Lu Kang wrote:THe way the actual SGZ text puts Cao Cao at a disadvantage is seen to be an exagerattion by Wei Historians (and later adapted by Chen Shuo) to make his deeds look better than they were. For example, his bio says that he only had 10,000 troops. How could a mere 10,000 troops defeat an army of around 250,000 thousand? The formations he used and strategies deployed would just not be feasible or even possible with that size army unless Yuan Shao had an IQ equal to that of a toddler.
As Pei Song Zhi puts it, Cao Cao's troop number must have been atlesat 80,000 and must have been veyr near to Yuan Shao's numbers. Yuan Shao was furthermore suffering from huge supply problems and there was starving on his side evne prior to Cao Cao buring his supplies.
All this is topped upon the actual fact that cao Cao was superior to Yuan Shao in commanding, so it's not a surprise Cao Cao won at Guan Du.
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