Chapter 372: Start of Battle!
Gong ha! Gong ha! Gong ha!
As Great Tang's army marched to the foot of the massive mountain, the two hundred shield bearers raised their tower shields high and slammed them on the ground continuously, seemingly provoking the group at the mountain peak.
Through this, the army created an incredible momentum reminiscent of an army of thousands. The domineering clamor echoed resoundingly throughout the mountain range.
The deafening waves of sound whipped up a powerful gale that raged through the mountain forests.
While the four hundred footsoldiers couldn't be considered as elites, they had undergone the Big Dipper Army's rigorous training, and they were carefully picked from the various platoons in Longxi. Some of them were even handpicked by the commandant himself.
This was the reason why the commandant carried absolute trust in his foot soldiers.
"Stick to the formation strictly. Anyone who dares to leave the group of their own accord will be beheaded!" a powerful voice boomed in the air. The Big Dipper Army commandant raised his sword high in the air, and the cold gleam of his blade shimmered in the air.
A distance behind him, a huge group of cavalry were ordered in a neat formation.
This positioning was tactical, as well. The footsoldiers were positioned at the forefront to cushion the enemy's charge, as well as to slow their momentum so that the cavalrymen could cut into the enemy's formation, scattering their troops.
For this purpose, the cavalrymen were intentionally left trailing behind the group to create sufficient space for them to generate momentum for a charge.
This was an example of one of the more popular infantry-cavalry tactics, one that was frequently used by the Big Dipper Army in Longxi to deal with the Tibetans.
Often, warfare is about how meticulous one is.
Regardless of whether it was the massive tower shields or the positioning of the troops, these showed that the Big Dipper Army commandant wasn't an amateur to warfare.
With these measures in place, the Big Dipper Army commandant was confident of winning the battle.
With the loud beating of war drums, just as the Big Dipper Army commandant was staring at the opposite end, waiting for the Tibetan army on the opposite mountain to appear, he suddenly heard the flurried clopping of hooves.
A military inspector was rushing toward him at full speed.
"Lord, bad news!"
"What's wrong?" The Big Dipper Army commandant frowned in displeasure.
"Reporting to lord, two hundred men are missing from our formation!"
"What?!" The Big Dipper Army command's face turned livid in rage. "You bastard, are you kidding me?"
For two hundred men to be missing from the formation at such a time was no joking affair!
Cold sweat seeped down the military inspector's forehead. He swiftly explained the matter, saying that he had only just noticed the disappearance of the riders.
Considering the strict discipline that the Big Dipper Army imposed on their troops, this was a serious matter.
"Do you know who the ones that fled are?" The Big Dipper Army commandant questioned sternly.
"Yes, we have already confirmed the missing personnel!" The military inspector swiftly reported the names of the missing personnel. The troops who were missing were all under the leadership of the scions of the capital.
The scions of the capital were all spoiled brats who were fearful of death. Clearly, they felt apprehensive about this battle, so they chose to flee before the start of the battle.
This was deserting the army!
"Those bastards!" The Big Dipper Army commandant's face was darker than ever.
Fleeing before battle warranted a death penalty. It was one thing for those scions to flee, but to think those veteran cavalrymen under them would do the same as well. This was unpardonable!
Did they think that their Big Dipper Army dared not execute scions like them?
But at that instant, a powerful aura suddenly swept down from the top of the mountain.
A powerful gale blew in the air. Atop the horseback, the Big Dipper Army commandant felt his heart skip a beat. Lifting his head, he saw many war steeds appearing amidst the dense forests.
The Big Dipper Army commandant instantaneously recognized those greenish-black war steeds at the peak of the mountain. The highland steeds were the most outstanding breed of horses in the Ü-Tsang highlands. Despite their shorter limbs and smaller stature compared to the Central Plains steeds, they possessed extraordinary lung capacity and powerful bodies.
This meant that they could sprint at an alarming speed, thus creating great force in their charges.
In the past clashes between Great Tang and Ü-Tsang, these war steeds had displayed tremendous fighting prowess.
Like sculpted statues, the hundreds of highland steeds stood motionlessly in a neat formation as they gazed down at the troops on the foot of the mountain.
The imposing aura from their presence created a heavy pressure on those standing beneath them.
"Return to your position for now. We shall deal with those deserters later on!" The Big Dipper Army commandant immediately dismissed the military inspector as he raised the sword in his right arm high and issued a heavy and authoritative command, "Everyone, prepare yourselves!"
With this, the atmosphere suddenly felt so tense that it felt as if the air was laced with lead. Everyone's eyes were fixed on the mountain before them.
At this moment, no one had the spare attention to care about the deserters anymore.
Even though two hundred deserters would result in a significantly weaker fighting prowess, there were still eight hundred remaining soldiers in the army. With this number, they still outnumbered the Tibetan soldiers by more than twofold!
On the peak of the mountain, three hundred Tibetan soldiers slowly emerged from the forest like demons emerging from the gates of hell, coming into everyone's view.
These cavalrymen, along with their steeds, were equipped with heavy armor from head to toe. They carried a particularly heavy disposition, reminiscent of immovable mountains.
Even from afar, the Great Tang soldiers could clearly perceive the aura, and they couldn't help but feel a heavy pressure weighing down on them. The Big Dipper Army commandant's face warped slightly in astonishment.
Without a doubt, these fellows were elite troops!
"Plant your shields on the ground diagonally!"
"Archers, draw your arrows!"
"Cavalrymen, prepare yourselves. Move at my command!"
The Big Dipper Army commandant issued a series of commands. Following his orders, the sound of heavy shields being planted in the ground and arrows being drawn on bowstrings echoed.
"It's about to begin!" At the same time, at the top of the mountain, the commander of the Tibetan army glanced at the ant-like formation of the army beneath, and a savage smile surfaced on his face.
Their final fight was just about to begin.
After defeating this final wave of Great Tang soldiers and destroying the resting point, they would have accomplished their mission. They would be able to depart from here and return to Ü-Tsang.
Without a doubt, the current Great Tang was nowhere near comparable to Ü-Tsang.
The Tibetan commander drew the scimitar on his waist and raised it high above his head.
This uniquely forged Tibetan scimitar reflected a bone-chilling gleam from its blade.
"Soldiers, heed my orders. Destroy these fools, and we'll be able to return to our homeland!"
The eyes of the three hundred cavalrymen gleamed excitedly as they cheered loudly. Killing intent began gushing from their bodies like a flood tide.
"Hehehe, good!" Feeling the surge of killing intent behind him, a cruel smile crept onto the lips of the Tibetan commander in the front. The scimitar he had raised up high cut down abruptly as he bellowed, "Charge!"
With a loud rumble, the three hundred Tibetan soldiers charged down the mountain on their highland steeds.
Their initial speed wasn't too fast, but gradually, they became faster and faster, and eventually, even the ground seemed to tremble beneath them.
The heavy mountainlike aura that they emanated swiftly intensified along with their charge, growing several times more powerful.
Their initial formation was also swiftly changing amidst their charge. One echelon, two echelons... Before long, the army of three hundred had been divided to around a dozen echelons as they charged to the bottom of the hill like a tsunami.
Flying Wedge Charging Formation!
This was the most effective and powerful charging formation that the Tibetan had developed and refined over a long period of time.
In this formation, ranks of cavalry would swipe away at the enemy's defense line in wave after wave, swiftly wearing them down.
A powerful group of shield bearers might be able to withstand the first charge, but could they withstand, the second, third, fourth... tenth, twentieth?
After a certain point, they would be able to tear through the opponent's front line and destroy their formation.
As long as they could breach the defense line, chaos would swiftly spread within the army!
This was a fact that the Tibetans had discovered after innumerable clashes in the Central Plains.
The Flying Wedge Charging Formation they adopted allowed for some space between the cavalrymen echelons so that they could adjust their positioning if required. This way, even if the cavalrymen in an earlier echelon were to fail, it wouldn't affect the subsequent charging echelons.
Compared to a compact formation, such a design better ensured the continuity of the charge, thus enhancing the might and lengthening the duration of the attack.
Of the cavalrymen in the world, the only ones who had succeeded in drawing out the full potential of a Flying Wedge Formation were the Tibetans.
Hong long long!
Amid the loud rumbling of horse hooves and furious war cries, the charge of the Tibetan cavalrymen grew faster and faster, reaching an inconceivable speed.
From afar, it looked like greenish-black streaks of destructive lightning were surging down the mountain, heading towards them.
The incredible momentum they harnessed was reminiscent of an avalanche, seemingly unstoppable by human force.
A grim expression appeared on the face of the Big Dipper Army commandant as he watched the sight before him.
He suddenly realized that he might have been underestimating the Tibetan army all along!