Was Sun Jian China's best general... when he died?

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Was Sun Jian China's best general... when he died?

Unread postby Sun Fin » Sun Sep 23, 2018 2:12 pm

I know Sun Jian was surpassed in the Three Kingdom era by Cao Cao and Sun Ce at the very least. However I'm suggesting that at the time Jian died Cao Cao was still a fairly inexperienced general meanwhile the previous giant Dong Zhuo was dead. I’d suggest Zhu Jun and Huangfu Song were in decline. Perhaps the only other top tier general at the peak of his powers was Xu Rong. So what do you think? Was Sun Jian the best at that moment? And if so do you think he would have been enough to harass Cao Cao to stop him from reaching his peak?
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Re: Was Sun Jian China's best general... when he died?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Mon Sep 24, 2018 6:14 pm

I think there is a case for it.

In the early stages, the Liang gang of Huangfu Song (he was going strong till Dong recalled him), Dong Zhuo and Sun Jian were probably the best miliatry figures bar Xu Rong (who may have fought then) and Gongsun Du maybe? Obviously being very skilled miliatry figures was behind it also recent camapigns against good enemies, building up a loyal experienced miliatry core gave them an edge. Meanwhile those that would rise were learning on the job so making mistakes, forming their own miliatry cores. Was Sun Jian the best of that lot? Possibly.

Given Lu Bu came so close to making Cao Cao Cao give up, Sun Jian could have done likewise with the resources of Yuan Shu behind him giving him an even stronger hand. Sun Jian not having Cao Cao's "luck of the devil" and Yuan Shu's own problems would be an issue though
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Re: Was Sun Jian China's best general... when he died?

Unread postby Sun Fin » Thu Sep 27, 2018 8:06 am

Would Yuan Shu's issues manifested if Sun Jian was winning all his battles for him though? The luck of the devil thing I think is important for putting Cao Cao and Sun Jian's careers in context but I don't think it is something it is sensible to base speculation on!
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Re: Was Sun Jian China's best general... when he died?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Thu Sep 27, 2018 1:46 pm

In some way shape of form, I suspect so. The army still needs the administration to be run properly behind it, to be behind it's leader, for other armies under the warlord to succeed and politics is an important skill. If Yuan Shu jumps too early (which he may do anyway if things are going so well he can taste ultimate victory), he could still end up attacked on all fronts and not much Sun Jian can do to save things there.
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Re: Was Sun Jian China's best general... when he died?

Unread postby Sakae Wu » Thu Sep 27, 2018 4:19 pm

I think there's little doubt Sun Jian was the top general prior to his death. Even Dong Zhuo feared and respected him and considered him along with Liu Biao and Yuan Shao as the most influential men of that time. Still in his prime as well.

Is it certain he would have continued his alliance with Yuan Shu had he lived?
It's hard for me say how it would have affected Cao Cao, but I would think Sun Jian would have become a much more difficult adversary than Lu Bu.
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Re: Was Sun Jian China's best general... when he died?

Unread postby Zyzyfer » Fri Sep 28, 2018 3:46 am

Basically in agreement with the topic being asserted, however...

Sun Fin wrote:Would Yuan Shu's issues manifested if Sun Jian was winning all his battles for him though?


I mean, when Sun Jian was scoring successes against Dong Zhuo, Yuan Shu's first move was to cut off his supplies. He also held Sun Ce back, so it seems like Yuan Shu was allergic to winning haha. If Sun Jian survives and emerges victorious against Huang Zu, I would imagine that things would spiral in Yuan's favor there and he would end up settled in Jing much earlier and I'd guess declaring himself emperor all that much earlier...which would really throw things into chaos.
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Re: Was Sun Jian China's best general... when he died?

Unread postby Sun Fin » Sat Sep 29, 2018 7:55 am

If he declared himself Emperor whilst Cao Cao was still trying to take back his homelands from Lu Bu then I could see him having a chance to make it stick? You are right though, every time things went his way he did mess it up.

Sakae Wu wrote:Is it certain he would have continued his alliance with Yuan Shu had he lived?


He wasn't allied to Yuan Shu, at the beginning of the anti-DZ campaign Sun Jian became a vassal of his!
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Re: Was Sun Jian China's best general... when he died?

Unread postby Sakae Wu » Sat Sep 29, 2018 4:32 pm

"He wasn't allied to Yuan Shu, at the beginning of the anti-DZ campaign Sun Jian became a vassal of his!


Yes, I know when Sun Jian joined Yuan Shu. And I realize his position with him.
You had offered a hypothetical about how it might affect Cao Cao, and I didn't think it was necessarily certain he would have stayed with YS. He had his own ambitions and obviously there was some mistrust between them.
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Re: Was Sun Jian China's best general... when he died?

Unread postby Sun Fin » Sun Sep 30, 2018 7:34 am

Fair point! Sorry for being a patronising git! My concern with that hypothetical is that I suspect Yuan Shu would fear him defecting or rebelling so would never give him a power base, unlike the situation Ce found himself in as Yuan Shu underestimated him, which would make it far harder for Sun Jian to rebel!
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