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Youjo Senki, Volumen 3, Capitulo 2, Parte 5



JUNE 18, UNIFIED YEAR 1925, OVER THE OUTSKIRTS OF PARISII

If I must confess my emotions at this moment, honestly, I’m feeling absolutely refreshed.

Good morning. Or perhaps “hello”? “Good night”? I’m not sure which greeting is appropriate, but I’m not averse to wishing everyone good day with a smile.

On the contrary, I’ll smile and send a greeting to not only the people of our beloved Empire but everyone in the whole world straight from the imperial Rhine lines where we continue mopping up enemy.

Yes, thinks Tanya, relaxing her lips into a gracious smile and recalling the moment they crossed the wasteland below. That is what used to be the Rhine front. The abundant greenery, the brooks that used to be resting places, all shelled into nothing. Nothing but the desolate remnants of trenches remain.

I was here with my fellow soldiers, and some of them are here still, their bleached skeletons buried beneath the earth. After crossing that bony soil, luring in the main forces of the Republican Army, and then encircling and annihilating them, there is nothing to stop us on the road to Parisii.

Yes, we’re advancing on the escargots’ Parisii. Now that ending the war with our own hands is more than just a dream, the scenery is so wonderful it makes me want to praise the Reich, crown of the world.

Was this as expected? Or was it strange that there was no resistance? The mage vanguard only makes contact with Republican forces on the outskirts of the city. But what luck they manage to acquire the railroads intact, so they even have heavy artillery.

That makes the advance a bit sluggish, but all the officers of the Imperial Army, including Tanya, believe that the attack will continue unhindered and that the capture of the city is only a matter of time.

That scene, in a way, is something not just Imperial Army officers but officers from any army have dreamed of. The attack is so glorious that a competition even begins to see who can be the first to storm into the enemy nation’s capital.

And then the 203rd Aerial Mage Battalion, part of that vanguard who reached the outskirts of Parisii, finally finds some Republican soldiers prepared to defend their capital to the death.

From above, it looks like it must be mainly units that were garrisoned in Parisii. What she can see seems like about two divisions infantry divisions bearing no similarity to the armored or mechanized varieties. From the dearth of young people, she infers that these units must be mainly an emergency mobilization of reserves.

Though the army is currently building trenches in the suburbs, behind them, the city streets and their pristine rows of buildings seem to remain entirely untouched by field engineers at least, as far as she can tell from the positions being constructed below her.

…They should have at least dismantled some structures, to give themselves a clear line for their defensive fire, and blown up bridge pillars, but they didn’t.

Too bad for the guys who were emergency mobilized, but apparently they were being made to defend the city from the outskirts because the government was hesitant to wage urban warfare in the capital.

“…Those poor guys. They really lost the boss lottery. I or rather, the Imperial Army in general we’re extremely blessed in comparison.”

…Or maybe if they had been trained appropriately and holed up in sturdy, entrenched defensive positions with heavy artillery backup they would have managed to be a threat.

As it is… Tanya chuckles to herself.

A mere two divisions won’t be enough to stop the tide of an Imperial Army fresh off its victory on the Rhine lines. The Republicans actually are pitiful for having a superior officer who would order something so ridiculous. On that point, Tanya is glad to be blessed with mostly good human relations, beginning with General von Zettour, but really from the bottom on all the way up.

“Fairy 01 to CP. It’s just as we heard. Infantry two divisions strong are constructing defensive positions.”

“Roger. Support the armored division until they arrive.”

Lately, we’re getting lots of easy jobs it’s great.

Just as she was thinking that, Intelligence had hit them with some enemy intel that could actually prove to be a threat: The Republican Army was building defensive lines around the periphery of Parisii. On top of that, multiple other divisions seemed to be gathering to defend the city. That has been the big news for a little while now.

Thanks to that, our plans to stand by got changed to a mission of recon and anti-surface attacks. It was news that suddenly made me wonder if I should I be happy about the additional pay or bemoan the reduction in vacation.

But, Tanya mentally murmured, looking at my current situation, I should celebrate receiving such an easy task with odds in my favor. I might even earn a bonus.

“Fairy 03 to 01. Data input complete. I’ve sent the observations to the artillery.”

“Fairy 01, roger. Now focus on observing.”

Normally, observers face the most enemy interference, but with none of that, the sky is calm. Considering that over Norden the Entente Alliance mages managed to give us hell, it’s surprisingly calm.

That’s how truly peaceful it is out here. Aside from the occasional explosion on the surface sending up smoke, the sky is blue it’s a fine sunny day.

And as such, it was pitiful how wimpy the normally terrifying anti–air fire was. Anti–air cannons generally stick out on the surface, but Tanya and the 203rd Aerial Mage Battalion didn’t spot a single one.

Those Republican numbskulls probably thought installing cannons in their city would tarnish its beauty. Or maybe they didn’t want to alarm the citizenry by intimating that the battlefield would come so close. In any case, as far as Tanya and her unit can tell, the enemy is extremely weak in anti–air fire.

Even flying through, all they spot are a few 40 mm machine guns. There are none of the terrible 127 mm cannons.

On top of that, there’s no sign of what would usually be the mages’ first targets, heavy artillery. Actually, the greatest firepower they see on the battlefield is an outdated field gun. The trickiest to deal with will be the mortars issued to the infantry. Long story short, the battlefield has relatively little enemy artillery.

In close-quarter combat, heavy artillery would have too high a chance of accidental friendly fire; given that the most firepower a foot soldier can use under those circumstances is the mortars, then that’s what they need to be careful of… To put it another way, though, that means there’s nothing else to worry about.

After all, to a mage, that’s not enough firepower to constitute a threat. As long as they’re in the air, it can’t do much of anything to them.

“Fairy 03 to all units. Be aware of the artillery’s firing lines.”

Actually, grumbles Tanya in her mind, the worst thing that can happen to us now is being mistaken as the enemy by our own guns. As it stands, the only thing to do is roll our eyes and trample them.

I don’t want to be blown away by friendly 180 mms. Tanya should be in the safe zone, but she decides to fly higher just in case.

Her altitude adjustment isn’t enough to cause her to lose sight of movements on the ground. Luckily, visibility is great; there are hardly any clouds. I’ll just enjoy my view of the imperial mages forged on the Rhine lines firing away at the Republicans and their 80 mm field guns.

The range of a 180 mm is very different from an 80 mm, so I’m sure things will develop in a one-sided way. We have them literally outranged. That should make this quite easy.

Since we’re on an anti-surface strike mission, not a bombing mission, we’re heavily armored, which weighs us down a bit, but this is just one of those times you have to bear it.

To be safe, we assumed the dregs of the Republican Army’s mages would intercept, so if spotting artillery fire was too dangerous, the plan was to throw a ton of grenades on the ground troops’ heads and move in for a hand-to-hand fight.

So we loaded up on potato mashers, but now the artillery is going to handle the ground forces, so we have no use for them. That said, I can’t cast off ammunitions bought with the nation’s money just because they’re heavy although maybe I could make the excuse that I needed to be lighter in case of hand-to-hand combat with enemy mages.

Ultimately, since no enemy mages appear, there’s nothing to do but observe for the artillery carrying all this heavy stuff.

…So did General von Rudersdorf misread the situation?

“Fairy 01 to HQ. We’ve acquired the designated airspace. No resistance. No enemy mages in sight.”

Yes, the Imperial Army has been advancing smoothly, but if we can really march right into Parisii with no resistance, something is off.

Well, but there is some resistance. But it’s difficult to understand why they aren’t gathering all their remaining troops for a mass effort.

Like, we’re circling above the enemy capital with good visibility! This isn’t just unexpected; it’s unbelievable. It’s so empty here it would feel more realistic to suspect we’re getting lured into some kind of trap.

Nothing about this is what you would expect.

Usually, this airspace would be tightly secured. It’s easy for mages to conceal themselves for an ambush. That’s why we performed recon-in-force on the Rhine lines, to drag them out of their lair.

Our goal this time in Parisii was to draw the defensive units out by running attack missions on them, but…strangely, there’s no sign of them anywhere. Even if there aren’t any conspicuous measures like anti–air cannons, there have to at least be some mages. That’s what we’re all thinking, and I can hear people warning about the possibility of an ambush.

If the Republican Army tried to fly over the imperial capital, there would be a hell of an interception.

We were sure this whole area would be ready to saturate the sky with anti-mage fire that could penetrate defensive shells and protective films.

The troops accepted that forecast with next to no objections. They’d learned on the Rhine lines how stubborn the Republican troops are, so it was only natural. But here we are with not a single shell coming at us. Unless a majority of the enemy are believers in passive resistance, they must just not be here.

In that case, it starts to feel like we really took out the Republic, but at the same time, a total lack of anti–air fire is kind of eerie. Are there a bunch of characters loyal to their duty holed up somewhere, waiting to blow themselves up to take us with them?

No, this is their capital. They aren’t so politically blasé that they would blow it up themselves.

“HQ, roger. Keep observing impacts and stay on your toes.”

But though that may be bothering me, I have to focus on other things right now. The army wants to avoid urban warfare; they’d rather obliterate the city before the enemy can hole up in it. I have no objections to that. You could say they have the right intentions.

Rather than fighting a tricky urban battle and sweeping through each area in turn to wipe out the enemy, it’s much easier to surround and annihilate them. Above all, it’s effective.

But if we take the time to blast the city with our artillery, we risk letting them escape. Or it’s possible that units will drop out of the fight and begin withdrawing. In that case, someone will have to cut off their retreat in the rear.

Naturally, if there are no other airborne units, the mages will be put in that role. If we’re unlucky, my unit might be sent on a mission to drop in and attack them.

Of course, this is much better than being in the trenches.

That said, getting jumped in a city in the middle of enemy territory doesn’t sound like much fun. It’s obvious that the best would be to not have to do it.

All we can do is pray the artillery gets the enemy movements and terrain down and does their thing. Well, and I guess we should consider if anti-surface supporting fire would discourage a retreat.

“Fairy, roger. We’ll be on guard.”

We made it this far without getting Dunkirked. Once we win the war, I should be able to enjoy the rest of my life. Tanya is extra vigilant precisely because they are fighting a winning battle.

If you don’t survive until the end, you don’t get to partake in the victory. I don’t want to get injured during my final missions.

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