Why Zhuge liang's Shu couldnt succeed in Northern conquest?

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Re: Why Zhuge liang's Shu couldnt succeed in Northern conque

Unread postby Taishi Ci 2.0 » Sun Oct 01, 2017 4:33 am

From the ZZTJ, in 263 (as it appears in Achilles Fang's Chronicles of the Three Kingdoms):

8. In the ninth month (October 20-November 17), Zhong Hui had the General of the Front, Li Fu, lead ten thousand men and besiege Wang Han at Luocheng, and had the Army-Protector Xun Kai besiege Zhang Bin at Hancheng. On his westward march, Zhong Hui came to the Yang'an pass; from there he sent a man to offer sacrifices to the tomb of Zhuge Liang.
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Re: Why Zhuge liang's Shu couldnt succeed in Northern conque

Unread postby To Establish Peace » Mon Oct 02, 2017 1:42 am

Sun Fin wrote:
Shao Shanshu wrote:Also, could Shu survive if prime minister Zhuge and his successor hadn't exhausted its resources in so many fruitless expeditions? Was it possible just to lock the mountain passes properly to make the kingdom impenetrable for Sima and his generals?


My understanding is that Zhuge Liang's campaigns were well spaced out and weren't draining on the economy. In fact by keeping pressure on Wei they probably prevented themselves from attack. The best form of defence is attack and all that. It was only under Jiang Wei where the campaigns became constant and he let the civil side fall under the sway of Huang Huo that it become a major issue.

I've read others argue that if Wei Yan's Hanzhong plan had been left in place Shu was pretty much unconquerable. The problem was Jiang Wei knew that Wei wouldn't face his army in a pitched battle when he was invading. So he tried to lure Wei deeper in to Shu, past his defences so he could ambush them and launch a crushing victory rather than repel them rather bloodlessly. Therefore he hoped Wei would leave themselves open to a counter attack. Clearly this didn't work out well for him.


Basically Jiang Wei wanted another Xing Shi which inflicted really terrible damage to the local Wei forces, the problem is that you can't always have Cao Shuang as your opponent. Pretty much EVERY post Xiao Ting option was bad for Shu, it's arguable whether a permanent defensive stance was the least bad option because a Huang Hao type is virtually inevitable (that's just how politics goes, Shu had a really nice run of luck with Zhuge Liang > Jiang Wan > Fei Yi > Dong Yun, though granted it's a run of bad luck needing 4 great chief ministers in a row) and your defensive strategy is FUBAR once your state is whittled down. Also Shu is fundamentally and ideologically dedicated to the destruction of Wei - the whole REASON for the Shu-Han state existing is that they are the rightful claimants to the throne, and a claim you don't press might as well not exist.

With that said, maybe they could have made something out of Xing Shi if the Jiang Wan/Fei Yi/Dong Yun trimuverate had gone ALL in on taking the North while the Wei state was staggered by the loss.
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Re: Why Zhuge liang's Shu couldnt succeed in Northern conque

Unread postby greencactaur » Mon Oct 02, 2017 11:18 pm

Taishi Ci 2.0 wrote:From the ZZTJ, in 263 (as it appears in Achilles Fang's Chronicles of the Three Kingdoms):

8. In the ninth month (October 20-November 17), Zhong Hui had the General of the Front, Li Fu, lead ten thousand men and besiege Wang Han at Luocheng, and had the Army-Protector Xun Kai besiege Zhang Bin at Hancheng. On his westward march, Zhong Hui came to the Yang'an pass; from there he sent a man to offer sacrifices to the tomb of Zhuge Liang.



Interesting. Did Zhong Hui do that as a way to show respect to a beloved figure? Was it maybe to pacify any potential people who were fearful of him, and make it seem like "oh maybe he cares because he's keeping our temples safe." Was it just etiquette?
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Re: Why Zhuge liang's Shu couldnt succeed in Northern conque

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Tue Oct 03, 2017 12:18 pm

Not aware of any reason recorded. Could be simply a sign of respect from Zhong Hui but would certainly imagine it was a way of winning support from Yi natives by showing respect for a popular Shu figure
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Re: Why Zhuge liang's Shu couldnt succeed in Northern conque

Unread postby Zhilong » Wed Oct 04, 2017 4:25 am

Shao Shanshu wrote:Well, I've read an opinion by a real Zhuge Liang hater who claims he absolutely botched all of his campaigns by poor planning and his less than mediocre military skills, which lead to unnecessary death of many thousands of Shu soldiers and (if I remember correct) left the economy strained.

Not that I am on the same page with that person, but the opinion is that the image of Zhuge Liang as an adored, benevolent and skilful statesman was promoted and stayed due to popular ignorance and state propaganda.


SGZ records towards ZL's governance is quite favourable. He was meticulous, strict but fair. The affection for him by the people of Shu was apparent after his death. They made offerings to him and mourned him. It was said their affection for him actually increased because during his lifetime they didn't know any different but once he passed they realized the contrast between him and his successors.

Various figures in the other kingdoms are recorded as praising him. Contrast those with the opinions of the Shu court's dark ages in the latter years.
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Re: Why Zhuge liang's Shu couldnt succeed in Northern conque

Unread postby Han » Mon Oct 09, 2017 6:48 pm

To add to the discussion:


The reason why Zhuge Liang always had logistics issues was not because he was a poor planner but because of geographical issues.

The areas of Sichuan are linked tightly by gallery roads. Even today these gallery roads are still in use.

Therefore, if you study Chinese history, you will know that everytime an army tries to invade or enbark from that area will ALWAYS face logistics concerns.

Fun fact: Sichuan was the Base of operations for the Kuomintang during WW2.

The reason why many believe that ZGL Long Zhong Plan will work is because of the fact that Jing Zhou eliminate these concerns.

Firstly, the Jing Province of Liu and Sun is base south of the Yangtze River. This means that theoritically speaking, it allows anyone who controls that are to launch a multi-prong attack on Cao Wei.( by land and sea)

Secondly, unlike the hazardous geography of BaShu, JingChu is well connected by land which will allow easy transport of supplies compared to BaShu.

Finally, the LongZhong plan specifies that if one launches direct assaults on ChangAn, Luoyang and XuChang through Bashu and JingChu, it will cause Cao Wei to crumble.

This is of course up for debate.
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Re: Why Zhuge liang's Shu couldnt succeed in Northern conque

Unread postby DragonAtma » Mon Oct 09, 2017 10:08 pm

Remember, Wei had four times as many people and competent leadership. Yes, Zhuge Liang did a great job, but so did Sima Yi. Wei was not like Yuan Shao's force, where most of the competent people were gone by 201.
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Re: Why Zhuge liang's Shu couldnt succeed in Northern conque

Unread postby Shao Shanshu » Tue Oct 10, 2017 10:28 am

Han wrote:Fun fact: Sichuan was the Base of operations for the Kuomintang during WW2.

That speaks in favour of a defensive strategy rather than an offensive one.
Maybe with lots of espionage performed to undermine the political regime of Wei, which would inevitably collapse due to the power struggle between the clans of Cao/Xiahou and Sima.
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Re: Why Zhuge liang's Shu couldnt succeed in Northern conque

Unread postby Fornadan » Tue Oct 10, 2017 10:46 am

More importantly for the time period is that Liu Bang had conquered Guanzhong from an initial territorial base of Ba, Shu and Hanzhong, and everyone of note at the time would have known that. He did however not have to face a united opposition
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Re: Why Zhuge liang's Shu couldnt succeed in Northern conque

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Tue Oct 10, 2017 3:07 pm

Shao Shanshu wrote:
Han wrote:Fun fact: Sichuan was the Base of operations for the Kuomintang during WW2.

That speaks in favour of a defensive strategy rather than an offensive one.
Maybe with lots of espionage performed to undermine the political regime of Wei, which would inevitably collapse due to the power struggle between the clans of Cao/Xiahou and Sima.


But that sort of thing didn't really go on during the3kingdoms era. Yuan Shu once or twice had leaders assassinated, Wei did of Kebining, mostly as elaborate as they got was "I'm a border general who wants to defect" fake defection so I'm not sure there was the capability to do that sort of espionage.

DragonAtma wrote:Yes, Zhuge Liang did a great job, but so did Sima Yi.


Not so sure about Sima Yi doing a great job during the NC

Han wrote:The areas of Sichuan are linked tightly by gallery roads. Even today these gallery roads are still in use.


I remember photos of the Hanzhong roads on 3kingdoms.net and basically if you ever get asked to do logsticsts for that area, ask for an easier job. Like creating flying pigs :wink:

I'll always question the idea that having Jing would have led to near automatic Shu victory but it would given them a lot more of a chance then they had without it
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