An eerie howl rang out across the wide open field the enemy had set up formations when they noticed their approach.
Mew-Chi couldn't help but mewl softly when the anticipation finally turned into anticipation, his antelope picking up and started weaving at it's place.
Before them, he saw a dense square of these strange giant apes, calling themself 'Hoomans'. In the center, there was their infantry, holding lances and guns. Others, clad in steel from head to toe, mounted on giant hornless antelopes, were forming the flanks, as ready to pounce as their own Catvalry was. Their long lances were held up high, tiny flags waving at the ends, giving him a severe case of lance-envy as he remembered his own, barely two jumps long.
Mew-Chi quickly checked his own cuirass, and weapons. His catana was secured, his Kit revolver loaded. He would have liked to have a Mouser, too, but since it would also only have allowed him one shot before he'd have to drop it for the charge, it didn't really matter. His lance wouldn't do any good in this situation, so they were left behind.
He was startled out of his thoughts when his Captain started hissing orders. Bringing his antelope under control, he listened, and screeched when everyone was. The tension was palpable. Everycat wanted a go at these monsters who had laid destruction to their homeland. They were huge, strong, and their guns terrible, but they weren't infallible.
And they were few. The Nekon standing army outnumbered them by ten to one, approximately. And while they were fielding almost all of their military strenght in this campain, there were already several battalions of 'kitten' in traingin throughout the empire. Meanwhile, Catmandos were setting fires all over these Hoomans' settlements, burning their crops, poisoning wells, and stabbing their old, nobles, mollys, and kittens - just like they did to our towns they had wiped off the map.
Mew-Chi could almost smell the victory. These hoomans would be tired. Catmandos had been harrassing them all the way here. Many lives were lost, brave cats whose names will be written into history books when this all was over. Their deeds were magnificent. Somecat, the name yet unknown to Mew-Chi, had managed to torch one of their waggons carrying gunpowder barrels. In the confusion, almost a third of their mounts ran off, and when the smoke settled, their powder supply was down by half, according to scout estimates. Others went and culled their herds, feeding them syccamore seeds, dogbane, and other poisons by the bag, or cutting them free. Night by night, the hooman army was under siege, and come morning, it was less than it was the day before.
They would have preferred to surprise them in their camp, too, but there was no way to hide the approach of a quarter million soldiers, even if they were cats. The hoomans had noticed, and prepared for the attack. Mew-Chi doubted they had much time to set up their cannons when the Nekons appeared out of the setting sun. But neither had they. This would be settled the old-fashioned way - claw to claw. And Mew-Chi had to admit he was not unhappy about that.
Finally, their formation moved out. Turning left, they put their claws to their antelopes, giving the hoomans a wide berth, fanning around to encircle them. The Catvalry brigades at the right flank did the same, with the main body advancing on foot.
Ears turned when sporadic booms from the hoomans' formation indicated that a few guns were set up, but their fire was erratic. The infantry was advancing on fours, to the hoomans, it couldn't be much more than a fast moving black line at the horizon, beneath sky still illuminated by a sun that had set minutes ago. Mew-Chi would have his claws nipped if they managed anything but accidental hits. He was quite secure in the knowledge that their own artillery would hit, though.
It took them only a minute to reach a point where the enemy catvalry - or hoomanry - reacted. Wheeling around, they charged outside to meet the Nekon army, forming a long line, four to five ranks deep.
A single, lound screech sounded out. Finally! Attack!
As if they were a single cat, their first wave of five thousand, about twice as many as their enemies, including Mew-Chi, yanked their 'lopes around and charged. Commands to ready for volley fire were howled out, everywhere. Mew-Chi absentmindedly checked to see that the main body was receiving heavy fire form the guns and cannons, but kept moving, as he pulled his revolver with his left. Aiming hinger than necessary, he waited for the command and emptied his gun, eyes closed, the moment it came. While his rounds soared towards the enemy, he had already dropped the gun, and readied his sword, securing the lanyard keeping him from losing it to his wrist, crouching down on his antelope, patting it's back for the last time.
As expected, the gun fire didn't do much to the armored hoomans, but that was never the intention. A few projectiles found gaps in their or their mounts' armor, making them flinch or shy. It was only a few handful of horses and riders affected. The psychological effect of thousands of muzzle flashes in the dark, right in front of them, though, was enough to make some of them stall. Mew-Chi could see their charge losing cohesion, and a few moments later, they met. Screams went out from some of his mates unlucky enough to be hit by a lance or ridden down. Mew-Chi dodged a lance reaching out for him and jumped. Claws extended, he landed on the mount, finding hold in the chain weave. Two others had jumped the same enemy, one had bounced off the mount's head, and another was currently wrapped around the rider's head, frantically trying to stab the giant while evading the arm trying to brush him off.
Climbing up, Mew-Chi cut the rein with a single swipe of his catana, before burying it in the eye of the beast.
He held on with all the strenght he had when the animal made a shrill sound of pain and reared, throwing off it's rider and the cat fighting him. Next he knew, one of the following hooman riders crashed into them, throwing Mew-Chi off as they all went down in a tangle of limbs and metal. Mew-Chi landed hard, but rolled with it, which couldn't be said for the hoomans. Shaking his head, Mew-Chi came to his wits in the middle of chaos, his right paw bruised where the strap of his catana had snaped when he was thrown off. Trying to get up, he winced when he felt his left hind leg protest, briefly forcing him back on fours before he could stand up. Their first wave had failed to stop the charge, but put a huge dent into it. Only about half of the hoomans were still advancing after that crash, facing the second wave that had followed them 200 jumps apart.
Overall, Mew-Chi had been lucky. All around, he saw mangled bodies of cats, every other still alive and howling or mewling in pain, the few surviving mounts adding their yips to the cacophony. He was sure that less than a third, maybe only a quarter of his comrades were still alive and in fighting shape, but the hoomans left with them were either dead or squealing in fear and pain as surviving cats were swarming their prone, disarmed bodies, catanas stabbing and slicing at the gaps in their armor. For every cat they managed to punch or kick off, two more appeared.
By the time he had armed himself with a fallen littermate's catana, just in case, they had fallen quiet. Moments later, the rest of their catvalry charged by to meet the main force, which was already being swarmed by the 'Paws'. By the look of it, they hadn't even needed a third wave.
"Honestly, how can they be so stupid to bring such lances to a fight," Mew-Chi thought as he sat down, watching, and taking his weight off his injured leg. "A kitten could jump on it, climb up and scratch their eyes out!"
A minute's thought suggests that the very idea of this is stupid. A more detailed examination raises the possibility that it might be an answer to the question "how could the Germans win the war after the US gets involved?" - Captain Seafort, in a thread proposing a 1942 'D-Day' in Quiberon Bay
I do archery skeet. With a Trebuchet.