Pang De

Pang De

Three Kingdoms infobox
Name=Pang De

Caption=Illustration of Pang De in a scene during the Battle of Fancheng from a Qing Dynasty edition of the "Romance of the Three Kingdoms"
Title= General
Kingdom=Cao Cao
Pinyin=Páng Dé
WG=P'ang Te
Zi=Lingming (令明)
Post=Marquis Zhuang (壯侯)

Pang De (170 – 219) was a prominent general under the powerful warlord Cao Cao during the late Eastern Han Dynasty and Three Kingdoms era of China. He was noted for his loyalty when he refused to surrender after he was captured by the enemy general Guan Yu at the Battle of Fancheng.


Pang De initially served under Ma Teng, a warlord occupying northwestern China. He participated in many campaigns, during which he displayed extraordinary valor. After Ma Teng was summoned to Xuchang, his son Ma Chao launched an offensive against Cao Cao, but ultimately lost. Pang De then followed Ma Chao to Hanzhong, where the latter submitted to the governor Zhang Lu.

After Cao Cao took down Hanzhong, Ma Chao left to seek service under Liu Bei. Pang De, however, surrendered to Cao Cao together with many others. Well aware of Pang De's valour in battle, Cao Cao made him Liyi General (立義將軍).

In 219, Pang De was ordered to garrison at Fancheng, together with Cao Ren and Yu Jin to fight against the invasion of Liu Bei's general, Guan Yu. Many in the city suspected the allegiance of Pang De because his elder brother Pang Rou (龐柔) was serving under the rival warlord, Liu Bei. Pang De, however, proved his loyalty by battling personally with Guan Yu, and forcing him to retreat several times. On one occasion, Pang De shot an arrow that planted itself in Guan Yu's helm. By this time Pang De was widely known among the enemy troops as General White Horse, from the white steed he often rode. And he was thought of as the only general aside from Zhang Liao who could prove a match to Guan Yu.

After two weeks of heavy rain, the Han River next to Fancheng flooded. Pang De and his men sought refuge on a dam outside the city walls. Guan Yu's troops fired upon them from large ships in the middle of the river, while Pang De fired back with amazing accuracy. Two aides of Pang De, Dong Heng (董衡) and Dong Chao (董超), then intended to surrender. Pang De had them both executed on the spot.

The battle dragged from morning into the afternoon and Guan Yu's attacks became more and more ferocious as time passed. Out of arrows, Pang De and his troops engaged their enemies in hand-to-hand combat. The water level was still rising and most of Pang De's soldiers had surrendered. With only three men, Pang De tried to row back to the city on a small boat, which was capsized.

When he was captured and brought before Guan Yu, Pang De refused to kneel. Guan Yu tried to persuade him to surrender, but Pang De cursed and swore at his captor, saying that his loyalty still lay with Cao Cao and belittling Liu Bei as "mere common talent". Guan Yu then had him executed. While Pang De refused to surrender, Yu Jin, the commander who had long served Cao Cao, however, begged Guan Yu for his life and surrendered. When Cao Cao heard of Pang De's death, he compared Pang De's loyalty to Yu Jin's and was moved to tears. Pang De was later given the posthumous name of Marquis Zhuang (壯侯), literally meaning the robust marquis.

Pang De was survived by four sons, including Pang Hui, who also served a military post for Cao Wei.

Pang De in Romance of the Three Kingdoms

"Romance of the Three Kingdoms", a historical novel by Luo Guanzhong, is a romanticization of the events that occurred before and during the Three Kingdoms era. Pang De made his first appearance in Chapter 58 as a trusted officer of Ma Teng and his son Ma Chao. When Ma Chao had a dream, in which he was attacked by a pack of tigers in a snowy land, he consulted Pang De, who thought that it was a bad omen. True enough, they soon heard news of the death of Ma Teng, who was away in Xuchang planning a coup against Cao Cao.

The subsequent events more or less adhere to what is historically true. When it came to the Battle of Fancheng, however, the novel again deviates away from history to give a much more sentimental and exaggerated story on Pang De.

It was written that the city of Fancheng was besieged by the enemy general Guan Yu. Pang De then volunteered to command the vanguard force of the relief army to be sent to its help. Cao Cao was delighted and granted him the post.

Later, however, others advised Cao Cao to retrieve the order as Ma Chao, former lord of Pang De, and Pang De's elder brother both served Liu Bei. Cao Cao then called for Pang De, who knelt and knocked his head against the floor till his face was covered in blood. Seeing such sincerity in his general, Cao Cao then had no more doubts.

Pang De then ordered a wooden coffin, which he brought along to Fancheng as an expression of his determination to win the battle or lose his life. Outside Fancheng, Pang De engaged Guan Yu in a one-on-one duel, which ended in a tie after more than a hundred bouts.

The next day, the two generals rode forward to challenge each other again. After more than fifty bouts, Pang De feigned retreat and fired an arrow at the pursuing Guan Yu. The arrow hit its target on his left arm. Pang De then spun around and rushed forward to finish his enemy. However, Yu Jin, chief commander of the relief army, did not wish his subordinate to receive such high credits and ordered the retreat signals be sounded. The chance was then missed and Guan Yu was escorted back to his camp.

Heavy rain then began to fall ceaselessly for many days, causing the Han River to flood. Pang De and his 500 soldiers took refuge on a section of dam and withstood the enemies on boats. His force gradually decimated till only he was left fighting. Jumping onto a boat, Pang De then attempted to row to the city.

Zhou Cang, an enemy warrior, came along in a raft and capsized Pang De's boat. He then jumped into the water and captured Pang De. When brought to Guan Yu, Pang De refused to kneel. He cursed and swore at his captors when asked to surrender. Guan Yu then had him beheaded. Seeing Pang De's loyalty and fearlessness before death, Guan Yu was moved and gave him a proper burial.

Modern references

Pang De appears in the Koei video game series "Dynasty Warriors", being introduced as a playable character in "Dynasty Warriors 5" and its expansion titles. Pang De also appears in "Warriors Orochi".


*cite book|author=Chen Shou|title=San Guo Zhi|publisher=Yue Lu Shu She|year=2002|id=ISBN 7-80665-198-5
*cite book|author=Luo Guanzhong|title=San Guo Yan Yi|publisher=Yue Lu Shu She|year=1986|id=ISBN 7-80520-013-0
*cite book|author=Lo Kuan-chung; tr. C.H. Brewitt-Taylor|title=Romance of the Three Kingdoms|publisher=Tuttle Publishing|year=2002|id=ISBN 0-8048-3467-9

ee also

*Three Kingdoms
*Personages of the Three Kingdoms
*"Records of Three Kingdoms"
*"Romance of the Three Kingdoms"

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