“Well sir, during the march, as the regular columns passed, I counted that there were five columns more then the number of men in the front line.”, replied one lieutenant.
“Yes, and after they had arrived at camp, I was told that an additional 845 men were added to the front line in order to dig trenches and that four other groups of the same amount were dispatched to other tasks”, said another lieutenant.
“Quite right, and I was in one of those of those groups when I took charge of it, and was given an addition of ten percent from another group to conduct a covert sortie”, offered a sergeant.
“Tell me about this sortie”, commanded Major Grumblegutts, “I understand it did not go well”.
“Well no sir”, the sergeant replied with his eyes downcast. “It did not. I stayed behind in camp to coordinate with the lieutenants. The entire sortie was ambushed and a number of men killed. Of the survivors a sixth managed to make it back to camp. Another eighth of the remaining perished on the enemy’s march back. After arriving at the enemy’s camp another man died of his wounds and a fourth of those remaining attempted to escape the following night, but only two out of three managed to do so and those that didn't were killed as an example. Those that remained were split up into four equal work gangs and sent to separate locations. Two of those gangs were liberated before reaching their destination and have been returned to us, but one in twelve is still not fit for duty”, the sergeant concluded.
Major Grumblegutts furiously scribbled some figures on the back of a discarded slip of paper. “Hhrrumph”, he grunted when finished. “If our intelligence is correct then the enemy has three men to our two, but we have the high ground. This will be a tough fight."
What is the size of the enemy force?