Jiang Wan's plan

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Jiang Wan's plan

Unread postby Lady Wu » Sun Oct 26, 2003 12:17 am

From Jiang Wan's SGZ biography:

Wan, considering Zhuge Liang's failure to take Qinchuan due to the difficulty of the terrain, decided that it would be better to take the water route and hit eastward. Thus he had many boats constructed, and got ready to attack Weixing and Shangyong via the Han and Mian rivers. However, right then, an old disease relapsed and he was unable to set off on time. At the same time, many held the opinion that this wasn't the best plan since it would be difficult to retreat if victory was not gained swiftly.

And so, Liu Shan sent Fei Yi and Jiang Wei to talk him out of it. Jiang Wan complied, and so instead, Jiang Wan recommended Jiang Wei to subdue the Northwest (the Qiang tribes) while he prepared reinforcements at Pei city.

Of course, with hindsight we know that Jiang Wei's northern campaigns were nothing but a series of disaster (more or less), and it's only natural to vote for Jiang Wan's plan and see how it fares. However, did Jiang Wan deserve his Commander-in-Chief rank and his plan have a goodchance of success, or were the others right in talking him out of it?
Last edited by Lady Wu on Mon Oct 27, 2003 9:02 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread postby Exar Kun » Sun Oct 26, 2003 2:24 am

I think that Jiang Wan's plan didn't have much of a shot.The retreating problem obviously is one that needs to be watched but also Jiang Wan did have the kind of talent to carry out so bold a plan.You'd need a very skilled commander to handle an amphibious assault especially given that Shu was not a kingdom big on water attacks.
Jiang Wan was probably not this commander they needed.
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Unread postby Yorak » Sun Oct 26, 2003 10:09 pm

You know, I always wondered why Wu didn't try the route of naval invasion instead of constantly attacking Hefei. They had ships, they had skilled naval commanders. Why didn't they head up the coast and attack Wei from the side?
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Unread postby Lady Wu » Mon Oct 27, 2003 9:06 am

Yorak wrote:You know, I always wondered why Wu didn't try the route of naval invasion instead of constantly attacking Hefei. They had ships, they had skilled naval commanders. Why didn't they head up the coast and attack Wei from the side?

Probably because then they'd be heading upstream and would not be able to launch a surprise attack (since they'd be going more slowly), and also fightly upstream is generally a tricky business...

Is this also the reasoning behind why Jiang Wan's plan doesn't work well for retreating? (I had no idea before why retreating was a problem...) That they couldn't speedily get to a place of safety because they'd be going upstream when coming home?
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Unread postby Danktrees » Fri Oct 31, 2003 3:00 am

i think it could have worked if carried out properly. if they were fighting on water, shu would probably have more experience than wei cuz northerners dont realyl fight on water. but if they fight on land it'd be even maybe...depending on the direction of the generals. if they needed to retreat from land they hop on a boat and go. i doubt wei would case them too hard since they arent really adapted to water. plus wei would not have been expecting a water attack. ever since shu was established they were attacked by land from the east viat ba then han zhong. never were they attacked from water. and since they wont be expecting it a quick strike should crush em. military text says do the unexpected and i highly doubt that wei would have seen a water attack coming.
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Unread postby Jiang Xun » Fri Oct 31, 2003 3:52 am

I think it could have worked. I mean Cao Cao, and a few others who's name escapes me right now, said that if their troops were cornered by a river, that they would fight twice as hard, so not to be forced into the river itself.
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Re: Jiang Wan's plan

Unread postby jiuwan » Sat Nov 01, 2003 6:00 am

Lady Wu wrote:Of course, with hindsight we know that Jiang Wei's northern campaigns were nothing but a series of disaster (more or less), and it's only natural to vote for Jiang Wan's plan and see how it fares. However, did Jiang Wan deserve his Commander-in-Chief rank and his plan have a goodchance of success, or were the others right in talking him out of it?


Although Jiang Wei's campaigns were failures, they were the safest for Shu to laugh an attack from. After the lost of the Jing Zhou region, Han Zhong became the only place suitable for launching an attack into Wei.

Although attacking via land from Han Zhong to Chang An to Luo Yang was long and arduous, it was the safer way for retreating. If they attack via the Han river, they would be deep into enemy territory with very low escape possibilites. Even transporting supplies via Han river may seem easy, where would the supplies be stationed? Would they bring it along with the main army to battle?

The best chance was the Guan Yu route. When Shu still have controll of most of Jing Zhou, they were able to strike into the hearts of Wei quickly. Hence Cao Cao contemplated moving the capital when Guan Yu invaded. Also, if Shu still had Jing Zhou when Jiang Wan proposed the water route, it would be excellent. Not only can they set out from Han Zhong, but they can be reinforced from the Jing Zhou region.

But, alas, Sun Quan couldn't be trusted. Even when Shu was about to fall he wanted to sink his greedy squared jaws into Shu :cry:
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Re: Jiang Wan's plan

Unread postby TheGreatNads » Sun Nov 02, 2003 2:59 am

jiuwan wrote:But, alas, Sun Quan couldn't be trusted. Even when Shu was about to fall he wanted to sink his greedy squared jaws into Shu :cry:


:? You mean it would be better if he let Wei have the lands?
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Unread postby Lance » Sun Nov 02, 2003 3:08 am

I've already debated the whole Jingzhou debacle too many times to count, and am currently not up to reviving that debate.....but anyways, on-topic.....I think Jiang Wan's plan had some merit, but could too easily go VERY badly to be effective. if Shu loses, it could fall then and there, because retreat would be very difficult. It could very easily turn into another Yi-Ling, with mass casualties in battle amplified by countless deaths due to lack of a quick escape route, and at any point beyond the loss of Jing, 1 Yi-Ling was bad enough, but a 2nd would result in Shu's fall. I believe that's the genius of Zhuge Liang's campaigns, he was certain to get out of there when things started turning bad. Sure, he very possibly missed some chances, but he knew Shu couldn't survive a massive loss of men and supplies. Well.....that was quite a ramble....bottom line:If Jiang Wan's plan works, then Shu profits big.....but if it doesn't....Shu goes bye-bye.
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Unread postby Zhilong » Mon Nov 03, 2003 11:30 am

Even if they could beat a safe retreat i doubt they would have achieved much. The element of surprise may have reaped some rewards but Wei has shown time and again that their simple strategy of blocking the attacker and making them run out of supplies was not easily overcome.

The relatively less ambitious plan of taking the more immediate yong & liang provinces would have been preferable, for which i don't believe the river attack route would have played much of a role... unless they use it as a feint to lure the troops out of their real target.
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