Did Cao Cao have the strength to defeat a united Yuan front?

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Re: Did Cao Cao have the strength to defeat a united Yuan front?

Unread postby Crazedmongoose » Tue Nov 17, 2009 11:00 pm

Lu Kang wrote:I think a Yuan Shao and Yuan Shu front against Cao Cao would be pretty devastating. At this time Xuzhou is still in the hands of Tao Qian, Lu Bu is at large, and Cao Cao hasn't solidified his forces. After all, it took a 4 member alliance to effectively destroy Yuan Shu. If he was a little better organized Cao Cao would have been in some hot water.



I always wondered about Yuan Shu's strength in respect to Cao Cao and Yuan Shao at the time (they were the three big players in the north).

Because everybody talked about how great Yuan Shu is when we read about nothing worthwhile he's actually done. He must have had a considerable degree of power. You wouldn't have the guts to declare yourself emperor otherwise, even if you're as arrogant as Yuan Shu and thought you could get away with it.
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Re: Did Cao Cao have the strength to defeat a united Yuan front?

Unread postby Qu Hui » Wed Nov 18, 2009 12:25 am

Crazedmongoose wrote:I always wondered about Yuan Shu's strength in respect to Cao Cao and Yuan Shao at the time (they were the three big players in the north).

Because everybody talked about how great Yuan Shu is when we read about nothing worthwhile he's actually done. He must have had a considerable degree of power. You wouldn't have the guts to declare yourself emperor otherwise, even if you're as arrogant as Yuan Shu and thought you could get away with it.

Yuan Shu had quite a bit of military power compared to Cao Cao, and he was feared even by Dong Zhuo during his time as governor of Nanyang. He had managed to capture Nanyang, which had a population of several million, he conquered Shouchun after being defeated by Cao Cao at Fengqiu and destroyed Liu Bei at both Xuzhou and Guangling. The main reason Cao Cao called in other forces, I think, was to reduce losses to his army and instead inflict those losses on the other lords.
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Re: Did Cao Cao have the strength to defeat a united Yuan front?

Unread postby Jordan » Thu Nov 19, 2009 4:27 am

Yuan Shu had other, more local enemies in the South. That's why I'm guessing he did not really deal with Cao Cao after his initial defeats at Fengqiu and other locations. He had to establish for himself a dominant position around Shou Chun first.
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Re: Did Cao Cao have the strength to defeat a united Yuan front?

Unread postby Zappa » Sat Nov 21, 2009 11:56 am

Of, course he had the strengh.
If cao Cao could defeat the huge army all the great officers of Yuan Shao how couldnt he have the strengh to defeat a demoralized army, lead by three unexperienced man?

The fact that they fought each other made it a lot more easier, though.
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Re: Did Cao Cao have the strength to defeat a united Yuan front?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Sat Nov 21, 2009 12:43 pm

He did get forced to withdraw from facing a demorlised army lead by two inexperienced men (since Yuan Tan had experience) and took 7 years to beat them divided. So care to explain that zappa?
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Re: Did Cao Cao have the strength to defeat a united Yuan front?

Unread postby Zappa » Sat Nov 21, 2009 1:20 pm

He was forced to retreat thats right, but I think this was because Cao Caos army was exhausted after the fight at Guan Du and they had havy casulties while the Yuan still were a very resourceful family with reserve troops.

and took 7 years to beat them divided.

Yeah I know, and that is really something mysterious, since Cao Cao was superior to them.
I think this had two reasons:
1.Cao Cao didnt want to rush for them, he wanted strenghern his army.
2.Cao Cao knew he could win this with plots, but plots take some time.
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Re: Did Cao Cao have the strength to defeat a united Yuan front?

Unread postby jiang cheng » Wed Dec 23, 2009 3:05 am

The Yuan family if they had presented a unified front would have ended all the chaos and united china.

Had Yuan Shu took advantage and hit Cao Cao at the back during Guan Du. Probably we will see the end of Cao Cao.

Even if the defeat in Guan Du, Yuan Shao was still having a force that Cao Cao could only envy. Yuan Shao died cos he could not take it that his old friend Cao Cao with such a small force could defeat him. It is like I have a strength of 10 adults been badly beaten by my old friend who had the strength of 10 kids.

After the Yuan Shao's death, the Yuan Brother fought against one another before united to fight against Cao Cao to force him to withdraw from his campaign.

With the infighting taking place at that time that could have discounted their force, to force Cao Cao to abandon a direct invasion was something that could not be overlooked.

Cao Cao forces that time was no doubt strong but to defeat the Yuan would have drained them so much that even Liu Bei at that point could have thrashed his force.

Hence he would rather play smart to divide and conquer than to do direct invasion.
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Re: Did Cao Cao have the strength to defeat a united Yuan front?

Unread postby Crazedmongoose » Wed Dec 23, 2009 5:59 am

Uh...Yuan Shu was already finished by Guan Du, there's no "hitting him from the back" to speak of. Yuan Shu was finished the minute he declared himself Emperor, it's the biggest mistake of his life.
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Re: Did Cao Cao have the strength to defeat a united Yuan front?

Unread postby Zappa » Wed Dec 23, 2009 9:19 am

Yuan Shu was finished the minute he declared himself Emperor, it's the biggest mistake of his life.

Yeah, he could have commited suicide the result would have been the same :lol: .
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Re: Did Cao Cao have the strength to defeat a united Yuan front?

Unread postby Crazedmongoose » Wed Dec 23, 2009 9:49 am

Honestly you felt sorry for him by the end. He probably would have suffered less if he DID commit suicide.

But in the beginning period Yuan Shu was so powerful. I mean even the Gongsun clan was like his vassal. He technically owned or had substantial influences over the entire or large swathes of the Yu, You and Yang provinces. Having said that if he didn't declare himself emperor it's doubtful Cao Cao would have been in a worse position because Yuan Shu's demise in power mostly just ended up giving Yuan Shao a boost. (both directly in Gongsun Zan losing You and indirectly in eliminating Yuan Shao's biggest rival).
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