Conclusion and Reorganization
The snow continued to fall. However, it wasn't like the feather-sized flakes like before but rather tiny flecks of white that gradually painted the ground white.
It was as warm as spring within the tent as a large brazier had been placed in the center of it with a piece of burning charcoal within that let out wave after wave of heat. On the brazier was a large bronze kettle with steam coming out of its spout.
Shadekampf lifted the bronze kettle and filled the teacup in front of him and handed it to anyone else who needed it. When the kettle was emptied, it was refilled with water and macks and was placed back on top of the wire gauze on the brazier. In a few moments, the aroma of macks filled up the whole tent once again.
Lorist, Charade, Terman, Yuriy, Els, Potterfang, Mons Malek, Lode Wales as well as the 37 senior students of the academy were assembled together within the tent. In a corner also stood Engelich and her granddaughter, Molise. They were currently talking about the gains they had obtained following the battle yesterday.
"In terms of logistics, the gains we have obtained from the battle were outweighed by the cost. Even though we only lost 17 crossbowmen to take out all 3000 of the enemy troops, not only were our profit quite low, we also inherited a huge burden. We have killed over 1600 enemy soldiers and captured another 1200 and also saved more than 2300 youths in the process. Even though our victory was quite magnificent, we did not gain much food or other supplies from it. Therefore, it would be quite hard for us to provide all these men with the necessary amount of food and clothing to sustain them throughout the winter. I estimate that our resources will last us up to a month at most.
"Apart from losing 17 crossbowmen yesterday, we also have 48 injured men, 34 of which are crossbowmen as well. Others include 4 from Terman's knight brigade, 7 from Yuriy's light cavalry scouts as well as 3 from the infantry pikemen. While it is quite fortunate that our casualties were relatively low, it must be noted that the resources we expended during the battle yesterday is nothing to scoff at. For example, of the 20000 ballista darts we have prepared, we are only left with 8000 of them, and that includes the ones we managed to salvage from the battlefield after they have been used once. The rest were all damaged beyond repair and must be reforged.
"Also, Dulles's carroballista unit also wore out all their ballista strings. While we do have some reserves of that, we still lack ballista darts nevertheless. If we don't procure more of those, I'm afraid the carroballista unit won't be able to contribute much in future battles. While we didn't get any consumable supplies from this skirmish, we did however obtain more than 3000 sets of weapons and armor as well as 2000 war-trained horses that used to belong to the count's pike cavalry. It is fortunate that the camp has quite a decent amount of hay. Otherwise, we will have to consider killing off some of the horses.
"Other than that, we have found almost 10000 gold Fordes' worth of money as well as approximately 1000 pikes, 300 longswords, 600-odd longbows, almost 1000 arrows as well as 500-odd bucklers. We also got 132 four-wheeled horse carts, 341 two-wheeled horse carts as well as 1252 work horses to pull those carts with. According to the prisoners, the horse carts had been left over since their latest supply shipment from the count and hasn't been sent back due to our attack on the camp. Aside from all those, we've also got a number of miscellaneous items.
"Right now, we're facing three main problems. One, what are we going to do with the 1000 plus war prisoners? Should we leave them or bring them along when we set out? Two, at least half of the captives within the camp that we have rescued wants to join our army to take revenge for their family members who have been killed at the hands of the count's forces. Having wiped out the rebel-sweeping corps, we have become their symbol of hope. Should we let them join our forces or not? The third issue is about a man who claims to be the son of a viscount and plans to bring a few hundred men away with him. He has requested that we provide him with some weapons and equipment. Should we adhere to his demands?"
After Charade finished giving his report, chatters and murmurs reverberated throughout the tent as the people present discussed the issues. When it came to the war prisoners, some were of the opinion of setting them free to avoid having to spend any resources to keep them alive while others brought up the possibility that they would once again return to the count and provide him with precious military intelligence. Given that they couldn't just kill them off, they could just bring them along on the journey and have them help out with rough labor.
As for the youths who wish to join the convoy's army to avenge their family members, most of the people were of the opinion of letting them join for the time being. However, when it came to the man claiming to be a viscount's son, the consensus was that he had no right to demand free equipment from them no matter whether the convoy needed the surplus weapons or not.
In the midst of the discussions, Lorist clapped his hands and signalled for everyone to quiet down. He then said, "After listening to your opinions, I feel that we shouldn't free the war prisoners just yet. Even if we do, it'll have to be after we exit the area of influence of the count so that they don't add any unnecessary trouble for us. As for the youths who wish to join our army, ask them if they would like to follow us all the way to the Northlands and inform them regarding the treatment our soldiers get. Also, don't force anyone to join against their will so that we won't have any deserters in the future.
"As for the last issue, I think we can't just refuse that man's request outright. I will first go and see him and decide whether we have a good reason to fulfill his request. If it isn't a sound one, I will definitely not consent to giving the equipment to him. Alright, the next thing I'll be telling you about will be a summary of the battle yesterday, so I hope you guys pay attention. This is only the first large scale battle we have participated in since the journey started and there is no way for me to know whether things will continue to be like this for the rest of the journey. I hope that you will all learn from any mishaps from this experience and make sure not to commit them again in the future.
"We only paid a small price to win the battle yesterday and managed to wipe out an enemy force of over 3000 men. This battle could easily be one of the most impressive and perfect victories ever to be recorded in the history books. However, let's not forget that victories like this is a result of a number of unlikely coincidences that just so happened to be in our favor. First, we have the sudden snow that forced the enemies to attack us even though they were at a disadvantage because they were already running out of resources. As a commander of an army, it is extremely unwise to pour every bit of your forces into a situation with so many unknown variables like the enemy commander did yesterday. That was why they fell for our trap so easily.
"Additionally, we also had the terrain working in our favor as well as the necessary defensive fortifications that were already present at the camp, making it easy for us to defend it and extremely difficult for the enemy to besiege. Coupled with our apt response, we have managed to stall them during the day and only let them into the camp when their vision was obscured by the low light and snow. The frustration of having been held outside of the camp also fueled their recklessness and caused them to fall for the bait. Had they managed to breached the camp during the day, what do you think they would've done when they encountered that wooden corridor? Would they have let their troops rush straight into it in that situation? I'm sure you're all aware that if that had happened instead, even if we were able to eliminate their forces, our casualties would be far worse than that. That is why luck was a huge factor when it came to our victory last night.
"Finally, the trap we devised using the carroballistas has produced an unexpected result and caused most of the pike cavalrymen of the enemy to be completely wiped out. Our victory was also mostly in part of our crossbowmen who have attacked from the gaps of the wooden walls; an action that allowed us to take control of the tide of battle that ultimately led to our victory. However, if we consider this victory along with the battle when we were occupying the camp as well as the time when our convoy was first attacked by the pike cavalry, we have lost quite a number of people including one of our cherished comrades.
"Throughout all these battles, I have discovered that our family's forces is heavily dependent on certain units. That can be seen in the fact that our heavy-armored units weren't able to shine during this battle as we have mainly relied on the light cavalry scouts, the knight brigade as well as the crossbowmen and carroballistas to secure our victory. This is not Knight Pog's fault; he has done very well to train his soldiers to make them the elite unit of our family. However, when we first set up the heavy-armored unit, we forgot one important thing: the convoy is mobile, therefore to protect the convoy effectively, that unit has to have sufficient mobility to back it up, and that is exactly what the heavy-armored unit lacks.
"The impressive performance of the light cavalry scouts and the knight brigade has been quite a surprise for me personally, however, their weaknesses also show there too. The main shortcoming of the knight brigade is that it lacks the manpower it requires to be completely able of changing the tide of battle. The scouts on the other hand can't undertake assault operations due to the same reason. For instance, when the light cavalry scouts attacked the enemy camp when they were at their weakest, seven of them were injured even though they only faced off with a squad of infantry troops. That is definitely an undesirable result. That's why, I will be reorganizing the unit structure during these two days while waiting for the frost on the roads to clear up.
"Firstly, the knight brigade needs to expand. Including the sets of armor and saddles the knight brigade currently has, the convoy has a total of 88 sets. The knight brigade will thus be expanded to a full squad of 120 people. Each knight will be allocated 3 mounts which include 1 warhorse, 1 travel horse and another spare mount. Every knight will also be assigned a squire who will be picked from the family members of another knight of age 15 to 16 as well as an attendant that will be in charge of managing the horses and armor of the knight. Both of them will also have one mount, but they will not be required to go on the battlefield. Knight Terman, I'll leave the reorganization to you. I hope you build a stellar knight brigade for the Norton Family."
Terman quickly stood up and saluted. "Milord, I will definitely not let your expectations down."
"Other than that, Knight Yuriy, your light cavalry scouts will be expanded into a full company comprising four squads with 120 people in each one. Each scout will be assigned 2 mounts, a crossbow, javelins, a pike, a longsword, a shield as well as mail and leather armor. There will also be another squad of attendants accompanying the scouts that will be responsible for managing the mounts and equipment. You must give the scouts strict training so that they will not only be able to fight from afar, but in close range as well."
"Yes, milord," said Yuriy as he stood up and saluted.
Lorist glanced towards Potterfang and he nodded slightly in response. Lorist continued, "Next, I will talk about the reorganization of the heavy-armored units. The assault from the pike cavalry has given us a huge realization. After discussing with Potterfang and some others, I have decided to change the heavy-armored infantry into heavy-armored cavalry and intend to have two companies set up for the time being. Each company will be made up of four squads which will each also have 120 people. Each soldier will have two horses and each company will have a squad's worth of attendants. The new heavy cavalry unit will be commanded by Knight Pog and Knight Loze."
Potterfang and Lode Wales stood up and said in unison, "Your will is our command, milord."
Lorist smiled with satisfaction and gestured for them to sit down. After spending some time with the convoy, Loze seemed like he was very keen on joining the Norton Family and it is only a matter of time before he joins the ranks of the family knights. "Currently, we'll prioritize the soldiers who have already awakened their Battle Force in the reorganization of the different units. Other than that, we will also set up a constable unit to maintain the order and security within the convoy that will be equipped with armor, axes and halberds. It is my hope that Knight Mons Malek will accept the position of the leader of the constable unit."
Mons Malek stood up and saluted before saying, "Milord, it is my pleasure to be of service to you."
"Other than that, the main camp's guards will also be expanded into a company, but they will have to be in charge of looking after the war prisoners as well as maintaining the security of the convoy. Els, I'll leave that part to you."
"Lastly, I have decided to fuse the crossbowman unit with the pike infantry regiment. Every company will be made up of 5 squads, namely, 1 swordsmen squad, 1 crossbowmen squad, one longbowmen squad and 2 pikemen squads. Every squad will have 120 members. I will leave the command of this reorganized regiment to..."
Lorist's gaze fell on Engelich before he continued, "Engelich, it'll be your responsibility."
Engelich didn't expect that Lorist would actually nominate him to be the commander of the pike infantry regiment, which has the most amount of people when compared to the other units of the convoy. With his face flushed with surprise, he said, "Milord... I... I don't think I can..."
"Why not? Not only do you have the necessary experience, having been a commander of a city defense garrison before, you have nothing better to do around the convoy other than leaning outside of Charade's tent to eavesdrop. Don't bother denying it, I've seen that a couple of times. As a Gold rank, you can't just sit around doing nothing. As for your granddaughter, don't worry. Knight Charade has told me that he intends to marry her once we get back to our dominion. For your granddaughter's happiness and safety, you'll have to put in your part as well."
After saying that, Molise, who was standing just beside her grandfather, blushed profusely. Charade on the other hand walked up to her and pulled her in his embrace, causing the men in the tent to laugh out loud. Some of them teased Engelich while others congratulated Charade for having found his true love.
Engelich was embarrassed that his behavior had been exposed by Lorist. He was merely worried that Charade would force himself on his granddaughter. However, now that Molise truly had mutual feelings with Charade, there was nothing he could do to stop them. However, he brightened up when he heard of Charade's intention to marry her and said, "Okay, I will definitely do all I can."
Lorist faced the rest of the men in the tent and waved his hand. "Alright, meeting adjourned. We're rather pressed for time and we only have two days to carry out the reorganization. Make sure to make the best use of your time and cooperate with one another.
"Patt, ask that guy who claims to be a viscount's son to come over. I'd like to hear what he has to say."