Chapter 371: Mapping Out the Strategy!
"You're thinking too much into it!" Wang Chong said calmly. "The Tibetans tend to have a shorter stature than us Han. As long as you pay attention to those with smaller frames who are acting suspiciously, it shouldn't be too difficult to spot them."
"Acting suspiciously?" Xu Gan frowned.
"That's right" Wang Chong replied calmly. "The scouts might do all they can to impersonate our men, but in the end, there's still a fundamental difference between us and them. In order to conceal their differences, their gestures will be slightly different from those of our men. For one, most of our men here have their heads held up high, while the Tibetan scout had his head lowered all this time. Furthermore, coming from different cultures, it is inevitable they would have some habits that are foreign to us. As long as you pay careful attention to it, it wouldn't be too hard to notice them."
"But even if that's the case, we can't discount the fact that he could just be a slightly shorter, injured cavalryman with weird quirks?" another recruit who was together with Fang Xuanying's group asked.
He still felt that Wang Chong's actions were too risky. After all, as confident as he was, it was nothing more than a conjecture at that point. It would be fine if everything went as he said, but if he turned out to be mistaken, that could lead to a disastrous outcome.
After all, killing a fellow soldier in public wasn't something that could be passed off as a mistake!
"That's why, didn't I test him?" Wang Chong chuckled.
Hearing those words, everyone was stunned for a moment. They suddenly recalled Wang Chong's bellow before he had made a move, and realization struck them.
"Gongzi is indeed wise and meticulous. I am impressed!"
"We have been searching for those Tibetan scouts for the entire day, but to no avail. I thought that gongzi was mistaken on this matter. Had it not for gongzi revealing their disguise, I would have never imagined that they would be so brazen!"
"Indeed! How dare they infiltrate our camp so openly! But thinking about it now, it was indeed scary how negligent we were!"...
Thinking about the consequences had these Tibetan scouts been allowed to act as they pleased, the recruits couldn't help but feel a chill run down their spine.
The resting point was tightly guarded, and there were even two hundred of them patrolling the external perimeter to search for them. Yet, those Tibetan scouts were still able to get past their encirclement right beneath their eyelids. Just the thought of it was scary in itself.
If not for Wang Chong, they would have never known that the Tibetan scouts were roaming in their midst, gathering everything to be known about them.
At this point, the crowd couldn't help but feel a deeper respect for Wang Chong. They suddenly felt that the rumors that had been spreading like wildfire across the capital might have some truth to them.
In terms of insight and discernment, Wang Chong's capability seemed to far surpass theirs.
"You can't be blamed for this either. After all, no one would have thought that the Tibetan soldiers would don the armor and ride the steeds of the deceased Great Tang soldiers," Wang Chong said.
The greatest mistake one could ever make on the battlefield was to belittle one's opponent.
While it was true that Ü-Tsang wasn't as wealthy, prosperous, or cultured as Great Tang, their soldiers were indubitably powerful adversaries.
In terms of astuteness and cunning, they weren't lesser opponents at all. In his previous life, they were many famed great generals who were defeated in the war between Great Tang and Ü-Tsang.
With such prior knowledge, it was common sense to Wang Chong to never underestimate the Ü-Tsang just because their civilization wasn't as developed as Great Tang's. But the same couldn't be said for the others.
Most of the scions in the Central Plains didn't think highly of other countries. Wang Chong also shared such a mentality in his previous life, so it didn't come as a surprise to him.
With Wang Chong's precedent setting the direction to how the search should be conducted, the patrols became much more effective. Furthermore, the entire resting point joined in on the hunt this time.
Soon, the second and the third Tibetan scout was unearthed... Within a short period of time, five men were captured.
It also became impossible for anyone to approach the camp easily. All of the soldiers wanting to enter the resting point would have to take off their helmet and have their identities verified.
Under such circumstances, there was no way that the Tibetans with their distinctive red skin tone could approach the resting point anymore!
"What's going on? Why aren't the scouts back yet?"
On the lush mountain which the Tibetan soldiers had occupied, a broad-backed, bearded Tibetan commander was glaring furiously at a Tibetan Ten-Man Squad Leader.
"Reporting to lord, the scouts aren't back yet. We have sent three groups of men to check on the situation, and judging by the timing, they should have been back by now. I fear that they might be..." the Tibetan Ten-Man Squad Leader reported fearfully with a lowered head.
He was the leader of the scouting unit, responsible for gathering crucial military intelligence for the army. This was the first time he had encountered such a problem over the past half a month.
Hearing the report, the enraged bearded commander was tempted to lash out at the other party. However, upon recalling something, he took in a deep breath and calmed himself down.
Staring intently at the Ten-Man Squad Leader, the commander questioned, "Is it possible that they saw through our disguises?"
"That's impossible! After so long a time, they have never seen through our disguise before!" the Ten-Man Squad Leader replied without any hesitation.
"Just because it has never happened before doesn't mean that it wouldn't!" the bearded commander replied with a clenched jaw.
"Regardless, it is certain that our previous measures aren't working anymore. We can't send any more scouts in to lose their lives. Call off the operation. We have already received the intelligence we were seeking anyway.
"Great Tang has become complacent after all the years of peace, they think of us as fools. Even if they realized that the secrecy behind their operation is compromised, they will never change their plans. Since that's the case, we shall move according to our original plan. Tomorrow, we shall destroy them utterly!" the Tibetan commander said with a callous gleam in his eyes.
"Yes, lord!" The Ten-Man Squad Leader hurriedly lowered his head and fell silent.
In a place where no eyes could reach, the gears of war were starting to move.
Dong dong dong dong!
Dawn, the loud beating of a war drum dispersed the mist lingering the area, resounding through the entire resting point. Flurried footsteps and horses hooves sounded ceaselessly in the area.
Compared to three days ago, the atmosphere here was as tense as a bowstring. The smell of war was apparent in the air.
The usually rowdy recruits and cavalrymen had grim expressions on their faces, and they were more solemn than ever. To those who had undergone the fight with the Tibetan soldiers in the past, they understood the significance of this battle.
"Hurry up, grab your shields! Those will be your life amulets!"
"Axe soldiers! As long as the shield bearers manage to stave off their charge, make a move immediately. Slice through their steeds before their men! Don't allow those Tibetan soldiers to get past you!"
"Master archers, make sure to aim for the slit in their armor. Heavy armor isn't omnipotent. As long as your aim is accurate, you can still kill them!"
"Everyone, make sure to obey orders strictly. Anyone who messes up the formation will be beheaded!"...
Early in the morning, the Big Dipper Army commandant walked among the preparing troops and exhorted them. His voice was sharp, and his expression was austere, reminiscent of a raging lion.
Even though the Big Dipper Army's top commander was currently Geshu Han, its founder was the Great War God, as well as the current Imperial Tutor of the crown prince, Wang Zhongsi.
In Great Tang, Wang Zhongsi could be considered as a true pillar of the empire, the number one Han general. His standing and influence were even above that of the Eastern Protector-General, Zhang Shougui.
Wang Zhongsi had maintained a strict military regiment under his command, and the current order that was in the Big Dipper Army originated from him. Even Geshu Han had only inherited his legacy.
Such a style was adopted from the very top to the bottom of the Big Dipper Army, and this commandant was no exception.
This style was highly effective in maintaining discipline within the army, as well. Through this strict military regiment, there were no soldiers in the Big Dipper Army who disdained authority.
Upon seeing this sight, a bizarrely familiar sensation gripped Wang Chong.
The only major battle he had participated in ever since his reincarnation was the battle against the Goguryeons, but everything felt extremely familiar and nostalgic to him.
Perhaps it was a calling buried deep within his blood and soul, summoning him to the battlefield.
After watching the war preparations conducted in the gathering point for a moment, Wang Chong turned to Xu Gan, Bai Siling, Fang Xuanying, Zhao Yatong, and the others and asked, "How is it? Are the preparations ready?"
"Yes!" the group nodded grimly.
Xu Gan and Huang Yongtu had never fought against the Tibetan army before and were not familiar with their prowess, so they weren't as affected. But tension could be seen clearly on the faces of Fang Xuanying and the others.
Even Zhao Yatong couldn't help but feel nervous at this point.
After the numerous defeats they’d had, it was inevitable that they would feel apprehensive about facing the Tibetan army once more.
Wang Chong had noticed this, but he chose to let it be.
No amount of words could assuage their worries at this point. Once they were in battle, they would naturally understand everything.
"Let's go according to plan. The first wave shall scatter before the second, and the third, so on and so forth... We have too many men at the moment, so it'll be too conspicuous if our numbers thin abruptly," Wang Chong instructed as he re-emphasized the final arrangements to the group. It won't be an easy task to carry out his plan as the Big Dipper Army commandant wouldn't watch silently as his soldiers defied his orders.
However, Wang Chong wasn't worried.
"Later on, there will be a roll call, so make sure to be present then. The moment that we leave the resting point will be the moment that we'll move. Our commander is a conceited man, his attention will be focused on the Big Dipper Army's four hundred shield bearers and axe soldiers instead of us. After the roll call, his attention will be off us. That will be our chance to make a move."
"Understood!" everyone replied deeply.
"Alright, move!" Hearing everyone's responses, Wang Chong nodded and gestured to dismiss them.
Hong long long!
Soon, amid rumbling earth and swirling dust, under the command of the Big Dipper Army commandant, the footsoldiers and cavalrymen began marching to the foot of the mountain occupied by the Tibetans.
However, no one noticed that at the very end of the formation, Wang Chong's group of two hundred was leaving in wave after wave.
With this, the final step to executing Wang Chong's plan was completed!