Oddities. How come Sun Ce never attacked Liu Biao?

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Re: Oddities. How come Sun Ce never attacked Liu Biao?

Unread postby mrbeate » Mon Jul 12, 2010 4:07 am

Sun Fin wrote:He was a natural born conquerer, read up on his invasion of Wu, he won a few early battles and after that they couldn't wait to surrender when he offered the chance.


But remember, those he conquered were only small time provincial lords.
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Re: Oddities. How come Sun Ce never attacked Liu Biao?

Unread postby Sun Fin » Mon Jul 12, 2010 4:18 am

I don't know how much control Liu Biao had over the rest of Jing. I got the impression that his faction was based in his capital, with Huang Zu guarding one border and Liu Bei (who I wouldn't trust anyway) the other. I can see them surrendering easily enough, heck they did to Cao Cao.
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Re: Oddities. How come Sun Ce never attacked Liu Biao?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Mon Jul 12, 2010 7:09 am

mrbeate wrote:But remember, those he conquered were only small time provincial lords.


Small time provincial lords who had held up Yuan Shu's forces for a year?
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Re: Oddities. How come Sun Ce never attacked Liu Biao?

Unread postby Crazedmongoose » Mon Jul 12, 2010 8:12 am

Sun Fin wrote:I don't know how much control Liu Biao had over the rest of Jing. I got the impression that his faction was based in his capital, with Huang Zu guarding one border and Liu Bei (who I wouldn't trust anyway) the other. I can see them surrendering easily enough, heck they did to Cao Cao.



Such is the case with any warlords at that time. But Liu Cong's situation was a bit different. He officially ordered the surrender. Hence Han Xuan and the rest of the southern vassals surrendered. He didn't, upon losing Xiang Yang, relocate his capital.

His army at this point might not be as big and as established than Liu Biao.


Also I would say Liu Biao's army was much much larger than Sun Ce's at the time. Sun Quan managed to muster up 50,000 people for Red Cliffs (30,000 at the front and I think he had another 20,000 in reserve or something? From his conversation with Zhou Yu?) He may be able to double that number for some emergency levies since I understand those 50,000 were the cream of his troops which may be mobilized.

I did the tally for this before. But Liu Biao had:

30,000 with Huang Zu at Xiakou
10,000 later with Liu Qi at Jiang Xia
several thousands with Liu Bei at Fan
10,000 on the Han River (later taken by Guan Yu)
70,000-80,000 at Nan and Nanyang

All together that puts him well over 100,000 apparent regulars. Now obviously he has more fronts to watch than Sun Quan. But this is a significant numerical disparity. Having said that I'd bet Wu's army and officers were much more experienced and battle hardened than Liu Biao's since Jing hasn't seen anywhere near as heavy fighting for a while then.
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Re: Oddities. How come Sun Ce never attacked Liu Biao?

Unread postby Sun Fin » Mon Jul 12, 2010 1:41 pm

Another reason for Sun Ce making a swift attack that hits Jing where it hurts. Don't give them time to gather their forces so they can't inflict heavy casualties on you in an open battle (cos lets remember Sun Ce needs to win this, and quickly, whilst not losing to many men). Also in the confusion that follows afterwards people are likely to surrender.

I'm not saying its a fool proof plan or anything of the sort, I know its risky. What I am saying is that it was the only option open to Wu if they wanted to be able to contest with who ever won the Cao/Yuan battle and if they had any plans of uniting China in the long term. I'm also saying that I believe Sun Ce had the talent to pull it off but clearly I know that most others would say there isn't enough evidence to make that judgement.
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Re: Oddities. How come Sun Ce never attacked Liu Biao?

Unread postby Crazedmongoose » Mon Jul 12, 2010 2:39 pm

I agree that geopolitically it's what Sun Ce must do. I made a very long post a while ago about how Jing is strategically the most important location for Wu to attack. But a full strength Jing is just so powerful, and Liu Biao was not so personally flawed like Yuan Shao. If a cautious and generally capable person is on the strategic defense with a much larger army then that's hard to beat. He doesn't even need to be a good general. Fabius the Delayer wasn't a better general than Hannibal Barca.


You keep talking about a swift attack to the centre of Jing. I also agree with this in theory, because when you're the weaker and can't win on attrition you need something to tip the balance to your favour, and strategic surprise can be that something. However when you look at attacking Jing from Wu it's very hard to attain strategic surprise.

First of all let's look at the method of attack. I think briefly there's more or less two viable options. The first one is obvious, sail a fleet through Xiakou. The second one would be a southwards hook, going from Nan Cheng, traversing treacherous and unfamiliar terrain to reach Changsha.

Attacking Xiakou would give them no strategic surprise. It's the most obvious route, it's held by Liu Biao's top general with thirty thousand men and historically it took Wu three tries to break it. The water is also flowing to the east against the Wu fleet. Liu Biao would have all the time he needed to gather his army or even reinforce Xiakou. If Sun Ce breaks Xiakou then I assume he should sail up the Han river (which as mentioned earlier also has significant naval presence) to attack Xiang Yang, where Liu Biao would likely beat waiting for his tired, outnumbered and assumedly undersupplied army. (The distance between Xiang Yang and Wu is quite far) Sun Ce also leaves his flank perilously open to an attack up the Yangtze from either Liu Biao's massive fleet at Jiangling or the southern vassals from Han Xuan. Even if Sun Ce takes Xiang Yang Liu Biao can retreat to Jiang Ling and Sun Ce is then trapped in enemy lands with a cut supply line. Basically Sun Ce needs to win at least two, probably more battles, and all within a short period of time and all by very large margins. It's not just about winning, he actually needs to destroy Liu Biao's army.

Attacking Changsha is the kind of "so dumb it might work" plan. Crossing the mountains as Hannibal did the Alps and Deng Ai did in Shu, relying on strategic surprise to win a few easy victories when they first arrive. The southern Jing commanderies are poor and weak. Liu Bei took over all four of them in the short time after Red Cliffs without so much of a whoopsie-daisies. As Sun Fin said, they may even be persuaded to join Sun Ce if his army shows up. He can use the southern commanderies as a staging post then to attack northwards towards Liu Biao's core.

Obviously this is extremely risky. The terrain is mountainous and unfamiliar, subsequent supply and reinforcements would be more or less impossible. If the southern commanderies hold out (and remember, Han Xuan has both Huang Zhong and Wei Yan under him) then Sun Ce faces complete annihilation. If Sun Ce does win before reinforcements from Liu Biao arrive, he's still stuck separate from the rest of Wu and bereft of a way to really attack Jing, because Liu Biao will completely control on the Yangtze and Sun Ce won't be able to cross to attack Jiang Ling without a navy (I don't believe the southern commanderies really had a decent navy, especially since half of them don't even border water). And forget about that destroy Liu Biao's core in Xiang Yang thing because Xiang Yang is half a world away.
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Re: Oddities. How come Sun Ce never attacked Liu Biao?

Unread postby Sun Fin » Mon Jul 12, 2010 6:26 pm

Yeah when put like that... I'd imagine Sun Ce would do both. Zhou Yu as a decoy in charge of a weakened navy whilst he attacks the southern part of Jing. Risky for sure but if Deng Ai can achieve it (I'm not slighting Deng Ai just saying that Sun Ce is better) then Sun Ces hould be able to. Especially since Jiang Wei is a better commander than most of those in southern Jing and I can't see Huang Zhong or Wei Yan being given control of army. I also thought that Wei Yan was in north Jing at this point or is that just novel?
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Re: Oddities. How come Sun Ce never attacked Liu Biao?

Unread postby Crazedmongoose » Tue Jul 13, 2010 12:53 am

Think that's just novel.

Yeah that's also the way I'd do it. Zhou Yu attacks with a large fleet at Xiakou as a feint, drawing Liu Biao's army and whatever garrison and fleet from Southern Jing up the Yangtze. Then Sun Ce sneak attacks from the bottom.

Even if that's pulled off perfectly (and as I said, there's risks), it doesn't mean Sun Ce wins. It just means there's now parity of strength between the two factions.
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Re: Oddities. How come Sun Ce never attacked Liu Biao?

Unread postby mrwongshappymushu » Tue Jul 13, 2010 11:14 pm

Here's my strategy.
Post platoons under Lu Fan and Zhu Zhi at Wu Ling, have them move up to the base of the You River, and wait for rienforcements for the siege of Gongan.
Have the navy under Sun Quan stationed at Po Yang Lake move up the Chang Jiang and gather men and weapons along the way.
Have armies from Lu Jiang move straight through until they are the gates of San Jiang Kou, take it with Sun Quan.
Zhou Yu, with all of Sun Quans remainder of the troops, dispatches forces under Lu Su to attack Gongan with Lu Fan and Zhu Zhi, take the navy there and attack the remaining ports in the area with fire. Take Yi ling, Then lay siege to Jiang Ling
Zhou Yu should be the shield, guarding and helping the siege of Jiang Ling.
Sun Ce would then set out with an elite unit from Jiu Jang, in a downward "U" and would come out at around Jiang Ling, rendezvous with officers and troopers from Zhou Yu's army and take up ambush position on the Jing Mountains, ambush and capture passerby troops, and maintain positions
Sun Quan's marines will lay siege to Jiang Xia with all remaining available troops.
And the victorious siege of Jiang Ling, the troops will then converge on Xiang Yang, while doing so, plundering local villages.
Sun Ce's forces raid Xiang Yang at night, The remaining army now under Zhou Yu's command will attack while the raid is in progress, sure win. Then Jiang Xia is only a few days away :wink:
I over thought it but i thought it was decent :roll:
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