Volume 3, Chapter 44
“Very good, the chef here is really good. I have not eaten such a delicious meal for a long time.”
Xu Jun said as he faced the garrison commander at Diksmuide, Lieutenant Colonel Garrett sitting opposite him. Garrett replied, “General, for you to invite me to lunch is really a great honor. Simply the chance to speak to the greatest military strategist in the German military would make my other colleagues die of jealousy, haha.
General, did you know that you are now an idol figure among the officers? Or at least among the Army, your strategies and fantastic tactics have become a favorite topic of discussion. Especially those junior officers, haha. They simply worship you. If anyone should doubt your military talent, they will personally defend your honor and request a duel. Fortunately, no one has been hurt. But after this victory, I think no one around Europe, no around the whole world will doubt your abilities. You let the German Army stand proudly and we are all thankful for it.”
Garrett, himself, was trying his best to contain his excitement. Clenching his knife and fork with slightly trembling hands.
Meanwhile, Xu Jun was thinking that this was really an excellent mid-level officer. He had already seen Garrett’s file. Like many other front-line officers, he was bloodthirsty, tough, and cruel on the battlefield. But away from combat still behaved like a standard gentleman, with a gentle and kind personality. It was hard for people to believe. From Xu Jun’s recent experiences, German soldiers usually have a mixture of two simple dispositions. He was very interested in how these soldiers consistently manage to possess such a weird psyche. What sort of special education or training did it take? The two extreme behaviors were both reflected in the person’s mind that they often didn’t notice the change even as they marched into battle. In combat, he can be like a beast, cruel and vicious. But in peace, he was like a perfect man, elegant and polite.
Perhaps this is the ideal the Germans have perfected over the centuries. Germany has always been a militaristic land. Pursuing this strange blend of character.
Fortunately, these German soldiers will still maintain the honor of the German Army as their first belief. For now, they still embody the military’s deep-rooted self-esteem and self-discipline. Otherwise, sooner or later they will turn into hypocritical beasts or shameless killing machines like the SS or the Japanese Army in the East.
This was absolutely crucial. The Army must continue to maintain their sense of honor and self-restraint. Xu Jun remembered that after the fall of Paris, the Army fell from its ideals. Because of the lack of an enemy army, their sense of honor ceased to exist. Their iron discipline started to disintegrate. The once glorious and elite army will soon disappear.
No, this was something Xu Jun would not tolerate. Never would he willingly watch his troops walk down that path. His Army will never fall down into a degenerate group of beasts. Although these things have not yet occurred, there is a good possibility of it happening once again. Forcing him to tackle this issue with the utmost seriousness. He’s creating history, he cannot allow his reputation to be the leader of a group of anarchists.
“General, what are you thinking about?”
Hans whispered to Xu Jun, knocking him back from his thoughts. The people at the table had already stopped eating, quietly looking in awe at Xu Jun. Seeing that their great commander was silently staring at his food for a long time, they didn’t dare speak. Fearing that they would disturb his thinking. Maybe he was thinking of another wonderful plan.
“Oh, haha, sorry. I was gone, I am truly sorry.”
Stopping the mood at the table was terribly rude behavior. Not to mention he was the one hosting the dinner. Forcing everyone to stop their meal, it made him very embarrassed.
“It is nothing, General. You must be contemplating a very important question. If you do indeed come up with a new combat plan, we would all want to hear it. Haha.” One of the local garrison officers said.
“Yeah, we are very curious now. Surely, it must be very important for you to think over it so long, haha.” Garrett said.
“Discipline. I was thinking about discipline.”
Xu Jun smiled and continued. “Please forgive me for my rudeness. As you were speaking about the Army’s brilliant achievement it made me think about the military’s discipline.”
Xu Jun picked back up a glass of red wine. While also cutting pieces of the smoked fish into his mouth.
“Everybody eat, we can talk at the same time.”
The garrison officers immediately relaxed and continued on with the meal.
“General.” Garrett said as he was cutting his grilled steak. “What discipline problem do you see in the Army? Surely, the German Army is proud of its iron discipline?”
“Lieutenant Colonel, indeed, we have the most rigorous and perfect discipline. And even now, I am very satisfied with the strictness of our soldiers and officers. However, have you thought of what will happen to that discipline after we win and become conceited? How then can we keep the obedience of the soldiers and officers in that situation?”
Pausing for a moment, Xu Jun’s gaze glanced at the officers around the table. Some officers bowed their heads in contemplation. Whereas some looked at the others with a look of concern.
“Think about it. We are all familiar with the soldier handbook. It details the most basic discipline that every soldier must follow. Not only are they to be followed on the battlefield but also after its conclusion.
For example, the cities that we’re occupying. It comes into question whether our soldiers can still observe those principles in the occupied territories. Of course, there are no issues currently. However, in one or two years, who can completely rule out that possibility? Once we achieve victory after victory, our Army will grow lax and the soldiers begin to fall.
When the time comes, the Army’s reputation will be tainted by the shameful acts of our soldiers. The invincible honor will soon leave the German Army.”
“General, this is terrible. Surely, you are not predicting anything.” Garrett said with concern as he was quite frightened by Xu Jun’s words.
“This is not a prophecy, this is the history of all the conquerors. All of the world’s mightiest leaders have made mistakes, numerous powerful and noble armies were destroyed in their own indulgence. Countless glorious empires have been cast aside and labeled as evil because of their men. Or perhaps directly drowned in the river of time. The failure of every conqueror begins with military discipline. You should understand what I’m saying.”
“General, you’re saying that the military should strictly observe its discipline at all times?”
“This is the case. During any time and any situation, the Army must strictly abide by its military discipline. Any violation must be subject to punishment. For now, we can only continue to adhere to our iron discipline. So long as we do not commit the mistakes of the ancient kings, we can be forever invincible. The honor of the glorious Germany Army will never perish.”
“Yes, General. You’re correct. If the German army began to indulge itself, then no matter what kind of great victory we achieve. All of this will be overshadowed by the stain of corruption. This is something we cannot allow. We will never allow the German troops we love to be disgraced like this. You are the greatest general I have ever seen. Your wisdom can see much farther than all of us.” Hans was the first understand Xu Jun’s meaning. Growing excited, he could not help but praise his leader’s foresight.
The officers also immediately understood the General’s concerns. Agreeing with the commander’s words, they also fell into a deep respect for him.
The door of the restaurant was then opened. Two black-uniformed SS officers appeared in front of everyone.
“Reporting to Vice-Head. Please forgive us for disturbing your meal. However, we have important things to report to you.” Dorgen stood straight and said with an imposing voice.
Why did they come back? Xu Jun feel very puzzled, the two of them were sent yesterday afternoon to assist Muller. They should have waited at the front for my arrival. There must have been a change in the situation. Not wait, if there was a problem Muller would have telegraphed it to me. Not for these two to personally come back and report it. Anyhow, it must be important to the operation. The faces and uniforms of the two officers were all covered in dust. But judging from their embarrassed expressions they shouldn’t have been ambushed…
“Everyone, I will take my leave.” Xu Jun said towards the officers, then stood up and walked toward the two men. Hans also stood up and followed.
“Come with me.” Xu Jun said to them. “Let’s go to another room.”
Dorgen, Randolph, and Hans tightly followed.
Walking into the lounge, Xu Jun asked the waiter to not disturb them. The called forward two guards to hold the door. Waiting until everyone was seated did Xu Jun question the two. “What happened? Did the situation on the front change? Why did you come back and report personally? ”
“Vice-Head, the battlefield is having no problems. Rather, according to your plan, we are victorious in this battle. We came back with two tasks. First is to report the final battle and our losses. The second task is to inform you that General Gort is prepared to surrender. He wanted us to give you his personal letter. Also stating that he will not put down arms until you give a reply.” Saying that, Dorgen took out several documents and a letter from the carrying bag.
“This is General Gort’s letter. We did not use telegrams for confidentiality. Colonel Muller chose us as the most reliable people to deliver this to you.
“Oh, so that’s how it was. Your appearance made me concerned of an issue, haha.”Xu Jun smiled wryly as his heart finally settled down.
Dorgen fiercely glared at Randolph for causing this trouble. “This is because of Captain Randolph’s idea. He believes that in this kind of emergency must use the fastest means of transport available. He also said that cars were not fast enough on the poor road system in Belgium, so we both took a motorcycle. He was responsible for driving, I was sitting on the sidecar. On the journey down, we became like this.”
“Haha, is that so? After you report everything you can immediately take a shower. There are quite a few good bathtubs here. Have you eaten something? The food here is also good. Hans, arrange for a room for them. Also, tell the chefs to cook something and have it delivered to them.” Xu Jun was amused by Dorgen’s answer. They actually rode all the way from Dunkirk on motorcycle, no wonder they looked so bad.
“Thank you very much, Vice-Head. So, I will be beginning the final report of our victory.” He quickly replied, because he saw Randolph’s mouth start to open. He was afraid that his subordinate would give a ridiculous comment like the bathtub isn’t big enough or something.
“Okay, yes. Let’s start. I would like to know exactly what we got.”
“Quite a lot, my Deputy Fuhrer. Currently, we have no statistics on the British side because they have not yet surrendered. Hence, we do not know the British casualties. In any case, we have neutralized the British Expeditionary Force. After the victory against the British Navy, we’ve sunk six battleships. The HMS Rodney, HMS Warspite, HMS Royal Sovereign, HMS Ramillies, HMS Barham, and the HMS Revenge. We’ve sunk three battlecruisers, the HMS Hood, HMS Renown, and HMS Repulse. We’ve also sunk three heavy cruisers, HMS Dorsetshire, HMS Norfolk and HMS Exeter. We have captured three battleships. The fleet flagship HMS Nelson, HMS Malaya, and HMS Resolution. The details are written in this report. The Air Force has shot down a total of 272 enemy aircraft.
Our losses, the Army reports 2,840 soldiers and 47 officers killed. A further 8,294 soldiers have been injured in varying degrees. The Luftwaffe has lost 63 aircraft. This includes bomber and dive bombers. 37 fighter planes have been lost. Total number of pilots killed or missing is 89 people. From all aspects, you have created a miracle. This is simply a great victory never before seen in Germany. We are very proud to be your immediate subordinates.” Finished, Dorgen handed the documents to Xu Jun.
Xu Jun casually flipped through them and placed them beside the table. Turning to Dorgen. “I will look at those more extensively later. First, give me the letter from General Gort. I am interested in the conditions he will propose.
Quickly handing the letter over. Xu Jun carefully tore open the seal and began to read it.
After a few minutes, Xu Jun leaned back in his chair and looked at the ceiling. Finally, giving a happy laugh.
Looking at the two SS officers. “You two can go to rest, enjoy the rare break. Because after dinner we will be traveling overnight to Dunkirk. I will personally go and give General Gort a satisfactory answer.”