Camping on top of hills - good or bad?

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Unread postby Exar Kun » Fri Aug 13, 2004 7:53 pm

Rommel wrote:Ma Su.The man was obviously a brilliant advisor to Zhuge.

Can anyone tell me what advices or suggestions Ma Su gave ZGL to affect/assist or to change ZGL's plan/policy? What idea did Ma Su give to have effects on Shu?


It's mentioned that Ma Su and Zhuge would spend countless hours in the night discussing matters of strategy.I'm sure you're not suggesting that Zhuge was a dunce to be discussing strategy with someone who is a fool.

Additionally,the plan for the pacification of the Mangs,that is,taking their heart and making them surrender,was Ma Su's idea.
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Unread postby Marx!_II » Fri Aug 13, 2004 8:08 pm

Exar Kun wrote:
Rommel wrote:Ma Su.The man was obviously a brilliant advisor to Zhuge.

Can anyone tell me what advices or suggestions Ma Su gave ZGL to affect/assist or to change ZGL's plan/policy? What idea did Ma Su give to have effects on Shu?


It's mentioned that Ma Su and Zhuge would spend countless hours in the night discussing matters of strategy.I'm sure you're not suggesting that Zhuge was a dunce to be discussing strategy with someone who is a fool.

Additionally,the plan for the pacification of the Mangs,that is,taking their heart and making them surrender,was Ma Su's idea.

You mean Mans? Or is there another force?
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Unread postby robbyjo » Fri Aug 13, 2004 8:17 pm

Yes, Nanman's idea of conquering the heart was Ma Su's.

Chapter 87 wrote:While the army was advancing, there came a messenger from the court. When he appeared, Zhuge Liang saw it was Ma Su, and he was clothed in white. He was in mourning for his brother, Ma Liang, who had just died.

He said, "I come by special command of the Emperor with gifts of wine and silks for the soldiers."

When the ceremonies proper on receipt of a mandate from the Emperor had been performed, and the gifts distributed as instructed, Ma Su was asked to remain to talk over matters.

Zhuge Liang said, "I have His Majesty's command to conquer these Mangs. I hear you have some advice to offer, and I should be pleased if you would instruct me."

"Yes. I have one thing to say that may be worth thinking over. These people refuse to recognize our supremacy, because they think their country is distant and difficult. If you should overcome them today, tomorrow they would revolt. Wherever your army marches, they are overcome and submit; but the day you withdraw the army and attack Cao Pi, they will renew their attack. In arms even it is best to attack hearts rather than cities; to fight with sentiment is better than to fight with weapons. It will be well if you can win them over."

"You read my inmost thoughts," said Zhuge Liang.


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Unread postby Rommel » Mon Aug 16, 2004 2:32 pm

Exar Kun wrote:
Rommel wrote:Ma Su.The man was obviously a brilliant advisor to Zhuge.

It's mentioned that Ma Su and Zhuge would spend countless hours in the night discussing matters of strategy.I'm sure you're not suggesting that Zhuge was a dunce to be discussing strategy with someone who is a fool.

Additionally,the plan for the pacification of the Mangs,that is,taking their heart and making them surrender,was Ma Su's idea.


If it really happened ZGL should know about Ma Su pretty well. I could say that he knew about Ma Su better than anybody else. Couldn't ZGL determine what kind of person Ma Su was? I wonder what they talked about during long nights. Did they discuss the possibilities to attack Wei? any possible tactic? future plans? Did they simulate all possible military situations? What about setting up defense on flat ground without natural barriers? Was ZGL satisfied with Ma Su's answers? From Ma Su's reaction toward Wang Ping's advice in the battle of JieTing it doesn't sound to me that he willed to listen. Did Ma Su have argument with ZGL during their conversion or all "yes man" responses? For Ma Su's idea, did he provide details to advise ZGL how to win Mangs' mind? Just my curiosity. What other contributions beside this "great one" did Ma Su have to grand him the title of "brilliant advisor" to ZGL?
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Unread postby FengChu » Mon Aug 16, 2004 9:37 pm

Ma Su was a brilliant man, but he was indeed overrated by Zhuge Liang. You could say that Ma Su was sort of a "bookworm." He always followed the writings in the ancient texts and had little room for flexibility and adapation - basically, his own thoughts. It is true that Sun Zi always said "take the higher ground first" -but not under the circumstances of Jieting.

And in addition to that, Ma Su was arrogant of his military experience and his knowledge of military texts and ignored Wang Ping. Ma Su's arrogance and ignorance, just like Yuan Shao's, Lu Bu's, and countless others', led him to his death. But by any circumstances, he was not stupid or incapable.
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Unread postby LiuBeiwasGreat » Wed Aug 18, 2004 4:21 pm

Ma Su was an excellent advasor and was well versed in military tactics. like stated before he was too inflexable and a bit full of himself. I personally don't think he should have been executed for making one mistake. He could have been very useful in future campaigns esspecially after such a humbling experience as Jeiting i think he would have learned from this defeat and been a much better officer in the future a shame what a waste of talent.
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Unread postby Rommel » Wed Aug 18, 2004 7:41 pm

I agree and i feel sorry for Ma Su
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Unread postby didier » Thu Aug 19, 2004 3:58 am

Anyway, strictly answering the topics question and ignoring the specific talk about the battle of Jieting...

When you are on higher ground, especially in such days of yore, you really would hold a great advantage, provided you kept morale, and supplies. You could shoot further, see further and charge faster. The greater the steepness and height the greater the advantage. Shu used it very well in Hanzhong.

Have you guys actually ever thought about it in real physical terms?
How hard it is to run up a hill compared to down it?

I'm sure back then the soldiers knew the difference quite well.
You can't run up a hill well, you are too exhausted to fight, let alone hold your ground or formation. You also can't gain any speed to charge, nor transport or use weapons etc effectively.

On the other hand when you charge downhill, you know your enemy won't pass you going back up, coz their so tired. You can gather speed and save your energy to charge downhill on a fatigued enemy if they try to rise. You can keep formation and move together, you can fire or throw projectiles further, you can ride or roll your way down. You can cover each other if you charge into enemy camps, or if you have to retreat back up.

If you don't believe me try it! I have. Fighting uphill is near impossible. 8-)
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Unread postby melee » Fri Aug 20, 2004 8:38 am

fighting downhill is great only once you prepared well before camping on top of hill and the forces on hill must combine well with another forces.

it means that you must talk to your soliders that your force maybe surrounded by the enemies and calm down their by talking about your preparedness with reforcements.
it will effect on troop's morale then chance of success is also great.
if not,take a look over ma su in jie ting.
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Unread postby Mithel » Sat Aug 21, 2004 1:32 am

The Art of War:

Configurations of Terrain:

Sun Zi said:

"If we can go forth and the enemy can also advance, it is termed 'accessible.' "

This was true, Jieting lacked natural defenses, no hidrence to either side.

"In an accessible configuration, first occupy the heights and yang[side] and improve the routes for transporting provisions."

With the high ground present, this would have been impossible. Wang Ping was right, their water supplies were cut off, and men began suffering from thirst which lead to his downfall.

I took the above almost verbatim from another topic I posted in, it's probably more relevant here. The high ground is an excellent thing to have, if you can garuntee you won't be cut off from retreat, supplies and reenforcements. This is why Ma Su was punished at Jieting.
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