Release that Witch Chapter 1188
Chapter 1188: Post-war Analysis
In the next couple of days, Roland received various reports from the General Staff that re-examined and concluded the entire investigation on Torch Action based on Summer's reconstruction and the search of Taquila. These reports arrived at Roland's desk like a fierce blizzard, which piled up as high as his waist.
Truth gradually resurfaced.
Roland learned that the giant God's Stone, discovered during the Battle of the Northbound Slope and the Battle of Taquila, was from the God's stone mine at the Taquila ruin. At the bottom of the mine, the Detective Group had found the missing part of the stone, which were two medium-sized God's Stone pillars that was chopped in half. The surface and edge of the cuts were smooth and even, as though the pillars were sliced by a sharp weapon.
Summer could not use her ability in the vicinity of the God's stones, but Roland deduced that the stones might have something to do with the Giant Skeletons. In fact, the Giant Skeletons were not only the transportation tool but also the small Obelisk that could regenerate the Red Mist. His theory was also supported by the corrupted soil around the ruin. Nevertheless, compared to an Obelisk of a normal size that could spread Red Mist up to hundreds of kilometers, the Skeletons could only cover an area within the radius of a hundred to two hundred meters. Moreover, they also required the Red Mist supply line to sustain themselves and spread the Red Mist.
In other words, the Giant Skeletons were the mobile sentry posts for the demons that had significant strategic implementation. The General Staff had reached to the conclusion that these Giant Skeletons, like the Spider Demons, were a rare species; otherwise, the demons would have used them as their sentries and taken the entire Fertile Plains before human beings could take any action.
Furthermore, the passages at the rear of Taquila were mostly the masterpiece of the Spider Demons. Although the Spider Demons were not as efficient as the devouring worms in excavation, they were much more proficient than the Mad Demons. These passages branched out from the God's mine underneath the ground, and the measurement between the surface and the passages clearly showed the Spider Demons consideration of the threshold that an observer type can see. Therefore, it would be difficult for anyone to spot the passages from above.
Since Celine and Agatha both preferred to view the Giant Skeletons and the Spider Demons as one particular type of demon, Roland came up with a new name. He called them Monstrous Beast to distinguish carrier demons from regular demons. A prefix was used to quickly classify an undiscovered type of demon in the same category.
The Giant Skeleton was thus given the name "Fortress-like Monstrous Beast", and the Spider Demons got the name "Spidery Monstrous Beast". The latter was further classified into two subcategories, which the ones that tossed stone needles was the first type and the ones that ejected demons was the second type. The naming system not only facilitated military operation but also simplified post-war data collection and statistical reports.
Apart from a post-war analysis, Roland was also concerned about the weaknesses of the First Army that had been pointed out by the General Staff.
Among other weaknesses, the biggest problem, as Edith had reported, was intelligence collection.
Based on the war history of the mankind, tunnel warfare was never a regular military tactic due to the limitation in technologies and the considerable amount of time and resources it usually cost. However, with the application of the devouring worms and the Spidery Monstrous Beast, military strategies using large-scale tunnels became possible. The demons could create an underground passage wide enough for their army to pass through within a short period of time. Therefore, the space below also became a treacherous area that the First Army must remain vigilant about.
Beyond a doubt, they needed someone other than Sylvie as a lookout. The Eye of Magic required a considerable amount of magic power to look through solid objects. The area it could cover was no larger than the size of two football pitches, and it could only see through three to four meters below the surface. However, if it was monitoring the area above the ground, the Eye of Magic could see anywhere within ten kilometers and stay vigilant for the entire day.
All the witches, except Extraordinaries, had a limit in their power. When they exceeded their own limit, their power would drop significantly. Therefore, witches rarely went over limits unless it was an absolute emergency.
Considering this factor, the First Army must develop their own intelligence collection system.
Roland remembered there had been a war in the history where both parties had listened closely underground to gather information on the location of the tunnels and camps of their opponents. The devices they used in that battle were pretty similar to a doctor's stethophone, which detected movements through the transmission of sound through solid materials.
However, this method only worked for tunnels in progress. For completed tunnels, one would not be able to hear anything.
After much deliberation, Roland finally found a practical way to infiltrate the enemy: a standard penetration test.
Penetration test was a standard procedure to test soil strength. As a former engineering student, Roland had often heard his roommates discussing this method. Basically, the procedure of this test was to drive steel rods arrayed in quincuncial piles into the ground, with each piles several meters apart. With a sounding machine, a few people could complete the test over a large area. If the rod sank, then it provided an indication of a hollow beneath the ground.
If the army mastered these two detection methods, they could monitor the demons' movement underground without the help from the witches.
In order for the army to conduct scouting mission in the sky without relying on Lightning and Maggie, the only way was to build an air force.
To that, Tilly was the key.
In addition, Edith's report pointed out that "the army lacks a contingency plan to provide immediate assistance". Roland was impressed with the remarkable progress of the ability of the General Staff, yet at the same time, Edith's comment left him a little helpless. He knew exactly what their problems were, but it was hard to overcome these drawbacks at this stage due to the limited population in Neverwinter.
Finally, Roland's attention was drawn to a report from a logistics officer. In the report, the officer wrote that the performance of Mark I machine gun was not satisfactory during intense battles. Many soldiers from the machine gun squad complained that they spent more time loading than firing, and at the same time, it created quite a burden on the logistics team. The officer expressed his wish that the Department of Engineering could make improvements accordingly.
This was indeed Roland's first time receiving feedback from soldiers at the front after the implementation of the feedback system. As they were the ones who actually used the weapons, they knew the strengths and weaknesses of each weapon better than anyone else.
In fact, Roland had noticed an unusual increase in broken guns after the night attack at Tower Station No. 1. However, since they easily replace the gun parts, Roland had not taken this issue seriously. He believed that the increase in disabled firearms was largely due to soldiers' inexperience and increasing attacks from the enemy. As soldiers were usually more stressed in a night battle as they could not see the firing results, they might experience difficulty in pulling triggers. Moreover, as air-cooled barrels were inherently less durable than water-cooled ones, the guns got overheated more easily.
This problem alarmed Roland. Initially, he had intended to create a recoil-operated machine gun that employed an air-cooled barrel so that one gun can do it all. He also believed this multi-purpose gun would be more efficient than Maxim gun. However, it appeared that his invention did not work out. Although with the help of tracers and the experience soldiers would gain from night battles, they would encounter much more demons in the upcoming war. Roland could not bear the consequence of broken machine guns during the official Battle of Divine Will when thousands of demons charged at them.
This report made him realize his mistake.
The remedy of this problem was to abandon the idea of multitasking machine guns by separating HMGs and general machine guns. The barrel of the HMG should be lengthened and equipped with a radiator. As for the general machine gun that could be carried by hand or vehicle, it should be lightweight and portable so as to meet the needs of future warfares, and it can be done so by improving the current model of Mark I.