The Army Marches Forth The Army Marches Forth
Sky H Ainsworth
Ten days after its arrival, the army of Lance Henriksens marched out from the Dark Lord's Keep.
A half constructed wall had been erected around the keep. The remaining human troops would garrison there to protect it. Bacca had decided to leave about ten thousand troops there, most of them Lance Henriksens. He wanted the experienced troops in his moving army.
Since one hundred ten thousand troop formed such a large number, Bacca realized that marching them all in one line on one road would be ludicrous. So, he divided the army into thirds and had them march on parallel roads. Bacca led the center corp along with the rest of the heroes while experienced commanders led the other two.
"Why do you have them march in this fashion?" asked Lorinan. "Would it not be better to have them all march on one road so that they stay together and more under your control?"
"Well, yes," said Bacca. He rode on a large chocobo that glistened in it's white feathers. The other heroes also rode on chocobos. "But that would be slow. If we have to clear an obstacle before us, then that is over a hundred thousand men that have to sit and wait. Also, if the lead element is attacked, then it is hard to get reinforcements up and what if we want to launch a strong counter attack?
"I have studied my history books and this is the most effective style. If our lead elements get attacked, then our flanking elements can come up and attack the enemy from their flanks and rear."
Bacca was reveling in his command. Several thousand men obeyed his command and were ready to fight. Lady Paladin thought that his head was starting to swell from it all.
"And when we camp," continued Bacca, "it will be easier. One huge camp is harder to take care of then three. The rule of thumb is this: if you are going to attack, bring all your units together and overwhelm your enemy. If you are to defend, then spread out your forces so that they are not all overwhelmed by the enemy. If one unit gets attacked, other units come and help and attack the enemy.
"That is also why I spread the cavalry out among the corps. I want the corps to be able to support each other and they can do that best if their cavalry and fast infantry can aid each other.
"Because of this, each corp is an army in and of itself. That is why I placed Brigadier Generals in charge of each. I want them to be able to handle their situations like generals and I can oversee all of it.
"Chain of command, that is the most important thing. From me to the average soldier stretches a line of men who carry out my commands and delegate accordingly. It is a power that can get a little overwhelming to someone not used to it. That is why you have to earn the rank of general and it is not given to you."
"But you were given your position," said Kaitlin. "Because you proved yourself such a bad-ass in two battles, with the two retreats following those, these guys naturally looked to you to lead them against the moogles. They didn't have anyone else to do the job.
"Okay, but look, my point is this," interjected Bacca, eyeing Kaitlin with concern, "you have to be in a lot of battles before you earn the right and respect to be given command. A good army with proper codes of conduct, has a set way for the commanders being picked and selected.
This army did not have one, I had to write one up for them."
"The Code of All That Kicks Ass?" jibed Lorinan.
"Yeah, how did you know?"
Ku-Sam shook his head. "Bacca, do you have any idea how silly your name sounds?"
"What do you mean?" asked Bacca, he looked at the dark moogle with concern in his face.
Ku-Sam gulped. "I, I mean," he stammered, "I mean it is an unusual name and one does not always hear of such things."
"Oh," said Bacca, returning his gaze to the road before him. "I thought you were mocking my title. That is not a wise thing to do. Many have held the title of High Lords and it is not well to doubt it. Many have died for doing so."
Everyone was silent for a moment.
"Anyways," said Bacca. "The advanced guard and rear guard have special positions. Even the flank guard.
"The idea is that they discover the enemy before the enemy discovers you, or takes you out. If you looked at the army from high in the air, you would see a shape of an arrow. About a half mile ahead is a battalion. A couple hundred paces before them is a company, a couple more is a squad. That lead squad is a akin to a candle wick. When lit by contacting an enemy, word is brought back to us and we act accordingly. So, if the lead squad encounters troops, the company reacts and that comes all the way back to me, I order the response.
"The squads ahead of us spread out for a couple hundred feet in either direction to provide a nice search area. We then have a flank guard. The flank guard, though, does not cover as wide an area."
"Why?" asked Lorinan, obviously interested in the discussion. "Well, if our vanguard did not discover an ambush or enemies within range, then we do not want the flank guard to discover any waiting enemies. If they did, then we have an attack right in the middle of the
army and that could turn out bad.
"To continue, we then have the rear guard. They are a mirror image of the vanguard, just to the rear. The idea behind having them is to make sure no one sneaks up behind us. Also, if they get attacked, reinforcements from the main force can go back and help them.
"The two corps on our flanks have their vanguards at the same distance as our flank guards. The reason is that if they encounter trouble, our main force can dispatch enough troops to aid them in a hurry. Also, if we have to turn, we keep the same formation and what not. It
looks nice too."
"Man," said Lorinan. "That is a lot of information. How do you know so much and how do you make sure to apply it to an army?"
"Time and practice," said Bacca. "Read enough books, see enough armies and battles, and train enough with troops and you learn quite a bit. You remember it all by making sure your subordinates know what they are doing. That is also why I have a general staff. They take care of the logistics of everything. I say where we go and how we will attack, they plan it, map it, and execute it on time tables and what not."
"So do you think this army can take on Mog and his army, or the Dark Moogles?" asked Kaitlin.
"Of course," said Bacca. "Because along with being the best swordsman in the world, I am also the best commander in the world. I was taught by the best and I make sure to never loose; either a battle or a lot of men. To live to fight another day is my anthem. To attack wherever the enemy is and to always find his weakness is my motto. To concentrate for attack, disperse for defense is my mantra.
"Even if Mog attacked us now, I know we can hold him off and organize a defense.
"Now, Ku-Sam, when will we make it to this Crystal Peak?"
Lady Paladin rode 20 feet behind Bacca and the others, just out of hearing range. She wasn't sure why she didn't ride along with the others; all she knew was that she needed to be alone and just think. The rows of Lance Henriksens and other human soldiers surrounded her on all sides, but they paid her no heed.
She wasn't used to riding a Chocobo, and it took some adjustment. The healer yearned to summon her familiar stallion to ride upon, but it was Bacca's wish that all of the heroes ride chocobos. So she followed his wishes.
Something nagged at the back of her mind. Her dreams had gradually gotten worse, and she feared they were prophetic in nature. Lady Paladin knew that Jaana and Kaitlin were hiding something from her, and she worried that there was some connection. She kept her suspicions to herself, though, and tried to serve