Dong Zhou wrote:Zhuge Liang assumbled some of the minority races from Shu's Southern province into a small unit and gave them to Wang Ping. The unit of three thousand took on and was on equal footing with Wei's army of six thousand lead by Zhang He, according to history.)
Please could you tell me more about this? Source, when it happend, that sort of thing?
This was during Zhuge Liang's 4th northern campaign, also the first time for KongMing to go against Sima Yi.
Zhuge Liang lead the main army to Chi San, and set up his main camp there. Sima Yi also position his main army close to the Shu army. Zhuge Liang provided Wang Ping with three thousand of the so-called Mu Dong Fei Quan - loosely translate as the Invisible Flying Army - an army made up or largely minorities from the South. He left Wang Ping to surround Chi San, and then indicated that he would take the rest of the army further north, and will position the Shu army to take on the Wei main camp. But before Sima Yi can react, Zhuge Liang suddenly turned west and instead headed for the Liang province - an area that Sima Yi initially thought KongMing would not really bother with given its far location. Sima Yi panicked and send Kwok Chun to reinforce the Liang defence with him following up the rest of the Wei army. At the Liang province, Kwok Chun and Wei Yan engaged in initial battle and Wei Yan defeated the Wei army, subseqeuntly surrounding them in their camps. The second line Shu forces also arrived later and have managed to cut off the Wei army at Liang with Sima Yi's main forces. Shu forces also took the oppurtunity to harvest the grain at the Liang province and reinforced their supplies. When Sima Yi's main forces arrived he saw that he could not connect with the forces at Liang, and Shu's army has already completed their defensive setup. With little option, Sima Yi simply set up opposing camps and waited for Shu's supplies to run out. Zhuge Liang made multiple attempts to engage Sima Yi but was basically ignored by the Wei army. Several times Zhuge Liang would fake retreat by falling slightly back, in the hopes to tempt Sima Yi for a battle. But Sima Yi would simply 'plug the camp up and move them forward', ignoring any taunting by Shu's army.
Few months have passed, and Zhuge Liang started to worry about his supplies. But even more anxious were the Wei generals, lead by veteran Zhang He. They don't understand why the Wei army, with their superior numbers and plentiful supplies, is basically refusing to engage Shu army on any level. Zhang Hu suggested a bold plan where Sima Yi would lead several battlions to engage Zhuge Liang directly, and he would also lead another army, head back south, and attack the back of Wang Ping's army at Chi San. He requested an army of double that of Wang Ping - six thousand soilders. He estimated that once Wang Ping is vanquished, his forces at Chi San would completely cut off Zhuge Liang's escape and supply routes and basically it would be JieTing all over again.
Sima Yi did not want to engage KongMing at all, but at the end gave in to the pressure of the Wei generals, and agreed with the plan. He send a few battlions to set up an ambush next to Shu's main camp. The idea was that he would draw out Shu's forces, and when the timing is right the ambush would attack Shu's army from the flank. At the same time, Zhang He would also lead his army to take out Wang Ping. If all goes well, Shu's army would be completely vanquished.
Soon Wang Ping got worded that Zhang He is coming. He lead his special army and set up defence at Chi San. Even with double the numbers, Zhang He could not even get close to Shu's camp at Chi San. Meanwhile, the ambush was detected by Kong Ming's scouts, and Kong Ming sent Wei Yan on a 'Search-And-Destory' mission. Wei Yan located the ambush and almost crushed the Wei forces. Knowing his plan is out, Sima Yi withdrew his main forces back to the main camp, with Zhang He closely following. Wei locked their gates again and waited and prayed that Shu's supplies will run out soon.
And Shu's supplies did run out, but not before Li Yan falsify Liu Chan's order for a complete Shu army retreat. Reluctantly, Zhuge Liang pulled out his army. Desparate to get even with the Shy army, Sima Yi ordered Zhang He to follow on the Shu army despite Zhang's protest. Zhang was later killed by one of Zhuge Liang's ambush.
This story is well documented in SGG - the history book. I don't know the exact section but the bit about the minority army forces should be in Wang Ping's section.