Chong had prepared this thing for.
In the past, Li Siye would definitely have strenuously objected. But right now, the 180,000 elites of the Annan Protectorate had been routed, as had Li Zhengyi's 60,000 reinforcements. The door to the Great Tang's southwest was wide open, its almost one million civilians bereft of protection, completely exposed to the armies of Mengshe Zhao and -Tsang. At this time, if he continued to be soft-hearted and worry too much about reputation, then he would be guilty of inflexibility.
Kindness to the enemy was cruelty to oneself.
But will this really be effective?
Li Siye mentally sighed.
Even if he understood the purpose of this object, Li Siye didn't understand how it would be useful to this war. Whether the sheep plague could inflict harm and how much harm it could inflict were matters for the future, whereas the war in the southwest was a danger close at hand. Moreover, even if he completed his mission, the Tibetan army would remain unaffected.
Would this method really be useful?
Li Siye took in a deep breath and ordered, "Someone, give me a bag of provisions!"
A soldier quickly took out a bag of soybeans and grains and handed it over. Li Siye allowed no one else to participate, personally mixing the bag of soybeans, peas, and other rations into the clump of meat.
After finishing this, Li Siye suddenly shook his wrist, letting out a burst of Stellar Energy. The chest closed with a thump, upon which Li Siye raised his head to look into the distance.
Form here, one could see herds of cattle and sheep scattered over the lush landscape like clouds. If one looked carefully, one could even see shepherds among the sheep herds. Their tall bodies mounted on highland steeds made them very obvious amongst the herds, even at great distances.
Only Tibetan shepherds rode horses like these while tending to their flocks.
"Since you've decided to help our enemies in the war, you're also our enemies. Don't blame me for what happens next!"
Li Siye gazed at the distant shepherds, his eyes flashing with an icy light.
"All soldiers, hear my orders. Don't let a single one of these Tibetans go!"
Li Siye drew back his energy, his entire body now exuding an aura of absolute cold.
With this order, the army began to rumble forward, the more than one thousand elite cavalry picking up speed, leaving a trail of dust as they charged.
"It's the Tang!"
Screams came from the distance as the shepherds of Chilechuan panicked. Many people began to drive their herds in a bid to escape, but it was too late. These two countries were at war, so how could Li Siye give them any chance to escape!
The hooves thundered even faster!
And with the thundering of hooves, another 'battle', unbeknownst to anyone else, began in the rear of the Tibetan army.
'Before the troops and horses can be mobilized, the rations and fodder must be prepared.' This had been a principle of war since time immemorial, noted down in the books of strategy and war. However, this was a principle only on the strategy books of the Central Plains. The Tibetans and the people of the steppe had never had this problem.
Through his research, Wang Chong had discovered that the Tibetan method of logistics was completely different from that of the Central Plains.
For a large-scale war, the people of the Central Plains would have to prepare for two or three years, and this effort would only result in enough supplies to last a few months. Past three or four months, the war could no longer be fought. In the founding period of the Great Tang, when Emperor Taizong sat upon the throne and the empire was at its most powerful, it still could not deal with Goguryeo. Goguryeo's hardy fortifications and scorched-earth policy made it so that the Great Tang's logistics train couldn't keep up, so after four months of battle, a lack of provisions forced the army to retreat without any progress, ending a war that had consumed a great deal of resources and manpower.
But that four-month war was the longest war fought in all the history of the Central Plains. For that war, the Great Tang had stockpiled supplies for three straight years!
For the dynasties of the Central Plains, a war like that could not be started carelessly.
But the Tibetans and Turks were different. If they wanted to start a war, they could cross one thousand li at any time and not worry about any logistical difficulties. If they were as limited as the Great Tang and had to start preparing for their attacks many years in advance, the people of the steppe would have been incapable of fighting, much less posing any threat to the Great Tang's borders.
It wasn't that the Tibetans or Turks didn't need to eat. Fundamentally, it was because they had completely different eating habits from the people of the Central Plains.
The people of the steppe treated meat as their primary food source, eating it at every meal with no difficulties. But if the people of the Central Plains had to eat meat and nothing else for every meal, they might be excited at first, chowing down with gusto, but after three or four days, they would get sick of it. A month later, and the army wouldn't even be able to fight.
The primary foods of the Central Plains were rice, chestnuts, millet, sorghum, and other such plants, inherently different from meat. And the stockpiling, transportation, cultivation, and cooking of such foods were more troublesome and time-consuming. Moreover, the food of the Central Plains emphasized matching meat and vegetables and had many different cooking methods, like boiling, steaming, frying, and searing.
With only rice and no meat, one's stomach would lack flavor, and so the battle would be fought weakly.
Thus, before the people of the Central Plains fought a battle, they would fire up many stoves and hold a great feast. From this came the saying, 'Only when your stomach is full can you have strength!'
This was a custom of the Central Plains, and no War God, War Saint, or grand strategist from ancient times could do anything about it. They could only follow the trends and write, 'Before the troops and horses can be mobilized, the rations and fodder must be prepared.' This was their nature, so how could it be changed?
But the people of the steppe were different. Their eating habits were not so complicated. They only needed the meat to be cooked, and they sometimes didn't even mind eating it raw.
And when the army moved, the shepherds moved with it. The army in front served as the firm shield while the cattle and sheep driven by the shepherds supplied the army. Cattle and sheep grazed on grass. They didn't need to be planted or plowed, and they didn't require massive amounts of water and several months to grow.
More importantly, cattle and sheep would never get moldy, nor would any of the other problems that came from storing food crop up.
Wherever the army moved, the cattle and sheep would follow, never suffering from problems of lack of freshness, humidity, or moldiness. As long as there was grass, the army would never be lacking provisions.
In addition, the soldiers of the steppe were drawn from the shepherds.
They might be logistics officers and shepherds today, but on another day, they could be soldiers. And if there were too many cattle or sheep, the people of the steppe could slaughter them and cure the meat to make jerky.
This was the case whether one was an elite expert or ordinary nomad!
In this world, the only thing that could truly affect them was extremely cold weather!
Wang Chong had once concluded that in the various aspects of the war, it was logistics that the people of the steppes had the least worries about. This was the case for both the Turks and the Tibetans.
In logistics, agricultural societies had never stood on equal footing with nomadic societies!
As a result, even though the nomadic people were not as well-equipped or as numerous as the dynasties of the Central Plains, even though they lacked a dazzling culture or any texts on war or strategy, they could still pose a grave danger to the consecutive dynasties. In the histories of these dynasties, one would always be able to find phrases like this:
'On XX year, the Turks invaded the border'; or, 'on XX year, the Tibetans raided the border and left with their plunder'; or perhaps, 'on XX year, Yingzhou, Youzhou, or some other place was plundered by bandits'!
Such records could be found all over the histories, and new ones were still being added.
But it wasn't like this strategy of the nomadic peoples couldn't be exploited.
If one could detour around the main army and kill all their herds in the rear, one could deal them a heavy blow. In normal circumstances, however, this was impossible. The Tibetans would have never given the Great Tang this chance. But right now, the Tibetans were completely focused on Lion City.
Li Zhengyi's forces had already been taken care of, and the Tibetans had left armies at the three important passes.
To the Tibetans, the rear of their army was as safe as a fortress, with nothing able to threaten it. This provided Wang Chong a superb opportunity.
And the sheep that had been killed by the plague were a fine gift that Wang Chong had prepared for the Tibetans.
The Tibetan sheep herds were truly too numerous. Unlike the herds of the Central Plains, they never consisted of just a few sheep, or ten-some sheep, or perhaps several dozen sheep. The nomads always had several hundred sheep, or thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, or even millions of sheep. This was something that the agricultural society of the Central Plains would find difficult to fathom.
In addition, the nomadic people took the tribe as a unit, and when they let out their flocks to graze, they naturally did so as tribes.
For this reason, it was never said that one person was raising such-and-such number of sheep, but that one tribe was raising so many sheep.
And this number of sheep was always enormous.
When the numbers reached a certain level, sneak attacks became useless. The shepherds wouldn't even need to do anything, just offer up their flocks to the slaughter. These tens of thousands of sheep could just stand there, slaughtered from dawn to dusk, and the task would still not be finished. And when Li Siye and his soldiers left, the shepherds could just come back.
All they had to do was convert the slaughtered cattle and sheep into jerky.
This would render a sneak attack utterly meaningless!
In order to deal with Tibetans and ambush the grazing herds in their rear, one couldn't rely on ordinary methods. One had to use unorthodox methods.
And these plague-bearing sheep were the unorthodox gift that Wang Chong had prepared.
When one sheep was infected with the plague, it would quickly spread it to the rest of the herd, and it would spread from one tribe's herd to all the other tribes. More importantly, the people of the steppe didn't understand that they needed to bury the infected sheep. This meant that this single incident would trigger an enormous disaster!
One couldn't just deal a superficial blow to one's enemies. One had to make them feel the pain deep in their bones, all the way to the marrow! Only this way could they learn their lesson.
War was not only a competition of military strength, nor was it an earnest clash of sword and saber. It was a battle of strategies!
At this moment, only Wang Chong knew that if his plan succeeded, what awaited the Tibetans was a disaster that would persist for several years, perhaps even a decade!
Without their massive sheep herds, the plateau would experience an unanticipated and massive famine, and this famine would consume the resources that -Tsang had spent decades building up, rendering their ambitions void!