Jump to content


Photo
- - - - -

Chinese Warfare Articles


  • Please log in to reply
40 replies to this topic

#1 Sephodwyrm

Sephodwyrm

    Vanguard of Zhan Guo (战国先锋)

  • CHF Rookie Member
  • 2,711 posts
  • Location:Tucson, Arizona, US of A
  • Interests:Upsetting regional imbalances
  • Main Interest in CHF:
    Chinese History
  • Specialisation / Expertise:
    Warring States Military, Chinese Sketches and Artwork

Posted 23 July 2004 - 02:13 AM

The Siege of Xuanhu
450 AD, 27th Year of Yuanjia 元嘉 under Emperor Wen of Song 刘宋文帝, Liu Yilong刘义隆


Summary:
A decisive siege at Xuanhu 悬瓠 led by Emperor Tuoba Tao 拓跋焘 of Northern Wei 北魏 against the Liu Song 刘宋Empire to the south at 450 AD. After 42 days of assault Tuoba Tao lifts the siege and retreats.

Source: Sima Guang et al.司马光等, Baihua Zizhi Tongjian Jingxuan 白话资治通鉴精选, Zhanzheng Pian 战争篇, translated by <<Tong Jian>> Jinyi Xilie Bianwei Huibian Shi <<通鉴>>今译系列编委会编译, ISBN 957-8706-23-5, first edition published 1993, Taibei 台北县, Xindian 新店市, pages 227-230
Translated into English by Po-Lung Chia 贾博龙
Reviewed and Edited by: Yang Shao-yun

The emperor of Northern Wei Tuoba Tao intends to invade the southern Chinese Empire of Liu Song. On the 2rd of March, Tuoba Tao initiated a large scale hunting expedition at Liangchuan. The Emperor of Liu Song, Liu Yilong, having heard of it and being worried about the bad intelligence and scouting reports, immediately ordered the provinces along the banks of the rivers Huai 淮 and Si 泗: "If the Northern Wei soldiers make small incursions, then repel them on your own accord. If they make a huge invasion, take all the people and retreat to Shouyang 寿阳."

On the 19th of March, Tuoba Tao personally leads an army of 100,000 mixed infantry and cavalry and crosses the border. Zheng Kun, the prefect of Nandun (南顿太守郑琨) and Zheng Daoyin, the prefect of Yingchuan, (颖川太守郑道隐) both abandoned their posts and fled for their lives.

At this time, the governor of Yuzhou, Prince of Nanping, Liu Shuo (豫州刺史南平王刘铄) is in charge of Shouyang. He sent the Assistant Staff Officer to the General of the Left Guards, Chen Xian (左军行参军陈宪) to stand in to manage the governing matters of Runan (汝南) and defend Xuanhu. Xuanhu has less than 1,000 soldiers, and Tuoba Tao had the fortress surrounded.

In April, in response to the new war, the Liu Song Empire reduces the salary of the government officials by 1/3.

The Northern Wei army assaults the fortress regardless of day and night. They built numerous siege towers and closed in against the fortress and let loose their arrows. In an instant, sharp arrows fell like rain. The (Liu Song) soldiers of Xuanhu had to carry around a door to shield themselves when drawing water from the well. The Northern Wei soldiers started throwing out huge hooks from their chongche (battering rams) and latched it on the castle walls. They then used the battering rams as a cover to pull the castle walls down. The south walls collapsed as a result. Chen Xian (the defender of Xuanhu) thus gave orders to built another smaller wall to close the breach, as well as a wooden palisade outside this new wall, and continued his defenses. The Northern Wei army filled up the moat and started climbing up the castle walls and towers and embroiled in a melee with the Liu Song soldiers. Chen Xian led his soldiers and fought bitterly. The dead of both sides piled as high as the walls of the fortress itself. The Northern Wei soldiers thus climbed upon their fallen and continued to ascend the castle walls. Regardless of the hard fighting, Chen Xian did not lose his cool and fought with increasing courage. His soldiers fought like 100 men each, inflicting tens of thousands of casualties on the Northern Wei army but also losing more than half their fighting men.

Tuoba Tao orders the Prince of Yongchang, Tuoba Ren, (永昌王拓跋仁) to lead a combined army of infantry and cavalrymen with more than 10000 men and force the civilians they have captured to defend and open up Ruyang (汝阳) for agriculture. At the same time, the governor of Xuzhou, the Prince of Wu Ling, Liu Jun (徐州刺史武陵王刘骏), is defending Pengcheng (彭城). The Liu Song Emperor Liu Yilong thus sent a personal emissary to order Liu Jun to lead his cavalry units and 3 days of food assault the Northern Wei army. Liu Jun mobilized all the 1500 horsemen within an area of 100 square li to attack the Northern Wei army in 5 prongs. Military advisor Liu Taizhi (参军刘泰之) leads the 5 commanders: Yuan Qianzhi (安北骑兵行参军垣谦之), Zang Zhaozhi (田曹行参军臧肇之), Yin Ding (集曹行参军尹定), Du Youwen (武陵左常侍杜幼文) and Cheng Tianzuo (殿中将军程天柞) who each would lead 1 of the prongs, and rushed for Ruyang. The Northern Wei army is too focused on the possibility of reinforcements from Shouyang and neglected the front of war against Pengcheng.

Liu Taizhi and his commanders led their troops forward secretly and ambushed the Northern Wei army, killing over 3000 men and burnt all their supplies. The Northern Wei soldiers scattered to God-knows-where. The captured soldiers and civilians of Liu Song thus seized this opportunity and escaped to the east. The Northern Wei army scouts saw that Liu Taizhi have no support, and thus the Northern Wei army reorganized itself and launches a counterattack. Yuan Qianzhi retreated first, leading to great panic among the Liu Song soldiers. Many of them casted away their weapons and fled. Liu Taizhi was slain in the battle, Zang Zhaozhi fell into a river and drowned. Cheng Tianzuo was captured. Only Yuan Qianzhi, Yin Ding and Du Youwen with about 900 men and 400 horses escaped.

Tuoba Tao assaulted Xuanhu for 42 days. Liu Yilong sends internal minister of Nanping, Zang Zhi (南平内史臧质), to Shouyang so that he and the Captain Pacifying the Southern Savages, Liu Kangzu (安蛮司马刘康祖), would join forces and relieve the siege at Xuanhu. Tuoba Tao sends State Secretary of Palace Security Tuoba Qidizhen (殿中尚书任城公拓跋乞地真) to counter this force. Zang Zhi and his men fought the Northern Wei army and slew Tuoba Qidizhen.

At the beginning of summer, Tuoba Tao lifts the siege and retreats, arriving back at Pingcheng (平城 the Northern Wei capital) on 10th May, 450 AD.

Note: All the dates are in the chinese lunar calendar
Maxim-Ivan Illustrations
Chief Editor and Founder
Our Deviantart Site

#2 Yun

Yun

    Sage-King

  • CHF Han Lin Scholar
  • 9,057 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Singapore/USA
  • Interests:Ancient Chinese history, with a focus on the Age of Fragmentation. Chinese ethnicities, religion, philosophy, music, and art and material culture. Military history in general.
  • Main Interest in CHF:
    Chinese History
  • Specialisation / Expertise:
    Three Kingdoms, Age of Fragmentation, Sui-Tang

Posted 23 July 2004 - 02:22 AM

The Siege of Hulao, 423

Source: Wangshi Beiding Zhongyuan Ri ("The Day Our Army Retakes the North"), Volume 16 of the Bai Yang translation of the Tongjian Jishi Benmo (Taipei: Yuanliu Publishing House, 2000), pp. 3656-3669

Translated into English by Yang Shao-yun

The Northern Wei army counterattacked this Song stronghold upon Liu Yu's death, in an attempt to take the southern bank of the Yellow River (which had been conquered by Liu Yu's northern expeditions). The Wei army was led by Daxi Jin and Gongsun Biao, and the Song garrison in Hulao was commanded by Mao Dezu.

Mao Dezu's troops dug six tunnels out of the city, extending behind the Wei army's siege lines. He then selected 400 crack troops to emerge from the tunnels and attack the Wei army from behind, killing a few hundred of them and burning all their siege engines. But the Wei army soon regrouped and resumed the siege.

Daxi Jin led 3,000 troops away to attack Xuchang, another Song stronghold. Mao Dezu siezed this chance to launch a surprise counterattack on Gongsun Biao. This battle lasted from morning to noon, and another few hundred Wei soldiers were killed. But Daxi Jin suddenly returned from Xuchang and encircled Mao Dezu. Mao fought his way out and withdrew back into the city, but lost more than a thousand men.

Mao Dezu and Gongsun Biao were both northerners and were once good friends. Mao knew that Gongsun was a shrewd opponent, so he decided to use a strategy of deception. They began exchanging letters, ostensibly out of friendship. But Mao then sent agents into the Wei camp to stir up suspicions against Gongsun Biao, and deliberately blotted out some parts of his letters to make it look like Gongsun had covered them up out of secrecy. Gongsun showed the letters to Daxi Jin to prove that his conscience was clear, but the covered-up parts only deepened Daxi's suspicions.

Daxi Jin reported Gongsun's possible treachery to the Wei emperor Tuoba Si. One of Gongsun's enemies in the imperial court, the Imperial Astrologer Wang Liang, then took advantage of the situation to slander him. Wang Liang claimed that Gongsun's decision to set up camp to the east of Hulao was inauspicious (bad fengshui) and meant to led the Wei army to defeat. Tuoba Si was a big believer in fengshui, and ordered Gongsun Biao to be strangled to death in his tent.

Ten days later, Tuoba Si himself led an army to the frontlines. He despatched Yilou Ba to reinforce Daxi Jin at Hulao. Mao Dezu continued to mount a fluid defence and killed large numbers of Wei soldiers, but his own garrison had suffered heavy casualties as well after a month of fighting. At the beginning of summer, the Wei army cut off Hulao's water supply from the Yellow River, and Tuoba Si personally came to supervise the siege, but still the city continued to hold out for close to two months.

Having failed to take Dongyang city in Shandong after another long siege, the famous Wei general Yichan Jian (also known as Shusun Jian) brought his army west to Hulao to reinforce Daxi Jin as well. After holding out for 200 days, in which there was not a single day's rest from fighting, the best troops in the Song garrison had nearly all been killed, and the besieging Wei army just grew larger and larger. The outer walls of Hulao had been broken down, but Mao Dezu had built three inner walls to continue the defence. The Wei army then destroyed two of the inner walls, leaving Mao with only the innermost wall. Mao's men continued fighting day and night, and the lack of sleep and water made their eyes so dry that sores grew in their eyes from repeated rubbing. But the Song garrison remained united and determined because of the charisma and bravery of their leader Mao Dezu. In contrast, the Song generals in surrounding cities dared not march to the aid of Hulao because of the strength of the Wei army besieging it.

The Wei army dug tunnels into the high cliffs around Hulao that reached the wells in the city. These were deep wells that tapped into underground water sources, and the tunnels now diverted these water sources away from the wells. The same dangerous cliffs that had made Hulao so defensible now made it impossible for the Song garrison to stop the Wei soldiers from tunneling into them. The horses and people in the city suffered such dehydration that they could no longer bleed from their wounds. Hunger and disease added to their misery, and at this point the Wei army launched its biggest assault so far.

Within two days, the last wall broke. Mao Dezu's officers urged him to break out and escape back to the south. But Mao declared, "I swore an oath to live and die with this city, and honour now forbids me from preserving my own life." Tuoba Si had ordered that Mao Dezu was to be taken alive, and a Wei general named Doudai Tian captured him and presented him to Tuoba Si.

All the surviving Song defenders were taken prisoner (not slaughtered), except for 200 men under the adjutant Fan Daoji, who broke out and fled back to the south. 20-30% of the besieging Wei army had died of disease (an estimated 26,000-39,000 men), and deaths from disease had also been responsible for Yichan Jian's decision to lift the siege of Dongyang.
The dead have passed beyond our power to honour or dishonour them, but not beyond our ability to try and understand.

#3 Yun

Yun

    Sage-King

  • CHF Han Lin Scholar
  • 9,057 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Singapore/USA
  • Interests:Ancient Chinese history, with a focus on the Age of Fragmentation. Chinese ethnicities, religion, philosophy, music, and art and material culture. Military history in general.
  • Main Interest in CHF:
    Chinese History
  • Specialisation / Expertise:
    Three Kingdoms, Age of Fragmentation, Sui-Tang

Posted 23 July 2004 - 02:23 AM

The Siege of Dongyang, 423

Source: Wangshi Beiding Zhongyuan Ri ("The Day Our Army Retakes the North"), Volume 16 of the Bai Yang translation of the Tongjian Jishi Benmo (Taipei: Yuanliu Publishing House, 2000), pp. 3656-3669

Translated into English by Yang Shao-yun

While one prong of the Northern Wei attack struck at Hulao and Luoyang (the Song prefect in Luoyang abandoned the city and fled without fighting), the other prong struck further east at the cities of Shandong (then known as Qingzhou 青州). The governor of Qingzhou, Zhu Kui 竺夔, had his headquarters in the city of Dongyang (present-day Qingzhou city), and sent an urgent request for reinforcements to the Song capital (Nanjing). The Song government despatched the generals Tan Daoji 檀道济 and Wang Yi 王懿 (better known as Wang Zhongde 王仲德) to lead their armies to the aid of the besieged cities in the north.

Tan marched northwards from Guangling (present-day Yangzhou) to rendezvous with Wang at Pengcheng (present-day Xuzhou). But while this was taking place, the Wei general Yizhan Jian 乙旃建 entered Shandong with 60,000 cavalry, over-running every town and city in his way. Zhu Kui quickly adopted a scorched-earth policy, gathering as much of the population as possible into Dongyang city. Those who were cut off from the city were commanded to take refuge in the hills and mountains and build stockades for defence.

The population of Dongyang hurriedly harvested all their crops and carried them into Dongyang or the hills, making it impossible for the Wei troops to live off the land. The Wei emperor Tuoba Si then sent Diao Yong 刁雍, a famous Eastern Jin minister from Shandong who had defected to the Wei upon Liu Yu's usurpation of the throne, to win over the hearts of the Qingzhou people as their new Wei "governor'. Diao crossed the Yellow River with a number of horses and began recruiting local men into the Wei army. Such was the fame of his family in Qingzhou that he soon gathered a force of 5,000, as well as much grain and fodder.

Yizhan Jian left 30,000 cavalry to garrison the various towns that he had taken, and led the other 30,000 to besiege Dongyang. In Dongyang city, the Song soldiers and officials numbered only 1,500, but Zhu Kui and the Prefect of Ji'nan 济南, Yuan Miao 垣苗 (who had also fled to the city), repeatedly defeated the Wei army using surprise sallies from the city. The Wei then adopted combined formations of cavalry and infantry more than ten li deep, and built numerous siege engines.

Zhu Kui dug four rings of trenches around the city, but the Wei army filled in the outer three of them. The Wei sent mobile siege towers (belfries) to storm the walls, but Zhu Kui sent his troops out from tunnels to tie ropes to the towers and pull them to the ground. The Wei then built a siege wall to protect their troops, and intensified their attacks. The walls of Dongyang began to crack and collapse, and many of its defenders were killed or wounded. Those who remained grew increasingly exhausted. Their only hope lay in the arrival of Tan Daoji and Wang Zhongde.

Tan and Wang had been faced with a difficult decision when they linked up at Pengcheng: whether to reinforce Hulao or Dongyang, since both were under siege. Their forces were not large enough to split up, and in the end they decided to go to Dongyang because it was nearer and Zhu Kui had less troops than Mao Dezu. They marched their troops as fast as possible, hoping to reach Dongyang before it fell.

At this time, another Wei army under E Qing 娥清, Zhou Ji 周几 and Yujiulu Dafei 郁久闾大肥 (a Rouran) was striking south towards Pengcheng itself. On the way, they met resistance from the residents of Gaoping 高平 prefecture, who had built forts and were shooting arrows at the Wei troops. The angry Wei troops over-ran the forts and slaughtered several thousand families, taking another ten thousand or more people as captives. Zheng Shunzhi 郑顺之, the governor of Yanzhou 兖州, witnessed the slaughter from his nearby headquarters at Hulu 湖陆, but could do nothing because his forces were too weak.

As summer began, the siege of Dongyang seemed about to end: a stretch of more than thirty paces along its northern wall had been breached, and Diao Yong urged Yizhan Jian to order an assault through that breach. But Yizhan Jian hesitated, and Zhu Kui had enough time to repair the breach. News soon arrived that Tan Daoji's army was arriving, and Diao Yong offered another plan: "The enemy fears the charges of our cavalry, and thus marches in a square formation of ox-drawn supply carts chained together (so as to form a wagon laager upon being attacked). But south of Mount Daxian 大岘山 (present-day Mount Yi 沂山 in Shandong) the paths are narrow and carts must travel in single file. I request permission to lead the 5,000 men whom I recruited to lay an ambush there, so that we can annihilate the enemy when he retreats." Diao was careful to point out that the greater honour of first defeating the enemy in open battle would still go to Yizhan Jian.

However, Yizhan Jian had already lost his appetite for battle. The hot summer weather was causing outbreaks of disease among the Xianbei troops, and Yizhan reasoned, "More than half of our army has fallen ill, and if we continue this stalemate, it's likely that our entire army will die - and then what will be the point of all the fighting? The better option right now would be to withdraw safely while we still have a credible force."

Two days later, Tan Daoji arrived at Linqu 临朐, just south of Dongyang. Within three days, Yizhan Jian burned his camp with all the heavy siege equipment, and retreated westwards. Tan Daoji entered Dongyang, but could not pursue Yizhan Jian's army because the forced march from Pengcheng had consumed all his supplies. The walls of Dongyang were badly damaged, and so Zhu Kui withdrew his headquarters to Buqi 不其 along the southern coast of the Shandong peninsula(present-day Jimo). Tan Daoji withdrew to Hulu (E Qing's force had already left the area), while Wang Zhongde marched to Yinmao 尹卯 on the south bank of the Yellow River to guard against any Wei counterattack. When Wang heard that Wei troops were now concentrating at Hulao, he decided that Yinmao was safe and returned to Hulu as well. Meanwhile, Hulao was deemed to be beyond rescue and was left to its fate.

But Yinmao was not really safe: Diao Yong now led his force into that city and gathered 5,000 refugee families from the area into 27 forts. The result of this was that in the War of 423 (The First Song-Wei War), the Song held on to Qingzhou but lost a large stretch of territory along the south bank of the Yellow River, stretching from Luoyang eastwards to Yinmao and Ji'nan.
The dead have passed beyond our power to honour or dishonour them, but not beyond our ability to try and understand.

#4 Yun

Yun

    Sage-King

  • CHF Han Lin Scholar
  • 9,057 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Singapore/USA
  • Interests:Ancient Chinese history, with a focus on the Age of Fragmentation. Chinese ethnicities, religion, philosophy, music, and art and material culture. Military history in general.
  • Main Interest in CHF:
    Chinese History
  • Specialisation / Expertise:
    Three Kingdoms, Age of Fragmentation, Sui-Tang

Posted 23 July 2004 - 05:06 AM

The Hammered-Spear Tactic - The Wei-Jin battle of 417 AD

Based on the biography of Zhu Chaoshi in the Song Shu (Book of the Liu-Song Dynasty)

In 416 AD, Liu Yu (the military strongman of the Eastern Jin) led a northern expedition to destroy the declining Later Qin state (ruled by the Qiang people) in the Chang'an region. When his ships entered the Yellow River through a canal from the Huai River and prepared to sail westwards to Chang'an in early 417, the Tuoba Xianbei of the Northern Wei state sent an army to stop them. The Wei had allied itself with the Later Qin, and had threatened to attack the Jin expedition if it passed through their territory. It was the first time that Jin and Wei troops had met in battle, and they faced each other on opposite banks of the Yellow River.

The Wei were strong in cavalry, while the Jin troops were mainly infantry travelling in ships and ox-drawn wagons. Liu Yu sent a unit of 700 men with 100 wagons to establish a beachhead on the northern bank. They arrayed themselves in a "half-moon" formation 100 paces from the river bank, with seven men on each wagon. The formation was a defensive semi-circle, its flanks pulled back towards the water's edge to prevent flanking by the Wei cavalry - essentially half a wagon laager. Once the formation had formed up, a long white feather was raised up as a signal to the Jin main body on the southern bank.

The Wei cavalry was confused by the formation and signal feather, and made no move. But Jin general Zhu Chaoshi was ready with 2,000 men on the southern bank, and upon seeing the signal he led them across the river. They carried 100 large crossbows, and 20 men with one crossbow mounted each wagon. They also set up a pavise (large shield) at the front shafts of each wagon.

The Wei now realised what was happening, and surrounded the formation. Zhu Chaoshi first ordered his men to shoot at them with weaker bows and smaller arrows, leading them to underestimate the strength of the Jin forces and press forward to attack (rather than shower the Jin formation with arrows, which would have been more dangerous). Sure enough, the Wei dispatched another 30,000 lancers to charge the Jin half-moon.

At this point, the 100 crossbows loosed their bolts simultaneously, while specially-picked expert archers showered the Wei cavalry with arrows. But the Wei force was so large that even the crossbows could not repel it. Zhu Chaoshi now improvised a new tactic. He had brought many large hammers and more than a thousand cavalry lances (shuo) with him. He ordered each lance to be broken into a length of 3 to 4 chi (about 1m to 1.3m), and one man would hold each lance while another rammed it into a Wei cavalryman with the hammer. Such was the force of the hammered thrust that a lance could impale three or four Wei cavalrymen. The 30,000 Wei cavalry broke and fled - from 2,700 Jin infantry!

Zhu Chaoshi pursued the Wei, but the Wei regrouped and surrounded them again, and were only driven off again after a full day of hard fighting in which thousands of Wei cavalry were killed. However, at another location on the northern bank a Jin army of 5,000 men under Xu Yizi (they had crossed the river after Zhu Chaoshi's victory) was also surrounded by Wei cavalry and had to defend itself with long ji halberds, showing that the old anti-cavalry tactics using the ji were still in much use. They would very likely have been wiped out, if Zhu Chaoshi had not rushed his exhausted army over to support them. The Wei were so in fear of Zhu's hammered spears that they withdrew before he even reached the scene.
The dead have passed beyond our power to honour or dishonour them, but not beyond our ability to try and understand.

#5 Sephodwyrm

Sephodwyrm

    Vanguard of Zhan Guo (战国先锋)

  • CHF Rookie Member
  • 2,711 posts
  • Location:Tucson, Arizona, US of A
  • Interests:Upsetting regional imbalances
  • Main Interest in CHF:
    Chinese History
  • Specialisation / Expertise:
    Warring States Military, Chinese Sketches and Artwork

Posted 26 July 2004 - 12:24 AM

Siege of Xuyi 盱眙
Summary:
In 450 AD, Emperor Wen of Liu Song, Liu Yilong (劉宋文帝劉義隆) started another northern campaign. This not only failed to reclaim the Central Plains, but also led to a great retaliatory invasion by the Northern Wei (北魏) army. Xuanhu (懸瓠), Pengcheng (彭城) and Shouyang (壽陽) were lost, and Xuyi was also besieged...

Source: Sima Guang et al.司马光等, Baihua Zizhi Tongjian Jingxuan 白话资治通鉴精选, Zhanzheng Pian 战争篇, translated by <<Tong Jian>> Jinyi Xilie Bianwei Huibian Shi <<通鉴>>今译系列编委会编译, ISBN 957-8706-23-5, first edition published 1993, Taibei 台北县, Xindian 新店市, pages 231-239
Translated by Po-Lung Chia 賈博龍
Reviewed and edited by Yang Shao-yun 杨劭允

451 AD, 27th Year of Yuanjia 元嘉 under Emperor Wen of Song 刘宋文帝, Liu Yilong 刘义隆

In the 10th month, the Northern Wei Emperor assaults the city of Pengcheng but fails. On the first of the 12th month (18th January, 451 AD in the Western calendar), the Northern Wei Emperor leads an army to invade the south. He sends Palace Secretary Lu Xiu 中書郎魯秀 to lead his forces from Guangling 廣陵, Prince of Gaoliang Tuoba Na 高涼王拓跋那 to lead his forces from Shanyang 山陽, and Prince of Yongchang Tuoba Ren 永昌王拓跋仁 to attack Hengjiang 橫江. The Northern Wei army burnt, massacred, pillaged and raped throughout their passage of invasion. The garrisons of the fortresses, hearing that the Northern Wei army was coming, fled immediately. By the 3rd of the 12th month (20/1/451), the capital of the Liu Song Empire, Jiankang 建康, is under martial law. By the 4th of the 12th month (21/1/451), the Northern Wei army has arrived at Huaishang 淮上.

Liu Yilong thus sends the State-Upholding General Zang Zhi (輔國將軍臧質) to lead 10,000 soldiers and reinforce Peng Cheng. When they have reached Xuyi, they discovered that the Northern Wei emperor has crossed the Huai River (淮河). Zang Zhi thus quickly sends his generals Hu Chongzhi (冗從仆射胡崇之) and Zang Chengzhi (積弩將軍臧澄之) to fortify the Dong Mountains (東山), and Mao Xizuo (建威將軍毛熙祚) to defend Qianpu (前浦). Zang Zhi himself leads a force and encamps around the fortress of Xuyi. By the 10th of the 12th month (27/1/451), the Northern Wei Prince of Yan, Tuoba Tan (燕王拓跋譚), surrounds and attacks Hu Chongzhi and the rest. All the 3 defended areas are lost and Zang Zhi dares not march our to relieve his forces. That night, Zang Zhi's own force is attacked by Tuoba Tan and utterly defeated. Zang Zhi abandons all his heavy supplies and leads 700 men into the fortress of Xuyi.

The governor of Xuyi is Shen Pu (沈璞). When he was appointed to his post Wang Xuanmo (王玄謨) was attacking Huatai (滑臺) in the failed northern campaign of 450. The entire length of the Yangzi and Huai Rivers were relatively peaceful at that time. However, Shen Pu felt that Xuyi was located at a strategic location at the crossroads of important transportation routes. Thus, he gave orders to repair the fortress, strengthen the walls, to clear the moat and make it deeper, to store a supply of wealth and grain, to prepare sharp arrows, boulders, etc. to make the fortress ready for a siege. However, his advisors thought that all these were unnecessary, even the central government thought that he was over-reacting.

By this time, the Northern Wei army has pushed south. The prefects and administrators (宰丞) fled from their posts. Someone advised Shen Pu to return to the capital at Jiankang. Shen Pu said: "If the Hulu (胡虜, northern barbarians) think that we are just a small fortress and leave us alone, what have we got to fear? But if they want to take this fortress by storm, that will be an opportunity for me to serve my country, as well as the day that all of you will receive your promotions. Why must I run away? I believe all of you have seen how the defenders of a small fortress prevailed against a besieging force of several hundred thousand men. The siege of Kunyang (昆陽之圍) fought by Liu Xiu (劉秀) [at the founding of the Eastern Han] and the battle of Hefei (合肥) fought by Zhuge Ke (諸葛恪) [in the Three Kingdoms] are solid evidences of such success." When everyone heard Shen Pu's speech, they felt more secure. Shen Pu gathered a force of 2,000 elite soldiers, and said: "This will be sufficient."

Not long after, Zang Zhi arrived in Xuyi. The generals told Shen Pu: "If the Hulu leave us alone and do not assault this place, we don't need that many men. But if they do attack, our small fortress can only hold that many men. Overcrowding will lead to trouble. Now the enemy outnumbers us. Everyone knows this. And if Zang Zhi's force did beat back the enemy in defending this fortress, we would have to share the honour with them. If they are defeated and we instead have to retreat to the capital with them, we will be fighting over supplies and boats, leading to internal fighting. This is enough to give us disaster. We should shut them out of the city."

But Shen Pu sighed and said: "I can assure you people that the Hulu will not be able to take our fortress. Our supposed retreat by boats is out of question. The barbarity of the Hulu is unprecendented. I believe you have seen their massacres. The luckiest survivors are herded to the north and sold off as slaves. Although Zang Zhi and his soldiers are undisciplined, would they fear the Northern Wei less than we do? There's a saying: 'When in the same boat, even a Hu and a Zhao will cooperate'. This is the situation now. Thus, if we have more men, the Hulu will retreat quickly. If we have few men, they will take a longer time to beat back. Would we rather monopolize the honor and allow the Hulu to stay in our land for a tad longer?" Thus, he opened the gates and accepted Zang Zhi and the survivors.

Zang Zhi is happy when he sees that the fortress is well stocked and that life is comfortable without shortages. Thus, all his men cheered loudly. Shen Pu and Zang Zhi thus defended the Xuyi fortress together.

When the Northern Wei armies invaded the south, they never prepared any supplies but relied on pillage to sustain themselves. When they crossed the Huai River, most villagers and commoners had already fled and hid themselves. The Northern Wei army thus could not pillage anything of worth, and thus they began to starve. Having heard that the fortress of Xuyi is well stocked, they decided to use the supplies of Xuyi to sustain themselves on their return. After the defeat of Hu Chongzhi and Zang Zhi, the Northern Wei army thus besieged Xuyi but failed to take it. The Northern Wei Emperor Tuoba Tao left general Han Yuanxing (韓元興) to encamp around Xuyi with several thousand men, while he himself led the main army south to attack Jiankang. Thus, Xu Yu was given time to further complete its defenses.

By the 15th (1/2/451), the Northern Wei Emperor arrived at Guabu (瓜步), just across the Yangzi from Jiankang. He destroyed the houses of the villagers and harvested the reeds to make rafts, and spread rumors that he would cross the Yangzi. The capital Jiankang is in a state of chaos and terror. The commoners have packed their belongings and are just standing around waiting for the news of the river crossing so that they can flee.

On the 27th (13/2/451), martial law is declared within and without the city of Jiankang. All the able-bodied men around Danyang (丹陽) and all the sons of officials below the rank of prince are ordered to report to the army. The Liu Song Emperor Wen, Liu Yilong, further ordered the General of the Imperial Guards Liu Zunkao (領軍將軍劉遵考) to lead his forces to defend all the crossing points along the Yangzi, as well as all the defensible positions, and to patrol the river from Lake Yu (于湖) to Caizhou Island (蔡洲). The river is covered with rows after rows of boats and ships, forming a continuous force along the river banks all the way from Quarry Crag (Caishiji 采石磯) to Jiyang (暨阳) for a length of 600-700 li (360-420 km). The crown prince Liu Shao (劉劭) leads an army to defend the Stone Citadel (Shitou 石頭) and is in overall command of the riverine forces. The Mayor of Jiankang Xu Zhanzhi (丹陽尹徐湛之) garrisons the granary of the Stone Citadel. The State Secretary of Personnel Jiang Zhan (江湛) stands in as the Overall Commander. All military matters will be decided by him alone.
Maxim-Ivan Illustrations
Chief Editor and Founder
Our Deviantart Site

#6 Sephodwyrm

Sephodwyrm

    Vanguard of Zhan Guo (战国先锋)

  • CHF Rookie Member
  • 2,711 posts
  • Location:Tucson, Arizona, US of A
  • Interests:Upsetting regional imbalances
  • Main Interest in CHF:
    Chinese History
  • Specialisation / Expertise:
    Warring States Military, Chinese Sketches and Artwork

Posted 26 July 2004 - 01:02 AM

451-452 AD, 28th Year of Yuanjia 元嘉 under Emperor Wen of Song 刘宋文帝, Liu Yilong 刘义隆

Spring, Chinese New Year (17/2/451), the Northern Wei Emperor gathers all his officers and ministers at Guabu and rewards them based on their merit in the campaign. The Wei started raising beacon fires all along the northern banks of the Yangzi. The Captain of the Crown Prince's Left Bodyguard, Yin Hong (左衛率尹弘), reports to the Liu Song Emperor Liu Yilong: "Such action shows that the Hulu are getting ready to retreat." On the 2nd (18/2/451) the Northern Wei army pillaged the surrounding villages, torched them, and began to retreat northwards.

When Liu Yilong heard that the Northern Wei is invading, he ordered the prefect of Guangling Liu Huai (廣陵太守劉懷) to burn all the government-owned boats and lead the Guangling people to cross the Yangtze, and the prefect of Shanyang Xiao Sengzhen (山陽太守蕭僧珍) to gather the people of Guangling at Shanyang fortress. The government also sent weapons and food to the garrisons at Xuyu and Huatai. But as the roads are impassable, they stayed at Shanyang as well. Xiao Sengzhen ordered all the ponds on the mountain slopes to be filled with water so that when the Northern Wei army arrives the ponds would be dug open and the water allowed to flow down the slopes to flood them. Thus, when the Northern Wei army retreated across Shanyang, they did not dare to stay but instead rushed quickly to Xuyi to assault it.

The Northern Wei emperor leads his main force to Xuyi, and sent a messenger into Xuyi demanding good wine from Zang Zhi. Zang Zhi pissed in a can and gave it to the messenger. The Northern Wei emperor is much angered. He ordered his men to build a palisade for the siegeworks (which is completed in a single night) and fill up the moat from the mud and stone from Dongshan Hill. He also built a pontoon bridge at Junshan (君山) and thus cuts Xu Yu completely off by both waterways and roads.

Thereafter the Northern Wei emperor wrote a letter to Zang Zhi, along with a knife: "Now the soldiers I am sending to assault your fortress are not the chief ethnicity of our country. Assaulting the north and east will be the Dingling (丁零) and the Xiongnu (匈奴), while the Di (氐) and Qiang (羌) will be assaulting your south. If you kill the Dingling, you thus reduce the bandits of Changshan and Zhao prefectures for us (常山, 趙郡). If you kill the Xiongnu, we will have less bandits in Bingzhou (並州), if the Di and Qiang are slaughtered, the bandits within the pass will be greatly reduced. Thus, if you really killed them all, you actually do no harm to us."

Zang Zhi thus replied: "After reading your letter, I finally understood your crafty heart. You repeatedly made incursions at our borders on your four legs (i.e. your cavalry). You defeated Wang Xuanmo in the east and Shen Tan (申坦) in the west. Don't you know why? Haven't you heard the songs that children sing? Because the Mao year (451 AD) had not arrived yet, thus we use these two armies to lull you onto the road to the Yangzi, where you may meet your doom. [A children's song at that time, said to be prophetic, goes: "Barbarian horses will drink at the Yangzi, Foli (Tuoba Tao's nickname) will die in the Mao year."] The doomsday for you is set. No one can change this. I carry orders from the Emperor to destroy you. We planned to do so at Baideng (白登) [i.e. the Northern Wei capital at Pingcheng], but your forces came to meet their doom even before my army had travelled far. How can I leave you alive to escape to luxury at the Sanggan River (桑乾河) [the river that flows near Pingcheng]? If you're fortunate, you'll be killed in the chaos of battle. But if you're unfortunate enough to be captured by us, we will put chains around your neck and let a small donkey carry you to our capital at Jiankang. I never expected to die with a whole body. If the heavens do not give us justice and I'm defeated, even if I am chopped to bits and reduced to powder it will be insufficient to atone for my guilt to our heavenly government. Your intelligence and strength is nothing compared to that of Fu Jian (符堅) [at the Fei River]. Now that the spring showers have started, our armies are gathering. Just focus your forces and assault our fortress. Don't try to retreat! If you don't have enough food, tell us! We'll open our granaries to feed you. And yes, I've received the blade as well. Are you asking me to chop you with it?" ( :D )

After reading Zang Zhi's letter, the Northern Wei emperor was so infuriated that his whole body trembled. He ordered his men to build a big metal bed and place all sorts of spear heads, blades and sharp tips on it, and ordered: "Take the fortress and capture Zang Zhi. I want him to sit on this bed."

Zang Zhi also wrote a letter to dedicated to the Northern Wei army along with reprints of the letter sent earlier by the Northern Wei emperor and an offer of reward from the Liu Song government: "Go and tell all the commoners and nobles of the Hulu, of your tribe, that Foli (佛貍, the nickname of the Northern Wei emperor) wrote me a letter, and this letter shows how he treats all of you. Many of you are Han, why must you seek your doom? Why don't you guys know to turn this disaster into fortune? Whoever retrieves the head of Foli will be made a duke of 10,000 households, and receive a reward of 10,000 pi of cotton and 10,000 pi of silk."

The Northern Wei soldiers used hook carts to hook onto the battlements to drag it down. The defenders of Xuyi thus used huge metal chains with great iron hoops to latch onto the hook carts. The chains were then tugged by hundreds of soldiers amidst great shout and clamor. Thus, the hook carts cannot back off and are trapped. In the night, the defenders used huge buckets to lower soldiers to the base of the city walls and severe the hooks and retrieve them for their own use. On the next day, the Northern Wei army employed battering rams to ram the walls. However, the walls are very tough and each batter only shook off handfuls of dust. Thus, the Northern Wei soldiers adopted melee tactics. They divided their army into ladder units to assault the castle walls on a rotation basis. Those that were pushed off the castle walls climbed back up again. No one dared to retreat. Thus, the casualties mounted to tens of thousands of men. The bodies piled as high as the walls. The assault continued in this manner for 30 days to no avail. At this time, there was a plague spreading among the Northern Wei army, and someone told the Northern Wei emperor that the Liu Song navy was entering the Huai River from the Eastern Ocean (东海). The Liu Song government also gave orders to the garrison at Pengcheng to sally out and cut off the retreat of the Northern Wei.

On the first of February (18/3/451), the Northern Wei Emperor gave orders to burn all siege equipment and retreat. The defenders of Xuyi wanted to give chase, but Shen Pu said: "We don't have much men now. It is sufficient to defend our fortress, but we cannot fight a field battle outside the walls. But, we can prepare our boats and make it appear that we are going to cross the Huai River to the northern bank. This would make them retreat faster. We do not really need to give chase."

Zang Zhi reasoned that since Shen Pu was the governor of Xuyi, he should thus have the honor of writing the report of victory to the government. However, Shen Pu humbly declined and gave all honors to Zang Zhi. The Liu Song Emperor Liu Yilong, having heard of it, greatly praised Shen Pu.
Maxim-Ivan Illustrations
Chief Editor and Founder
Our Deviantart Site

#7 Sephodwyrm

Sephodwyrm

    Vanguard of Zhan Guo (战国先锋)

  • CHF Rookie Member
  • 2,711 posts
  • Location:Tucson, Arizona, US of A
  • Interests:Upsetting regional imbalances
  • Main Interest in CHF:
    Chinese History
  • Specialisation / Expertise:
    Warring States Military, Chinese Sketches and Artwork

Posted 26 July 2004 - 01:24 PM

Hey, Yun. About your hammered spear tactic, I remembered reading the same battle from Boyang's ZZTJ. However, the description is not similar to yours. Boyang recorded that the general have long metal rods stocked up in the encampment. But when the crossbow bolts proved to be insufficient to halt the Northern Wei heavy cavalry charge, he had those rods broken up into 3-4 pieces and their ends thrusted into furnaces (or hot coal) so that it glows red hot. While it glows red hot the tip is hammered to sharpness and the projectile is launched with big ballistas several bolts at a time before it cools. This instant made projectiles caused great terror as it penetrates cleanly through the horsemen and their horses irregardless of their armor.

Also, considering that a lance is at most 3-4 meters long. Breaking them up to 3-4 pieces would mean that each man will have a 1-1.3 meter stick. Trying to stick a short stick and hammer it at a same time at a charging heavy cavalry is near impossible. So here are my reasons that I think the projectile reasoning makes more sense. Not to mention that spear and hammer are used as well (in projectile making).
Maxim-Ivan Illustrations
Chief Editor and Founder
Our Deviantart Site

#8 Yun

Yun

    Sage-King

  • CHF Han Lin Scholar
  • 9,057 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Singapore/USA
  • Interests:Ancient Chinese history, with a focus on the Age of Fragmentation. Chinese ethnicities, religion, philosophy, music, and art and material culture. Military history in general.
  • Main Interest in CHF:
    Chinese History
  • Specialisation / Expertise:
    Three Kingdoms, Age of Fragmentation, Sui-Tang

Posted 26 July 2004 - 08:34 PM

Thanks Sephodwyrm, I was also trying to decide what tactic was really used based on the very ambiguous description in the Song Shu. My Bai Yang edition of the Tongjian Jishi Benmo hasn't got that detailed analysis, only a passing mention that the hammers were used to sharpen the spears. Could you give the reference for your edition?

Well, here's an explanation that I found on the 'net when researching, and it's similar to Bai Yang's: http://history.1001n...nfo.asp?id=2974

Not sure if it's written by Bai Yang himself, though.
The dead have passed beyond our power to honour or dishonour them, but not beyond our ability to try and understand.

#9 Sephodwyrm

Sephodwyrm

    Vanguard of Zhan Guo (战国先锋)

  • CHF Rookie Member
  • 2,711 posts
  • Location:Tucson, Arizona, US of A
  • Interests:Upsetting regional imbalances
  • Main Interest in CHF:
    Chinese History
  • Specialisation / Expertise:
    Warring States Military, Chinese Sketches and Artwork

Posted 27 July 2004 - 01:20 AM

Alright, from the translation I think this is how the ballista works. The ballista is a very powerful one able to launch several projectiles at once. However, the catch of the ballista is so strong that a simple trigger action cannot release the catch. Thus, a huge hammer is needed to hammer a trigger system such that the bolts are released.

With this weapon system the Liu Song army won an astounding victory over the Northern Wei cavalry. I think Boyang's version is in ZZTJ...I don't have it with me, but it runs parallel to what is described in your article. It is almost like a WMD of its days...the ultimate weapon against the heavy cavalry...
Maxim-Ivan Illustrations
Chief Editor and Founder
Our Deviantart Site

#10 Yun

Yun

    Sage-King

  • CHF Han Lin Scholar
  • 9,057 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Singapore/USA
  • Interests:Ancient Chinese history, with a focus on the Age of Fragmentation. Chinese ethnicities, religion, philosophy, music, and art and material culture. Military history in general.
  • Main Interest in CHF:
    Chinese History
  • Specialisation / Expertise:
    Three Kingdoms, Age of Fragmentation, Sui-Tang

Posted 27 July 2004 - 02:03 AM

Sephodwyrm, the whole problem lies in the ambiguity of Zhu Chaoshi's biography in the Song Shu, which is our only source for the battle. It reads:

超石初行,别赍大锤并千余张槊,乃断槊长三四尺,以锤锤之,一槊辄洞贯三四虏,虏众不能挡,一时崩溃。

Translation: When Zhu Chaoshi crossed the Yellow River, he had brought large hammers and more than a thousand lances. He now broke each lance into lengths of three or four chi, and hammered them with the hammers. Each lance could impale three or four barbarians (Xianbei), and the barbarians could not stand against this and scattered.

I've checked my Distance Conversion Tool, and a chi at that time was shorter than a chi in the Qing dynasty or even the Tang dynasty. 3-4 chi in the Eastern Jin and Southern Dynasties would be about 0.735-0.98m.

Bai Yang's ballista-and-heated-metal-rods theory makes sense, but it can only be a conjecture based on the sources. In my translation, I opted for a more conservative interpretation of the material, even though the website that I mentioned follows the ballista theory. But I'm glad you brought up the ballista theory, because it certainly is worth consideration, and further research may someday prove it to be true.

Since Bai Yang didn't mention this theory in his translation of the Tongjian Jishi Benmo, I assume that it was included in his translation of the Zizhi Tongjian itself, which covers some events in greater detail and contains more of his personal comments.
The dead have passed beyond our power to honour or dishonour them, but not beyond our ability to try and understand.

#11 Sephodwyrm

Sephodwyrm

    Vanguard of Zhan Guo (战国先锋)

  • CHF Rookie Member
  • 2,711 posts
  • Location:Tucson, Arizona, US of A
  • Interests:Upsetting regional imbalances
  • Main Interest in CHF:
    Chinese History
  • Specialisation / Expertise:
    Warring States Military, Chinese Sketches and Artwork

Posted 27 July 2004 - 01:11 PM

Bo Yang's ZZTJ is one of the best ZZTJ I have read so far. It includes maps and some of Bo Yang's own personal analysis. It is also highly comprehensive and easy to read, since he also lined the names of people and places such that the reader would not be confused.

The maps are extremely useful especially in the Age of Big Fragmentation (Five Barbarians) and the Age of Small Fragmentation (Five Dynasties).

Considering the mode of warfare, although it is best that we try to take the original text in consideration, it is also noted that the original texts make it a point to be curt and somehow uninformative of the exact means of warfare. I think the hammers are also used to sharpen the broken lances (by hammering the tip so that it becomes sharp) as well as to fire the ballistas. Nevertheless, we should allow our readers to decide for themselves what makes more sense.

Meanwhile, I am moving on to other articles that's noted in my ZZTJ (unfortunately its not Bo Yang's ZZTJ...). I am also considering translating The Chronicles of Eastern Zhou by Feng Menglong (Dong Zhou Lie Guo Zhi). I'll have to start a new thread called translated Chinese classics. It would take years...dang...And I need a better dictionary...(the dictionary for secondary schools is wearing out its welcome...)
Maxim-Ivan Illustrations
Chief Editor and Founder
Our Deviantart Site

#12 Sephodwyrm

Sephodwyrm

    Vanguard of Zhan Guo (战国先锋)

  • CHF Rookie Member
  • 2,711 posts
  • Location:Tucson, Arizona, US of A
  • Interests:Upsetting regional imbalances
  • Main Interest in CHF:
    Chinese History
  • Specialisation / Expertise:
    Warring States Military, Chinese Sketches and Artwork

Posted 06 August 2004 - 02:39 AM

Siege of Baideng 白登之围
Summary:
When the Han 汉 dynasty was newly established, the Xiongnu 匈奴 are powerful and continuously harrased the border provinces of Han China. In 201 BC, Autumn, the Xiongnu launched a major invasion against the holdings of Prince Xin of Han 韩王信 (its not Han Xin 韩信). Prince Xin of Han surendered to the Xiongnu and led the Xiongnu to attack Jinyang 晋阳 and Tongti 铜 革是(need help on this word. I got the root word of 革 and the subword of 是...) and other areas. Emperor Gao of Han (汉高帝) Liu Bang 刘邦 wanted to destroy the Xiongnu threat in one swoop, and thus started in the beginning of the winter of 200 BC a campaign with 300000 men personally led by himself. But at the mount Baideng situated at the North of Pingcheng 平城, Liu Bang was surrounded by Modu 冒顿单于 the chanyu (king) of the Xiongnu with a horsemen army of 300000...

Source: Sima Guang et al.司马光等, Baihua Zizhi Tongjian Jingxuan 白话资治通鉴精选, Zhanzheng Pian 战争篇, translated by <<Tong Jian>> Jinyi Xilie Bianwei Huibian Shi <<通鉴>>今译系列编委会编译, ISBN 957-8706-23-5, first edition published 1993, Taibei 台北县, Xindian 新店市, pages 48-51
Translated by Po-Lung Chia 賈博龍

6th Year of Emperor Gao of Han, 201 BC 汉高帝六年
In autumn, the Xiongnu army has surrounded King Xin of Han at Mayi 马邑. Prince Xin of Han thus sent numerous emissaries to the Xiongnu to sought a peaceful end. The Han government sent reinforcements to relieve the prince of Han, but the emperor suspects that the prince harbors traitorous intentions as he had communicated a number of times via emissaries with the Xiongnu, and thus sent men to reprimand him. Prince Xin, fearing death, thus surrendered Mayi to the Xiongnu in the 9th month. Modu, chanyu of the Xiongnu, thus leads his force south, crossing Juzhu mountains 句注山, assaults Taiyuan 太原 and reaches Jinyang.

Emperor Gao of Han thus personally leads an army to attack the traitor prince of Han. His army won a great victory at Tongti district and killed the prince's general Wang Xi 王喜 (there's an actor with the same name... :D ). Prince Xin of Han fled to the Xiongnu and his subordinate generals Man Qiuchen 曼丘臣 and Wang Huang 王黄, natives of Baitu district 白土县, declared Zhao Li 赵利, a descendant of the King of Zhao 赵王, as king and started reorganizing the scattered troops of the prince of Han. They plotted with their prince and the Xiongnu to attack the Han army. The Xiongnu sent their left and right Xian Wang 左右贤王 (like their premiers) with 10000 cavalrymen to meet up with Wang Huang and his army and encamped at the south of Guangwu 广武. The Han and the Xiongnu fought at Jinyang, and the Xiongnu were routed. However, they reorganized again while teh Han army pursued their enemies. At this time, the weather became drastically and there was a great snowshower. 2-3 out of 10 soldiers in the Han army lost their fingers to frostbite.

Emperor Gao of Han is encamped at Jinyang. Having heard that Modu is encamped at Daigu 代谷, he wanted to attack that place. Thus he sent emissaries to gather information about the Xiongnu army. At the same time, however, Modu had hidden his strongest men, horses and cattled and only allowed the weak, old and crippled men and thin animals to be shown to the Han emissaries. The 10+ Han emissaries that returned all reported that the Xiongnu is weak and can be attacked. The emperor thus sent Liu Jing 刘敬 as an emissary to the Xiongnu, but before Liu Jing has returned the emperor mobilized the entire army of 320000 men to pursue the Xiongnu to the north and crosses the Juzhu mountains. However, Liu Jing returned and said: "When 2 nations are at war, it is imperative to show off our advantages. However, I only observed weak soldiers and animals at the Xiongnu camps. This is a ploy to cheat us that they're weak, while having their best soldiers wait in ambush so that they will win a grand victory. Thus, I think we should not attack the Xiongnu." But the Han army was already mobilized and the emperor was greatly angered. He reprimanded Liu Jing: "You B****** from Qi 齐! You only became an official through your crafty tongue, and now your using that tongue of yours to delay our progress!" And thus ordered Liu Jing to be put in shackles and had him imprisoned at Guangwu.

The emperor arrived at Pingcheng but the rest of the army had not yet caught up. Modu thus mobilized all his 400000 well armed men armed men and surrounded the Han emperor at the mountain for 7 days. The Han armies were cut off from each other and could not coordinate their movements. The emperor thus uses Chen Ping's 陈平 ploy. He sent a secret emissary to bribe the Yushi (again, I have trouble with the word. Root word 门, subword 于) of Modu (aka the queen of the chanyu). Yushi thus said to Modu: "2 kings should not try to set up each other. Even if we seized the lands of the Han dynasty, we still can't stay there. Plus, its said that the emperor of the Han has the protection of the spirits and deities. Please think again!"

Modu has made an arrangement prior with Wang Huang and Zhao Li to meet up with their armies, but Wang Huang and Zhao Li didn't arrive. Thus Modu thought that they are plotting with the Han army. Thus, he decided to open a gap in the encirclement of Baideng mountain. At the same time, there descended a thick fog. The Han army thus sent men to patrol to and fro from Baideng to Pingcheng, and the Xiongnu didn't notice a thing. Thus, Chen Ping asked the emperor to order the men to put 2 bolts on their strong crossbows to form a wall of crossbowmen to cover the retreat of the emperor's entourage through the gap of the encirclment. When the emperor is clear of the encirclement, he wanted to gallop as quickly as possible away from the place. But grand servant, duke of Teng, Xiahou Ying 太仆滕公夏侯婴 insisted that the retreat should be slow. When the entourage arrived at Ping Cheng, the rest of the Han army has arrived as well. Thus, the Xiongnu army ended the siege and retreated. The Han army also retreated. Fan Kuai 樊哙 remained to reclaim the Dai region 代.

When the emperor returned to Guangwu, he released Liu Jing and pardoned him. He said: "I didn't listen to your advice and thus ended up being surrounded at ping Cheng. I gave orders to execute the 10+ emissaries before you!" And thus rewarded Liu Jing an official title of the duke of Guannei 关内侯 ruling over 2000 households. He is known as duke of Jianxin 建信侯. While returning south the emperor passes the district of Quni 曲逆县. He exclaimed: "How majestic is the view at this district. I have walked everywhere under the heavens, but only this place and Luoyang 洛阳 is worth seeing!" And thus promoted Chen Ping as the duke of Quni and allowed him to enjoy the entire tax income of the district. Chen Ping has followed the emperor throughout his campaigns, and has provided 6 clever strategems. After each success he enjoyed an increase in his holdings.
Maxim-Ivan Illustrations
Chief Editor and Founder
Our Deviantart Site

#13 Sephodwyrm

Sephodwyrm

    Vanguard of Zhan Guo (战国先锋)

  • CHF Rookie Member
  • 2,711 posts
  • Location:Tucson, Arizona, US of A
  • Interests:Upsetting regional imbalances
  • Main Interest in CHF:
    Chinese History
  • Specialisation / Expertise:
    Warring States Military, Chinese Sketches and Artwork

Posted 17 August 2004 - 11:46 PM

In response to the confusion over the siege of An Shi 安市, I feel it as a duty as a moderator and a history hobbyist to provide a translation from a legitimate source. I hope friend Yun will assist me in this. Thanx!

Battle of An Shi 安市之战
Summary:
645 CE, Emperor Tai Zong of Tang (Li Shimin 李世民) 唐太宗 led a personal campaign to take Gao Li (Koryo) 高丽. The campaign was immensely successful, conquering the regions of Liao Dong 辽东 and Bai Yan 白岩. The army approached An Shi 安市 and a vicious battle broke out in the region around the fortress against the Koryo soldiers.

Source: Sima Guang et al.司马光等, Baihua Zizhi Tongjian Jingxuan 白话资治通鉴精选, Zhanzheng Pian 战争篇, translated by <<Tong Jian>> Jinyi Xilie Bianwei Huibian Shi <<通鉴>>今译系列编委会编译, ISBN 957-8706-23-5, first edition published 1993, Taibei 台北县, Xindian 新店市, Book 2 pages 96-106
Translated by Po-Lung Chia 賈博龍

Emperor Tai Zong 19th year of Zhen Guan, 645 CE 唐太宗贞观19年
11th of 6th Month (9th of July 645 CE), the carriage of Emperor Tai Zong leaves from Liao Dong. On the 20th (18th of July), the army reaches the fortress of An Shi and the troops were ordered to assault the castle. On the 21st (19th of July) the Northern Chieftain of Koryo Gao Yanshou 高延寿 and Gao Huizhen 高惠真 leads an army of 150000 Koryo and Moho (革末 革曷) soldiers to relief An Shi. Emperor Tai Zong told his ministers: "Now this Yanshou has only 3 tactics: to take his troops to the front lines and form a unified fotress with An Shi, occupy the higher grounds and sustain himself on the stores of the fortress, at the same time allowing the Moho troops to pillage our cattle and horses and make our assaults unsuccessful for prolonged periods of time. This is his best move. To communicate with the soldiers and civilians in the fortress and escape overnight is his second best move. To overestimate himself and attack us headon is his worst move. But you shall see that they'll carry out their worst tactic and be captured before us."

There's an old Koryo official experienced in war. He told Gao Yanshou: "Now that the prince of Qin Li Shimin had brushed away all the other heroes and forced the countries of all 4 sides to submit as vassals and finally ascended the throne as Emperor of China. This is a man endowed with the destiny of heaven! Now he mobilized the entirety of the army of Tang to attack us. We cannot afford to underestimate them. I have considered for you. It is best for us to stay put and prolong the siege, and at the same time send troops to ambush their supply routes. When they've ran out of food, denied of a field battle and cut off from retreat, only then can we win."

But Yanshou didn't listen and continued to lead his army forward to 40 li (25 km) within An Shi. Emperor Tai Zong was worried that they will not continue to press ahead, so he sent Messenger Grand General of the Left Guards Nadu Er (左卫大将军行使那杜尔) with 1000 Tujue 突厥 cavalrymen to bait them. The Tujue troops faked a defeat once the fighting broke out. The Koryo troops said to each other: "Its too easy taking on the Tang troops!" And thus rushed forward to attack them to 8 li (5 km) southeast of An Shi and lined their formations according to the mountain.

Emperor Tai Zong gathers his generals to discuss the means to defeat the enemy. Zhangsun Wuji 长孙无忌 says: "I have heard that before fighting the enemy, we must observe the emotions of our troops. I have walked past the various tents and saw that when our troops have heard about the arrival of the Koryo troops, they drew their blades and prepared their banners and are excited. This is an army that will achieve victory. When your majesty was still young, you have led troops personally and directed formations yourself. Great Tang have always relied on smart tactics to achieve victories. These victories can be achieved thanks to your majesty's interpretation of the strategies of Gao Zu (高祖李渊). The various generals just followed your orders and plans. In the upcoming battle of this day, we hope that your majesty will direct us."
Emperor Tai Zong smiles and says: "If all of you so humbly ask me for my directions, I'll do so." And thus brought several hundred cavalrymen with Zhangsun Wuji and others to the highlands to observe the battlefield and the topography, and made notes of possible places of ambush as well points of entry and retreat.

The Koryo and Moho troops formed a formation that stretched 40 li (25 km). The prince of Jiangxia Li Daozong 江夏王李道宗 says: "Now that the Koryo have mobilized their entire army against us. The defenders of Ping Rang 平壤 (Pyongyang) would be weak. I pray that you will give me 5000 elite soldiers and take their capital with a fell swoop. Even if their army of several hundred thousand will surrender without a fight." But Emperor Tai Zong didn't accept this suggestion.

Emperor Tai Zong sends an emissary to lie to Gao Yanshou, saying: "I have initiated a campaign to punish you because one of your officials have killed your king. It is not my intention that the armies from both nations shall fight. But since I have entered your territory, we ran short of supplies and thus are forced to take a few fortresses. If you repair the relations between king and subject, I will return these fortresses." Yanshou believed in the words of Tai Zong and thus relaxed his defenses.

Emperor Tai Zong gathered his ministers and generals that night to discuss the war. Li Shiji 李世(责力...help) is to lead 15000 cavalry and infantrymen and array his formations at the west peaks. Zhangsun Wuji is to lead 11000 elite cavalry and cross the valley at the north of the mountain to strike at the rear echelon of the Koryo army. The Emperor himself will personally lead 4000 foot and cavalarymen with drums and horns with upside down banners to ascend the northern mountains, and ordered all the other regiments and armies to attack when they heard the drums and horns. He also ordered the respective departments to put up a huge banner beside the imperial tent to accept surrenders.

On the 22nd (20th July) Yanshou saw Li Shiji arraying his troops and thus ordered his men to attack. Emperor Tai Zong, seeing that the army of Zhangsun Wuji is kicking up a great cloud of dust, thus ordered the drums and horns to be sounded and raised the banners to its upright position. All the other regiments and armies thus answered the drum rolls and with a great shout pressed foward to attack. The army of Gao Yanshou is thrown into great panick and Yanshou tried to divide his army into several parts to repel the Tang troops, but the formation of the Koryo army has collapsed. At the same time there is a great shower with lightning and thunder. Xue Rengui xue 薛仁贵, a native of Longmen 龙门, wore strange costumes and charged at the Koryo formations with great shouts, meeting no equal. The Koryo troops fled for their lives. The victorious Tang army gave pursuit and greatly defeated the Koryo army. Over 20000 men were killed. Emperor Tai Zong saw Xue Rengui and made him the Mobile Attack General 游击将军. Rengui is the 6th generation descendent of Xue Andu 薛安都 (check upcoming translation of battle of Shan Cheng 陕城). His name is Li 礼, but is called by his personal name.

Gao Yanshou and his generals led the surviving troops and dug in at the mountains. Emperor Tai Zong ordered the armies to surround the mountains and Zhangsun Wuji dismantled all the bridges, cutting off the retreats of Yanshou.

23rd (21st July), Yanshou, Huizhen and 36800 Koryo troops begged for surrender. They came to the gate of the Tang encampments and knelt, banging their heads on the ground and plead for forgiveness. Emperor Tai Zong says to them: "The youth of Dong Yi 东夷 can charge anywhere he like at the corner of the oceans and the border lands. But in attacking encampments, fortresses or in field battles, he can't outmatch an old man (the old man that gave the advices?). Do you still have the courage to challenge the Son of Heaven of Great Tang?" Yanshou and his men all prostrated themselves and dared not answer.

Emperor Tai Zong chose 3500 chieftains beneath the rank of Ru Sa (禾辱 help)萨and granted them uniforms and military positions and migrated them to the inner lands, and released all the rest and allowed them to return to Pyongyang. Everyone raised their hands and thumped their head hard against the ground. The sounds of cheering can be heard tens of miles away. Empeor Tai Zong buried the 3300 Moho captives alive. The Tang army obtained 50000 horses, 50000 cattle, 10000 suits of iron armor and many other equipment.

The whole of Koryo is shocked by the disastrous defeat. The civilians of Huang 黄城and Yin castle 银城 evacuated from the castles, making them empty. There's no one in several hundred li. (to be continued...I am tired)
Maxim-Ivan Illustrations
Chief Editor and Founder
Our Deviantart Site

#14 Sephodwyrm

Sephodwyrm

    Vanguard of Zhan Guo (战国先锋)

  • CHF Rookie Member
  • 2,711 posts
  • Location:Tucson, Arizona, US of A
  • Interests:Upsetting regional imbalances
  • Main Interest in CHF:
    Chinese History
  • Specialisation / Expertise:
    Warring States Military, Chinese Sketches and Artwork

Posted 26 August 2004 - 01:01 AM

Battle of Anshi continued 安市之战
Emperor Tai Zong of Tang sent a messenger on horse to relay the news to the crown prince, and he asked Gao Shi Lian 高士廉and the rest: "How well did I lead the army?" He named the mountain he passed along the way as Zhu Hua 驻骅 mountain.

Autumn, 5th day of the 7th month (2nd August 645 CE), Emperor Tai Zong of tang shifted his tent to the peak at the east of An Shi fortress. On the 13th (8th August), the Emperor gave the edict to tag the bodies of the fallen soldiers with their names and that the bodies are to be brought home after the campaign. On the 22nd (17th August), he appointed Gao Yanshou as Siqing of Honglu 鸿胪寺卿 and Gao Huizhen as Siqing of Sinong 司农寺卿.

The army under Zhang Liang 张亮arrived at the walls of Jian An fortress 建安. The encampment is still not fully fortified and the soldiers are out gathering firewood, cutting grass and hunting. The Koryo troops suddenly arrived and the whole army is thrown into great chaos. Zhang Liang is known for cowardice, and he sat there on his bed looking ahead with straight eyes not saying anything. The officers and soldiers, seeing this, thought instead that Zhang Liang is brave. The camp superintendent Zhang Jinshu 张金树 and the rest sounded the war drums and reorganized the soldiers and initiated a counterattack on the Koryo soldiers, defeating them.

8th of the 8th month (4th September 645 CE), the patrolling Tang cavalry captured a spy named Gao Zhuli 高竹离 under Mo Lizhi 莫离支. Gao Zhuli had his hands tied behind his back and was escorted to the Tang camps. Emperor Taizong summoned him personally, untied his ropes and asked: "Why are you so thin?" Gao Zhuli answered: "I sneaked on the small trails and haven't eaten anything for a few days." Thus, Emperor Taizong gave orders to give him some food and said to him: "As a spy, you must return quickly to report to your master. Tell your master Mo Lizhi that if he wants to know the situation in the Tang army, he can send men directly to our camps. There's no need to send in spies." Since Gao Zhuli came barefeet, Emperor Taizong also gave him a pair of grass sandles.

On the 10th (6th September), the Tang army shifted their camps to the south of Anshi fortress. When Emperor Taizong is in Liaodong 辽东, his camps are unfortified and the scout stations are at visible places. Even if the camps are close to the Koryo fortresses, the Koryo soldiers dared not harass the Tang encampments. The Tang soldiers can walk and camp around even when alone like what he can do in the central plains.

After leading his troops in a victorious assault at Baiyan 白岩 fortress, Emperor Taizong told Li Shiji 李世(责力): "I have heard that Anshi fortress is situated at a strategic location, her troops are well trained and her defending general is both intelligent and courageous. When Mo Lizhi rebelled against his master, the master of Anshi did not follow his lead and thus Mo Lizhi besieged the fortress but could not take it after a long time. Thus, he was made the defending general. The fortress of Jian An is weakly defended and lacking in stores. If we initiate a sudden assault, we will definitely succeed. You can take some troops to Jian An and after taking it, Anshi will be within our grasp. This is what Sun Tzu meant by not attacking certain fotresses."
Li Shiji answered: "Jian An is at the south, Anshi is at the north. Our stores are all at Liaodong fotress. If the enemy cuts our supply route, what shall we do then? I suggest attacking Anshi first. After taking Anshi, we would be able to take Jian An."
Emperor Taizong replied: "You are the commander of the army, and thus I must agree to your suggestion. But don't delay our campaign." And thus Li Shiji led his troops to Anshi.

The citizens of Anshi, seeing the banners and umbrellas of the Tang Emperor, all ascended the castle walls and raised a great clamor with drums and shouts. Emperor Taizong is greatly angered. Li Shiji asked for the persmission to bury all the civilians of Anshi alive on the day that Anshi falls. After hearing this news, the people of Anshi defended the fortress with greater resolute. The Tang soldiers could not take the fortress.

Gao Yanshou and Gao Huizhen asked Taizong: "Since we are serving the Great Tang Empire, we must give our share of loyalty so that the Son of Heaven of Great Tang could achieve his objective and that we can rejoin our families. The people of Anshi care for their family, everyone is fighting for themselves and thus it would be hard to defeat them. Now that I have led over 100000 Koryo troops against you and are lost, the people of Koryo have lost all their courage. The chieftains of Wugu 乌骨 fortress are old and useless and would not be able to defend it. If the Tang army could move to that fotress, we can take it in a single day with a morning to night assault. The other small forts would fall without a fight. Then we can replenish the army with the stores of those forts, and in one fell swoop, even Pyongyang will fall."
The other officials agreed and said: "Now that Zhang Liang's troops are at Sha 沙fortress. If we summon them they will arrive in 2 nights. We should take the advantage of the terrified state of the Koryo and take Wugu fotress, cross the Yalu and seize Pyongyang. This is the time."

Emperor Taizong is inclined to go with this suggestion, but Zhangsun Wuji 长孙无忌 said: "When the Son of Heaven leads a campaign, it is vastly different compared to a normal campaign led by a general. We cannot hope for victory by chance or gamble. Now that Jian An, Xin 新, and Wugu fortresses are defended by a total of 100000 men, if we shift our army to Wugu they will sally out and cut off our retreat. It is better that we take Anshi first followed by Jian An before thrusting into their territory. This is the safest strategy." Thus, Emperor Taizong abandoned the plan to shift the army to take Wugu.

All the armies carried out sudden assaults against Anshi. Emperor Taizong heard the squeals of pigs and chickens from the fortress, and thus told Li Shiji: "The longer we besiege the fortress, the less food they have. Now that the pigs and chickens and squealing hard. They must be rewarding their brave men who will lead night ambushes against us. We must be extra vigilant." On that same night, hundreds of Koryo troops climbed out of the fortress via ropes. After hearing this, Emperor Taizong personally went to the walls of the fortress and organized the troops to surround and attack them. Tens of Koryo troops were killed. The rest fled back to the fortress.

The prince of Jiangxia 江夏 Li Daozong 李道宗 led his men and built a hill at the south eastern corner of the fortress and gradually closed in to the walls. The defenders of the fortress also increased the height of the castle walls to oppose the encroaching hill. The troops fight in shifts, fighting 6, 7 times a day. The Tang troops mounted rocks on the battering rams and battered the castle walls. The defenders thus erected wooden palisades at the breaches. Li Daozong was wounded at his feet. Emperor Taizong personally gave him acupuncture to treat the wound (so is that good or bad? :D ).

The Tang troops continued to build the hill, spending a total of 60 days and 500000 shifts. The peak of the hill is only a few Zhang 丈 (1 Zhang is 3 m(small) or 3.6 m (big)) from the castle walls. Li Daozong had Colonel of Decisive Courage Fu Fu Ai 果毅都尉傅伏爱 to defend the peak of the hill from the Koryo troops. The hill collapsed and fell towards the castle walls. The castle walls collapsed as a result. However, Fu Fu Ai is absent from his post on his own accord, and hundreds of Koryo troops rushed out from the breach and attacked the Tang troops. The Koryo troops occupied the hill and dug moats to defend it. Emperor Taizong is greatly angered and had Fu Fu Ai executed in front of the army. He ordered the generals to continue their assaults, but the fortress still held after 3 days.

Li Daozong went to the banners and camps of Emperor Taizong barefeet to beg for forgiveness. Emperor Taizong said: "Your failure is punishable by death, but when I recall how Emperor Wu of Han 汉武帝 executed his general Wang Hui 王恢and how it is better that duke Mu of Qin 秦穆公used Meng Ming 孟明 despite of his failures, I remembered how you took Gai Mou 盖牟and Liao Dong, I thus forgive you."

Emperor Taizong believed that winter comes early at Liao Dong and that the grasses wither and the water will freeze making the area unsuitable for any prolonged exposure for the men and horses, and that the supplies are running out, he gave orders on the 18th (14th September?) for the army to retreat to China. He gave orders for the civilians of Gai Mou and Liao Dong to bring their family to cross the Liao River 辽水 and paraded the army in front of Anshi fortress before breaking camp. The Koryo people of Anshi did not show themselves. The master of the fortress ascended the castle tower and bade farewell to the Tang soldiers. Emperor Taizong praised him for his abilities to hold the castle, and gave him 100 pi of silk to encourage him to serve the king of Koryo with loyalty. He ordered Li Shiji and Li Daozong to lead 40000 men to cover the retreat.
Maxim-Ivan Illustrations
Chief Editor and Founder
Our Deviantart Site

#15 Yun

Yun

    Sage-King

  • CHF Han Lin Scholar
  • 9,057 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Singapore/USA
  • Interests:Ancient Chinese history, with a focus on the Age of Fragmentation. Chinese ethnicities, religion, philosophy, music, and art and material culture. Military history in general.
  • Main Interest in CHF:
    Chinese History
  • Specialisation / Expertise:
    Three Kingdoms, Age of Fragmentation, Sui-Tang

Posted 26 August 2004 - 07:34 AM

Just an additional note: the name of the Korean commander of the Anshi garrison is not recorded in either the Tang or the Korean histories, but Bai Yang says that according to Korean folk legends, his name (pronounced in Mandarin Chinese) was Yang Wanchun 杨万春, and that he is one of the great folk heroes of Korea for his daring sally to take the siege mound at the critical moment when the city's walls were breached.
The dead have passed beyond our power to honour or dishonour them, but not beyond our ability to try and understand.




2 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 2 guests, 0 anonymous users