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

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

Unread postby the hidden dragon » Sat Nov 27, 2010 5:22 am

It was like they are sending 300,000 soldiers from Han Zhong to attack the Wei . Why they cant succeed?

They can first take the Xi Liang (西凉)天水,武威,and consolidate their strong hold there before marching down chang an.

or Shu already got (西凉)天水,武威?

or alternatively, they can capture 上庸before marching to the central plain.

correct me if i am not correct.

=) let's discuss.
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Re: Why Zhuge liang's Shu couldnt succeed in Northern conquest?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Sat Nov 27, 2010 9:53 am

Well historically they only managed 100,000 at maximum and Zhuge Liang only used that twice I belive, someone will correct me if I'm wrong.

Anyway, several reasons why Zhuge Liang and, bar a military genius taking charge, most would have struggled to surpass his record of taking two towns, killing two generals and keeping casualties to a minimum. Ones to come to mind as making it extremely difficult from the outset

1) Defence is easier then attack. Particularly once the first NC failed and Wei prepared itself properly.

2) Shu is one province plus Hanzhong vs a far far larger Wei. The defenders could easily bring in larger armies then Shu could dream of, easily supply their men, had local knowledge, had the advantage of time and simply needed capable men like Cao Zhen, Hao Zhao, Zhang He to perform well

3) Wei's position was such that when Sima Yi was floundering, all he has to do is turtle and Shu loses.

4) Hanzhong. A defensive strong point but the roads play havoc with the supply lines

5) Wei used capable men rather idiots and had the able Cao Rui on the throne, so whatever Zhuge Liang tried was going to have difficulty.
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Re: Why Zhuge liang's Shu couldnt succeed in Northern conquest?

Unread postby Elitemsh » Sat Nov 27, 2010 11:48 am

Just to add to what Dong Zhou said. This may be an obvious point but Shu had far less talent than Wei due to their territory being so much smaller. It didn't help that one of their best assets and most senior general died after the first northern campaign and perhaps was too ill to take part in the second? I think Zhao Yun was still alive then but was dying. Who did Shu have after that? Wang Ping was good (maybe very good?) i believe but who else? Wei Yan was very flawed and i don't consider him to be of the same calibre. Shu could never replace the likes of Zhang Fei or Zhao Yun IMO and that hampered their chances further.
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Re: Why Zhuge liang's Shu couldnt succeed in Northern conquest?

Unread postby Gray Riders » Sat Nov 27, 2010 1:53 pm

In fact, with all the factors Dong Zhou and Elitemsh stated, one could ask; how could Zhuge Liang's Shu succeed in the northern conquest?

Elitemsh wrote:Wang Ping was good (maybe very good?)

I'd probably say he was even a great general, really. He held off Zhang He's attack, helped lower how much damage they took at Jieting with his orderly retreat and fake ambush (and also knew the proper way to handle it) and played a large role in Wei's disastrous defeat at Xingshi.

But it wasn't enough. Wei had a massive troop advantage and plenty of their own great generals. Even if Zhang Fei and the others were alive I doubt it would work because the first failed even with Zhao Yun still alive and Wei apparently less prepared.
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Re: Why Zhuge liang's Shu couldnt succeed in Northern conquest?

Unread postby the hidden dragon » Sat Nov 27, 2010 2:58 pm

Well, i do not think a few individual can make any different to SHu's fate. Esp they are stucked in Yi Zhou. And during the northern expeditions, they do have many good general as equate the wei.

Maybe they shld really focus on recapturing Jing Zhou from Wu instead. But i guess it all boiled down to the wrong timing and destiny. its fated that ulitmately, WEi or rather Qin will over run all of them bah.

even Shu got 3 Zhuge Liang, they might still lose...and fall... :mrgreen:
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Re: Why Zhuge liang's Shu couldnt succeed in Northern conquest?

Unread postby Elitemsh » Sat Nov 27, 2010 3:09 pm

Gray Riders wrote:But it wasn't enough. Wei had a massive troop advantage and plenty of their own great generals. Even if Zhang Fei and the others were alive I doubt it would work because the first failed even with Zhao Yun still alive and Wei apparently less prepared.


Well to be fair, the first campaign may have only failed because of one man's idiocy, Ma Su.

If Zhang Fei was still alive i think it would have made a difference in the first campaign. IMO, Shu would likely have gained Chang'an. I also think that Zhao Yun could have succeeded where Ma Su failed had he been given that assignment but he was needed as the decoy since no one else in Shu had his experience of being so badly outnumbered and yet coming out on top.

What i want to know is even if Shu had succeeded and gained Chang'an could they have held onto it and what difference would that have made in the war? Correct me if i am wrong but I would have thought that the supply issues would still be prevalent even if Zhuge Liang gained Chang'an.
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Re: Why Zhuge liang's Shu couldnt succeed in Northern conquest?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Sat Nov 27, 2010 4:51 pm

To the generals of Shu, might add Li Yan, Chen Shou and Jiang Wei as men of talent but the first could never be used, Chen Shou was capable but not great and Jiang Wei was years away from getting command.

the hidden dragon wrote:Well, i do not think a few individual can make any different to SHu's fate. Esp they are stucked in Yi Zhou. And during the northern expeditions, they do have many good general as equate the wei.

Maybe they shld really focus on recapturing Jing Zhou from Wu instead. But i guess it all boiled down to the wrong timing and destiny. its fated that ulitmately, WEi or rather Qin will over run all of them bah.



I would agree with Elitemsh that once Zhao Yun dies, their only very good or better general is Wang Ping. Wei can have Sima Yi giving a dreadful performance but can still call upon men like Guo Huai, Cao Zhen and Zhang He without resorting to Cao Rui taking the field himself, Wei simply outmatches Shu's officer core at this point in time.

If they fight Wu for Jing, a much more powerful Wu, then Shu ends up in two front war it can not afford and risks facing a double invasion. I don't think Wei's success should be put down to fate, a lot of people deserve a lot of credit for the way it expanded and was able to survive it's political chaos without Wu or Shu making inroads

Elitemsh wrote:Well to be fair, the first campaign may have only failed because of one man's idiocy, Ma Su.

If Zhang Fei was still alive i think it would have made a difference in the first campaign. IMO, Shu would likely have gained Chang'an. I also think that Zhao Yun could have succeeded where Ma Su failed had he been given that assignment but he was needed as the decoy since no one else in Shu had his experience of being so badly outnumbered and yet coming out on top.

What i want to know is even if Shu had succeeded and gained Chang'an could they have held onto it and what difference would that have made in the war? Correct me if i am wrong but I would have thought that the supply issues would still be prevalent even if Zhuge Liang gained Chang'an.


I think even had they won at Jie Ting and the other place rather then lost both, it is still a long way from Chang An and Cao Rui might have taken personal command of the defence. What it might have allowed Shu to do is keep hold of their gains and expand a bit more. Probably even those gains wouldn't have greatly changed the odds in Shu's favour
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Re: Why Zhuge liang's Shu couldnt succeed in Northern conquest?

Unread postby Gray Riders » Sat Nov 27, 2010 7:06 pm

Elitemsh wrote:What i want to know is even if Shu had succeeded and gained Chang'an could they have held onto it and what difference would that have made in the war? Correct me if i am wrong but I would have thought that the supply issues would still be prevalent even if Zhuge Liang gained Chang'an.

Well, with Chang An they should be able to take control of Wei's territory west of the city to provide supplies to the army, similar to Zhuge Liang's attempt to make farm colonies during the last northern campaign. Perhaps just as important--or more--is they'd have a well defended staging ground to stockpile supplies at before campaigning instead of having to transport them through the difficult terrain while the army is already deployed. I imagine Chang An, considering it's location between the capital region and the frontier, was probably very well fortified which could be put to Shu's advantage if they capture it.

Dong Zhou wrote:If they fight Wu for Jing, a much more powerful Wu, then Shu ends up in two front war it can not afford and risks facing a double invasion. I don't think Wei's success should be put down to fate, a lot of people deserve a lot of credit for the way it expanded and was able to survive it's political chaos without Wu or Shu making inroads

Definitely agree that attacking Jing by the time of the northern campaigns was futile. Liu Bei had tried it with a presumably larger army and lost pretty badly, and with Shu's army even weaker it was very unlikely to meet any success.
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Re: Why Zhuge liang's Shu couldnt succeed in Northern conquest?

Unread postby Hyper90 » Mon Nov 29, 2010 1:36 pm

correct, it has some significant difference if shu had chang an. the city is huge and coulda store more troops and supplies than hanzhong.
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Re: Why Zhuge liang's Shu couldnt succeed in Northern conquest?

Unread postby Elitemsh » Mon Nov 29, 2010 2:46 pm

I think we can all agree that during the first campaign Shu winning at Xie Gorge was never gonna happen. They were too badly outmatched there but what i am curious about is if Ma Su had obeyed Zhuge Liang's strategic advice would they have even won at Jieting? After all the enemy was Zhang He and even if Ma Su had set up camp in a more intelligent place isn't it more than possible than Zhang He would still have held them back?
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