Episode 36, "Fortress vs. Fortress Akt III: The Return of the Magician"
Synopsis: Reinhard, dissatisfied with Kempf and Mueller's progress, sends Mitteremeyer and Reuenthal to support the operation in the Iserlohn Corridor. Kempf, meanwhile, adopts a plan to trap the Iserlohn garrison in the fortress as his forces destroy the arriving support from Heinessen (including Yang). However, Julian sees through this and initiates a plan that depends on successive attacks from both sides, from the garrison and the arriving backup. Yang initiates an attack that utilizes special railgun-armed fighter craft, taking out many of Kempf's forces. Ultimately, Kempf decides he'll chance crashing Geiersburg into Iserlohn.
It's a battle of strategies and tactics in this chapter of the fight for the Iserlohn Corridor. While Reinhard is annoyed that Kempf is being too traditional, and Yang rightly nails what Reinhard's plan would have been, Kempf is only forced to take that action after being humiliated by Yang and Julian's maneuvers. Yang made good use of a flawed weapon at just the right time to turn the tide, proving what an amazing asset he is to the Free Planets Alliance once again, and Julian showed his (frankly unrealistic) foresight. In a battle with a traditionalist like Kempf, the more creative types dominate easily.
This episode covered much of Chapter 8 of the third Legend of the Galactic Heroes book, though it did incorporate the end of Chapter 7 when Henslow met with Kesserling and the latter flawlessly trolled the former. The episode did excise a bit in the book about Admiral Alarcon, who accompanied Yang back to the Corridor, being an overzealous and somewhat corrupt officer. The chapter in the book was also a bit dryer when it came to the tactics used. The episode made the combat seem a bit more exciting, not just by animating them, but by using more exciting techniques.
One of the things the episode added to the battle was Yang's use of the railgun ships. As explained, their usefulness as weapons were questionable, as they had very limited mobility. But in the Corridor, where mobility is already hampered for everybody, they're actually very effective, because they close the gap with their potent raw power. It makes sense that the FPA would foist these supposedly worthless fighters on Yang instead of offering their bigger and better fleets to him on his way back to Iserlohn, because they love to tie his hands behind his back. But his cleverness allowed him to make use of the ships in a way that devastated the Imperial fleet. I really enjoyed how the episode handled this, by showing it was a clever gambit by a man who makes full use of all resources available.
I really like Julian as a character, but sometimes his insight is a little much. Sure, they do that to some extent for both Yang and Reinhard, but at least they're geniuses with battle experience. Julian is still very wet behind the ears and yet before anyone else, he's able to see right through the Empire's plan to trap the garrison forces. So prescient is Julian that Merkatz insists on having him along in fighting the Empire's forces. Hey, why not just graduate Julian from fighter pilot to junior admiral while they're at it? Julian's sudden brilliance is a little out there.
Driven into a corner, Kempf has decided the only chance he has to win at this point is to have the fortresses destroy each other completely. But it's probably a little too late for that plan, because Yang's already had time to think of a counter at this point. And we'll see where that leads us in the battle's conclusion.
4.5 out of 5