In this last month of winter, the snow is finally beginning to clear up little by little. There’s still a little while left until my eighth birthday’s celebration though, as the custom here is to celebrate it a bit after my actual birthday has passed.
“Teo, how are things?”
I was asking Teo to tell me the results of training the Kaldia army for three months on how to handle horses like the Shiru tribe does. With a serious expression, he checked each of the army’s formations, examining how they moved, commanding them by raising his voice and using hand gestures.
“Agil and Calvin’s squads have excellent results. They have quick responses to commands, and their horses are orderly. There’s also no problems with Gunther’s squad. However, Locks and Renon’s squads are still a bit lacking. They need to get more used to horses.”
The members of Locks and Renon’s squads that he pointed out nodded in response, while stopping to catch their breaths. These two squads are composed solely of new recruits that have entered the army earlier this year in spring, so their horse handling is conspicuously much more unskilled than the other squads. Their training period as apprentice soldiers has just ended in fall, which is when they started training to become cavalry soldiers, so it can’t be helped.
Whatever the case, today’s training is now over. I dismissed the soldiers, and dismounted my horse as well. Teo came up to me looking like he was thinking about something. He was also thoughtful enough to offer me a towel to wipe my sweat off with. While doing so, he also spoke his mind.
“……My lord, I have a proposal.”
“Hold on a minute. We also have something to propose to our lord.”
What’s going on, before I could even reply, another voice cut in from the side. When I looked to see who it was, Gunther, along with Calvin and Agil, were all heading over to speak with me.
“Got it, I’ll listen to both proposals. Summarize them for me.”
I’ll listen to both proposals, then make a decision based on my best judgment. Teo and Gunther seem to have decided on who would go first based just on eye contact, and Teo gave his proposal first.
“Well then. My recommendation is that the entire Kaldia army should be converted into cavalry troops.”
It’s a simple proposal. His reason is most likely the difference in skill level between the cavalry squads and the other half of the Kaldia army – the infantry squads. As a new type of unit, I put the best soldiers into it. The soldiers that were judged to have abilities necessary for battling on horseback were incorporated into the cavalry squads, and as the domain lord I participate in and supervise their training every day. However, this has caused both the average skill level and morale of the remaining infantry troops to drop as they weren’t picked.
In the first place, Arxia treats cavalry soldiers and infantry soldiers differently. Cavalry troops have stronger attack power and mobility, and since they also need special training in horse handling, they usually obtain higher ranks than infantry troops. In the royal army there’s also the title of knight, which can then lead to noble peerage.
“……And Gunther’s proposal?”
“My proposal is, could you just let me be an infantry squad captain instead?”
Uh, oh. I somehow managed to stop myself from making any sounds of surprise. Teo and Gunther were now glaring at each other. Well, it’s only natural, their proposals completely conflict with each other.
“Gunther, is that really fine?”
More surprisingly, Gunther is asking to step down from the position of cavalry squad captain and become an infantry squad captain, which is basically like a demotion. Before creating cavalry squads, due to my father’s reign of tyranny causing bandits to run rampant and the army to become disorganized, the Kaldia army lacked a formal army rank system. As for the army’s leader, I had just put Gunther in charge before as he was the most skilled and obvious choice.
Although Gunther wants to be the infantry squad captain, the Kaldia army technically doesn’t have this position currently. So if he becomes an infantry squad captain instead of a cavalry squad captain, his rank will technically go down and he would no longer be considered the leader of the army.
“Ahh. I’m more used to fighting on my feet. You can just have Agil and Calvin lead the cavalry squads. Calvin’s also the longest-serving soldier as well as the oldest in the army, the other soldiers really believe in him.”
I do know that Agil has been constantly acting as Gunther’s adjutant before, but I haven’t paid as much attention to the older soldier Calvin up until now. When I observe him closely, as a soldier – not to mention a former bandit – he has quite a calm atmosphere about him as our eyes met.
“Then, you think that the two of them should become commanders?”
Since even everyone in my army gathered together is still less people than one division of an actual army, with so few people it’s simple to do ranks. At the top is me, the domain lord, and under me are a few commanders. Beneath the commanders are squad captains, and their adjutants. After that there’s only regular soldiers and apprentice soldiers in training. Since I’m now taking on the role of their leader, I have a different relationship with the regular soldiers and apprentice soldiers.
“No, I’m saying the three of us should concurrently serve as commanders and squad captains in the army.”
“I won’t allow that. The roles of commanders and squad captains are fundamentally different. The commander is the one who gives orders, while the squad captain leads soldiers to carry out those orders. Doing both simultaneously isn’t possible.”
I furrowed my eyebrows and immediately rejected this idea of his. Commanders are usually in the back of the army, while squad captains have to lead from the front, it’s incompatible. In the first place, if a commander is in the front lines and gets engaged in combat and can’t give orders, the system of command would break down. Then the whole meaning of having army ranks in the first place would be lost.
I know that this is a good timing to reorganize the Kaldia army’s system of command. I already informed Gunther about the message a while back from the king and how it was likely that relations would worsen with the neighboring countries. Both of us agreed that we should prepare for the possibility of upcoming battles.
It’s been just a little over two years since I finished my military training in the barracks myself. I know that they’re no longer leading unruly lives like when they were bandits, they’re now used to living in an orderly and disciplined fashion, they carry and act out all my orders, and they have the realization that they’re part of the military now.
However, as for making them into more of an actual army, the blunt reality is that there aren’t enough soldiers, nor do they have enough experience and education. The only person in the army with an education is Claudia, who’s serving both as my bodyguard and is in charge of dealing with all military documents, it’s obvious that there’s not enough people with the ability to do this work.
When I looked at Gunther again after thinking about how to organize the army all this time to myself, he had a much calmer expression than I would have expected of him considering I flatly rejected his idea. Maybe he knew from the start that I would probably reject it.
“In that case, we don’t need commanders until the size of our army gets a bit larger. The three of us can serve as squad captains. Just like before, my lord can be the commander of the entire army. After all, we don’t have that many soldiers. At any rate, none of the soldiers are leader material other than the three of us. If such a guy joins the army, you can consider making him a commander after giving him some experience.”
“……Well, this sounds reasonable.”
In order for such a leader type to join the army, I need to put more effort into recruitment. I also reminded myself mentally to give Claudia an official army position soon. I took a glance at Teo, making another mental note to think about how to integrate the Shiru warriors into the Kaldia army system of command. And, I still need to take care of his proposal as well.
“I don’t know if I have all the details, but Gunther wants to lead infantry still, right? In that case, consider my proposal unnecessary.”
Since I nodded and said Gunther’s proposal was reasonable, it seems that Teo is maturely withdrawing his proposal. Since Teo is still technically an outsider to the Kaldia army, this is also a reasonable action by him.
“No, your proposal was useful as well. Thank you, Teomer. Gunther, wait a little while on reorganizing the army. I’ll think on it.”
I don’t really have the knowledge necessary to do something like reorganizing the army all by myself. When I said that I’ll think on it, I really meant that I’ll discuss it with Earl Terejia. Gunther probably knows this as well, and he didn’t have any objections.
Before the snow thaws in spring, I’m going to have a thorough new system of command in place, and I also want to increase the number of volunteers joining the army as much as possible.