Crouching Phoenix, Hidden Dragon: A Shu-Han Victory Timeline

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Re: Crouching Phoenix, Hidden Dragon: A Shu-Han Victory Time

Unread postby Fornadan » Tue Dec 23, 2014 3:43 pm

If Liu Bei had won, his state would almost certainly never have become known as Shu or Shu-Han, it'd just be called Han :wink:
Translations from the Book of Jin: http://bookofjin.tumblr.com/index
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Re: Crouching Phoenix, Hidden Dragon: A Shu-Han Victory Time

Unread postby To Establish Peace » Sat Jun 24, 2017 1:38 am

Rip I lost my password to this account so this story got sidetracked, I have a few new segments, rate and review as usual:

Triumph In the North: The Battle of the Wu Zhang Plains

Sima Yi at this point in time was a key figure in Wei political life. Having been personally recruited by Cao Cao, he had become a key advisor to both Cao Cao and Cao Pi, the latter of whom he shared a deep friendship and trust with. Furthermore, he was instrumental in backing Cao Pi over Cao Zhi for the succession to Cao Cao’s title of King of Wei, paving the way for Cao Pi to depose the Han Dynasty. While initially he defended against Pang Tong in Jing while Cao Zhen defended in the west, Zhen’s death forced the current Wei emperor, Cao Rui, to move Sima Yi west to guard against a potential Shu march on the western capital. Sima Yi quickly moved to shore up defenses in the modern day Li County area. The transition from Zhen to Yi, however, created chaos in operational command, and the Wei vanguard tasked to defend instead attacked Zhuge Liang’s position and were badly defeated. This permitted Zhuge Liang to position himself at the strategic point of Shanggui, which was a critical supply hub for both armies. After foraging for the nearby grain, Liang then moved to a nearby fortress, Lucheng, while garrisoning the nearby mountains and taking control of the river.
With Wei morale plummeting, Sima Yi was facing mutiny. Wei officers urged the marshal to attack Zhuge Liang’s well defended position. However, Sima Yi initially refused, knowing what happened to Lu Xun in a similar situation almost a decade ago. Sima Yi held his ground as long as he could, but eventually, the criticism and accusations of cowardice grew to be too much. He launched an attack on Zhuge Liang in Lucheng despite being slightly weaker in numbers, and the result was a debacle. Sima Yi lost over 5,000 troops, as well as large amounts of weaponry and armor.
With the victory at Qishan, Sima Yi’s army was in dire straits. Thousands of men and material was lost, Sima Yi was humiliated, and his army was in disarray. However, Sima Yi was able through frantic effort to set up a final defensive line just across the Wei River for a last stand. At the same time, supply interruptions due to poor weather (which General of Agile Cavalry Li Yan was temporarily demoted for) forced Zhuge Liang into refraining from attacking the briefly disorganized Wei army, however, their control over Longyou had allowed them to stock up enough supplies to prevent a hasty and possibly disastrous retreat. Nevertheless, they were unable to pursue Sima Yi any further. A stalemate ensued, with Zhuge Liang and Sima Yi staring each other down at the Wu Zhang Plains.
Zhuge Liang made multiple attempts to draw Sima Yi out to battle, similar to the battle of Qi. However, nothing worked. Insults and boasts didn’t work (Liang went so far as to send Sima Yi women’s clothing with one of his insults) and while once again there was pressure on Sima Yi to attack, he stood his ground, even going so far as to make a show of asking Cao Rui to attack, only for the Wei Emperor to decline.
Zhuge Liang, feeling that this would be his last, best chance to achieve a decisive victory in the north, began intensifying his workload, eating less and working more . However, this was, at least in part, a grand ruse, setting the stage to potentially break the stalemate once and for all. After a few months of this workload, an envoy was sent to Wei, which among other things, took to reporting Zhuge Liang’s eating habits. This drew Sima Yi to the conclusion that Zhuge Liang would die soon of illness, overwork and stress.
With Zhuge Liang seemingly on his deathbed, a general retreat under cover of darkness was ordered, with the rearguard being led by Jiang Wei and Wei Yan. Sima Yi took this as a signal to mean that Zhuge Liang had passed on, and ordered an all-out pursuit to potentially break the Shu army once and for all. The pursuit went on for several days, with Sima Yi committing more and more forces to the pursuit, believing that there was no danger. However, the Shu army suddenly came to a stop just as the Wei army reached them and turned to fight. At the head of the main force was Sima Yi’s arch-rival, Zhuge Liang, in the flesh. The sight of the man who was thought dead shocked and horrified the Wei army, throwing them into disarray, and the Shu army cut through this army like butter. Sima Yi himself barely escaped with his life while the Wei army took truly horrendous losses, with almost 25,000 dead out of an initial force of 200,000 and more injured or captured. Among the dead was veteran Wei general Zhang He, who was ambushed during the pursuit and shot in the leg by archers. In a cruel twist of irony, Zhang He had advised against the pursuit, with the maxim “never pursue a retreating army”. Sima Yi had ignored him.
With their final defensive position at Wuzhangyuan destroyed, it quickly became clear that Changan was indefensible against the advancing Shu army. While Cao Rui wanted to make a final stand inside the city, Wei general Guo Huai pointed out that while Shu could not take the city in open battle, they could surround and starve the city out. Furthermore, Man Chong was barely holding on at Fancheng against Pang Tong, who had committed 100,000 troops to the capture of Fan Castle, and Wu had only recently retreated from their supporting attack on He Fei and the surrounding area. Guo Huai and his subordinate, Deng Ai, advised a general retreat to Luoyang. And thus, Changan fell to Shu Han. Shu advance forces led by Wei Yan attempted to catch up with the retreating Wei forces, and even got close enough to see the Wei rearguard, but they drew back on orders from Zhuge Liang. Despite this, the victory at Wuzhangyuan placed Shu in control of almost the entirety of Western China, the banner of the Han stretching from Liangzhou in the west to Jiang Ling in the east.
Meanwhile, Wei had little time to lick their wounds. Cao Rui, realizing that his state was in imminent danger, rushed every available soldier from the west to the battle at Nanyang, while once again contemplating moving the capital north of the Yellow River, as his great grandfather Cao Cao did. However, while Pang Tong’s assault put a great deal of pressure on the defenses, the local defense force of 65,000 quickly swelled to nearly 300,000 (150,000 in the actual fight, and nearly 150,000 in reserve). It quickly became apparent that there was no more need to press the issue – the attack had done its job in giving enough space for Zhuge Liang to conquer the north.
Meanwhile at the Wei court, Sima Yi and his entourage straggled in, to the open jeers of the courtiers. As one might imagine, the Marshal was humiliated and mortified, especially given the manner he had lost – not only losing a major Wei city and one of Wei’s great generals, but the manner in which Sima Yi fled from the Shu army and the “ghostly” Zhuge Liang was a subject of laughter at the court (and indeed, the joke “A living Zhongda flees from a dead Kongming” is a common expression, especially in Sichuan Province, to denote both foolishness and cowardice even today). While Cao Rui strongly contemplated executing Sima Yi, in the end, Sima Yi was stripped of all titles and rank and banished from the court, albeit with a sizeable pension due to his past services and his support of Cao Pi’s ascension to the throne. While his sons eventually became relatively prominent scholar-gentry in the last days of Cao-Wei, Sima Yi was wholly disgraced and eventually died in 240.
With the capture of Changan, Liangzhou, and Shaanxi, along with Yizhou and Western Jingzhou, Shu-Han had secured close to 50% of China’s land area. They also controlled roughly 32% of China’s population as well, which allowed the Shu-Wu alliance to outmatch Cao-Wei in terms of resources. However, it was far too soon for a decisive battle with Wei. Meanwhile, Wei shored up its defenses to the south and west, and while there were constant border skirmishes both with Wu and Shu, there was no concerted push on either side. Despite Shu-Han rolling from victory to victory from 217 to 235, they were still individually weaker than Wei, and dependent on Wu to shore up the balance. Wu was still a formidable power in the east, who had successfully stalemated Wei along the He Fei/Ru Xu battle line and was rapidly developing its frontier regions under the leadership of Sun Quan, Prime Minister Gui Yong, and Marshal Lu Xun. This led to a roughly 15 year consolidation period in which all three kingdoms focused on internal affairs and security.
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