The first “overlord” in the Warring States Period: several wars at the turning point of the rise and fall of the state of Wei

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[battle of Hexi] from the 7th to 18th year of King Wei lie of Zhou Dynasty (419-408 BC), the Wei army captured the Hexi region of the Qin State (the region west of the southern section of the Yellow River between Shanxi and Shaanxi).

The state of Wei is located in the southwest of Shanxi, the east of Shaanxi and the north of central Henan. It is one of the three feudal powers established after the separation of Jin and established its capital Anyi (now the northwest of Xixia County). Since weiwenhou came to power, he has appointed a group of wise officials and famous generals, such as Li Ying and Wuqi, to devote themselves to the reform of the country and the army, making the country increasingly prosperous and strong. Wuqi promoted the conscription system in the state of Wei and trained an elite army. Its “soldiers” can be fully armed and carry three days’ food “in the middle of the day and go hundreds of miles” (Xunzi. Discussing soldiers). Wei wanted to develop westward and seize the land of Hexi in the east of Qin. Qin was a big country in the west, and its capital was Jingyang (now the northwest of Jingyang, Shaanxi). Due to the internal power struggle, the monarchs were frequently changed, which could not form a strong rule, nor did it complete the social reform. Although it meant to move eastward, its military strength was weaker than that of Wei. General Wuqi of Wei adopted the strategy of first gaining a firm foothold in Hexi, then making a large-scale attack to expand the war results, and finally consolidating the occupied areas. In the seventh year, the Wei army first built a city in Shaoliang, Hexi (now the southwest of Hancheng, Shaanxi), and established a solid base for advancing, so as to garrison troops and accumulate grain to attack the Qin state. The state of Qin immediately sent troops to attack Shaoliang to stop the Wei army from building the city. The two armies fought in Shaoliang. The Wei army defeated the Qin army and continued to build the city to prepare for the war. The Qin army built fortifications along the Yellow River to prevent the Wei army from expanding outward. In the 13th year (413 BC), the Wei army was ready and began to attack the Qin army in Hexi. It went deep into the vicinity of zhengdi (now the southwest of Huaxian County, Shaanxi Province), where the Qin army was defeated. In the 14th year (412 B.C.), marquis Wen of Wei ordered the prince to attack and lead his army to conquer fanpang (now Southeast of Hancheng, Shaanxi), drive his people and occupy his land. In the 17th year (409 B.C.), after three years of rest, the Wei army launched another attack to expand the war results, worked hard, successively conquered the two cities of Linjin (i.e. Wangcheng, now the southeast of Dali, Shaanxi) and Yuanli (now the southeast of Chengcheng, Shaanxi), and built a City in Linjin. In the 18th year (408 BC), the Wei army restored two cities, namely, Luoyin (now the southwest of Dali, Shaanxi Province) and Taiyang (also known as Heyang, now the southeast of Heyang, Shaanxi Province), and stationed troops in Luoyin. So far, the Wei army has occupied all the land West of the river. The Qin army retreated and built fortifications along the coast of Luoshui, and built Chongquan city (now Southeast of Pucheng, Shaanxi) to defend the Wei army and prevent it from moving westward.

In the battle of Hexi, the state of Wei adopted the strategy of first establishing a solid forward base, then making a large-scale attack, and then expanding the results of the war. It effectively completed the battle of attacking the land of Hexi, drove the Qin army to Luoshui, expanded the power of the state of Wei, and dealt a heavy blow to the state of Qin.

[battle of yin and Jin Dynasties]

The battle of Yin Jin refers to the famous battle in 389 BC, in order to capture the Hexi region occupied by Wei, the Qin army used 500000 troops to attack Wei, and the Wei army, led by the famous general Wuqi, won more in Yin Jin with less.

War overview

The battle of Yin Jin was an important battle in the 13th year of King Zhou’an (389 BC). The Wei army counterattacked the Qin army in Yin Jin (today’s western Shaanxi and eastern China), and finally wiped out the Qin army with a few victories.

War background

During the reign of Marquis Wenhou of Wei, the country was strong and powerful. He sent a large number of troops to capture the Hexi region of the state of Qin (now the region west of the southern section of the Yellow River between Shanxi and Shaanxi). The Qin army retreated to the Luoshui area (see the war of Wei attacking the Hexi region of Qin). The Qin state lost its strategic location in Hexi and its security was seriously threatened. After several years of preparation, the state of Qin began to attack the state of Wei in the first year of King Zhou’an (401 BC). In the ninth year (393 BC), it fought with the state of Wei in Wang (now in Chengcheng, Shaanxi), and in the twelfth year (390 BC), it fought with it in Wucheng (now in the east of Huaxian, Shaanxi) in an attempt to recapture the important land of Hexi. The army of the state of Wei made every effort to fight with the Qin army.

During the thirteen years of fighting, the state of Qin again mobilized 500000 troops to attack Yinjin, an important city on the road of Qin’s eastward advance. The Qin army laid a camp outside Yinjin city. The situation is critical. The state of Wei stationed an elite army in Hexi. Wuhi, the governor of Xihe Prefecture, encouraged the army to maintain high morale. He asked Marquis Wu of Wei, the monarch of the state, to hold a celebration banquet, so that those who had made contributions could sit in the front row and use expensive tableware such as gold, silver and copper, and all three animals were pigs, cattle and sheep; Those who perform secondary meritorious deeds should sit in the middle row, and the expensive tableware should be appropriately reduced; The reactive person shall sit in the back row and shall not use expensive tableware. After the banquet, the meritorious person’s parents, wife and family members will be rewarded outside the gate. Every year, we send envoys to the families of the dead soldiers to express condolences and reward their parents as a sign of never forgetting. This law has been in force for three years. As soon as the Qin army attacked Hexi, tens of thousands of soldiers of the Wei army immediately wore armor without waiting for orders and asked for combat. In the face of the Qin army’s large-scale attack, Wu Qi asked Marquis Wu of Wei to send 50000 people who had not made contributions to the Qin army to fight back. Marquis Wu agreed and sent 500 chariots and 3000 cavalry. The day before the war, Wuqi issued an order to the three armed forces, saying that all officials and men should join me in fighting with the enemy, regardless of chariots, cavalry and infantry. “If you can’t ride a chariot, you can’t ride a horse, and you can’t be an apprentice, even if you break the army, you will have no success” (Wuzi. Lishi). Then, Wuqi led the Wei army to launch a counterattack against the Qin army in the Yin and Jin Dynasties. On this day, although there were few soldiers in Wei Dynasty, they all fought bravely to kill the enemy. After repeated attacks, the Wei army defeated 500000 Qin troops and achieved brilliant results.

Battle result

In this battle, although facing the powerful Qin army, Wuqi greatly improved the morale of the Wei army and significantly enhanced its combat effectiveness through incentive methods. With a small number of elite troops, they defeated the Qin army ten times their own, defended the strategic area in Hexi, and effectively curbed the momentum of the Qin army’s eastward advance. This battle was also a famous battle in ancient Chinese war history, in which a few won over many.

[battle of Guilin]

The battle of Guilin was a famous interception battle in the northwest of the South placanticline. In the 15th year of King Xian of Zhou (354 BC), Wei besieged Handan, the capital of Zhao. The following year, Zhao asked Qi for help. The king of Qi ordered Tian Ji and Sun Bin to lead troops to rescue. Sun Bin believed that Wei attacked Zhao with the elite, and the country was empty, so he led his troops to attack Daliang, the capital of Wei (now Kaifeng, Henan). Sure enough, he enticed Wei general Pang Juan to respond to the war. Sun Bin ambushed in Guilin (now Changyuan, Henan Province), defeated the Wei army, and captured pangjuan. In this war, Sun Bin evaded the actual situation, attacked the enemy and was sure to save him. He created the strategy of “encircling Wei and rescuing Zhao”, which has become a common means of luring the enemy into submission in the military for more than 2000 years.

After the monarch of Wei moved his capital to Daliang (now Kaifeng City, Henan Province, central China), he competed with Qi to dominate the Central Plains. King Wei of Qi tried his best to win over the two countries, Han and Zhao, to confront the state of Wei. In the 15th year of King Xian of Zhou (354 BC), the state of Zhao, with the support of the state of Qi, forced Sun Bin

The state of Wei, who submitted to Wei, succumbed to Zhao. King Wei Hui sent General pangjuan with 80000 troops to attack Wei and attack Zhao, besieging Handan, the capital of Zhao (now Hebei Province in North Central China). The following year, Zhao asked Qi for help. Qi, with Tianji as the chief General and Sun Bin as the military division, led 80000 troops to save Zhao. Tianji tried to lead his troops to attack the main force of the Wei army in Zhao to solve the siege of Zhao. However, sunbin believed that the Wei state had attacked Zhao for a long time, and the main force was consumed outside, and the old and weak were tired inside. The Qi army should take advantage of the emptiness of Wei’s domestic defense, go straight to the main beam, force the Wei army to return to the army to save itself, and intercept on the way home, so as to achieve the goal of both rescuing Zhao and attacking Wei. Tianji adopted Sun Bin’s plan of besieging Wei and rescuing Zhao, and sent a force south to join forces with the song and Wei armies to besiege Wei Yixiang Mausoleum (now suixian County, Henan Province) in the southeast of Daliang, showing that the Qi army had attacked Wei and rescuing Zhao and was determined to resist Wei; The main force went to Pingling, an important military town in the east of Daliang (now northeast of Dingtao, Shandong). Because the Pingling mausoleum was not easy to capture and the Qi army was in danger of being cut off, the Wei army had the illusion that the Qi army was incompetent in command, and the Qi army successfully concealed its subsequent attempts to march into the Daliang.

The Qi army hid its main force and sent a division led by the doctors of the two capitals of Qi and Gaotang, who did not know military affairs, to attack the mausoleum. As a result, the army was defeated and killed. Pangjuan thought that the Qi army was weak and did not worry about it. When the city of Handan was broken, the strength of the Wei army was greatly damaged. Tian Ji and Sun Bin sent light vans and soldiers to the outskirts of Daliang City, while the main force followed up in different ways, creating the illusion that the troops were weak. Pangjuan really fell into the trap and withdrew from Handan. Tian Ji and Sun Bin decided that the Wei army had to pass through the Guilin mausoleum to return to the army, that is, they led the main force to arrive there in advance. When the Wei army entered Guiling, it was intercepted by the Qi army and rushed to fight. It was defeated and pangjuan was captured.

Sun Bin, a descendant of Sun Wu, the military saint, was born in the state of Qi. He once took Guiguzi, a military scientist, as his teacher, and pangjuan, a general of the state of Wei, was a classmate and friend. But after pangjuan became a general of the state of Wei, he was very jealous of Sun Bin’s talent and tricked him into the state of Wei to inflict bin punishment (removing the kneecap), hoping that he would never be able to lead the army to fight. Later, Sun Bin did everything possible to escape and return to the state of Qi, and was placed in important position by King Wei of Qi. Sun Bin finally got a chance to avenge pangjuan. But he was not in a hurry to meet pangjuan on the battlefield. He advised Tian Ji to give up his plan to lead the troops to Handan and fight with the Wei army. When the main force of the Wei army was abroad and the domestic defense was empty, he attacked the Wei capital Daliang (now Kaifeng, Henan), forcing the Wei army far away to “explain Zhao and save themselves”. When pangjuan returned to the army, he intercepted the enemy midway. This not only saved Zhao, but also dealt a heavy blow to the state of Wei. It was a double whammy

[battle of Maling]

During the Warring States period of China, the Qi army’s famous ambush to annihilate the Wei army in Maling (now the southwest of Fanxian County, Henan Province). In the 28th year of King Xian of Zhou Dynasty (341 BC), Wei sent troops to attack Han, and Han Xiangqi asked for help. Qi agreed to rescue, so as to urge han to fight against Wei. However, since the war started at the beginning, the strength of Wei and South Korea was not damaged, so it was unfavorable to send troops early. Until the South Korean army was defeated in the five wars, the situation was critical, and the Wei army was very tired, so they sent troops to help. With Tianji as the main general, Tian Ying, Tian pan as the deputy general, and Sun Bin as the military division, King Xuan of Qi led his troops to Daliang, the capital of Wei (now Kaifeng, Henan), using the “encirclement of Wei and rescue of Zhao” (see the battle of Guilin), to lure the Wei army back to rescue Han. In the second campaign, Sun Bin took advantage of pangjuan’s weakness to create an illusion and induce him to submit. He always took the initiative. This battle is a famous example of setting up ambushes to annihilate the enemy in China’s war history.

South Korea was heartened by Qi’s promise of rescue, and made every effort to resist Wei’s attack. However, it was still defeated in five wars, so it had to rush to Qi again. King Wei of Qi seized the opportunity when both Wei and Han were tired and appointed Tian Ji as the chief General and Tian Ying as the deputy general to lead the Qi army to the great beam. Sun Bin’s role in the Qi army was the same as that in the war of Guilin: as a military division, he was in the middle of the command. When the state of Wei saw that victory was in sight, it was the state of Qi that obstructed it. It is needless to say that the state of Wei was angry and resentful. So they decided to let go of South Korea and turn their generals to the Qi army. Its meaning is self-evident: teach the state of Qi a good lesson so that it will not make trouble with itself in the future. When the Wei army that attacked Korea withdrew, King Hui of Wei ordered Prince Shen to be the supreme general and pangjuan to be the general. He led a 100000 strong army to rush at the Qi army in a fierce attempt to win a showdown with the Qi army.

At this time, the Qi army had entered the deep area of the state of Wei, and the Wei army followed. A fierce battle was inevitable. Sun Bin was confident of how to fight the war, and he was determined to command it. He correctly judged that the Wei army would be proud of the enemy, eager to fight and rash. According to this analysis, Sun Bin believed that he was completely confident of defeating the seemingly powerful Wei army. The method is nothing else but to skillfully use the enemy’s mentality of belittling the enemy, show the enemy by mistake, entice him to go deep, and then give him unexpected and fatal blows. His idea was fully endorsed by general Tianji. Therefore, after carefully studying the terrain conditions of the battlefield, the operational policy of reducing the range to lure the enemy and setting up ambushes to gather and annihilate was set.

The progress of the war was carried out in full accordance with the Qi army’s predetermined plan. As soon as Qi and Wei came into contact, they immediately feigned defeat and retreated. In order to entice the Wei army to pursue, the Qi army, according to Sun Bin’s advance deployment, used the skill of “reducing cooking stoves”. On the first day, 100000 cooking stoves were dug, on the second day, they were reduced to 50000 cooking stoves, and on the third day, they were reduced to 30000 cooking stoves, creating the illusion that a large number of Qi soldiers fled under the pursuit of the Wei army.

Although pangjuan and Sun Bin were educated by the same teacher &\8211; Mr. Guiguzi, however, his level is quite different from that of Sun Bin. After catching up for three days in succession, he could not help but get carried away when he saw that the Qi army retreated to avoid the war and reduced the number of cooks every day. He arbitrarily determined that the Qi army was lax and that more than half of its soldiers fled. So he threw down his infantry and supplies, and took only a part of the light and elite cavalry, and pursued the Qi army day and night. According to the actions of the Wei army, Sun Bin judged that the Wei army would go to Maling (now Tancheng, Shandong) after sunset. The narrow roads, lush trees and dangerous terrain around Maling are the absolute advantages of ambush warfare. So Sun Bin took advantage of this favorable terrain and chose 10000 archers in the Qi army who were good at shooting to lie in ambush on both sides of the road. He stipulated that at night, he would use fire as a sign to shoot arrows, and asked people to peel off the skin of a big tree beside the Road and write on it the words “pangjuan died under this tree”.

Pangjuan’s cavalry really entered the Qi army’s pre ambush area at the time expected by Sun Bin. Pangjuan saw the words written on the peeled tree trunk, but could not see clearly, so she asked someone to light a torch. Before the words were read, the Qi army fired ten thousand crossbows at once, giving the Wei army a thunderous blow. The Wei army was immediately panicked and in great disorder. Pangjuan was at the end of her wits. Seeing that the defeat had been decided, she committed suicide with indignation. The Qi army pursued the victory and defeated the Wei army in succession, annihilating more than 100000 enemies before and after, and capturing Prince Shen, the commander of the Wei army.

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