There were many ways to lay siege to a city. A strong attack could be regarded as one type. It was easier to attack with crossbows and catapults than to use ladders and battering rams.
The problem was that the soldiers of the Southern King on the city wall had more sophisticated weapons, and explosives that could constantly be thrown down at their enemies, causing Wang Baobao’s soldiers to still be unable to move an inch despite trying to brave through the artillery fire.
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Sounds of explosions could be heard in the ears. Most of the soldiers who were blown away became dizzy and deaf. Although they did not really become deaf, they still inevitably lost their ability to move for a while. At this critical moment, the soldiers and their arrows up on the city wall could kill them, let alone those who had directly died from the explosives.
Wang Baobao stood by the chariot, unable to make up his mind.
The bows and arrows, crossbows and catapults were all useless. Was there really only the choice to use the lives of his soldiers to force open the city gates?
——Even if their lives were really sacrificed, it was extremely likely that the gates would not even be broken.
“Retreat!” Wang Baobao called loudly.
His military order was passed on, and from the front the sound of beating drums sounded.
It was difficult to convey military orders on the battlefield, using either flag change or drumming instead.
When the drums sounded, the officers on Wang Baobao’s side began to lead the soldiers in retreating.
They were exhausted after fighting nearly non-stop for these two days.
“Too strange.” Several officers waited before Wang Baobao to listen to the next military orders. The military officers were all bloodstained, and the clothes under their armor were soaked in who knew whether in sweat more or blood more.
“It’s like they are not afraid of death.”
“I haven’t seen anything like this before.”
When they first came, they were very ambitious. They thought that the news they received in Dadu was true and that Hanyang was short of manpower and lacking in weapons as well as medicine. They were excellent soldiers, the most elite soldiers of the imperial court and brought with them the most sophisticated weapons. Although there was not a lot of food and grass rations, it was also not too little either, and moreover rations would continue to be transported over in the future.
But when they arrived at Hanyang, they discovered that the news was all false.
Of the soldiers they saw in the past two days, only a rare few had the skinny physiques in the rumors.
On the contrary, though they didn’t look very strong, they possessed quite a lot of strength.
Even the battle-tested Yuan military officers were shocked by the fierceness they exuded when they charged over.
There were actually such soldiers in this world?
When fighting, there must always be people in the rear to prevent soldiers from deserting. If anyone dared to run backwards, they themselves must kill the deserters first, so as to ensure that the soldiers do not try to follow their example.
The officers were worried, everyone knew that they had to fight this battle, they had no other choice, so now they were in a difficult situation.
If they retreated at this time, putting aside whether Hanyang would pursue them, just the issue of the imperial court was a problem…..
The several people shuddered.
If they fled back, Wang Baobao could still at least guarantee his life, but the lives of small shrimps like them would just be gone, and no one would shed a tear for them except for their family.
“Come in.” Wang Baobao said in the tent.
The several people went in together, splitting up to stand on either the right or left side.
The advisors stood in the rear; they had to discuss the military strategy for tomorrow.
An officer said: “How about we use the battering ram…..”
“It’s better to use a chariot…..”
“It’s hard to get close when driving a chariot, let alone with a battering ram.”
They brought scaling ladders, but they couldn’t get close to the city wall at all. The arrows were like rain, and not everyone was equipped with armor.
Wang Baobao pursed his lips: “What else can be done?”
No one spoke.
What else could be done? There were only so many siege methods.
After these two days, morale had dropped drastically.
The officers had all fought more than one battle and knew what this meant.
At this time, an officer said: “The Chancellor…..towards the court, how about…..”
He wanted to retreat. They couldn’t win this battle at all. Unless Hanyang’s brain suddenly came down with a problem and opened the city gates to welcome them in, a forceful attack would not succeed at all. They couldn’t compare in armaments, just the enemy’s explosives were enough for them to get a headache. Fight with numbers? Hanyang’s soldiers were definitely more than twice theirs.
Fight with morale…..who wanted to compare morale against soldiers who were not afraid of death? Just one or two who were not afraid of death was alright. But when 80% of them were not afraid of death, just how terrifying was that?
Wang Baobao raised his hand, and everyone fell silent.
It was no longer theirs to decide whether to retreat or not.
The situation in the imperial court was no better than the battlefield.
The emperor did not care about governmental affairs nowadays, and the civil and military officials all had their own ideas.
Wang Baobao pursed his lips: “If tomorrow doesn’t work, then we try again the day after. If still after a month there is no sign of success, then we will return to the court!”
He must preserve his military strength no matter what.
If the soldiers were all lost here, the Great Yuan would definitely be done for, and he would become a sinner.
But if they indeed returned to court just like that, he would also become a sinner.
The officers all bowed their heads and answered in affirmative.
But after exiting the tent, the expressions on everyone’s faces were all dazed.
How to fight?
It seemed that to fight was to die, and to not fight was also to die.
But their families were in the capital, and if they died on the battlefield their failure would not implicate their family members. Their wealth and property might be confiscated, but their lives could still be guaranteed.
But if they deserted, the whole family would die.
Morale in the military camp was at an all time low.
They lay siege for a month and thousands of people died every day.
Towards the end, there were soldiers who wanted to flee, but they were all beheaded on the spot.
No one dared to become deserters, but on the battlefield, no matter how they persisted they couldn’t break through the city walls.
If they approached even a step too close, explosives would be thundering everywhere. Their trebuchets threw stones into the city, but no sound came from inside. It was likely that the common people within the range where the trebuchets could be thrown had already been moved away.
Wang Baobao prepared to retreat, but the army supervisor stopped him.
The army supervisor was one of the emperor’s favored officials, possessing a familial relationship with Hama and often committed evils with the latter.
Seeing that Wang Baobao wanted to withdraw, he began to accuse him of his crime.
“What is the Chancellor’s intention? Hanyang has still not been captured, yet you want to flee back to Dadu with your tail between your legs? When you return to Dadu, how do you plan to explain to His Majesty?” The superintendent arrogantly said, “The Chancellor is deeply favored by the emperor, and you must be aware of the kind of burden on your shoulders.”
The personal guard behind Wang Baobao was very angry, and said angrily: “You speak lightly, but it is not you who go onto the battlefield to risk your life!”
Wang Baobao scolded angrily: “Shut up!”
The personal guard bit his lip with an angry expression.
Wang Baobao smiled and said to the supervisor: “Much honor to have His Majesty’s regard, there is no need for the Supervisor to be in a rush. When we return to the capital, this official will naturally see His Majesty to ask for forgiveness.”
The supervisor scolded: “Does the Chancellor know how many men, horses, rations, and weapons were all available for you to take at will for this battle? If you go back with your tail between your legs, not only will you not have anything good waiting for you, I will also not escape the responsibility!”
Wang Baobao retracted his smile and looked at the supervisor with a cold expression, his eyes deep and full of killing intent: “If we don’t retreat at this time, once we are to the point of exhaustion and then decide to retreat, only for the Southern King to send troops to pursue us. Now that will really be the end of us. If we withdraw at this time, we can still save our strength. Otherwise, where would the empire of the Great Yuan be? Without soldiers, how can we recover the mountains and rivers of the Great Yuan empire?!”
Supervisor: “The Chancellor…..we cannot go back.”
The supervisor retreated: “Going back at this time, the both of us…..”
No matter how much the emperor favored him, returning with such a shameful defeat, even Hama would not be able to save him. No matter how powerful he was, Hama had not yet reached the point of overriding the emperor’s will. Hama would naturally be willing to sacrifice him.
But he didn’t want to die, he cherished his life.
Wang Baobao: “As officials in the same court, this official advises you that Dadu is the foundation of this country. Without Dadu, we will all be done for.”
“Wang Baobao withdrew?” Lin Yuan was sitting on the city wall. His eyes lit up, and he said to the military officer next to him, “Tell the two generals Zhu and Chen to chase with troops, cooperate in pincer attack with General Li to capture Wang Baobao alive!”
The officer next to him quickly answered in affirmative and left.
Li Congrong left people he trusted in Huangzhou and brought 50,000 troops over.
With Zhu Yuanzhang and Chen Baisong, they were not afraid of not being able to defeat the court’s soldiers.
Lin Yuan breathed out slowly and clenched his fists.
Just how long the Yuan Dynasty had left to live depended on this battle.
Zhu Yuanzhang and Chen Baisong led cavalry to charge in the forefront.
The infantry followed closely behind.
They brought away the most sophisticated troops. Everyone was wearing armor. For the sake of lightness and easy movement on horseback, most usually only wore helmet and armor with breastplate while the infantry was armed from head to toe.
At Li Congrong’s side followed his most capable subordinates, and the three parties gathered in a pincer attack.
When Wang Baobao heard the scout’s report, he was stunned for a moment.
He looked back at the subordinates who had followed him for so many years, at the exhausted soldiers, so many lives…..
Wang Baobao closed his eyes, his lips trembled, and he could no longer utter those two words.
He, Wang Baobao, had never surrendered or lowered his head.
But of the 200,000 troops that he brought were now less than 60,000.
It was also unknown whether these 60,000 troops were real or empty numbers.
Even if they broke out from the encirclement, how many could keep their lives? Half?
After returning to Dadu, what would be waiting for these people?
“The enemy is coming!”
Wang Baobao held the long knife tightly.
He could not surrender, if he surrendered, the Great Yuan’s backbone would be broken and no longer be able to connect again.
Even if he died here, he couldn’t surrender!
“The warriors of the Great Yuan! Charge with me!” Wang Baobao rode his horse and charged to the forefront.
The arrogant soldier will lose, and the oppressed soldier will rise to win.
This was Wang Baobao’s final belief.
The blood seemed to have stained the sky red, specks of it splashing into the eyes. When the eyes were opened again, everything was blood red.
Wang Baobao pulled out the arrow from his abdomen, panting, his eyes red with murder.
He could hear the screams and saw that his subordinate who had been following him were cut through the neck with a knife.
Wang Baobao’s world became quiet for a while, and he couldn’t hear anything at all.
The subordinate was not dead yet. He covered his neck and looked in the direction of Wang Baobao. He opened his mouth as if he wanted to call out ‘Chancellor’.
He wanted to say that he did not shame the Mongols, that he did not back down for a moment even up to the last moment of his life.
But before he fell, a knife pierced his chest. The enemy soldier didn’t even spare him a look. There were corpses and blood everywhere. The soldier who killed him didn’t even know who he was, and just directed his knife at other people.
“Disarm and surrender, those who surrender will not be killed!” Someone on the enemy side yelled.
Wang Baobao looked around, thinking that someone would surrender, but even at this time, not a single soldier had put down his weapon.
He heard someone near him shout: “We Mongolian warriors will rather die on the battlefield than surrender!”
They fought to the last moment.
No one surrendered.
Wang Baobao fell to the ground, allowing his life to flow away with his blood.
He didn’t know whether he had succeeded or failed in this life.
But he was worthy of his ancestors, worthy of the emperor, and worthy of Xue Chanhan.
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When he went to the underworld, he could also say with a clear conscience, he was worthy of the skies, and he was worthy of the earth. He had done his best.
In the spring of the 25th year of Yuan Shun, Wang Baobao led his army to attack Hanyang, but was defeated and died on the battlefield.
The fate of the Yuan Dynasty had reached its end.
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