I came across an interesting in depth analysis of Ch444 and the upcoming Qin-Zhao war in tieba so i will do some translation here for the non-chinese readers. I will be quoting the original text in blockquotes and my translation will be right below them.
*Note: I will be referring “Kokuyou Hills” as “Black Sheep Hill”(BSH) in the translations. That is the literal translation of the name of the location of this war and it makes more sense to english readers than the Japanese name which is hard to remember and means nothing to those who do not know Japanese.
Just some opinions on Ch444. Please take a look and do give me some pointers if there are anything that isn’t up to standard.
When Shin saw the thick and never ending forest, he seems to feel uneasy and started breaking into cold sweat.
Why is this so? This is because Shin is used to fighting and riding around in plains as well as fighting in the front lines in a head to head combat against his enemies. He is also experienced in attacking/defending castles. However, he had no experience in fighting in a thick forest. Battles in thick forests had always been a headache for both sides since the beginning of history. For example, an entire establishment could be hidden within 5km square of thick forest.
For Shin, this is a new experience and a first for him. (After all, in the future unification wars, there are bound to be all kinds of terrains)
From this panel, we can see that Qin is fully prepared for this war with the map on the table.
The map looks complete and the details are all shown on it.
So why did both sides chose this forest as the venue of their clash?
For Qin, the commander-in-chief(SHK) understands that Kanki was a bandit who has the skills in fighting on mountains/hills as well as forests, a general who is an expert at guerrilla warfare.
Kanki is also an expert at taking advantage of enemy’s unpreparedness and attacking from where they least expect.
He usually chooses enemies who are weak in battle, least defended and easy for him to prey on. He then strikes and retreats as soon as his mission is done. A prime example how he slayed Genpo in the war against Renpa.
Therefore, Black Sheep Hill(BSH) is the perfect place for him to showcase his strengths.
The advantage of fighting in the forest is that it provides exceptional concealment for the troops and therefore it is the worst for scouting, anti-scouting as well as defense. The command HQ knows that this is Kanki’s favorite style of fighting and wants him to destroy the troops defending the area as well as the city nearby over here at BSH.
And why did Zhao choose this as their location for the battle?
- BSH is an area familiar to Kisui(Ji Hui) and this is in some sense, an area under the rule of Kisui. He knows the terrain at the back of his hand and this is his advantage, which is an important advantage in this battle within a thick forest.
- As the mayor, he is concerned about the safety of his city and therefore, he chose this location for the war to prevent his people from experiencing the sufferings that the war might bring and annihilate the enemies here.
(First pic) This guy is Maron(Mo Lun). He is Kanki’s advisor who knows some strategies of war.
(Second pic) The others are all combatants. Of course, Ogeki is the most “oustanding” of them all, being Kanki’s pet and messenger.
The buff Raido’s words seem to make Shin feel unhappy about him.
That is because he do not know the hidden skills the 2 girls behind Shin have.
With just a few words, the first panel shows that Maron is surprised by the little girl and started calling her “strategist” and therefore he stopped his ally, Kuroou, who knows little about strategies, from speaking. His acknowledgement of Ten’s strength gave a nod to Ten’s position as a strategist.
Without the confidence of defeating the enemies at BSH, the best choice would be to stay put in the castle.
At the same time, before the arrival of Keisha’s reinforcement, Kisui did not set out to BSH. The reason is because he do not have the confidence to win with just 30000 men. Moreover, Kanki’s brutalities is pretty well known.
With the arrival of Keisha’s reinforcement, a comfortable number of 70000 vs 68000(should be 58000, this is a typo by the author) gave Kisui the confidence to set off for BSH.
Since both sides are willing to fight here, it is a win-win situation.
(First panel) While the girls are unhappy(about Kuroou comment earlier), they were able to kept it in and did not voice out their unhappiness.
(Second panel) Why did they choose the hills as their objective for this war?
In war, one of the strategies is controlling the high point of the terrain.
What is this controlling of high point?
What are benefits of controlling the high points?
- From the panel, if we can look down from a high point, we can gather intel on the enemies. This is very important in a terrain with thick vegetation. On top of a hill or high ground, it is easier to gather intel on the enemies and thus take the initiative in the war. Even if the enemies are acting in the dark, there is no fear of them.
- Hills are the highest point in a terrain that help provide an advantage in suppressing the enemies. Only when 2 armies clash, they will start to capture these high points. The party controlling the high point has the advantage as they can fire arrows from the top to defend themselves. Enemies will also waste more energy climbing the hill, fatiguing them, putting them at a disadvantage.
- Good mobility against enemies who plan to surround the foot of the hills, cutting the supplies for the troops on top. There are 5 hills in the area and they are not far apart from each other. When taken, the troops on another hill can assist allies who are trapped on another hill, effectively creating a pincer attack against the enemies surrounding that hill.
Therefore, it is critical to capture these hillsl for the war as it will put the other party in a disadvantaged situation.
(First 2 panels) From the 2 arrows on the map, Shin’s battle is the main one, against Batei(Ma Cheng) and Ryuutou(Liu Dong). I have confidence in Shin as Kyokai is familiar with fighting within the forest.
(Next 2 panels) However, I am worried about the other frontline led by Raido. While Raido is strong, his enemies will be Keisha’s main army. There is a 50% chance that he will be in danger and cause problems for Shin, a variable that might put Shin in danger.
(First panel) As for the the casual part of this chapter, Ogeki is the joke again. From Shin’s expression, it seems like he wants to show that a virgin like him had seen a boob before. This is a death flag. I used to jokingly ask what Kanki will give to Shin some day and some of you guys mention that Ogeki will be the gift, becoming Shin’s subordinate in the future. As we can see, Duke Hyou’s men did become one of Shin’s treasured lieutenants.
(Second panel) Shin receives equipment, experience (points), talented commanders and bolstering his unit, this is just too perfect. Having that joker Ogeki join him sounds like a pretty good choice.
(First panel) There are bound to be ambushes in this terrain. Since Kyokai is leading a seperate unit, she can definitely see through and counter the ambush. There is also something common in Kingdom. When a character is calm and determined, they will usually have a high chance of dying.
(Second panel) Batei’s death is unavoidable. Despite his war scars and experience in the battlefield, he cannot prevent Shin’s declaration before the war from happening
(Third panel) Before the war, Kanki’s warning has unintentionally spurred Shin and motivated the soldiers. Shin’s motivation s rising and i look forward the the next chapter(s) where Shin will sla Batei.