My List of the Greatest Commanders in History

macon

Ad Honorem
Aug 2015
4,003
Slovenia, EU
The biography of Zhou Yu (周瑜) in Sanguozhi (三國志) has offered the answer to your question. Zhou Yu claimed :

「諸人徒見操書,言水步八十萬,而各恐懾,不復料其虛實,便開此議,甚無謂也。今以實校之,彼所將中國人,不過十五六萬,且軍已久疲,所得表衆,亦極七八萬耳,尚懷狐疑。夫以疲病之卒,御狐疑之衆,衆數雖多,甚未足畏。得精兵五萬,自足制之,願將軍勿慮。」

His main points :

1. The army number of Cao Cao was extraordinarily overestimated. In fact, he only marshalled 150,000-160,000 troops in total from the north. Though he had additional 70,000-80,000 troops annexed from the conquest of Jianzhou, these troops’ loyalty was highly questionable.

2. The enemy troops had been exhausted already after the long and arduous march through vast territories.

3. Cao Cao could be defeated by the smaller but fresh army !

Zhou Yu also provided other arguments to support his thesis :

4. The northeners are not accustomed to naval combat, while the Jiangdong people are superbly excelled in that.

5. Cao Cao’s army will not garner enough fodders for horses due to the harsh winter.

6. Ma Chao (馬超) and Han Sui (韓遂) menaced Cao Cao at the western front, diversed the substantial proportion of Cao Cao’s military resource.

Thanks for reply. I think that Cao Cao included lots of Jiangdong naval experienced soldiery in his train together with their numerous ships. Did he really execute their top admiral or few of them, Cai Mao I think? Or is it only in Romance?
 

macon

Ad Honorem
Aug 2015
4,003
Slovenia, EU
I mean, if he has 70,000 vs 50,000 and lost, that's still a pretty damn good fight. Not everyone can pull off significant disadvantages (granted it's a bit different from your typical cases in this scenario.)

I would go with Zhou You's estimate which is still enormous. There would not be any miracle in a defeat of 70.000 exhausted and sick enemies on your terrain if having 50.000 men. It would be a routine victory for a seasoned general.
 
Jan 2015
5,529
Ontario, Canada
Thanks for reply. I think that Cao Cao included lots of Jiangdong naval experienced soldiery in his train together with their numerous ships. Did he really execute their top admiral or few of them, Cai Mao I think? Or is it only in Romance?
Not Jiangdong region, Cao Cao's fleet was from Jing province.

I would go with Zhou You's estimate which is still enormous. There would not be any miracle in a defeat of 70.000 exhausted and sick enemies on your terrain if having 50.000 men. It would be a routine victory for a seasoned general.
One wonders how Zhou Yu knew the size of Cao Cao's army. Even if he was informed by scouts they wouldn't have known any exact figures. My guess would be 100,000 at most.
 
Jul 2018
497
Hong Kong
Did he really execute their top admiral or few of them, Cai Mao I think? Or is it only in Romance?
It was fictional. there was no historical documentaries claimed that Cai Mao and Zhang Yun were executed by Cao Cao. In fact, even the fact that both of them became an admiral commanding the navy was just "fabricated". There was even no record about their year of death.

Moreover, according to the record of Xiangyang Ji (襄陽記), Cai Mao had known Cao Cao since the younger days, and Cao Cao treated him pretty well after his submission in AD 208, granted him several high-ranking posts in sequence.
 
Oct 2018
137
China
31 people in the pre-Qin Lu Shang: Jiang Taigong, the ancestor of the military, is mainly a strategist, and his deeds are untestable; Zheng Zhuang Gong Ji Shengsheng: the first hegemony of the Spring and Autumn Period, as a prince, naturally can not enter the list; Qi Yigong, Jin Wengong, Qin Mugong, Chuzhuang Wang, Yi, Fucha, Goujian, Jin Yigong: Spring and Autumn Overlord; Zhao Wei (Jian Zi), Zhao Yibi (Xunzi), Zhao Wuling Wang: the head of the family and the princes in the history of Zhao Guo; Guan Zhong, Shang Yi, Fan Zeng, and Yi: assisting the princes or the emperor's strategist; Zheng Zheng, Xiang Yu: The Emperor of the Ages and the Emperor of the Ages, can not be named; Sima Yi: During the Spring and Autumn Period, the Qi State military strategist contributed most of the thoughts of the ancient military syllabus "Sima Law", but did not record the specific record of the soldiers. Wu Cui (Wu Zixuan): The original Chu State aristocrats, followed by Wu Bing and Chu, the whip Chu Wang corpse; but the powerful battle of the Chu Chu is Sun Wu; Yu Lin's father: the Jin nationality aristocrats, quite a battle; Pang Wei: During the Warring States period, the Wei State generals, the sages and the sages, the repeated defeats, and the death and death of the name, but the achievement of the name of Sun Hao. Tian Ji: Qi Jun commander, and Wei Zheng battle, taste more than the victory; but the great merits should be attributed to Sun Hao. Gan Mao, Wang Hao, Meng Yu, Meng Wu: Qin State generals during the Warring States period, for the Qin State to attack the city, but the record is not obvious, not famous; Wei Wuji: One of the four sons of the Warring States, once led the five countries to slash the Qin; the five-nation soldier did not achieve a decisive victory, the name is big, the scene is big, the result is quite unbearable; Le Yang: General of the Wei State during the Warring States Period, took Zhongshan; the reputation is too small; Zhang Wei: General of the Qin Dynasty, defeated by Xiang Yu repeatedly, and finally surrendered. 50 people in two Han Liu Bang, Liu Che, Liu Xiu: Liu’s generations of heroes; Zhang Liang, Chen Ping: the absolute military division; Ying Bu, Peng Yue: Former Han Meng; Infant, Zhou Bo, Fan Wei: The founding fathers of the former Han Dynasty, but the record of many achievements from Han Xin, did not see their famous style; Li Ling: The grandson of Li Guang, with five thousand soldiers and directly to the Xiongnu Wang Ting, both wisdom and courage, when the nai is not good, it is the flower of the prematurely dying; Li Guangli: Former Han general, he led the troops to attack the Xiongnu many times, but the record was not good. Later, the Hanwu Emperor surrendered his son to the Xiongnu; Feng Fengshi: General Jingbian general in the late Han Dynasty, once brought many national soldiers to annihilate the Shache country, and settled the rebellion of the Daixi people. Fan Chong: one of the leaders of the Red-browed Army in the late Han Dynasty; Twenty-six people of the post-Han Yuntai twenty-eight: Deng Yu, Ma Cheng, Wu Han, Wang Liang, Jia Fu, Chen Jun, Yan, Du Mao, Yi, Fu Jun, Jian Qian, Wang Ba, Zhu You, Ren Guang, Sai Zun, Li Zhong, Jing Dan, Wan Xiu, Gai Yan, Yan, Yu, Liu Zhi, Yan Chun, Yan Gong, Ma Wu, Liu Long: Generals of the Founding of the Han Dynasty, Yuntai 28 Compared with Yan Peng and Feng Yi, they have not led the army in the battle, and the record is not obvious; Dou Rong, Lai Yu, Wang Chang: the founding general of the post-Han Dynasty; Dou Gu, Yan Bing, and Yu Gong: The Han Dynasty defended the generals of the Huns; Duan Yan: The general of the Hou Han Guardian, who broke the Xiqiao several times; Zhang Wei: The father of Cao Sheng Zhang Zhi, the general of the Han Jingbian, the vertical and horizontal Western Region, Northeast and other places; Zhu Jun, Huangfu: The general of the post-Han of the Yellow Turban Uprising.
 
Oct 2018
137
China
Cao Cao, Liu Bei, Sun Jian, Sun Ce, Sima Yi: One of the princes or the princes can not enter the list; Cao Ren, Xu Huang, Zhang Jiu, Zhang Liao, Xia Houyuan, Yu Ban, Le Jin, Chen Tai, Guo Huai: General of the Three Kingdoms Wei; the former generals were mostly under Cao Cao, and did not show the true character; the late generals were very small due to participation in the campaign. Can not enter the list. Zhuge Liang, Cheng Hao, Guo Jia, Jia Wei, Xu Wei, Pang Tong, Yi, Yu: Most of the counselors or writers; Zhuge repeatedly led the troops to fight, but the victory, the classics are not many, can not enter the list; Guan Yu, Zhang Fei, Zhao Yun, Ma Chao, Huang Zhong: The fierce battle of the Three Kingdoms Han, only the relevant feathers led the army war Wei Wu, but unfortunately defeated; Wu Sheng’s name is big, “the flooded seven army, shackled, 斩 Pound, "Wei Zhen Hua Xia", but luck is good, hit the good weather, instead of winning with the plan; Guan Yugang is self-sufficient, and finally goes to the end of the road to Maicheng; Jiang Wei: The general of the Three Kingdoms Han, the nine-cutting of the Central Plains, the wind of the national scholars, what is not allowed; Lu Su, Lu Kang: The commander of the Three Kingdoms Wu, all with the wind of the Guoshi, unable to enter the list because of the lack of military skills; Yangshuo: The Jingzhou governor of the Western Jin Dynasty, confronted with Lu Kang, quite famous, and later brought Wang Hao and Du Pre, the number is the world's Bole; Wang Wei: The main force of the Western Jin Dynasty to destroy Wu, the bamboo raft breaks the iron cone in the river, burns the river iron rope with a large oil pan, and creates a classic of water warfare; then it is self-destructive, negative gas, and the lie before the break of Wu’s head. After Sun Hao was dismissed to Luoyang by Du, the apprentice was ridiculed; after breaking Wu, although he was trapped by the king, he had been chanting to death, and he lacked the name. Tang Bin: The general of the Western Jin Dynasty, participated in the battle of destroying Wu, and did not compete with Wang Hao and Wang Hao for a good name. Ma Long: The generals of the Western Jin Dynasty, reforming the weapons, breaking the Xianbei iron ride, the tree-baked tree function, and recovering Liangzhou; unfortunately, the scale of the war is too small to be famous; Tao Xun and Yan Wen: The two ministers of the Eastern Jin Dynasty, the former used their own weight, and the latter directly plotted for a position. Wen Wei: The famous ministers of the Eastern Jin Dynasty, put out Wang Dunmou. Liu Yu: The emperor of the Song Dynasty in the Southern Dynasties, the rare emperor with both wisdom and bravery, had been attacked by the Northern Expedition, but in order to seize the position, he gave up Luoyang and returned to the South, and opened the era from Zen to killing the former royal family. Liu Jianzhi: General of the Northern Jin Dynasty in the Eastern Jin Dynasty; Wang Zhen evil: the general of the Eastern Jin Dynasty, the grandson of Wang Meng, the strange attack on Jiangling, the destruction of Liu Yi, and Liu Yu with Chang Yu, after the death of Qin; Shen Yuzhi: General of the Southern Song Dynasty; Shen Qingzhi: the famous minister of the Southern Song Dynasty; Wang Xuanzang: General of the Southern Song Dynasty; Liu Yuan: The founder of the Xiongnu Han country of the Sixteen Kingdoms, the first minority government in the Central Plains; Liu Wei: Zhao founder before the Sixteen Kingdoms, Liu Yuanzi; Shile: After the Sixteen Kingdoms, the founder of Zhao, from the slaves to the generals, later known as the emperor, almost unified North China; Zhang Bin: The owner of Shile Shi Hu: After the Sixteen Kingdoms, Emperor Zhao, the brother of Shile; 冉闵: The Sixteen Kingdoms, Wei Wei, Wu Tianwang, Reigning Overlord; Qi Jian: Before the Sixteen Kingdoms, the Qin Emperor unified the north of China, but in the battle of Lishui, the former Qin Empire collapsed; Wang Meng: The owner of Yan Jian; Yao Wei: After the Sixteen Kingdoms, the Qin Kaiguo monarch; Lu Guang: The founder of the Sixteen Kingdoms after the cool; Helian Bob: The founder of Hu Xia of the Sixteen States, formerly known as Liu Bobo; Murong Yu: The leader of the rise of Murong Xianbei; Murong Yu: Emperor Yan Kaiguo before the Sixteen Kingdoms; Murong Chui: After the Sixteen Kingdoms, the emperor of Yan Kaiguo, formerly known as Murong Pa, used soldiers as gods; Murong Han: the former Yan generals; Tuoba: the founder of the Northern Wei Dynasty; Tuoba: Northern Wei Dynasty Northern Wu Emperor; Cui Hao: Tuoba’s owner; Yang Dayan: General of the Northern Wei Dynasty, Guan Zhangzhi; Murong Baixuan: General of the Northern Wei Dynasty, after Murong Xianbei; Murong Shaozong: Northern Wei, Eastern Wei General, Murong Yu; Er Zhurong: At the end of the Northern Wei Dynasty; Gao Huan: Founder of the Eastern Wei Dynasty in the Northern Dynasties; Gao Wei Cao: General of the Eastern Wei Dynasty; Yu Wentai: the founder of the Western Wei Dynasty; Wang Sizheng: General of the Western Wei Dynasty in the Western Dynasties; Xiao Daocheng: the founding monarch of the Southern Dynasties; Yu Wenzhao: Emperor Wu of the Northern Dynasty; Yu Jin: General of the Northern Wei, Western Wei and Northern Zhou Dynasty; Yuan Ying: General of the Northern Wei Dynasty; Xue Andu: General of the Southern Song Dynasty, who participated in the Northern Expedition of Liu Yilong; Hou Jing: The famous rebel, first cast the North Weier Zhu Rong, later cast the Eastern Wei Gao Huan, and then led the Ministry to cast a beam, rebel, was killed by Chen Baxian, Wang Yu argued; Cao Jingzong: General of the Southern Dynasties Liang, who is addicted to alcohol, often publicly robs the people; Chen Baxian: the founding monarch of the Southern Dynasty; Wang Yu argues: the general of Liang Zhi of the Southern Dynasties, the chaos of Zeng Ping Hou Jing; Hou Andu: General of the Southern Dynasty Chen Zhi; Xiao Mozhen: General of the Southern Dynasty, Chen Zhi, known as Guan Yu II; Sui and Tang Dynasties 61 people
 
Oct 2018
137
China
Yang Jian, Li Yuan, Li Shimin: three male masters; Han Yuhu, He Ruojun, Shi Wansui: Da Yu Meng will participate in breaking Chen; the strategy is not obvious, and the self-destruction; Yang Su: Daxie Meng, participated in many battles in the opening of the country; likes to play with right and wrong, fight against dissidents, no name will be temperament; Chang Sunbiao: The main deeds - the first person of Daxie Zhimou, splitting the Turkic Empire into the east and the west, not only affecting Chinese history, but also affecting world history; reasons for falling off - not participating in the command of a large-scale campaign, the record is not obvious;
 
Oct 2018
137
China
Li Mi, Wang Shichong, Dou Jiande, Du Fuwei, Liu Heilian: the anti-king of the kings at the end of the road; Chai Shao, Cheng Zhijie, Guo Yuanzhen, Ashi Nasheer, Cheng Wuting, Duan Xiushi, Duan Zhixuan, Xue Wanjun, Xue Wanche, Guo Xiaoyu, Black Tooth Changzhi, Li Baoyu, Li Baozhen, Li Xiaogong, Li Daozong, Li Guangyan, Li Wei, Li Jinzhong, Li Yiye, Servant Wynne, Qi Hehe, Yi, Nan Yunyun, Yan Shide, Ma Wei, Qin Shubao, Qu Tutong, Tang Xiuyi, Wang Fangyi, Wang Sili, Wang Xiaojie, Wei Wei, Xue Ne, Xue Rengui, Yu Chi Jingde, Lost in thought: Datang Meng will; Hou Junji, Wang Junku: Datang Meng, who participated in the rebellion; Feng Changqing, Ge Shuhan: Datang Meng will participate in the peace of Anping; the former gave death before the battle, and the latter was attacked by the enemy;
 
Oct 2018
137
China
Wang Xuance: The Tang Dynasty envoys, who sent the Scorpio, borrowed 7,000 Nepalese cavalry to break 30,000 Indian soldiers, and broke the elephant soldiers with the fire ox, creating a miracle in military history; too few deeds were made, and they were not played after returning home. It is a pity; Zhang Xun and Xu Yuan: The famous generals of the Tang Dynasty defending the city, in the chaos of An Shi, had repeatedly won the battle of defending the city; the plan was more than enough, so cruel, so that the people in the city could not get the loss; Zhang Renyuan: Wu Zetian is a famous general, Wenwu Shuangquan, once a prime minister, repeatedly defeated the East Turkistan, and built a city in the Turkic territory, is also a good side; Huang Chao: the leader of the uprising army at the end of the Tang Dynasty; Yan Yuqing, Yan Zhenqing: Tang famous Wenchen Five generations, ten countries, two Songs, 44 people Li Ke used: the generals of the late Tang Dynasty, Jin Wang, participated in the annihilation of the Huang Chao Uprising Army, and fought against Zhu Wen; Zhu Wen: The emperor of the founding father of Liang Liang was insidious and deceitful. Liu Wei: The general of the back beam, known as "one hundred steps"; Wang Yanzhang: The general of the back beam, known as the iron gun, legend that its martial arts is second only to Li Cunxiao; Li Cunxin: Hou Tangzong, the son of Li Ke; Li Yuyuan: After the Tang Emperor Mingzong, Li Ke used the adopted son; Li Zhaozhao, Li Cunjue, Li Cunxiao: General of the Tang Dynasty, Li Ke used the adopted son, and was known as the Thirteen Taibao, especially Li Cunxiao, who claimed to be the resurrection of the Overlord; and Li Cunju once broke the Khitan cavalry; Guo Chongxi: After the great general of the Tang Dynasty, he repeatedly tried to help Li Cunxin to destroy the back beam, and the Counselor said that the Prince was in front of him; Zhou Dewei: After the Tang Dynasty generals, there are brave and conscientious, and they have made a lot of contributions in the Jinliang War. Yang Xingmi: the actual pioneer of the Five Kingdoms and Ten Countries in Central and South Wu; Guo Wei: After the week, Taizu; Chai Rong: After Zhou Shizong, Guo Wei's son, when he recovered Yanyun 16th State, he died of illness, sigh! Cheap Zhao Wei. Fu Yanqing: After the week, the Northern Song Dynasty general; Zhao Wei: The founding emperor of the Northern Song Dynasty; Cao Bin: The first general of the founding of the Northern Song Dynasty, the battle was quite strong; the civil war was general, the foreign war was a layman, and he was defeated by the hand of Qidan; Pan Mei: The famous Pan Renmei, the general of the founding of the Northern Song Dynasty; Shi Shouxin, Gao Huaide: the founding general of the Northern Song Dynasty; Yang Ye, Yang Yanzhao: the founding general of the Northern Song Dynasty, the demon of the deceased; although the fame is big, they are all touted by the novels of the classics; Fan Zhongyan: A famous minister of the Northern Song Dynasty, who has a new policy of Qingli, once worked as a Jingbian strategy; Wang Yanchao: Minister of the Northern Song Dynasty; Di Qing: In the middle of the Northern Song Dynasty, there was a fierce battle; Kind of teacher, earthly balance: Jingbian generals in the late Northern Song Dynasty; Li Gang, Zong Ze, Han Qi: Northern Song Dynasty anti-gold generals; Liu Wei: Anti-Golden General of the Southern Song Dynasty; Wang Yan: Anti-Golden General of the Southern Song Dynasty, the founder of the Eight-Word Army; Yun Yunwen: The Southern Song Dynasty’s anti-Golden minister, commanding the quarrying battle to repel the Dujiang Jinbing; this battle is certainly the only battle in the Southern Song Dynasty to defeat the Jin Bing, but the scale is very small, not enough to be the capital of the ranks of the generals; Yue Fei, Han Shizhong, Liu Guangshi, Zhang Jun: The Southern Song Dynasty Zhongxing four will have had anti-Golden meritorious service; Yue Fei’s record can not be tested, and the ruling and the opposition have touted it too much; Han Shizhong is also lacking in record; Liu Guangshi is not guaranteed in the evening, resulting in Huaixi Mutiny; Zhang Jun is too greedy for money, not worthy of being a famous; Zhang Wei: Minister of the Southern Song Dynasty, who lost in the Northern Expedition; Wu Hao and Wu Hao: the anti-Golden general of the Southern Song Dynasty, also the Sichuan warlord who is self-respecting; Meng Zongzheng, Meng Yu: anti-gold, Mongolian generals; Wen Tianxiang and Zhang Shijie: "Three Songs of Song and Death".
 

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