Pang De 龐德 fought bravely against the Shu-Han army led by Guan Yu 關羽 even after the Wei forces were utterly destroyed by a flood.


When Pang De was younger, he served as an Assistant Officer in the capacity of a commandery official.

During the Chuping reign years (190-193 A.D.), Pang De followed Ma Teng 馬騰 to punish several rebellious Qiang tribes. For his service, he was promoted to Colonel.

In 201 A.D., Cao Cao 曹操 was fighting with the Yuans, and Yuan Tan 袁譚 dispatched Guo Yuan 郭援 and Gao Gan 高幹 to attack Hedong 河東 commandery. In response, Cao Cao had Zhong Yao 鍾繇 command the forces from within the passes to subdue the rebels.[1] Zhang Ji 張既 had also managed to convince Ma Teng to help; he sent his son, Ma Chao 馬超, and 10.000 soldiers to assist in the attack.[2]

Pang De followed Ma Chao to Pingyang 平陽 commandery to deal with the rebels and De was given the honour of commanding the vanguard. The allied forces waited until Guo Yuan had crossed halfway over the Fen 汾 river, then attacked, inflicting serious casualties to Guo Yuan's forces.[3]

During the chaos of the battle, it was reported that Guo Yuan had been slain, yet no one had produced his head to show they had earned the honour from killing the commander. Now, during the melee, Pang De had slain an important officer, yet did not know who it was; he arrived back at the camp after nightfall and presented the head. Guo Yuan was the nephew of Zhong Yao, so when Yao saw the head, he wept. De apologised to Yao, but Yao replied: "Although Yuan is my nephew, he is foremost a traitor to the state. What need have you to apologise?"[4] Pang De was given the rank of Gentleman of the Household and ennobled as a Marquis of a Chief Village.[5]

When Zhang Baiqi 張白騎 rebelled in Hongnong 弘農 commandery, Pang De followed Ma Teng to punish him. They defeated Baiqi at Liangxiaojian 兩殽間. In every engagement, Pang De fought in the vanguard and penetrated deeply into the enemy ranks, none matched him. In 208 A.D.[6], Ma Teng was appointed Minister of Guards and moved to the capital; Teng's forces were then given to Ma Chao.

In 211 A.D., Pang De was defeated along with the Liang Rebels at Tong Pass. De then fled alongside Ma Chao to Hanyang 漢陽 commandery, followed in the seizure of Ji city 冀城, and the eventually flight to Zhang Lu 張魯 in Hanzhong 漢中 commandery.

Service to Cao CaoEdit

When Cao Cao arrived in Hanzhong, Zhang Lu and his forces surrendered to him, and Pang De followed suit. Cao Cao had heard of Pang De's bravery so he promoted him to General Who Supports Righteousness and enfeoffed as Marquis of Guanmen 關門 village with a fief of 300 households.

In the 10th month of 218 A.D., the defenders of Wan 宛 city, Hou Yin 侯音 and Wei Kai 衛開 rebelled. The enticed thousands of mountain people to join them, executed the Grand Administrator of Nanyang 南陽 and robbed the populace.[7][8][9] With Cao Ren 曹仁, Pang De relieved Wan and beheaded Hou Yin and Wei Kai before returning to garrison Fan 樊 castle.

Battle of FanEdit

In 219 A.D., Guan Yu attacked Fan. At this time, Pang De's cousin, Pang Rou 龐柔, was in Shu-Han[n 2], so many of the officers doubted De's loyalty. But Pang De said to them: "I have accepted this state's kindness, it would only be just that I die for the state. I personally desire to fight Guan Yu. And this year, I will kill Yu, or he will kill me." Pang De engaged in battle with Guan Yu before Fan, and even managed to wound Yu with an arrow. At the time, Pang De would ride a white steed, so the Shu-Han army would call De 'General of the White Steed', and they were all afraid of his prowess.

In the 8th month, the region suffered from a torrential downpour for more than 10 days. The Han 漢 river overflowed, the banks burst, and the ensuing deluge destroyed the reinforcement army led by Yu Jin 于禁.[10] Cao Ren had Pang De camping 5 km north of Fan at the time and he only escaped the flooding by making use of high embankments; the flood waters reached a depth of 11-14 m.[n 3]

The Shu-Han army sailed up in great boats and from four sides, fired arrows at the troops isolated on the embankments; Pang De grasped his bow and fired back, many arrows striking their marks. Wei generals Dong Heng 董衡 and Dong Chao 董超 wanted to surrender to the enemy, and so De beheaded them as a sign to others. He fought from dawn till midday, but with Guan Yu pressing the attack and his arrows exhausted, Pang De was forced into melee combat. Pang De said to Commander Chang He 成何: "I have heard that auspicious generals are unflinching in the face of death, and martyrs are not destroyed but live on. Today, today is the day I die." Thereupon, Pang De redoubled his efforts, his ferocity and spirit even more vigorous than before.

However, the situation began to become more and more untenable. The water level continued to rise and one after another the Wei forces had no option but to surrender. Pang De and one other jumped in a small boat and tried to make for Fan, but the boat capsized and Pang De was left clinging to the boat amidst the flood.

Pang De was fished out of the floodwaters by the Shu-Han soldiers and brought before Guan Yu. Yet Pang De stood and refused to kneel. Guan Yu said to him: "You have a cousin in Hanzhong, and I should be pleased to have you as one of my officers. Why did you not surrender sooner?" Pang De cursed at him and replied: "Slave, what is this talk of surrender? The King of Wei commands a million men in arms, and his authority shakes the empire. Your Liu Bei is nothing special; how can he match my master? I would rather be a martyr for my state than a leader of rebels!"[11] Forthwith, Pang De was executed.


When Cao Pi 曹丕 became King of Wei, he sent envoys to Pang De's grave to posthumously canonise him as Magnificent (zhuang 壯) Lord of Guanmen.[n 4]

After the state of Shu-Han fell in 263 A.D., Pang De's son, Hui, exterminated all of Guan Yu's clan, ending his line.[12]



  • Pang Rou 龐柔 - Lives in Shu-Han


  • Pang Hui 龐會 - Said to embody his father's spirit. Became Commandant-General of the Capital and a Marquis.
  • 3 other sons unnamed - Each made a Secondary Marquis and given a fief of 100 households.

Fact vs. FictionEdit


  • ...


  1. Pei Songzhi notes it is pronounced like the "Huan" from 桓.
  2. Ma Chao fled Zhang Lu's service, whereas Pang De remained in Hanzhong. Either Rou fled with Ma Chao, or when Cao Cao came to annex Hanzhong, Rou fled then.
  3. Text says 5-6 zhang (丈). 1 zhang = 10 chi, 1 chi = 23 cm.
  4. Wang Yin's Annals of Shu also state that when Shu fell in 263 A.D., Pang De's remains were supposedly exhumed from Shu and interred back in Jin, supposedly his body showed no decomposition, as though he had just died. Pei Songzhi dismisses this saying, Pang De died at Fan and Cao Pi dispatched an envoy to his grave, thus his remains could not have been in Shu. The fact that the remains were also still fresh adds further doubt to the validity of Wang Yin's statement.


  1. SGZ: Biography of Cao Cao.
  2. SGZ: Biography of Zhang Ji.
  3. SGZ: Biography of Zhong Yao.
  4. SGZ: Wei lüe quoted in the Biography of Pang De.
  5. SGZ: Biography of Ma Chao.
  6. SGZ: Biography of Zhang Ji.
  7. SGZ: Biography of Cao Cao.
  8. SGZ: Biography of Cao Ren.
  9. SGZ: Biography of Ying Yu quoted in the Chuguo Xianxian zhuan in the Annals of Cao Mao.
  10. SGZ: Biography of Cao Cao.
  11. de Crespigny. Chapter 68 in To Establish Peace Vol 2, Jian'an 24, section O
  12. SGZ: Annals of Shu quoted in SGZ Biography of Guan Yu.


  • Chen Shou 陳壽 (233–297). Sanguo zhi 三國志 “Records of the Three Kingdoms”, with official commentary compiled by Pei Songzhi 裴松之 (372-451).
  • de Crespigny, Rafe. To Establish Peace. Vol. 1. Canberra: Faculty of Asian Studies, The Australian National University, 1996. 2 vols.
  • —. To Establish Peace. Vol. 2. Canberra: Faculty of Asian Studies, The Australian National University, 1996. 2 vols.
  • Fang, Achilles. The Chronicle of the Three Kingdoms. Vol. I. Harvard University Press, 1952. 2 vols.