Pang Tong's smarts.

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Pang Tong's smarts.

Unread postby Shi Tong » Mon Sep 24, 2007 12:12 pm

So..

Was Pang Tong really so smart? I dont really know enough about him from his SGZ records, but in SGYY he's touted as the cleverest man ever.

If he wasn't quite as smart as everyone thought he was, why did Shu poach him from Wu, and why didn't Wu recognize his abilities? Was it actually because he was as ugly as a dead fish, and they didn't like his look, or was it because they just .. simply.. didn't spot him!?
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Unread postby Dong Zhou » Mon Sep 24, 2007 1:32 pm

SGYY, a flawed but brilliant man, not quite perfect but there is only one Zhuge Liang. :wink: He does come up with many schemes or backs schemes that the SGYY claims as brilliant, I think it was his personality that was his problem.

Now the historical one I would need to think about a bit more. Or is this an SGYY only topic?
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Re: Pang Tong's smarts.

Unread postby Long » Mon Sep 24, 2007 2:46 pm

Shi Tong wrote:So..

Was Pang Tong really so smart? I dont really know enough about him from his SGZ records, but in SGYY he's touted as the cleverest man ever.

If he wasn't quite as smart as everyone thought he was, why did Shu poach him from Wu, and why didn't Wu recognize his abilities? Was it actually because he was as ugly as a dead fish, and they didn't like his look, or was it because they just .. simply.. didn't spot him!?


According to history, Pang Tong really was a brilliant strategist, one I'd personally rate above Zhuge Liang. It was through his guidance that the Kingdom of Shu was able to come to reality. Every beneficial strategy that Liu Bei could have taken had been thought out and laid before him by Pang Tong.
Also according to history, Pang Tong was part of a group that went to a Wu embassy and he was greatly admired by the scholars of Wu, though I found no mention of Sun Quan refusing to recruit him, it does support the possibility that he may have been urged to by his scholars, but declined to act upon it. Luo Guanzhong may have just taken the facts a step further in the SGYY.
It's interesting to note that Pang Tong was a horrible administrator and when acting as prefect of Leiyang, it fell into disarray. This is perhaps the most significant difference between Kongming and Shiyuan. Kongming was adept in both military and civil affairs. Shiyuan, though perhaps the better of the two in military, was far worse than Kongming at civil matters.
On a personal note, I consider the three possible strategies that Pang Tong devised for Liu Bei, to all be exceptionally brilliant, and without flaw given his position at the time, and I'm of the opinion that if Shiyuan had not been killed by a stray arrow, that Shu could have conquered the north.
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Unread postby Shi Tong » Mon Sep 24, 2007 4:04 pm

How interesting. Thanks!

Dong Zhou, this is about the historical Pang Tong- I was just saying that I know pretty much all there is to about the SGYY version of this character and that I wanted to know about the reality- more SGZ stuff, so feel free to contribute what you know historically.

I find it hilarious that the puppet/ representations of Pang Tong are so SGYY biased now that they're all hideous! :lol: Poor old Pang Tong- I bet he wasn't as bad looking as LGZ made him in SGYY!
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Unread postby Dong Zhou » Mon Sep 24, 2007 4:23 pm

Isn't it remarked that in his early civil career, he outdid his talents, I suppose due to care and hard work so I wouldn't say he was bad at it despite his poor governorship of Leiying. I think the man was very smart in terms of the quickest military route to doing something and judging others but as you say, it is difficult to say how good he was. Was he reckless with his best plan? Could be that he needed a strong hand to guide him but doubt even his novel character could overturn the historical Wei.
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Unread postby Long » Mon Sep 24, 2007 5:22 pm

Dong Zhou wrote:Isn't it remarked that in his early civil career, he outdid his talents, I suppose due to care and hard work so I wouldn't say he was bad at it despite his poor governorship of Leiying. I think the man was very smart in terms of the quickest military route to doing something and judging others but as you say, it is difficult to say how good he was. Was he reckless with his best plan? Could be that he needed a strong hand to guide him but doubt even his novel character could overturn the historical Wei.


You know it is in fact possible that he was a very capable minister who believed the task of governing was beneath him. It's quite possible that he was indeed as the novel make us believe, he was so upset at his talent being wasted that he simply neglected his duties. Unfortunately the only example we have of his civil management capability, was his time as prefect of Leiyang.
I don't doubt that there is always the possibility that he was totally sandbagging at that time Dong, but what is known is all that is known unfortunately.
As for recklessness, I wouldn't necessarily consider his death a result of being reckless. He was leading his men on the assault of Luo city, and the arrow striking him was a total freak incident. It could have happened to anyone.
The reason I am confident that had he lived, Shu could have conquered is that, he was the type who covered all options when devising strategy, and when you combine that with the fact that he, like Kongming, was very farsighted in their schemes, you get a one two punch of strategists who Wei could not counter.
Jie Ting never would have happened, had Shiyuan lived, and that means that conquering Chang An becomes a very real possibility. I just feel that if Shiyuan lived, and Kongming stayed in Shu to manage the homefront, that Kongming wouldn't have worked himself to death, and Shiyuan could have continued to engineer conquests for Shu. You can't doubt this method's effectiveness, as it's exactly how Liu Bei took Shu. Kongming stayed at the homebase in Jing, while Shiyuan oversaw the conquest.
Read Shiyuan's three strategies again Dong, and think about how effective each would have been. They truly were rather brilliant, given the fact that Liu Bei ignored his correct advice to assassinate Liu Zhang
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Unread postby Dong Zhou » Mon Sep 24, 2007 5:50 pm

He was an offical in Nazhou and promoted to Gong Cao, I have no idea what that is though.

I'm not saying his death was reckless, it was unlucky. As for Wei, Cao Zhen and Cao Rui were men who would not be easy to dislodge so far as to Chang A, Shu would still have supply problems and be outnumbered so as good as Pang Tong is, I think the job was too big. Of the three plans:

1) How easy would it to sneak up to Cheng Du with an army? If they are spotted, they are stranded in Shu away from their base and Liu Bei's reputation could lie in tatters. Or Liu Zhang able to shut the gates of Cheng Du, Liu Bei could find himself surrounded by Liu Zhang's generals who would give to aid their master.

2) A good plan, Shu got the pass to build upon, gets rid of two powerful generals and can begin a two pronged attack with a small advantage of surprise. If not for Liu Xun and Liu Bei's relaitve caution, might have even been done a lot earleir

3) A workable plan, safe with the only risk being time and other powers, should do the job but it would take a long long time. I suspect he offered it as three sounds better then two

I'm also not a plan of the "capture the visiting Liu Zhang" plan, it would have turned the people against Liu Bei and again destroyed his reputation, Liu Bei would end up fighting anyway and without the support of the common people that he had so carefully cultivated.
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Unread postby Long » Mon Sep 24, 2007 7:12 pm

Dong Zhou wrote:He was an offical in Nazhou and promoted to Gong Cao, I have no idea what that is though.

I'm not saying his death was reckless, it was unlucky. As for Wei, Cao Zhen and Cao Rui were men who would not be easy to dislodge so far as to Chang A, Shu would still have supply problems and be outnumbered so as good as Pang Tong is, I think the job was too big.


Zhuge Liang would have been managing logistics from the homefront, so I don't believe that supplies would not have been an issue at all. If Pang Tong prevents Jie Ting from happening, then the majority of Wei's forces in the northwest are already engaged there, and though Cao Zhang, and Sima Yi, and Cao Rui were capable, there was a degree of animosity between them which Pang Tong may have taken advantage of. Also consider that with Shu threatening the Northwest, Wei would not have had the luxury of a withdrawal as they did when they succeeded in defeating Ma Su. That means they become much more vulnerable to attack from Wu, which Kongming no doubt would have negotiated.

Dong Zhou wrote:1) How easy would it to sneak up to Cheng Du with an army? If they are spotted, they are stranded in Shu away from their base and Liu Bei's reputation could lie in tatters. Or Liu Zhang able to shut the gates of Cheng Du, Liu Bei could find himself surrounded by Liu Zhang's generals who would give to aid their master.


I don't believe his intent was to sneak up on Chengdu, rather force an engagement, that Liu Zhang truly was not prepared for at the time. Liu Zhang was not a man of combat, and so if he marched out, he surely would have been defeated. If he allows himself to be surrounded, then he effectively let's his land be cut in half by Liu Bei's forces, severing the line of supply and communication with his forces in the north.
Not to mention Liu Bei had supporters already in Chengdu, so as soon as Liu Bei's armies show up, they throw the gates open and the city is taken with minimal loss. The armies in the north can't march back for fear of Cao Cao's forces attacking from the rear, and so too have no choice but to surrender. Pang Tong could have used the threat of Cao Cao knocking at the door, as an advantage.
This was the best plan because it required the least amount of resources to accomplish, and it provided the greatest results.

Dong Zhou wrote:2) A good plan, Shu got the pass to build upon, gets rid of two powerful generals and can begin a two pronged attack with a small advantage of surprise. If not for Liu Xun and Liu Bei's relaitve caution, might have even been done a lot earleir


Indeed it is a good plan, and as you say, Liu Bei's own character works against them.

Dong Zhou wrote:3) A workable plan, safe with the only risk being time and other powers, should do the job but it would take a long long time. I suspect he offered it as three sounds better then two


Indeed, and the swifter the defeat, the easier it is to maintain stability, Pang Tong knew this which is why it was labeled the worst of the three plans.

Dong Zhou wrote:I'm also not a plan of the "capture the visiting Liu Zhang" plan, it would have turned the people against Liu Bei and again destroyed his reputation, Liu Bei would end up fighting anyway and without the support of the common people that he had so carefully cultivated.


As I said before, Liu Bei already had supporters in the capital, and pacifying the people would have been an easy task given the reputation that he had already gained. He could have killed Liu Zhang, let the two opposing factions in Chengdu fight each other and then sweep in to clean up the rest. It was a plan that would remove his rival, weaken resistance against him, and gravitate the people's resolve for peace, which he could provide them as ruler. You have to remember that the people who's favor he cultivated, already supported him and were already following him, and viewed him as sovereign. He had nothing to lose and everything to gain by doing it.
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Unread postby Dong Zhou » Mon Sep 24, 2007 8:41 pm

Zhang Song was the only supporter I can recall in the capital, who are the others? and what rivalry between Cao Zhen/Cao Rui and Sima Yi?

Wei dealt with two attacks many a time, Man Chong was more then capable in the south as were the other defenders, Quan was always up against it there. As for Kongming being able to secure the supply problems, not even Fei Yi or Jiang Wan managed, as good as Zhuge Liang is, Hanzhong is far more of a problem then even he could manage with perfect success.

Liu Zhang would deserve his heavy defeat if he marches out but all he has to do is send out messengers and wait for help to arrive. Even when things were worse, nobody threw open the gates so why would they when things are less certain?

Remember, a reputation is hard to gain but easy to lose, Yuan Shao never recovered for executing two highly admired scholars, there was one guy who Liu Bei executed and then struggled to hire after that so if he is seen as backstabbing people who come in peace, his reputation as a nice guy goes out the window. At the point in time, Liu Bei had yet to cultivate support I thought?
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Unread postby Long » Mon Sep 24, 2007 9:39 pm

Dong, you need to reread the passages again, because Liu Bei had begun a PR campaign prior to even making it to Shu, and it sounds like you may have either misread, or overlooked a few things...

ZZTJ wrote:Liu Zhang ordered preparations throughout his territory to welcome Liu Bei,
and Liu Bei entered the borders as if he was returning to his own home.28
As he passed by, he received tremendous presents, amounting to hundreds
of millions of cash.


The people were eagerly awaiting Liu Bei's arrival in Shu, and showered him with gifts. They wanted him to come...

ZZTJ wrote:Liu Zhang then returned to Chengdu and Liu Bei went north to
Jiameng.31 Before he departed for the campaign against Zhang Lu, however,
he acted with generosity and grace to win the hearts of the people.


Before Liu Bei had even struck a single blow against Liu Zhang, he had won the hearts of the people.
He also had the assistance of the clever Fa Zheng, who had access to the capital along with Zhang Song. Now combine that all with a population who loves and supports you, and you can see now why Pang Tong's first plan would have been best, and why it was so damn good.

As for the Cao's, the whole succession issue pit brothers against each other, and the entire Cao family didn't really trust Sima Yi, I believe.

As for Wu, all Kongming would need is for them to make a pretense of an attack to draw much attention away from the north, and the combination of Jiang Wei and Pang Tong, would just prove too much for Sima Yi. If there was a way to win, Shiyuan would have found it.
Supplies were plentiful at the onset of Kongming's northern expeditions, and without the holdups that Kongming encountered and Shiyuan wouldn't, they would have plenty for expedition. I don't believe for a moment that Shiyuan would have been held up for near as long as Kongming was, as Shiyuan seemed to favor the fastest most effective methods for success.
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