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 Dong Zhou » Wed May 21, 2014 1:53 pm

Qu Hui wrote:Are you talking about when Fa Zheng challenged Zhuge Liang's law reforms? That's the only instance I could find pre-Emperor that Zhuge Liang was involved with the law and Pei Sonzghi admitted that it probably didn't happen. Partly because any legal reform Zhuge made was post-Liu Bei's death, and partly because he didn't have the authority to do so in Liu Bei's lifetime. If Rafe gives further examples, could you share?


I was referring to the law work he did with Fa Zheng, Li Yan and so on, the Shu ke. As for Professor Rafe, his tome says
and after Liu Bei took over in the west in 214, he put him in charge of administration, holding Chengdu while Liu Bei was on camapign. He worked with Fa Zheng, Liu Ba, Yin Ji and Li Yan to compile the administrative code Shu Ke.


I do wonder if Pang Tong would really act as a man of caution for Guan Yu, Pang Tong seems to be a bit of a gambler in terms of tactics who doesn't see political consequences and whose strategy will either work brilliantly or potentially hammer his own side.
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Re: Crouching Phoenix, Hidden Dragon: A Shu-Han Victory Time

Unread postby To Establish Peace » Wed May 21, 2014 10:28 pm

Based on feedback, I may well have to find a new POD for this timeline or scrap it.

Essentially, the role of Pang Tong is as a plot device designed to make Guan Yu not make the mistakes in OTL that ultimately cost him Jing. If Pang Tong cannot plausibly act as said plot device, then the timeline falls apart, because Guan Yu will make his OTL mistakes, lose Jing and his head, then Xiao Ting happens and Shu is screwed. Qu Hui and Jolt provide compelling evidence that he actually cannot.

In that case, how plausible is it that Zhuge Liang becomes the viceroy of Jingzhou? Obviously you can't move people around ROTK style, so you can't just stick Fa Zheng in that role. The issue is that Guan Yu has the senority advantage. Zhang Fei could work in theory as he was apparently the best pure strategist of the 3, but the hot temper element is still there. However, it's likely going to butterfly the Northern Expeditions (my original plan was for the Northern Expeditions to go more or less as OTL, except with ZL having more resources to play with, Shu in control of Shangyong because Meng Da never defects and Liu Feng never gets killed and Shu-controlled Jing doing a better job than Wu did in tying down Wei resources). Zhao Yun? Don't think he's ever commanded this large an army but he's plausible.
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Re: Crouching Phoenix, Hidden Dragon: A Shu-Han Victory Time

Unread postby Zyzyfer » Thu May 22, 2014 1:22 am

To Establish Peace wrote:Based on feedback, I may well have to find a new POD for this timeline or scrap it.

Essentially, the role of Pang Tong is as a plot device designed to make Guan Yu not make the mistakes in OTL that ultimately cost him Jing. If Pang Tong cannot plausibly act as said plot device, then the timeline falls apart, because Guan Yu will make his OTL mistakes, lose Jing and his head, then Xiao Ting happens and Shu is screwed. Qu Hui and Jolt provide compelling evidence that he actually cannot.


That's what I was trying to say earlier, you can't change a tiger's stripes. Jing is going to happen and it's going to be messy for Shu. For your story, it may be better to consider how someone could repair things after the damage is done. Guan Yu lost his head because of a combination of factors (Meng Da/Liu Feng, Mi Fang/Fu Ren, personality traits, aggressive Lu Meng, etc.) so you might as well continue with Jing as planned and have someone step in and do damage control after the fact. It could be something as simple as Pang Tong telling Liu Feng that he will be dead within the year if he doesn't support Guan Yu, even if the effort is ultimately doomed to fail. Those reinforcements are perhaps sent too late to turn the tide of battle, but Guan Yu narrowly escapes. Or maybe someone duping Mi Fang and wresting control from him, so Guan Yu has a base to come home to.

In that case, how plausible is it that Zhuge Liang becomes the viceroy of Jingzhou?


It's not, he was needed in Yi.

...Liu Feng never gets killed...


This is another one of those "goes against character" issues. I don't think Liu Feng would have lived to see his foster brother Liu Shan sit upon the throne. It's not that Liu Feng was bad, but it just wasn't going to happen.

Zhao Yun? Don't think he's ever commanded this large an army but he's plausible.


I can see him working at damage control better than Pang Tong. But then he's not in Hanzhong, perhaps?
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Re: Crouching Phoenix, Hidden Dragon: A Shu-Han Victory Time

Unread postby Jolt » Thu May 22, 2014 4:00 am

Zyzyfer wrote:
To Establish Peace wrote:Based on feedback, I may well have to find a new POD for this timeline or scrap it.

Essentially, the role of Pang Tong is as a plot device designed to make Guan Yu not make the mistakes in OTL that ultimately cost him Jing. If Pang Tong cannot plausibly act as said plot device, then the timeline falls apart, because Guan Yu will make his OTL mistakes, lose Jing and his head, then Xiao Ting happens and Shu is screwed. Qu Hui and Jolt provide compelling evidence that he actually cannot.


That's what I was trying to say earlier, you can't change a tiger's stripes. Jing is going to happen and it's going to be messy for Shu. For your story, it may be better to consider how someone could repair things after the damage is done. Guan Yu lost his head because of a combination of factors (Meng Da/Liu Feng, Mi Fang/Fu Ren, personality traits, aggressive Lu Meng, etc.) so you might as well continue with Jing as planned and have someone step in and do damage control after the fact. It could be something as simple as Pang Tong telling Liu Feng that he will be dead within the year if he doesn't support Guan Yu, even if the effort is ultimately doomed to fail. Those reinforcements are perhaps sent too late to turn the tide of battle, but Guan Yu narrowly escapes. Or maybe someone duping Mi Fang and wresting control from him, so Guan Yu has a base to come home to.


We know practically nothing of Guan Yu's defensive dispositions and strength. We can infer that even with Guan Yu in campaign, there was still reservations about the offensive's success, as the plot to remove soldiers from guarding the river and reinforce Guan Yu's offensive North, was seen as necessary. We also know that Gong'an Shi Ren and Jiangling's Mi Fang surrendered without fighting, apparently because of their animosity towards Guan Yu. Of course that doesn't tell nearly the whole story. Ultimately, we can speculate that if other more credible people were administering and leading the defence of those places, they could hold the invading army long enough for Guan Yu to march back with his army and interdict Wu's advance.

Another strange omission is the lack of any fleet by Liu Bei's forces. The most of what we see is boats being used by Guan Yu during the Fan castle floods, where they were used to good effect. In Wu'd invasion, nothing is mentioned. Since relations between Sun Quan and Liu Bei weren't brilliant, and since Liu Bei had at least inherited some naval forces from the Red Cliffs battles, and had 10 years to build up a counter to Sun Quan's navy, I would argue that the majority of the fleet was engaged in the Fan campaign, and very far from the riverline where the defence of Jiangling could be made (In fact, they needed to sail through Sun Quan controlled Jiangxia and Changsha commanderies before getting back to Jiangling). Only that explains the utter lack of naval defence by Liu Bei forces.

Ultimately, whether Guan Yu could stop Wu's force from succeeding in conquering Jiangling is anyone's guess. Besides Guan Yu retreating back South, no reinforcements from Yi (Except from Yong'an) would come in any timely manner until the invasion was settled either way.

With no information on the forces dispositions and numbers of either side, we're just left to speculate:
1. If Guan Yu hadn't depleted his river garrisons to reinforce his army fighting in Fan, would that have made the defending Shu positions improbable to break?
2. What might have happened if Gong'an decided to resist and buy time for Jiangling and the rest of the province to rally forces, and for Guan Yu to return South with his army.

It is possible that Pang Tong's existence could have had an effect in not allowing the Jing defences to be utterly deprived of men, as the historical texts appear to demonstrate (It's doubtful that Shi Ren and Mi Fang would surrender only due to a distaste of Guan Yu), and not be fooled by the ruse of Wu appearing overly friendly after Lu Meng's illness and replacement by Lu Xun.

In that case, how plausible is it that Zhuge Liang becomes the viceroy of Jingzhou?

It's not, he was needed in Yi.


Was he really? To my knowledge, Zhuge Liang left Jing to lead reinforcements to Liu Bei since he's campaign was getting bogged down.

...Liu Feng never gets killed...

This is another one of those "goes against character" issues. I don't think Liu Feng would have lived to see his foster brother Liu Shan sit upon the throne. It's not that Liu Feng was bad, but it just wasn't going to happen.


I never understood how Liu Feng is always dismissed as someone who was bound to be executed. While he was a politically compromising individual, and it was expedient to get rid of him as a scape goat for Guan Yu's death and removing a future source of instability, he was still given a very important post, which shows he wasn't badly seen, otherwise, he would have been marginalized and sent somewhere as Grand Administrator to somewhere in Nanzhong, where his ability to influence either the central court or the the defence of the State were nullified. Instead, he was entrusted with a military post in charge of overseeing that Wei forces did not come up the Han river valley, in a frontier region. If his loyalty had ever been in question prior to that affair with Guan Yu, he would never have ended up in Hanzhong commandery in the first place.
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Re: Crouching Phoenix, Hidden Dragon: A Shu-Han Victory Time

Unread postby Zyzyfer » Thu May 22, 2014 4:53 am

Jolt wrote:
Zyzyfer wrote:It's not, he was needed in Yi.


Was he really? To my knowledge, Zhuge Liang left Jing to lead reinforcements to Liu Bei since he's campaign was getting bogged down.


And he never returned to Jing. As other posters are discussing, he purportedly was helping develop Shu's law code after Yi had been taken over.

That said, it's not my story, so the OP can do whatever, but I'd like to post this quote from Guan Yu's SGZ.

When Liu Bei pacified Yizhou, he appointed Guan Yu to take care of all the affairs in Jingzhou. Guan Yu got news of Ma Chao’s surrender and they were never acquaintances in the past, hence he wrote a letter to Zhuge Liang asking, “Who can rival against Ma Chao in terms of ability?” Zhuge Liang had to take into account of Guan Yu’s feelings, hence replied him, “Ma Chao is well versed in both literal and military affairs, more courageous and powerful than most men, a hero who can rival Qing or Peng and can be a worthy rival of Yide (Zhang Fei) but he is not someone who can rival the Beautiful Bearded One”. Guan Yu had a beautiful beard; hence Zhuge Liang addressed him thus. Upon finishing the letter, Guan Yu was overjoyed and showed the letter to the guests present.


Could Zhuge Liang, given this anecdote, have significant sway over Guan Yu when it came to the events in Jing?

This is another one of those "goes against character" issues. I don't think Liu Feng would have lived to see his foster brother Liu Shan sit upon the throne. It's not that Liu Feng was bad, but it just wasn't going to happen.


I never understood how Liu Feng is always dismissed as someone who was bound to be executed. While he was a politically compromising individual, and it was expedient to get rid of him as a scape goat for Guan Yu's death and removing a future source of instability, he was still given a very important post, which shows he wasn't badly seen, otherwise, he would have been marginalized and sent somewhere as Grand Administrator to somewhere in Nanzhong, where his ability to influence either the central court or the the defence of the State were nullified. Instead, he was entrusted with a military post in charge of overseeing that Wei forces did not come up the Han river valley, in a frontier region. If his loyalty had ever been in question prior to that affair with Guan Yu, he would never have ended up in Hanzhong commandery in the first place.


You make some good points, he was given a key post prior to the whole Guan Yu fiasco. But when it came to succession after Liu Bei's passing (as an Emperor), he was nevertheless a politically compromising individual and a source of instability. Even if he had been the most humble and selfless individual ever, I would venture that he would nevertheless end up marginalized from politics, at the least. My point wasn't that he will 100% be executed, but rather that he was pretty much not going to play anything other than a minor role in Shu going forward.
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Re: Crouching Phoenix, Hidden Dragon: A Shu-Han Victory Time

Unread postby To Establish Peace » Fri May 23, 2014 10:07 pm

Zyzyfer wrote:That's what I was trying to say earlier, you can't change a tiger's stripes. Jing is going to happen and it's going to be messy for Shu. For your story, it may be better to consider how someone could repair things after the damage is done. Guan Yu lost his head because of a combination of factors (Meng Da/Liu Feng, Mi Fang/Fu Ren, personality traits, aggressive Lu Meng, etc.) so you might as well continue with Jing as planned and have someone step in and do damage control after the fact. It could be something as simple as Pang Tong telling Liu Feng that he will be dead within the year if he doesn't support Guan Yu, even if the effort is ultimately doomed to fail. Those reinforcements are perhaps sent too late to turn the tide of battle, but Guan Yu narrowly escapes. Or maybe someone duping Mi Fang and wresting control from him, so Guan Yu has a base to come home to.


I think it's very possible that if Guan Yu doesn't strip the Jing defenses, then Mi Fang could be more willing to fight in the defense of Jing instead of roll over for Sun Quan. Best case scenario, Sun Quan doesn't greenlight a Jing invasion and Lu Meng dies before anything comes of it. Do you agree?

Also maybe Mi Fang just tells Shi Ren to f••• off and executes him to get back in Guan Yu's good graces. If there's still enough troops to plausibly resist a Sun Quan invasion at least until Guan Yu gets back, I could absolutely see Mi Fang doing that.

Actually, given the title based around the premise that a live Pang Tong changes everything for Shu, what WOULD Pang Tong alive do for Shu?
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Re: Crouching Phoenix, Hidden Dragon: A Shu-Han Victory Time

Unread postby Jolt » Fri May 23, 2014 11:43 pm

To Establish Peace wrote:I think it's very possible that if Guan Yu doesn't strip the Jing defenses, then Mi Fang could be more willing to fight in the defense of Jing instead of roll over for Sun Quan. Best case scenario, Sun Quan doesn't greenlight a Jing invasion and Lu Meng dies before anything comes of it. Do you agree?


Indeed, Mi Fang was at least originally intending to resist and only surrendered upon seeing Shi Ren. An undescribed context might be that Mi Fang intended to resist because he thought Gong'an hadn't fallen yet (I would assume that Gong'an would be the primary naval port for Shu's fleet or held a significant garrison to require its capture before setting for Jiangling), and only when he saw Shi Ren (And realized that Gong'an had fallen) did he thought that resisting was useless, as Guan Yu wouldn't arrive in time. So probably Gong'an was instrumental in the defensive plan of Shu, in case of Wu invasion (I'm speculating here, but I don't see the point in specifying Gong'an and Shi Ren in their importance to Wu's invasion, and not a handful of other villages along the way from Changsha commandery to Jiangling).

Since we know next to nothing about the force dispositions or numbers, as an author, you're pretty much given free rein to decide what happens and how.

If I had to guess or speculate, I'd believe that since the Northern margin of the Yangtze between Jiangling and Chaisang is pretty marshy and thus difficult to traverse through land, the avenue of attack would innevitably come through the river. Shu's defences would be posted along the river, with an early warning system of sorts (The outposts were captured by Lu Meng without incident, and I recall that the Romance of the Three Kingdoms lays the blame on some inapt fellow named by Guan Yu to oversee the outposts), so that the Shu navy in the Yangtze could arrange to block and destroy part of the Wu invasion forces in the river, and force them to besiege Gong'an, while some ship or another would travel upstream to warn Jiangling to brace itself for the coming invasion, and send further summons to Yong'an for reinforcements if possible, and North to Guan Yu to tell word of what was happening so he lifts the siege and returns home post-haste to stop Jiangling from falling.

EDIT: Ahh, wikipedia mentions this:
Jiang Qin was in command of a fleet that moved up the Han River to defend against any counterattack.


So most of the Shu fleet WAS engaged in the Fan siege in the Han river. That explains things.

To Establish Peace wrote:Actually, given the title based around the premise that a live Pang Tong changes everything for Shu, what WOULD Pang Tong alive do for Shu?


Instead of Mi Fang, Pang Tong is directed by Guan Yu to oversee the convoying of supplies from Shu controlled Jing to Guan Yu's army in the North. Like Guan Yu, Pang Tong suspects Wu's designs on Jing, and keeps a moderate posting along the Yangtze. After Guan Yu's departure, Pang Tong replaces the overall leader of the outposts with someone of trust and worthy ability. Lu Meng feigns illness, passes command to Lu Xun, who then tricks Guan Yu into thinking that as long as Lu Xun commands the Wu border army with Shu, no attack will come, and orders further supplies and troops be diverted North to support his attack. Pang Tong does not believe that command would be given to such an innexperienced commander right after Lü Meng, and several suspects a ruse and withholds troops, but not supplies. Guan Yu is furious and reports that when he gets back from campaign, he is going to punish Pang Tong according to military law. Pang Tong's own arrogance and previous good deeds lead him to believe that even if he is incorrect, he will still have a proper excuse and would avoid punishment.

To egg on Wu to attack, he concentrates the troops earmarked for reinforcement up North in a camp outside of Jiangling, and commands the camped troops to feign spread of an illness inside the camp, and orders for physicians to be summoned from various places to lend further veracity to the situation, and orders Shi Ren to make a similar apparatus in his garrison as best as he can, and so then dissimulate the news to Wu, in an attempt to provoke an attack.

With news of part of the garrisons removed already, and another part indisposed, Wu start making the preparations, and when they attack, everything falls into place. With the new better guy, the early warning system works, which alerts Gong'an and Jiangling, and the cascade of messages into Yi and Guan Yu. Gong'an's navy and garrison are put to full alert, and stop their ruse. Navy destroys part of the Wu invasion force before being itself mostly destroyed, The smallish Gong'an garrison hold as best they can and tie down a part of the Wu invasion force. Pang Tong brings back the earmarked withheld troops, the majority of the Wu troops land around Jiangling, Pang Tong attempts to sally out to decisively destroy the Wu forces, which prove too numerous and beat back his attempts, and settle in for a siege. Eventually the siege drags on for months. Gong'an falls before reinforcements from Wuling are brought in. In the meantime of Jiangling's siege, Pang Tong orders the Wuling Grand Administrator to contact and attempt to sway the Wuling barbarians using promises of titles, lands and money to join a reinforcement army (Like some did when Liu Bei invaded Jing against Wu) in an attempt to relieve the city. Eventually months after, Guan Yu's army more or less intact army and attempts to beat back Wu's forces without success. A while later, a reinforcement army from Ba links up with the Wuling army, that had been transported across the river (Wuling is left with a token garrison to fight off any attempts by whatever army Wu had in Gong'an that wasn't transfered to help the siege of Jiangling in case they attacked Wuling) and arrives in the siege. It's arrival had however been spotted by the Wu navy doing reconnaisance upriver, and with that information, and in consequence of Wu's debilitating logistical situation, Lu Xun orders a withdrawal. Gong'an is deemed as too far away from the rest of the Wu supply points to be defensible in case of attack, and is likewise abandonned.

Guan Yu comes back, and Pang Tong reveals what he had done was to provoke Wu to attack and everything had gone more or less to plan. On account of that, Guan Yu doesn't punish Pang Tong and the rest is alt-history.
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Re: Crouching Phoenix, Hidden Dragon: A Shu-Han Victory Time

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Sat May 24, 2014 12:43 pm

Actually, given the title based around the premise that a live Pang Tong changes everything for Shu, what WOULD Pang Tong alive do for Shu?


If he has command of the armies after Liu Bei's death, use aggressive tactics which either gives Shu some considerable success or destroys the Shu army. Possibly doing A before B happens and threatens the gains. Maybe the heavy defeat of Yiling is prevented by Pang Tong pushing Liu Bei to adopt a more aggressive strategy?
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Re: Crouching Phoenix, Hidden Dragon: A Shu-Han Victory Time

Unread postby To Establish Peace » Sat May 31, 2014 4:28 pm

Sorry, I've been a bit busy with work and other things, I'm gonna rewrite the second part using feedback from here then continue with what happens after 220 later.
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Re: Crouching Phoenix, Hidden Dragon: A Shu-Han Victory Time

Unread postby To Establish Peace » Mon Jun 23, 2014 11:39 pm

Alright, gonna repost part 2 of the alternate history, and post part 3.

By 219, Cao Cao had suffered multiple setbacks. The defeat in Han Zhong, the statemate between Hei Fei and Ru Xu Kou, and he had beat back a major rebellion in Wancheng. Furthermore, Sun Quan was spoiling for another fight at Hei Fei. This opened up an ample opportunity for Guan Yu to push into northern Jing, and capture Fancheng. Guan Yu’s invasion against the weakly defended cities of Nanyang quickly had Cao Ren and Lu Jiang surrounded. However, Ma Chao’s former subordinate, Pang De, fought Guan Yu to a draw, even wounding him at times. Despite Guan Yu’s naval control of the area, he was unable to dislodge Pang De.

However, in the autumn of that year, an overflowing of the Han River caused the surrounding area to flood. This inflicted massive, devastating casualties on the defending armies, and led to the capture of Yu Jin and Pang De. While Yu Jin surrendered (and later died in captivity after refusing to join Shu) Pang De was executed when he refused to submit. This disaster was only made worse when key administrators and prefects defected to Guan Yu. The danger was such that Cao Cao considered moving his capital to Ye. In desperation, Cao Cao, seeking to exploit the simmering Jing dispute, attempted to form an alliance with Sun Quan in order to check Guan Yu’s mounting threat.

However, Sun Quan was reluctant, and actually sent overtures of peace to Guan Yu, offering a marriage alliance between his son and Guan Yu’s daughter. Guan Yu was a proud man, and disdainful of Wu in general. This led to Guan Yu angrily rejecting the proposal and humiliating Sun Quan’s emissary. Insulted, Sun Quan decided at that point that Guan Yu needed to be eliminated, and Jing needed to be retaken. Sun Quan made common cause with Cao Cao, gaining titles and rank as “King of Wu”. At the same time, Lu Meng, citing illness, suddenly stepped down from his post at Chai Sang, being replaced by the young Lu Xun. This had the effect of convincing Guan Yu that Wu would not launch an attack at Guan Yu’s rear, prompting him to give the order to strip the defenses at Jiang Ling.

However, Pang Tong saw directly through the ruse – Lu Xun was relatively inexperienced, and Lu Xun acted with seeminly far too much deference towards Guan Yu in diplomatic communications. Meanwhile, Lu Meng had been ill for a while, yet was only just stepping down. At first, Pang Tong simply protested the order to move the Jiang Ling defenders. However, Guan Yu, feeling on the verge of victory and unwilling to listen to Pang Tong, refused to reconsider. In desperation, and after sending desperate memorials to Cheng Du and Shangyong to inform Liu Bei and Liu Feng of the situation (and in the case of Shangyong, asking Liu Feng and Meng Da to stand by to send reinforcements), simply countermanded Guan Yu’s order. Pang Tong reinforced the early warning system at Jiang Ling, and held back roughly 30,000 troops and stationing them near Gong An, near the small fleet sent to interdict a Wu naval movement. Guan Yu was furious, and threatened to punish Pang Tong under military law for his direct insubordination.

At this point, Pang Tong would undertake his most ambitious, and controversial move. Spreading rumors of a plague in camp, and sending for physicians from Yi, and mentioning it offhandedly in diplomatic communications with Wu, Pang Tong attempted to actively goad Wu into attacking Jiang Ling. The consensus is that Pang Tong, fully confident of his acumen as a strategist (at the time he was considered one of the top strategists in China), felt he could inflict a decisive defeat on Wu and open the way not just to deter future Wu attacks, but to possibly retake Eastern Jingzhou which was ceded in 215. This was a bold move, and a highly risky move, as Pang Tong was well aware Wu could bring much larger forces to bear. Pang Tong did have contingency plans, for example, his warning to Liu Feng stating that “If Guan Yu loses his head, you will lose yours” scared Feng into committing 20,000 troops on high alert near Fangling in the case of eventualities, and the capital would be informed of the situation as well.

The Wu sneak attack came through land and sea, with roughly 80,000 troops. At first, there was brief panic in the Shu ranks. One of the primary captains of the Shu defense force, Shi Ren, actually suggested that he and his friend, Mi Fang, kill Pang Tong and go over to Wu. This was met with a sword through the gut from Mi Fang, who while not particularly brave (some historians speculate that Mi Fang would have gone over had Pang Tong not been there to keep the troops near Jiang Ling), was fundamentally loyal and refused to surrender a winnable fight. As the Wu force advanced, the Shu fleet moved from Gong An to block Wu. This was one of the most underestimated actions of the Jing conflict. While much of the Shu fleet was lost, their gallant defense prevented Wu from taking control of the river for as long as possible, preventing the Wu navy from adequately supporting the army.

On land, Pang Tong at first attempted to fight the Wu army head to head despite the numerical disadvantage. While Shu was able to gain some tactical successes, due to the lack of naval support coupled with the morale hit from having its sneak attack predicted perfectly, after 2 weeks of open battle, Pang Tong withdrew into the city. The siege of Jiang Ling had begun. Lu Xun, leading the attack in lieu of Lu Meng, tried various ploys to breach the walls of the city, ranging from crossing on small boats to tunneling beneath the walls, but all of these measures were defeated by Pang Tong’s timely and adaptable counter-strategies. The struggles that Wu had in taking Jiang Ling showed the sheer difficulty of offensive siege warfare in 3rd century China, and contributed to the later decision by Zhuge Liang to avoid a seemingly weakly defended Chen Cang Castle defended by one of Wei’s elite generals, Hao Zhao. Meanwhile, Guan Yu, having been checked by Xu Huang and now aware of Wu’s treachery, now advanced south.

Lu Xun was faced with a difficult choice – with Guan Yu bearing down on his flank and Jiang Ling proving far hardier than Wu’s generals ever thought, he was forced to choose between a full retreat and the loss of the initiative, or fight a battle that could very well end in disaster for Wu. While Guan Yu’s force was exhausted and weakened, they held the morale advantage and they were on the defensive. The decision was made once and for all when Wu scouts discovered that about 15,000 fresh troops from Shangyong and Fanling were on their way to join the battle at Jiang Ling. Ultimately, after 2 days of deliberation, the Wu army withdrew to Chaisang. Jingzhou had held. Wu had tried and failed to take Jingzhou, and now suddenly their diplomatic position was exposed with almost nothing to show for it. While still formally enemies, Shu and Wu adopted an unofficial ceasefire policy towards each other.
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