“Rush! Rush forward!” Liu Pi roared loudly. All they needed to do was reach the walls and put up the siege ladders. Then, there would be nothing to be worried about.
The idea is good but ruthless. With five thousand soldiers rushing to Guangzhou, the defenders would be tired out. It would become difficult to defend and fall.
That being said, Hao Shao did not create the moat for fun. As there is a flat pathway, no one would be stupid enough to go to the moat where it is difficult to climb out of if they fell. That was why everyone chose to use the middle road.
Five thousand people were neither a lot nor were they little. However, there was enough people to crowd the middle road. Even if the Yuzhou Army initially maintained its formation, it would be in chaos after being shot by waves of arrows. Nobody would want to be shot to death by arrows. The ones at the front wanted to retreat to the back while the ones at the back heard Liu Pi’s orders to rush forward. Both sides went against each other and fell into chaos. As they pushed each other, they could barely take a few steps forward much less rush to the front.
The crowd became like stationary targets for Hao Shao’s archers. If they could miss multiple times in a row with that kind of crowd, the archer would either have to be blind or missed on purpose. For a period of time, screams continued endlessly.
“Milord. Allow General Liu Pi to withdraw!” Pang Tong could no longer watch. The five thousand soldiers were just made an easy prey. It was so crowded that they could not advance or escape. They could only stand there and be shot at. Yet, they still hoped to rush forward. When they do rush ahead, not many of the five thousand would be left.
“Beat the gong! Recall the troops!” Liu Bei also did not have a good expression. His five thousand soldiers could not even touch the opponent’s hair as they were blocked up at the flat ground.
“Ai!” Liu Pi roared fiercely. “Beat the gong! Recall the troops!”
The order to retreat was much better than the order to rush. After all, the front row was already moving back as they did not want to stay at the front. On the other hand, the ones at the back no longer wanted to move to the front when they heard the order to withdraw. The troops withdrew quickly with a rarely found unity.
“Stop!” Hao Shao waved his hand to stop the archers from shooting. The enemy had retreated quickly. If Liu Pi was allowed to continue his command of charging forward, Hao Shao would have pulled out his remaining one thousand soldiers as archers. The stationary targets could easily be hit and the five thousand troops would be swallowed up by Hao Shao. However, Liu Pi had withdrawn. Hao Shao also had a limited number of arrows, so he had his soldiers stop shooting.
“How is that? Are you still afraid now?” There were corpses below the walls but not a single injury on the walls. Hao Shao would not let go of this opportunity to boost his soldier’s morale.
“We are not afraid!” Naturally, the soldiers would not be afraid. At the beginning, they had some fear as there were too many enemies. However, their path of escape had been blocked after Hao Shao’s intimidation. If they do not kill their enemies, their enemies would kill them regardless of whether they surrendered or tried to escape. Rather then die in vain, they might as well struggle. Now, Hao Shao had led them to victory for the first wave of attacks. Their confidence and morale rose. Thousands of corpses were below the walls. The enemy only had twenty thousand soldiers and there was nothing to be afraid of.
The actual total was more than two thousand three hundred corpses. Cold water would be dripping from Liu Bei’s face again. Originally, he would not have been so angry as he had been on the battlefield for a very long time. Yet, he was also unable to see Hao Shao’s intentions. Digging an incomplete moat, leaving a nice open road in the middle was to lure the enemies in. Normally, Liu Bei would not blame Liu Pi and may even appease him. However, right now, not only Liu Bei’s army was present. There was still Zhang Xiu’s Army. Five thousand soldiers had attacked a city with two thousand defenders. The casualties were two thousand and three hundred soldiers. This number was not including the many that were injured. If those were included, the total losses would be more than three thousand. On top of that, not a single ladder was placed on the walls. This was not only a blow to morale but also made themselves a joke to Zhang Xiu.
This was all how Liu Bei looked at it. However, Zhang Xiu did not think of Liu Bei as a joke. In fact, he was already very amazed as Liu Bei effortlessly captured Gushi and Anfeng. No matter what was said, those were still two cities. Ordinarily, ten days to half a month would be needed to capture a city. Even if you outnumber the enemy, three to four days would still be needed. However, under Liu Bei’s command, two cities were captured in the time taken to drink wine. It could be said that Zhang Xiu was endlessly shocked at Hao Shao’s defensive tactics. This was because Wancheng was also difficult to defend. As a result of the terrain, Wancheng also has no moat. Hao Shao’s tactics made Zhang Xiu realize he could do the same at Wancheng. However, instead of using the bow like Hao Shao, he could send out his cavalry. At that time, all five thousand soldiers could become casualties.
“Milord! I…!” Liu Pi was depressed. Everything had been going well. He was only attacking a small city. Who would have expected him to be sent back without even getting to touch the city wall. He even mocked them for placing the archers at the wrong position. Now the one being mocked was himself.
“Continue the attack!” Liu Bei waved so that Liu Pi does not waste time talking. Hao Shao’s earlier words had put Liu Bei in a bad mood. Now, even a lot of his soldiers were injured. How could Liu Bei stand for this?
“I..!” Liu Pi still wanted to say something before he was pulled away by Pang Tong.
“General Liu Pi. It is best to listen to Milord and continue the attack!” Sometimes, Liu Bei is very friendly. It could be an act but even when a general is defeated, he would console the general. Although Liu Bei would not be happy, he could still use his face skill. However, right now he could not use his face skill in front of Liu Pi anymore. This showed that Liu Bei was extremely furious. If Liu Pi were to keep speaking, Liu Bei would only become even more angry and impatient. This was why Pang Tong stopped him.
“Yes!” Liu Pi could only nod his head and leave the camp. He then sighed after leaving. He wanted to speak earlier because he wanted to get advice from Liu Bei or the others present. This was because he had already suffered losses to Hao Shao and should probably not dispatch more troops to go straight to Guangzhou. Should he go through the moat or the middle road? Either way, even if he captured Guangzhou, at least half of his Yuzhou Army would be gone.
However, Liu Bei was now angry and he could only find his own way forward. If he honestly cannot think of a way, then he will just take it by storm. Liu Pi gritted his teeth.
“General Liu Pi. Please stay!” Just as Liu Pi was about to return to his subordinates when Pang Tong shouted.
“Military advisor!” Liu Pi cupped his fist at Pang Tong. Pang Tong could now be regarded as the second most important person in the Liu Bei’s army. Even Liu Bei’s younger brothers Guan Yu and Zhang Fei listens to Pang Tong’s advices. That was why Liu Pi did not dare not to disrespect Pang Tong.
“General Liu Pi. What do you plan to do?” Pang Tong laughed as he came out and asked.
“Military advisor. This general is obviously taking the troops to launch another assault!” Liu Pi was puzzled. Doesn’t he already know the answer? Why is he wasting my time?
Pang Tong saw Liu Pi’s expression and knew he was grumbling. “Does that mean that you have found a way to reach Guangzhou?” Pang Tong asked again. Liu Pi was unable to give a reply.
“This… I don’t have a way yet!” Liu Pi felt very bitter. At worst, the whole army would cross both the moat and the middle road to siege the city. There would be many sacrifices to capture Guangzhong.
“This one has something to say. Would the general be willing to listen?” Pang Tong smiled at Liu Pi as he spoke. The current Liu Pi was no longer as daring and energetic as before.
“Military advisor! Speak seriously!” Liu Pi’s eyes glinted. Pang Tong was the second most important figure of the Liu Bei’s Army. All of the Liu Bei’s Army’s tactics were made by Pang Tong. The plot against the Lu Bu’s Army, the Zhang Xiu’s army, and Yangzhou was all Pang Tong’s handiwork. It could be said that Pang Tong was the Liu Bei’s Army’s brain. Liu Bei was only the one giving orders. Now that Pang Tong was willing to give Liu Pi advice, he is not going to reject the offer.
“General Liu Pi. This one has three strategems. Which one is General Liu Pi willing to use.” The ancient strategies wanted to give three strategies and have Liu Pi pick one. The purpose was the same but the methods were different. He would only give the suggestion while the final decision was with Liu Pi.
“Teacher, please teach me!” Liu Pi cupped his fist towards Pang Tong and knelt down, calling him teacher. Before this, he called Pang Tong ‘military advisor’ which was Pang Tong’s post. Calling him teacher now was a show of respect.
“The worst strategy is for General Liu Pi to besiege Guangzhou from all possible sides and ignore the casualties for victory. General Liu Pi has twenty thousand troops. Even if you lose fifteen thousand soldiers, the city would inevitably fall as it only has two thousand soldiers!” Pang Tong said that the first strategy was to siege blindly. With ten times the enemy numbers, the city could be captured as most soldiers would not be able to kill at least ten people per person.
“Military advisor. What about the second best strategy?” Liu Pi immediately rejected the worst strategy. If he could have taken the city by storm, he would have already done it long ago instead of putting up a worried expression here. If he won Guangzhou by sacrificing too many lives, there would not be enough soldiers for Hefei, Lujiang, Shouchun and other places. He would also have nowhere to show his face and Liu Bei would also not spare him a glance in the future.
“Oh. The second best strategy!” Pang Tong naturally knew that Liu Pi would not choose the worst strategy but the worst strategy was the most time-saving strategy. Although there would be many sacrifices, it would be the fastest. They would be able to capture Guangzhou before sunset. Although there would be heavy casualties, Liu Bei would not get angry at Liu Pi and would instead appreciate him. This would be because Liu Pi was very obedient and took care of his Lord’s reputation by throwing away his own interests. Losing military leadership was not only not a bad thing. It would even have his worth recognized by Liu Bei. This was because Liu Pi’s twenty thousand soldiers was almost half of the Liu Bei’s Army. This would naturally make Liu Bei worried. He would not be able to put any trusted aides in and he would be afraid of Liu Pi’s sincerity. This was because Liu Pi gave Runan to Liu Bei. This made Liu Bei both suspicious and not suspicious of Liu Pi. He wanted Liu Pi’s military power but was also afraid of Liu Pi’s intentions. It was a contradiction. If Liu Pi could understand this in this battle and give up his military power, he would earn Liu Bei’s appreciation and would be able to go further in the Liu Bei’s Army.
However, since Liu Pi did not think of that and was unwilling to part from his military leadership, Pang Tong could not be blamed for not reminding him. Sometimes the truth was simple but unable to be understood. “Let us speak of the second best strategy!”
“The second best strategy is to fill up the moat, just like the standard strategy of a normal siege!” Pang Tong recommended for the moat to be filled up regardless of whether the moat was created like that intentionally. Dispatch soldiers to fill up the moat and make the ground flat. At that time, Guangzhou would be difficult to defend would soon be captured.
“Military advisor. What is the best strategy?” Liu Pi frowned. Filling up the moat was indeed a good strategy. Once the moat was filled up, there would be more space outside of Guangzhou. His troops would be able to attack. However, this was too time-consuming. The moat was not shallow and had water form the Huaihe River. Filling up the moat would take a few days assuming the defenders ignore them. Otherwise it would take even longer. Liu Bei wanted Liu Pi to quickly obtain Guangzhou.
“The best strategy would be to use a ram!” Pang Tong looked at the small city as he spoke. “Hao Shao did well creating this moat. However, it also gave him a weakness!” The moat was separated by the middle road. It made use of the troop’s intentions of avoiding harm to swarm the middle. In order to attract the enemy, the middle road was built spaciously, enough for five thousand soldiers. Pang Tong saw that it was enough space for five carriages.
As the middle road could be cross by people, it could naturally be able to be used by other things such as rams. It could be said that Guangzhou would not be able to defend itself from a siege ram. Even Anhui’s gates could not withstand the siege ram, much less a small city like Guangzhou.
“The best one! I choose the best strategy!” Liu Pi’s eyes turned bright. He would not pick the worst strategy as it involves military power. Although the second best strategy was good, it was too slow. So, Liu Pi decided to use the ram.
It was as though Liu Pi could already see the siege ram rushing towards the gates. After that, he only needed to have his bodyguards closely follow him. After the gates is broken through, Guangzhou would be captured.
“Teacher’s grace would not only be thanked with words. After this is over, I will pay you a visit! I am feeling anxious and will go first!” Liu Pi cupped his fist to Pang Tong and then left.
“Go! Go!” Pang Tong did not blame Liu Pi for his words. After all, he has conditions for helping Liu Pi. Just like Zhuge Liang in Jingzhou, he wants a system where he is in command. Although Liu Bei trusted Pang Tong and gave Pang Tong half the military power, he still has less trust when compared to the little brothers, especially Guan Yu. Liu Bei may decide to listen to Guan Yu over him. For an ordinary strategist, a subordinate who has thoughts of his own would be welcome. However, Pang Tong was no ordinary strategist. Like Zhuge Liang, he has control of the entire situation and requires absolute obedience. In the original history, Zhuge Liang took care of everything by himself. It was not that he wants to do so but some people tried to be smart. For example, Ma Su and Li Yan. They all knew that in a game of chess, pieces were sometimes lost. Pang Tong does not need a self-aware chess piece. He needed someone who is unable to think like Liu Pi.