Wu Yi and Wu Ban Biographies [ZZTJ Compilations]

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Re: Wu Yi and Wu Ban Biographies [ZZTJ Compilations]

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Tue Mar 03, 2015 3:01 pm

Xiahou Ren wrote:You've raised a very interesting argument that I've failed to realize for years, Zhou.

I understand why Guandu, Yijing, Chibi, Fancheng, Jieting, and most other disastrous battle. Except for Yiling.
It's just said that "Lu Xun used fire attacks". I don't remember ever read something that states "Liu Bei set up his camp at a horrendous place" or "700 li is too scattered and hard to organize". Zhuge Liang freaked out when he saw Bei's strategy blueprint, Cao Pi thought it was terrible; surely Bei did something wrong.

Still, Liu Bei managed to hold his position on that spot for 8 months, so both statements kind of contradict each other.
It probably had something to do with the weather and season change perhaps? I don't know. Liu Bei defeat on Yiling is weird, since Liu Bei is actually quite adept on making strategic decision by himself.

Again, maybe Zhuge Liang's and Cao Pi's assessments are simply fictional.


I believe Pi's comments are in ZTJ but there is a pinch of salt to be taken with that one.

Lu Xun decided to sit, he knew Sun Huan could hold the key point and waited. Liu Bei did as expected, he set up camp and waited, moving it during the summer heat. Quite simply, Liu Bei's men were out there for quite some time without much going on and just seem to have grown relaxed and sloppy. They weren't ready for a sudden attack so when hit by Zhu Ran's attack and the fire, they were cuaght out and it turned into a route.
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Re: Wu Yi and Wu Ban Biographies [ZZTJ Compilations]

Unread postby Shen Ai » Tue Mar 03, 2015 5:11 pm

Zafar Khan wrote:
Shen Ai wrote:Wu Ban seems to be the only impressive general Liu Bei took with him to Yiling. No wonder Lu Xun was so successful, his competition wasn't exactly great...


I agree despite of hype the campaign of Yiling was not really great feat.

Fending off Cao Pi's invasion in 222 were more impressive to me

Some of Wei's best stocks was present as the name of Cao Xiu, Zhang Liao, Zang Ba, Xu Huang, Zhang He, Wen Pin, Cao Ren, & Cao Xiu involved.


I wouldn't even call that very impressive either. Wei won a majority of the battles there. Xiahou Shang and Cao Xiu and Zhang Liao all won success early on against Lu Fan and Zhuge Jin. Wen Pin and Zang Ba as well. Illness, bad weather, and the death of several commanders culled their chances. Cao Ren even won early success, but plague effecting his men forced him to stay back and send his son to face Zhu Huan instead.

Not to say that Wu didn't have a great defensive strategy. I mean, they got bested in almost all open confrontations, but they did very well defensively. I just wouldn't say locking the doors and waiting for the enemy to pull away because they caught some nasty infections was too praiseworthy.
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Re: Wu Yi and Wu Ban Biographies [ZZTJ Compilations]

Unread postby Zafar Khan » Thu Mar 05, 2015 6:40 pm

agree there's many non technical factor which hindered Wei's victory.

just comparing the personnel quality between Liu Bei's invasion with Cao Pi's invasion
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Re: Wu Yi and Wu Ban Biographies [ZZTJ Compilations]

Unread postby LiuBeiwasGreat » Fri Mar 06, 2015 4:03 am

Zafar Khan wrote:agree there's many non technical factor which hindered Wei's victory.

just comparing the personnel quality between Liu Bei's invasion with Cao Pi's invasion


Well both started out strong then fell apart, main difference is that when Liu Beis' fell apart it caused a massive defeat which crippled the kingdom forever while Cao Pi's defeat was a minor one which was easily recovered from :P
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Re: Wu Yi and Wu Ban Biographies [ZZTJ Compilations]

Unread postby PyroMystic » Fri Dec 11, 2015 9:07 am

capnnerefir wrote:Liu Bei sent Wu Ban along with Feng Xi to attack Sun Quan’s camps in Wu and Zigui counties. His army was reportedly 40,000 strong.


Okay. So, when ZZTJ said 'HE', whom does it refer to'? Wu Ban or Liu Bei? Whose army mas reportedly 40,000 strong? Only Wu Ban's or the total Shu army?

I always thought it was weird for Liu Bei to only lead 40,000 while hoping to regain Jingzhou, let alone kill Sun Quan. Also, it's weird to think that Liu Bei only brought 40,000 while the casualties is over 80,000, as recorded in Liu Ye's SGZ Bio ("權將陸議大敗劉備,殺其兵八萬餘人,備僅以身免。權外禮愈卑,而內行不順,果如曄言").

I've read someone stated "40,000 was possibly refering to the vanguard only. It was funny that Sun Quan wanted to be a vassal state of Wei if Liu Bei's invasion only involved a meagre 40,000 troops." I actually agree with this statement. Wu Ban, may or may not be a vanguard lead only an army of 40,000. Liu Bei lead another army (which possibly bigger in number), not counting the reinforcement from tribe forced.

Also, someone said that Shu troops is about 70,000 to 100,000. I also once read (I forget where) that Shu's army in total is about 220,000 - 250,000. So Wu is still outnumbered, after all?

Wikipedia (I know it's not an untrusted source, but still) says that Liu Bei's army is about 40,000, and I find it weird that just bellow that number, there's this line "Casualties and losses (Shu) over 80,000"
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Re: Wu Yi and Wu Ban Biographies [ZZTJ Compilations]

Unread postby TigerTally » Fri Dec 11, 2015 11:01 am

Lu Xun's biography in SGZ tells that the the vanguards led by Wu Ban amounted to several thousands only. I do agree that 40,000+ is not necessarily the whole Shu army though.

Also, do keep in mind that ZZTJ is based on SGZ and other sources (and it is written in Chinese, so no "HE" in the original texts "漢主遣將軍吳班、馮習攻破權將李異、劉阿等於巫,進軍秭歸,兵四萬餘人"). The Book of Wei compiled by Wang Chen 王沈 (?-266) reported that Sun Quan had submitted a memorial to Cao Pi to ask for reinforcement, and it mentioned that 40,000+ was the amount of Liu Bei's henchmen (zhidang 支黨). This is probably where the 40,000+ figure comes from.

The 200,000+ figure should have been referring to all army of Shu instead of just those being put at the frontline with Wu. Soldiers were still needed to prevent invasion of Wei, to suppress southwestern barbarians, for routine patrol within the state, ... etc.
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Re: Wu Yi and Wu Ban Biographies [ZZTJ Compilations]

Unread postby PyroMystic » Fri Dec 11, 2015 3:45 pm

TigerTally wrote:Lu Xun's biography in SGZ tells that the the vanguards led by Wu Ban amounted to several thousands only. I do agree that 40,000+ is not necessarily the whole Shu army though.

Also, do keep in mind that ZZTJ is based on SGZ and other sources (and it is written in Chinese, so no "HE" in the original texts "漢主遣將軍吳班、馮習攻破權將李異、劉阿等於巫,進軍秭歸,兵四萬餘人"). The Book of Wei compiled by Wang Chen 王沈 (?-266) reported that Sun Quan had submitted a memorial to Cao Pi to ask for reinforcement, and it mentioned that 40,000+ was the amount of Liu Bei's henchmen (zhidang 支黨). This is probably where the 40,000+ figure comes from.

The 200,000+ figure should have been referring to all army of Shu instead of just those being put at the frontline with Wu. Soldiers were still needed to prevent invasion of Wei, to suppress southwestern barbarians, for routine patrol within the state, ... etc.


Thanks. But really, if ZZTJ is based on SGZ, why does it says 40,000 instead of 80,000 (as stated in Liu Ye's SGZ)? I think Shu's army must be more than 80,000 since 80,000 is the casualties (though it's hard to believe that someone like Lu Xun could kill 80,000 people just in one single war).

Also, did Wu Ban REALLY lead the vanguard? Because I find no such information from Lu Xun's bio. "Liu Bei first sent Wu Ban (吳班) to command some thousands of men to set up camps on the plains and challenge the enemy to fight." It says that Liu Bei sent Wu Ban first to challenge the enemy, but doesn't mention Wu Ban being the vanguard (except if 'first' actually has the same meaning as being a vanguard).

Also, in Lu Xun's bio: "In the first year of Huangwu (AD 222), Liu Bei (劉備) led a large army to the western borders." And just after that sentence, it continues with "Sun Quan appointed Lu Xun as Chief Controller (大都督) and gave him the authority and power of the army, with Zhu Ran (朱然), Pan Zhang (潘璋), Song Qian (宋謙), Han Dang (韓當), Xu Sheng (徐盛), Xianyu Dan (鮮于丹), Sun Huan (孫桓) and some other fifty thousand men under his command to repel the attackers." Isn't it weird? IF Liu Bei's army was only 40,000-50,000, or maybe 60,000, then why it says Liu Bei 'led a large army' while Sun Quan actually send 50,000 army? Liu Bei's army wasn't that large if that was the case. But I think Wu army must be outnumbered at least 1:2 (so that it's qualified to be called 'large army'), and more than 80,000 (the number of casualties).

(At some point, though, I still think it's more than 100,000. Supposing 220,000-250,000 was all army of Shu, then I think Liu Bei bringing 100,000 with him isn't a big deal. Excluding the tribe force, he actually didn't bring that much. But it was a huge blow to Shu that people often said that defeat sealed Shu's fate entirely. But that's just a speculation)

Another thing: Why did LGZ say the army is about 750,000. I know he was exaggerating. But still, LGS is a Shuist and a huge Liu Bei fanboy. So why did he try to make Wu (and Lu Xun who defeated Liu Bei) looked good by exaggerating the number? Could it be that even if it's not THAT big (750,000), Shu's army was actually quite MASSIVE it would send chill to anyone trying to defend Wu?

Again, just a speculation.
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Re: Wu Yi and Wu Ban Biographies [ZZTJ Compilations]

Unread postby TigerTally » Fri Dec 11, 2015 5:26 pm

The 80,000+ figure is not directly from Liu Ye's biography, but from Fuzi 傅子 by Fu Xuan 傳玄 (217-278). The latter is quoted by Pei Songzhi in his commentary to SGZ.

As for the reason why ZZTJ doesn't adopt the 80,000+ figure, I think the reason is rather simple. Sima Guang and his colleagues lived in an age without internet and computer. They had to check their sources page by page. And they didn't even have an index to SGZ. It is completely understandable for them to neglect Liu Ye's biography to find records about the Battle of Xiaoting.

For the account in Lu Xun's biography, sending a general "[first] to command some thousands of men ... and challenge the enemy to fight" pretty much matches the role of vanguards to me. There can be different definitions of course.

The novel exaggerate the number of soldiers in many battles. Whether LGZ is a Shuist or not doesn't really matter. They are just for drama IMO.

By the way, you may want to consider the possibility that any figure in the historical accounts could already be exaggerated. Wu might not really have killed 80,000+ Shu soldiers. Lu Xun might count their own casualties into those of Shu to make it look like Wu's complete victory. Alternatively, Shu might have just sent 40+k army and claimed them to be 80+k. Who knows? Everything is speculation until we have a time machine :P

And please allow me to reiterate myself :pika:

I do agree that 40,000+ is not necessarily the whole Shu army though.
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Re: Wu Yi and Wu Ban Biographies [ZZTJ Compilations]

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Fri Dec 11, 2015 7:44 pm

PyroMystic wrote:Another thing: Why did LGZ say the army is about 750,000. I know he was exaggerating. But still, LGS is a Shuist and a huge Liu Bei fanboy. So why did he try to make Wu (and Lu Xun who defeated Liu Bei) looked good by exaggerating the number? Could it be that even if it's not THAT big (750,000), Shu's army was actually quite MASSIVE it would send chill to anyone trying to defend Wu?


Hi PyroMystic.

Narrative and drama mostly. LGZ may have been writing for Shu to be the good guys, to be favoured and an inspiration with a less competent Liu Bei as the moral heart but he was also writing a story, big sounding armies catch the attention more. Yiling is a big big battle in terms of narrative importance, it is the last big battle of Liu Bei and Cao Cao's generation before it turns to Sima Yi vs Zhuge Liang, it is the last of the Fan castle/Jing cycle, time to fade out some of the old guard and bring in some of the new.

LGZ also needed for it to be a bigger defeat for Shu then it was for his Liu Bei narrative. Liu Bei's rise had been due to his virtue, his emotions, his brotherhood, his listening to advice (since the novel Liu Bei becomes a blithering incompetent as soon as advisers turns up). His fall comes, in the novel, from his bond and emotions turning to poison causing him to lose his virtue and reject advice. His fall cripples Shu with an epic defeat that ceoms from losing all that made him good.
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