Defence of Chen Cang Castle!
229 AD, Chen Cang Castle – A huge fortress equipped with cannons inside the walls. The high walls could easily prevent enemy advances. On the highest top of the castle, Sima Yi, a tall man with a purple robe, waited for his Murkrow. The dark feathered crow sneaks out at night and spies in enemy encampments. One of the most loyal warriors of Wei was standing next to Sima Yi. His name was feared and he was like a devil on the battlefield. His name was Zhang He. Both men looked at the sunrise, while waiting for Murkrow to return.
“Ah, he has returned!” Sima Yi said, while the crow landed on his shoulders.
Sima Yi walked down a stone stair, leading to a dark room. He opened the door and walked inside, leaving Zhang He outside. The room was off limits to warriors and troops. Only Sima Yi could enter it. The Murkrow leaped off Sima Yi’s shoulders and flew to a gigantic map, which was located on a table. The map showed the entire land in detail, with every city on it and with every enemy base. Murkrow used his wing to point at a city. His wing was pointing at Cheng Du, the main city of Shu. The black wing then started to move towards another city, Chen Cang.
“Zhuge Liang makes his move to take this strategic location. He will propably have some siege ramps with him. We need extra cannons to stop the ramps and we need to increase the main gate’s defences.” Sima Yi said.
Sima Yi left the room with his Murkrow.
“Zhang He, I want you to position the archers at the main gate. Give Hao Zhao full command over them. Also request aid from Deng Ai, who is at the capital at the moment. Ask him to bring more cannons and supplies. Zhuge Liang will be here in about a week.” Sima Yi ordered.
“Yes sir! I’ll make sure everything will get in order!” Zhang He said.
Zhang He walked out of Sima Yi’s sight and took care of his received orders….
Zhuge Liang, an attractive man in white clothing, was walking around the camp. He checked the soldiers morale, checked the firmness of the siege ramps and was thinking up some strategies at the same time. Yue Ying, Zhuge Liang’s wife, walked towards Zhuge Liang.
“I have good news. Chen Cang has a weakness. If we distract the Wei army with siege ramps, then the catapults can take out their main gate. I’ve heard the main gate is terribly defenced!” Yue Ying said.
“Good news indeed. We only need more supplies then we are ready to go. I suppose we have enough supplies in a week.” Zhuge Liang said.
“My lord, allow me lead the distraction! I believe your lessons in the art of war has truly helped me!” Jiang Wei proposed.
Jiang Wei was a talented officer and a pupil of Zhuge Liang. He was ones in the Wei army. After the battle of Tien Shui, he joined Zhuge Liang to be his pupil.
“Alright, but I’ll have to jump in if you mess up. I have all my trust in you now.” Zhuge Liang said.
“My lord!” Jiang Wei said, while heading to his camp.
Back in Chen Cang Castle – four days later.
A huge convoy of supplies and cannons entered the main gate of Chen Cang Castle. It was Deng Ai. He also brought a veteran officer with him. His name was Xu Huang. He participated in many battles against Wu and Shu. Xu Huang was also one of the most loyal warriors to Wei.
“My lord, I have arrived with supplies and cannons! We are ready to take on Shu!” Deng Ai said.
Sima Yi walked towards the duo and grinned.
“With both of you defending the castle, victory will surly be ours! But just to be sure, I will send Murkrow out tonight and spy on the enemy. I’ll be seeing both of you in battle. I need to clear up my mind before I battle Zhuge Liang.” Sima Yi said.
Sima Yi walked towards his room and remained there for the remaining days. Sometimes he came out to release his Murkrow. But that was only at night….
Chen Cang Castle – Wei vs. Shu!
“The battle for this strategic location is important for the future of Shu! All forces, stand your ground, Jiang Wei will lead this battle!”
Jiang Wei and his troops slowly marched towards the walls of Chen Cang. Rolling along side of them was a siege ramp. Jiang Wei wanted to use the siege to climb up Chen Cang’s massive walls.
Sima Yi, who was standing at the top of his castle, had a good view on what was going on. He saw a group of soldiers heading towards the walls. He also saw the siege ramp closing in…
“Fools! A small group will not hold out very long! Deng Ai, fire the cannons hidden in the walls!” Sima Yi Shouted.
Deng Ai jumped off a small wall and ran to the cannons. He ordered his troops to fire at the siege ramp. The soldiers then loaded the cannon and awaited further commands. Deng Ai was looking at Sima Yi, as he rose his hand. He waited for the siege to come close enough. The siege stopped moving. They where trying to turn the siege in a perfect angle, so they could climb up the walls. At the same time, Sima Yi lowered his arm, giving the signal to fire!
“Men of Wei, fire!” Deng Ai commanded.
As the cannonballs where fired, Jiang Wei and some soldiers fled for cover, as the siege ramp was raped apart by the cannons. Most of the soldiers got killed by flying wood, or cannonballs.
Jiang Wei fled towards Zhuge Liang. He was disappointed to fail his mission. But more important, he couldn’t protect all of his troops.
“Zhuge Liang… I have failed. The siege ramp broke and I lost most of my men. I’m truly sorry…” Jiang Wei begged.
“Don’t worry Jiang Wei. This battle is far from over. I’ll take the lead now. Wei Yan, you take the western path and hit the enemy from the side. When you are inside the castle, destroy the cannons.” Zhuge Liang ordered Wei Yan.
Wei Yan was a fierce general who was strictly loyal to Liu Bei, the leader of Shu, but since his death, Wei Yan showed signs of disloyalty against Zhuge Liang. He seemed to dislike the new leader of Shu. But fearing Zhuge Liang’s might, he accepted to be loyal. Not because of Zhuge Liang, but because Liu Bei liked him so much.
He took the western path to Chen Cang Castle. He didn’t go unnoticed, since Sima Yi spotted his advance and prepaired a counter attack.
“Zhang He! Defend the western gate!” he shouted.
While Zhang He was going towards the western, Sima Yi was focussing on Zhuge Liang. He could see him giving orders to Huang Zhong, a very old veteran warrior.
“Huang Zhong, I want you to take half of our total troops and start attacking the main gate. Use the catapults to bombard the gate.” Zhuge Liang ordered.
Huang Zhong and half of the Shu army marched towards the main gate. Secret hand signals where passed down from Sima Yi to Hao Zhao, giving orders to position the archers upon the walls and on the floor.
“Got it, I need to assemble the archers on the walls and on the floor.” Hao Zhao thought.
He used other hand signals to lead the archers to the walls and position the archers on the floor. The first team of archers walked up a stone stair and stayed low on the eastern side of the main gate. The second team did the same, only they went to the western side of the main gate. The archers on the ground positioned themselves to fire over the main gate. When all was ready, Hao Zhao used other hand signals to Sima Yi. They where ready for the attack.
“Keep marching! The main gate is undefended!” Huang Zhong rallied. “Bring in the catapults! Destroy the gate!”
Dozens of wooden catapults, controlled by five soldiers each, where heading towards the main gate. They where already loaded with heavy boulders. Transporting it was heavy, but they proved to be very powerful against gates. It took the soldiers a while before they could reach close enough.
“Prepair to fire the boulders!” Huang Zhong commanded.
The catapults stopped moving and they where aiming at the main gate. At that same moment, Hao Zhao received hand signals from Sima Yi to fire at the soldiers controlling the catapults.
“Pssst” Hao Zhao tried to pull attention to an archer.
One archer noticed him, as he was busy forming hand signals again. The archer fully understood and shouted:
“All units! Fire at the soldiers controlling the catapults!”
The archers on the eastern and on the western side of the main gate emerged. They quickly loaded their bows and fired towards the soldiers controlling the catapults. The archers where in superior numbers. A rain of arrows made sure the catapults where useless. It was a terrible sight. Shu troops all over the floor, some even fell on the catapult. But one colour could not be ignored. Red. The poor soldiers who got pierced by an arrow, some even more, where blooding like a flooding river.
“Archers positioned on the floor, fire at the enemy in front of our gate! Archers on the walls, make sure they can’t escape!” Hao Zhao ordered.
All of the archers where now firing. The enemy was chanceless, as they could not escape. Within no time, the whole entrance of the main gate was covered with red.
“Open the gates! Capture Huang Zhong!” Hao Zhao ordered.
The gate slowly opened. Hao Zhao ran towards the old veteran and talked to him.
“We want some answers from you gramps. Care to cooperate? If not, then I’ll cut your throat!” Hao Zhao demanded.
“Don’t get cocky young’n! We have a surprise for you!” Huang Zhong said while coughing.
Hao Zhao felt the ground shake. He feared this feeling, as only one thing could cause this… Cavalry. Hao Zhao looked up and saw the horsemen charging towards the open gate. Out of fear, Hao Zhao quickly ran back and tried to close the gate. The gate closed too slow, causing the swift cavalry to enter with ease. Half of the horsemen jumped off their horse and shot down the archers on the wall with their own arrows. The other half kept charging through the archers positioned on the floor. Caught by surprise, the archers of Wei kingdom froze out of fear. All of them got shot and most fell off the wall. Amongst the horsemen was a brave soldier called Ma Dai. He was the cousin of Ma Chao, one of the tiger generals of Shu. Ma Dai was the replacement of Ma Chao, since he died in 219 AD at the battle of Yi Ling.
“Hao Zhao! I have come to take your head!” he shouted.
“If you want my head, then come and take it!” Hao Zhao replied.
Both men drew their swords and launched the attack on each other. While that was happening, Sima Yi kept a close eye on the battlefield. The eastern gate was still protected by Zhang He and his troops, while the main gate was under siege.
“Deng Ai, go assist Hao Zhao at the main gate!” Sima Yi commanded.
Without any question, the young warrior and his troops left their positions and headed for the main gate. At the meanwhile, Zhang He successfully maintained the defence, as Wei Yan, who took the eastern road, pulled back to the Shu encampment. As Wei Yan reaches their main camp, victory was assured for Wei.
“Lord Zhuge Liang… I have… Failed” Wei Yan muttered out of shame.
“That’s what I get for letting an imbecile do all the work! You have failed me Wei Yan!” Zhuge Liang angrily said. “But it wouldn’t matter anyway. Hao Zhao is defending the main gate in a duel with Ma Dai. But hearing Sima Yi’s voice, Deng Ai would surely come to assist. There is no point in wasting troops. We will fall back to Tien Shui!” Zhuge Laing continued.
While the Shu main army retreated, a soldier took a horse and swiftly moved towards Ma Dai, who was in a fierce duel with Hao Zhao, and his army, who where circled around the twosome.
“Master Ma Dai, Zhuge Liang ordered a retreat! We must leave!” the soldier said.
Ma Dai nodded and pushed Hao Zhao away. He then jumped on his horse and went on to follow the main Shu army. The rest of the cavalry followed his trail. At the same time, Deng Ai arrived in support. But it was too late.
“Master Hao Zhao, where did the enemy go?” the young warrior asked.
“They have retreated! This battle was a small victory for Wei, but also a great loss. All of the archers have been killed. I’m not sure we can make it a second time.” Hao Zhao disappointingly told.
Sima Yi, who left his position after spotting the enemy retreat, walked towards Hao Zhao.
“You need not worry.” he assured. “We still have Xu Huang on our side. The Shu army was lucky we didn’t had to use him.” he explained…
During the Shu army’s retreat:
“My lord, why did we retreat? If we fully charged the enemy’s main gate, it would have fallen! Why retreat now?” Jiang Wei asked.
“It is essential for a strategist like myself to stay cautious to everything. I had the feeling this was not all that Wei could do. Curse that Sima Yi!” Zhuge Liang replied. “If I know him well enough, he wouldn’t wait long to unleash his Murkrow. If he does, I’ll make sure he’ll never get information from the bird again!”
Thus end the battle of Chen Cang Castle...