The Records Of The Human Emperor Chapter 1092
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
The greatest taboo in military strategy was to fight a battle at night. It was okay to engage in local ambushes or small-scale raids, but the conditions at night were not favorable to large-scale battles. If one carefully examined history, one would discover that decisive battles at night were extremely rare. The reason was that at night, vision, perception, and even the ability for a commander to order around their soldiers were all greatly reduced.
There were even cases where fear and disorder led soldiers to attack members of their own side, or do the exact opposite of what they had been ordered to do. In the night, they would end up pursuing the enemy for several hundred li and ultimately become lost in the heart of enemy territory.
"This is all we can do. The Iron Wall Army has sustained severe casualties and is exhausted in every way. I'm afraid that it wouldn't even be able to pursue the Arabs," Gao Xianzhi said with a sigh.
This was an extremely rare opportunity, but the time was not right. The army had suffered severe losses, and even though he was unwilling, Gao Xianzhi had to give up on this opportunity.
"No matter the time, Qutaybah will always be an obstacle!"
Cheng Qianli responded with a sigh of his own. Until they resolved the massive threat that was Qutaybah, the Great Tang would never be able to talk about victory. When experts of his level fought, the shockwaves alone would be enough to inflict grievous casualties on the exhausted Tang forces.
A horn soon blew and all the Great Tang soldiers retreated like the receding tide. In the distance, the Wushang Cavalry also broke away from the Mamelukes, Mutri Great Cavalry, and Celestial Wolf Cavalry, returning to behind the defense line.
Fighting outnumbered had also been extremely taxing on their strength.
As the Great Tang withdrew, so did the Arabs. The Blood Beast Army, the Ironblood Army, the Fearless Army, the Death Army, and the Tiber Army completely withdrew from the battlefield under the cover of darkness.
Wang Chong, Gao Xianzhi, Cheng Qianli, Wang Yan, and the Demonic Emperor Old Man stood side by side, motionlessly watching the Arabs. After a long while, Wang Chong finally looked away, pulling on his reins and riding back to Talas.
"Tell Xu Keyi to begin taking stock of the losses!" Wang Chong said.
Night fell very quickly, and Xu Keyi also very quickly finished counting up the casualties.
"Lord Marquis, we suffered heavy losses in this battle. In total, more than forty thousand of our men were killed. We also have twenty thousand other casualties. We have sixty-thousand-some men able to fight, including the Tongluo Cavalry."
The night was settling in, but Talas was brightly lit. Xu Keyi had gotten down on one knee as he reported, his expression extremely grave.
Talas originally had a hundred and ten thousand soldiers guarding it, and with the Tongluo Cavalry and the soldiers Su Zhengchen had trained, this number was brought up to one hundred and twenty thousand. But in this battle, more than forty thousand had been killed while twenty thousand had been wounded. More than half of the army had been lost in this battle. This was undoubtedly a massive blow.
This was the price the Great Tang had paid to stand up against the charge of hundreds of thousands of Arabs.
"What of the Arabs?"
In the flickering light of the torches, Wang Chong stood with his hands held behind his back. Gao Xianzhi, Cheng Qianli, and the Demonic Emperor Old Man looked over upon hearing this question, focus in their eyes.
"We haven't obtained a definite number, but based on our estimates, they should have suffered casualties of more than two hundred thousand. Of these, more than eighty thousand were brought down by our ballista army!" Xu Keyi sternly said.
From the moment the Great Tang had been established, the ballistae had always been a lethal and intimidating weapon on any battlefield. Under the command of Wang Chong and Su Hanshan, the method in which ballistae were used had taken a leap forward, undergoing extreme modification to create a ballista army that could inspire fear and dread in any army.
Everyone breathed a sigh of relief at Xu Keyi's words.
"This means that the combined manpower of the Arabs, Tibetans, and Western Turks is only around two hundred and sixty thousand!" Gao Xianzhi said.
The Great Tang had lost much in this battle, but their attacker, Arabia, had lost even more. The casualty ratio of this battle was nearly one to three. For the death of each Tang soldier, three Arab elites had come with him. This made the losses somewhat acceptable.
The kneeling Xu Keyi respectfully added, "The greatest casualties on our side came from the Xuanwu Army, with the majority inflicted by Qutaybah's Revelation Army. Of the more than twenty thousand soldiers that were killed by that army, nearly five thousand were soldiers of the Xuanwu Army."
Xu Keyi's words cast a dour mood over the hall. The Xuanwu Army only had eight thousand men in total, and it was one of the top-class elite armies of the Great Tang. In that one clash, the Revelation Army had killed five thousand of them. This was a most grievous loss.
Forty thousand men had died in battle, with twenty thousand of them having been buried by the Revelation Army. This was a truly chilling number.
Xu Keyi lowered his head and continued, "…In addition, although the Arabs lost more than two hundred thousand, based on what we've observed, the losses in the earlier stage were from the weaker soldiers. The remaining soldiers will only be stronger, and their core strength is still there. In the future, the Blood Beast Army, Ironblood Army, Fearless Army, and Death Army will still be of enormous threat to us."
Those who could survive the cruel battlefield would always be the elite of the elite. This was a principle that would always remain true. Moreover, the defensive capabilities of a top-class army would always surpass those of other soldiers. Thus, the Death Army, Fearless Army, and Ironblood Army might have been engaged in a bitter and callous melee with the Great Tang forces, but their losses were not as severe as imagined.
A thoughtful look flickered through Wang Chong's eyes, but he quickly returned to his senses and waved his hand at Xu Keyi. "I understand. Rise."
The Tang still had more than fifty thousand soldiers at its disposal, but Arabia had around two hundred and sixty thousand soldiers. A ratio of one to five was not at all easy to deal with. However, the soldiers the Great Tang had left were the best of the best. Moreover, the more than six thousand ballistae were completely unharmed and would serve as the most critical force in the Great Tang's future battles with the Arabs.
Wang Chong turned to Su Hanshan.
"Su Hanshan, what is the state of the ballista army? How many ballista bolts do we have left?"
"We consumed a large number of ballista bolts to deal with the Arabs. Although we also dispatched men to gather ballista bolts from the battlefield, we still don't have many left. In total, we have around seventy thousand. On average, each ballista can still fire fourteen more times."
Each Tang ballista bolt was made from the highest quality of steel. This meant that they were extremely heavy and that the army would travel more slowly the more it carried. Su Hanshan had been forced to consider this problem, and so in order to arrive at Talas to reinforce Wang Chong as soon as possible, Su Hanshan had not brought a vast mountain of ballista bolts like most people had imagined. He had brought as many as he believed to be appropriate.
But the battle with Dalun Ruozan on the road and then the battle with the Arabs had exhausted his stockpile, leaving him with only seventy thousand, and this was after Su Hanshan had done his utmost to salvage bolts from the battlefield.
Wang Chong's brow almost imperceptibly creased. If each ballista only had fourteen bolts, then he had to be extremely cautious with how the ballista army was used in the upcoming battle, with each ballista bolt only being fired after careful calibration and aiming. But if the method was appropriate, seventy thousand ballista bolts was enough to deal the Arabs a destructive blow.
These thoughts very quickly passed through his mind, and Wang Chong then turned to Chuluohou and the several Tongluo officers.
"General, my deepest gratitude!" Wang Chong sincerely said.
Chuluohou coldly snorted and raised his head as he rudely retorted, "Hmph! There's no need for you to thank me. We didn't come for you. All this was by imperial decree, for the sake of the Great Tang!"
Everyone else in the hall slightly grimaced at this display.
After all, Wang Chong was the supreme commander of the Tang forces at Talas and had rendered great service. If not for him, the Great Tang would have already been defeated. Chuluohou and these other Tongluo were acting too arrogant.
Li Siye's eyes flashed with cold light, but before he could say anything more, Wang Chong stopped him.
"It's fine. Let them be."
Wang Chong gave a careless smile.
Wang Chong naturally understood why Chuluohou was so angry. In Kunwu Training Camp, Wang Chong had defeated the Tongluo Great General Abusi's son, Abutong, and had also strapped his naked body to a bamboo pole in Deflecting Blade Manor, completely humiliating Abutong. This had also humiliated all the Tongluo Cavalry. It would be far stranger if Chuluohou were not angry about this. But to Wang Chong, Chuluohou's individual prejudices were not important for this war. As long as they had the imperial decree and vigorously fought on the battlefield, that would be enough.
Wang Chong set aside these thoughts and soon regained his serene expression.
"Chuluohou, General Wang, I do not care about the private grudges between the two of you." A muffled voice, thick and coarse, suddenly resounded through the room, immediately attracting everyone's notice. "The Great Tang must win this war. This is His Majesty's will, and no one is permitted to defy it."
Boom! A massive foot wrapped in armor stepped out from a corner. At the same time, a storm of energy suffused with intense darkness engulfed the hall. Instantly, everyone noticed that giant black-armored imperial bodyguard as well as the thin and ancient war banner in his hand.
The slightly tense atmosphere instantly relaxed. Chuluohou lowered his head in fear while Gao Xianzhi, Cheng Qianli, and the others displayed expressions of respect.
Although no one recognized this black-armored guard, nor knew what he looked like under his monstrous armor, he bore the seal of the Sage Emperor, which was enough.
In Talas, this black-armored guard might as well have been an avatar of the Sage Emperor.
"Wang Chong, the Sage Emperor's letter has already been delivered to you. Have you read it?"
The black-armored guard's voice was devoid of emotion, and though everyone could hear his words, his eyes were fixed on Wang Chong alone.