Chapter 60 Arrangements
Border Town’s second militia recruitment went much smoother than the first one. After all, during the winter, the food was rationed so the members of the militia would be given more and better food. On the weekly visiting day, there would be many soldiers who would secretly transfer bread and meat, which they had saved during the week, to their loved ones. Roland told Carter and Iron Axe to overlook these matters, because when those loved ones happily stayed at home with food, they would surely tell their neighbors where they got it.
This would be a perfect example of word-of-mouth recommendation, executed by his militia. The conversations between neighbors were much more effective than information announced by the city hall. At this point, most of the urban areas of the town already knew about it – His Highness’ militia wasn’t only well paid, but would also eat three meals every day. In addition, the fight with the demonic beast didn’t seem so dangerous as previously thought. So during the second recruitment, there were many more candidates than during the first one, and even residents of the better districts came for registration.
The number of people who matched the requirements were much higher than the Roland had expected, so the second recruitment accepted 200 new members who would be trained by Carter during the weekdays. When the horn sounded, the new recruits would also rush to the wall to stand as auxiliary forces on standby.
The Chief Knight and the Assistant Minister raised some objections, like that at this point the new batch of militia wasn’t qualified to fight against the demonic beasts, or that the newly recruited unit had more than twice the number of soldiers of the first unit, which wasn’t necessary. Increases of the general public food rations and salary would lead to the increase of their financial expenditure, but even so, if they gave out more gold royals they would not achieve a significant effect.
However, Roland kept to his decision even though these people were not prepared to deal with the demonic beasts.
Yet he didn’t dare to inform his men about the plan he came up with. No one was allowed to know that he intended to attack the Duke’s stronghold – if he told them about his idea now, he was afraid that Barov and Carter would find it totally unacceptable.
The difference between the Longsong Stronghold and Border Town was just too big. As the official border stronghold of the Kingdom of Graycastle, its walls were ten feet tall, and was built brick-by-brick by stonemasons. With the Duke’s private army and the six noble families’ private armies and also the city’s own soldiers, they could mobilize more than 1000 soldiers. In theory, it was impossible to win a siege when one could only rely on his own army of 300 – even if they were equipped with cross-era guns.
And because of the God’s Stone of Retribution, the witches couldn’t be used as an assassination squad; Roland had confirmed this point several times with Nightingale. Duke Ryan and the important people of the six families would purchase these stones, not leaving anything to spare – of course, for the outside world this purchase was called donation. If someone wanted to buy such a stone, they had to donate several dozens of gold royals. Banning the power of the witches within a certain range was the most powerful weapon against the so-called devil’s servants and was the biggest annual income source for the Church.
Roland only had a chance when it was an open field fight.
Thanks to this era, most of the soldiers were drafted before a battle. So if the lord didn’t want his drafted army to flee halfway, he was required to travel with his army, which would present a perfect opportunity to implement Roland’s annihilation plan. However, he was still unsure about how he could take advantage of this opportunity. After all, his experience of war tactics came only from movies and television works, or historical stories, so he had no experience of his own.
In the end, he thought that since he didn’t understand it, he should first do the things he was good at.
Roland wanted to stretch out a little and left his office to take a walk in his backyard.
The steam engine II was assembled and standing quietly in the middle of the field. At first glance, the new steam engine looked much cleaner than the previous one, and the welding marks were no longer as uneven as before. This masterpiece was possible thanks to Anna’s new capabilities. Her green fire could drill into the tiniest gaps for welding, allowing for the individual parts to fit better together than in the past.
However, the most important difference between the steam engine II and the older steam engine wasn’t the overall look, but the integration of a centrifugal governor. The first set of the automatic control system and feedback system in human history could be considered as a big milestone. Roland’s governor’s structure was very simple, consisting of two iron balls connected with a string to a main rod. At first glance it was just like the bamboo dragonflies that children played with during their childhood. If someone quickly rubbed the bamboo pole, the two rotating blades would be forced to automatically rise due to the centrifugal force.
For the governor, the equivalent for the fan was the two iron balls – when the steam engine worked, the main rod would be driven to rotate, and when the output increased too high, the balls would spin faster, gradually increasing their height under the influence of the centrifugal force, closing the valve bit by bit. When the output decreased, the ball’s speed would also get slower, lowering their position under the influence of gravity, thereby increasing the valve output again. This always kept the steam engine running at a relatively fixed power level.
With speed control, it was now possible to let the steam engine II take over some of the more sophisticated processing tasks.
The gears produced by the blacksmiths were delivered and neatly placed in a corner of the shed.
Looking at them with the perspective of an industrial production line, none of these gears could be called qualified to work with and all of them would be thrown into the defective box, waiting to be recycled. But in terms of this age, they were rare works of art – the design of involute gears were created with a sense of harmony. The gears that had been immersed in lard emitted a unique metallic sheen.
In addition to produced gears, carpenters who were responsible for the planning had already built the foundation as well as other parts that were already prepared. He let the door guards call for Anna so that they could begin to assemble the first steam-powered borer together.
They began Roland’s plan, which he thought was the most effective plan to mass-produce rifles.
Relying only on blacksmiths who had to manually knock out a barrel was extremely time-consuming, but also very boring for the blacksmiths themselves. Now, he only had to take out an iron bar and he could directly drill the barrel out with the borer. So in one day, he would be able to produce more than ten barrels.
At the same time, by replacing the head, the boring machine couldn’t only be used to cut but also to engrave the rifling. With rifled flintlocks, the firing accuracy would be further improved.
Thus, he was confident that before the end of winter, the two groups of militia, nearly 300 people, could all be armed with rifles.
However, Roland couldn’t guarantee that his army would be able to calmly load, aim, and shoot at their targets in the face of charging knights. It was more realistic to think that they would rather drop their weapons, turn tail, and run away. After all, the training time of the two troops were too short, they had no combat experience against other humans.
So, he had to bring out a more powerful weapon onto the battlefield, a weapon which could defeat the enemy even before they could start their own assault.
That was artillery.
As the God of War in the history of human warfare, the destruction and deterrence brought by artillery wasn’t reproducible by guns. A six-pound field artillery had the range to attack the other side before they were even able to gather. The mixed-up armies of this era would surely be unable to maintain discipline in combat while being under constant fire. As long as he could get three or four field guns, his enemy would never have the chance to charge.
Roland was following a step-by-step plan – with his manual milling machines, which could be used to process usable steering gear, he would be able to produce the speed-controllable steam engine II, and with this machine he could create his own borer. With steam boring, he would be able to process a variety of gun barrels and cannon barrels.
There was still at least two months until the end of the Months of the Demons, so as long as his plans played out smoothly, Border Town’s militia would have the power to compete with the Duke in a full out battle.
TN: Information about Bamboo Dragonflies