Big Quinn and Godzilla quickly worked together and moved all items from the unit onto the Iron Knight.
Li Du kept the smaller, valuable items in the trunk of the Hellcat. The good thing about the Hellcat was its large, spacious trunk.
Li sat on the drivers seat and played some music. The Harman Kardon bass bellowed melodiously in the vehicle.
The Hellcat could not only run, its accessories were also very luxurious. The whole car had a total of 18 speakers installedenough to produce a sensational hearing experience.
But all the beautiful sounds from the speakers were nothing compared to the roar of the HEMI engine. Li Du twisted the key to start the engine, his foot stepped on the gas, and the car went zooming out.
"Yo! Yo! Yo! Check it Out! Come on baby go! One, Two, Three, Four!" Li Du and Hans both started singing in Mandarin: "Who is singing! It warmed the lonely heart..."
Hans followed the music by crazily twisting his body in the passenger seat. In the back, Ah Meow and Crispy Noodles, with adorable and confused stares, were tightly covering their small ears with their paws.
Each of them was more sensitive to sight and smell than humans were. While the music inside the car was not considered loud, coupled with Hanss howling, it was rather deafening for them.
Li Du thought of a saying from Hanss reaction to his music: Music brings cultures together.
Although Li Du spoke in his mother tongue frequently, Hans had been unable to learn much Mandarin. But he had learned how to sing most of the Chinese songs that Li Du frequently played while driving.
A good example was the Chinese song they were playing now: the DJ version of "Above the Moon," where Hans could sing most of the song pretty well.
When they embarked on their return journey, instead of going straight back to Flagstaff, they went to the gun store, Veterans World, instead.
The sales assistant was already familiar with them and immediately asked the two of them, "Looking for Maurice?"
Hans replied, "Yes, please tell him weve brought something fun."
Soon, Maurice appeared with his prominent belly.
From across the distance of the store both could already hear his hearty laughter. "Haha! Youre here again? Welcome! Every time youre here, I can earn some money, and thats awesome."
"You're going to earn a lot of money this time." Hans walked over to Maurice and slung his arm around his shoulders.
Maurice asked in anticipation, "What is it?"
Hans brought him to the parking lot just in front of the entrance. Godzilla opened the door to the trailer, showing the cannon they had placed right in the center, with the muzzle facing straight at them.
When he saw the cannon, Maurice's eyes grew in astonishment, and his breathing quickly became rapid.
Hans stood in front of him and asked, "How is it? Do you like it?"
Maurice shoved him away and cried, "F*ck, I love it! How did you get this thing? You traveled through time?"
"Of course not," Li Du laughed.
Maurice exclaimed excitedly, "How can you not have? How is this possible? The last time you were here, you brought a gun used in World War II. This time, you brought a 170-caliber medium-trench mortar from World War I!"
Li Du asked, "A 170-caliber medium-trench mortar? A product from the First World War?"
Maurice nodded. "Yes, this grumpy fat boy was the product of the First World War. Don't underestimate it, pals. This fella was a star in its day!"
Li Du said with curiosity, "Tell us about it. Its obvious you know a lot about the cannon."
Maurice started to give an account of the trench mortar. "Lets start from its origin. In the beginning of the 20th century, the belligerent states fought each other by adopting trench warfare tactics.
"As you all know, trenches were built to avoid the enemy's small arms fire and to provide shelter from artillery. Ordinary artillery was practically useless against such fortifications, and so the trench mortar was born.
"The Germans especially liked these trench mortars. This cannon, called Minenwerfer, was one of the best. Someone help get me a measuring tape?"
Maurice shouted the request, and a sales assistant quickly brought him a measuring tape.
Li Du did not understand what Maurice wanted to dohe used the tape to measure the length of the cannon barrel.
After getting the measurement, Maurice cheerfully declared, "76.5 centimetersthis is the improved version of the longer-barrel mortar. The original version of the 170-caliber Minenwerfer was only 64.6 centimeters long."
"How can it be powerful with such a short barrel?" Hans asked in disbelief.
A cannon's barrel length was closely related to the initial velocity and range of its projectile. The longer the cannon barrel was, the greater the pressure generated by the explosion of the charge. This gave the projectile a greater velocity so it could travel farther.
"See, the trench mortar was designed to counter land fortifications," Maurice said. "Its firing range was not far: the maximum range of this mortar is probably a little over 5,000 feet. The effective range is around 1,000 feet."
Hans shook his head and remarked, "That's too close. Machine guns could easily take it out."
Maurice smiled in response to Hans and explained, "Nothe machine guns could do nothing to it because it would hide in the trenches. Thats the origin of its name."
Compared with artillery shells used in ordinary artillery, trench mortar shells were more powerful; the cannons trajectory was also curved so it could hide in the trenches and fire at a target behind an obstruction.
In this regard, with the trench mortar, one just needed to dig the trench not too far away from the enemys fortification and use the mortar to blow the fortification away.
For infantry, this had been a crucial toolif they did not have the trench mortar to destroy the fortifications, then they would have had to carry the explosives with them to fight against their opponents. Dong Cunrui had sacrificed himself in such a manner.
"During World War I, the 170-caliber trench mortar proved to be very effective at destroying bunkers and fortifications," said Maurice. "Consequently, its numbers went up from 116 in service when the war broke out, to some 2,361 mortars by the time the war had ended."
"What happened after that?"
"It got phased out as it was too heavy. If it had wheels installed, it could be moved by four men for a short distance. If there were no wheels installed, at least 17 men were required to move one Minenwerfer."
Maurice went on to elaborate, "Besides, the trenches were not wide enough. They couldnt move the cannon much, and could only raise the angle of the barrel, which meant that the target had to be very close. If they placed the mortar outside the trench, they would be targeted instantly. And usually trench warfare was mainly about charging and retreatingthe heavy trench mortar was a burden to move."
"But it was a star on the battlefield after all," Hans said in defense of the weapon. "So its worth should not be too low, right?"
Maurice nodded and said, "Well, youve found the right person. If you hadnt come looking for me, this trench mortar might not have been able to fetch a good price."
After hearing this, Hans perked up and asked, "How much are you willing to pay for it?"
"Don't rush," Maurice said slowly. "I have to check if its the real deal."
He got up onto the trailer, looked at the base of the cannon and nodded, "The Rheinmetall AG logo is well-preserved, and the whole lower half seems fine too."
He also checked each and every piece of the accessories and components that came with the trench mortar. After checking, he got out of the trailer and shouted for a staff member to help him fetch something from his storeroom.
Li Du and his friends were stunned by the sight of the "thing" that was being carried out. "D*mn, are you going to fire the cannon?!"
Maurices employee had taken an artillery shell from the storerooma big cannonball the size of a small bucket.