Chapter 0286 - Uphill Struggle!
[Book 2: The Sea of Zombies]
The soldiers of Ning Guang County's 3rd Battalion were all wearing the hide of the Mutant Black-scaled Boar as armor, gloves, and other bits of body armor. Just like the Black-scaled Boar, these protective coverings were thick and resilient. The strong scales could block the attacks of any ordinary zombies.
With the protection of the Mutant Black Boar hide, the soldiers of Ning Guang County's 3rd Battalion were like winged tigers when facing the ordinary zombies. Every swing of their Tang Replica Swords cut through the zombies like they were chopping vegetables. With such non stop slaughter the soldiers continuously received enhancement.
The experts of the Special Combat Forces were still relying on sniper rifles as well as their abilities to pick off the evolved zombies. The sound of a clacking semi-automatic bolt was inevitably followed by Zombie heads exploding.
Under the cover of the heavy artillery, the soldiers of Ning Guang County's 3rd Battalion courageously charged forward, massacring the zombies with wild chops of their Tang blades as blood flew everywhere.
Yue Zhong's forces were extremely proficient in melee combat, this was a requisite bit of training. When being whipped into shape, every single battalion had gone through close quarter combat with zombies.
Of course, equipment was important to morale. The protection of the Mutant Black Scaled Boar's hide greatly reduced the chances of being infected, therefore they were fearless as they charged into the horde. The slow reaction speeds of the ordinary zombies were simply no match for these soldiers.
As there was a limit to the cover and support of the artillery, and after firing continuously for some time, Xu Zhengang had to let the artillery cool down or risk damaging it. In response to this unavoidable fact, he ordered for the soldiers to fall back.
The sea of zombies continued advancing towards Tiger's Mouth Gorge regardless of the bullets and shelling, they knew no fear. At this time, the earlier preparations at the gorge were set in motion. Right in front of the gorge, there were numerous sharp steel spikes aimed outwards like a barbed fence.
When the zombies knocked onto the spikes, they would be pierced through by them. Add on to the mindless advance from the other zombies behind, and the zombies in the front found themselves properly impaled by those spikes. Very soon, there were numerous spikes full of mostly squirming zombies.
The zombies continued squeezing forward, causing the steel spikes to be continuously stuck with zombies, blocking off the route for the zombies behind.
After losing more than a few hundred basic zombies, the hundreds of remaining L2 charged out with the horde in attack! As these huge freaks were obvious within the crowd due to their size, the 12.7mm heavy machine guns started firing.
Due to the well planned sweeping fire from the heavy machine gun, those armored L2s were also incapacitated giving more breathing room. Tong Xiaoyun had been hiding behind cover and at the right moment took the opportunity to thrust the Dark Magic Blade and pierce one of the L2 in its head, before twisting it like a blender and killing it.
Tong Xiaoyun's telekinesis ability could exhibit its prowess under these conditions like a fish in water! Those L2s that tried to get back up from the machine-gun fire knocking them down? They were systematically picked off by her and the Dark Magic Blade.
Flame King Gu was also an old hand at these situations one should know. His attacks were multiple conjured fireballs and he exploded them on those L2s' heads, causing skull shrapnel and flaming, fleshy pulp to fly as they were blasted into pieces.
After he had joined Yue Zhong back in Qing Yuan County, he had taken part in many other battles against zombies and had reached to an enhancement level of 35. His Flame Control Skill had been enhanced three times, and the fireballs he conjured were no longer small or faded ones but instead were voluminous blazing spheres!
Bai He had an extremely icy gaze as he held his sniper rifle, and picked off the L2s one by one. The L2s kept dying, as their heads exploded gloriously under his attacks.
The valley was too narrow, and the result was the horde could not force their way through. Xu Zhengang ordered the soldiers of the 4th Battalion to lock the place down. With the assistance of the Special Combat Forces they slaughtered a large number of zombies, while their own casualties were almost zero.
The intense battle continued all the way until evening, and no one had the luxury of time to rest. The zombies were constantly rushing to their deaths, and the soldiers from the army had to maintain their staunch defences.
Due to the overall lack of rest and constant firing, many soldiers' shoulders were starting to swell from the repeated recoil of their guns. The majority of the guns barrels had to be changed a few times as well. The intensity of the battle was way out of the 5 heads' expectations.
Even Yue Zhong's force who were guarding Tiger's Mouth Gorge, were feeling the fatigue. Xu Zhengang had rotated in the 8th Battalion to take over the 2nd Battalion, which had been fighting nonstop for the entire day.
Out of the 10 tanks and 20 IFVs which formed the steel fleet that was constantly dispatched into the battlefield, 4 of the IFVs had been destroyed by H1s which were hiddenly firing amongst the horde.
On this first day of intense fighting, with the assistance of the heavy artillery, the military and Yue Zhong had jointly massacred over 400,000 zombies. However, the cost was the gruesome death of 482 of their soldiers. Furthermore, the important and highly effective artillery had fired over half of their available ammunition.
Without the artillery, the military and Yue Zhong would definitely not be able to obtain such a promising result. Even if it were 400,000 pigs given to be slaughtered, the 6,000 people had chopped and slashed to the point of exhaustion.
The self-propelled rocket launchers could fire rockets into the midst of the horde, causing an area of effect within a radius of 18m, violently exploding and incinerating all zombies caught in its blast zone. Additionally, the shrapnel was incredibly effective at taking down any remaining zombies as well.
Each rocket could decimate a few hundred zombies. With the support of the rockets, Yue Zhong and the military had the means to wipe out over 400,000 zombies and had tenaciously defended their positions.
However, even after killing almost half a million zombies, the sea of zombies seemed as dense as ever, and one still could not see the end.
Inside the command centre, the 5 military heads and Yue Zhong were having a review.
Su Dongming suggested in a loud voice: "Retreat!! We should quickly retreat, before deploying small teams to snipe them at various places they advance to. The majority of the army should head back, regroup and prepare defences, before engaging them!"
Qian Weimin frowned and spoke softly, "No. The moment we retreat, how will we deal with those S1s? Our soldiers cannot outrun the S-Types!"
Amongst the million-strong horde, the ordinary zombies numbered the most, but the L1s and S1 type also numbered in the 10s of thousands. While the soldiers' speed outstripped the L1s, they could not compare to the S1s.
If they were to retreat, and the S1s formed a unit to chase up, those soldiers who could only rely on their legs would definitely die miserable, bloody deaths.
Luo Tianyi took a deep puff of his cigar, as here released a smoke circle and frowned. After some thought he spoke. "But if we were to continue fighting, who knows when the battle will end. Our troops may die first!"
The 5 heads of the military and Yue Zhong had seen the terror of a million-strong horde today. Even with the support of the artillery and the assault of the tanks, it was an incredibly tough battle. There was the constant danger of the frontline collapsing, morale was incredibly low, and it was only under the condition of the military sending their 7 assault helicopters to join the fray that they managed to hold the fort.
Although they had killed over 400,000 zombies, every single soldier was exhausted. If this continued on, they would not be able to hold for more than 2 days. The crux of the matter was that the battle was too intense, anyone who had to fight continuously for more than 8 hours without rest, was definitely going to feel exhausted.
When fighting against other humans, the war could take a pause and both sides would retreat to rest. Against these inhumane zombies, which only knew how to charge forward without fear of death, the soldiers did not even have the time to catch a breath, and had to maintain the defence like a robot. Under that high intensity, a lot of gun barrels were used to the point of waste, and many soldiers had swollen shoulders.
Of course, it was not without merit, after killing the 400,000-over zombies, there were some individual zombies straggling about that retreated, converging with those in SY County, this led the soldiers to breathe a little.
Su Dongming laughed coldly: "That's right! We should retreat immediately! As for the assault from the zombies, we can let one of the teams stay behind, and cover our retreat! Since Yue Zhong's forces are the strongest, and they had suffered the least losses, I suggest to let Yue Zhong and his men stay behind, to cover our retreat!"
After Su Dongming's words, the rest of the 4 heads all shifted their gaze towards Yue Zhong. Yue Zhong's crafty yet brilliant move in defending Tiger Mouth's Gorge, in addition to the preparation and construction they had done, had indeed wore down the zombies' fighting capabilities, and thus they had suffered almost no casualties.
Luo Tianyi looked towards Yue Zhong apologetically and said: "I too feel that Vice-Division Commander Su's words are right. Yue Zhong's forces are indeed the strongest. Letting him stay behind and cover our retreat, is the best option available. Yue Zhong, as long as you are willing to do so, you will become a huge hero in SY County's eyes. All the citizens will definitely remember this."
Yue Zhong flatly refused: "I disagree!! Covering the retreat is definitely a good idea, which I feel that the responsibility should fall on Su Dongming Commander Su and Luo Tianyi Commander Luo. The chance to be a hero, I'll leave it to you guys."
Su Dongming let out a cold laugh, and raised up his right hand: "Let's vote! Then it'll be fair. Those who are in favour of letting Yue Zhong stay behind please raise your hand!"
Luo Tianyi also raised his right hand.
Qian Weimin and Liu Huifeng seemed to hesitate a while, and raised their hands as well. Yue Zhong was an outsider after all, letting him stay behind, even if there was loss, it would be borne by Yue Zhong. It was not their problem.
Shen Hongyang pondered a while before offering some conditions: "Yue Zhong, as long as you stay behind and cover our retreat, once you're back at SY, as long as you have the power, how many survivors you want to take you may take. Since you like women, we'll try and find 300 pretty virgins for you as well!!"
Yue Zhong had an icy expression as he directly refused: "Not interested!! If you insist on my staying back, I'll pull my troops back immediately!"
If Yue Zhong covered their retreat and suffered losses, without power, the military would pounce on him the first chance they got.
Luo Tianyi frowned and spoke loudly, "Yue Zhong! Why are you like that, can't you see the big picture!! Our army is now facing a crisis, only you have your fighting power intact. Just to protect your own power, you're not willing to stay behind. Do you really want to force all of us to our deaths?"
Yue Zhong gazed at Luo Tianyi contemptuously, and said cooly, "Since Commander Luo can see the bigger picture, why can't you stay behind and cover the retreat?"
Luo Tianyi was naturally unwilling to stay behind, it was job that was tantamount to suicide. If one was not careful, he might lose everything. Without troops nor the equipment, Luo Tianyi would not be worth much. He was not willing to bring his troops to their deaths.
Liu Huifeng thought quietly for awhile, before suggesting an offer that made Yue Zhong's heart itchy: "Yue Zhong, if you're willing to stay behind! We can give you 3 assault helicopters and their pilots, as well as their maintenance crew!"
3 assault helicopters were potent weapons, with just 3, Yue Zhong could be considered to possess an aerial unit, facing any small powers would just require a single assault helicopter. It could easily cause the enemy to lose the will to fight and surrender immediately. Furthermore, he could use the assault helicopter to directly fly over any places that were surrounded by zombies.
Hearing Liu Huifeng's offers, Yue Zhong was slightly tempted, but he still shook his head and refused, "I'm not interested!! If you guys insist on my staying behind, I will immediately pull my troops back!!"
It was still the same logic, if Yue Zhong lost his strength, he would have no way of protecting himself against the army, much less demand for what was promised.
Regardless of their pleading and offers, Yue Zhong rejected them all.
None of the 5 heads were willing to stick his neck out for the rest as well, and pretty soon the talks came to a deadlock.
After a long while, Shen Hongyang had no choice but to dismiss the meeting, letting the various leaders to take a rest and have some food.
Su Dongming immediately found Luo Tianyi and asked, "Old Luo, what do you think about the battle?"
Luo Tianyi and Su Dongming were from the same regiment, and their relationship was decent. Furthermore, Su Dongming was the one who always held the lead position, only after clashing with Yue Zhong did he suffered heavy losses, and thus their relationship had undergone a little change. However, it was still closer compared to the rest of the 3 heads.
Luo Tianyi furrowed his brows, and came to a precise conclusion: "It's gonna be tough!! If those zombies launch a mass scale assault in the night, we would definitely not be able to hold!"
Battling in the night was one of the hardest part of war. Under the cover of darkness, even the most elite of snipers would find it hard to discern friend from foe, not to mention the ordinary soldiers.
While the army brought plenty of flares, they could not compare to the illumination by daylight.
Su Dongming laughed coldly: "Tough?! There's only death awaiting us all if we stay! It's not like you have no idea how crazy it is to fight in the night. Based on the troops' morale and fighting capabilities now, the moment there is a slight mistake, the entire formation would fall!!"
Luo Tianyi maintained his silence, he knew Su Dongming was right. They had such a high number of inexperienced soldiers who had not gone through tough training or experiences like the veterans. The moment a mistake occurred, they were bound to lose their will to fight.
Luo Tianyi pondered a while, before saying: "What do you suggest?"
Su Dongming's eyes flash with viciousness: "We take our troops and leave. By that time, even if they don't want to cover us, it'll be too late! Stopping the horde will consume their resources! And then we'll be the rulers of SY County!"