On the morning of the second day, Xu Shu saw soldiers carrying shields below Shouchun’s walls. They lined up in neat rows and columns. Xu Shu gave a sneer. Did they think that this formation would be able to withstand the ballista?
The ballista is Xu Shu’s hands were an improved version. The previous version of the ballista could pierce through firm ships with think wooden planks with iron fillings. Even if the shield soldiers had strong bones, they would still fall before the might of the ballista.
“Ready!” Without Xu Shu’s instructions, Deng Yi gave the order for the twelve ballista to be pushed out and prepared.
“Military advisor. Would this seriously be unhindered?” Liu Bei asked Pang Tong. Liu Bei could not be blamed for being worried. The ones holding the shields were his precious White Eared Soldiers. He did not want to lose a single one of them. Before this, Chen Dao had asked to be the one filling the moat but he was stopped by Liu Bei. Right now, he had no choice but to do it.
“Don’t worry Milord. With the weapon at the camp, Shouchun would be captured!” Pang Tong was very confident.
“But!” Liu Bei still felt sceptical. Based on Zhang Xiu’s experience, everyone had learned that armors were useless against attacks from the ballista. The armors that used to make them feel safe were like papers. The large arrows from the ballista was able to pierce through the armor and the horse of the cavalry. They believed that the shields would not be able to help.
“Milord. Have you forgotten about Second General’s battle at Shouchun?” To give Liu Bei a peace of mind, Pang Tong brought Guan Yu into the wheelussion. Guan Yu’s battle could not even be considered a battle. It was an escape. Liu Mang captured Shouchun within a day with Guan Yu only able to retreat and leave behind the provisions. This made Guan Yu’s heart ache.
“Second Brother’s battle?” Liu Bei did not share Guan Yu’s pain. Instead, his eyes shone because of the catapult. He wasn’t depressed that Guan Yu lost Shouchun. This is because even if Guan Yu were to press on, he would only be added to the list of casualties. Now, the situation was different, Liu Bei was the one sieging the city with Liu Mang defending. “Can that weapon at the camp compete against False King Liu Mang’s catapults?”
“This is…” Based on the information Pang Tong received from the youth, this is not possible. This is because from Guan Yu’s description, Liu Mang’s catapult could throw rocks as heavy as three hundred kilograms to about three hundred to five hundred paces away. If the rocks were about one hundred kilograms, it would even be able to send those rocks seven hundred meters away.
In this ancient era, all catapults were made with wood. The youth felt inferior to others but was confident of his own catapult. It may not be able to compete against Liu Mang’s catapults that had springs installed but it was still capable of bombarding cities.
Naturally, Pang Tong would not tell this to Liu Bei and destroy his confidence. Instead, he indifferently said that the catapult would not be inferior in any aspects.
His words made Liu Bei feel relieved, who then ordered Chen Dao to act according to plan.
“This one will obey!” Chen Dao cupped his fist. He then went and made preparations.
“Milord. What do you think Liu Bei is trying to do?” Beside Liu Bei’s main camp was Zhang Xiu’s barracks. Zhang Xiu had also watched the battle at Shouchun. The loss of his Xiliang Cavalry made him miserable. He did not even have a place to cry. After all, he was the one that had his men advance and get shot by Xu Shu’s ballista.
“Liu Bei?” Zhang Xiu still felt doubtful. What is Liu Bei thinking? Is he not afraid of the ballista on the walls with those heavily armored soldiers with shields? Based on Zhang Xiu’s observation, the ballista could not be blocked. However, the White Eared Soldiers have now went to test it out, making Zhang Xiu sceptical. However, when he looked at Chen Dao’s expression, he believed that Liu Bei’s Army had a plan.
“All units! Pick up the sandbags!” Chen Dao shouted. All the soldiers carried sandbags except for the White Eared Soldiers holding the shields at the front lines. The soldiers moved and then waited for Chen Dao’s next order.
“Alright. Our objective is Shouchun’s moat! Forward!” Chen Dao spoke. The White Eared Soldiers were his pride. Although the White Eared Soldiers could only be established with the help of the three Peach Brothers, most of the hard work had still been done by Chen Dao himself.
In Chen Dao’s opinion, the White Eared Soldiers was like the Wolf Cavalry when compared in a one against one setting. There were none that would be a match for the White Eared Soldiers, including Liu Mang’s famous Urban Army. Now, they invincible on the Central Plains as the Wolf Cavalry had been disabled and would not appear again for at least half a year.
Unlike the tremor caused by the heavy cavalry, the White Eared Soldiers had neat and orderly paces. This was the military law for the White Eared Soldiers. They followed orders even though h.e.l.l awaited before them. This is also why Cao Cao was unable to capture Liu Bei even though he sent out the Tiger Cavalry several times.
“Heavy armor and shields? Haha. Today, I will turn you all into bingtanghulu1!” Xu Shu sneered. He waited until the White eared Soldiers weer in range before he ordered the attack.
The twelve ballistae started to roar again. Each arrow pierced through the air loudly.
The power of the ballista was displayed again. The shields were smashed and the armor of the White Eared Soldiers at the first row was penetrated. Besides the heavy armor of the White Eared Soldiers, they also wore chainmail under it. Chainmails were supposed to have good resistance against arrows but even these were useless against the ballista. Most of the soldiers at first row were killed or severely injured.
“Keep shooting! Do not stop!” Xu Shu ordered. Xu Shu had also saw the neat march of the troops below and knew that they were Liu Bei’s elites, the White Eared Soldiers. It would be extremely beneficial if Xu Shu could destroy them here.
Although there were only twelve ballistae, the arrows continued to rain down. After all, its body is large and its arrows could be fired continuously. The White Eared Soldiers were truly elites. When the first row crumbled, the second row quickly took over. The ones that could be saved would naturally be saved while they gave up on saving the ones that could not.
“Do you have more shields than I have arrows?” The losses suffered by the White Eared Soldiers should be very heart breaking for the Liu Bei’s Army. However, Chen Dao’s eyes twinkled as he watched the formations of the soldiers from Liu Bei’s camp.
At Liu Bei’s main camp, besides Pang Tong, there was also another youngster watching the scene unfold. “At two hundred paces away, it is able to two layers of shield. The heavy armor is completely useless.” One side recorded this down as they spoke. “Yes, military advisor.”
Pang Tong nodded and then waved the command flag. Chen Dao who saw this gave a sigh of relief. Truthfully speaking, Chen Dao could not hold on for long from the attacks of the b.a.l.l.sita. When he saw the flag, he ordered, “Fall back a hundred paces!”
Another row of soldiers with shields went to the front as they all began to withdraw.
“Trying to run? Leave half of you here for me!” Xu Shu said coldly. On the previous day, the Xiliang Cavalry had been defeated. They dispersed and they were also fast. As a result, the accuracy of the ballista was lowered. However, the current opponents were Liu Bei’s White Eared Soldiers. They were infantries and thus, slower. So, the arrows continued to be fired.
“It paused every ten shots?” The youth recorded it down. Every ten shots, the ballista would pause. Although the pause was only for a short time, the youth noticed it.
“General. It has been a hundred paces!” The White Eared Soldiers reported to Chen Dao. Chen Dao nodded and the army slowed down once again.
The arrows continued to fly and pierce through their armor. There was no difference between two hundred paces and three hundred paces away.
“It still managed to pierce through the shield at three hundred paces away?” The youth frowned. He did not expect a person to be able to develop such a weapon in that era. Three hundred paces was a short distance to cavalries but would still take some time for infantries. If such a weapon was placed on every wall, it would become difficult to attack cities in the future. “Go ahead, military advisor.” Pang Tong waved the flag once again.
Chen Dao’s men retreated another hundred steps. This time, the result was much better. Although the giant shields were penetrated, only a few of them were killed.
“Milord. The White Eared Soldiers are slow. Are they all idiots? They made themselves targets and now try to run while carrying the shields?” Deng Yi commented as he looked at the White Eared Soldiers. If he was the one in command, he would have ordered for the soldiers to throw away their shields. Only by doing this, would the soldiers be able to run quickly and spread out, making it harder to get hit.
“Something is wrong.” Xu Shu was finally reminded by Deng Yi that it would be unlikely for the commander of the White Eared Soldiers to be an idiot. Liu Bei would not have sent him out as a commander otherwise. It was less effective to fill the moat with heavily armored soldiers as it would be difficult to move with all that weight. Xu Shu felt uneasy and used the telescope to look at both the White Eared Soldiers and the camp.
“Military advisor. Is something wrong? Are they not filling up the moat? They must have believed the shields would protect them. Unfortunately it is useless against our ballista!” Deng Yi proudly said.
“They are not filling up the moat!” Xu Shu shook his head. Although the soldiers held sandbags in their hands, they were not near the moats. Some of them even threw the sandbags away. They were just distractions.
“What is that?” Xu Shu finally the command flag that was being held by his acquaintance Pang Tong. Each time it was waved, the White Eared Soldiers moved.
“Not good!” Xu Shu finally understood his bad feeling. However, it was already too late.
The White Eared Soldiers finally moved seven hundred paces away from the ballista. The power of the ballista finally became weaker and although the shields could still be destroyed, the arrows could not completely pierce through the shields and would get stuck in between.
“Seven hundred paces?” The young man in the Liu Bei’s Army finally recorded. He then smiled at Pang Tong and said, “Military advisor. We can counterattack now.”
“Counterattack!” Pang Tong laughed. He had been waiting for those words. “Come and pa.s.s down my military orders! We have been fighting pa.s.sively long enough. Time to show them our weapons!”
“Yes!” The nearby soldier accepted the order. This time, the order was for the White Eared Soldiers to return to camp.
Chen Dao gave a sigh of relief when he saw this flag. He had been suffering all this time and finally understood Hu Che Er’s grief. They could only be attacked without having the power to fight back. The casualties was also heavy. It had only been seven hundred paces but he had already lost more than seven hundred men. All of them were also White Eared Soldiers. Each death made him feel distressed. When they ambushed the Wolf Cavalry, they only lost five hundred men. Now, they lost seven hundred. Fortunately, this is now over. “All units! Return to camp!” Chen Dao ordered and allowed the soldiers to finally feel afraid. This ballista was not something a normal person could deal with because they would not know whether they would die there or not.
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“Milord! Look! Liu Bei’s men have been beaten back to camp!” Hu Che Er had a gloating expression. After all, Liu Bei’s soldiers also did not give him face when the Xiliang Cavalry experienced casualties the previous day.
“What?” Xu Shu did not expect those catapults to shoot rapidly like the ballista. Even Liu Mang’s catapults could not do this. This was because Liu Mang prioritized its strength with ach rock was having a hundred and fifty kilograms. On the other hand, this catapult shot rapidly without letting the soldiers on the walls rest.
The wet leather was soon unable to hold out. Rocks that fell onto the walls instantly killed the soldiers. When it crashed on the wall, it also broke into pieces and in some extreme cases, the fragments also killed more people.
The original catapults were like a scale with a bucket at one end. This bucket was filled with rocks. The other side would tied with many ropes. During battle, soldiers would expand a lot of energy to pull the ropes. The ropes would then be released for the rocks to be thrown at the enemy. This type of catapult has many shortcomings. It takes a lot of time for each shot and the effect is not as great. The rotating catapult designed by Ma Jun overcame these shortcomings. It used a wooden wheel and the rock is placed on it. That way, when the wheel is rotated rapidly, the rocks would be launched continuously. Ma Jun had been testing it and felt that it would become very powerful when it could throw hundreds of rocks in a row.
“Return fire! Fight back with the ballista!” Deng Yi shouted loudly. The soldiers holding the wet leather to soften the blows3, moved towards the ballista.
“Haha. Are you planning to use the ballista? How unfortunate!” The youth was somewhat pleased. The catapults he created was able to supress the ballista. Naturally, he would feel happy.
“General. Our ballista is unable to hurt them!” One man shouted. Their arrows were blocked by shield soldiers in front of the catapult. The ballista could only hara.s.s them but could not harm them.
“What!” Deng Yi shouted while Xu Shu laughed bitterly. ‘So they were just testing us earlier!’
Seven hundred paces away. This is the safe distance discovered by sacrificing the lives of seven hundred White Eared Soldiers.
The accuracy of the catapults increased as time pa.s.sed. Screams resounded on the walls as the rocks continued to crash onto it.
“Oh no! The ballista!” Deng Yi shouted. “Quick. Push the ballistae in!” Deng Yi ordered for the ballistae to be pushed into the tower. He even helped the nearby soldiers to push the ballistae. However, it was too late.
“General! Be careful!” A bodyguard pushed Deng Yi away. Deng Yi wanted to curse but before he could say anything, he found out that the place he was standing at turned into a pit. Pieces of the ballista and the guard who pushed him was scattered all over the place.
There had been twelve ballistae. They managed to push two into the tower. The remaining ten had been destroyed.
This is 2 chapters long
Bingtanghulu or just tanghulu. It’s candied fruit. The original fruit used is a Chinese hawthorn. On an unrelated note, I do not know what it tastes like. I hate eating almost every fruit.
我马钧的轮转式抛石机 . Had trouble with this. First one all, he supposedly claims to be Ma Jun.
Ma Jun (courtesy name Deheng) was a Chinese mechanical engineer during the 3 kingdoms era. Sounds right so far. However, the man lived in the state of Cao Wei, established by Cao Pi during year 220 AD. In other words, he did not work for Liu Bei. Also can’t find his date of birth. He may not even be born during this period. Secondly, he never made any kinds of catapults in the original timeline so I am not sure what it looks like except for…
‘rotating wheel rock throwing machine’. Due to a significant lack of explanation, I cannot tell if they used a rotating lever or that the catapult itself is a spinning thing of some sort (feels like a waterwheel, catapult version) I doubted that it is a trebuchet since Pang Tong and co claimed it to be inferior to Liu Mang’s catapult. However, trebuchets were supposed to be of the superior Having different things with same names did not help matters.
e.g Mangonel, sometimes called Traction Trebuchet. Onager, sometimes called Mangonel. My math is telling me Onager = trebuchet.
I know it is not a mangonel due to the lack of spinning things. Could be a traction trebuchet or a counterweight trebuchet.
Have mercy! Release me from this torture! I don’t want to do anymore siege weapon research!
They are holding the wet leather, using them like trampolines.
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