About 1800 years ago, when China was ruled by the Han dynasty, it was in disarray. People were starving and they were heavily taxed by the government which made them furious. This is why they had started revolting against their emperor. This rebellion was led by Zhang Jue and it was called “The yellow turbans rebellion” which was a big threat to the Chinese establishment. The emperor was forced to call independent warlords such as Cao Cao, Liu Bei and Sun Jian to suppress this revolution. They had successfully managed to put an end to this uprising, but this gave them a lot of power, since they could act on their own and rule over their own local regions, now that the empire was weak and fragile.
Later on, one of the warlords called Dong Zhuo had seized the emperor as his hostage and he became the actual ruler of China. The rest of the warlords weren’t happy about this and they had formed a coalition against Dong Zhuo that was led by Yuan Shao. They had managed to defeat Dong Zhuo in some battles, but the final blow was dealt by someone else. Dong Zhuo was killed by his most trusted lieutenant called Lu Bu, when the latter was convinced to do so by a politician called Wang. After this incident, the remaining warlords were the true rulers of China since nobody could challenge them. Later on, China enters into a bloody period of civil wars that would last for decades. The warlords would fight among themselves in order to gain more power. After many clashes and many battles, three kingdoms had been established: The Wei, the Shu and the Wu. This epic era became known as The period of the three kingdoms.
There were many fierce battles between these kingdoms. It was one of the most legendary times of Ancient China. There was a very famous strategy called Empty fort strategy. According to Wikipedia, “The Empty Fort Strategy is the 32nd of the Chinese Thirty-Six Stratagems. The strategy involves using reverse psychology (and luck) to deceive the enemy into thinking that an empty location is full of traps and ambushes, and therefore induce the enemy to retreat. ” (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empty_Fort_Strategy).
Many famous Generals had used this tactic such as Cao Cao and Zhao Yun. However there is another infamous case of this strategy being used. This event could be fictional since the history of the three kingdoms is a mixture of facts, legends and myths. The story i’m talking about goes like this: The famous strategist of Shu, Zhuge Liang was tasked to guard a fort called Xicheng with just 10.000 soldiers. Sima Yi, a famous strategist of Wei, was about to attack this fort with 200.000 men. That was a major threat to Zhuge Liang. Hence, the cunning strategist decided to fool his opponents by using a clever scheme. He ordered all of his soldiers to hide and then he opened all of the gates of the fort. He then stood at the top of the walls and he waited for the other army to arrive. Once the troops had approached the city’s walls, Zhuge Liang had started playing his guqin (An instrument with strings). When the soldiers saw this, they believed that it was the signal of a trap and they started retreating in panic!
This is how Zhuge Liang had managed to save the fort. This story might be fictional, but there are records of this technique being used in many battles. The Chinese people were very crafty, when it came to military tactics. Don’t forget that the famous “Art of war” textbook was written by a Chinese guy called Sun Tzu. In case you don’t know, The Art of War is a Chinese military textbook, that is still revered today as the ultimate commentary on war and military strategy.
I hope you liked this story guys. I’m off now. Bye bye!