Wen Chou and Yan Liang , any extra info ?

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Re: Wen Chou and Yan Liang , any extra info ?

Unread postby Aaron.K » Sat Nov 24, 2012 8:48 am

Dong Zhou wrote:I think Yan Liang is a tad unfortunate, historical or novel, he was caught utterly unawares though presumably there was some sort of gap in his lines to allow him to be so easily reached.


Thing is, with that many troops around, it's even more amazing for Guan Yu to return with his head. Especially knowing the fact that Guan Dao's didn't exist as weapons at this period in history, there's no way that Guan Yu could have cut off Yan Liang's head while on horseback (and even if he did have a Guan Dao, that would be a pretty difficult feat nonetheless). But if Yan Liang was on foot or horseback, Guan Yu clearly impaled him with his spear and would have had to get off his horse to cut his head off (and also be completely vulnerable in that instance. All it would take would be a spear in his back while he's trying to hack Yan Liang's head off.

I find it quite hard to believe that nobody in the 10,000 army that Yan Liang lead, made any attempt at all to prevent Guan Yu from returning to Cao Cao's lines. Or for that matter, not just one person, but even a group of them. Even with conscripted forces, there is always a high percentage of people who are going to try to be heroes, and the interesting thing is that this usually ends up influencing those who have a follower mentality "Hey that guy is charging that man over there, let's go help him!" I've seen it happen in my own military service.
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Re: Wen Chou and Yan Liang , any extra info ?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Sat Nov 24, 2012 9:13 am

Maybe the Yan Liang troops were in such a state of surprise at the sudden appearance of the Wei army, then in a state of shock and panic when their commander quickly died that they fell apart?
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Re: Wen Chou and Yan Liang , any extra info ?

Unread postby Elitemsh » Sat Nov 24, 2012 11:02 am

Dong Zhou wrote:Maybe the Yan Liang troops were in such a state of surprise at the sudden appearance of the Wei army, then in a state of shock and panic when their commander quickly died that they fell apart?


To back up Aaron K I would add the following:

As Rafe says, every commander tended to have his own personal loyal guard that would enter every fight with him. Surely Guan Yu would have had to have gotten through these guys first. Not everyone is simply going to panic upon the attack of an enemy army. They must be at least some experienced warriors in Yan Liang's ranks.

The line that 'none withstand him' implies to me that a fair number tried. Otherwise if Yan Liang's army simply panicked from the attack and his ranks scattered then it seems more apt to say something like 'Guan Yu's attack threw the enemy's lines into disarray. In the confusion, Guan Yu located Yan Liang and killed him'. I'm pretty certain I borrowed words from someone else's SGZ though but can't recall which. Anyhow, why would the records say that no one could withstand Guan Yu if few if even bothered trying?

Aaron.K wrote:Thing is, with that many troops around, it's even more amazing for Guan Yu to return with his head. Especially knowing the fact that Guan Dao's didn't exist as weapons at this period in history, there's no way that Guan Yu could have cut off Yan Liang's head while on horseback (and even if he did have a Guan Dao, that would be a pretty difficult feat nonetheless). But if Yan Liang was on foot or horseback, Guan Yu clearly impaled him with his spear and would have had to get off his horse to cut his head off (and also be completely vulnerable in that instance. All it would take would be a spear in his back while he's trying to hack Yan Liang's head off.


Didn’t halberds exist back then? Couldn’t you cut someone’s head off with the battleaxe part of this weapon whilst on horseback? Regardless I like the thought you’ve put into this. The problem is though that Guan Yu wasn’t likely alone at the time when he was killing Yan Liang. He attacked with Zhang Liao and others. Some of them would have been with him at the time. They may have covered him while he decapitated Yan Liang.

Aaron.K wrote:I find it quite hard to believe that nobody in the 10,000 army that Yan Liang lead, made any attempt at all to prevent Guan Yu from returning to Cao Cao's lines. Or for that matter, not just one person, but even a group of them. Even with conscripted forces, there is always a high percentage of people who are going to try to be heroes, and the interesting thing is that this usually ends up influencing those who have a follower mentality "Hey that guy is charging that man over there, let's go help him!" I've seen it happen in my own military service.


This I do agree with. A decent portion of these soldiers would have had battle experience. Some may be veterans, i.e Yan Liang's personal followers. They are not simply going to flee, absent of orders. I do believe that Guan Yu was challenged by many but managed to beat a number personally hence the relevance of that line I talked about above.
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Re: Wen Chou and Yan Liang , any extra info ?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Sat Nov 24, 2012 11:20 am

I more meant why a more effective fight or comeback wasn't put up rather then Guan Yu didn't slay his way through. I agree with what you posted Elitemsh
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Re: Wen Chou and Yan Liang , any extra info ?

Unread postby Shen Ai » Sat Nov 24, 2012 11:49 pm

I'm not sure if the traditional halberd that we all know know was used back then. When I picture the soldiers back then I usually think of them as holding either swords and spears, or bows and arrows. You don't hear too much about other forms of weaponry.
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Re: Wen Chou and Yan Liang , any extra info ?

Unread postby Crazedmongoose » Mon Nov 26, 2012 3:09 am

When we talk about Wen Chou, it's probably good to remember that back in those days you generally CAN'T refrain your troops from looting. Very few units were so well disciplined that they wouldn't start looting in that situation. Heck, there's been so many times where I've read battles where one army's one flank collapsed to enemy cavalry, and you'd think that'd be the end of said army as all the enemy has to do is wheel the cavalry around to attack your rear, but instead what happens? God damn cavalry just runs off to the camps/supply trains and starts looting.

Happened at Gaugamela where the Macedonian wings collapsed and the Persians just overran them straight into the enemy camps. If the Persians had any of their many commanders on the flanks who could control their cavalry Alexander would have lost right then and there. Almost happened at Zama where the Roman cavalry (or rather, Numidians) beat Hannibal's flanks and then just kept on going in the frenzy. By the time they came back Hannibal had almost broken the Roman's centre.
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Re: Wen Chou and Yan Liang , any extra info ?

Unread postby Tigger of Kai » Mon Nov 26, 2012 5:17 am

Great post, crazed! And just today I was reading about Killiecrankie, where the victorious Jacobite forces could have trapped and taken the remaining enemy if they hadn't been too busy looting.
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Re: Wen Chou and Yan Liang , any extra info ?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Mon Nov 26, 2012 12:23 pm

I was thinking Prince Rupert of the Rhine during the English civil war. It maybe harsh on Wen Chou when other commanders have been unable to control their men but he doesn't have other victories to off-set it.
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Re: Wen Chou and Yan Liang , any extra info ?

Unread postby Crazedmongoose » Mon Nov 26, 2012 12:47 pm

Oh and one thing to add...we think about the quality of troops available to late Han era warlords....I'm willing to be a lot of them has to subsidise their livelihood on looting, since being taken off the land means generally you're not farming.

I mean generally when troops didn't loot you heard it as a great exception, ie. some of Cao Cao's units, Sun Ce's etc. Whenever I read those I just assume that they were the exceptions that proves the rules.
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Re: Wen Chou and Yan Liang , any extra info ?

Unread postby Sun Fin » Fri Nov 30, 2012 6:31 pm

My reading of Yan Liang and Wen Chou was that they were solid captains, great at performing tasks on the battlefield and leading smaller groups of men, that got promoted to far.
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