Volume 3, Chapter 27
“No! No… How have they arrived so soon? The Germans should not be attacking right now, our forces have not gathered yet. Wasn’t their plan to surround us here?”
Montgomery shouted at Alexander.
“What are those Germans planning?”
Xu Jun muttered into the sparsely cloudy sky. However, his attention soon turned back to the table and the beautiful silver plate and a large piece of juicy steak placed before him. Picking up his similarly silver utensils, he began eating. Savoring each bite as it was a rare delicacy on the front lines.
The officers had also focused intensely at their own plates. However, now they had all their eyes on their commander. Waiting for him to continue. In fact, they were anxiously anticipating if the General would tell them the complete plan. The last couple of days, they’ve been privately discussing the purpose of this intricate little trap. However, none of them could come to any conclusions.
“Time.” Xu Jun said again after a slowly swallowed a chunk of steak and a sip of red wine. Turning his gaze forward, inspecting his officers and adjutants.
“Gentlemen, I want time.”
“General, can you be more specific?”
Colonel Muller asked, with a slight puzzlement. Listening to his words, the other officers also nodded in agreement.
Muller continued to ask, “These last two days, I’ve been attempting to guess at your intentions. However, you’re the only one who knows the next stages of the plan. So, I hope that General could tell us your ultimate goal and your upcoming plans. Otherwise, it may be difficult to make the proper arrangements.
“Haha haha, Colonel Muller. You must know that to keep this confidential, only a few generals in command know the full details. Even the other commanders only have their own specific set of instructions. So it’s understandable that you are confused. Since you are so curious to the overall direction of the plan, I can tell you a bit. However, it will be limited to the purpose of this stage of the operation. I think that the rest you can experience for yourself when the time comes.”
“Please tell us.” Colonel Muller urged. “I’m really curious as to what you plan to achieve. Originally, our idea was that you wanted to trap the British and have the Panzer units encircle and annihilate them. But rather, last night, you ordered the Corps to move out. A bit too early for such an action, as the main British force had not arrived at Arras. Leaving us wondering, why?”
“Colonel Muller, I have no intention of destroying the British at Arras.” Xu Jun said with a slight smile.
“What? Then why did we spend so much effort laying out such a tedious trap?”
“I talked about time. All this was to gain valuable time.” Xu Jun said mysteriously, then he resumed indulging himself in his steak.
“You mean that we won’t be personally destroying the enemy? The Panzer units are only to block the enemy?”
“Yes. Umm, well anyways, we already have the British Expeditionary Force by its neck.
Cough, cough. Yes, if we wanted to annihilate the British at Arras, it would certainly be feasible. However, it would still cause some trouble if the British still chooses to stubbornly resist. We cannot also forget about the French 1st Army is trapped alongside the British. They have not yet moved, it seems they are still waiting to see how it plays out. If we act rashly against the British forces then the French may play some small tricks, causing us unnecessary losses.
Even if they don’t, they will immediately shrink their defensive lines. By that time, it would be troublesome to subdue them.”
“Then why not let all of them come out then defeat them together?” Randolph asked as he held a glass of wine.
“My dear Captain Randolph. You are still naive to think that we can wait until the last of their troops leave their defenses. But that time, the vanguard forces would have long arrived at the main French defenses in the south.” Muller quickly refuted Randolph’s idea before turning back to Xu Jun. “I understand why you don’t want to fight a war at Arras but I still can’t think of how to defeat the enemies otherwise.”
“Oh, Colonel Muller, I have no desire to annihilate them. I want to take them.” Xu Jun showed a confident expression.
“Prisoners? How would that work?”
“Gentlemen, I said this earlier. I needed time and time is what I got. If the plan veered off course then it was possible that they would still be entrenched all along our path to the beach. By the time it took to neutralize every threat, the British would have long withdrawn to their island.
However, it’s different now. This trap at Arras took two days. During these two days, I’ve completely blocked off the Dover Strait with mines. Completely cutting off their escape route by the sea. During these two days, we brought extra forces up, strengthening our strength for the assault. These two days, I’ve accumulated ammunition, materials, and supplies. The soldiers are well rested, in optimum fighting condition.
These two days, the British have been hurrying back and forth, consuming valuable resources. Until finally, they understand that they have no chance of breaking through and retreat. Ironically, giving us even more time.
Furthermore, as they are running amok, we’ve been continuously striking the Belgian lines. I think that we can force the Belgian surrender within twenty-four hours. We don’t have the spare troops to deal with the British and French directly. So, once we defeat the Belgians, their ring of defense will have little meaning.”
“Ah, so it’s like that. It is truly a wonderful plan.” Muller, finally came to grasps with Xu Jun’s strategy, or at least this stage. Being an experienced staff officer, he immediately understood the complexity of his plan.
Then Muller happily added, “Once the British and French soldiers realize that breaking out is impossible, their morale will drop significantly. Once they receive word that their sea passage is also blocked their leaders will panic, causing even more chaos.
It can be assumed that their supplies are dwindling, wasting two days of supplies would severely endanger the army. Leaving the soldiers to rely solely on airdrops to survive. Of course, you would never let them have such an easy delivery.
Once our troops defeat the Belgians, we can completely surround the enemy. Leaving them trapped in a tiny area with no escape route, no ammunition, and no food. With their morale, we may not even need to fight.”
Muller, became increasingly excited the more he talked, along with the other officers at the table.
Xu Jun gave a light smile. “Yes, Colonel.
“This plan ensures that we attain victory with the least cost. Also, according to my plan, there may be another bonus besides the stranded troops.”
“Another bonus?” Muller said curiously.
“Haha, I don’t want to mention it now. You’ll understand it in due time. But, there is something important I must say. We cannot think of the enemy so simply, they will surely put up a final struggle. This war had been a tough test for both sides. To the soldiers fighting on the front, we are facing the elite of the British Army. Not those incompetent, reserve French soldiers earlier.
The British have begun clearing the mines on the strait. Judging from our information, they will be able to clear a passage big enough for large ships in three days. The enemy is still capable of escaping. Our task is still not completed, I want our offensive to speed up. Although it may seem victory is secured, we must still be vigilant! Throughout history, minor mistakes have often lead to the total defeat of a country!”
“Yes, General.” The officers all stood up with serious expressions on their faces.
“Anyhow, everyone, sit back down. Our lunch has not concluded yet. Rather, what do you think about today’s beef?”
“Really good, Vice-Head haha, really delicious. I never would have expected to eat such a thing on the front. It was if I was at a fine restaurant in Berlin.” Randolph said as he continued to cut his steak.
While underneath the table a kick struck him, causing him to wince in pain slightly.
“Ah.” Lifting his head to see Dorgen’s glare. Seeing this, he shrunk back into his seat Causing everyone to chuckle slightly.
“Hm, so Dorgen, what are your thoughts?” Xu Jun smiled and asked.
“Ah, well Vice-Head, I have no opinion. It is indeed very good.” Daogen respectfully answered.
“Haha, I had thought you were not satisfied with it. This beef is something the Fuhrer had personally ordered the Luftwaffe to send from Berlin. It is definitely the finest stuff. Speaking of the Luftwaffe, Hans.” Xu Jun turned his head to look at Hans, who was sipping his cup of wine.
“Yes, my General.” Quickly placed his cup on the table.
I understand that there is construction for a large airport. Do you know when it will be completed? Since the Fuhrer had given me my own Luftwaffe divisions, once the airport is completed, they can be immediately stationed there. This Luftwaffe division will be very important in the next phase of operations. I hope that the airport will be completed before that time.”
“Yes, General. I have been urging the engineering corps to speed up their work. The Luftwaffe have also sent their own men, greatly improving the speed. Rather, the airport is too big. To accommodate all the aircraft, material, and command centers, it is bound to take longer. This is not something a general field airport can compare to. Currently, it is about 90% completed, leaving only some auxiliary facilities and some command facilities. If I have them work overtime, it can be completed by tomorrow night.”
“Very well, Hans. It must be done with utmost speed.” Xu Jun nodded in satisfaction.
Xu Jun stood up and picked up his glass.
“For the success of this phase of operations, and for the success of the future. I propose a toast.”
The officers stood up each holding their own cups.
“For Germany and for victory!” Xu Jun shouted as he downed the glass.
“For Germany and for victory!” The officers followed.
“What about dessert?”
A voice said. Leaving everyone to blankly stare at the young SS officer.
With a crisp sound, Dorgen’s cup shattered in his hands.