THE COUNCIL OF WAR
General Jack opened the discussion. “Gentlemen, you all said we were lucky on the Day of Initiation. What is luck? It does not just fall into our laps. We have to create our own luck. Through hard work and preparation, we construct a stage. We then invite Lady Luck to visit us to weave her magic spell on the stage. She may or may not be inclined to visit our stage. If she does, then we are lucky. If she does not, then we are unlucky. It is certain however, that if we do not do our homework to the best of our capabilities, then we can never be lucky. We must strive to build as good a stage as possible in order to entice our beloved Lady Luck.”
General Jack divided the battlefield into three areas- the West, the East and the South. He etched the battle plans on the soil with a stick.
The Army of the West was composed of two thirds of all the elephants in the land. They were to occupy a favourable defensive position on a hill. One third of the elephants were deployed on the downslope. Only this segment of the army would be visible to the tiger army. The remainder of the elephant army would be concealed from the tigers’ view. The split view was intended to mislead the enemy into underestimating the Western Army’s strength. This would give the enemy a false sense of security. When in small groups, felines fear the elephant masses and avoided them. That is an acknowledged fact. Nevertheless, it was possible that they might be tempted into attacking what they considered a vastly outnumbered elephant army. In such an event, that would be the signal for the heavy cavalry charge of the entire elephant army. If the tiger army did not take the attack initiative, then Popo the elephant leader was to give the order for the charge after receiving the Signal in the Sky.
Figure 1: The Army of the West
The Battleground of the East was a large open plain, to favour multiple cavalry charges. These charges were to cross-link and reinforce each other in successive charges. However, the charging units must not overextend beyond the margins of the battlefield.
The allied army was divided into three divisions grouped mainly according to their relations. The buffalo-led division formed the heavy cavalry on the northern flank. The elks and coyotes formed the weaker lancer division on the southern flank. These two flanking divisions were backed by the bulk of the central cavalry led by the awesome wolf pack and the grizzly bears.
The cougars, the pumas, the panthers and the jaguars made up the enemy army in this battlefield. Everyone knew that our masters feared the wolves, bison, buffalos and especially the bears. These together had to cover for the deficiencies of their fellow fighters.
All divisions were to charge en masse from their respective positions simultaneously as soon as they received the Signal from the Sky.
Figure 2: The Army of the East
The Army of the South was the largest army but contained the weakest troops of the entire grand alliance. This was the biggest, trickiest and most difficult battle. Our adversaries were the strongest here.
At the sight of Signal in the Sky, the weak but swift light cavalry led by the gazelles was to run westward towards their comrades in the main army. The feigned retreat would act as the decoy to goad the lion army in hot pursuit. The powerful feline warriors would only see weak enemy ahead of them. They would not hesitate nor resist the temptation to strike.
As soon as the lions charged, the heavy cavalry led by the rhinos had to mobilise. These were previously hidden in the forest. Once mobilized, they had to charge into the chasing lions from the rear. As soon as the escaping light cavalry led by the gazelles arrived within a few metres of the trenches, they were to bifurcate. They then had to continue their run under the cover of the woods to join the flanks of their weaker companions.
The monkeys, gorillas and apes were the artillerymen in the trees who covered the light cavalry’s retreat and pelted the lions with coconuts, stones, tree branches and whatever else they could lay their hands on.
The massed shield wall of horned pikes led by the stationary bulls and rams had to shield the main bulk of the army behind the trenches.
The Southern Army was a mix of troops from ones the lions fear
Figure 3: The Army of the South
(the elephants, hippopotamus and the rhinoceros) to the swiftest troops (the gazelle and the antelope); from the smartest troops (the monkeys) to the deadliest and most deceptive (the snakes). Together these troops had to cover the weak domesticated troops forming the bulk of the army.
The attentive division commanders unanimously approved the battle plans. We now had to do our homework or preparatory work.