Chapter 245 – Battle To Reclaim Shouchun
Chapter 245 – Battle To Reclaim Shouchun
The Fledgling Phoenix’s suggestion to Liu Bei is very good. However in Fort Wan, Jia Xu, a figure that can be said to be comparable to Fledgling Phoenix, just keep silent almost saying nothing to Zhang Xiu. Since his lord failed surrender to Cao Cao, he become a lot silent. He is afraid that Zhang Xiu will blame him again and again. To surrender to Cao Cao is his idea, using Zhang Xiu’s aunt to gain Cao Cao’s trust also his idea, those ideas will be forever associated with Jia Xu. So in order for Zhang Xiu not to throw him out, Jia Xu just stay silent. Even he knew that this is a bad idea allying with Liu Bei, he will kept silent. While Liu Bei and Fledgling Phoenix is still dreamy about the what-if future, a bad news come!!! The news is Guan Yu lost Shouchun!!! With the next sentence, shocked everyone. Entire Shouchun was emptied, everyone escaped in just one day.
“HOW CAN THAT BE, MY SECOND BROTHER? LOSE?!” Liu Bei shocked and held his grip on the scout’s shoulders. His second brother Guan Yu Guan Yunchang is a rare talent. His skill with martial arts is unbeatable and his guandao skill is unmatched in this nation. Guan Yu’s skill in martial arts is actually one level below Zhang Fei but Liu Bei commended him a lot because he can command soldiers and can assume heavy responsibility. In historical timeline, Liu Bei even assigned him to guard Jing Province, even though the last fate is to die in Maicheng and lost Jing Province, but no one can deny that Guan Yu’s ability as a soldier is very strong. And another plus point for Guan Yu is he is well-read. A not well-read general is not as dangerous as well-read general. Guan Yu can be said to have the prowess of Xiang Yu who can match thousands of enemies, however he also read Sun Tzu and studied military tactics, which make him even more dangerous.
Guan Yu’s subordinates are 10,000 Qing Province Soldier elites. Also the place that was attacked is South Gate that can be said is very strategic for defending. How can he lose with that kind of advantage? This is similar when that Prince of Shu Liu Mang stopped 100,000 troops of Sun Ce army. And now the attacker is Lu Bu army, how many troops can Lu Bu send to attack Shouchun? 10,000 troops? 20,000 troops? Thought Liu Bei, trying to analyze the situation. “Right now, where is General Guan?!” Pang Tong inquired, his brow knitted tightly. Pang Tong is very sure that with only 30,000 soldiers, no one can break any city. Pang Tong also calculated all of Liu Mang’s subordinates. His unit only comprised of 10,000 + naval units, 3000 Urban Army, 3000 Black Flag and added again from job advertisement in Hefei, at most it increased Liu Mang’s troops to another 10,000 troops bringing a total of approximately 30,000 troops.
30,000 mixed troops vs 10,000 elite troops who defend strategic places. It can still lose, but it will at least take minimum 10 – 14 days. Hell, if like this, even a pig can defend a city. Yes, in Shouchun there is almost nothing left, but everything was provisioned by Pang Tong in order to defend against Lu Bu army. Pang Tong ordered for Guan Yu to maintain stubborn defense and even gave almost all of arrows to Guan Yu!!! But right now, the city is lost to them. The scout then continues “Second General is returning to our headquarters now. He is leading 10,000 elite troops and not take enough provisions, therefore his speed is very slow!!!” The scout is replying while huffing and puffing toward Liu Bei and Pang Tong.
“10,000 troops?!” Said Liu Bei while stunned. Currently Guan Yu is leading 10,000 troops. What does this mean? It means, that Guan Yu just give up the city instead of defending it. If not, how can 10,000 troops roster can be still intact? “Impossible, how can that be? How can second brother give like that?!” Liu Bei said it in angry tone. If the city is truly broken and had casualties like usual, he will worry about Guan Yu’s safety. But now, he showed hateful face toward Pang Tong. It is his stratagem for Guan Yu to be stationed in Shouchun and make him to defend Shouchun. After Shouchun has been occupied, Pang Tong will prepare for his next stratagem to sweep Yang Province with Shouchun as its bridgehead. This is also in order to defend the assault from Lu Bu army from Yingshang Commandery and Huai River.
However now, Guan Yu, before those Pang Tong’s planning fulfilled, suddenly throw up towel and gave up Shouchun. Pang Tong really cannot understand what is Guan Yu thinking, so he did not speak at all and also he is afraid of Liu Bei’s glare just now. Even though he is respected by Liu Bei, and he even called him “Master”. He is an outsider who not long ago joined Liu Bei army and currently is not good to badmouth him. While they are still lost in thought, suddenly there are voiced outside the main hall “Second general, please wait, please wait!!!!” That is a voice of an officer who is trying to stop his general, but he was shoved aside by him. The general who just came in is wearing a green battle-dress, and his face is reddish. Also his beard is long and beautiful, his hand is holding guandao. “Second brother?!” Liu Bei stunned and Pang Tong quickly stood from their seat. Is not this the Guan Yu Guan Yunchang that they just discussed a moment ago?! Guan Yu addressed Liu Bei “Big bro!!!” Then he knelt down “Big bro, Guan Yu failed you, Guan Yu lost Shouchun!!! Please big bro punish Yu!” Said Guan Yu while wearing ashamed expression in front of Liu Bei.
Several officers also quickly knelt down toward Liu Bei and said “We disappoint Milord. Please punish us Milord!!!!” They are all requesting punishment same like Guan Yu for they are Guan Yu’s officers. “Oh, second brother!!! You came back is already good!!!” Said Liu Bei with kind tone. Liu Bei is really worthy as one of the person who aspire to obtain a nation. He is able to delve into his troops psyche’s. If other lord suffers defeat, they will asked the cause and will punish their generals almost immediately, while Liu Bei is thanking for Guan Yu and his soldiers safety first. “Come get up first, let big bro tend to you!!!” Said Liu Bei while holding Guan Yu’s hand. Out of Peach Garden Three Brothers (TN: Three Gays is much more plausible), Liu Bei is the most motherly and can made Guan Yu and Zhang Fei felt pleasant warmth from him. If other person see this kind of relationship, they will question their sexual preference but because it is between brothers, it is no problem. “Oh, big bro!!!” Sighed Guan Yu in his heart. Seeing Liu Bei cared for him, made Guan Yu’s heart feel more bitter and guilty.
“Second general, how can Shouchun fall?!” Pang Tong inquired. Liu Bei just stay silent on that matter, but when Pang Tong said that he reprimanded him “Master Pang, my brother Yunchang is tired. Let him rest first, and then we inquire!!!” But while saying that to Pang Tong, one of his eyes, kept its sight toward Guan Yu. He, more than anyone, want to know how Shouchun is. Guan Yu who understand his big bro’s signal said “Big bro!!! Please let Guan Yu report first!!!” Guan Yu then released his arm that was supported by Liu Bei and changed into his deputy who helped him to support his body. Guan Yu then began his report.
“Big bro, Yu did not give up on Shouchun. But Shouchun itself is rendered to be undefendable!!!” Guan Yu said those words with bitter tone. Since he followed Liu Bei, he had been fighting at least 100 battles. From Yellow Turban Rebellion to Dong Zhuo’s Uprising, everywhere got Guan Yu Guan Yunchang as one of the towering figure. One of the reason that Guan Yu was called Saint of War, is because Guan Yu had martial arts skill as well he is good in understanding soldiers and commanding them. So, when that Prince of Shu Liu Mang dispatch troops from Hefei to attack Shouchun, Guan Yu was not worried even a bit. He had 10,000 Qing Province soldier, he is defending a strategic place. So, Guan Yu can be said to underestimate this Prince of Shu Liu Mang a big time. From the very start, Guan Yu has been observing Liu Mang a lot since the first time he saw him at Kaiyang. When Liu Mang heavily insulted Cao Cao, he is rated excellent by Guan Yu. Later, when Lu Bu army left Xu Province, he heard about a battle in Mt. Bagong. He is more impressed toward him as Prince of Shu had the ability to command soldier and Liu Mang finally emerge after that defensive battle of Wancheng city. But what about it? Right now Guan Yu is defending Shouchun, and this Shouchun will not break unless it was attacked by 50,000 troops. Guan Yu then quickly prepared Shouchun defense mechanism, preparing rolling log, rolling stones, boiled oil, etc. Provisions got 30,000-shi, enough to last 10,000 troops for 1 year. And arrows had 200,000 pieces. Those are suggested by Pang Tong. So far, everything is prepared. And now they were just waiting for Liu Mang’s arrival.
Therefore Guan Yu is laughing confidently when he saw Liu Mang army is arriving. This Prince of Shu is really overestimating himself. Haven’t he fought a battle before? How many people he brought? Thought Guan Yu. That is why when he saw their numbers, he is laughing. Yes, Liu Mang had Urban Army and Black Flag, however their number only totaled approximately 10,000 troops. You use 10,000 troops to do siege battle against 10,000 elite defenders? What the hell are you thinking? Thought Guan Yu. Guan Yu also thought of false information initially, because Liu Mang’s army should numbered around 30,000 troops. Now only 10,000 troops are here, while he is in deep thought, his scout came in and said that 12,000 Navy led by Gan Ning is returning to Lujiang. When he got that information, he really felt relieved as this Prince of Shu is only good at paper warfare and those victories from before, must be from Lu Bu army’s generals which attributed to him.
So, a name Liu Mang is just only a name, this Guan Yu finds you unworthy!!! Thought Guan Yu. Liu Mang’s subordinates only numbered 10,000 people and all of them are heavy armor, those heavy armor weighed at least a hundred jin (50 kg), they will be unable to climb the scaling ladder as the ladder will break the moment they climb on it.
So, Guan Yu who had regarded Liu Mang and his army as a big joke, just relaxed himself while smiling. But his smile stopped, when he saw Liu Mang army suddenly halted their march at approximately 500 steps away from city wall. With that range, no arrow can reach their targets. At this time, their formation opened and there is a general wearing golden armor along with a veteran general wearing dark yellow armor. They are of course are Liu Mang and his favorite bodyguard Huang Zhong. As per custom of battlefield, Liu Mang show himself before the battle, to ask enemy to surrender. But Liu Mang is very impolite, he only said that Guan Yu and his Qin Province soldier to get the hell out of the city in half an incense time, or wait to be expelled himself. Liu Mang’s words made Guan Yu irritated to the max. What the hell? A milksop who did not understand anything dare to speak like this to me? Thought Guan Yu. Guan Yu felt so irritated that rather doing siege defense, he is just going to open the main gate and fight the battle like a man, he must show this Prince of Shu their class difference. However it is not his style to do so. Instead he picked up a five-dan bow and shot toward Liu Mang. “Pah, ingrates!!!” Liu Mang muttered with resentful tone, while seeing that red-faced Lord Guan. The reason that he did not immediately attack the city is because his opponent is Lord Guan. He is forever praised for his loyalty and his martial arts and he is also a subject of worship.
Since Liu Mang’s offer is rejected, then fine!!! At least Guan Yu tell him what is his decision! Liu Mang then return to his troops. Liu Mang brought not only Urban Army and Black Flag, he also brought artisans to Shouchun, to settle down in that place. Right now some of them are taking care of their family members. They also brought another derivative of ballistae, that thing was catapult. Catapult usage is a bit simple as they are used like a sling. Catapult is not like trebuchet which had a small arm. Trebuchet disadvantage is its small arm, made it cannot project heavy stuff in big size and the distance is not far.
In Liu Mang’s hand now, the catapult is using Archimedes lever principle better and also it had a pinion to pull back the arm and it had metal spring.
A trebuchet is a siege weapon that throws boulders or anything similar to the city wall. The idea is good, but sometimes trebuchet’s firepower is small and can only shot at least 100 steps. Reloading is also cumbersome, as the operator need to pull down the trebuchet arm to reload, also due its ammo is several hundred pounds (TN: from now on, jin [weight] will become pound [weight]), its accuracy is very bad and a lot of times, it will do friendly fire often. Now after adding pinion, as long there is no earthquake, the arm will be virtually unmovable and as long as the arm can support, they can throw 500 pound stone and because of this mechanism, its accuracy is more accurate and its projecting distance is larger. For example, with distance 500 steps, one can project 300 pound stone, if the distance is 700 steps, one can project 100 pound stone. Now with Shouchun is only 500 steps, Lord Guan The Second will feel the rain of 300 pound stones.
They are built using 10,000 more artisans skills. Also with their family members following along with commoners, Liu Mang’s supply troop is amounted to 50,000 people, so they quickly collected big stones and pile them up in front of catapult.
Liu Mang then draw his sword and screamed his order “ALL CATAPULTS!!!!! FULL ASSAULT!!!!” And with that order, bombardment begin. Liu Mang made these catapults during his one-month stay in Hefei. Those artisans work day and night and managed to produce 50 catapults. Shouchun wall was bombarded with 50 stones. Wherever it hit, it destroyed everything, men turned into patty no matter how good is their heavy armor, walls are destroyed leaving only a big hole.
What the hell is this? Guan Yu really stunned!!! While he is stunned, a big stone is closing into Lord Guan The Second. “General, be careful!!!” His deputy sacrificed his life to push his general. That man become a meat patty almost immediately and such scene was very common on each wall side. Trebuchet? This is impossible, it can’t be!!!! Guan Yu in denial. Lord Guan The Second had seen trebuchet, during Dong Zhuo Uprising. After they managed to defeat Lu Bu at Hulao Gate, those warlords pull out trebuchet in order to capture the location. However that thing need to be at distance of 100 steps. This thing under the city is at 500 steps distance, what the hell is this thing?