Deng Ai vs Zhuge Liang

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Deng Ai vs Zhuge Liang

Unread postby Striga » Tue Jan 03, 2012 5:09 pm

From http://the-scholars.com/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=2941
SlickSlicer wrote:I don't know about the novel.

Historically Wei seemingly could have trampled over Shu-Han "at any point," but despite the manpower disparity, Wei was unable to make any real gains in either Cao Zhen's or Cao Shuang's campaigns against Shu-Han. The latter featured an army that massively outnumbered Shu-Han as well. The terrain was treacherous enough to make it difficult.

Even the final push against Shu, which did result in Shu-Han's capitulation, wasn't a guaranteed success. Wei had some supply problems and although they were mostly successful, they ran into spots of resistance. Zhong Hui was unable to successfully budge Jiang Wei. Had Liu Shan indeed fled to the South of his territory from Chengdu, the barbarians there might have revolted against his rule, but on the other hand, Wei would have struggled with keeping up supplies. Jiang Wei was still at large and could have potentially been hazardous to a sustained campaign by Wei. Wu was a factor as well. They were eying Yizhou seeking to fill whatever power vacuum might arise. Shu-Han wasn't at the limits of its strength when it surrendered, but Deng Ai approaching Chengdu was a psychological blow.


So therefore, they needed a general capable of using the terrain to their own advantage, and Deng Ai was the first one to effectively do that. Had he appeared in Wei's ranks during Zhuge Liang's time, what do you think would have happened? Would he have executed one large expedition and crushed Zhuge Liang?
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Re: Deng Ai vs Zhuge Liang

Unread postby Gray Riders » Tue Jan 03, 2012 6:36 pm

I doubt it; the Shu Deng Ai destroyed was weakened from the corruption and waste that wasn't as present in Zhuge Liang's time. Combine this with a more competent military force compared to later, and any attempt to destroy Shu was probably going to fail.
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Re: Deng Ai vs Zhuge Liang

Unread postby Jordan » Tue Jan 03, 2012 8:35 pm

I doubt it as well, and Deng Ai himself was cautious. In fact, I think he was even initially against the campaign that did end up crushing Shu. I don't think bad commanders was the main problem with invading Shu from Wei's perspective. It was a combination of:

-The difficulty of contending with Wu, the Xianbei AND Shu.
-Treacherous terrain.
-The big one: Logistics. Even during the final push, Wei struggled with this. Shu struggled equally with supplies when it came down to invading Wei as well.

Recklessness would have only played into Shu-Han's favor, or at least would have failed to accomplish anything. It was partly reckless adventurism (Jiang Wei) that crippled Shu to begin with.
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Re: Deng Ai vs Zhuge Liang

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Thu Jan 05, 2012 11:14 am

Any attack on Hanzhong during Zhuge Liang's time would have failed unless Deng Ai invented gun-warfare. As long as Shu remained competent and didn't suffer awful bad luck (like Zhang Wei and the fog), Hanzhong could be held. Deng Ai's brilliance during the taking of Shu was after Hanzhong fell, it was Zhuge Xu that shone for Wei but even with Zhuge Xu's decoy efforts, Shu being weak and having 3 armies, Wei needed things to go their way.
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Re: Deng Ai vs Zhuge Liang

Unread postby Striga » Thu Jan 05, 2012 5:10 pm

Was Hanzhong that defensible? What would happen if an army marched through Hanzhong during the winter and surprised Zhuge Liang by being in Yizhou before he was prepared? Would that have been possible, and why weren't any battles fought in winter?
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Re: Deng Ai vs Zhuge Liang

Unread postby Gray Riders » Thu Jan 05, 2012 5:35 pm

To give an idea how defensible Hanzhong is; when Cao Cao attacked Zhang Lu, he had tons of trouble even with all of Wei behind him and was going to retreat after losing lots of troops and supplies in the first attack. If I recall correctly he only won because some of his troops got lost in the dark and ended up startling the enemy army and getting them to flee. :lol:
Now imagine instead of Zhang Lu, it is protected by Wei Yan with the strength of all of Yi behind him.

I doubt Zhuge Liang left Hanzhong defenseless in winter, and attacking in Winter means the attackers get to sit in the freezing temperature with the defenders in their fortifications, while the snow makes transporting supplies even harder.
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Re: Deng Ai vs Zhuge Liang

Unread postby Striga » Thu Jan 05, 2012 5:45 pm

Right, forgot about the supply transportation. If Hanzhong was left undefended, then the troops could simply take from the fortresses along the way. If Cao Cao had taken Hanzhong earlier, why did he let Liu Bei take it from him if it was going to be so hard to take back? Was it a one way only? Easy to attack from Yi, but harder from the north?
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Re: Deng Ai vs Zhuge Liang

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Thu Jan 05, 2012 5:49 pm

Why would anyone leave Hanzhong undefended?

Cao felt his troops, after a year long camapign, were exhausted and rejected the urging of Liu Ye and Sima Yi to press into Yi. He may have been worried about being away from the capital to long. I think the question rather should be why it took Cao Cao so long to reinforce Xiahou Yuan and co when Liu Bei attacked
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Re: Deng Ai vs Zhuge Liang

Unread postby Jordan » Thu Jan 05, 2012 8:16 pm

why did he let Liu Bei take it from him if it was going to be so hard to take back?


Liu Bei had to fight for it first, you know.
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Re: Deng Ai vs Zhuge Liang

Unread postby Striga » Thu Jan 05, 2012 9:39 pm

Yes, I know Liu Bei had to fight for it, but Cao Cao had a much larger and secure force. If he had backed up Xiahou Yuan just a bit, they could have kept Hanzhong.
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