「イゼルローン攻略[前編]」 (Izeruroun kouryaku [zenpen])
“The Capture of Iserlohn: Part I”
You hear that? It’s the sound of LotGH fans waiting with baited breath for the wicked fun about to descend upon our heads. Yes we’re now getting down and dirty into the true war and intrigue of LotGH, and this episode sets up the start of it all. It may have been a relatively peaceful episode full of foreshadowing once again (in more than one way *eyes those invasion remarks*), but with what’s coming up next, the peace won’t last for long.
While Yang may have been dealt a terrible hand in leading a half stocked fleet of novice recruits against the Empire’s most impregnable fortress, this week showed why such a thing isn’t to be worried about. Being handed a suicide mission (in all but name) gives a certain degree of leverage, and Yang wasted little opportunity in making the most of it. Competent subordinates were selected, the right adjutant assigned, and the star of the show introduced for all to see. Frederica and Walter von Shoenkopf are the important ones to watch here, because the former is going to assume a very big role in the future (just take a guess as to the reason), and the latter for the theatrics to come next week. It’s probably obvious what Yang’s strategy is to take down Iserlohn, but for those still confused, just remember the talk of Imperial uniforms, Walter’s Imperial origin, and that crafty scenario playing out in front of the fortress. Cannot beat down the walls through a direct attack or starve the place into submission? Why not try infiltration instead? Sneak Walter and his Rosen Ritter aboard, subdue the fortress leadership, take control of the station defense, and enjoy a victory with nary a casualty suffered.
Such a tactic of course is not perfect in the slightest as Yang and Walter both know. One wrong move (or defection) and the whole scheme goes out with a whimper. This, however, is where LotGH’s penchant for showcasing terrible leadership comes back into play. The two Imperial commanders (one for the fortress, the other for the fortress fleet) as well observed are the quintessential example of poor leadership choice and implementation: neither have overall command, both are out only for their personal glory (a common flaw of many high ranking officers), and both see the other as an obstacle to their own success. It’s basically the Falkenhayn-Conrad quagmire that plagued German-Austro-Hungarian relations through the first half of World War I, which becomes particularly ironic when it’s realized Admiral Seeckt (rocking the brown hair) is largely based off in looks and personality on the German General Seeckt, one man who spared little love (or personal pursuit of glory) on his Austrian counterparts. As Oberstein correctly points out the situation is likely a trap, but since neither admiral wants to be shown the loser in war and honour both, the chance at cautiously discerning the moment is lost. With Seeckt playing catchy catchy with Yang’s fleet, the Rosen Ritter will have ample opportunity to sneak aboard unmolested, and with all their training you can probably imagine how well it will go for the complacent fortress guard.
For the second of many times we are about to see how drastic the effects of incompetent (and exceptionally competent) leadership can be, and how quickly one wrong move can alter the outcome of an entire war. Yang may not have won the battle of Iserlohn in any manner yet, but when the dust of this engagement settles, the political map of LotGH will never be the same again.