Discussing Liu Bei’s Military Career

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Unread postby James » Sat Jan 27, 2007 4:56 pm

ZhaoZiLon wrote:Hmm...landslide? This is the first time I've heard this...could you shed more light on this?

Yeah, I've wondered about this too—I've heard it several times now. My understanding of the events is that Lu Xun launched a small attack and lost, upsetting his men, but he explained he knew how to defeat Liu Bei. He launched a second attack, using fire, and routed Liu Bei's army. Liu Bei retreated to the mountains where he was again attacked by Lu Xun. Quotes akin to Liu Bei's army falling apart like 'sticks and mud' are common here; maybe this is the reason? Anyway, he retreats at this point, and in addition to losing some of his commanders to Lu Xun's forces (most know Fu Tong's famous last line), Ma Liang is killed by the formerly allied tribesmen and Huang Quan, unable to return to Shu, travels north and is received by Wei. It is said that Liu Bei left this battle with a fair portion of his men intact as well.

No mention of the rockslide? Is it somewhere in <i>Sanguozhi</i>?
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Unread postby LiuBeiwasGreat » Sat Jan 27, 2007 4:57 pm

ZhaoZiLon wrote:
LiuBeiwasGreat wrote:A few minor things, a large part of Liu Bei's losses at Yi Ling was due to the landslide, militarily he took quite a few losses in that battle but he was always ok up until the landslide which ended any chance of a counterattack and routed his forces.

Liu Bei had several decisive victories early in his career but they were mainly defensive.(first battle at Xu, first battle at Ru Nan, and Bo Wang) Also there was a battle in southern Jing. Jin Xuan didn't surrender and fought Liu Bei and was defeated. He was then captured and Liu Bei executed him. It was after that did the rest of the local administraters surrender.


Hmm...landslide? This is the first time I've heard this...could you shed more light on this?

Liu Bei did not start off as being good at military battles, but got better and better. He managed to force Cao Cao to retreat in Huang Zhong, admittedly with Fa Zheng giving him a hand. Regardless, that's some achievenment.

As for Yi Ling, I must admit I have a different understanding. Lu Xun ordered a squad to attack Shu's front camp, but also ordered a large Wu army to directly hit the main camp (Where Liu Bei is) via the water route, bypassing the front camp. They also used fire attack which caused a lot of Shu's camps to be on fire...etc etc...


After Lu Xun's fire attack Liu Bei's army fell into chaos, it was during this that Lu Xun ordered Zhu Ran to attack which devistated Liu Bei's vuangard causing Liu Bei to retreat. He led his army up a hill and attempted to reform his ranks and attempt to counterattack (his army took losses by this time but they weren't defeated) however the hill was weak and collapsed while his troops were on top of it causing a landslide which killed a huge amount of his remaining troops and injured many more. This ended his attempts to continue fighitng. He started to retreat and left Fu Rong (Fu Tong) as the rear guard. Fu Rong was then surrounded by Wu soldiers and after rejecting demands that he surrender fought to the death delaying the Wu soldiers just long enough to allow the main army to escape to Bai Di. The Wu army then attempted to follow but when they heard that Zhao Yun was heading toward them with reinforcements Lu Xun called for the retreat knowing that Wei would invade so risking further confict against Shu made little sense now.

Liu Bei was a great general all throught his career. The problem he faced in the begining was that he was always constantly outnumbered by his enemies. For example at Ru Nan he had only 1,000 bandit soliders yet he defeated the army that Cao Cao sent against him (which was larger then 1,000 men) When he moved agaisnt Cao Cao and took Xu he defeated the first wave of troops that Cao Cao sent even though he was outmatched soliderwise. At Bo Wang with few resources and few troops he defeated Xiahou Dun (who had Yu Jin, Yue Jin, and Li Dian with him) who had a much larger force then he did. Also in southern Jing by defeating Jin Xuan and executing him he forced the surrender of several tens of thousands of troops effectivly doubling the amount of troops he had in his army. Also in Yi he was outnumbered and had no supply line back to his own territory but even against these superior forces managed to win over and over again showing that he was superior to the best generals in Yi.
Even before Han Zhong Liu Bei showed to be a great general however for most of his career he faced impossible odds and even though managed to score an impressive amount of victories against seemingly impossible odds he also was defeated several times (any other general in his place would have been hard pressed to do better in his situation)
Also in Han Zhong it was Liu Bei who forced Cao Cao to retreat and ordered Huang Zhong to attack. Generally in battle the leading general gets credit for the overall victory even if he wasn't leading the vanguard (ex. Zhou Yu gets credit for Chi Bi even though he was in the rear, Lu Xun gets credit for Yi Ling even though Zhu Ran led the attack, Liu Bei gets credit for Bo Wang even though Zhao Yun was in front) Ergo Liu Bei gets the most credit for Han Zhong even though the troops were led by Huang Zhong.

The landslide is mentioned in Lu Xun's bio "Liu Bei ascended Ma’an Mountain and stationed troops at various points to defend. Lu Xun commanded his troops to press on after them closely from all directions. As earth crumbles and tiles smash, Liu Bei’s defences were broken and his men died by tens of thousands." As the mountain collpsed tens of thosands of Liu Bei's soldiers died. It was the mountain falling on them not Lu Xun's army which killed them.
Last edited by LiuBeiwasGreat on Sat Jan 27, 2007 5:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread postby James » Sat Jan 27, 2007 5:04 pm

What is that from? :)
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Unread postby LiuBeiwasGreat » Sun Jan 28, 2007 5:06 am

James wrote:What is that from? :)


Most of the information is from Liu Bei's bio and the part about the landlide is from Lu Xun's bio.
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Unread postby Zhilong » Sun Jan 28, 2007 1:24 pm

Also in Han Zhong it was Liu Bei who forced Cao Cao to retreat and ordered Huang Zhong to attack. Generally in battle the leading general gets credit for the overall victory even if he wasn't leading the vanguard (ex. Zhou Yu gets credit for Chi Bi even though he was in the rear, Lu Xun gets credit for Yi Ling even though Zhu Ran led the attack, Liu Bei gets credit for Bo Wang even though Zhao Yun was in front) Ergo Liu Bei gets the most credit for Han Zhong even though the troops were led by Huang Zhong.


Well that would show he was a good commander or leader. What skills and qualities of a general did he display or possess?
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Unread postby Shadowlink » Sun Jan 28, 2007 1:41 pm

Didnt he bumrush the turbans 30 times?
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Unread postby ZhaoZiLon » Sun Jan 28, 2007 2:39 pm

Zhilong wrote:
Also in Han Zhong it was Liu Bei who forced Cao Cao to retreat and ordered Huang Zhong to attack. Generally in battle the leading general gets credit for the overall victory even if he wasn't leading the vanguard (ex. Zhou Yu gets credit for Chi Bi even though he was in the rear, Lu Xun gets credit for Yi Ling even though Zhu Ran led the attack, Liu Bei gets credit for Bo Wang even though Zhao Yun was in front) Ergo Liu Bei gets the most credit for Han Zhong even though the troops were led by Huang Zhong.


Well that would show he was a good commander or leader. What skills and qualities of a general did he display or possess?


I'm not sure it matters. At his level, all he needs to ensure is that he has the right staff in the right place, morale is high, and that the overall strategy suits the situation.

If a commander can ensure that, then he would have a stellar military career, which is what this post was asking about. My $0.02.
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Unread postby LiuBeiwasGreat » Sun Jan 28, 2007 11:50 pm

Zhilong wrote:
Also in Han Zhong it was Liu Bei who forced Cao Cao to retreat and ordered Huang Zhong to attack. Generally in battle the leading general gets credit for the overall victory even if he wasn't leading the vanguard (ex. Zhou Yu gets credit for Chi Bi even though he was in the rear, Lu Xun gets credit for Yi Ling even though Zhu Ran led the attack, Liu Bei gets credit for Bo Wang even though Zhao Yun was in front) Ergo Liu Bei gets the most credit for Han Zhong even though the troops were led by Huang Zhong.


Well that would show he was a good commander or leader. What skills and qualities of a general did he display or possess?


Well as other says he fought against the yellow turbans, After Lu Bu took over Xia Pi Yang Feng and Han Xian were raiding Xu so Liu Bei defeated them and executed them, Cao Cao sent Liu Dai and Wang Zhong to attack Liu Bei when he rebelled against Cao Cao and Liu Bei defeated them. Then when Yuan Shao sent Liu Bei to join with Liu Pi at Ru Nan Cao Cao sent Cai Yang to stop this but Liu Bei defeated him, he planned the stratagy and lead the troops at Bo Wang and won, he defeated Jin Xuan in southern Jing, along side with Zhou Yu he defeated Cao Cao's first attempt to cross the river at Chi Bi, he defeated Liu Zhang's best generals over and over again on the way to Cheng Du (and historically Zhuge Liang was not with him during the fighting it was Liu Bei making the plans and leading the troops) plus Han Zhong. Also before being defeated by Lu Xun Liu Bei defeated several of Wu's generals in the first few battles and then surrounded and trapped Sun Huan at Yi Ling.

Well being a good leader is vital for being a good general. His many victories most of which was when he was outnumbered shows that he was a great general.
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Unread postby Tan_Binrui » Mon Jan 29, 2007 12:19 am

LiuBeiwasGreat wrote: he defeated Jin Xuan in southern Jing, along side with Zhou Yu he defeated Cao Cao's first attempt to cross the river at Chi Bi, he defeated Liu Zhang's best generals over and over again on the way to Cheng Du (and historically Zhuge Liang was not with him during the fighting it was Liu Bei making the plans and leading the troops) plus Han Zhong.


And it was looking so good in the beginning...

If I remember correctly, it was either Zhang Fei or Zhao Yun who defeated Jin Xuan in the south... not that that's a showing of skill, as Jin Xuan's own staff betrayed him (which led to his death).

Cao Cao's first attempt to cross the river was halted by Zhou Yu alone (he commanded some 30,000 troops). Only after Cao Cao was pushed back did Liu Bei and Liu Qi send 10,000 troops each. Plus, in the battle at Chi Bi, Liu Bei had no part.

In Han Zhong, Cao Cao wasn't even at Han Zhong until after Xiahou Yuan lost. After that, it was back to a heavy contest between the Shu army and Zhang He. When Cao Cao got there, it didn't take a single fight for Cao Cao to see the battle was lost, and he made the remaining army retreat. No battle involved Cao Cao in Han Zhong.

Other than that, I agree with you. Liu Bei was a skilled commander. Not great (depends on your definition of great), but good. He lead well, and the people respected him. That's all I could ask of a general of any rank.
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Unread postby Zhilong » Mon Jan 29, 2007 8:05 am

Shadowlink wrote:Didnt he bumrush the turbans 30 times?


If it is true then it should be noted. However, to be a great general throughout his career i think would require more than this. Such acts are comparable to Wu generals suduing the Shanyue or quelling bandits - for Wu generals this was like an entrance exam and practically everyone and their mum did it.

I'm not sure it matters. At his level, all he needs to ensure is that he has the right staff in the right place, morale is high, and that the overall strategy suits the situation.

If a commander can ensure that, then he would have a stellar military career, which is what this post was asking about. My $0.02.


I think that if we say someone was a great general then we should be able to point out specific qualities he had pertaining to the military and look at the nature of his successes and failures.

I think he did have his moments but i don't think he was always great nor was his career always stellar.

Poor Staff decision:

Personnel he left behind at Xuzhu. Lu Bu defeated him and lost him Xuzhu. In spite of this he still proceeds to attack Yuan Shu and is defeated.

Cao Cao sent Liu Dai and Wang Zhong to attack Liu Bei when he rebelled against Cao Cao and Liu Bei defeated them.


At that point Cao Cao was not only tied up at Guandu but several commanderies revolted against him and he could only muster those 2 to counter Liu Bei. When Cao Cao personally went, Liu Bei was so badly defeated he lost his family and even Guan Yu was captured. Cao Cao's army was actually at a disadvantage in that they were tired from coming from one battle front to another.

he planned the stratagy and lead the troops at Bo Wang and won


Xiahou Dun loses to everyone anyway. :lol: While it was an ambush against Dun i would still accord him credit though. :)

he defeated Liu Zhang's best generals over and over again on the way to Cheng Du (and historically Zhuge Liang was not with him during the fighting it was Liu Bei making the plans and leading the troops


What plans did he make? I thought it was mostly Pang Tong. After Pang Tong died he had to call ZL, Zhang Fei and Zhao Yun for help.

Hanzhong is debatable as i don't see Liu Bei coming up with many plans or doing that much. Zhang Fei, Huang Zhong & Fa Zheng seemed to contribute more. Liu Bei's treatment of Fa Zheng i think shows how important Fa Zheng was that even ZL realised he should not offend the new rising star.

Also before being defeated by Lu Xun Liu Bei defeated several of Wu's generals in the first few battles and then surrounded and trapped Sun Huan at Yi Ling.

His prior planning was indeed good as was his initial burst. However, he was lured deep into enemy territory into a protracted stalemate with his forces dispersed and got pwned, losing half of Shu's army by some estimates.

His many victories most of which was when he was outnumbered shows that he was a great general.

Which victories was he outnumbered and was he facing someone decent in said battle?
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