Friday, May 30, 2008

Romance of the Three Kingdoms – Part III

Interlude

The Battle of Red Cliff 赤壁之戰


Following Wang Yun’s successful 美人計 No Man May Pass the Hall of Beauties strategem, the irresistible synergistic combination of Dong Zhuo and Lu Bu was torn asunder. Dong Zhuo’s death at the hands of Lu Bu and his conspirators, led to a civil war within Dong Zhuo’s faction. The resulting power vacuum within the Han capital was quickly seized by Cao Cao, who took control of the Han Capital and proclaimed himself as Imperial Chancellor of Han, bestowing upon him immeasurable power over the remnants of the Imperial Han Government.

Within a span of less than a decade after taking control of the Han Capital, Cao Cao successfully unified northern China by vanquishing enemies including Lu Bu, Yuan Shao, Yuan Shu and Liu Biao. Cao Cao then turned his ambitions towards Southern China in his attempt to reunite China with infantry numbering approximately 240,000 men.

However, he faced two main nemesis in his attempts to conquer Southern China.

The warlord Sun Quan controlled the river east of the Yangtze river and the southeastern territories abutting it. He assigned his most able commanders including Zhou Yu, Cheng Pu and Lu Su to command 30,000 seasoned marines to meet Cao Cao’s hordes.

Liu Bei, now based Xiakou sealed an alliance with Sun Quan and sent 20,000 marines, led by Zhuge Liang to combine with Sun Quan’s army. The alliance of Sun Quan and Liu Bei had 50,000 men against the 240,000 led by Cao Cao.

So, the stage was set for the Battle of Red Cliff. And what was at stake?

For Cao Cao, success would mean he would be able to reunite the whole of China and eliminate his two main rivals before they became entrenched in their respective positions. If successful, Cao Cao and his descendants would be able to re-establish the Han Dynasty or dethrone the Han Rulers and place himself and his future successors as the emperors of China.

If Sun Quan and Liu Bei were successful, they would maintain control over the Yangtze river. This would provide a natural line of defense that would give them time to consolidate their respective territories. Thus, they would be able to prevent or prolong the period taken by the Wei Kingdom, led by Cao Cao to reunite China.

With a numerical superiority of almost 5:1, seasoned infantry, capable military commanders and fresh from the euphoria of a highly successful northern campaign, Cao Cao possessed immense advantages. Further, he had the moral and legal right to assume control over Southern China as he was the current Imperial Chancellor of Han.

Could the alliance of Sun Quan and Liu Bei resist the overpowering northern army of the Wei Kingdom led by Cao Cao? Or would Cao Cao reign victorious? We shall see how this decisive battle unfolds, in future posts.

6 comments:

Anonymous

Dear Avatar,

Let the battle begin. Could it be one of the classic Brains vs Brawn? Hope your next posting will tell.

You mentioned previously, you could actually download the ROTK from the web? Please can you post the web link?

Thank you,

Avatar

Can you let me have your e-mail? Please send your e-mail address to my direct e-mail (available from the profile section).

I'll post it to you. I have to warn you though, that it's pretty lengthy (like over 2,000 pages long).

:)

Andrew Chua

how did you get the map? issit a screenshot of a game? which game issit?

and can you send me the link to the ROTK too?

btw, great pre-battle commentary... :)

Avatar

Dear Andrew,

It's from Koei's War Simulation series. Currently, the latest version is ROTK XI PC. Available both in English and Chinese.

Rgds

Andrew Chua

i just went to the koei website... it was launched only on 9/9/08 in the US... u playing it already?

Avatar

Dear Andrew,

Yes. Unfortunately, without the expansion kit (know as the Power Up Kit, PUK for short), the game is not as interesting.

If you can read Chinese characters, it would be better to get the Chinese version with the PUK. That's been out for a few years already.

Rgds

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