Jiang Wei’s contribution to Shu’s downfall?

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Unread postby Marx!_II » Mon Feb 05, 2007 7:38 am

What about the need to keep the pressure on?
If Shu's domestic state is going down in flames, then allowing Wei a nice big breathing space to mobilize yet more of its (presumably)far larger war machine would put any future campaigns yet farther down the failscale, no?
Mind, I've only just begun to take a look at Shu's state in this time, so I'm really just playing devil's advocate.
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Unread postby Dong Zhou » Mon Feb 05, 2007 7:49 am

The problem though is that Shu kept going nowhere with the attacks, the people were unhappy, he stands a better chance if the adminstration is in tact. Zhuge Liang had the same fears but he always took time to ensure things were ok at home and only then attacked Wei.
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Unread postby Marx!_II » Mon Feb 05, 2007 7:56 am

Fair enough, let me ask this then.
Is there any way that Jiang Wei could have made it work?
Spaced out his attacks so as to devote more resources per, or appoint better generals? Were his own tactics on the field suspect? Ought he have focused on defense in the hopes that the Hanzhong terrain would better suit him, or concentrated more on the court intrigues in the Shu homefront?
How would you, and anyone else reading have handled it?
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Unread postby Dong Zhou » Mon Feb 05, 2007 9:46 am

I would make a useless commander but my suggestions would be to space out the NC's, nothing wrong with having a go but limit yourself a little and to keep an eye on court affairs. Form up with Zhang Yi and Qiao Zhao to oppose the Huang faction, try to gather the people's support, fix defences in Shu, look for talent in Shu army.

Personally I wouldn't have changed the Hanzhong defences but I can see why he did it.
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Unread postby Mistelten » Thu Feb 08, 2007 4:26 am

I think that a strategy he never tried, but should have, was to go completely on the attack and take Chang An while paying less attention to Shu itself. He could have brought Wei out to fight for sure if he was deep in their territory and would have been sure to capture supplies if he moved fast enough. The risk is that losing a decisive battle would doom Shu quickly rather than in a drawn out fashion.
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Unread postby Marx!_II » Thu Feb 08, 2007 6:40 am

Except that such a strategy requires some bang-up tactics that Jiang Wei didn't seem to have. Notwithstanding that a multiplex of other factors brought him down, if Jiang Wei had the capacity to give Wei a sound thumping in an all out attack, why couldn't he at least make more headway on one of his many campaigns?
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Unread postby Dong Zhou » Thu Feb 08, 2007 7:34 am

Chen Tai, Guo Hai(I think) and Deng Ai defend that flank, I'm pretty sure they could defend an all out attack, I would guess they would try for Hanzhong as well. An all out attack would hve been sucide and even if he succeded, Wei still has hold of Liang and Jiang Wei does not have the civil goverment to keep the new people happy
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Unread postby damon » Fri Feb 09, 2007 2:09 am

Marx!_II wrote:Fair enough, let me ask this then.
Is there any way that Jiang Wei could have made it work?
Spaced out his attacks so as to devote more resources per, or appoint better generals? Were his own tactics on the field suspect? Ought he have focused on defense in the hopes that the Hanzhong terrain would better suit him, or concentrated more on the court intrigues in the Shu homefront?
How would you, and anyone else reading have handled it?


By this time, Liu Shan was in power, I seriously doubt that Liu Shan was as zealous about restoring the Han dynasty as his father, so to set the scene it's a fair assumption that the crusade against the Han Emperor's dethronement is forgotten with Liu Bei and the senior officers' death. With that, what reason has Shu to invade Wei? Better to continue to exist than fight a battle that would cause no major outcome. And if Chang An were taken, what then? The addition of Liang and Yong wouldn't provide any short-term benefits at all to Shu-Han, Liangzhou being sparsely populated and Yongzhou was rather far from Shu's central administration (Cheng Du). On the CHF, someone indicates finding a resource stating that during Jiang Wei's 'reign', Shu had a population of 940,000 and 102,000 soldiers while I would estimate Wei to have at least three times as much and a population around 4.5 million. Why not defend at North Yizhou? The defender will usually have the advantage in battle, especially a solid-long lasting defense. Jiang Wei had motives that I can't begin to comprehend, however I wouldn't say he was an incapable general altogether, he was pitted against great odds and great generals when he didn't have to be. My advice; find Li Yan and bring him out of exile and defend Yang Ping Gate-area!!! And an alliance with Wu was adament, as much as Wu and Shu enthusiasts hate each other, we all have to admit that they couldn't exist alone. ALL of their military resources would only have to be in Han Zhong! It seems like a rather strong point to me. Jiang Wei reminds me of Edgar Allan Poe.

EDIT: Ma Zhong (Shu-Han) and both Zhang Yi's seemed severely underestimated by everyone.
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Unread postby Zhilong » Fri Feb 09, 2007 9:40 pm

damon wrote:By this time, Liu Shan was in power, I seriously doubt that Liu Shan was as zealous about restoring the Han dynasty as his father, so to set the scene it's a fair assumption that the crusade against the Han Emperor's dethronement is forgotten with Liu Bei and the senior officers' death. With that, what reason has Shu to invade Wei? Better to continue to exist than fight a battle that would cause no major outcome.

Shu is not able to adopt a long term defensive posture. Every regime that holed up in Shu and did not march into Changan were all conquered.

While Liu Shan seemed quite happy with what he had, it was not secure as ZL explained to him in his memorials.

Of course if the choice is suicidal campaigns vs defense then the latter is not a bad choice for the short to medium term.

And if Chang An were taken, what then? The addition of Liang and Yong wouldn't provide any short-term benefits at all to Shu-Han, Liangzhou being sparsely populated and Yongzhou was rather far from Shu's central administration (Cheng Du).


How can you say no to adding 2 provinces to your 1 province kingdom?

By taking Changan they can rely on the passes to defend everything behind it. If they are ready to attack then the Wei capital at Louyang is at a geographical disadvantage and can directly threaten the Wei regime. This would be in contrast of Wu gaining Jing where the resources they gained were significant but it also extended their borders greatly.

The resources and population they gain will give them some parity with Wei. A defensive policy would actually be feasible in that case.

The taking of Shu was similar to Liu Bang's strategy in that Shu was only their staging point. That the central administration was in Chengdu is rather irrelevant. Once they secure Changan the obvious move would be to shift the capital there. Ideologically, setting up in the former Han capital gives their restoration of Han credibility compared to holing up in a peripheral region. Practically, it would be a huge boost to the cause.

My advice; find Li Yan and bring him out of exile and defend Yang Ping Gate-area!!!


1) Is there any evidence to support the claim he had any great military talent?

2) Factional politics weaken the state and Li Yan was one of the powerful figures of the former Liu Zhang faction and showed little interest in restoring han. With Li Yan's fall into disgrace, that faction was finally neutered. Restoring his power only compounds the internal problems Shu was suffering from.

3) His whole career after the death of Liu Bei was one plot after another and attempts to increase his own power.

4) He could not even manage to transport supplies, realise the benefits of taking the post in the prime ministerial office nor realise the retardedness of his scheme to shift the blame for supplies and falsified retreat on ZL.
"You weaver of mats! You plaiter of straw shoes! You have been smart enough to get possession of a large region and elbow your way into the ranks of the nobles. I was just going to attack you, and now you dare to scheme against me! How I detest you!"
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Unread postby damon » Fri Feb 09, 2007 10:01 pm

Li Yan did fail to meet expectations with little historical reference to prove his talent, however with a shortage of exceptional generals it was definitely worth a try and the worse that would happen is Jiang Wei would lose another NC, which wasn't unheard of.

I know Xiahou Ba was present for one NC and preformed exceptionally, after which he should have been used extensively. Perhaps the Xiahou marriage into the Han family would have an affect on his loyalty, or maybe not but at least that is another able-bodied general.

Liangzhou had a population of 30,000 households which seems to thoroughly outweigh the cost of capturing, however I am not too sure about Yongzhou. I don't think I know enough of the providence to understand it's value other than moral. Having a capital so close to Cao Cao's force is a very scary idea; if the capital were captured then the kingdom would go into disarray and be at least of a moral loss as it was a gain.

The problem I am having is weighing the losses against the gains.

How defensive was Yang Ping compared to Tong?
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