Xu Sheng: An Equal of Zhou Tai and Gan Ning?

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Xu Sheng: An Equal of Zhou Tai and Gan Ning?

Unread postby the glorious sun jian » Fri Jul 24, 2009 2:02 pm

Just like the other topic speaking about Zhao Yun and how he is to be compared with Zhang Fei and the overrated Guan Yu , I made this topic about Xu Sheng one of the most talented general from Wu .

As far as I can read in his SGZ , he is the ""always save the day general "" . He was outnumbered in alot of battles , yet he was able to win alot .His strategy to throw away the Wei forces by building the fake wall was a total surprise form a general who was used to be regarded as a supporting general more than an overall commander .

So , would you consider him an A or B general .

Read his SGZ bio , http://kongming.net/novel/sgz/xusheng.php

And yeah I want this to be purly historical thread .
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Re: Xu Sheng , an equal of Zhou Tai and Gan Ning ?

Unread postby Elitemsh » Fri Jul 24, 2009 3:37 pm

Lol nice topic. Though you should have named it ‘Xu Sheng, equal of Zhou Tai and Gan Ning’, in other words without the ‘an’ so that way it would be more similar to mine.

I think that Xu Sheng was a good general (though he seems more of a warrior type) and clearly brave, but was certainly not amongst the elite of Wu. There is nothing that special on his record. It doesn’t impress that much. His performances are the mark of a brave and capable warrior but not that of an A list general. As a general I would say he was certainly superior to Zhou Tai but not as good as Gan Ning.

Gan Ning had the biggest military victories of the three. He played a crucial role in taking Wan and his raid on Cao Cao’s forces which had attacked from Ruxu was very impressive. He was an excellent vanguard general although that was all he was. The best type of generals for me were those who had many different abilities and could be used for multiple tasks. Ning was not one of those but he was still top class as far as vanguard generals go. He can be compared to Guan Yu, Huang Zhong, Xiahou Yuan etc. They all excelled in this kind of role, though they could do little else.

Xu Sheng’s achievements don’t match up to Gan Ning’s as far as generalship goes. Zhou Tai’s don’t come close in this field. As for who was the best warrior, that is a hard one. I think that Zhou Tai was probably the bravest but I don’t think his skill as a warrior was as good as the other two. He was more about superb courage. Xu Sheng may have been a better warrior than Gan Ning but Ning was better at leading men.

Overall I think that Xu Sheng was around equal to Gan Ning and superior to Zhou Tai as a warrior but as generals I think that Xu Sheng was better than Zhou Tai but below Gan Ning. In terms of courage I think Zhou Tai was the best then the other two equal.
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Re: Xu Sheng , an equal of Zhou Tai and Gan Ning ?

Unread postby the glorious sun jian » Sat Jul 25, 2009 4:37 pm

The situations Xu Sheng was put in tested his leadership more than his talents as a warrior .To be hit in a typhon and then to be outnumbered greatly needs a general who has a good leadership , a general whoes men are ready to die for him .Thats why Xu Sheng will always be a better commander than Gan Ning for me .

Then , you have got the whole battle against Cao Pi and how Sheng was able to drive him back without even a fight .

An A class general for me , Third only to Lu Meng and Lu Xun .
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Re: Xu Sheng , an equal of Zhou Tai and Gan Ning ?

Unread postby Cao Chao » Thu Jul 30, 2009 1:07 am

The primary issue with the three is that none of them really came off as a great commander capable of leading massive armies and coordinating campaigns.

Zhou Tai, I would trust more as a bodyguard than as a commander.

Re-reading Xu Sheng's SGZ bio, it seems that he comes across as a capable and brave commander. But there is little that would rate Xu Sheng as capable of commanding a really large army. The victory at Guangling in Xuzhou was more a result of a brilliant stratagem than of his skill commanding an army.

Of the three, I would rate Gan Ning the highest. With the gift of gab, he was able to outmaneuver Zhang Zhao when he was first introduced to Sun Quan, setting forth a plan that defeated Huang Zu and enabled Wu to seize Jiangling. The 100-man raid that he led against Cao Cao's encampments shows his bravery.
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Re: Xu Sheng , an equal of Zhou Tai and Gan Ning ?

Unread postby Sang » Thu Aug 20, 2009 8:39 pm

Elitemsh wrote:Gan Ning had the biggest military victories of the three. He played a crucial role in taking Wan and his raid on Cao Cao’s forces which had attacked from Ruxu was very impressive. He was an excellent vanguard general although that was all he was. The best type of generals for me were those who had many different abilities and could be used for multiple tasks. Ning was not one of those but he was still top class as far as vanguard generals go. He can be compared to Guan Yu, Huang Zhong, Xiahou Yuan etc. They all excelled in this kind of role, though they could do little else.


If you say that Gan Ning can be compared to this Guan Yu. Care to explain to me about the quote below?

Lady Wu wrote:After that, Gan Ning followed Lu Su to guard Yiyang and to defend against Guan Yu. Yu claimed to have 30,000 men; and, selecting 5,000 elite troops, he went to the shallows about 10 li upriver from the prefecture, ready to ford the river at night. Lu Su held council with his officers. At that time Ning had 300 men, and he said, “You could give me an additional 500 men, and I’ll go to confront Guan Yu. I guarantee that once Guan Yu hears me coming, he would not dare to ford the river. He could only ford the river if I am captured first.” At that Lu Su selected an additional 1,000 men for Ning, and Ning departed at night. When Guan Yu heard of this, he stopped his advance, and instead of fording the river he made camp there.
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Re: Xu Sheng , an equal of Zhou Tai and Gan Ning ?

Unread postby Elitemsh » Fri Aug 21, 2009 10:42 am

Sang wrote:
Elitemsh wrote:Gan Ning had the biggest military victories of the three. He played a crucial role in taking Wan and his raid on Cao Cao’s forces which had attacked from Ruxu was very impressive. He was an excellent vanguard general although that was all he was. The best type of generals for me were those who had many different abilities and could be used for multiple tasks. Ning was not one of those but he was still top class as far as vanguard generals go. He can be compared to Guan Yu, Huang Zhong, Xiahou Yuan etc. They all excelled in this kind of role, though they could do little else.


If you say that Gan Ning can be compared to this Guan Yu. Care to explain to me about the quote below?

Lady Wu wrote:After that, Gan Ning followed Lu Su to guard Yiyang and to defend against Guan Yu. Yu claimed to have 30,000 men; and, selecting 5,000 elite troops, he went to the shallows about 10 li upriver from the prefecture, ready to ford the river at night. Lu Su held council with his officers. At that time Ning had 300 men, and he said, “You could give me an additional 500 men, and I’ll go to confront Guan Yu. I guarantee that once Guan Yu hears me coming, he would not dare to ford the river. He could only ford the river if I am captured first.” At that Lu Su selected an additional 1,000 men for Ning, and Ning departed at night. When Guan Yu heard of this, he stopped his advance, and instead of fording the river he made camp there.


I assume by giving this quote you are sticking up for Gan Ning and against Guan Yu. I assume that you are implying that this quote would prove that Gan Ning was superior.

Guan Yu was not afraid of Gan Ning. He was understandably concerned. He knew that Gan Ning was an agressive general. The art of war mentions how you should never fight with your backs to a river. If Guan Yu crossed the river then Gan Ning would have attacked when Guan had crossed and Guan Yu's troops would have been figthing with their backs to a river. A big disadvantage. Guan Yu took the right course of action here. It was not fear of Gan Ning but rather the smart move to take. The Wu biograhphy of course being biased is trying to imply that Guan Yu was scared but do not be fooled. Guan Y had a lot of flaws but he certainly wasn't a coward.
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Re: Xu Sheng , an equal of Zhou Tai and Gan Ning ?

Unread postby Sang » Fri Aug 21, 2009 1:56 pm

Elitemsh wrote:I assume by giving this quote you are sticking up for Gan Ning and against Guan Yu. I assume that you are implying that this quote would prove that Gan Ning was superior.


You are right. I am sticking up for Gan Ning and I am against this Guan Yu. I have no idea where you coming up with this “assuming” that I was trying to prove Gan Ning was superior. O_o

Elitemsh wrote:Guan Yu was not afraid of Gan Ning. He was understandably concerned. He knew that Gan Ning was an agressive general. The art of war mentions how you should never fight with your backs to a river. If Guan Yu crossed the river then Gan Ning would have attacked when Guan had crossed and Guan Yu's troops would have been figthing with their backs to a river. A big disadvantage. Guan Yu took the right course of action here. It was not fear of Gan Ning but rather the smart move to take. The Wu biograhphy of course being biased is trying to imply that Guan Yu was scared but do not be fooled. Guan Y had a lot of flaws but he certainly wasn't a coward.


Nah, I don't agree when you said “Guan Yu was not afraid of Gan Ning.” According to that translation from Lady Wu, which show clearly that this Guan Yu was afraid of Gan Ning. The funny part is that, Guan Yu claimed to have 30,000 men; and, then he selected 5,000 elite troops to go with him to the upriver. Gan Ning at that time has 300 men and he requested Lu Su give him an additional 500 men. Instead, Lu Su gave Gan Ning 1,000 additional men. So say Gan Ning at that time has the total of 1,300 men? And this Guan Yu has 5,000 men Vs 1,300 men? Anyway, what you trying to tell me that Guan Yu wasn't afraid and that he had the big “disadvantage”? Guan Yu “disadvantage” of what? He has more men than Gan Ning. I'm quite confused to your logic. Also, according to the translation it said he was ready to crossed the river at night but when he heard Gan Ning came he stopped. Even though this Guan Yu had a HUGE numbers of men than Gan Ning and still refused to crossed the river. To me this is not a smart move but rather it is more like a coward act. This Guan Yu never showed that he is brave in any way. If we reverse this and put Gan Ning as an attacker, I am certain he can wipe this Guan Yu and his 5,000 so called “elite troops” out.
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Re: Xu Sheng , an equal of Zhou Tai and Gan Ning ?

Unread postby the glorious sun jian » Sat Aug 22, 2009 1:30 pm

Elitemsh wrote:
Sang wrote:
Elitemsh wrote:I assume by giving this quote you are sticking up for Gan Ning and against Guan Yu. I assume that you are implying that this quote would prove that Gan Ning was superior.

Guan Yu was not afraid of Gan Ning. He was understandably concerned. He knew that Gan Ning was an agressive general. The art of war mentions how you should never fight with your backs to a river. If Guan Yu crossed the river then Gan Ning would have attacked when Guan had crossed and Guan Yu's troops would have been figthing with their backs to a river. A big disadvantage. Guan Yu took the right course of action here. It was not fear of Gan Ning but rather the smart move to take. The Wu biograhphy of course being biased is trying to imply that Guan Yu was scared but do not be fooled. Guan Y had a lot of flaws but he certainly wasn't a coward.


I will take it the other way around .Instead of saying Guan was smart , I will say Gan was even smarter to halt the later advance using the river .It is Gan Ning who was smarter .

Also , I won't say that Yu was scared of Ning (even though it is possible ) , but you have to agree that Ning action forced Guan to stop advancing .
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Re: Xu Sheng , an equal of Zhou Tai and Gan Ning ?

Unread postby Elitemsh » Sun Aug 23, 2009 10:45 am

Sang wrote:Nah, I don't agree when you said “Guan Yu was not afraid of Gan Ning.” According to that translation from Lady Wu, which show clearly that this Guan Yu was afraid of Gan Ning. The funny part is that, Guan Yu claimed to have 30,000 men; and, then he selected 5,000 elite troops to go with him to the upriver. Gan Ning at that time has 300 men and he requested Lu Su give him an additional 500 men. Instead, Lu Su gave Gan Ning 1,000 additional men. So say Gan Ning at that time has the total of 1,300 men? And this Guan Yu has 5,000 men Vs 1,300 men? Anyway, what you trying to tell me that Guan Yu wasn't afraid and that he had the big “disadvantage”? Guan Yu “disadvantage” of what? He has more men than Gan Ning. I'm quite confused to your logic. Also, according to the translation it said he was ready to crossed the river at night but when he heard Gan Ning came he stopped. Even though this Guan Yu had a HUGE numbers of men than Gan Ning and still refused to crossed the river. To me this is not a smart move but rather it is more like a coward act. This Guan Yu never showed that he is brave in any way. If we reverse this and put Gan Ning as an attacker, I am certain he can wipe this Guan Yu and his 5,000 so called “elite troops” out.


With all due respect you are not thinking about the practicalities of the situation. You are merely looking at the numbers and concluding that Guan Yu had a lot more men and therefore he must have been afraid of Gan Ning. War doesn’t work this way. The terrain always plays an important part and you’re not considering that at all. Do you think all 5000 of Guan Yu’s troops would have crossed the river at once? Only the vanguard would have crossed the river first (only couple hundred at the most). How shallow was the river? Was there a step before reaching the other side? Would Guan Yu’s troops have to use their hands to pull themselves up to land on the other side? Can you answer any of these questions? If not then how can you assume that Guan Yu was afraid of Gan Ning when there are so many other possible explanations.

The way I see it, it isn’t very wise to say so confidently that Guan Yu was afraid of Gan Ning. Guan Yu knew that Gan Ning was a very aggressive general and eager to fight. He would have attacked Guan Yu’s troops as soon as they had crossed the river or maybe whilst they were still in the water and Guan Yu’s men would have been fighting either with their legs in water (an obvious disadvantage considering their movement would have impaired in water) or with their backs to a river (a disadvantage because they would have distracted and concerned they may fall in). Gan Ning’s troops had many possible advantages whilst Guan Yu’s troops had many possible disadvantages. The opposite cannot be said.

Guan Yu did show he was brave when he charged Yan Liang’s army and also managed to take surgery on his arm without complaining about the pain at all. I do not like Guan Yu and I certainly do not rate him highly but I wouldn’t doubt that he had courage.

the glorious sun jian wrote:I will take it the other way around .Instead of saying Guan was smart , I will say Gan was even smarter to halt the later advance using the river .It is Gan Ning who was smarter .

Also , I won't say that Yu was scared of Ning (even though it is possible ) , but you have to agree that Ning action forced Guan to stop advancing .


Gan Ning’s actions may have been smarter. He did correctly predict that Guan Yu would not have crossed the river with him at the other side. It is a matter of opinion though and I am not going to say that one is smarter than the other.

Gan Ning’s actions did indeed stop Guan Yu from advancing but personally I think that any general with an aggressive reputation would have been able to do the same (such as Lu Meng).

I am not so sure why I am engaging in this debate because I can’t stand either Gan Ning or Guan Yu. Gan Ning was a brutal killer and Guan Yu was ridiculously arrogant. I would say that Gan Ning had more success militarily.
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Re: Xu Sheng , an equal of Zhou Tai and Gan Ning ?

Unread postby tofu » Sun Aug 23, 2009 11:03 am

Since when did this become a "Guan Yu vs. Gan Ning" thread?
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