Jiang Wei and Zhuge Liang’s Wei Campaigns: Damaging to Shu?

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Unread postby Mega Zarak » Tue Aug 12, 2003 1:35 am

Exar, I'm not going to continue with the debate here since I'd rather leave each to his/her own opinions. :D Just to note that during all these while, I'm criticising the northern expeditions initiated by Zhuge Liang and certainly not the man himself who I have great respect for. :)

Anyway, here're the details of the battle of Bei Yuan as requested:

Guo Huai's SGZ biography wrote:青龙二年,诸葛亮出斜谷,并田于兰坑。是时司马宣王屯渭南;淮策亮必争北原,宜先据之,议者多谓不然。淮曰:“若亮跨渭登原,连兵北山,隔绝陇道,摇荡民、夷,此非国之利也。”宣王善之,淮遂屯北原。堑垒未成,蜀兵大至,淮逆击之

In Qing Long 2nd Year (234 A.D.), Zhuge Liang came via Xie Gu (Xie Valley) and he engaged in farming activities at Lan Keng. During then, Sima Yi was stationed at Wei Nan. Guo Huai thought that Zhuge Liang would definitely go for Bei Yuan and it would be appropriate for Wei forces to occupy it first. There were many oppositions from the rest of the officers. Guo Huai said, "If Zhuge Liang occupies both Wei (Wei Nan) and the highland of Yuan (Bei Yuan), and he linked up with troops at the northern mountains, the Long path would be cut off and the common people as well as the Yi tribes would be unsettled. This will not be advantageous for our country." Sima Yi agreed and Guo Huai was stationed at Bei Yuan. Before Guo Huai was able to build the fortification, the Shu army arrived in great number and Guo Huai attacked them.

My computer in the lab is giving me some problems now and I'm unable to continue. Will be back once things are settled. :)
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Unread postby Zhilong » Tue Aug 12, 2003 3:42 pm

Look forward to seeing the rest.

You didn't sucumb to that bloodworm virus did you? :(
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Unread postby Mega Zarak » Fri Aug 15, 2003 6:02 pm

Sima Yi's Jin Shu Biography wrote:二年,亮又率众十余万出斜谷,垒于郿之渭水南原。天子忧之,遣征蜀护军秦朗督步骑二万,受帝节度。诸将欲住渭北以待之,帝曰:“百姓积聚皆在渭南,此必争之地也。”遂引军而济,背水为垒。因谓诸将曰:“亮若勇者,当出武功依山而东,若西上五丈原,则诸军无事矣。”亮果上原,将北渡渭,帝遣将军周当屯阳遂以饵之。数日,亮不动。帝曰:“亮欲争原而不向阳遂,此意可知也。”遣将军胡遵、雍州刺史郭淮共备阳遂,与亮会于积石,临原而战,亮不得进,还于五丈原。会有长星坠亮之垒,帝知其必败,遣奇兵掎亮之后,斩五百余级,获生口千余,降者六百余人。

Translates to:

In Qing Long 2nd Year, Zhuge Liang led 100,000 soldiers and he came via Xie Gu (or Xie Valley). He stationed his troops at Mei, the south of Wei Sui Nan Yuan. The Son of Heaven (refering to the Wei Emperor) was worried and he dispatched Qin Lang, who was holding the appointment of Zheng Shu Hu Jun (or something like the Shu Conquering Protector of the Army, Hu Jun is mainly in charge of selection of military personnels and leading the various camps), and gave him 20,000 soldiers consisting of both cavalry and infantry troops. In addition, the Wei Emperor gave an Imperial Court Order to Sima Yi. The Wei generals gather at Wei Sui and waited for the enemies. Sima Yi said, "The common folks stored their food supplies and other stuffs at Wei Nan, hence, it would be an area of contention." As such, he led his army to cross the river. After which, Sima Yi ordered fortifications to be built with the Wei river facing behind them. Sima Yi told his officers, "If Zhuge Liang is a brave man, he would come via Wu Gong and move east along the mountains. If he goes west up Wu Zhang Yuan, then there will not be any trouble for our army." Indeed, Zhuge Liang went up Wu Zhang Yuan and he intended to cross the northern stretch of Wei river from there. Seeing that, Sima Yi dispatched General Zhou Dang to station at Yang Sui to act as a bait for the Shu army. Several days later, Zhuge Liang did not move his troops. Sima Yi said, "Zhuge Liang wants to compete for the higher ground and not Yang Sui, I can understand his intentions." Sima Yi then dispatched Hu Zun and Guo Huai to defend Yang Sui and they met Zhuge Liang's army at Ji Shi. They battled before Bei Yuan. Zhuge Liang was unable to advance and he returned back to Wu Zhang Yuan. During then, a shooting star fell into Zhuge Liang's encampments. Sima Yi thought that Zhuge Liang would definitely be defeated and he sent some specialised troops to launch a sneak attack at the Shu army. The Wei army managed to execute 500 men, capture 1000+ men out of whom 600 had surrendered.

The above is taken from Jin Shu and it describes the battle at Bei Yuan in which Zhuge Liang's SGZ biography and Xi Zuo Ci's Han Jin Chun Qiu (assuming that Pei Song Zhi did not omit anything related to it) did not mention. However, we can see the coherency between this account of Jin Shu and that of Guo Huai's SGZ biography.

In addition, I made an interesting observation, the weightage of which is of course subjective. Look at the following account taken from SGYY:

Taken from www.threekingdoms.com wrote:Sima Yi took it with bowed head. He proceeded forthwith to Changan. When he had mustered the forces assembled from all western counties, they numbered four hundred thousand, and they were all camped on River Wei. In addition, fifty thousand troops were farther up the stream preparing nine floating bridges. The two Leaders of the Van, Xiahou Ba and Xiahou Wei, were ordered to cross the river and camp, and in rear of the main camp on the east a solid earth rampart was raised to guard against any surprises from the rear.
21 While these preparations were in progress, Guo Huai and Sun Li came to the new camp.
22 Guo Huai said, "With the troops of Shu at Qishan, there is a possibility of their dominating River Wei, going up on the plain, and pushing out a line to the northern hills whereby to cut off all highways in the West Valley Land."
23 "You say well," said Sima Yi. "See to it. Take command of all the West Valley Land forces, occupy Beiyuan, and make a fortified camp there. But adopt a defensive policy. Wait till the enemy's food supplies get exhausted before you think of attack."
24 So Guo Huai and Sun Li left to carry out these orders.
25 Meanwhile Zhuge Liang made five main camps at Qishan, and between Xie Valley and Saber Pass he established a line of fourteen large camps. He distributed the troops among these camps as for a long campaign. He appointed inspecting officers to make daily visits to see that all was in readiness.
26 When he heard that the army of Wei had camped in Beiyuan, he said to his officers, "They camp there fearing that our holding this area will sever connection with West Valley Land. I am pretending to look toward Beiyuan, but really my objective is River Wei. I am going to build a hundred or more large rafts and pile them with straw, and I have five thousand of marines to manage them. In the darkness of the night I shall attack Beiyuan. Sima Yi will come to the rescue. If he is only a little worsted, I shall cross the river with the rear divisions, then the leading divisions will embark on the rafts, drop down the river, set fire to the floating bridges, and attack the rear of the enemy. I shall lead an army to take the gates of the first camp. If we can get the south bank of the river, the campaign will become simple."
27 Then the generals took orders and went to prepare.
28 The spies carried information of the doings of the troops of Shu to Sima Yi, who said to his generals, "Zhuge Liang has some crafty scheme, but I think I know it. He proposes to make a show of taking Beiyuan, and then, dropping down the river, he will try to burn our bridges, throw our rear into confusion, and then attack our camps."

29 So he gave Xiahou Ba and Xiahou Wei orders: "You are to listen for the sounds of battle about Beiyuan. If you hear the shouting, you are to march down to the river, to the hills on the south, and lay an ambush against the troops of Shu as they arrive."
30 Zhang Hu and Yue Chen were to lead two other forces, of two thousand of bowmen each, and lie in hiding on the north bank near the bridges to keep off the rafts that might come down on the current and keep them from touching the bridges.
31 Then he sent for Guo Huai and Sun Li, and said, "Zhuge Liang is coming to Beiyuan to cross the river secretly. Your new force is small, and you can hide half way along the road. If the enemy cross the river in the afternoon, that will mean an attack on us in the evening. Then you are to simulate defeat and run. They will pursue. You can shoot with all your energy, and our marines and land troops will attack at once. If the attack is in great force, look out for orders."
32 All these orders given, Sima Yi sent his two sons Sima Shi and Sima Zhao to reinforce the front camp, while he led his own army to relieve Beiyuan.
33 Zhuge Liang sent Wei Yan and Ma Dai to cross River Wei and attack Beiyuan, while the attempt to set fire to the bridges was confided to Hu Ban and Wu Yi. The general attack on the Wei camp by River Wei was to be made by three divisions: The front division under Wang Ping and Zhang Ni, the middle division under Jiang Wei and Ma Zheng, the rear division under Liao Hua and Zhang Yi. The various divisions started at noon and crossed the river, where they slowly formed up in battle order.

34 Wei Yan and Ma Dai arrived Beiyuan about dusk. The scouts having informed the defenders of their approach, Sun Li abandoned his camp and fled. This told Wei Yan that his attack was expected, and he turned to retire. At this moment a great shouting was heard, and there appeared two bodies of the enemy under Sima Yi and Guo Huai bearing down upon the attackers from left and right. Wei Yan and Ma Dai fought desperately to extricate themselves, but many of the soldiers of Shu fell into the river and drowned. The others scattered. However, Wu Yi came up and rescued the force from entire destruction, and moved across the river to make camp.
35 Hu Ban set half his troops to navigate the rafts down the river to the bridges. But Zhang Hu and Yue Chen stationed near the bridges shot clouds of arrows at them, and the Shu leader, Hu Ban, was wounded. He fell into the river and was drowned. The crews of the rafts jumped into the water and got away. The rafts fell into the hands of the soldiers of Wei.
36 At this time the front division under Wang Ping and Zhang Ni were ignorant of the defeat of their Beiyuan army, and they went straight for the camps of Wei. They arrived in the second watch.
37 They heard loud shouting, and Wang Ping said to Zhang Ni, "We do not know whether the cavalry sent to Beiyuan has been successful or not. It is strange that we do not see a single soldier of the enemy. Surely Sima Yi has found out the plan and prepared to frustrate the attack. Let us wait here till the bridges have been set on fire and we see the flames."
38 So they halted. Soon after, a mounted messenger came up with orders: "The Prime Minister bade you retire immediately, as the attack on the bridges has failed."
39 Wang Ping and Zhang Ni attempted to withdraw, but a bomb exploded and the troops of Wei, who had taken a by-road to their rear, at once attacked. A great fire started also. A disorderly battle ensued, from which Wang Ping and Zhang Ni eventually forced their ways out, but only with great loss.

40 And when Zhuge Liang collected his army at Qishan once more he found, to his sorrow, that he had lost more than ten thousand troops.

Seems like LGZ finally described a victory for Sima Yi.

Anyway, Zhilong, my comp in the lab was infected by the worm. Hence, the delay. :)

PS. I may have made some minor mistakes in the Jin Shu's translation since it is 2 am at my side. :P
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Unread postby Lady Zhuge » Fri Aug 15, 2003 7:10 pm

I have a question about the passages, Chris. In the excerpt of Guo Huai's bio that you translated, it just says that he attacked Shu troops upon their arrival and that he attacked them at Bei Yuan. Does it state the outcome of that attack or if it was planned or ordered by Sima Yi? Do we know if that was a sneak attack, because it says in the Sima Yi bio excerpt that he ordered a "sneak attack" on Shu.
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Unread postby Antiochus » Sat Aug 16, 2003 1:29 am

It was getting Shu Weaker because they were fighting a bigger kingdom, in to an offencive position. So it drained all of Shu resources and they grow poor. Also many Shu good officers died in these useless campain so it was damaging Shu badly and thats why Liu Shan had problems whit Jiang Wei.
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Unread postby Mega Zarak » Mon Aug 18, 2003 2:51 am

Lady Zhuge wrote:I have a question about the passages, Chris. In the excerpt of Guo Huai's bio that you translated, it just says that he attacked Shu troops upon their arrival and that he attacked them at Bei Yuan. Does it state the outcome of that attack or if it was planned or ordered by Sima Yi? Do we know if that was a sneak attack, because it says in the Sima Yi bio excerpt that he ordered a "sneak attack" on Shu.

Here's the continuation of the extract from Guo Huai's biography which I left off last week due to the outbreak of the virus.

Guo Huai's SGZ biography wrote:后数日,亮盛兵西行,诸将皆谓欲攻西围,淮独以为此见形於西,欲使官兵重应之,必攻阳遂耳。其夜果攻阳遂,有备不得上。

Translates to:

Several days later, Zhuge Liang led his army westward. Most of the Wei officers thought that Zhuge Liang was going to attack the western encirclement. Guo Huai was the only one who thought that Zhuge Liang was making a feint and that Zhuge Liang was trying to attract most of Wei's attention in that direction while he actually aimed for Yang Sui. During that night, the Shu army did make an attack on Yang Sui and they could not gain anything since the Wei army there was prepared for the attack.


Hence, Guo Huai's involvement was mainly at Bei Yuan and he was not mentioned to be part of the sneak attack that was brought up in Jin Shu. All in all, the sequence of events before the stalemate at Wu Zhang Yuan was:

1) The battle of in front of Bei Yuan whereby Guo Huai and some Wei officers repelled the Shu's army. (according to Guo Huai's SGZ biography and not explicitly mentioned in Sima Yi's Jin Shu biography)

2) Several days later, there seemed to be no movement from the Shu's camp. In Jin Shu, Sima Yi guessed the intention of Zhuge Liang (with hindsight, Sima Yi guessed that correctly). He dispatched Hu Zun and Guo Huai to prepare themselves at Yang Sui. When news came that Zhuge Liang's army was heading west instead of towards Yang Sui, most of the officers (at Yang Sui I presume) thought that Zhuge Liang was going for the western encirclement and only Guo Huai (now at Yang Sui) thought that Zhuge Liang was actually making a feint and he was heading for Yang Sui. Hence, he made preparations and because of that, Zhuge Liang's plot did not succeed. (this is the way I see it according to the accounts from SGZ and Jin Shu, hence, I know this will be one of the points of contention for you people. :D )

3) After the inability to make gains at either Bei Yuan or Yang Sui, Zhuge Liang retreated to Wu Zhang Yuan. According to Jin Shu, Sima Yi dispatched some special troops to raid Zhuge Liang's camp. Depending on whether you believe it or not, they managed to secure a small victory (not a big one considering that Zhuge Liang brought with him 100,000 soldiers for that last expedition).

4) Following all that, the rest of the events were well known since they were mentioned in Han Jin Chun Qiu (with some minor disparities favouring Shu), the widely used source for Zhuge Liang's northern expeditions. They were about how Zhuge Liang repeatedly issue challenges and how Sima Yi wanted to accept them but was restrained by Wei's Imperial Court Order.

That's about it. As can be seen, it seemes that either Han Jin Chun Qiu did not mention the events at Bei Yuan (point 1, 2 and 3) or Pei Song Zhi did not insert them in. This again leads to the picture of Zhuge Liang's invincibility in the field whereby he was often seen as the one making the initiatives. Anyway, I foresee that differences in interpretations will occur since I don't expect people to start believing Jin Shu all of a sudden despite the fact that it was one of the recognised historical records of China.

PS. I may have made some mistakes in those interpretations and if I do, please feel free to point out. :D

PS. Note that when I compiled the chronology of Zhuge Liang's life, I'm using the widely accepted SGZ-Han Jin Chun Qiu version. I did not insert these extra points from Jin Shu or Guo Huai's SGZ biography.
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Unread postby Separation Anxiety » Mon Aug 18, 2003 8:25 pm

All the campaigns against Wei were a waste of time and supplies, and it ultimately destroyed Shu. Zhuge Liang knew he couldn't beat Sima Yi because they were basically equals. He was reduced to sending womens clothing to Sima Yi, which basically did nothing but tell Sima Yi that Zhuge Liangs death was soon coming. If there were less or no campaigns against Wei, Shu may have became a much more powerful kingdom. If they were smarter they would have invited Wei into an alliance and destroy Wu and then immediately attack Wei killing two birds with one stone or just let Wei do their own thing which would eventually be an attack against Wu then act they are mobilizing against Wu and hook around and attack Wei from the same front as Wu then turn around and attack the weakened Wu troops. The campaigns aren't really what weakened Shu it was inept military and govermental choices because as brilliant as Zhuge was many strategists matched or exceeded him, Lu Xun, Zhou Yu, Guo Jia, Xun Wenruo, and of course Sima Yi. Shu might of been better off if Pang Tong was still alive.
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