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Battle of Qi Mountains

Battle of Qi Mountains
Part of end of the Han dynasty
Date214 CE
Location
Various locations on and surrounding the Qi Mountains
Result Decisive Cao Cao victory
Belligerents
Cao Cao Zhang Lu
Qiang people
Di people
Commanders and leaders
Xiahou Yuan Ma Chao
Han Sui
Strength
5,000+

The Battle of Qi Mountains was fought in 214 CE between the forces of the warlords Cao Cao and Zhang Lu. The battle was part of Ma Chao's multiple attacks on Cao Cao following the Battle of Tong Pass in 211.

Background

Following Ma Chao's crushing defeat against Cao Cao's great numbers at Weinan, Ma Chao went on to fight without the strength he once had with the Guandong coalition and he started to besiege Jicheng in 213 when Cao Cao was fighting Sun Quan in Ruxukou with fellow officer Yang Ang (楊昂). The siege was a success, but it did not take long until an uproar against Ma Chao occurred causing the Battle of Lucheng.

Yang Fu defeated Ma Chao, and as Ma fled from the scene, he re-met with Yang. This time, Ma took the offensive and struck Yang Fu violently with his spear. Thus, injuring him severely.

To add on, Ma Chao's generals Pang De and Ma Dai fled from Liang Province to take refuge with the warlord Zhang Lu. Ma Chao would end up joining them as well.

The battle

Zhang Lu gives troops to Ma Chao

It did not take long until Ma Chao took another attempt to wage war with Cao Cao. He persuaded Zhang Lu to lend him troops in order to wage war with Cao in the Spring of 214.[1] The troops were lent so Ma Chao could attempt to recapture Liang Province. Zhang Lu sent Ma Chao off to besiege Qi Mountain.

Zhang He leads the vanguard

When the threat started, Xiahou Yuan was informed of Ma's advance by Jiang Xu. However, Xiahou Yuan was counseled by his officers who recommended that they wait for orders directly from Cao Cao. Xiahou Yuan replied reasoning that Cao Cao was in Ye, and it was too far for reports to be swapped if Jiang Xu and his people were to survive.

Xiahou Yuan began his advance, sending general Zhang He as the vanguard of 5,000 troops. Ma Chao was quickly defeated and fled.[2]

Xiahou Yuan defeats Han Sui

Xiahou Yuan then planned to attack Han Sui with surprise while he was stationed in Xianqin, hoping to capture him. However, Han Sui escaped. Xiahou Yuan ordered his forces to begin pursuit, chasing him into Lueyang. At the time, Xiahou Yuan was 15,000 meters away from Han Sui and many encouraged the continuation of the pursuit. However, another suggestion was given that favored attacking the Di barbarians from Xingguo.[3] Xiahou Yuan knew that Han Sui's men were well trained and that the walls of Xingguo were strong, therefore quick victory was not an option. He then suggested attacking the Qiang at Changli. He suggested that since many of the Qiang's people have joined Han Sui's ranks, attacking the Qiang will draw the people to leave him to provide aid in the Qiang's defense. This would weaken Han Sui's forces. On the other hand, if Han Sui reinforced Changli he would be vulnerable to an offensive.[4]

Xiahou Yuan split up with the rest of the army and led light troops to the Qiang camp of the Shaodang Qiang and Han Sui provided no assistance.

When Xiahou Yuan's officers saw the size of Han Sui's army, they strongly suggested building a moat and stockades. However, Xiahou Yuan declined the suggestion reasoning that the troops would tire after the long march. Xiahou Yuan ordered the drum to be sounded, and Han Sui's forces were wiped out entirely.[5]

After that, he besieged Xingguo and forced King Qianwan of the Di people to flee to Ma Chao. The remaining forces under him surrendered to Xiahou Yuan. Immediately after, Xiahou Yuan also successfully attacked Gaoping and the Chuge people of the Xiongnu.[6]

References

  1. ^ de Crespigny, Rafe. "To Establish Peace" (PDF). Digital Collections. Retrieved 3 August 2013. In the spring Ma Chao asked Zhang Lu for soldiers so that he could go north and recapture Liang province, and Zhang Lu sent him off to besiege Qi Mountain.
  2. ^ de Crespigny, Rafe. "To Establish Peace" (PDF). Digital Collections. Retrieved 3 August 2013. Jiang Xu told Xiahou Yuan of the emergency, but Xiahou Yuan's officers recommended he wait for orders from Cao Cao. "The Duke is now at Ye city," observed Xiahou Yuan, "and it is four thousand li there and back.1 Jiang Xu and his people will be destroyed before any report can reach him. That is no way to bring help when it is needed." So he marched, sending Zhang He as advance guard with five thousand horse and foot. Ma Chao was defeated and fled.
  3. ^ de Crespigny, Rafe. "To Establish Peace" (PDF). Digital Collections. Retrieved 3 August 2013. Han Sui was at Xianqin. Xiahou Yuan planned a surprise attack to capture him, but Han Sui fled. Xiahou Yuan chased after him towards Lueyang city.2 He was thirty li behind Han Sui,3 and his officers wanted to maintain the pursuit, but then someone suggested they should attack the Di barbarians of Xingguo.
  4. ^ de Crespigny, Rafe. "To Establish Peace" (PDF). Digital Collections. Retrieved 3 August 2013. Han Sui's troops are well-trained and Xingguo has strong walls," judged Xiahou Yuan. "Whichever we attack, we shall gain no swift success. Much better deal with the Qiang at Changli.5 Many of them have joined Han Sui's army, but they will certainly come back to help their families. If Han Sui lets them go to look after their families, he will be left without support; but if he accompanies them to relieve Changli, our government troops can meet him in the field, and then we are sure to take him.
  5. ^ de Crespigny, Rafe. "To Establish Peace" (PDF). Digital Collections. Retrieved 3 August 2013. When the officers saw the size of Han Sui's army, they wanted to build a stockade and moat to fight on the defensive. Xiahou Yuan, however, said, "We have marched and counter-marched a thousand li. If we now start building and digging, our soldiers will be exhausted and useless. Though the bandits come in great numbers, they can easily be deal with." He beat the drums, and Han Sui's army was completely defeated.
  6. ^ de Crespigny, Rafe. "To Establish Peace" (PDF). Digital Collections. Retrieved 3 August 2013. Then Xiahou Yuan went forward to besiege Xingguo. King Qianwan of the Di fled to Ma Chao, and the remainder of his forces surrendered. Xiahou Yuan turned again to attack Gaoping and the Chuge [group of the Xiongnu]. He destroyed both of them.