Chapter 60: Remnant Soldiers (Part 2)
"Gather the two wings!" Murphy said, issuing the command from the high hill slope. The herald ran around in front of the army to act as Murphy's megahorn.
Commanding during the era of cold weapons was rather inconvenient. Having only the horn and the command flag wasn't enough. The general would normally be equipped with one, or even several, heralds.
When the army on either side was only 300 meters apart, Murphy ordered the two wings to draw together and make room for the other party to advance.
The Greek infantry stepped closer together and drew into a denser formation.
The heavy cavalry, who were running at the forefront, stood still and stared at the phalanx lined with spears in front of them. They only reacted when the wings gathered together to clear a space before finally pulling away toward either side.
As the distance between the two sides drew closer, Murphy was able to clearly see the state of the soldiers on the other side at that moment.
Technically, this wasn't a rout but a retreat.
Although it did look a little unsightly.
Running at the front was the heavy cavalry, which numbered about eighty people. They wore heavy armor and were equipped with long spears. Behind the heavy cavalry was the infantry, which looked a little unsightly and sorry with their incomplete armor and weapons. Then there were the refugees, who had large numbers. By a conservative estimate, there were close to 5,000 people! Many of the refugees were adult males, and some of them had been given simple weapons. The last column of the team consisted of the well-equipped heavy infantry. They were wearing half-body armor and helmets and were holding square shields there were about sixty centimeters in length. Their weapon was a short sword.
It somewhat resembled the heavy infantry of the Roman military system.
Alongside these heavy infantrymen, who were armed with large shields, was the Greek infantry, as well as a light cavalry that numbered about 300 soldiers.
The air was filled with dust, as there were too many people. Murphy was unable to find Lady Elizabeth's figure through the thick cloud.
In Murphy's view, among these five to six thousand people, only less than one thousand of them could be considered soldiers. These were the heavy cavalries at the front and the heavy and light infantries that were at the rear. The people in the middle of the formation weren't so much soldiers as they were peasants who had chanced upon some arms.
At the back of the troops, the gnolls could gradually be seen.
Although creatures like the gnolls were capable of short-range charges, they didn't have very high endurance. They followed about 500 meters behind the team and chased after them. Occasionally, a gnoll that was faster managed to catch up with the troops, but each one was killed by the light cavalry responsible for guarding the rear of the troops. This chase seemed to last a short time, and Murphy could already see that the gnolls were already very tired.
The retreating soldiers passed through the vacated passage, and the heavy infantry responsible for the rear of the temple filled the vacant position with the Greek infantry.
At this time, Murphy was able to spot Lady Elizabeth. She was wearing a half-body armor, and the light cavalry was guarding her from all fronts.
Murphy moved closer to Lady Elizabeth with General Guards on their horses.
It was only after passing the heavy cavalry that Murphy discovered that they were covered with blood and that most of them were wounded. It seemed that they had charged once in the previous battle.
After reaching the rear, the heavy cavalry divided into three and began to organize the soldiers and ordered them to form a second front behind the Greek infantry. Most of these heavy cavalries consisted of noble knights with good martial arts who had undergone systematic military training. In the army, they were also the commanders of the middle and lower levels and were responsible for assisting the lord in commanding the army.
After a short period of disorder, the retreating soldiers began to line up. The peasants with weapons were arranged at the rear.
As of now, the peasants hadn't received much military training, so they would only mess up and turn the army's impenetrable defense into a mess!
Murphy estimated the number of gnolls.
Although they had a lot of momentum, there were actually only about two thousand of them, which was far less than the number the middle-aged knight had told him of three thousand.
The only difference was that this group of gnolls was comprised of a large number of males. Close to a third of them!
. . . . . . . . . . . .
The distance was getting closer again.
When they were at a position of about three hundred meters away from the square formed by the Greek infantry, the gnolls stopped chasing and began to regroup.
During the pursuit, not only had the human soldiers drawn themselves into a long snake-like formation, but the gnolls had too. The strong male gnolls with higher endurance followed closely behind them while the relatively weaker females fell behind.
About one hundred and fifty archers were grouped together and positioned at the rear of the phalanx.
Murphy immediately took over command of the army from Lady Elizabeth.
The heavy and light cavalries gathered on the high slope under his command and waited for an opportunity to rush into the enemy formation at the most lethal moment.
Both sides were waiting for each other.
The gnolls rested where they were after they reformed their formation, while the Greek infantry stood by, waiting.
Those soldiers who had retreated also needed to recover their strength.
"Are you all right?" Murphy asked, quickly coming toward Lady Elizabeth.
Lady Elizabeth shook her head and inserted her bloodstained sword back into its scabbard. She was wearing a half-body armor and had spots of blood on her body. It was apparent that she had also personally participated in the battle.
Murphy had never seen her use a sword and didn't know that she could fight.
"Less than one-third of the 300 knights survived. From the two thousand, only the shield infantry had survived. The Eagle Banner Silver Shield infantry had been completely destroyed! …" Lady Elizabeth said slowly in a deep voice. A trace of sorrow could be heard in her voice.
In this world, most of the order of knighthood was composed of highly-skilled knights that had been conferred.
They were all low-ranking nobles and owned one or two villages. According to Murphy's estimations, Lady Elizabeth's territory may be as big as a prefectural-level city from the past.
The Eagle Banner Silver Shield infantry was the most elite soldiers in her territory. They were to her what the Spartan infantry was for the Greek city-state.
In this world, most of the most elite troops of the human city-state used beast motifs as their banners, and most of the elite soldiers were named after eagles or wolves.
"There were tens of thousands of residents who couldn't escape and became slaves to the gnolls!" Lady Elizabeth said determinedly, her eyes trained on Murphy. In a deep voice, she continued: "I must save them!"
"I need your help, Phy," Lady Elizabeth said. At this point, her eyes showed a hint of weakness.
Murphy didn't say much and merely raised his hand to wipe the blood off Lady Elizabeth's face. He said slowly: "Get ready to fight."
After taking a short break.
The gnoll army began to advance. The male gnolls that were equipped with leather armor and round shields were placed at the forefront.
This group of gnolls was more elite than those that Murphy had encountered in the past!
And their weapons were also much better than they had been before. A small number of the elite gnolls were even equipped with heavy armor!
The only thing he had to be thankful for was that he didn't find any elite gnolls that were much taller than ordinary gnolls. It seemed that there weren't many elite gnolls who were more than 2.5 meters tall in the entire race of gnolls.
This was outside the archers' range.
The male gnolls stood in the first row and raised their round shields to their chests and slowly advanced.
The male gnolls at the front quickly began to advance. The archers started to shoot.
The male gnolls at the front started to charge! The archers started to rain down as much firepower as possible upon the gnolls!
About 50 gnolls fell to the ground and lost their ability to fight.
After the distance between them was reduced to five meters, the two sides entered into a melee brawl. The strong front-facing lethality of the Greek spear formation began to show its strength. At this time, a team of adult male gnolls that numbered about three hundred looped toward the other side and toward the hill slopes…
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Chapter 60: Remnant Soldiers (Part 2)