顺手牵羊

 
shùn shǒu qiān yáng (shun shou qian yang)
steal a goat in passing (steal something in passing; be flexible to take advantage of opportunity)

While carrying out your plans be flexible enough to take advantage of any opportunity that presents itself, however small, and avail yourself of any profit, however slight.

Yuan Dynasty China

During the final days of the Yuan dynasty, rebellion had broken out throughout the empire. Initially there were several contenders vying to be the first to found a new dynasty on the imminent fall of the house of Yuan, but the field was narrowed to two; Chu Yuan-Chang and Chen Yifu. The two armies met at Poyang Lake where a naval engagement was to take place. General Chen had the advantage of both troops and ships. His ships were large and sturdy and he had them lined up side to side across the entire expanse of the lake. He furthermore had the ships joined together with iron chains so as to create an impenetrable barrier. General Chu sent his ships to attack but they were defeated having failed to break through the cordon. Fortunately for Chu the next day a violent northwest gale began to blow. Since Chen's flotilla was situated downwind, Chu took advantage of the situation to launch fireboats against the barrier. Soon Chen's troops were in a frenzy to save their ships from both the rising storm and the fire, which was fanned into a blazing fierceness by the wind. Taking advantage of the panic and confusion that ensued, Chu launched his own fleet into the attack and they completely defeated Chen's forces. An arrow through his eye killed General Chen while general Chu became the founder of the Ming Dynasty.

Duke of Zheng

In the year 770 BC, the duke of Zheng joined forces with Lu and Qi to attack Song.

The duke of Song was startled to learn of this and sought the advice of his ministers. Kong Jia suggested that they attack Zheng's old stronghold Yingyang. Zheng with few troops left, will be forced to return to save their state.

Kong Jia secured the help of the states of Wei and Cai to attack Zheng. Kong Jia suceeded and was about to march home when he decided that since they have to pass though Dai state, they could eliminate Dai in the name of borrowing a route.

Zheng soon recieved Dai's pleas for rescue. Zheng's reinforcement troops soon reached Dai, and the gates were opened to let them in. But the Zheng's forces captured and took over Dai instead. Thus, Song took the trouble to attack Dai but Zheng managed to reap the benefits.

Meaning: 顺手把人家的羊牵走。比喻趁势将敌手捉住或乘机利用别人。现比喻乘机拿走别人的东西。

Context: 《礼记·曲礼上》:“效马效羊者右牵之。”

Example: 据说座山雕的部下有个~的老方子,一撮毛可能是想施展这个伎俩。 ◎曲波《林海雪原》十二

微隙在所必乘①;微利在所必得。少阴,少阳②。

【注释】

①微隙在所必乘:微隙,微小的空隙,指敌方的某些漏洞、疏忽。

②少阴,少阳:少阴,此指敌方小的疏漏,少阳,指我方小的得利。此句意为我方要善于捕捉时机,伺隙捣虚,变敌方小的疏漏而为我方小的得利。

【按语】

大军动处,其隙甚多,乘间取利,不必以胜。胜固可用,败亦可用。

【解析】

大部队在运动的过程中,漏洞肯定很多,比如,大兵急于前进,各部运动速度不同,给养可能造成困难,协调可能不灵,战线拉得越长,可乘之机一定更多。看准敌人的空隙,抓住时机一击,只要有利,不一定完全取胜也行。这个方法,胜利者可以运用,失败者也可以运用,强大的一方可以运用,弱小的一方也可以运用。战争史上一方经常用小股游击队,钻进敌人的心脏,神出鬼没打击敌人,攻敌薄弱处,应手得利。这样用顺手牵羊取胜的例子,不胜枚举。

【探源】

顺手牵羊是看准敌方在移动中出现的漏洞,抓住薄弱点,乘虚而入获取胜利的谋略。古人云:“善战者,见利不失,遇时不疑。”意思是要捕捉战机,乘隙争利,当然,小利是否应该必得,这要考虑全局,只要不会“因小失大”,小胜的机会也不应该放过。

公元383年,前秦统一了黄河流域地区,势力强大。前秦王苻坚坐镇项城,调集九十万大军,打算一举歼灭东晋。他派其弟苻融为先锋攻下寿阳,初战告捷,苻融判断东晋兵力不多并且严重缺粮,建议苻坚迅速进攻东晋。苻坚闻讯,不等大军齐集,立即率几千骑兵赶到寿阳。东晋将领谢石得知前秦百万大军尚未齐集,抓住时机,击败敌方前锋,挫敌锐气。谢石先派勇将刘牢之率精兵五万,强渡洛涧,杀了前秦守将梁成。刘牢之乘胜追击,重创前秦军。谢石率师渡过洛涧,顺淮河而上,抵达淝水一线,驻扎在八公山边,与驻扎在寿阳的前秦军隔岸对峙。苻坚见东晋阵势严整,立即命今坚守河岸,等待后续部队。

谢石看到敌众我寡,只能速战速决。于是,他决定用激将法激怒骄狂的苻坚。他派人送去一封信,说道,我要与你决一雌雄,如果你不敢决战,还是趁早投降为好。如果你有胆量与我决战,你就暂退一箭之地,放我渡河与你比个输赢。苻坚大怒,决定暂退一箭之地,等东晋部队渡到河中间,再回兵出击,将晋兵全歼水中。他哪里料到此时秦军士气低落,撤军令下,顿时大乱。秦兵争先恐后,人马冲撞,乱成一团,怨声四起。这时指挥已经失灵,几次下令停止退却,但如潮水般撤退的人马已成溃败之势。这时谢石指挥东晋兵马,迅速渡河,乘敌人大乱,奋力追杀。前秦先锋苻融被东晋军在乱军中杀死,苻坚也中箭受伤,慌忙逃回洛阳。前秦大败。淝水之战,东晋军抓住战机,乘虚而入,是古代战争史上以弱胜强的著名战例。

【故事】

唐朝中期,各镇节度史都拥有军事、经济大权,根本不把朝廷放在眼里。蔡州节度使的儿子吴元济在父死之后,起兵叛乱。唐宪宗派大将李塑(“塑”字的“土”部换“心”部,同“诉”字。因电脑子库里没有此字,下用“诉”字代替)担任唐州节度使,剿灭吴元济。

李诉到任,放风麻痹吴元济。散布说,我是个懦弱无能的人。朝廷派我来,只是为了安顿地方秩序。至于攻打吴元济,与我无干。吴元济观察了李诉的动静,见他毫无进攻之意,也就不把李诉放在心上了。

其实李诉一直在思考攻打吴元济老巢蔡州的策略。他趁机擒获了吴元济手下的大将李佑,对他优礼有加,感动了李佑。李佑告诉李诉,吴元济的主力部队都部署在洄曲一带,防止官军进攻,而防守蔡州城的不过是些老弱残兵。蔡州是吴元济最大的空隙,如果出奇制胜,应该迅速直捣蔡州,活捉吴元济。

李诉在一个雪天的傍晚,率领精兵抄小路,神奇地直抵蔡州城边,趁守城士兵呼呼大睡时,爬上城墙,杀了守兵,打开城门,部队静悄悄涌进了城。筹吴元济从睡梦中惊醒,发现宅第已被围困,负隅顽抗,终于被捉。李诉将吴元济装进囚车,押往长安。驻扎在洄曲的董重质见大势已去,也向李诉投降。

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