This week’s episode featured the buildup and beginning of the Alliance’s battle to capture Iserlohn. It also marked the return of the pragmatic Yang while retaining a level of cynicism that has made him popular with the common soldier.
The episode begins with a little bit of history regarding Iserlohn. There are two commanders who hate each other to the point of almost obstructing each other. Thomas von Stockhausen manages the fortress itself, while Hans Dietrich von Seeckt is in charge of the fleet which guards the fortress.
Over the previous four-and-a-half centuries, the Alliance had tried to capture Iserlohn six times only to end up in embarrassing failures. With a new 13th fleet commanded by Yang Wen-li, the Alliance heads were hoping this would be different.
At the ceremony announcing the fleet made up largely of Astate survivors, Yang shows up late. He further embarrasses the defense minister Trunicht by stating the goal of the fleet was simply to avoid dying by fighting.
The next scene introduces Walter von Schenkopp, the head of the Rosen Ritter. He gets into a confrontation with some of Trunicht’s men after one of them was threatening a waitress. The incident, though, does lead to the centerpiece of Yang’s plan to take Iserlohn.
Back in the Empire, Reinhard finds out through Kircheis that Yang has taken command of the 13th fleet. He then philosophically ponders Yang’s new place in the universe, is he a planet or a star?
Preparations continue meanwhile for Yang, and he gets to meet the aide he requested from personnel. Frederica Greenhill, recommended by Chief of Staff Dwight Greenhill in a shocking display of nepotism, greets Yang, though the two have previously met.
Admiral Sitolet’s future depends on success as does his stopping Trunicht’s further ascent to power, but he has only given Yang a fleet half the size of the previous Iserlohn missions.
Now to Yang’s strategy for taking Iserlohn. He wants the Rosen Ritter to take the fortress down from the inside by having them “escape” from the fleet to be rescued by the Empire. First, Yang must convince von Schenkopp that he is a person worth following and not just someone he can betray. After all, the plan does require complete trust in von Schenkopp.
Yang does this by saying he hopes to retire after this mission because he believes there is a chance at a truce with the Empire which will last long enough to prevent him from having to go to war again. The Rosen Ritter commander seems surprised at the sentiment, but looks convinced enough to go ahead with the plan.
Just before the battle kicks off, Frederica remembers her first meeting with Yang several years before on El Facil. As he was making a name for himself saving 3 million people during the evacuation, she saw him struggling to swallow a sandwich he was eating while giving commands. She handed him a coffee, and she remembered him saying that he hated coffee and would have preferred tea instead.
Then the action begins with the Rosen Ritter ship sending a transmission to Iserlohn announcing they were in a battle with Alliance ships and needed help. The first instinct of von Seeckt is to send out the fleet to try to save the ship that is in trouble. Paul von Oberstein, however, believes it to be a diversion and to wait to see what the Alliance fleet does. He loses this argument, and von Seeckt sends out the entire Iserlohn fleet.
Yang’s fleet stops its fake pursuit of the Empire ship after determining the exact size of the Empire’s fleet at Iserlohn and waits to see what the Rosen Ritter can do as they safely enter the fortress.
Other Thoughts: I really wanted to use a picture of El Hadji Diouf for the top pic continuing on from the Yang/Sam Allardyce link established from the first episode post…It seems like the command structure at Iserlohn is horribly run. Surely, the fleet commander should be under the command of the fortress commander rather than the two be at the same level…I’m curious as to how Trunicht continues to acquire power despite the fact nearly everyone in the Alliance openly hates him.