空城计

 
kōng chéng jì (kong cheng ji)
empty city ploy (presenting a bold front to conceal a weak defence)

When the enemy is superior in numbers and your situation is such that you expect to be overrun at any moment, then drop all pretence of military preparedness and act casually. Unless the enemy has an accurate description of your situation this unusual behavior will arouse suspicions. With luck he will be dissuaded from attacking.

Three Kingdoms Period China

In 234 BC, Kong Ming the famous strategist of Shu, launched an attack against the state of Wei by sending an advance force to scout for the enemy. Leading the army of Wei was Suma-I who also sent an advance force of fifty thousand troops. The two vanguards met and engaged in battle but the Wei forces were superior and won the day. The defeated Shu vanguard raced back to the main body of Kong Ming's army whose troops, seeing the look of fear in the faces of their comrades, thought that the enemy was upon them and fled in panic. Kong Ming and a few bodyguards fled to the city of Yangping with the Wei army in hot pursuit. Vastly outnumbered and unable to either retreat or sustain a siege, Kong Ming played a last resort strategy that made him famous throughout China. He removed all the guards and battle flags from the walls and had all four of the city gates flung open. When Suma-I approached the city he could see only a few old men nonchalantly sweeping the grounds within the gates. Kong-Ming was seen sitting in one of the towers smiling and playing his lute. Suma-I remarked to his advisors: "That man seems to be too happy for my comfort. Doubtless he has some deep laid scheme in mind to bring us all to disaster." As they stood spell bound, the strains of Kong Ming's lute reached their ears and this only heightened their sense of foreboding. Such peculiar behavior was too suspicious and, fearing a clever trap, Suma-I turned his army back and retreated. After the army left Kong Ming and his remaining troops departed in the opposite direction and made their way safely back to their capital.

Tufan Army

In spite of the inferirity of your forces, deliberately make your defensive line defenseless in order to confuse the enemy. In situations when the enemies are many and you are few, this tactic seems all the more intriguing.

In the year 727, the tufan army, ancestors of mordern Tibetans, invaded Tang China and stormed the cities of Guazhou and Yumen vefore sweeping south.

Tang general Zhang Shougui led 5,000 troops to save Guazhou. Guazhou was already devastated by the Tufan army.

The Tufan army attacked again. Zhang Shougui told his men, "We're outnumbered. If we flee, they'll overtake and kill us." But the Tufan army was fast approaching Guazhou.

Zhang Shougui told his men to put up the banners and flags and hide themselves. He then called for a banquet to be held at the gate's tower. He calmly sipped wine and enjoyed music.

When the Tufan tactician saw this he was dumbfounded. The city was so quiet that he could only hear music. Thinking that Zhang Shougui was trying to lure them into an ambush, he ordered a retreat.

Seeing the Tufan army falling for the ruse, the Tang army attacked. The Tufan army suffered defeat and in the end negotiated for peace and withdrew.

Meaning: 指在危急处境下,掩饰空虚,骗过对方的策略。

Context: 明·罗贯中《三国演义》中故事:蜀将马谡失守街心亭,魏将司马懿率兵直逼西城,诸葛亮无兵迎敌,但沉着镇定,大开城门,自大在城楼上弹琴。司马懿怀疑设有埋伏,引兵退去。

虚者虚之,疑中生疑①;刚柔之际②,奇而复奇。

【注释】

①虚者虚之,疑中生疑:第一个“虚”为名词,意为空虚的,第二个“虚”为动词,使动,意为让它空虚。全句意:空虚的就让它空虚,使他在疑惑中更加产生疑惑。

②刚柔之际:语出《易经.解》卦。解,卦名。本卦为异卦相叠(坎下震上)。上卦为震为雷,下卦为坎为雨。雷雨交加,荡涤宇内,万象更新,万物萌生,故卦名为解。解,险难解除,物情舒缓。本卦初六.《象》辞“刚柔之际,义无咎也”,是使刚与柔相互交会,没有灾难。

此计运用此象理,是说敌我交会,相战,运用此计可产生奇妙而又奇妙的功效。

【按语】

虚虚实实,兵无常势。虚而示虚,诸葛而后,不乏其人。如吐蕃陷瓜州,王君焕死,河西恼惧。以张守圭为瓜州刺史,领余众,方复筑州城。版干裁立,敌又暴至。略无守御之具。城中相顾失色,莫有斗志。守圭日:“徒众我寡,又疮痍之后,不可以矢石相持,须以权道制之。”乃于城上,置酒作乐,以会将士。敌疑城中有备,不敢攻而退。又如齐祖廷为北徐州刺史,至州,会有陈寇,百姓多反。廷不关城门。守陴者,皆令下城,静座街巷,禁断行人鸡犬。贼无所见闻,不测所以,或疑人走城空,不设警备。廷复令大叫,鼓噪聒天,贼大惊,顿时走散。

【解析】

这则按语又讲了两个故事。张守圭接替战死的王君焕,正在修筑城墙,敌兵又突然来袭。城里没有任何守御的设备,大家惊慌失措。守圭说:“敌众我寡,又处在城池刚刚破坏之后,光用石头和弓箭是不对退敌的,应该用计谋。”他让将士们和他一道,坐在城上,饮酒奏乐,若无其事。敌人怀疑城中有备,只有退兵。齐祖铤也用近似的方法退兵,他的做法比张守圭又多一招:等贼兵以为人走城空,不设警备时,突然命士兵大声叫唤,更将贼兵搞得胡里胡涂,只得退兵。

虚虚实实,兵无常势,变化无穷。在敌乘我虚之时,当展开心理战。一定要充分掌握对方主帅的心理和性格特征,切切不可轻易出此险招。况且,此计多数情况下,只能当作缓兵之计,还得防止敌人卷土重来。所以还必须有实力与敌方对抗,要救危局,还是要凭真正实力。

【探源】

空城计,这是一种心理战术。在己方无力守城的情况下,故意向敌人暴露我城内空虚,就是所谓“虚者虚之”。敌方产生怀疑,更会犹豫不前,就是所谓“疑中生疑”。敌人怕城内有埋伏,怕陷进埋伏圈内。但这是悬而又悬的“险策”。使用此计的关键,是要清楚地了解并掌握敌方将帅的心理状况和性格特征。诸葛亮使用空城计解围,就是他充分地了解司马懿谨慎多疑的性格特点才敢出此险策。诸葛亮的空城计名闻天下,其实,早在春秋时期,就出现过用空城计的出色战例。

春秋时期,楚国的令尹(宰相)公子元,在他哥哥楚文王死了之后,非常想占有漂亮的嫂子文夫人。他用各种方法去讨好,文夫人却无动于衷。于是他想建立功业,显显自己的能耐,以此讨得文夫人的欢心。

公元前666年,公子元亲率兵车六百乘,洁浩荡荡,攻打郑国。楚国大军一路连下几城,直逼郑国国都。郑国国力较弱,都城内更是兵力空虚,无法抵挡楚军的进犯。

郑国危在旦夕,群臣慌乱,有的主张纳款请和,有的主张拼一死战,有的主张固守待援。这几种主张都难解国之危。上卿叔詹说:“请和与决战都非上策。固守待援,倒是可取的方案。郑国和齐国订有盟约,而今有难,齐国会出兵相助。只是空谈固守,恐怕也难守住。公子元伐郑,实际上是想邀功图名讨好文夫人。他—定急于求成,又特别害怕失败。我有一计,可退楚军。”

郑国按叔詹的计策,在城内作了安徘。命令士兵全部埋伏起来,不让敌人看见一兵—卒。令店铺照常开门,百姓往来如常,不准露一丝慌乱之色。大开城门,放下吊桥,摆出完全不设防的样子。

楚军先锋到达郑国都城城下,见此情景,心里起了怀疑,莫非城中有了埋伏,诱我中计?不敢妄动,等待公子元。公子元赶到城下,也觉得好生奇怪。他率众将到城外高地眺望,见城中确实空虚,但又隐隐约约看到了郑国的旋旗甲士。公子元认为其中有诈,不可贸然进攻,先进城探听虚实,于是按兵不动。

这时,齐国接到郑国的求援信,已联合鲁、宋两国发兵救郑。公子元闻报,知道三国兵到,楚军定不能胜。好在也打了几个胜仗,还是赶快撤退为妙。他害怕撤退时郑国军队会出城追击,于是下令全军连夜撤走,人衔枚,马裹蹄,不出一点声响。所有营寨都不拆走,族旗照旧飘扬。

第二天清晨,叔詹登城一望,说道:“楚军已经撤走。”众人见敌营族旗招展,不信已经撤军。叔詹说:“如果营中有人,怎会有那样多的飞鸟盘旋上下呢?他也用空城计欺骗了我,急忙撤兵了。”这就是中国历史上第一个使用空城计的战例。

【故事】

西汉时期,北方匈奴势力逐渐强大,不断兴兵进犯中原。飞将军李广任上郡太守,抵挡匈奴南进。

一天,皇帝派到上郡的宦官带人外出打猎,遇到三个匈奴兵的袭击,宦官受伤逃回。李广大怒,亲自率领一百名骑兵前去追击。一直追了几十见地,终于追上,杀了两名,活捉一名,正准备回营时,忽然发现有数千名匈奴骑兵也向这里开来。匈奴队伍也发现了李广,但看见李广只有百名骑兵,以为是为大部队诱敌的前锋,不敢贸然攻击,急忙上山摆开阵势,观察动静。

李广的骑兵非常恐慌。李广沉着地稳住队伍:“我们只有百余骑,离我们的大营有几十里远。如果我们逃跑,匈奴肯会追杀我们。如果我们按兵不动,敌人肯定会疑心我们有大部队行动,他们决不敢轻易进攻的。现在,我们继续前进。”到了离敌阵仅二里地光景的地方,李广下令:“全体下马休息。”李广的士兵卸下马鞍,悠闲地躺在草地上休息,看着战马在一旁津津有味地吃草。

匈奴部将感到十分奇怪,派了一名军官出阵观察形势。李广立即命令上马,冲杀过去,一箭射死了这个军官。然后又回到原地,继续休息。

匈奴部将见此情形,更加恐谎,料定李广胸有成竹,附近定有伏兵。天黑以后,李广的人马仍无动静。匈如部将怕遭到大部队的突袭,慌慌张张引兵逃跑了。 李广的百余骑安全返回大营。

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