擒贼擒王

 
qín zéi qín wáng (qin zei qin wang)
to catch the bandits, first capture their leader

If the enemy's army is strong but is allied to the commander only by money or threats then, take aim at the leader. If the commander falls the rest of the army will disperse or come over to your side. If, however, they are allied to the leader through loyalty then beware, the army can continue to fight on after his death out of vengeance.

Spring and Autumn Period China

In 756 BC the rebel commander Yin Ziqi led an army to lay siege against the strategic city of Suiyang. The defending commander, Zhang Xun, noticed that Yin Ziqi oversaw the siege from well outside the range of the city's archers. He believed that if he could take out the leader the rebel's morale would sink and he would be able to launch a counter attack. He devised a plan with his best archers. The next time the rebels assailed the wall they were to shoot back using the branches of trees. When Yin Ziqi heard that the defenders were reduced to shooting with branches he felt certain the city was ready to be taken. Before the next assault he moved in closer to better oversee the final victory. Riding atop his horse he unknowingly came within range of the archers who had saved their arrows for just such a moment. One arrow hit Yin Ziqi in the left eye killing him instantly. The spectacle of their commander's death in front of almost the entire rebel army served to demoralize them to such an extent that they dispersed the field.

Another Version

In the year AD 756, rebel commander Yin Ziqi led 100,000 soldiers to besiege the strategic city of Suiyang.

Zhang Xun was in charge of its defence and had repelled the enemy attacks many times. Zhang Xun thought that the rebel forces must be exhausted. If he attack them tonight and nab Yin Ziqi first they'll be in disarray.

That night, the defenders charged out of Suiyang. The enemies were still asleep. Zhang Xun fought his way to the main rebel camp. He killed many of the rebel officers and men but couldn't find Yin Ziqi. Zhang Xun felt that he must think of a way to get rid of Yin Ziqi.

He ordered his troops to use wormwood branches as arrows. The rebels soon realised that the enemy was using wormwood instead of arrows. Yin Ziqi thought that Zhang Xun has run out of arrows and did not fear Zhang Xun.

Catching Yin Ziqi off-guard, Zhang Xun ordered his best archer to shoot an arrow at Yin Ziqi. The arrow struck Yin Ziqi in the left eye. Yin Ziqi ordered a retreat.

Meaning: 擒:抓,捉。指作战要先抓主要敌手。比喻作事要抓住要害。

Context: 唐·杜甫《前出塞》诗之六:“射人先射马,擒贼先擒王。”

Example: 所谓~,这就是办事的诀窍。 ◎清·李宝嘉《文明小史》第四十四回

摧其坚,夺其魁,以解其体。龙战于野,其道穷也①。

【注释】

①龙战于野,其道穷也:语出《易经.坤》卦。坤,卦名。本卦是同卦相叠(坤下坤上),为纯阴之卦。引本卦上六,《象辞》:“龙战于野,其道穷也。”是说即使强龙争斗在田野大地之上,也是走入了困顿的绝境。比喻战斗中擒贼擒王谋略的威力。

【按语】

攻胜则利不胜取。取小遗大,卒之利、将之累、帅之害、攻之亏也。舍胜而不摧坚擒王.是纵虎归山也。擒王之法,不可图辨旌旗,而当察其阵中之首动。昔张巡与尹子奇战,直冲敌营,至子奇麾下,营中大乱,斩贼将五十余人,杀士卒五千余人。迎欲射子奇而不识,剡蒿为矢,中者喜谓巡矢尽,走白子奇,乃得其状,使霁云射之,中其左目,几获之,子奇乃收军退还。

【解析】

战争中,打败敌人,利益是取之不尽的。如果满足于小的胜利而错过了获取大胜的时机,那是士兵的胜利,将军的累赘,主帅的祸害,战功的损失。打了个小的胜仗,而不去摧毁敌军主力,不去摧毁敌军指挥部,捉拿敌军首领,那就好比放虎归山,后患无穷。古代交战,两军对垒,白刃相交,敌军主帅的位置比较容易判定。但也不能排除这样的情况:敌方失利兵败,敌人主帅会化装隐蔽,让你一时无法认出。张巡计高一筹,用秸杆当箭,一下子让主帅尹干奇暴露出来,将他射伤。

【探源】

擒贼擒王,语出唐代诗人杜甫《前出塞》:“挽弓当挽强,用箭当用长,射人先射马,擒贼先擒王。”民间有“打蛇要打七寸”的说法,也是这个意思,蛇无头不行,打了蛇头,这条蛇也就完了。此计用于军事,是指打垮敌军主力,擒拿敌军首领,使敌军彻底瓦解的谋略。擒贼擒王,就是捕杀敌军首领或者摧毁敌人的首脑机关,敌方陷于混乱,便于彻底击溃之。指挥员不能满足于小的胜利,要通观全局,扩大战果,以得全胜。如果错过时机,放走了敌军主力和敌方首领,就好比放虎归山,后患无穷。

唐朝安史之乱时,安禄山气焰嚣张,连连大捷,安禄山之子安庆绪派勇将尹子奇率十万劲旅进攻睢阳。御史中丞张巡驻守睢阳,见敌军来势汹汹,决定据城固守。敌兵二十余次攻城,均被击退。尹子奇见士兵已经疲惫,只得鸣金收兵。晚上,敌兵刚刚准备休息,忽听城头战鼓隆隆,喊声震天,尹子奇急令部队准备与冲出城来的唐军激战。而张巡“只打雷不下雨”,不时擂鼓,象要杀出城来,可是一直紧闭城门,没有出战。尹子奇的部队被折腾了整夜,没有得到休息,将士们疲乏已极,眼睛都睁不开,倒在地上就呼呼大睡。这时,城中一声炮响,突然之间,张巡率领守兵冲杀出来.敌兵从梦中惊醒,惊慌失措,乱作一团。张巡一鼓作气,接连斩杀五十余名敌将,五千余名士兵,敌军大乱。张巡急令部队擒拿敌军首领尹子奇,部队一直冲到敌军帅旗之下。张巡从未见过尹子奇,根本不认识,现在他又混在乱军之中,更加难以辨认。张巡心生一计,让士兵用秸杆削尖作箭,射向敌军。敌军中不少人中箭,他们以为这下玩了,没有命了。但是发现,自己中的是秸杆箭,心中大喜,以为张巡军中已没有箭了。他们争先恐后向尹子奇报告这个好消息。张巡见状,立刻辨认出了敌军首领尹子奇,急令神箭手、部将南霁云向尹子奇放箭。正中尹于奇左眼,这回可是真箭只见尹子奇鲜血淋漓,抱头鼠窜,仓皇逃命。敌军一片混乱,大败而逃。

【故事】

明英宗宠幸太监王振,王振是个奸邪之徒,侍宠专权,朝廷内外,没有人不害怕他。当时北方瓦刺逐渐强大起来,有觊觎中原的野心。王振拒绝了大臣们在瓦刺通往南方的要道上设防的建议,千方百计讨好瓦刺首领也先。

公元1449年,也先亲自率领大军攻打大同,进犯明朝。明英宗决定御驾亲征,命王振为统帅。粮草没有准备充分,五十万大军仓促北上。一路上,又连降大雨,道路泥泞,行军缓慢。也先闻报,满心欢喜,认为这正是捉拿英宗平定中原的大好时机。等明朝大军抵达大同的时候,也先命令大队人马向后撤退。王振认为瓦刺军是害怕明朝的大部队,畏缩而迅,于是下令追击瓦刺军。也先早已料到,已派骑兵精锐分两路从两侧包围明军。明军先锋朱瑛、先晃,遭到瓦刺军伏击,全军覆没。明英宗无可奈何,只得下今班师回京。

明军撤退到土木堡,已是黄昏时分。大臣们建议,部队再前行二十里,到怀来城凭险拒守,以待援军。王振以千辆辎重未到为理由,坚持在土木堡等待,也先深怕明军进驻怀来,拒城固守,所以下令急追不舍。在明军抵达土木堡的第二天,就趁势包围土木堡。

土木堡是一高地,缺乏水源。瓦刺军控制当地唯一水深——土木堡两侧的一条小河。明军人马断水两天,军心不稳。也先又施—计,派人送信王振,建议两军议和。王振误以为这正是突围的好时机,他急令部队往怀来城方向突围。这一下正中也先诱敌之计,明军离开土木堡不到四里地,瓦刺军从四面包围。明英宗在乱军中,由几名亲兵保护,几番突围不成,终于被也先生擒。王振在仓皇逃命时,被护卫将军樊忠一锤打死。明军没有了指挥中心,溃不成军,五十万大军全军覆没。

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