The Human Emperor Chapter 928
Chapter 928: Generals Gather Strategic Deliberations Ii
Chapter 928: Generals Gather, Strategic Deliberations (II)
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
The Ferghanan leader Banahan suddenly spoke, his expression extremely sincere. "In truth, I feel that the Great Tang soldiers are no weaker than the Arabs. Lord Gao Xianzhi had only seventy thousand soldiers, but he managed to hold out in Talas against the Arabs for two months. Even Abu Muslim couldn't do anything about that. Based on we Ferghanans' understanding of the Arabs, none of their wars has ever turned out like this. And we also have Milord. In the two battles starting from yesterday, even though the Arabs had the absolute advantage in soldiers and had new allies, they were no match for Milord. In these two battles, the Arabs have lost more than one hundred thousand men, while the Great Tang's losses were very limited. If this news was to get out, those countries that were conquered by the Arabs wouldn't believe their ears.
"Of all the countries of the continent, probably only the Great Tang can defeat the Arabs. In the view of mercenaries like us, the Great Tang is the strongest country, which is why we are willing to fight alongside the Great Tang."
The Anxi Protectorate army had always had two major allies. One was the Karluks, and the other was the Ferghanans. The Karluk Chief Wanhe Peiluo was now dead, so the only person amongst the mercenaries who had the standing to speak in front of Gao Xianzhi was Banahan.
The people in the reception hall were all rather surprised by Banahan's words. No one had expected the Ferghanan leader to have so much faith in the Great Tang, even more than they themselves had. The gloomy atmosphere in the hall immediately evaporated, and even Wang Chong couldn't help but smile.
The Ferghanans were truly the Great Tang's most loyal allies.
"But, we're currently facing enemies both in front and behind." Another voice inserted itself into the conversation. "Regardless of which side we attack, the other side will counter. If we can't resolve this problem, our defeat will be certain."
Before this man had even finished speaking, the warm atmosphere created by Banahan immediately dissolved. Everyone turned to the pensive-faced Guli, who was completely unaware of what was going on around him as he stood by the model. Perhaps because he finally noticed the strange silence, Guli finally raised his head. In a flash, he realized that he had spoken out of turn, and paled in shock.
The Karluks had colluded with the Arabs, and Wanhe Peiluo had been executed when the matter was exposed. The Karluks were currently facing a crisis of confidence. If they overstepped their bounds and provoked the Great Tang, the Karluks might face a total collapse.
Just when Guli was filled with despair and panic, an energetic voice rang out. "Guli is correct. Being attacked from both the back and the front is a major taboo in military strategy. If this problem is not resolved, we will find it very difficult to fight the Arabs with complete focus." Wang Chong had chosen this moment to agree with Guli's words.
Guli immediately relaxed as if he had seen a sliver of hope. Those who didn't know about Wang Chong would only see his seventeen-year-old appearance. However, anyone who understood him knew that this was a young Protector-General of the same status as Gao Xianzhi, perhaps even higher. After all, the more than one hundred thousand soldiers outside the city were under his command.
"But this problem isn't too difficult. Abu Muslim might be able to get an endless stream of reinforcements from Arabia, but the same isn't true for the other side."
Wang Chong spoke with a firm expression, his gaze like a staunch pillar of rock that would never waver or topple no matter what challenged it. This was an infectious gaze that imbued anyone that it looked upon with conviction and resolve.
"The Tibetans and Western Turks brought around one hundred and twenty thousand soldiers with them. In the first battle, they lost more than forty thousand, leaving them with only around seventy thousand. Starting from now, Dalun Ruozan will be extremely cautious and not take many risks. Any loss he suffers in his forces is one that he can't recover from. And if I remember correctly, the Mutri Great Cavalry were charged with guarding Ü-Tsang's royal capital. Nothing has happened in the royal capital, but the Mutri Great Cavalry have appeared outside Talas. If my guess is correct, Dalun Ruozan has defied the Tsenpo's orders and privately gathered this army! It's impossible for him to get any reinforcements from Ü-Tsang."
Everyone was left dazed by Wang Chong's words; even Gao Xianzhi's eyes flew wide open. In this battle, they had only taken note of what was happening in the battle, but not about what was going on beyond its confines. Even Gao Xianzhi was no exception.
It wasn't that he wouldn't have been able to notice such a detail, but there were too many things to be taken care of in the Anxi Protectorate army. In terms of strategic outlook, Wang Chong was far more sensitive than all the generals in the room, even Gao Xianzhi.
"You are saying that this is a private war?" Gao Xianzhi thoughtfully said.
"Correct!" Wang Chong lightly said, his eyes so profound that they seemed able to see through all things. "Dalun Ruozan and Huoshu Huicang lost in the war of the southwest, and Dusong Mangpoje lost at the triangular gap. These three lost almost all their men in their defeats. No matter how open-minded the Tsenpo is, he would never give them more soldiers in so short a time. In addition, if this really had been the Tsenpo's intention, he would never have sent a mere seventy thousand soldiers. Besides that, although Duwu Sili is hailed as the Celestial Wolf Great General and is a formidable fighter, he only brought forty thousand soldiers with him as well as many wolves from the Turkic steppe. In my view, it's obvious that Ishbara Khagan is only testing the waters.
"The Western Turkic Khaganate will not be sending reinforcements!"
Those who made more calculations in the temple would win while those who made less would face defeat. A Great General not only needed to take into account what he could see on the battlefield, but also what was going on outside it. This included logistics, reinforcements, resupply, politics, and many other factors. In this war, Wang Chong was also focusing on what lay beyond the war zone.
Regardless of what Dalun Ruozan wished, Wang Chong had already grasped the information he had needed from the battle just now. This battle was actually Dalun Ruozan's own idea, and his actual situation was not as glorious as it seemed.
Wang Chong had clearly and concisely analyzed the current situation, and the hall fell quiet as all the other generals began to ponder this new information. Wang Chong's explanation was gradually beginning to clear up the seemingly complicated and disadvantageous situation.
"As for the Arabs, although Talas is closer to Arabia, don't forget that we are also not fighting alone. Behind us is the entire Great Tang. If we can hold on for a little longer, we will also have an endless stream of reinforcements! In this way, we're completely different from the Turks and the Tibetans."
Wang Chong spoke with such weight that his words seemed to thump against the floor.
The mood in the hall relaxed, with even Banahan and Guli feeling energized. It was true that while Abu Muslim had the enormous Arabian Empire backing him, the Anxi Protectorate army had the massive Great Tang Empire.
Even in the distant Western Regions, the Great Tang possessed a thunderous reputation. This was why many of its mercenaries were willing to fight alongside it against the Arabs.
"Lord Protector-General speaks the truth. I am confident that no matter what, the Great Tang will be the ultimate victor. Our Karluk Tribe swears an oath to follow the Great Tang until the end!"
Guli gave Wang Chong a grateful glance, seizing the chance to express his loyalty. If not for Wang Chong's timely words, he might have ended up as the target of everyone in the room. He was gradually beginning to admire this newly-arrived Qixi Protector-General.
"Enough. Leave that for later. We need to first discuss how we should handle the night. If my guess is correct, Abu Muslim and Dalun Ruozan will definitely try something in the middle of the night."
Wang Chong spoke with his eyes fixed on the model.
Guli was astonished and asked in confusion, "Milord, will there not be any fighting in the afternoon?"
Wang Chong, Gao Xianzhi, and Cheng Qianli all chuckled at this question. Although Guli had taken Wanhe Peiluo's seat and become chief of the Karluks, his military intuition and grasp of strategy were clearly lacking.
"Relax. If Abu Muslim was intending to fight in the afternoon, he wouldn't have retreated in the morning."
Wang Chong waved his hand and gave a careless smile.
"And he also has duties to take care of after the battle. It's not possible for him to start another battle so soon after the last. Even if he were willing, Dalun Ruozan definitely wouldn't agree. All his focus will be on a night raid!"
The superior general broke the enemy's schemes. Any general who came off badly in a daytime battle would begin to consider launching an attack at night. A night assault had many advantages. For example, the enemy would not be able to remain vigilant for the entirety of the night, and the more intense the battle during the day was, the drowsier they would be at night.
The cover of darkness would also allow the army to more easily approach while also lowering the accuracy of archers and ballistae.
"This truly is the case. With my understanding of Abu Muslim, he's an extremely aggressive person who would never let go a chance to attack at night. In addition, Dalun Ruozan definitely will have made his own preparations. Thus, the risks at night are no smaller than those during the day. But this can also be a chance for us," Anxi Protector-General Gao Xianzhi considered.
"In war, there's no such thing as too much deception. Although we don't have as many soldiers as the Arabs, Turks, and Tibetans, we do have a massive advantage in the steel walls and the city of Talas. Abu Muslim doesn't have such fortifications, so if they can raid us at night, we can do the same against them. In addition, we can use such a raid to gather some information."
Wang Chong couldn't help but smile at these words. Many people knew that Gao Xianzhi was a god-like commander who made fierce and swift assaults, often appearing in places his enemies never expected. However, very few people knew that Gao Xianzhi had another trait: a willingness to engage in deception and trickery.
Time and time again, he had relied on deception to subdue the kingdoms of the Western Regions.
From a Confucian perspective, this was a disgraceful trait, but from a military perspective, Wang Chong found it extremely praiseworthy.