Zhao Yun was a famous general who served the under Liu Bei and the Kingdom of Shu during the Romance of the 3 Kingdoms era. During his decades of service, he was awarded a number of both formal and informal titles that are a testament to his greatness. In this article, we will be looking into the exploits that earned him these titles.
General of the Standard
Zhao Yun’s first title – General of the Standard, was probably the most well known. In AD 208 Cao assembled an army and marched south to take Jingzhou.
Liu Bei was compelled to run away and headed towards Jiangling. Cao sent out 5000 elite light armoured cavalry after Liu Bei. Faced with a formidable force, Liu Bei was compelled to retreat, deserted his family and fled with Zhuge Liang, Zhang Fei, Zhao Yun and the cavalry.
A short time afterwards, in a bid to save Liu Bei’s wife and son, Zhao Yun reversed right into the opponent’s location and got pass them. He managed to find them and safely accompanied them back to Liu Bei. He was then given with the rank of ‘General of the Standard’.
This exploit has been repeatedly covered in the mass media, including games, dramas and movies such as Red Cliff. Commonly, Zhao Yun was depicted as a courageous warrior, skilled with his weapon of choice – the Dragon Spear, taking on the vastly superior army of Cao Cao. As such, audiences around the world are very familiar with Zhao Yun’s accomplishment.
General of the Flying Military
In AD 212 Liu Bei ordered Zhuge Liang to bring reinforcements to aid his conquest of Yizhou. Zhuge Liang brought Zhao Yun and Zhang Fei with him and headed towards Jiangzhou. After they all conquered Jiangzhou, the 3 generals split apart.
Zhao Yun led his own contingent of soldiers along the more southerly route and conquered Jiangyang and Jianwei on his path to Chengdu.
As a recognition for his conquests of Jiangyang, Jianwei & Yizhou, Zhao Yun was offered the rank of ‘General of the Flying Military’.
General of Tiger Valour
The title of General of Tiger Valour was not an official title but one that was bestowed by Zhao Yun’s own personal army. In AD 219 throughout Liu Bei’s attack on Han Zhong, after Huang Zhong overpowered Xiahou Yuan, Cao accumulated a huge army to retake Han Zhong. Zhao Yun, at 51 years old, was alongside Huang Zhong to defend in opposition to this danger.
At this time, Zhao Yun’s forces were significantly outnumbered, out manoeuvred and surrounded by Cao Cao’s superior army. Through his tactical brilliance and fighting capabilities, his army managed to break through Cao Cao’s army. Yet, Zhao Yun chose to turn back to save his subordinate officer, Zhang Zhu, who had trailed.
Withdrawing back to camp Zhao Yun was followed very closely by Cao Cao’s principal army. The scale of the enemy force convinced Zhao Yun that it was hopeless to hold out for long by shutting the gates. For that reason, he designed the tactic of opening up the gates and silencing any sort of noise.
Cao Cao’s military, frightened of an ambush, retreated. Zhao Yun continued to startle Cao’s military from behind with arrows. In this way, despite again being out numbered and placed in a fatal position, Zhao Yun’s battle acumen allowed him and his army to get the better of Cao Cao.