Why did Liu Bei's defeat at Yi Ling happen?

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Why did Liu Bei's defeat at Yi Ling happen?

Unread postby James » Sun Jun 16, 2002 4:11 pm

Liu Bei attacked Yi Ling after the death of Guan Yu (who was defending Jingzhou, territory that rightfully belonged to Wu but was instead under the Shu banner).

At Yi Ling Liu Bei suffered a crippling defeat that may have been the reason why Shu couldn't compete against Wei in later campaigns. Many talented military commanders were killed and many lives were lost. This campaign also, indirectly, resulted in the deaths of Zhang Fei and Liu Bei himself, many would say.

The Yi Ling campaign also damaged Wu. It is clear that, in order to survive against the great power of Wei, that Shu and Wu should have been cooperating instead of fighting against each other.

My question is this: Why did Liu Bei attack Wu? Was it revenge for the death of Guan Yu? Was he just looking for an excuse to attack Wu? Let us know what you think.

I personally think it was a combination of the death of his brothers and the anger of having lost Jingzhou. I certainly do not think it was a good decision, even if he had been successful. Consider even a success? Was Shu in a condition to govern so much territory against Wei? I feel that Shu and Wu needed each other to stand a chance.
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Re: Why did Liu Bei's defeat at Yi Ling happen?

Unread postby Dennis » Sun Jun 16, 2002 4:46 pm

Zhuge Kongming wrote:My question is this: Why did Liu Bei attack Wu? Was it revenge for the death of Guan Yu? Was he just looking for an excuse to attack Wu? Let us know what you think.


This is what I consider Xuande's biggest goof-up of them all. Perhaps he was going to reclaim Jing, but I don't think that is quite it. There is more to it than that..

I remember when Xuande was in Benchu's army, and he found out Cao Cao had Yunchang in his services, he constantly bugged Benchu to march on Cao Cao, and when Yuan Shai's own advisor's told Benchu and Xuande the time was not right, Xuande essentially called them traitors! So I am not the least bit surprised about the march on Yiling. He loved Guan Yu, and Zhang Fei to the point where it wasn't even admirable and brotherly anymore, it was obsessive and self-destructive. That's just my opinion though, Yiling happened because of an obsession.
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Unread postby Zhou Gongjin » Sun Jun 16, 2002 10:49 pm

He used Guan Yu's death as an excuse to try and retake Jingzhou. But Liu Bei expected Wu to panic, and they kinda did untill Lu Xun explained why they shouldn't fear someone like Liu Bei, who at that time was a seasoned veteran who even beat Xiahou Dun. Again, Shu underestimates Lu Xun, and again it costs them a lot. Baka baka baka.
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Unread postby Anshi » Sun Jun 16, 2002 10:51 pm

I don't think that Liu Bei intended to take back the Jing province...all you have to do is look on a map and see where Yiling is in relation to the rest of Jingzhou, and you would know that even if Liu Bei had won that battle, he would have had to fight several more battles in order to completely secure the province. But he didn't take that many men...he only took enough for one battle, he just wanted to defeat Wu at that one battle, then retreat back into Yizhou, it was simply a vengeance thing. But not only did he lose the vengeance battle, he lost much more...
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Unread postby James » Sun Jun 16, 2002 10:52 pm

Zhou Gongjin wrote:He used Guan Yu's death as an excuse to try and retake Jingzhou. But Liu Bei expected Wu to panic, and they kinda did untill Lu Xun explained why they shouldn't fear someone like Liu Bei, who at that time was a seasoned veteran who even beat Xiahou Dun. Again, Shu underestimates Lu Xun, and again it costs them a lot. Baka baka baka.

This was the exactly alternate view I was hoping to address. Could you explain why you think Liu Bei was this sort of man? Why leads you to believe Liu Bei would use his brother's death has an excuse...
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Unread postby Zhou Gongjin » Sun Jun 16, 2002 11:00 pm

Zhuge Kongming wrote:This was the exactly alternate view I was hoping to address. Could you explain why you think Liu Bei was this sort of man? Why leads you to believe Liu Bei would use his brother's death has an excuse...


From a purely historic point of view, we can say that first of all Liu Bei was not really brothers with Guan and Zhang, since the Peach Tree Oath didn't happen. Also, Liu Bei was more aggresive than SGYY says, when the Inspector came to Liu Bei's county, SGYY says that Zhang Fei beat him with a switch, but it was really Liu Bei who did that. Also, Liu Bei was far better in war that Guan Yu, he even beat the historical Xiahou Dun. Guan Yu was literally a failure, not only did he lose Jing Zhou, he caused political trouble with Zhuge Liang, he insulted Wu gravely with the marriage proposal and lost his land to a nobody, Lu Xun. In this way, Guan Yu was really worth not much to Liu Bei, except that Liu Bei could use Guan Yu to try and justify his assasination of Liu Feng and the attack on Wu at Yi Ling.
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Unread postby Zhang Liao17 » Mon Jun 17, 2002 1:00 am

From a SGYY point of view, it was purely vengeance. Liu Bei moved out with a huge army and grim determination. He wanted to take the South Land off the map like Cao Cao did with Xuzhou. The mistake Liu Bei made was relying on his own skills instead of taking a competent advisor with him. Someone who can prevent the fire trap could also help Liu Bei win at Yi-Ling. Although Liu Bei's army was larger, he still faced a very good opponent in Lu Xun. Even with Fa Zheng or Zhuge Liang it would have been a toss-up.
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Unread postby Han Xin » Mon Jun 17, 2002 7:24 am

Anshi wrote:I don't think that Liu Bei intended to take back the Jing province...all you have to do is look on a map and see where Yiling is in relation to the rest of Jingzhou, and you would know that even if Liu Bei had won that battle, he would have had to fight several more battles in order to completely secure the province. But he didn't take that many men...he only took enough for one battle, he just wanted to defeat Wu at that one battle, then retreat back into Yizhou, it was simply a vengeance thing. But not only did he lose the vengeance battle, he lost much more...


There are many ways that one could take what they want without really having to invade it. It was clear from SGZ that Liu Bei's Yiling campaign was not because he wanted to avenge Guan Yu's death, and it was a rash action. From the timeline alone (i.e. fall of JingZhou/Death of Guan Yu til Liu Bei mobilised his troops to invade Wu it was about 1 year between the to two events) so you can't really say that it an impulse thing. Liu Bei troops were said to be ready and organised mean that Liu Bei mind set were very clear. IMO, he was hoping to scare Wu into given JingZhou to him, but instead Wu offerred him a battle against Lu Xun.

If you said that he only wanted one big battle then retreat, he got exactly what he want already at the battle of Chang Jiang before Yiling...
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Unread postby Zhang of Yen » Mon Jun 17, 2002 6:32 pm

It was a vengince style thing. Liu Bei defintly wanted to take wu but by reading the books he also displayed the anger Cao Cao had over the massacare of his family
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Unread postby Iznoach, Legendary Dragon » Tue Jun 18, 2002 6:22 am

Zhang Liao17 wrote:From a SGYY point of view, it was purely vengeance. Liu Bei moved out with a huge army and grim determination. He wanted to take the South Land off the map like Cao Cao did with Xuzhou. The mistake Liu Bei made was relying on his own skills instead of taking a competent advisor with him. Someone who can prevent the fire trap could also help Liu Bei win at Yi-Ling. Although Liu Bei's army was larger, he still faced a very good opponent in Lu Xun. Even with Fa Zheng or Zhuge Liang it would have been a toss-up.


I don't even think that would have mattered, because he had Ma Liang with him, and he advised him well. Liu Bei just didn't listen, and he was up against a superior talent in troop management and leading.
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