Cao Cao must have studied Sun Tzu’s The Art of War. His battle plans against the rival army of Yuan Shao was evidence of a military genius.
He carefully studied the terrain and selected the location where the battle would be fought so his smaller army could not be outflanked or surrounded.
The only way to fight would be across a small front with the armies facing each other sort of like King Leonidas and the 300 Spartans of Thermopylae.
In August 208 AD, the enemy army approached and camped facing Cao Cao’s troops.
After a three month standoff, Cao Cao took a small force and led a night raid to the town where the enemy stored its food supplies and his troops burned those supplies.
When the battle with Yuan Shao’s army finally took place, Cao Cao used deception again, as Sun Tzu teaches, to make the enemy believe he was attacking in the east when he was in the west fifty kilometers from where the enemy expected him.
In response, the enemy general, Yuan Shao, divided his army.
However, while Yuan was marching east, Cao Cao turned and moved quickly to attack the other half of Yuan Shao’s unprepared troops located in the west, which ended in victory.
After the battle, Cao Cao had consolidated his strength in the north but he still had other enemies.
Return to In Search of the Tomb of Cao Cao – Part 1
Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.
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