Guo Jia and Fa Zheng - what if?

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Would Guo Jia and Fa Zheng have been able to reverse their lords' defeats at Chi Bi and Yi Ling

Yes, Cao would have won at Chi Bi and Liu Bei would have obtained revenge at Yi Ling
Guo Jia would have defeated Zhou Yu's ploys, but Fa Zheng could not have stopped Lu Xun.
Guo Jia was no match for Zhou Yu and Kongming, but Fa Zheng would have repeated the crushing of Shu's enemies he had led at Dingjun.
Neither Guo or Fa could have stopped the fires of Wu from destroying their enemies.
Total votes : 35

Guo Jia and Fa Zheng - what if?

Unread postby Shield of Rohan » Fri Jul 02, 2004 8:10 pm

After Cao Cao's crucial defeat at Chi Bi, Guo Jia's absense at the battle was mourned greatly. Here, Cao had missed his one chance to probably reunify China within his lifetime, and the lack of a strategist was felt. Would Guo Jia, great early advisor to Cao Cao, actually have turned the battle in favor of Lord Cao, or would he have merely been chased back to Xu Chang with the remainder of the army.

Fa Zheng's untimely passing was also mourned in Shu as Guo Jia's was in Wei. After the deaths of Guan Yu and Zhang Fei, sworn brothers to Liu Bei, Liu Bei embarked on a campaign of revenge against Sun Quan, who had been responsible for the attack on Shu in Jing. Liu Bei led a mighty army out of Cheng Du, as Cao had led one out of Xiang Yang less than 15 years ago. After giving the Wu army defeat after defeat, Liu Bei's army finally halted for rest at Yi Ling. Ma Liang was the advisor for the army, as Zhuge Liang (and Zhao Yun) had opposed the campaign and remained in Cheng Du. Lu Xun launched his attack with ease, and the Shu army was sorely beaten in its worst defeat ever. Liu Bei died soon thereafter. Would Fa Zheng, the brilliant tactician who had masterminded the campaign in Han Zhong that crushed Xiahou Yuan and almost Cao himself, have been able to deal Lu Xun's forces the final defeat, or would he have perished in the flames of Wu?
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Unread postby Shield of Rohan » Fri Jul 02, 2004 11:42 pm

...and my opinion on my own topic. I think both Guo Jia and Fa Zheng could have changed events drastically.

Guo Jia counseled Cao from his rise from a small lord to the mightiest lord on the continent. Zhou Yu's victory relied on the success of several ploys such as the use of the brothers Cai and the exposure of Cai Mao and Zhang Yun. Cao had no skilled advisor that could see through these plots, relatively simple as they were. A naval commander the capacity of Cai Mao would have aided Wei as they battled the Wu fleet. Guo Jia would have certainly also assured that Wu would not simply be able to walk over the Wei rabble to victory in battle, and it is likely he would have had movements of his own to counter Wu's naval strength.

Fa Zheng had arguably an easy victory at Han Zhong, but it was more likely not so. Han Zhong was a well-fortified city, defended by one of Wei's greatest generals, known for his skills and wisdom in battle. Zhang He aided Xiahou's defense, and Wei had its constantly-present material advantage over the comparably minute Shu army. Yet Fa Zheng guided Shu's army to victory through use of the valiant generals Yan Yan and Huang Zhong. Several Xiahou clan members fell there, and when Cao Cao brought his massive reinforcements, Fa continued on to destroy them, and very nearly Cao himself had his son, the great general Cao Zhang, not saved him. His offensive strategic capabilities were clearly some of the greatest in the Three Kingdoms, and judging by the destruction of several Wu armies before Yi Ling, Fa Zheng would just make Yi Ling the icing on the cake. Dingjun showed that Fa favored having terrain advantage, something Ma Liang did not seem to care about when he allowed Liu Bei's massive army to encamp in a dry forest in the heat of summer. Either Fa would have countered the strategy in such a way, or would have pressed the offensive and hit Lu Xun with Shu's greatest strength - valiant generals in battle. It destroyed Wei easily at Dingjun, and Wu was even less well-prepared then Wei to face a strong Shu onslaught as Shu's early victories showed. No Wu army could stop the fury of the Shu army in the campaign for revenge, and Fa Zheng would have assured this at Yi Ling
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Guo Jia - yes. Fa Zheng - no.

Unread postby ZhangBaihu » Mon Jul 05, 2004 7:17 am

Guo Jia - Yes. I think in hindsight Cao Cao blamed his defeat on failing to be more clever than the enemy. Linking his ships together and making his forces susceptible to a fire attack was very risky, but Cao only saw the potential gain of stablizing his fleet. I think this boils down to overconfidence in his massive force and underestimating Zhou Yu's forces. Guo Jia might have given Cao a chance to see through Zhou Yu's deception and not to take unecessary risks.

Fa Zheng - No. My understanding of Liu Bei's defeat at Yiling leads me to say Liu Bei's main fault at Yiling was unwielding arrogance. Consumed by vengeance, he seemed to have grown unwilling to listen to opposing views on his campaign into Wu. I am not sure if Fa Zheng, were he able to see the problems of Liu Bei's encampments in forests, would be able to convince Liu Bei to change his deployment.
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Unread postby Po Hsing » Mon Jul 05, 2004 10:44 am

Ma Liang also saw the same problem (at least in SGYY)!! That is why he went back to ZGL and asked him to look at the deployment map. Having Fa Zheng would have made no difference.

He was so bent on revenge that he didn't even listen to ZGL and Zhao Yun's advice not to invade.
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Unread postby Han Liang » Tue Jul 06, 2004 1:32 am

Guo Jia was excellent at knowing other people. He would have recognized that Huang Gai was faking disloyalty to Wu and Zhou Yu. However, I fail to see how Fa Zheng could have fazed Yuante if Zhuge wasn't able to.
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Unread postby Liu Yuante » Tue Jul 06, 2004 2:15 am

Let's remember that in history Liu Bei took over a year before launching the Yi Ling campaign; he didn't rush in full of vitriol, in a blind rage. I think that the presence of a Fa Zheng or someone with some sense might have been able to get him to fight somewhere else - as noted in a previous thread, the actual location is pretty much enclosed-space torch-bait. Bad idea to have even confronted the enemy there in the first place. I don't know if Fa Zheng could have plotted out a different advance, but it would be a start.

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Unread postby Elven Fury » Tue Jul 06, 2004 2:24 am

Guo Jia was a brilliant strategist but the "semi-team" of Zhou Yu and Zhuge Kongming wouldve out done more people than not including Guo... so i would say that not such a huge loss wouldve happaned but still a loss would have proceeed
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Unread postby Six_and_Up » Tue Jul 06, 2004 10:54 am

Neither would have made a difference. On both accounts it was terrain and weather that led to the defeat of Wei and Shu, neither was due to the 'genius' of the opposing general. And seeing how neither Guo Jia and Fa Zheng can control weather, i do not see the result of the battles changing.
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Unread postby Li Zhen » Tue Jul 06, 2004 1:04 pm

I can't really vote on this because if Chi Bi had been a victory for Cao Cao (whether due to Guo Jia still being alive or not), then there would have been no Shu, and no battle of Yi Ling. However, Cao Cao would eventually turn to Yi, and Fa Zheng may have led other good victories in Liu Zhang's defense.

If Guo Jia had not been alive to achieve a victory at Chi Bi, then Wu and Shu would eventually meet at Yi Ling 13 years later. Fa Zheng may have won Liu Bei that battle, but unlike Cao Cao at Chi Bi, there would still be many obstacles to slow their conquest of Wu.
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Unread postby LiuBeiwasGreat » Tue Jul 06, 2004 4:34 pm

I agree with six and up. Neither would have made any diffrence but that has little to do with their intelligence. Sure a fire attack is aways a threat but it is impossible to fireproof your wooden ships or your wooded incampment. It is not like they could have contructed iron fortifications or coated their ships/camp with aspestos.

Liu Bei lost because Lu Xun had a great idea. Lu Xun made two attacks upon Liu Bei's incampment, the first one was easily repelled and the second one succeded. The only mistake Liu Bei made was the position of his camp but terrain might not have allowed him to position his camp anywhere else.

Cao Cao also made few mistakes. People defected all the time, it is hard to tell when someone is faking a defection. Guo Jia was as brilliant as Xu Yu and they made a good team. Perhaps they could have figured out some way to defeat the Wu/Liu Bei navy but personally i don't think that anything could have changed that battle except for Cao Cao to send his main army over a land route and since he controlled all of Jing including the south he could have marched his forces through Chang Sha and into Yang, that would have been the safest route, this way he can aviod the navy. However Wu and Sun Quan never really showed themselves to be any real threat to Cao Cao so it would be illogical for Cao Cao to take so many steps to aviod a fire attack which had very little chance of working considering the way the winds were suppose to be blowing.
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