Part 44: Battle 20: Granbelos Second to Last Stand
The Granbelos empire has assembled its forces to block our access to Altair in a final attempt to grasp at victory.
Terrain: The enemy has assembled in the heavily built up area outside the Granbelos capital. The area has numerous roads and avenues of approach broken up by a network of heavy fortifications and canals. Our forces will have to use magic to open up new avenues of approach and cross canals to avoid funnels. Key terrain will be the final canal and bridge before the Granbelos castle.
Disposition: The enemy is dug in behind a network of walls, with automated turrets and manned cannons covering the approaches to their position. The enemy has additional cannons set to cover the canal crossings, with medical and air support positioned to the rear. The enemy has a notable lack of close combat capability, but does have extensive indirect fire capabilities and magical reserves.
Most Likely Course of Action: The enemy will most likely remain entrenched in their fortifications and attempt to debilitate our forces by attacking from behind the walls. Indirect fire will be used as we enter the range envelope of each weapon system.
Most Dangerous Course of Action: If the enemy were to draw our forces forward they could stage a fighting withdrawal, forcing us to pursue through their fortifications and the envelope of their indirect fire systems until making a decisive stand in front of Granbelos Castle.
The OFF will conduct a penetrating attack to breach the Granbelos fortifications, destroy their military capability, and defeat Gudolf in order to gain access to Altair.
Concept of Operations/Scheme of Maneuver: Our attack will begin with our sappers opening breaches in the wall, followed by our skirmishers moving through and engaging the enemy behind the walls. Once the enemy's initial resistance has been overcome our forces will split into three groups and advance on Gudolf's position. Our sappers and engineers will use their respective abilities to clear obstacles and bridge the canals. All three forces will regroup in front of the enemy castle to finish off Gudolf and Irvine.
Our attack began with an overwhelming display of magic, destroying a huge section of the wall and beginning the attack on the troops behind it.
Sendak and Yoyo summoned Bahamut for the first time, and the Holy Dragon's appearance didn't disappoint, although the fact that the enemy's mages were fire-aligned did.
Author's Note: Unlike the last three Holy Dragons, Bahamut does have an elemental affinity. In addition, the area of effect is a huge 5 radius circle. Unless you have a specific effect in mind, are low on mp, or are dealing with fire resistant enemies, it's immediately the best option for almost all situations.
Compared to the infantry anchoring their forces the mages were comparatively fragile. By the time Matelite and the Royal Guard closed with their target the dragons had already destroyed them.
Another group was relatively untouched, but between us myself, Palpaleos, and Lukia were able to fix that while Rush finished off the sturdier soldier.
Half of the enemy's forces had been destroyed before they had a chance to retaliate, but unfortunately we had to place ourselves in range of the enemy cannons to accomplish that.
The enemy cannons were a greater threat, so we bypassed the last couple of mages to focus on them and trusted the dragons and slower movers to mop up.
Neither Matelite's nor my group could successfully destroy the cannons, but that wasn't the worst news.
I blacked out for a moment, but from what I've been told we had strayed into the range of one of the enemy's larger fixed cannons and paid the price.
Since the dragons were focusing on the enemy's mages, all of our forces could move up to help clear the right side of the field more quickly.
Since their earlier lightning attack had opened up a small approach to the enemy's shock cannon, Mist's group simultaneously attacked the smaller cannon and created an ice bridge across the canal.
Pinky, brave as ever, flew into the face of the shock cannon to attack it and distract the operators.
The distraction worked, and Mist led her team across the ice bridge to widen the breach in the walls.
On the right side, Sendak and Yoyo called on Leviathan to cross the wider canal to attack the second shock cannon. Learning from our mistakes the groups on that side were careful to stay out of the cannon's range.
The mages took a bit of a risk to breach the walls, but help was on the way.
Clue was on the job, with the Royal Guard close behind.
They couldn't quite destroy the cannon...
But Clyde came in behind them to finish the job.
History repeated itself on the other side of the field, although the smaller cannon was still active behind us.
At least, until Sue came along and sat on it.
The mages destroyed a bridge along with a pair of automated cannons, but Sendak and Yoyo were right behind with Leviathan to repair the damage.
Matelite and I led the way on each flank to clear away the next set of cannons.
Unfortunately the process was slow enough that each cannon could get off a shot or two before dying.
Clyde and Pinky focused on the final shock cannon, while the enemy's healers jumped in to action to keep it running. I'm confused as to how they're healing magic can help a tank, but I'm not an expert on these things.
The enemy's dragon made a spectacularly ill-adviced decision to attack Pinky and received a Solar Flare to the face in response.
Clue continued his solitary war on the enemy's cannons by transforming into a darker version of Flammie's coloration, but wasn't quite able to finish the job.
Through focusing exclusively on the cannon on our side, however, my group managed to finish it off. Without a cannon to protect, it was almost certain that the enemy's troops would do something stupid to get themselves killed.
A few moments later the enemy proved me right by essentially running themselves onto our swords.
By this time Irvine and Gudolf had decided to intervene, abandoning the questionable safety of their fortifications. They must not have thought that through, as it bunched their units up perfectly for an attack by Bahamut.
The mages followed up by dropping a comet on top of the healers and the shock cannon, finishing the healers off and preventing them from prolonging the struggle any more.
Following behind Mist's group put paid to the cannon, leaving Irvine, Gudolf, and their dragon alone on the field while Matelite and Clue worked to finish off the last small cannon.
Rather than waste any more magic on the enemy's dragon, we closed in on it and hacked it apart with our blades.
The Royal Guard finally spiked the cannon, with the remaining troops who had failed to guard it committing suicide by axe immediately afterward.
As we closed in on Gudolf Pinky had a brainstorm and decided to destroy the bridge between the castle and the shore. Once again Leviathan had to come to the rescue and give us a path to reach him.
Matelite and I worked together to weaken Gudolf while the rest of the troops worked on Irvine. Gudolf used the opportunity to catch all of us with a flame attack..
With the amusing result of dunking himself in the water. I'm not terribly surprised with what we've heard of his temperament.
Irvine died without a word, leaving behind another Excalibur. Apparently that legendary sword isn't as unique as one would think.
With the battle essentially decided, our sappers engaged in some random property destruction to see if they could scare up another presenter or find hidden treasures.
The Royal Guard attempted to finish off Gudolf, but couldn't quite manage it...
So the priestesses with Sendak and Yoyo finished him off with a Holy Burst.
Gudolf had a third Excalibur with him. So much for the unique legendary sword that all knights would kill to possess. We've got three of them and no use for two. I think I might hang one on my wall when I officially become captain of DamnShip.
I don't know how we keep letting him slip away, but there'll be no escape when he's backed in to his castle. We can only hope that the gate to Altair remains open while we deal with it.