围魏救赵

 
wéi wèi jiù zhào (wei wei jiu zhao)
besiege wei to rescue zhao (avoid a head on battle with a strong enemy by striking at a weakness elsewhere)

When the enemy is too strong to attack directly, then attack something he holds dear. Know that in all things he cannot be superior. Somewhere there is a gap in the armor, a weakness that can be attacked instead.

Warring States Era China

This strategy derives its name from a famous incident that occurred in 354 BC. At this time one of China's most renowned strategists, Sun Bin (A descendent of the even then famous Sun Zi) was an advisor to the king of Qi. Sun had earlier been at the court of Wei but another minister, Pang Juan, became jealous of Sun's cleverness. Through court intrigues he had Sun framed as a spy, sentenced to mutilation, and imprisoned. Sun escaped and fled to Qi. Several years later the king of Wei appointed the same Pang Juan as commander of the army and sent him to attack the capital of Zhao. The king of Zhao immediately appealed to Qi for help. The king of Qi consulted his advisors who all spoke in favour of rushing to aid their ally, only Sun Bin recommended against attacking. Sun advised: " To intervene between two warring armies is like trying to divert a tidal way by standing in its path. It would be better to wait until both armies have worn themselves out." The king agreed to wait.

The siege of Zhao had lasted more than a year when Sun Bin decided the time was ripe to come to Zhao's aid. The king of Qi appointed prince Tian Ji as general and Sun as military advisor. Tian Ji wanted to attack the Wei forces directly to lift the siege of Zhao, but again Sun advised against direct intervention saying: " Since most of Wei's troops are out of the country engaged in the siege, their own defence must be weak. By attacking the capital of Wei, we will force the Wei army to return to defend their own capital thereby lifting the siege of Zhao while destroying the Wei forces in turn." Tian Ji agreed to the plan and divided his army into two parts, one to attack the capital of Wei, and the other to prepare an ambush along the route to the capital.

When the Wei general Pang Juan heard that the capital was being attacked, he rushed his army back to defend the capital. Weakened and exhausted from the year long siege and the forced march, the Wei troops were completely caught by surprise in the ambush and suffered heavy losses. Chao was thus rescued while Pang Juan barely escaped back to Wei to recoup his losses. Sun Pin would later defeat his nemesis Pang Juan using another classic strategy.

Different Translation

This stratagem originates from the Warring States period. In 354BC, the king of Wei sent general Pang Juan to attack Handan, the capital of Zhao. Wei laid siege to Zhao for a year. Both Zhao and Wei's troops became weakened and exhausted.

The king of Qi was approached by Zhao for help and he decided to send his troops to save Zhao.Tian Ji was appointed as commander and Sun Bin as military advisor.

Tian Ji ordered the troops to go to Handan directly to relieve Zhao. But Sun Bin stopped him saying, "Trying to help Zhao during a siege is like trying to unravel a tangled knot, and sending troops to Handan is like using a fist to unravel the knot. We're unlikely to suceed. To mediate between two fiercely contending parties, one must not intervene directly by joining the fray."

"Now that Wei's crack troops are outside its territory, its own defence must be weak. If we make an all-out attack on Wei, its troops in Zhao will be force to rush back to defend Wei.

Tian Ji took Sun Bin's advice and made a diversionary attack on Wei's capital Daliang coupled with an ambush along the mountain pass at Guiling which Pang Juan's troops had to go through on their return journey to Wei.

The worried Wei troops made haste to return to their capital and in the process wore themselves out. Wei's troops fell for the ambush at Guiling. The exhausted troops were completely routed. Pang Juan barely escaped with a handful of soldiers back to Daliang. Thus Zhao was saved from Wei.

Meaning: 原指战国时齐军用围攻魏国的方法,迫使魏国撤回攻赵部队而使赵国得救。后指袭击敌人后方的据点以迫使进攻之敌撤退的战术。

Context: 《史记·孙子吴起列传》

Example: 倘用~之计,且不来解此处之危,反去取我梁山大寨,如之奈何! ◎明·施耐庵《水浒全传》第六十四回

Antonyms: 围城打援、声东击西

Grammar: 连动式;作谓语、宾语、定语;用于军事

共敌不如分敌①,敌阳不如敌阴②。
【注释】
①共敌不如分敌:共,集中的。分,分散,使分散。句意:攻打集中的敌人,不如设法分散它而后再打。 
②敌阳不如敌阴:敌,动词,攻打。句意为 先打击气势旺盛的敌人,不如后打击气势旺盛的敌人。
【按语】
治兵如治水:锐者避其锋,如导疏;弱者塞其虚,如筑堰。故当齐救赵 时,孙子谓田忌曰:“夫解杂乱纠纷者不控拳,救斗者,不搏击,批亢捣虚,形格势禁,则自为解耳。”
【解析】
  对敌作战,好比治水:敌人势头强大, 就要躲过冲击,如用疏导之法分流。对弱小的敌人,就抓住时机消灭它,就象筑堤围堰,不让水流走。所以当齐救赵时,孙子对田忌说:“想理顺乱丝 和结绳,只能用手指慢慢去解开,不能握紧拳头去捶打;排解搏斗纠纷,只能动口劝说,不能动手参加。对敌人,应避实就虚,攻其要害,使敌方受到挫折,受到牵制,围困可以自解。”
【探源】
事见《史记.孙子吴起列传》,是讲战国时期齐国与魏国的桂陵之战。公元前354年,魏惠王欲释失中山的旧恨,便派大将庞涓前去攻打。这中山原本是东周时期魏国北邻的小国被魏国收服,后来赵国乘魏国国丧伺机将中山强占了,魏将庞涓认为中山不过弹丸之地,距离赵国又很近,不若直打赵国都城邯郸,既解旧恨又一举双得。魏王从之,欣欣然似霸业从此开始,即拨五百战车以庞涓为将,直奔赵国围了赵国都城邯郸。赵王急难中只好求救于齐国,并许诺解围后以中山相赠。齐威王应允,令田忌为将,并起用从魏国救得的孙膑为军师领兵出发。这孙膑曾与庞涓同学,对用兵之法谙熟精通。魏王用重金将他聘得,当时庞涓也正事奉魏国。庞涓自觉能力不及孙膑,恐其贤于己,遂以毒刑将孙膑致残,断孙两足并在他脸上刺字,企图使孙不能行走,又羞于见人。后来孙膑装疯,幸得齐使者救助,逃到齐国。这是一段关于庞涓与孙膑的旧事。
且说田忌与孙膑率兵进入魏赵交界之地时,田忌想直逼赵国邯郸,孙膑制止说:解乱丝结绳,不可以握拳去打,排解争斗,不能参与搏击,平息纠纷要抓住要害,乘虚取势,双方因受到制约才能自然分开。现在魏国精兵倾国而出,若我直攻魏国。那庞涓必回师解救,这样一来邯郸之围定会自解。我们再于中途伏击庞涓归路,其军必败。田忌依计而行。果然,魏军离开邯郸,归路中又陷伏击与齐战于桂陵,魏部卒长途疲惫,溃不成军,庞涓勉强收拾残部,退回大梁,齐师大胜,赵国之围遂解。这便是历史上有名的“围魏救赵”的故事。又后十三年,齐魏之军再度相交于战场,庞涓复又陷于孙膑的伏击自知智穷兵败遂自刎。孙膑以此名显天下,世传其兵法。
【故事】
太平天国后期,由于内讧加剧,大大削弱了军队的力量。公元1860年,清军派和春率领数十万大军进攻太平天国的都城天京(今江苏南京),清军仗着人马众多,层层包围,使天京成为一座孤城。
为了解救天京,天王洪秀全召集诸王众将商讨对策,但对如此险恶的形势,大家一时也想不出什么好办法。这时,年轻的将领忠王李秀成为洪秀全献上一计。他说: “如今,清军人马众多,硬拼只会凶多吉少。请天王拨给我两万人马,乘夜突围,偷袭敌军屯粮之地杭州。这样,敌人一定会分兵救援抗州。然后天王乘此机会突围,我也回兵天京,形成两面夹击之势,天京之围可解。”翼王石达开急忙响应,并表示也带一支人马协同忠王作战。诸王全将都认为这是“围魏救赵”之计,有两位王爷亲率精兵突围,胜利是有把握的。可是洪秀全生性喜欢猜疑,以为天京被围,形势险恶,怀疑二王是不是想乘机脱逃,所以迟疑不决,没有吭声。李秀成猜透了洪秀全的心思,他突然跪倒在地泪如泉涌,说道:“天王,天国危在旦夕,我等若有二心,对得起天王和全军将士吗?”石达开也跪在天王面前,恳求洪秀全下令发兵。洪秀全深受感动,终于同意照计而行。
这年正月初二,正值过年,清军仗着人多势众,已把天京团团围住,也就略有松懈。这天半夜时分,李秀成、石达开各率一部人马,乘着黑夜,从敌人封锁薄弱的东南角突围出去。清将和春见是小股部队逃窜,也就没有追击。
二王突围后,分兵两路:李秀成奔杭州,石达开奔湖州。李秀成抵杭州城下,见守备森严,他急令士兵攻城,但都被击退。原来这杭州是清军的重要粮草基地,城内守军也有一万余人。他们只坚守城池,并不出城反攻。李秀成见三天三夜未能攻下抗州,心中焦急。突然天降大雨,城内守军见太平军久攻不下,都很疲惫,天又降雨,就都躲进城堡休息,因为几天几夜没好生睡觉,倒在地上,就呼呼入睡。李秀成乘着雨夜.派一千多名勇士,用云梯偷偷爬上城墙,等守城兵士惊醒,城门己经大开,李秀成率部冲入城内,攻了杭州。为了吸引围困天京的清军,李秀成下令焚烧清军的粮仓。
和春闻讯,知道杭州已失,断了后勤供应,急今副将张玉良率十万人马,火速回救杭州。洪秀全见清军已分兵解救杭州,敌军正在调动,于是下令全线出击。李秀成攻下抗州,放火烧了粮仓之后,火速回兵天京。石达开也率部回撒天京。两路兵马汇合一处,机智地绕道而行,回避了张玉良回救抗州的部队,终于顺利地赶回天京。此时城内城外的太平军对清军形成夹击之势,清兵始料不及,左冲右突,阵势大乱,死伤六万余人,一败涂地。清军惨败,天京之围已解。短时期内,清军已无力再打天京了。

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