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Eastern Wu campaign against Cao Wei (241)

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Eastern Wu campaign against Cao Wei (241)

Eastern Wu campaign against Cao Wei
Part of the wars of the Three Kingdoms period
Date Fourth–sixth lunar months of 241
Location Shou County, Lu'an, Anhui;
Fancheng and Xiangzhou districts, Xiangyang, Hubei, China
Result Cao Wei victory
Belligerents
Cao Wei Eastern Wu
Commanders and leaders
Sima Yi
Wang Ling
Sun Li
Hu Zhi
Sun Quan
Quan Cong
Zhuge Ke
Zhu Ran
Zhuge Jin

The Eastern Wu campaign against Cao Wei was a military offensive launched in 241 by the state of Eastern Wu against its rival state, Cao Wei, during the Three Kingdoms period in China. The campaign was initiated by Wu's founding emperor, Sun Quan, two years after the death of the second Wei emperor, Cao Rui. The campaign ended in overall failure.

Contents

  • Opening moves 1
  • The campaign 2
  • Aftermath 3
  • References 4

Opening moves

In the spring of 241, when Sun Quan was preparing for an offensive on Wei, Yin Zha (殷札), the Administrator of the Wu-controlled Lingling Commandery (零陵郡; present-day Lingling District, Yongzhou, Hunan), advised him to attack Wei in coordination with Wu's ally state, Shu Han. According to Yin Zha's suggested plan, the Shu forces would attack Wei from the west of Chang'an, while the Wu forces would attack Wei from three directions: Zhuge Jin and Zhu Ran to attack Xiangyang Commandery (襄陽郡; present-day Xiangyang, Hubei); Lu Xun and Zhu Huan to attack Shouchun Commandery (壽春郡; present-day Shou County, Lu'an, Anhui); Sun Quan to attack the Huaiyang (淮陽) region and enter Xu Province. Yin Zha explained that this coordinated campaign would wear down Wei's defences because they were unable to fend off attacks from different fronts. However, Sun Quan did not follow his plan.[1]

The campaign

In the fourth lunar month, Wu forces attacked Wei at four different locations: Quan Cong attacked the Huainan region and clashed with Wei forces at Quebei (芍陂; south of present-day Shou County, Lu'an, Anhui); Zhuge Ke attacked Lu'an; Zhu Ran attacked Fancheng (樊城; present-day Fancheng District, Xiangyang, Hubei); Zhuge Jin attacked Zuzhong (柤中; in present-day Xiangyang, Hubei). On the Wei side, Wang Ling and Sun Li led troops to resist Quan Cong at Quebei, defeated him, and drove him back. Hu Zhi (胡質) also led lightly-armed forces from Jing Province to reinforce Fancheng. Someone warned Hu Zhi that the Wu forces attacking Fancheng had superiority in numbers and advised him to refrain from resisting them. However, Hu Zhi said, "The defences at Fancheng are weak. We should advance there to reinforce them, or else there will be big trouble." Having said that, he led his troops to Fancheng and restored stability in Fancheng.[2]

Even after Hu Zhi reinforced Fancheng, the Wu forces did not withdraw from Jing Province. The Wei regent Sima Yi heard about it and requested for permission to further strengthen the defences at Fancheng because he foresaw that the loss of Fancheng would place Wei in a dangerous position. In the sixth lunar month, when the Wu forces received news of Sima Yi's arrival at Fancheng, they retreated at night but Sima Yi ordered his troops to give chase. The Wei forces caught up with the Wu forces at Sanzhoukou (三州口; at the intersection of the Bai, Tang and Han rivers in present-day Xiangzhou District, Xiangyang, Hubei), defeated them, and returned.[3]

Aftermath

Lü Ju, Lü Fan's son, was promoted to the position of Lieutenant-General (偏將軍) for his contributions in the campaign.[4]

In the intercalary month, Zhuge Jin died and his marquis title was passed on to his son, Zhuge Rong (諸葛融), who also inherited his father's military appointment and was stationed at Gong'an (公安; present-day Gong'an County, Jingzhou, Hubei). Zhuge Jin's title was not passed on to his eldest son, Zhuge Ke, because the latter already held a marquis title of his own.[5] Two years later, in 243, Zhuge Ke sent spies to scout the strategic locations in Shouchun Commandery (壽春郡; present-day Shou County, Lu'an, Anhui) in preparation for an attack on the commandery. Sima Yi led troops to Shu County (舒縣; present-day Shucheng County, Lu'an, Anhui) as a defensive move against Zhuge Ke. Sun Quan eventually had Zhuge Ke relocated to Chaisang Commandery (柴桑郡; near present-day Jiujiang, Jiangxi).[6]

After successfully repelling the Wu invasion, the Wei imperial court wanted to promote agriculture and build up an abundant stockpile of food supplies in Yang and Yu provinces in preparation for a future campaign against Wu. Deng Ai was sent to survey the lands in the Huainan region from Chen Commandery (陳郡; around present-day Zhoukou, Henan) east to Shouchun Commandery, and he proposed constructing a series of canals to irrigate the lands. Sima Yi approved Deng Ai's plan. The project commenced in the following year and helped to resolve not only food shortages but also flooding problems once it was in place.[7]

References

  1. ^ (春,吳人將伐魏。零陵太守殷札言於吳主曰:「今天棄曹氏,喪誅累見,虎爭之際而幼童涖事。陛下身自御戎,取亂侮亡,宜滌荊、揚之地,舉強羸之數,使強者執戟,羸者轉運。西命益州,軍于隴右,授諸葛瑾、朱然大衆,直指襄陽,陸遜、朱桓別征壽春,大駕入淮陽,歷青、徐。襄陽、壽春,困於受敵,長安以西,務禦蜀軍,許、洛之衆,勢必分離,掎角並進,民必內應。將帥對向,或失便宜,一軍敗績,則三軍離心;便當秣馬脂車,陵蹈城邑,乘勝逐北,以定華夏。若不悉軍動衆,循前輕舉,則不足大用,易於屢退,民疲威消,時往力竭,非上策也。」吳主不能用。) Zizhi Tongjian vol. 74.
  2. ^ (夏,四月,吳全琮略淮南,決芍陂,諸葛恪攻六安,朱然圍樊,諸葛瑾攻柤中。征東將軍王淩、揚州刺史孫禮與全琮戰於芍陂,琮敗走。荊州刺史胡質以輕兵救樊,或曰:「賊盛,不可迫。」質曰:「樊城卑兵少,故當進軍為之外援,不然,危矣。」遂勒兵臨圍,城中乃安。) Zizhi Tongjian vol. 74.
  3. ^ (吳兵猶在荊州,太傅懿曰:「柤中民夷十萬,隔在水南,流離無主,樊城被攻,歷月不解,此危事也,請自討之。」六月,太傅懿督諸軍救樊;吳軍聞之,夜遁,追至三州口,大獲而還。) Zizhi Tongjian vol. 74.
  4. ^ (朱然攻樊,據與朱異破城外圍,還拜偏將軍,入補馬閑右部督,遷越騎校尉。) Sanguozhi vol. 56.
  5. ^ (閏月,吳大將軍諸葛瑾卒。瑾太子恪先已封侯,吳主以恪弟融襲爵,攝兵業,駐公安。) Zizhi Tongjian vol. 74.
  6. ^ (吳諸葛恪遠遣諜人觀相徑要,欲圖壽春。太傅懿將兵入舒,欲以攻恪,吳主徙恪屯於柴桑。) Zizhi Tongjian vol. 74.
  7. ^ (朝廷欲廣田畜穀於揚、豫之間,使尚書郎汝南鄧艾行陳、項以東至壽春。艾以為:「昔太祖破黃巾,因為屯田,積穀許都以制四方。今三隅已定,事在淮南,每大軍出征,運兵過半,功費巨億。陳、蔡之間,土下田良,可省許昌左右諸稻田,幷水東下,令淮北二萬人,淮南三萬人,什二分休,常有四萬人且田且守;益開河渠以增溉灌,通漕運。計除衆費,歲完五百萬斛以為軍資,六、七年間,可積二千萬斛於淮上,此則十萬之衆五年食也。以此乘吳,無不克矣。」太傅懿善之。是歲,始開廣漕渠,每東南有事,大興軍衆,汎舟而下,達于江、淮,資食有儲而無水害。) Zizhi Tongjian vol. 74.
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