|General of the Right (右將軍)|
223 – 234
|General Who Pacifies the North (平北將軍)|
222 – 223
|Administrator of Xiangyang (襄陽太守)|
222 – 223
|General Who Inspires Might (振威將軍)|
219 – 222
|Administrator of Guling (固陵太守)|
219 – 222
Guan County, Shandong
|Courtesy name||Wengui (文珪)|
|Peerage||Marquis of Liyang (溧陽侯)|
Pan Zhang (died 234), courtesy name Wengui, was a military general serving under the warlord Sun Quan during the late Eastern Han dynasty of China. He continued serving in the state of Eastern Wu (founded by Sun Quan) during the Three Kingdoms period until his death.
Pan Zhang was from Fagan County (發干縣), Dong Commandery (東郡), which is located east of present-day Guan County, Shandong. In 196, he became a follower of a 14-year-old Sun Quan, who was then serving as the Chief (長) of Yangxian County (陽羨縣) under his elder brother Sun Ce, who controlled many territories in the Jiangdong region. Pan Zhang was a heavy drinker and compulsive gambler, and he had to frequently borrow money to support these habits because his family was poor. When his creditors came to pursue debts, he always claimed that he would pay them back when he became wealthy. Sun Quan felt that Pan Zhang was extraordinary and favoured him, so he sent Pan on a recruitment drive. Pan Zhang returned with more than 100 men and Sun Quan appointed him as a military officer. He became a Major of Separate Command (別部司馬) after defeating some bandits. Later, he was appointed as a da shi cijian (大巿刺姧; similar to a police chief) in Wu Commandery (around present-day Suzhou, Jiangsu) and became famous after achieving success in maintaining high standards of security in the area. He was reassigned to be the Chief (長) of Xi'an County (西安縣; present-day Wuning County, Jiangxi) later.
Around the time, bandits were rampant in Jing Province (covering present-day Hubei and Hunan) and its governor Liu Biao was unable to deal with them. However, the bandits did not dare to cross the border into Yuzhang Commandery to pillage the area when they heard that Pan Zhang was stationed there. When an uprising broke out in Jianchang County (建昌縣; west of present-day Fengxin County, Jiangxi), Pan Zhang was reassigned to be the county chief and appointed as Colonel of Martial Vehemence (武猛校尉). He was then sent to suppress the revolt and succeeded in doing so within a month and managed to gather back 800 soldiers who were scattered during the rebellion. He was summoned to Jianye, the capital of Sun Quan's domain.
In 214, Sun Quan led an army to attack Hefei, a city defended by Cao Cao's general Zhang Liao, leading to the Battle of Xiaoyao Ford. When Sun Quan's forces were just setting up their camps outside Hefei, Zhang Liao suddenly led hundreds of troops to attack them, completely catching the enemy off guard. Chen Wu was killed in action while Song Qian and Xu Sheng were defeated and their men dispersed. Pan Zhang chased the deserting soldiers on horseback and executed two of them, forcing the others to return to battle. Sun Quan's forces managed to hold up against Zhang Liao's assault that day despite sustaining heavy casualties, but eventually suffered a crushing defeat when Zhang Liao launched a surprise counterattack while they were withdrawing. Sun Quan was impressed when he heard of Pan Zhang's actions and he promoted Pan to Lieutenant-General (偏將軍), put him in charge of more troops. and ordered him to garrison at Banzhou (半州).
In 219, Pan Zhang participated in a campaign led by Sun Quan's general Lü Meng to seize control of Jing Province from Guan Yu, a general under Liu Bei. Pan Zhang and Zhu Ran blocked Guan Yu's retreat routes and stationed at Jiashi (夾石) when they reached Linju County (臨沮縣; present-day Yuan'an County, Hubei). Guan Yu, along with his son Guan Ping and subordinate Zhao Lei (趙累), were captured alive in an ambush laid by Ma Zhong (馬忠), a Major (司馬) under Pan Zhang. In recognition of Pan Zhang's contributions, Sun Quan split Yidu and Zigui counties to form Guling Commandery (固陵郡) and appointed Pan as the Administrator (太守) of the commandery, in addition to promoting him to General Who Inspires Might (振威將軍) and enfeoffing him as the Marquis of Liyang (溧陽侯). When Gan Ning died, Sun Quan placed Gan's subordinates under Pan Zhang's command.
In late 221, Liu Bei launched a campaign against Sun Quan to retake Jing Province, leading to the Battle of Xiaoting of 221–222. Pan Zhang participated in the battle under the leadership of Lu Xun, the frontline commander of Sun Quan's forces. After enduring some initial defeats and months of stalemate, Lu Xun eventually ordered a large-scale counterattack with the use of fire, inflicting a crushing defeat on Liu Bei's forces. During the attack, Pan Zhang's subordinates killed Feng Xi, an officer under Liu Bei, as well as several enemy soldiers. For his achievements, Pan Zhang was further promoted to General Who Pacifies the North (平北將軍) and appointed as the Administrator of Xiangyang Commandery.
In Pan Zhang's later years, he was tasked with defending Sun Quan's territories from invasions by the state of Cao Wei, which was founded by Cao Cao's son and successor, Cao Pi. In 223, Cao Pi sent Zhang He, Xu Huang, Cao Zhen, Xiahou Shang and others to lead armies to attack Nan Commandery (南郡) with the objective of capturing the commandery capital Jiangling County, which was defended by Zhu Ran. Xiahou Shang sent 30,000 troops to build pontoon bridges for crossing over the Yangtze River to Bailizhou (百里洲), an island stretching over 100 li in the river around that area. Zhuge Jin and Yang Can (楊粲) wanted to lead their men to defend the island but were unable to locate the Wei troops' crossing points. Pan Zhang told them, "The Wei army's morale is very high at the beginning and the tide is low, so we shouldn't fight them yet." They moved to about 50 li upstream, where Pan Zhang ordered his men to collect thousands of bundles of reeds, attach them onto some large rafts, and set them on fire. The flaming rafts were then allowed to sail downstream and they destroyed the enemy's pontoon bridges. Xiahou Shang sensed that he was in danger of being isolated so he withdrew his forces from the island before his retreat route could be sealed. Pan Zhang moved to Lukou (陸口; at Lushui Lake near present-day Chibi, Hubei) and stationed there. Sun Quan praised Pan Zhang for his efforts and promoted him to General of the Right (右將軍).
In 227, Pan Zhang followed Sun Quan to a battle against Wei forces at Shiyang County (石陽縣; in present-day Hanchuan, Hubei). He was tasked with covering the rear as Sun Quan's men were withdrawing after the battle. However, he lowered his guard that night and could not hold up against the enemy when they attacked. Zhu Ran led reinforcements to resist the enemy's advance until Sun Quan's forces at the front had completely retreated before he withdrew.
Pan Zhang died in 234. His cause of death was not recorded in history. His son, Pan Ping (潘平), was exiled to Kuaiji Commandery for poor behaviour. Pan Zhang's wife remained in Jianye and received land and 50 taxable households.
Pan Zhang was known for his courage and ferocity in battle, for being a stern disciplinarian, and for his eagerness to earn fame and glory. He had only a few thousand men under his command, but when they were deployed in battle, their fighting power was equivalent to that of an army of 10,000 troops. Every time after a battle, he would set up a market for the distribution of military equipment. Other units would replenish their stocks by taking from him.
However, Pan Zhang led an extravagant lifestyle, especially in his later years. The quality of his personal items and clothing actually exceeded that befitting his rank and status. He also killed some wealthy officials and seized their property for himself, and had broken the law on several occasions. When others reported these incidents to Sun Quan, he did not pursue the matter in consideration of Pan Zhang's contributions.
Pan Zhang appeared as a character in the historical novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms by Luo Guanzhong, which romanticises the historical events before and during the Three Kingdoms period. In the novel, Pan Zhang was credited as the person responsible for capturing Guan Yu and Guan Ping an ambush during the Wu invasion of Jing Province in 219. He obtained Guan Yu's weapon, the Green Dragon Crescent Blade, as a spoil of war. He was killed by Guan Xing in around 221 during one of the early engagements in the Battle of Xiaoting. See Battle of Xiaoting#Guan Xing killing Pan Zhang for details.