The Human Emperor Chapter 929
Chapter 929: Generals Gather Strategic Deliberations Iii
Chapter 929: Generals Gather, Strategic Deliberations (III)
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
"I've exchanged blows with Dalun Ruozan before. Given my understanding of him, he should already be discussing a night-time operation with them. If my assumptions are correct, the target of their operation should be here."
As Wang Chong spoke, he suddenly pointed a finger at a certain place on the model, immediately drawing everyone's attention to it.
"The daytime part of our battle with the Great Tang has already concluded, but the nighttime part has yet to begin…"
At the same time, to the east of Talas, behind the hills, inside a typical golden Western Turkic tent, Dalun Ruozan, Duwu Sili, Huoshu Huicang, Dusong Mangpoje, and the rest of the Turkic and Tibetan generals were gathered.
Unlike the Tang side, they were not gathered around a topographical map of Talas, but the precious map of the continent belonging to the Ü-Tsang Empire.
"On the surface, the commander of the Great Tang forces is Gao Xianzhi, but in reality, their commander is the one that we're all familiar with, the youngest son of the Wang Clan. Given my understanding of him, he will definitely try something tonight. In the southwest, he used this move, and he won't let such an opportunity pass."
Just like Wang Chong had with Dalun Ruozan, Dalun Ruozan had drawn the same conclusion about Wang Chong. These two mortal foes had far too great an understanding of each other.
"In addition, during the daytime, we lost a great deal of soldiers. Unlike the Great Tang, we won't be getting reinforcements, so I conclude that Wang Chong will definitely make us the main target of his attacks. He will use every method at his disposal to slowly grind away at our manpower until we crumble away!"
If Wang Chong had been listening in, he would definitely have been flabbergasted, as Dalun Ruozan had reached exactly the same conclusion from his analysis as the generals in the reception hall belonging to the Lord of Talas.
"Gonjo Jiebu, what is the status on the fence and sentry posts I had you construct?"
Dalun Ruozan turned to a Tibetan general behind him.
"Reporting to Great Minister: the carriages have been unloaded and the soldiers ordered to begin construction. All construction should be done in around four hours."
Gonjo Jiebu was an extremely burly and rough-faced general, with a scimitar hanging from his waist.
"Very good. Make sure that all the soldiers have the passwords for the patrols. In addition, make sure that the outer perimeter has many torches. Any person approaching, whether friend or enemy, must be rigorously inspected. If they are our own men, they need to be even more rigorously inspected!" Dalun Ruozan said.
Duwu Sili suddenly spoke. "Isn't Great Minister making too much of a fuss? Isn't this too cautious for some nighttime patrols?" With his hands held behind his back, he had been quietly listening, but the more he heard, the more his thick brows creased.
Dalun Ruozan was a Great Minister of Ü-Tsang, and though they had only interacted with each other for a short time, he had won Duwu Sili's approval. But Duwu Sili found it hard to just blindly go along with Dalun Ruozan's extreme vigilance. Dalun Ruozan had not even been like this during the battle in the morning.
"Haha, Great General has never fought with that person, so it's natural that you don't know. That person's art of war is different from anyone else's. In the war of the southwest, he had the Tang disguise themselves as Tibetans or Mengshe Zhao people multiple times. There was a torrential downpour going on at the time, so our encirclement was broken many times, and our advantage was slowly whittled away until we were defeated."
Dalun Ruozan softly chuckled, not at all angry.
Dalun Ruozan's words took Duwu Sili, Shamask, Chekun Benba, and the other Western Turkic generals by surprise. They had all heard somewhat about the war of the southwest, but never to this level of detail.
"That's too despicable!" Chekun Benba viciously said.
The Turks were accustomed to open battles, frank clashes of saber and sword. If the enemy disguised themselves as Western Turks and set up an ambush, the Western Turks would truly fall into the trap.
"Great General, do not find this strange. Great Minister is only being careful, and there is no harm in being cautious. This is for the sake of the entire army," Huoshu Huicang sternly said. "Moreover, the battlefield is currently covered in corpses. The Great Tang might already be implementing their plan, taking the armor off those corpses. In this battle we lost nearly forty thousand men. If the Great Tang dispatches forty thousand men disguised as us and launches a night raid, in our situation, we won't be able to last and will inevitably suffer a gruesome defeat."
Both Dalun Ruozan and Huoshu Huicang were richly experienced in Wang Chong's inclination for using disguised troops to launch ambushes and were extremely wary of such tactics. Duwu Sili might not have understood, but this pair felt obligated to guard against the possibility.
Duwu Sili said nothing, but his brows creased even more tightly. In small numbers, disguised troops were no problem, but a large number was a completely different matter. If that boy from the Great Tang really was so crafty, then these precautions were absolutely necessary.
"Then we will do as you say and have my subordinates do everything they can to assist you. But if the Great Tang can raid us, then we can also try attacking them. Far better to attack than wait for our deaths," Duwu Sili harshly said.
"Haha, in this, Great General and I have no disagreement."
Dalun Ruozan chortled and turned his gaze back to the large map on the fretwork table in the middle of the tent.
"Although the Tang are a formidable fighting force with an outstanding strategist behind them, more than half their number are mercenaries, with the actual Tang soldiers forming a minority of the force. Besides that, they have one other enormous weakness. If we can seize this weakness, we can cut off one of their arms. After that, we'll have nothing to fear, not even if the Great Tang still has one hundred thousand soldiers left."
"What weakness is this?"
Dalun Ruozan's words instantly caught everyone's attention. Dalun Ruozan, Huoba Sangye, Chekun Benba, Shamask, and all the other generals leaned in to listen.
Dalun Ruozan smiled as he spat out the word.
Dalun Ruozan had no idea that at this same moment, Wang Chong was repeating this exact word before the assembled generals in the Lord of Talas's reception hall.
"Ballistae are the Great Tang's most powerful heavy weaponry, and the Imperial Court has always strictly regulated their use. In our last two battles, a significant number of Arabs, Turks, and Tibetans were killed by the ballistae. Dalun Ruozan is known as a wise minister, so he must have noticed this point. If Dalun Ruozan does launch a night raid, his target will definitely be the ballistae!"
Wang Chong spoke these words with absolute assurance, backed as they were by his deep understanding of Dalun Ruozan.
Unless it was a large-scale assault, a night raid would usually inflict very limited harm, so their targets normally had some strategic significance. Dalun Ruozan would not make an exception here.
"Lord Protector-General, the ballistae are extremely important. If the Tibetans and Turks will choose to attack the ballistae, should we not consider moving the ballistae into Talas to avoid large losses?" Cheng Qianli probed.
Wang Chong was not the only one with ballistae. The Anxi Protectorate army also had a large number of ballistae, but these were usually used in an auxiliary role. No one had ever made an army of them as Wang Chong had, nor assigned special soldiers to man them. On the battlefield, the results displayed by Wang Chong's ballista army were like night and day compared to the ballistae of the Anxi Protectorate army.
If Dalun Ruozan chose to make an attack on Wang Chong's ballista army, it would have a massive effect on the Tang army at Talas.
However, the ballista army was under Wang Chong's command, and not even the Vice Protector-General of the Anxi Protectorate army, Cheng Qianli, could order them around, only offer advice. In the military, overstepping one's authority was a major taboo!
"There's no need!"
Wang Chong gave a carefree laugh.
"The steel defense lines need the ballista teams to intimidate the enemy. In addition, we can't rule out the possibility that Abu Muslim and Dalun Ruozan could choose to launch a large-scale assault in the middle of the night. Only with the ballistae can we launch a timely counterattack. In addition, without the ballistae, how can we bait out Dalun Ruozan?"
At these final words, the eyes of everyone in the hall brightened.
"It seems that Lord Protector-General has a plan."
Gao Xianzhi stroked his beard and gave Wang Chong a knowing smile.
"In all matters, preparation will always be superior to no preparations. Since I know that Dalun Ruozan will attack the ballistae, I will naturally plan out countermeasures. The Tibetans can attack us, so we can attack them!" Wang Chong confidently said.
Gao Xianzhi nodded in agreement at Wang Chong's words. Heroes admired heroes, and though Wang Chong was much younger than him, his mindset was already at the Great General level. In his ideas and plans, he was in complete agreement with Gao Xianzhi. Gao Xianzhi could not find this trait in any of the generals of the Anxi Protectorate army.
"Lord Protector-General and I share the same view. The first to strike is in the active position while the second to strike is forced into the passive position. Offense is the best course of action," Gao Xianzhi said, his eyes bright.
Gao Xianzhi had never been a defensive Great General. Proactive offense was his defining trait, so he naturally resonated with Wang Chong's proposal to attack.
"However, there is one thing that Lord Protector-General must guard against," Gao Xianzhi said. "Based on what I know, Dalun Ruozan exchanged blows with you before and has a deep understanding of your tactics. This man has always been very intelligent, so he has assuredly predicted your assault and prepared for it. If Lord Protector-General wishes to attack, the assault must be carefully planned out."
"Haha, Milord is worrying too much. The art of war is the art of deception. Dalun Ruozan knows of only my past tactics, not my current ones. A general should always adjust his tactics to the local circumstances, altering them according to the time and place. If one does not have fixed strategies, how can the enemy defend against them? No matter what precautions Dalun Ruozan has taken, it's all useless."
Wang Chong finished with a winsome smile.