The epic space opera, the Legend of Galactic Heroes, is based on a series of novels and short stories written by Tanaka Yoshiki from 1988 to 2000. The novels have been published in Chinese and English, and there is (at present) no indication of an English-language publisher picking up this fantastic series.
The following English translation is entirely unofficial. The text was originally translated from Chinese to English by Peter Tan, and edited by Jeremy Naidus.
When the report that the Imperial Fleet was rapidly closing in was received, the Alliance’s 4th fleet commander, Vice Admiral Pitle, was greatly shocked.
The screens on the flagship Leonidas showed many artificial groups of light. Then the brightness increased and the entire area was covered as well. After seeing this spectacle, everyone felt their blood run cold and their hearts stop beating.
“What is going on?” The vice admiral stood up, talking to himself: “What are the imperials attempting? What are they thinking?”
Some people on the bridge thought that he was asking stupid questions. The imperials’ strategy must have been using their whole strength to attacking the 4th fleet. To understand that was not particularly difficult, but somehow the head of the Alliance had not anticipated at all that an enemy, was surrounded on three sides, would use such a daring attack!
According to their original calculations, the Imperial Fleet, being surrounded and facing numerous enemies, would attempt to defend themselves using the tight circle formation. All three fleets would then attack the Imperial Fleet at three sides simultaneously and concentrate their fire to chip away at the enemy’s defense capability.
One hundred fifty five years after the “Annihilation of the Battle of Dagon”, it was the same situation. The two admirals at Dagon became famous because of it, and they were still praised by people to this day. But this time, the enemy didn’t fall into the trap provided by the Alliance.
“What are they doing? The enemy commander obviously doesn’t know how to command! There is no battle style like this!”
The Vice Admiral said these words unthinkingly. He stood up from his command chair, using the back of his hand to wipe off the sweat drops. The temperature inside the ship was maintained at 16.5 centigrade and should not have caused one to sweat …...
“Commander! What should we do?”
An aide’s imploring question was a little fickle and high-strung. This sound acutely affected the Vice Admiral’s every nerve. Weren’t all his subordinates the ones who were certain that this three-side attack would succeed in the first place? So now that we face defeat, they should all be responsible and think of the appropriate countermeasures! And they dare to ask me what to do now? However, this was not the time to get angry.
The Imperial Fleet had 20,000 ships compared to Alliance’s 4th fleet only has 12,000 ships. This differed far too much from the original calculation, and the whole situation was all in chaos. The Alliance’s three fleets were supposed to use 40,000 ships to surround and destroy 20,000 ships. Now the situation had changed so that the weak 4th fleet had to fight independently an enemy fleet that was almost twice its size.
“Emergency communication to the 2nd and the 6th fleets! The 4th fleet at alpha 7.4 Beta 3.9 Gamma –0.6 space position has made contact with the enemy fleet! Please reinforce quickly!” The Vice admiral yelled this out and the flagship’s communication officer relayed his message out loud, but his actions and expression were full of hopelessness. The Imperial Fleet was using electronic interference to melt away the Alliance’s communication grid. Rheinhard foresight in distributing tens of thousands of electronic interference machines was now paying off.
“Dispatch four communication ships, two ships to the 2nd and two ships to the 6th fleet!”
The Vice admiral yelled as loudly as he could. The screen suddenly flashed bright light that whitened his face. The enemy had begun their attack. Hundreds of neutron beams fired simultaneously. The energy that was released grew bigger, the resulting bright flashes greatly affecting every soldier’s eyes.
Every corner in the Alliance’s Fleet was on fire due to the small-energy atoms’ high-speed impact. The Vice Admiral waved his hand strenuously and yelled: “Vanguard attack! All ships prepare for battle!”
Under ordinary circumstances, the enemy wouldn’t receive Vice Admiral Pitle’s commands. However, in the Imperial flagship Brunhild’s bridge, Rheinhard's cold blue eyes flashed a cold sarcastic stare as he muttered to himself: “What a useless fool! Too slow to react!”
“Fighters dispatch! Prepare for close quarter battle!”
This command was issued by Rear Admiral Fahrenheit. His battle spirit and confidence were high, which was shown on his expression. Whether the result would be due to the “golden haired brat’s” merits or not, he only wanted to win.
X wing shaped, single seated fighters called “Valkyries” continuously flew out of the huge mother ships. Because the mother ships were traveling in high velocity in space, using the inertia from the moment of their release, the fighters reached even higher velocity than the mother ships, not needing any runways or ejection systems. The Valkyrie was small and although its firepower was weak, it had great agility, very useful for close quarter battles.
To oppose the Valkyries, the Alliance Fleet had a single seated fighter called “Spartan”.
The force of the nuclear explosions rocked both fleets. Valkyrie fighters flew between the energy beams like winged death angels. The Alliance’s Spartans, although comparable to the Valkyries, couldn’t handle the Valkyries since the enemy had the advantage of surprise. When the Spartans had just left the mother ships, enemy fighters would attack them. The pilots and Spartans were both destroyed by the energy beams.
One hour after the battle had started, the 4th fleet under the attack from Imperial commander Fahrenheit was almost completely destroyed. Some were lost due to sever damage, and some free-floating ships had light damage but the pilots had died inside. The damage to the fleet was horrifying.
The battleship Neest was only damaged underneath, but the neutron bomb explosions rippled throughout the ship, instantly turning it into 660 soldiers’ tomb.
The pilot-less Neest was still moving toward its pilots’ original destination, squeezing by the friendly ship Lanose. At this time, the enemy’s main cannons locked onto the Lanose as the next target and fired. The Neest was hit by photon bombs in very short bursts and quietly exploded. Because of the energy released by the nuclear explosion, it destroyed the magnetic shield and directly hit the Lanose’s body. The Lanose had also met its destructive fate.
White flashes continued to explode and later disappear.
“What are they doing?”
Paeta’s voice sounded again. Almost at the same time, Fahrenheit quietly asked: “What is the other side doing?”
They both looked at their flagship’s screen. The former’s voice was full of hopelessness and angst while the latter’s voice was full of mockery.
The Alliance’s 2nd and 6th fleets both now knew the situation was critical, and everyone was in a state of anxiety. But, they still didn’t change their original battle plan and kept the same forward speed.
The 2nd fleet’s commander, Vice Admiral Paeta, sat in the flagship Patroklus’ command chair. He silently sat with his eyebrows locked together. The subordinates all felt the commander’s tension. The air in the bridge seemed to compress itself. Therefore, when the Vice Admiral suddenly stood up and began to talk, everyone was taken aback.
“What is the situation on the 4th fleet?”
“Because of the enemy’s electronic interference, the current situation is unknown!”
“What is happening? We must use emergency measures and quickly eliminate that interference! All 2nd fleet ships, prepare to attack!”
Soon afterward, the communication staff reported: “All 2nd fleet ships are prepared to attack!”
The Vice Admiral fiercely made up his mind. “Good! All ships attack and rescue the 4th fleet!”
“Please hold that order!”
Vice Admiral Paeta turned his head around and saw that it was his aide, Commodore Yang Wei Li. Paeta doesn’t know when that black haired young man had come in.
“Commodore Yang? What is your view of the current situation? Tell me your opinion!”
“It looks like the enemy plans on destroying us one fleet at a time. The 4th fleet was the smallest and the closest, so naturally it became their first target.”
“….. Can the 4th fleet hold on?”
“When two fleets fight directly, the side with the greater number of ships has the advantage. They have surprise on their side as well.”
Yang’s expression and voice were eerily calm, in Vice Admiral Paeta’s view. He argued: “That is why I must immediately go and rescue the 4th fleet. If we make it, we can also attack the flank of the Imperial Fleet. If this succeeds, it will turn the tide of the whole battle!”
“Most likely, we are already too late.”
Because Yang’s voice was still calm, Vice Admiral Paeta almost ignored him. The Vice Admiral then turned away from the screen and looked again at the young aide.
“You mean …..”
“When our fleet arrives there, the battle will already be finished. The enemy will definitely leave the battleground and use the time before the 2nd and the 6th fleet converge to attack either of our fleets’ flank. Therefore, we can conclude that the smaller 6th fleet will almost definitely become the enemy fleet’s next target. I think that our fleet should get a jump on this before the enemy does. If we can control the general situation, our side will be unlikely to fall to enemy strategy.
“Then, according to your view, what should we do?”
Yang walked to the side of Vice Admiral Paeta, manipulating the strategic computer on the command console. He pointed and explained at the same time: “If we can change the order then it will be all right. We must temporarily ignore the enemy and not bother them. Do not let the 2nd and 6th fleet converge during battle, but we must quickly shorten the distance between us. Then we converge elsewhere and plan to create a new battlefield. After the 2nd and the 6th fleet merge, the number of our ships will be 28,000. This way, fighting against a 20,000 ship enemy fleet, we will have more than a 50% chance of winning.”
“….. This way, you want me to not to rescue the 4th fleet and let them simply be destroyed by the enemy fleet?”
The Vice Admiral’s voice sounded highly dubious..
“If we go now, it will already be too late. This is after all, a boundless universe.”
In truth, this was also what the vice admiral is thinking about. Not knowing if what he was saying was getting through to the Vice Admiral, Yang persisted.
“But, we cannot turn a blind eye toward our friendly force’s dangerous situation!”
The Vice Admiral murmured. Yang’s expression darkened.
“Then all three of our fleet will be sacrificed separately to the enemy, and no one will survive!”
“Maybe it won’t happen. The 4th fleet will not be destroyed so easily! If they can hold on and wait for us to get there…..”
“As I just said, that will be extremely unlikely!”
Vice Admiral Paeta put both of his hands on the command table, sighed and said: “The commander of the 4th fleet, Vice Admiral Pitle is my friend. He is as battle-scarred an officer as I am. He will not be defeated so simply.”
“Friends are important. I also have a friend in the 6th fleet, and I would rather not lose it if it was possible. I feel the same way towards the 2nd fleet. Even if we lost the 4th fleet …..”
“All right, all right! Commodore, the actual events might not unfold like you’ve imagined. I’ve already decided. The 2nd fleet will immediately go and rescue the 4th fleet!”
The Vice Admiral impatiently interrupted him because his words were not really what the Vice Admiral wanted to hear. Facing this young aide made the Vice Admiral feel unhappy.
“….. Then your subordinate will take his leave.”
Yang knew that it was pointless to speak any further. So he saluted, then turned and left.
Yang returned to the officer lounge, saw his schoolmate Commander Dusty Attenborrough, and talked about the situation. Yang sat on the desk, exasperated, and said: “Maybe we should think of another counter strategy, even if it only gives us a slight chance of survival …..”
Attenborrough agreed: “To rescue them now would be like rescuing mountain climbers that had already died.”
“Our next concern is the 6th fleet. How is their situation? That fleet’s strategy officer is our classmate. He is an excellent elite officer.”
“You mean senior classmate Lapp?”
Yang nodded and looks at the 2nd fleet ship groups in the black space outside the window. “But he and I are different.”
Four hours after the start of the battle, the Alliance’s 4th fleet was already mostly defeated. It lost anything resembling a complete battle formation or a unified command system. Some ships were cut off, some were isolated, and each one had to manage to independently fight until the end.
The flagship Leonidas became huge metal blocks floating in space. There were no survivors inside.
The bridge had been hit by the enemy’s concentrated barrage. Suddenly, the outer hull split open. Due to the pressure difference inside and outside the ship, commander Vice Admiral Pitle’s body was sucked out into space. Where would his body float to and what shape would it become? ….. No one knew.
Looking out from the view screens of the Imperial Fleet, Rheinhard knew this part of the battle was won. Merkatz, using the communication screen, reported to him: “Organized resistance has completely stopped. We will proceed with the mop up operation!”
Merkatz’s already tiny eyes become even smaller.
“We’ve only finished the first third of the battle. The enemies that have already lost their battle effectiveness are not able to oppose us anymore. Just let them go! The enemy still has two fleets left. We must conserve our strength for our next battle. Before we leave this area, adjust our fleet formation!”
“Understood! Commander Sir!”
Merkatz nodded heavily and disappeared from the communication screen.
Rheinhard looked at the red haired, high ranking aide. “His attitude has changed a bit!”
“Oh, yes! He had to change!”
Kircheis felt that the first battle was fought beautifully! Even the five commanders would have to bow their heads and admit that Rheinhard's strategic thinking was working superbly. And this would also raise the morale of the soldiers! The enemy’s inevitable victory had been turned on its face. Right now, they must be in a hurry trying to adjust!
“Should we attack the left or right fleet next, Kircheis?”
“No matter which side we attack, we can be at enemy’s flank, so what do you think?”
“The left side’s 6th fleet has fewer ships!”
“Correct!” The golden haired young commander smiled a little.
“Perhaps the enemy will guess my strategy now. This is a cause of some concern …..”
Rheinhard disagreed. “No need to worry! Even if they do notice, they cannot continue to use their original plan of converging attacks anymore. If I was the enemy’s commander, I would try to converge as soon as possible. After converging, their fleet would have a greater number of ships than ours. Therefore, if they still haven’t tried to converge yet, it means they still haven’t noticed our intention. The situation is still very favorable to us. So our fleet will flank attack the enemy’s 6th fleet’s right side! How long will it take us to get from here to there?”
“Less than four hours!”
“Goodness! You already calculated it!”
Rheinhard laughed again, looking like a young boy. But that smile disappeared quickly when he realized that several people were looking at him. To Rheinhard rarely smiled at anyone other than Kircheis, Rheinhard rarely smiles.
“Send this command, on my behalf, to the whole fleet. Change to a clockwise movement and continue to move forward. We will attack the enemy’s 6th fleet’s right, behind their flank.”
Kircheis answers, but at the same time looked like he wanted to say something else. However, he stooped short and looked at his golden haired superior. Rheinhard looked back at him.
“Do you have any different views?”
“No! No different views, but right now, there’s plenty of time. I think we should use this time and let the soldiers rest a little. What do you think? …..”
“Ah! Yes. I hadn’t thought about that. How long should this take?”
“Let them sleep according to their groups, one after another. Each group will take 1.5 hour shifts.”
Rheinhard then ordered all the soldiers to rest one group after another for 1.5 hours each. They were permitted to use this rest period to eat and use the tight-room to sleep.
Tight-room bed equipment was made up of 30 grams of concentrated salt water in a light plastic watertight body tub. The water temperature was maintained at 32° C. When a soldier lay inside, colors, light, and noise all disappeared to make sure it was peaceful and comfortable. It was said that lying in there for one hour, restored a soldier’s vitality just as if he slept for eight hours. To rapidly restore a soldier’s loss of stamina and vitality in battle, this was no doubt the best way!
In small groups, when there was no tight-room bed equipment, sometimes soldiers were given injections to get rid of mental stress. However, this injection was harmful to the body. It also had harmful effects within the military structure, as soldiers poisoned by the medicine gradually lost their value as human resources. However, in the toughest situations, this method would still be used.
At the same time, those soldiers who were wounded would also receive treatment. At the end of the 19th century A.D., electrons that could activate human cells to accelerate self healing were widely used. Also, electronic robot technology development, from then until now, gave those who were given to the medics for treatment a 90% chance of survival. Of course, to completely remove death was still not possible.
Currently, the imperial soldiers were peaceful. In every ship’s cafeteria, loud noises could be heard. Although it was ruled that they could not drink, battle and victory seemed to bring a sense of drunkenness to the soldiers and caused them to be unable to control themselves. This taste was far superior to any fine meal or wine. “Our young commander is brilliant!” Soldiers were in an uproar. “He really is a military genius! Maybe he can be the highest ranking officer after the emergence of Command Wood of the Galactic Federation …..”
Who were they fighting for? What were they fighting for? Fighting strange enemies? ….. The soldiers already forgot these kinds of questions. They only simply felt happy if they survived and won. On the other hand, after a few more hours, how many of those who survived would be put onto a new death list?
“At 4 ½ o’clock position, we have discovered a fleet signature! Cannot recognize it!”
When the rear fleet’s destroyer passed on this report, the Alliance’s 6th fleet’s commander, Vice Admiral Moore, was eating in the cafeteria with his aides.
His knife was in his wheat protein pork ribs as the Vice Admiral stared with loathing at the liaison officer running in from the bridge. Because of this stare, the liaison officer stood uncertainly on one side. Everyone knew that Vice Admiral Moore was a bold, unrestrained, and rude character.
“You said the 4 ½ o’clock position?”
The Vice Admiral’s voice and his small eyes matched each other unsettlingly.
“Y….yes! The 4 ½ o’clock position! Right now, we cannot determine if it is a friend or foe!”
“Oh? Which 4 ½ o’clock position is it? Morning or afternoon?”
Vice Admiral Moore’s tone was impatient, but he still took the time to put down his knife and then walked out of the military cafeteria. When he saw the frantic and at-a-loss expressions on the faces of his aides, his broad, rugged shoulders quaked with anger.
“What are you all nervous about? The enemy cannot appear at the 4 ½ o’clock position because they are directly in front of us at our destination!” The Vice Admiral talked loudly from his throat. “We are moving speedily toward the battle position. The 2nd fleet must also be using the same movement pattern. In that case, our fleets will attack the enemy on its left and right sides simultaneously. It can be said that victory is within our grasp. No, I should say it is inevitable! No matter their numbers or situations …..”
“But sir …..”
An aide interrupted the Vice Admiral’s speech. He was Lieutenant Commander Lapp.
“According to my calculations, the 4th fleet has already lost, and the enemy fleet will shift around the battlefield …..”
“You are saying to forget the 4th fleet?”
“Yes. Previously, we could have quickly converged with the 2nd fleet without any damage. But right now, it is too late for that. Your subordinate thinks we should prepare for battle or else we will become bait for the enemy fleet.”
“Bait for the enemy fleet? Lieutenant commander! Enough of your baseless conjectures! We are the ones who are using the enemy fleet as bait!”
At that point, both of them had gotten to the bridge when suddenly, due to an error from the gravity control system correction, they both staggered, almost falling down. This was because of the late, quick change of direction. Obviously, the energy reading system had detected energies that could damage ships near the outer hull.
“Enemy attack on our right flank!”
The 6th fleet’s communication relays’ startled whimpering sounds were heard throughout the ship. However, they were overcome by the noise that followed.
All the officers felt their hairs are standing its end! Communications were in chaos. The enemy was right in front of them, confirming the fears brought up in earlier arguments.
“Don’t be nervous!”
Vice Admiral Moore screamed. Half of that outburst was to calm himself. He regretted now that he had taken the situation so lightly. His fat chin collapsed.
The rear fleet guards weren’t positioned with the best ships, so when they were attacked, they fell quickly.
The Imperial Fleet was behind them! Did this mean that the 4th fleet was gone, or that the Imperial Fleet placed ample ambush ships?
“Calculation of the enemy ships complete – they number about 20,000!”
The operator’s high pitched voice sounded again.
“20,000 ships? After fighting with the 4th fleet, they took no damage?”
Everyone felt their hands and feet go cold.
“Meet and Attack! Open cannon doors!”
The Vice Admiral felt lost. He had been unable to rectify the chaotic situation at hand, and now he could only can get the lowest magnitude orders out.
The Imperial fleet commanded by the tactful Admiral Merkatz took on the tight attack formation. He attacked the Alliance’s 6th fleet’s right, rear side. Neutron beam cannons shot out glittering death, breaking the Alliance’s old rear guard ships’ weak magnetic fields and passing through their hulls.
Merkatz looked at the screen and saw dazzling fireballs of light appear and disappear in the dark space. Over more than 40 years, he had seen this kind of view very often, but this time in his heart, a curious emotion emerged.
In Merkatz’s eyes, Rheinhard is was not a “golden haired doll” anymore. These stretches of success were not because of luck, but because of correct observations and judgment. These qualities had helped bring each daring conjecture to its correct result. Originally, their fleet was surrounded on three sides, but he could defeat each fleet before they have the chance to converge and attack us. This method was brilliant.
He knew that he would never think up a strategy like this. Even if he did think it up, he would not dare to use it, and up until now his comrades-in-arms would have done the same. Only those who did not stick to old rules and thinking could do this.
Maybe my generation of old soldiers belongs to the past. ----- His mind suddenly flashed this thought.
The Imperial fleet sweepingly smashed the Alliance fleet. Whether in a cannon fight or a dogfight, all Imperial ships gained the upper hand. The whole fleet seemed unstoppable and steadily controlled the advantage of first strike. Although the Alliance fleet fought with the determination to go down to the last man, the commander was too unsettled. So all their efforts were for naught.
“All ships! Turn around!”
Vice Admiral Moore, standing in the central position of the bridge, said this loudly. He had finally reached a decision! Previously, he had only yelled at all his subordinates.
“Sir! If we turn around now, the situation will worsen even more! We must turn and move clockwise to reach the rear of the enemy!”
Lieutenant Commander Lapp’s suggestion seems to run into the Vice Admiral’s strapping body and then bounce right back out.
“Before we even reached the rear of the enemy, more than half our soldiers would die! Turn around and attack!”
Vice Admiral Moore’s whole body was shaking with anger. The Lieutenant Commander didn’t speak again. He understood that his superior lacked a cool head. He silently moved aside and thought about his friend: “Yang! If you were here, what would you do now?”
The 6th fleet’s flagship Beakman’s huge body began to turn around. All the following ships began to turn around as well. However, turning around in combat is not easy. The experienced Merkatz took advantage of this weak point and savagely attacked.
The Imperial fleet’s cannon beams swept across like meteorites. Energy compromised magnetic fields broke under too heavy a burden. The Alliance ships were almost all damaged.
Old battlefields’ energy waves were appearing again in new battlefields. Vice Admiral Moore and Lieutenant Commander Lapp simultaneously felt that lonely Alliance ships were rolling in this turbulent sea.
“Great numbers of small vessels are closing in on our ship!”
The communication soldier yelled out. A view screen showed numerous Valkyrie groups. A short time later, multiple view screens were showing Valkyries. They speedily flew towards the ship and began their close-range beam attacks.
“The dogfight has begun! Spartans launch and attack!”
However, this command came out too slowly! The moment that Spartans left their motherships, Valkyries were already waiting for them! Merciless beams shot out, and the Alliance fighters were only destroyed, becoming nothing more than fireballs.
The Communication soldier officer pointed at one of the view screens and it showing many dots of light. The Imperial fleet was closing in. Some could even directly see the enemy fleet’s shadows. No one could breath the bridge’s suddenly oppressive air. The Beakman was trapped!
“A luminous signal is coming through!”
The communication officer reported to his superior.
Because of Vice Admiral Moore’s silence, Lieutenant Commander Lapp had to speak. His voice sounded hoarse and low.
“Translation ….. Your ship is completely surrounded. There is no way to escape. Surrender now and we will not harm you …..”
After the translation was finished, countless eyes silently fell onto Vice Admiral Moore’s huge body. All of this depended on the commander’s decision.
The vice admiral murmured. The color of his face suddenly changed.
“No! Even if I am incapable of victory, I cannot become a coward!”
20 seconds later, white lights surrounded them.
Restless emotions were almost at their boiling point!
The bridge of the Alliance’s 2nd fleet’s flagship, Patroklus, was covered in an invisible haze. No one knew when the enemy would attack ----- All had been ordered to assume the first level of combat readiness. Everyone was dressed in space uniforms, but the insecure feeling still penetrated them, making them feel extremely frightened!
“The 4th and the 6th fleet are almost all destroyed!”
“We are isolated! Now, the enemy outnumbers us!”
“Give me more information! What is going on? What is the current situation?”
Although it was forbidden to whisper, the insecurity was making it hard for them to sit or stand. This could not be controlled by will power. So now, could they destroy the Imperial fleet that was originally half their size and be victorious …..?
“Enemy fleet closing in!”
Suddenly, the communication officer’s voice sounded across the entire bridge through the microphone.
“Position at 1 o’clock to 2 o’clock …..” Yang speaks to himself.
“Position at 1 o’clock and 20 minutes, angle 11 degrees, rapidly approaching!”
The bridge of the flagship Patroklus was filled with tension, but Yang didn’t even notice.
Just as he had expected! After destroying the Alliance’s 6th fleet, the Imperial fleet moved from the 6th fleet’s right, rear position toward a left, front position and formed a natural curve with its arrowhead directly pointing at the 2nd fleet. Because the 2nd fleet was moving straight, the Imperial fleet appeared at the 1 to 2 o’clock position.
“Prepare for combat!” Vice Admiral Paeta ordered.
Far too slow! ----- Yang thought to himself.
The orthodox strategy was to prepare for battle before the enemy begun to attack. But in this situation, that kind of thinking was a little pedantic. If they had moved faster and attacked the flank of the enemy, they could echo attack of the 6th fleet from the front and back and make the Imperial fleet face two fronts.
Once the battle had begun, there would always be casualties. The inverse comparison to this was that the more lives that were sacrificed, the smaller the chance of winning. The reason why tactics existed was to abridge these two questions. This also meant that using small sacrifices in exchange for the best battle results was to succeed. To say this cruelly, it was a method for how to kill our same kind more efficiently! Does the Commander not understand this level of reason? Yang wondered.
But meaningless sacrifices still happened. Had he been in command from the beginning, the problem would not have gotten to these irrecoverable circumstances. The military heads’ lamentable inability to command battles made this situation tougher and tougher. But, right and wrong could be decided later. Right now, the most important job was to prevent mistakes from becoming larger or even more mistakes from being made, and trying to turn around the current situation.
“I only hope Lapp will not be sacrificed in vain!” Yang hoped in his heart.
“All ships! Open cannon doors!”
The command had been issued, but it was hard to judge which direction was the front because a blinding, bright flash covered the vision of all personnel on the bridge.
After a delay of a half second, the Patroklus’s hull is shocked upward by the exploding energy and starts to shake.
Shouts of pain and anger mixed with the sounds of falls and collisions. Yang did not escaped this fate of falling heavily onto the ground. His back met with a strong shock, and he almost couldn’t breathe. Within his protective headgear, he could feel the noise and strong air currents around him. Yang, with great effort, adjusted his breathing pattern and used his hands to protect his still blinded eyes.
The overhead screen’s light allowance control had not adjusted. This was an unforgivable and serious mistake. Who would be responsible for this? Since this kind of mistake had happened, it looked like it would be difficult to avoid losing the battle.
“….. This is rear cannon tower! Bridge! Please respond! We are awaiting your commands!”
“Mechanic room! This is the mechanic room! Bridge! Please respond!”
Yang opened his eyes and his vision was filled with a green fog.
He sat up and discovered that someone lay nearby. Deep, thick fluid flowed from the mouth to chest area, covering the whole body …..
Yang yelled and ran forward. He held Vice Admiral Paeta up and looked carefully at the color of his face.
The internal wall of the ship was cracked. The pressure was decreasing rapidly. A few men who hadn’t turned on their magnetic shoes had been sucked out of the ship. Due to the automatic repair system, the cracks were closing shortly afterwards.
Looking around and seeing that there was no one standing on the bridge, Yang lightly laid the Vice Admiral down. After confirming that the communication equipment was still functioning normally, Yang began to issue commands.
“Chief Commander Paeta is hurt. Medics and nurses, come to the bridge immediately! Engineers, check for damage around the ship, start fixing them now, then make a report. Hurry! All ships are in battle mode! The rear cannon tower doesn’t need to wait for the command to operate. Quickly execute your main task, find the frontal enemy then continue to attack! What’s wrong with the mechanic room?”
“The situation in the bridge is more worrisome! The mechanic room isn’t damaged!”
“According to our current information, the bridge still can operate normally, so everyone relax! Please focus on your own post!”
He looked around the bridge again.
“Which officers are unhurt?”
“I am not hurt, Commodore!”
One person staggered closer.
“Aide group’s Lieutenant Commander Lao!”
Through his spacesuit’s protective helmet, Lao’s eyes and nose were small and his face looked very close to Yang’s age. Other than him, only two pilots and one communication soldier raised their hands and stood up.
“No one else? …..”
Yang patted his face under the protective helmet. This meant that the 2nd fleet’s headquarters were paralyzed!
Finally, the medics and nurses arrived! They quickly examined Vice Admiral Paeta’s condition. His chest had brutally collided with the command console. There was a broken rib partially in his lung. They added superfluously: “His luck wasn’t very good!” On the other hand, Yang’s luck was better, and this was not susceptible to doubt.
“Commodore Yang …..”
The badly hurt Vice Admiral Paeta called to his young aide.
“This fleet is yours to command…..”
“Of the remaining officers, your rank is the highest! Your military talent is also …..”
His voice growing weaker, the vice admiral fell unconscious. The medic quickly called an emergency robotic wheelchair.
“His opinion of you is very high.” Lieutenant Commander Lao said, moved by the display.
To Lieutenant Commander Lao, who didn’t know about the opposition of views between Vice Admiral Paeta and Yang, Yang’s answer made him feel confounded. Yang walked to the communication equipment and pressed the outside communication button. The structure of machines, he felt, should be more reliable than that of mankind.
Yang’s voice spread across the space.
“Our flagship Patroklus has been hit by cannon fire. Vice Admiral Paeta is badly hurt. According to the orders of the Chief Commander, I am assuming command of the whole fleet!”
He drew a deep breath and also let the soldiers have a short moment of surprise.
“Everyone calm down! If you listen to my commands, you will be saved! Those who want to live must not be too frightened and listen to my directions! Although our current situation is not particularly good, we can still salvage an opportunity to win at the last moment!”
Oh! He was exaggerating! Yang forced a laugh, but didn’t display his thinking to the others. He could not go the route of Vice Admiral Paeta. No matter how much he was discouraged and depressed, he could not show it on the outside. He could only raise his head and force himself to confront the situation directly –
“We will not lose! Before new orders come down, all ships concentrate on the enemy in front! Over.”
The Imperial fleet heard his voice as well. On the bridge of the flagship Brunhild, Rheinhard's elegant eyebrows became slightly raised.
“We will not lose, listen to my commands, and you will be saved…..? I didn’t think that in the rebel fleet, there was a conceited guy like that!”
His eyes flashed with a cold and icy light.
“It is already deteriorated to this condition for them, yet he still wants to turn the situation around….. Hmm! Okay! Kircheis! Let’s take a look at how much skill he has!”
“Form a new battle formation! Pass the order down. All ships form the spindle formation! Understand?”
“You want to break through in the middle?”
“Exactly! Just like that!”
Kircheis passed Rheinhard's order to all ships of in the Imperial fleet.
When not wearing his protective helmet, Yang always held his military hat and habitually scratched his black hair. When military strength of two forces were equal, the most effective attack pattern would be a central breakthrough and half encircle strategy. He guessed that the enemy would use an active attack strategy, and he guessed correctly!
“Lieutenant Commander Lao!”
“Yes, sir! Sub Chief Commander?”
“The enemy is using the spindle formation, and is attempting a central breakthrough!”
“After defeating the 4th and 6th fleet, the morale of the Imperial fleet is very high. They will naturally use this strategy!”
Lieutenant Commander Lao ignorantly dismissed Yang’s guess. In his heart, Yang, instead, was thinking the Alliance’s fleet’s continuous weakening was perfectly mirrored in Lieutenant Commander Lao’s facial expression, displaying the result of Imperial’s active attack strategy!
“How do you propose to counter?”
“I’m still thinking of a solution right now!”
“But how do we contact our people? Electronic communications would let the enemy hear us. It is very dangerous! Using light signals would have the same problem, and would use too much time!”
“Not to worry! We can use multiple communication relays. Order all ships to open their strategic computer’s C4 relay. Passing down orders with this method will be all right! So then even if the enemy hears the information, they will not understand it right away!”
“Then, Subcommander, you have already thought about the battle strategy and put the information into the computer? ….. That would have been before the battle, will it still be effective now?”
“Well it’s better than not having one at all. If there is nothing else, you are dismissed.”
Yang’s voice was a little hard. From the time of the Telaries’ Queen Cardina, those who predicted defeat were looked down by others.
“Hurry, pass down the order!”
“Yes, sir! Passing down the order!”
Lieutenant Commander Lao lightly ran towards the recently repaired communication area. The five people working in the bridge were not enough. So, from other departments on the ship, ten more people had been sent as helpers. Even Commander Attenborrough had come. Because not many people had survived, these people were transferred from departments already dealing with manpower shortages.
The Imperial fleet calmly formed the spindle formation and began to move forward. The Alliance fleet greeted them with cannon fire, but the Imperial fleet didn’t move at all. As the distance between them narrowed, thick webs of energy beams made uncountable grid lines.
Rear Admiral Fahrenheit’s forward Imperial fleet, unhurriedly, moved toward the Alliance’s position.
“The enemy fleet is charging now!”
The voice of the communication officer was high and sharp.
Yang looked at the screen above. It had a 270-degree wide detection range. From the screen’s signals, the enemy was increasing its speed moving forward, its movement quick and clean. Compared to them, the Alliance fleet was moving rather slowly, broadcasting that they lacked the will to fight. It looked like he would have to face the enemy now.
How to make this work?
Yang sat on the command table with his feet crossed. His insides were not as calm as his outside. So far, the enemy movement was not outside of Yang’s prediction. The problem was how his side would move. If they could act according to the battle plan he had come up with, everything would be fine, but if even one mistake was made, all would be lost and the battle would be irredeemable! What to do then?
After scratching his head, Yang muttered to himself, “Act stupid then.”
He could not predict all things, and also could not use impulsive actions. In truth, a job that requires more ability than a person has is too much responsibility for anyone.
The overhead screen showed many energy beams. Currently, the battleship Patroklus was in a whirlpool of exploding energy. Everywhere it turned, there were sweeping energy beams. The situation was extremely dangerous.
The Patroklus also opened its cannon doors and sent death and destruction to the front of the enemy. To have any hope of victory and survival, it was a certainty that there would be a colossal use of manpower and material power.
“Enemy battleship approaching! From the look of the hull, it is the Wulihoutan!”
The Wulihoutan’s hull was already badly damaged, since it just plowed through all the cannon fire. Only half of its cannons were functioning and were prepared to attack the Patroklus. But the Patroklus’ reaction was too fast.
“Main cannons fire! The target is closing!”
Commander Attenborrough issued this command to the cannon captains just in time.
Momentarily, the Patroklus’ forward main cannons simultaneously fired their neutron beams and directly hit the central hull of the Wulihoutan.
The huge Imperial battleship disappeared in a cloud of debris. Yang heard the news through his protective helmet’s communication relay, along with his mens' cheers, but heard them turn into surprised yells. Out of the white light of the nuclear reactor explosion, another enemy ship had appeared. Yang saw the Imperial fleet’s massed formation and high battle will appear again.
High battle will was a required element for victory. Everyone knew that this was an established truth. Yang thought: “Am I witnessing the coming of age of a famous general now? He is a commander who can maintain his subordinate’s belief in their own invincibility. Rheinhard von Lohengramm, a famous general, has finally appeared!”
Yang did see history in these sentences – there are both intelligent generals and ferocious generals. Those commanders who could surpass the differences of these two qualities, and make subordinates believe in their own invincibility, were destined to be famous generals. Rheinhard von Lohengramm, although is still young, but could already he can be called a famous general. He was a huge threat to Free Planet Alliance and made the dynastic powers of the Empire hate and fear him.
Yang changed his pose and enjoy basking in the slipstream of history.
At this time, the battleground situation was changing.
The Galton and Patroklus’ cannons could not cause critical damage to each other. Therefore, they were slowly distancing themselves in the melee.
Yang saw the simple battle virtual formation information from the computer monitor.
Sometimes, there were small fluctuations and reversals, but on the whole, the Imperial fleet was advancing and the Alliance fleet was retreating.
Moreover, the speed of this movement was increasing as well. The Imperials moved forward one step, and the Alliance retreated one step. The fluctuations and reversals became less common, and the virtual formation was even more clear and simple. Anyone could see that the Imperial fleet would win and the Alliance fleet would lose.
“Looks like we’ve won!”
Rheinhard said. “The central breakthrough strategy seemed to work!”
On the other side of the battle, Yang also nodded to Lieutenant Commander Lao.
“Looks like it is progressing smoothly!”
He didn’t say anything that would make people relax.
The thing that Yang was worrying about was whether his fleet would listen to his commands?
At the current rate, winning was not possible! However, It was not out of the question yet to pull off a victory. But, they could only do this by creating more favorable battle conditions, which was why our fleet must complete this battle strategy!
Some commanding officers thought too highly of themselves and might not follow young officers like Yang. If they had other effective battle plans, Yang knew that he must accept them. Their active displays, rather than loyalty, were based more on their natural will to survive. Therefore, Yang could not refuse them as exceptions.
“Why we are still attacking so smoothly?”
Rheinhard's face began to show a perplexed expressions.
He stood up and looked intently at the overhead screen. An uneasy feeling flowed inside of him.
As our fleet advanced, the enemy fleet retreated. After the central breakthrough attack, the Alliance fleet split into left and right directions and retreated. The information displayed in the overhead screen, the virtual formation from the strategic computer simulation, and the forward fleet’s battle report all pointed to the same situation.
Rheinhard feels felt a heavy pounding in his chest. A feeling of being mocked was eroding his nerves.
“If ….. the enemy fleet isn’t held by my fleet …..”
His left hand curled into a fist near his mouth while he used his middle finger to lightly tap his teeth. Suddenly, he understood the enemy’s intention!
His self-reflection was drowned out in the communication officer’s yells and was not heard by anyone else.
“The enemy fleet has been cut in half by our fleet! What …. what is going on? They are quickly moving to outflank our fleet!”
From the surprisingOver the surprised voices, Rheinhard called to his red haired subordinate.
“We fell for it ….. The enemy split into two groups and has seemed to move to our fleet’s back now. Our central breakthrough strategy is broken ….. Curses! I took them too lightly!”
The golden haired young man punched the command console.
“What do we do? Do we turn around and fight?”
Kircheis’ voice was still calm and collected, which helped to temporarily stabilize the emotions of his agitated superior.
“Don’t joke around! You want me to do something even more idiotic than what the enemy’s 6th fleet’s commander did?
“Then we can only continue to move forward!”
“Exactly!” Rheinhard nodded and ordered the communications officer,. “All ships!, Full speed ahead! Turn and move in a clockwise direction to attack counter clockwise, hitting the enemy’s tail! Hurry!”
Thirty minutes later, both sides’ formations had become circular, creating a spectacular view. Alliance forward ships were attacking the Imperials’ tail furiously. The Imperial fleet’s forward ships were attacking the tail of the two groups of the Alliance’s fleet.
“This is the first time I have ever seen this kind of formation!”
Commander Attenborrough watched closely at the virtual formation on the monitor, signaling towards Yang.
“Yeah ….. Same here.”
Yang Wei Li answered, although he was clearly lying. Ever since mankind had begun to live at this border planet “Earth”, this kind of formation had already happened many times. Logengramm’s kind of battle strategy was also not being used for the first time in history. At every point in the ancient past – whether in chaotic or orderly eras, there have always been military geniuses that could use the military very well and had unique ways of thinking.
He laughed a little and continued: “In short, I feel that this looks like two huge snakes, biting on each other’s tail and attempting to swallow each other.”
“Then finally, these two snakes …..”
“Will both get digested in each other’s stomach,.”
“What a pointless formation!”
In the Brunhild’s bridge, a loud impassioned voice was also being heard.
“This is a stupid formation! What use is there in an attrition battle?”
Rheinhard said, barely suppressesing his voice and said...
A high commander’s death report was passed to him. Rear Admiral Erlach’s ship was gone! He had ignored Rheinhard's full speed forward command and turned around to engage the Alliance fleet. During the turn, he was hit by neutron beam cannons and destroyed.
The enemy was following closely, yet he dared to turn around right in front of them. He was unbelievably idiotic! Although he deserved to be described as such, he was also the first Imperial Fleet’s highest-level commanding officer that had died. The Imperial dream of a big victory would now be covered in shadows!
From the start, Yang knew it would become a battle of attrition, and wanted to facilitate this situation. The Empire’s commander Lohengramm was also not a stupid man, and he realize that there was no reason to pursue the enemy and continues a battle that would only cause each side more and more bloodshed and destruction.
“The enemy will soon begin to retreat.” Lieutenant Commander Lao said to Yang, “Should we pursue them?”
The young commander shook his head.
“We used everything we had left to force the enemy to this position. We don’t have enough strength to continue fighting. Coordinate with enemy’s breaking pattern to allow our side to retreat as well!”
On the Brunhild’s bridge, a similar strategy was being planned.
“Kircheis! What do you think?”
“Isn’t this is a good chance? We are close to needing to stop here.” He sagely answered.
“You think so as well?”
“If we continue this, it will only cause more casualties on both sides. From a strategic perspective, there is no more significance to going on!”
Rheinhard nodded, his young face showings cannot feel relieved pained expression that was anything but relieved. Logically, he knew that he should do this, but it was not fully satisfying emotionally to end things here.
“Do you feel regret?”
“Of course not! I just want to achieve a little more since it still does not feel like a complete victory to me!!”
“You’re really something!” Kircheis looked at him and smiled a bit. “You were surrounded on three sides by twice the number of enemy ships that we had, but you defeated them separately and destroyed two of the three enemy fleets. When the enemy flanked us from behind, you still turned it into a battle of attrition. And this was not enough? If you wanted any more, that would be greedy.”
“I understand what you mean. But ….. I still want to give that guy …..”
Soon, the two fleets were still firing at each other, but their formations were moving away from each other as if they were coordinated. The distance became greater and greater, until the firing stopped and the energy concentration became thin.
“He definitely knows what he is doing ….. this guy.”
Rheinhard's voice mixed with annoyance and with praises. He suddenly remembered something, hesitated for a moment, then called over his subordinate.
“The enemy’s 2nd fleet’s commander ….. the substitute commander, what is his name?”
“Commodore Yang Wei Li!”
“Ahh, his name is Yang. I didn’t think that the Alliance Fleet had this kind of a guy. On behalf of me, send him a signed telegram!”
Kircheis smiled and said: “What do you want me to write in it?”
“For your display of bravery in battle, I give you my respect! Please take care, and I look forward to meeting you in battle next time! ….. How is that?”
When Kircheis gives gave Rheinhard's order to the communications officer, the confused soldier not understandingly tilted his head. Kircheis face showed his kindly smile.
“The opposition’s battle strategy was very enjoyable to fight against. It is very rare to meet this kind of enemy, is it not?”
The communications officer nodded fiercely. This time, Rheinhard's new orders is here would be obeyed without question.
“Return to the planet Odin! All ships! Reform your positions!”
He also ordered the fleet to stop at the Iserlohn Fortress halfway back to Odin and quickly calculated the losses on both sides. Then, Rheinhard levels swiveled on the command chair, facing the ball- shaped ceiling and to relax and repose.
In his watery subconscious, fatigue was floating up like bubbles. He could rest a while - he had done well enough! If have anything happened, Kircheis would wake him. He could safely leave the inertia navigation system to handle the plotting of the return course home.
In the opposite camp, the commander of the side that lost could not simply let the control of the armed forces be given to the lower ranking commanders, then go to sleep. His biggest mission currently was to take in the other fleets’ remaining forces. To look for the 4th and 6th fleet’s survivors, he had to patrol the battleground. Taking care of the situation after a failure was both delicate and troublesome work, Yang thought after he took off his spacesuit’s protective helmet and drank a cup of high protein milk.
“Second position aide! I mean, Sub Commander, sir! The Imperials have sent a telegram for you …..”
Lieutenant Commander Lao reported with a curious facial expression that seemed to say that this battle from beginning to the end had been anything but mundane.
“Then I will read it! It says, “For your display of bravery in battle, I give you my respect! Please take care, and I look forward to meeting you again in battle next time! Galactic Empire First Class Fleet Admiral, Rheinhard von Lohengramm …..”
“He is praising me for bravery? He shouldn’t have!”
Yang understood this inwardly. His counterpart meant that the next time they fought, he would beat him! Yang feels felt that heReinhart iswas a little childish, but doesn’t feel dislikecouldn’t dislike him.feels felt that he was a little childish, but doesn’t feel dislikecouldn't dislike him.
“What should we do? ….. Should we send a return telegram?” Lieutenant Commander Lao asked.
Yang shook his hand: “No! That’s not necessary, let it go. He probably doesn’t think we will send a telegram back. Taking in the surviving soldiers is more important than this! Hurry and go! Rescue as many men as we can!”
“Yes! ….. Also, the thing that you wanted me to check, sir …..” Lieutenant Lao’s face darkened. “I just received a report, 6th fleet’s Lieutenant Commander Lapp has died!” “Lapp…..”
Although he had already expected this result, Yang could not help but to close his eyes for a moment then open them and say despondently, “What a waste! …..”
Lieutenant Commander Lapp turned and left. Yang’s vision lowered to his operation console. Below that console lay the scattered battle plan that Yang gave to Vice Admiral Paeta before the battle. Yang forced a smile onto his face. He didn’t think that his original correct views would turn into this kind of result. And the price of all those sacrifices was so heavy! Yang really could not imagine how the heads of the military department would show their faces later on!
The “Astate Star System Encounter” was finally finished.
Those personnel that participated in the battle were: Imperial 2,448,600, Alliance 4,065,900. In the ships area, the Imperial fleet numbered more than 20,000 and the Alliance fleet had more than 40,000. Those who died in battle: Imperial 153,400, Alliance 1,508,900. Destroyed or badly damaged ships: the Imperial side had more than 2,200 while the Alliance fleet had more than 22,600. The Alliance fleet lost more than the Imperial fleet’s by a factor of 10. Also, the Empire’s invasion of Astate star system was called off for a period of time.
Later on, how historians analyzed this battle wouldn’t be important. After Rheinhard von Lohengramm and Yang Wei Li’s first battle against each other, the currents of history moved even faster. All this was just the prelude.