Wu San Gui’s tactic of forcing his fleet to continue to pursue Baron’s was definitely not the best choice of action if it came down to preserving troops. However, he believed that it was more than enough for him to finish this battlefield off completely and in a timely manner, if, a little bloodier than other means. This was indeed the case as many of the ships that were under his control that were hit by the land-based defenses earlier began showing signs of malfunction and obvious damage.
These ships did not last, and before long, they began dropping like flies. Due to the previous order of pursuing the enemy at any cost, the ships that were right beside them could not even stop to rescue their comrades, and only dropped their lifeboats into the water so that some soldiers were able to survive. It was the only thing they could do under such dire circumstances.
Baron, Guan Yu, and Yue Fei all saw this and without even having to speak to each other knew what their next course of action should be. Their land artillery was already going on at full speed, the best course of action given this reckless plan of their enemies was to just split their forces up in two and both would make a U-turn so that they would momentarily surround their enemy to their left and right sides.
This way, the ships at the very front of the force would have a hard time following due to their bigger size and lesser agility skill-wise. With the vanguard in disarray, the ones behind them would be more or less in the same situation, and unless they were being commanded by someone who had phenomenal intuition or a birds-eye view of the entire battlefield, the mess would continue to pile up until they were nothing but sitting ducks with nowhere to go.
Guan Yu signaled for Yue Fei to begin by sending his half to the right and making the turn so tight that the ships that were chasing them would have had difficulty in pursuing them further, or at least, being a good while before they could continue. Yue Fei got the message loud and clear as he too veered the sloops under his control tightly to the right, all of this was going on while the grounded artillery was still firing in full force.
The Ironclads that were closest to Guan Yu and Yue Fei seemed to half shortly as if the men on board were shaken for a brief moment as they were not exactly sure of what to do. However, orders were orders, and if they did not follow said orders, their commanding officer would have their head. They could only try their best to keep on chasing.
This proved to be a little trickier since the giant size of these ships were not exactly known for tight turns, and even less so with making an almost complete 180. Nevertheless, they had to try, and the result was just as Baron had predicted. The first few ironclads were able to make some progress, but ultimately, they were traveling so densely that the other ships behind them had to wait for them to turn around and it turned into a whole fiasco.
This was when Baron got word of another order from Wu San Gui. The relayed message was that they were to ignore the ships that were circling around them and attacking them, and instead, head straight for the island to destroy the defenses. Baron quickly got this message to Guan Yu and Yue Fei to see what they could do about a situation like this. There were 3 things that they had to consider if they were to avert this crisis.
The first being that these soldiers did not dare disobey orders even if it meant almost certain death on their part. Presumably since Wu San Gui, and possibly others of the Vesper faction chose to drill fear into their soldiers to make them unthinkably loyal. Second would be the fact that with the resources currently at their disposal, they would not be able to stop this fleet from destroying the island defenses even if they wanted to.
Though this was not too big of a deal since it was a rather unremarkable island, this was where Baron was currently stationed. Lastly, the defenses on these ironclads were not something that could be breached so easily.
Guan Yu took charge of the situation and cut into the sea of enemies with the few hundred ships that he had with Yue Fei following suit on the other side. They were now in a seriously dangerous position, even more so when they were completely trapped by Wu San Gui and Gou Shi’s fleet just over a week ago.
The two sides fought and fought and fought some more. These two had cut into the enemy fleet at about the one-third mark and the ships that were closer to the island completely ignored them and just made a straight dash to where Baron was at. There was nothing that Guan Yu more Yue Fei could do to stop them, but keeping so many ironclads at bay would be quite a big challenge in and of itself.
Baron saw that there were a couple of hundred ships were coming his way and sent in 500 ships to counter, this would be nearly his entire reserve gone. Even if the two sides were nearly equal in number, this would be a tough fight to win, the artillery that was trained on them fired at the fleet that was being stalled by Guan Yu and Yue Fei.
This was the smart choice since there were many ships grouped up in a little space and they were unable to shoot at Guan Yu or Yue Fei’s ships most of the time due to fear of hitting allies, Baron reckoned. Though he knew that this decision would come at the cost of losing the majority of his sloops. His sloops were definitely no match for the ironclads in a head-on clash, and that’s what he was about to engage in.