What should Yuan Shao have done?

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What should Yuan Shao have done?

Unread postby Strategist » Mon Feb 18, 2013 10:48 am

A self-explanatory title. Discussing the history here, as in the novel it's frigging obvious (attack Cao Cao from behind when he's attacking Xuzhou).
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Re: What should Yuan Shao have done?

Unread postby Jordan » Mon Feb 18, 2013 1:37 pm

It's hard to say. An obvious answer would be that he should have protected his supplies better when he actually did opt to engage Cao Cao. A less obvious answer is that he shouldn't have fought Cao Cao to begin with, which some of his advisers actually did urge him to consider doing. Perhaps he should have stalled Cao Cao out more and sought out the defections of key Cao Cao officers before going balls deep. Maybe he shouldn't have had Qu Yi killed, as although Qu Yi had been pretty arrogant, he was pretty blatantly Yuan Shao's most competent officer.
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Re: What should Yuan Shao have done?

Unread postby Korin » Mon Feb 18, 2013 3:21 pm

Who besides Tian Feng didn't want Yuan Shao to go to battle? I can't recall anybody else. Guo Tu? Xu You obviously wanted battle, but did he really historically?
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Re: What should Yuan Shao have done?

Unread postby DragonAtma » Mon Feb 18, 2013 4:34 pm

To my knowledge, just Tian Feng originally said now; Ju Shou did, however, agree with Tian Feng in asking him to attack Cao Cao while he was occupied. Furthermore, Ju Shou said to not put Yan Liang in charge. and privately realized that they would not win (but didn't necessarily realzie they'd be crushed to the extent they were). After Yan Liang and Wen Chou were dead, then Ju Shou belatedly asked Yuan Shao to delay (and to cancel the actual battle of Guandu), but to no avail.

So it looks like Ju Shou was the second smartest of Yuan Shao's advisors (of the ones that remained, anyway; Guo Jia and Xun Yu both served Yuan Shao briefly, only to find him wanting and leave for Cao Cao).

And speaking of Yuan Shao's mistakes, don't forget Yuan Shao's decision to reject the emperor (he should have sought to protect him with open arms) and his decision to place Chunyu Qiong, Yan Liang, and Wen Chou at high ranks despite all three being overrated. Yuan Shao could have also listened to Tian Feng and Ju Shou more; by the later years, Ju Shou and Tian Feng may as well have talked to a wall.
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Re: What should Yuan Shao have done?

Unread postby Korin » Mon Feb 18, 2013 5:02 pm

So it was Tian Feng, Ju Shou vs Guo Tu, Xu You? Anybody else?

Like

Tian Feng and Ju Shou wanted the battle not to happen since it would destroy Yuan Shao obviously. Tian Feng I think he wanted to just delay the battle for several months until Yuan Shao had several hundred thousand troops ready and food/supplies. What about Ju Shou? Would attacking Cao Cao when he was occupied?--change anything--maybe Yuan Shao and his forces would still be around and Chibi never happened, but was it also destiny that Yuan was supposed to fall? Tian Feng said stuff abou this--like it was destined to happen and nobody could stop it.

was Xu You was out for himself historically? like he never cared about Yuan Shao. correct or wrong?

Also what was Guo Tu's opinion?


along with any other adviser Shao had?
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Re: What should Yuan Shao have done?

Unread postby AxeLordGerardo » Mon Feb 18, 2013 6:29 pm

I will take a pass here, because I am a fan of Yuan Shao and my opinion could be somehow distorted.
Cao Cao - Liu Bei - Sun Jian - Yuan Shao
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Re: What should Yuan Shao have done?

Unread postby capnnerefir » Wed Feb 20, 2013 11:28 pm

Jordan wrote: Maybe he shouldn't have had Qu Yi killed, as although Qu Yi had been pretty arrogant, he was pretty blatantly Yuan Shao's most competent officer.


Is that what happened to Qu Yi? I was never sure where he got off to. I always wondered why he was never mentioned as fighting against Cao Cao. I suppose I should have expected that's what happened.

Jordan wrote:A less obvious answer is that he shouldn't have fought Cao Cao to begin with, which some of his advisers actually did urge him to consider doing.


Some of his advisers also urged him to attack Cao Cao numerous times in earlier years, when Cao Cao was weaker and distracted by a plethora of other enemies (Zhang Xiu, Lu Bu, Liu Bei, etc.). I know he technically had to focus on Gongsun Zan up until 199 or so, but when did Gongsun withdraw to Yijing? I was under the impression that he was squatting there for years. Given Yuan Shao's support from the Wuhuan, you'd think he could leave some people behind to make sure Gongsun Zan didn't try leaving Yijing while the bulk of Yuan's army engaged Cao Cao somewhere.

I seem to recall that, when Liu Bei rebelled in Xu province, some of Yuan's advisers (Ju Shou comes to mind) suggested attacking Cao Cao while he was distracted by Liu Bei. Since Gongsun Zan was finally dealt with by that point, and he was allied with the Wuhuan, Yuan Shao had no enemies to then north. If he was going to attack Cao Cao, that would have been the best time.

Granted, he mobilized his army very shortly after Cao Cao defeated Liu Bei, so maybe that was his plan and things just didn't get going fast enough. In which case, he really should have invested in better logistics and communications officers. *shrug*

If Yuan Shao had taken advantage of Cao Cao's situation early on, before Cao could focus all of his resources on fighting Yuan, Shao-pal would have had a good chance of beating him. Even if he couldn't manage to finish Cao Cao off completely, he could have nabbed a big chunk of his land an possibly gotten his mitts on the emperor.
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Re: What should Yuan Shao have done?

Unread postby Strategist » Fri Mar 01, 2013 2:40 am

Once Cao Cao had retaken Xu province, perhaps Yuan Shao should have sat defensive, allied with Sun Ce and Liu Biao, and waited for an opportunity? Combined with sending Liu Bei to aid Liu Biao on purpose with his followers, this might have worked.
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Re: What should Yuan Shao have done?

Unread postby DragonAtma » Fri Mar 01, 2013 5:31 am

Once Cao Cao retook Xu, it was too late for Yuan Shao to attack; Yuan Shao's best move is to form an alliance with Liu Biao, Sun Quan, or both. Given the hostility between Liu Biao and Sun Quan, though, it may have remained a stalemate for years.

...okay, that's Yuan Shao's second-best move; Yuan Shao's best move is to make sure Yuan Tan and Yuan Shang don't act like idiots after he's gone.

This may have been Liu Biao's intended strategy (Warring States 2.0), but there were two main flaws: Yuan Tan vs Yuan Shang and Liu Qi vs Liu Cong. If both of them were settled non-catastrophically, things would have been stable for a while (although Liu Zhang dying and Liu Xun succeeding him may change things...).
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Re: What should Yuan Shao have done?

Unread postby capnnerefir » Fri Mar 01, 2013 8:38 pm

An alliance between Yuan Shao and Sun Ce/Quan seems unlikely. Even ignoring the Liu Biao factor, the Suns had an unpleasant history with Yuan Shao. When Sun Jian was attacking Dong Zhuo, Yuan Shao attacked Sun Jian's base in Yangcheng. Then there was the time Sun Ce spent serving Yuan Shu, during which Yuan Shao was a declared enemy (though I don't believe they actually fought). And around the time of his death, Yuan Shu attempted to pass his imperial title to Yuan Shao, who appears to have been willing to accept it, since he sent Yuan Tan to pick up Yuan Shu. Since assuming such a title was the biggest thing that drove Sun Ce away from Yuan Shu, it seems unlikely he'd still support Yuan Shao

DragonAtma wrote:...okay, that's Yuan Shao's second-best move; Yuan Shao's best move is to make sure Yuan Tan and Yuan Shang don't act like idiots after he's gone.

From what I understand, most of this can be blamed on Shen Pei. Maybe Yuan Shao should have killed him instead of, say, Tian Feng or Qu Yi.
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