My Father-in-law is Lu Bu Chapter 207
Chapter 207 A shocking battle (2)
Translated by Gamer
“That thing!” Jiang Qin had some knowledge about it. Wasn’t that the thing that almost killed him and his master? That one arrow managed to hit his horse and splatter its head onto Jiang Qin’s face. Jiang Qin does not want to experience that ever again.
Now every ship has at least 5 of those things. As there were about 20 ships, the amount of ballista would at least be 100 and the sight of it made both Lu Su and Jiang Qin feel numb. However, Jiang Qin insisted on attacking. “He only have 100 ballistae! He can only shoot 100 giant arrows and kill several hundred soldiers! What about the rest!” Jiang Qin tried to calm himself down. He is the commander of the Sun Ce’s Army. He is not allowed to panic! He tried to diffuse the situation by claiming that the ballistae would not do much.
On the other hand, Lu Su was not as optimistic as Jiang Qin. Can the ballistae only shoot people? He remembered that the ballista was used to shoot down the siege tower. Although the arrow managed to hit the weak spot of the siege tower, it needs to have a strong power to destroy the tower.
“Now is the time for you to taste my flames of anger!” Gan Ning as he commanded the deputy with the command flag. This command flag was meant for the ballistae only. Under Gan Ning’s order, the qualified soldiers pulled the string of the ballistae.
“Fire!” Following Gan Ning’s shout, Lu Su saw the scene he was afraid of seeing. Countless huge arrows were separated from the ballistae. Arrows the size of trees flew out. An iron-copper compound was also added onto the tip of these arrows. Both the arrows and the ballistae were prepared specially for this. These were not prototypes like the one used on Wan Cheng but finalized models meant for naval combat.
*Swoosh* All 5 ballistae from all 20 ships shot the ballista arrow.
*Boom Boom Boom* The Sun Ce’s Army’s navy had bad luck. The hundred ballista arrows did not aim at them but at the floor of their ships. The Sun Ce’s Army had a more intensive and packed formation. The benefits of this type of formation is that it could give stronger mental pressure on the enemy. Unfortunately, that formation was not good against the ballistae. The arrows fired from it was something that no men or horse could avoid. Staying in formation on the ship was no easy task. Even if the floor was not slippery, the ship would constantly shake on the river Yangtze River.
“What!” Jiang Qin and Lu Su stared in amazement. The power of these ballista arrows were really strong. The wooden floors of the ship could not stop these arrows and even the metallic layer on some parts of the floor in the ships were pierced through.
Those outside the ship were still okay but the same could not be said to those at the hull of the ship. This is because the ship could not just rely on the sails to move. After all, if the wind is not good, the ship would stop moving. This is why there were people rowing the ship and the hull. Some of the arrows pierced through the ship and into their heads. After the hull was shot, the ship turned into a laughable state. The river water flowed into the cabin and the ship started to sink. If it was any other time, they would be able to dock at the edge of the river and do emergency repairs. Unfortunately, they were at war and the ship was in the middle of the river. They could only watch the ship sink slowly.
The towered ships were still okay. The ones with bad luck were the smaller warships. One arrow was enough to completely destroy it. They sank into the water without resistance. Fortunately, the soldiers were knowledgeable with water and was able to swim back.
“Let them abandon the ship!” Jiang Qin issued the order. He also issued the order for the surrounding ship to support those that sank into the water and to also salvage anything they could. If they do not abandon ship now, their ships will become targets.
“Yes!” Jiang Qin’s soldiers shouted from the flagship. One by one, the other towered ships moved in to save the soldiers. More than 10 soldiers were saved for every small warship.
“What a pity!” Gan Ning’s deputy was no longer in a panicked state. The other soldiers on the other towered ships were the same. During that era, the basic method of naval combat would be the ships trying to get a stronger and more stable position. As the ships get closers, the soldiers would shoot arrows to kill as many enemies as they can. After that, the helmsman would ram the ships and attempt to knock the enemy ship over. The one with the most ships at the end is the winner.
Now the soldiers have not even started shooting normal arrows but Gan Ning’s ballistae already started it’s volley and turned 5-6 towered ships into hedgehogs and another sank another 5-6 ships. If Jiang Qin had arranged the ships in a row, there would have been more ships that were destroyed.
“There is nothing pitiful about it!” Gan Ning was also amazed at the power of the ballistae. Before the battle even started, they have already eliminated 6 towered ships and at least 10 smaller warships. If Gan Ning were told about this earlier, he would have scoffed. ‘Before the enemy could even touch you, you would have already eliminated 6 towered ships! What kind of dream is this? Those six ships would have at least 2,000 soldiers! To feed all these soldiers to the fishes in a moments time. Did you think the enemies were made of paper?’ Now the mighty ballistae on the ship told Gan Ning that the story was not a dream.
Gan Ning’s navy were mostly filled with soldiers from the Jiangxia navy. It is inevitable for them to panic when they are fighting against the opponent that used to bully them especially when their opponents have 30,000 soldiers. Gan Ning himself was not certain of the result. Naturally the common soldiers would have it worse. The first salvo of the ballistae was just a test and each ballistae arrow was fired at random. The ballistae were not calibrated and the soldiers fired them on instinct.
If they could defeat 2,000 soldiers on the test run, what about the second and third volley?
Gan Ning was now confident and no longer a gambler.
“Fall back!” Gan Ning issued the order and the deputy nodded. The flag signaled again and the 20 ships changed directions.
“Withdrawing?!” Jiang Qin’s forces were already shot with the volley and have just reorganized the troops. Now he wanted to rush towards Gan Ning but Gan Ning started to withdraw.
“General Jiang Qin! We cannot let them go! Quickly chase them!” Lu SU suddenly told Jiang Qin. Lu Su does not know much about naval battles but he knows about the ballistae. The ballistae would require time to reload. Although it’s power is large, it is also quite heavy. If a warship can put 300-400 soldiers, putting 5 ballistae would only allow them to put 200 soldiers at most. If you consider the crews in the cabin, the total fighting force of the ship would only be about 100 soldiers. On the other hand, Sun Ce’s ships would have at least 300 soldiers. Gan Ning would be finished the moment the soldiers board Gan Ning’s ship.
The advantages of numbers would take form and Gan Ning’s forces would only meet a dead end.
“All units, advance! We need to catch up to Gan Ning!” Jiang Qin also understood the reason. Loading the ballista was very troublesome and would need 20 soldiers to pull the bowstring like on Wan Cheng. The consumption of manpower and resources was extremely high and the ballistae would take up a lot of space. This was one of the cons of using the ballistae, especially during naval battles.
Jiang Qin was shocked the moment the battle started. Before he could even reach his enemies, he already loss 6 towered ships and 10 warships. It happened so quickly. If the amount of time was as long as the time needed to drink a cup of tea, the army of 30,000 would already be swimming in the water. Now that the ballista is reloading, it is Jiang Qin’s chance to approach. Catch up and stop them from reloading. After that, Gan Ning cannot escape.
On the surface of the water, which boat is the fastest? It is the warships. Warships, or assault ships, were speedboats. The front of the ship was thin for the purpose of reducing the water resistance. It is also very fast as there were a large number of oars. These soldiers could pick up a sword to fight during combat and row the boat when they were not fighting.
The towered ships were large and although they also had more people to row the boat, the water resistance on the ship was also larger.
Under Jiang Qin’s command, several warships chased Gan Ning’s towered ships. Their speed were faster than the towered ships and would soon catch up to Gan Ning’s ship. Their purpose was to stall Gan Ning’s soldiers and win time for the larger part of the army to catch up.
“Did you want to stall me?” Gan Ning laughed. “I’m afraid I have to disappoint you!”
Jiang Qin was confident that his tactic would work. Despite having a large number of troops, his troops were also of high quality. Gan Ning’s new recruits could not even be compared to them. He also found out about the power of the ballistae and all of its weaknesses. How could he let Gan Ning use it again?
“Allow us to send this arrow as a present General Jiang Qin!” Jiang Qin dispatched the warships to chase Gan Ning. The warships were small and fast and would allow Gan Ning to waste ballista arrows or make him reluctant to shoot. On the other hand, Gan Ning wanted to send them all to the fishes. He also wanted to destroy the towered ships first so that the smaller warships would become afraid and retreat.
The warship soldiers quickly approached the towered ship and wanted to climb it. They threw ropes onto the ship and started to climb it. The head of the warship was also coated with metal and was as powerful as the towered ship.
“Fire!” On top of the towered ship, several soldiers operating the ballistae and many more soldiers holding the bow, appeared and shot at the ships. There were over 4,000 soldiers shooting arrows. Although the warship was covered with leather, it was unable to receive constant damage.
The 45 or so warships were reduced at an alarming rate. They were shot at not just with the ballista but also with Gan Ning’s navy’s archers. With Gan Ning’s towered ship surrounding them as well, the Sun Ce’s navy would no longer be able to escape. Before the battle started, Jiang Qin has already lost 3,000 troops. He looked at Lu Bu’s Army and Gan Ning’s flagship in hatred.
“Their appetite is big but that may be too much. Go and support them!” Gan Ning send out smaller boats towards the warship to finish them off traditionally. As a result, Gan Ning’s velocity dropped and allowed Jiang Qin and Lu Su to catch up. From Lu Su and Jiang Qin’s point of view, Gan Ning may have run out of ballista arrows and could not continue to shoot more.
“Get up there! Wipe them out!” By Jiang Qin’s command, the ships advanced towards Gan Ning so that the soldiers can climb up. Besides that, the ship links were also ready. They just needed to get closer to Gan Ning.
“So you want to die! In that case, let me send you off!” The ballistae started to turn again. Lu Su and Jiang Qin saw this. They had thought that the ballistae had ran out of arrows.
“Did you think you can scare us!?” Jiang Qin shouted resolutely. He did not believe that the ballistae had a bowstring as they needed 20 strong soldiers to pull the bowstring. However, from the first time that Gan Ning fired the arrow, he did not see anyone bringing the bowstring to the ballistae and without any bowstring, the ballistae would be useless.
“No! No!” Lu Su shook his head. He looked at the ballistae on the enemy ships. Although he could not see whether or not the ballistae had arrows ready to fire, he could see something similar to the arrows near the ballista. This was already different from the one on Wan Cheng. The ballista on Wan Cheng and the arrows were separated and not joined together like this ballista.
“Is the aim ready?” In the deck of the ship, there were a few soldiers together. There were 5 ballistae in each ship and each ballista was controlled by 2 soldiers. Some of these soldiers were chosen from Lu Bu’s and Liu Mang’s army. They were soldiers that were good at shooting. Although none of them were divine marksman like Huang Zhong, they could shoot 100 paces away reliably. One person was responsible for shooting the ballistae and the other was responsible for observation. From the moment that the ballista was constructed, they were trained to be as accurate as possible. The first volley of ballistae arrows was not as accurate because the soldiers were not confident. As they were urged by the superiors, the blindly fired the ballistae arrows. Fortunately, the towered ships were packed together, allowing the ballistae arrows to hit.
Now that they have shot the first volley and the soldiers saw the results of the ballistae arrows, they became more confident. They believed they can shoot down even 10 ships with this.
“One towered ship aim at one!” Gan Ning commanded. A volley was scarier but it could only be targeted on the few ships in front. The same could not be said for shooting separately. Although they were in a river, the river was a few kilometers wide and Jiang Qin’s formation is starting to surround them to prevent Gan Ning from escaping.
“One towered ship aim at one?” The deputy asked. “General, will the power be enough?” One full volley only managed to destroy 6 ships. Hoping for the towered ships to take out over 20 ships by aiming separately may not be possible.
“N?” Gan Ning contemplated. According to his discussion with the Little Lord, 5 ballistae should be enough to destroy one towered ship. However, that was assuming that all the arrows managed to hit the ship and pierce to the bottom. If the arrows were shot at a wrong angle, they may not have enough destructive power. “Two towered ships aim at one! Let them decide by themselves!” Gan Ning amended his order.
“Yes!” The deputy went and repeated the order to the other ships. With two towered ships, the hit rate would be doubled. Even if half the arrows miss, they should be able to sink one.
Two aim at one? The soldiers thought to themselves as they saw the flag signals. Although the soldiers may not have worked together for a long time, they harmoniously cooperated and split into groups. One ship would lead another ship. When the leading ship picked a target, the following ship will fire at the same target.
*Whoosh* The arrows flew again except that this time they flew with greater accuracy. It pierced the air and gave out a threatening buzzing sound as it flew towards the Jiangdong navy.
After the first arrow was shot, the other ballistae shot their respective arrows. The sheer power of the ballistae shook the ship.
“How is this possible!” Lu Su’s and Jiang Qin’s mouth opened so wide that they could put in a chicken egg. Don’t need to pull the bowstring? Capable of shooting continuously? This is a nightmare!
*Boom Boom* One by one, Sun Ce’s ships broke apart and the river water started flowing into it.
If it was only penetration, the soldiers would be fortunate and could save themselves after the ship sank. However, some of the high-ranking soldiers were smart. They wrapped the ballistae arrows with cloth and light it up before shooting it with the ballistae arrow.
Fire arrows were always useful during naval battles. The ships were mostly made out of wood and were easily flammable. Fire arrows were already a headache. Flaming ballistae arrows were much worse. It pierced through the ship and burned everything in the way. The river soon became bright with dazzling flames.