The 34th episode of Legend of the Galactic Heroes continues with the battle at Iserlohn. With Yang rapidly approaching the battlefield, more tactical variables are involved. Reinhard also gets involved in the strategy for the first time in a while, but is it too late?
The episode begins with Muller receiving conflicting information about Yang. A POW informed them that they were told to say Yang wasn’t there to throw them off. Muller thinks about this for a second and decides that Yang is not there and has ships search the corridor for anything heading to Iserlohn.
This comes as a surprise to Kempf who seemingly has no idea what his fellow admiral is doing scattering ships around. However, Muller ends up explaining his logic based on Kircheis’ trip to Iserlohn for the prisoner exchange. Yang does not look like a distinguished man, and that inspires fellow soldiers and if he can be captured, Allied morale would take a fatal blow. Kempf, though, is not convinced and orders Muller to call back the ships.
Back on Odin, Reinhard orders Mittermeyer and Reuenthal to lead their fleets to Iserlohn to reinforce Kempf and Muller. Reuenthal understands, but he thinks their arrival could be interpreted as trying to steal the glory from Kempf. Reinhard dismisses his concern by saying that Kempf may not actually be winning and could use the help.
Later, Reuenthal questions Reinhard’s logic as he walks with Mittermeyer. If Kempf is winning there is no point in leaving as it could be over by the time they get there, and if he is losing they would arrive too late as well. Mittermeyer reinforces the fact that they accepted the order and they should think about the possibility there could be a battle when they arrive. Reuenthal thinks they should assume the worst and Kempf would have been defeated.
Meanwhile, Reinhard reads over Kempf’s brief report which Oberstein has immediately deduced is not to his liking. He believes Kempf and Muller are trying to reoccupy Iserlohn, when the objective is merely to make it powerless. This could have been done by smashing Geiersburg into it. Oberstein points out that Kempf made the fortress his own and is trying to fight a traditional battle, but Reinhard says that makes him of limited use. Oberstein responds saying that the one who put him in charge, and since he recommended Kempf, Oberstein is internally re-examining his choice. Reinhard says he could also be to blame for ordering the attack, or even Schaft for coming up with the idea.
Elsewhere, Yang’s ship hurries toward Iserlohn. Yang realizes they need to hurry back because at the first sign of a stalemate, Reinhard will send reinforcements. If they fail to gain control of the space around Iserlohn before the reinforcements get there, the chances of victory are almost zero. Frederica asks Yang what he would do if he were the enemy commander, and he immediately states he would have smashed his fortress into Iserlohn. Afterward, he could just have another fortress brought in. He says the Imperial commander here could not break out of traditional thought, and that should he think of smashing his fortress into Iserlohn there would be a way to counter it.
On Phezzan, Henslow argues with Kesselink about the inquiry. He thinks the conditions were met with Phezzan. Henslow demands an explanation for the seemingly perfect timing, to which Kesselink responds by saying the Alliance shouldn’t have followed his unreasonable advice since they have no right to order inquiries in another country. The Alliance had the right to refuse all along, but didn’t choose to do so. Kesselink asks Henslow to think about the future and who Phezzan should pledge allegiance to, Truniht’s administration or Yang’s. Henslow finds the thought absurd, but Kesselink uses Reinhard to show how quickly things can change.
Meanwhile, Yang’s ship has seemingly been spotted by an Imperial reconnaissance ship. He’s told that a surprise attack is out of the question, but Yang was never thinking that way. Yang is actually relieved they’ve been spotted as it forces Kempf into a decision on where to commit forces.
Kempf has a strategy for using Yang’s forces as bait. He plans on having Geiersburg retreat to try to lure out the Iserlohn fleet who would be emboldened by the arrival of reinforcements. From there, they would change course and trap the fleet in the base. They could then go after the reinforcements as they arrive. Muller agrees with dealing with them individually is the best strategy, but the timing leaves the risk that they could be attacked on both sides. Muller’s proposal is to just worry about the reinforcements. Kempf thinks that is a good point and makes a change to his original plan.
The Imperial fleet begins to retreat which catches Cazellnu off guard. The rest of the crew is caught between thinking reinforcements arriving or it being a trap. Schenkopp asks Julian what he thinks, and he believes it could be both. Julian says their reinforcements have been getting closer, and the Imperial fleet could be aware of it and try to use it as a trap. If they decided to launch the fleet and they are attacked, Julian says they would probably think it was a trap all along and withdraw and then allow them to attack the reinforcements.
Cazellnu asks why Julian thinks that and he says the Imperial fleet’s movement is unnatural. Julian begins by saying that the motive for setting a trap is either to ambush the fleet, attack it at launch or invade the fortress. They would already know that a defensive posture has been adopted, so they would try to seal them in the base. Cazellnu asks what Merkatz thinks about it, and he says they should pretend to have been sealed in and then charge out as soon as they change course. If everything works out, the Imperial fleet will be caught in two fronts. Cazellnu has Merkatz take command of the fleet, and he request Julian to go with him on the bridge of Hyperion.
The Iserlohn fleet emerges and is promptly attacked by the Imperial fleet. Merkatz waits a little before having them withdraw back into the base. Kempf has them continue until the get close to the range of Iserlohn’s main cannon. When they stop, Merkatz has the Iserlohn fleet withdraw only so far as the where they are no longer visible. Kempf then turns his fleet around toward the reinforcements.
Yang approaches the battlefield and is worried about what could happen. He knows the Iserlohn fleet needs to emerge to have a chance, and the experience of Merkatz and Julian’s knowledge Yang passed to him should mean that happens, but if it doesn’t? Yang has his forces pull back as soon as they are within firing range of the Imperial ships. Kempf gets frustrated at what he sees as time wasting in hoping the Iserlohn fleet comes out and orders a charge at the reinforcements. They catch up and begin to fire on Yang’s ships. Yang has his ships spread out in a loop in all of the useable space in the corridor.
Then, the Iserlohn fleet comes back out and the Imperial fleet begins taking heavy damage. Muller realizes they have fallen into a trap and tries to organize a retreat of the Imperial reinforcements back to Geiersburg. Kempf, on the other hand, tries to continue to breakthrough and get into Allied space. However, Yang is quick to react and blocks the way through. Kempf is advised to retreat, but he comes up with an idea. He has his fleet hurry back to Geiersburg and Merkatz does little to stop him as Yang is still the priority. Alarcon disagrees with letting them go, and criticizes Yang for being so naive, but Yang thinks he has them right where he wants them.
Merkatz and Julian communicate with Yang before Geiersburg begins to move toward Iserlohn. Imperial soldiers begin to flee and Cazellnu prepares to fire the main cannon, but Yang is thinking differently. He wants guns to aim at just one of the engines propelling Geiersburg. The fortress is thrown off axis and the changes in gravity throw Imperial ships into each other. It also allows Cazellnu to fire the main cannon at Geiersburg, and leaves it heavily damaged. The casualties are high, and Kempf ends up mortally wounded. Other Imperial soldiers fight each other for survival as the fortress continues to be destroyed. The escaping Muller is wounded on board his ship as he is thrown around by explosions. Fortunately it is merely broken ribs and he will be able to live through the battle.
As celebrations begin on Iserlohn, Muller is informed of Kempf’s death and the knowledge that his last words were an apology to him. Muller vows revenge and to take Yang’s life with his own bare hands. He broadcasts a message to the other survivors telling them to keep their heads up. While, Yang arrives on Iserlohn and is told the fleets of Alarcon and Guen are pursuing the Geiersburg survivors into Imperial space. He orders some ships to pursue them and force them back.
Thoughts: This episode was a lot better in terms of the battle than the last one in my opinion, though it was not without some issues…The animation quality at this point in the series seems to have fallen off a cliff…It’s actually pretty nice to see from a development standpoint people serving under Yang disobeying his orders…However, Julian’s abilities for his age seem far too good