The hundred year war for hegemony between Jin and Chu in the spring and Autumn Period: three wars to divide hegemony equally

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In the 21st year of King Xiang of Zhou Dynasty (632 BC), Jin and Chu fought for the hegemony of the Central Plains in Chengpu (now the southwest of juancheng, Shandong Province). After the war of Hongshui, the state of Chu, with its strong strength and prestige, controlled small and medium-sized countries in the Central Plains, such as Lu, song, Zheng, Chen, Cai, Xu, Cao, Wei, and so on, with great potential to include the Central Plains. After years of civil strife, the state of Shi Jin was rapidly revitalized. Since Duke Wen of Jin ascended the throne, he has cultivated politics internally, appointed talents, developed the economy, expanded the three armed forces, and the national strength has become increasingly strong. Actively seek hegemony externally, raise the flag of “respecting the king”, and send troops to escort the king of Zhou Xiang who fled due to civil strife back to the country, so as to win the hearts of all countries in the central plains; He also made friends with the state of Qin and helped Qin develop southward, causing worries for the state of Chu. In order to curb the development of Jin forces, Chu made an alliance with CaO and Weitong to make it an outpost against Jin; Taking advantage of Qi’s domestic diplomatic difficulties, he sent troops to help Lu occupy the Guyi of Qi (now the southwest of Pingyin, Shandong), and left uncle Shen hou to garrison in an attempt to control Qi and isolate Jin. The strategies of Jin and Chu were tit for tat, and the decisive battle for hegemony was imminent. In the winter of the 19th year of King Xiang of Zhou, the song state, which was originally forced to attach to Chu, rebelled against Chu and followed Jin because of the growing strength of Jin. The Chu faction ordered Yin Ziyu and Sima Zixi to lead their troops to besiege song Diyi (now Jinxiang, Shandong), and song insisted on resistance. In the winter of the following year, the troops of Chu Fashen (now the north of Nanyang in Henan Province) and Xi (now the southwest of Xixian county) were the main force, combined with the armies of Chen, Cai, Zheng and Xu, with Ziyu as the commander, and King Cheng of Chu personally supervised the war to besiege Shangqiu, the capital of Song Dynasty (now the south of Shangqiu). Song sent the great Minister Ma Gongsun Gu to Jin for help. Facing the major choice between salvation and non salvation, the monarchs and ministers of Jin believed that song was in the middle of the struggle for hegemony between Jin and Chu, and it was also a larger country in the Central Plains. If song was allowed to do all he could to help and surrender to Chu, it would be difficult for Jin to forge ahead in the central plains; Sending troops to rescue the state of song, although there was a labor expedition, the weakness against the advantage, and the risk of being threatened by Cao and Wei, it was a good opportunity for the state of Jin to “take power and set hegemony” (Zuo Zhuan · the 27th year of Duke XI). Duke Wen of Jin decided to send troops to save Song Dynasty, and accepted the strategy of doctor Hu Yan. He decided to attack Cao and Wei with weak troops first, forcing Chu army to go north to solve the siege of Song Dynasty. In January of the 21st year, Duke Wen of Jin led his army to the border between Jin and Wei, and wanted to use the way of defending the country to attack Cao, which was not allowed by Wei. The Jin army secretly retreated and crossed the river (the Yellow River) from the South River Jijin (now the territory of Weihui, Henan Province). In order to reduce casualties, we deliberately avoided Chu Qiu, the capital of Wei (now the east of Hua county), and took Wulu, the capital of Wei (now the northwest of Qingfeng). In February, he marched southward to Lianyu (now puyangdong) and formed an alliance with Qi Zhao guild, forming a strong pressure on Wei. The “countrymen” of Wei were afraid of the great potential of the Jin army and expelled Wei Chenggong. The Jin army took advantage of the weakness to invade Chu hill and occupy all the Wei land. The Chu army was unable to save the guards and continued to besiege Shangqiu. Duke Wen of Jin sent his troops south, and in March, he broke through the Taoqiu of Cao du (now northwest of Dingtao in Shandong), capturing Duke Cao Gonggong. Although Duke Wen of Jin had relieved his worries about saving Song Dynasty, King Cheng of Chu also saw through the Jin army’s attempt, did not move for the loss of Cao and Wei, and besieged the song capital more closely, so as to force the Jin army to continue southward, and the isolated army fought a decisive battle with the Chu coalition army. Duke Wen of Jin was in a dilemma: if he came to the territory of song and did not save song, he would give up seeking hegemony; If Qi and Qin do not work together and deepen, there must be more or less bad luck. In order to change passivity into initiative, he adopted the plan of the Chinese Marshal first, and asked the state of song to bribe Qi and Qin to persuade Chu to withdraw troops; At the same time, Jin held Cao Jun, and divided Cao and Wei into parts to song. It is intended to pull Qi and Qin into the water and stop their wait-and-see attitude; Catch up with the state of song and put it on the shelf, and eliminate its idea of descending to Chu; Add fuel to the fire of Chu and force it to fight. Sure enough, Chu saw that song had won the land of Cao and Wei instead of conquering song, but refused the mediation of Qi and Qin. Qi and Qin had the benefit of song but failed to mediate. They deepened the contradiction with Chu, and then sent troops to help Jin, forming a joint situation of Jin, Qi, Qin and song against Chu. King Cheng of Chu was well aware of the weakness of the long front, the emptiness of the rear and the dispersion of forces of the Chu army. Seeing the change in the balance of forces between Jin and Chu, the strategic situation had been unfavorable to Chu. That is, he ordered uncle Hou Shen, who was guarding Guyi, to withdraw to the song territory, and ordered Ziyu to give up encircling song and avoid a decisive battle with the Jin army. He led some troops back to Shenyi to prevent the Qin army from attacking its rear. Ziyu did not attach importance to the country and was headstrong. He did not listen to the warning of King Cheng to retreat despite difficulties and insisted on not withdrawing from the Song Dynasty. Although King Cheng was angry at Ziyu’s disobedience, and had the heart of winning by chance, he failed to resolutely order the retreat, and in hesitation, he added a small amount of troops to Ziyu. In order to seek an excuse to fight a decisive battle with Jin, Ziyu threatened to let Cao and Wei recover the state of Jin, and Chu could solve the siege of song. Jin monarchs and ministers believed that if they did not allow Ziyu’s request, they would blame the song, Cao and Wei kingdoms, and be blamed by the princes, and would lose the great opportunity to fight for hegemony with Chu. He secretly promised Cao and Wei to restore the country, instigated them to break off diplomatic relations with Chu, detained Wan Chun, the envoy of Chu, and provoked Ziyu to go north for a decisive battle. Regardless of the changes in the objective situation, Ziyu led his army to abandon Song Dynasty and head for Taoqiu. Duke Wen of Jin ordered the whole army to retreat to the Wei territory for three quarters (30 Li per quarter), which not only showed that it had fulfilled the promise of “avoiding the king for three quarters” (Zuo Zhuan · the 23rd year of Duke XI) made when it was exiled in Chu. If Ziyu entered the army to seek war, he would be wronged because his ministers violated the king, but also could temporarily avoid the sharp edge of the Chu army, move closer to the Qi and Qin armies, and launch a decisive battle on the scheduled battlefield. Ziyu thought that the Jin army retreated in fear of Chu and did not give up, causing the troops to relax and soldiers to be tired. On the first day of April, Jinbing car 700 retreated to Chengpu. The Chu allied army also followed and rushed to the Jin army, relying on the dangerous terrain to garrison, and could not wait to challenge the Jin army. At this time, the Qi, Qin and song armies that arrived in Chengpu area only supported Jin, while the Chu, Chen and Cai allied forces that followed Chengpu still had a military advantage. Considering this, Duke Wen of Jin made a cautious decision and personally reviewed the army. Seeing that the Jin army was well equipped, disciplined and morale was strong, Fang strengthened his confidence in the decisive battle and ordered to cut down trees on the spot to supplement weapons. On the second day of junior high school, Jin and Chu played south of Chengpu. The Jin army was deployed by the upper, middle and lower armies: the upper army was on the right, Hu Mao was the main general, and Hu Yan was the deputy general; The lower army is on the left, with Luan Zhi as the main general and Xu Chen as the deputy general; The Chinese army is in the middle, with Xian Yun as the marshal, Xian Qin as the deputy general, and Duke Wen of Jin also in the Chinese army. The three armed forces are under the command of Xian Yun. The Chu allied forces are deployed according to the right, central and left armies: the weaker Chen and Cai armies are organized into the right army, and the son is the general; The soldiers of Shen and Xi with strong combat effectiveness were organized into the left army, and Zixi was the general; The Chu army was brilliantly organized into a central army, and Ziyu was the general.

When Ziyu committed himself to “there will be no Jin today” (the 28th year of the Duke of Zuo Zhuan), the Jin army had taken the lead in launching an attack. According to the deployment characteristics of the Chu army, Xu Chen, the Deputy General of the Chu army, first ordered the driving horse to be covered with tiger skin, and led the troops to rush at Chen and Cai army and defeat it. Make fox hair set up two flags on the right wing to command, disguise the Lord General of the Jin Shang army to retreat, and lure the Chu left army to pursue him; He also ordered Luan Zhi, the commander of the army, to drag the branches behind the formation to raise dust, pretending that the rear team of the Jin army also retreated, causing the illusion that the Jin army was out of support to Ziyu. Ziyu didn’t observe the actual situation and thought there was an opportunity to take advantage of it. He ordered the whole army to pursue it. Zixi led the Chu left army to advance rapidly, with the isolated army prominent and the right side exposed. He lost no time in commanding the Jinzhong army to attack the Chu left army. The upper Jin army also stopped retreating and cooperated with the Chinese army to carry out a flanking attack, annihilating most of the Chu left army, while the rest were defeated. Ziyu took advantage of the defeat of the left and right armies, and the general situation was gone. He hurried to close the war, led the remnant to retreat, and the Jin army did not pursue. Ziyu retreated to Chu Fangcheng (a great wall from the southwest of Ye County in Henan Province to the northeast of Biyang along the southeast). He was ashamed to see Shen and Xi’s father and committed suicide.

The outcome of the victory of Jin and the defeat of Chu forced the state of Chu to temporarily give up the competition for the Central Plains, and all countries in the Central Plains rebelled against Chu and followed Jin. Duke Wen of Jin met with the princes in jiantu (now the southwest of Yuanyang, Henan Province) and appeared before the king of Zhou. He captured hundreds of chariots with four horses and thousands of soldiers. He was ordered by the king of Zhou to be Hou Bo and obtained the hegemony of the Central Plains.

In the first World War of Chengpu, Jin’s monarchs and ministers were in harmony. Before the decisive battle, they “attacked the plot” and “attacked the diplomatic relations”, fought for peace with the country, divided the enemy alliance, expanded themselves, and strived for strategic initiative; In the decisive battle, expect the enemy and plan, from weak to strong, break through one by one, and win by surprise. The Chu army did not plan first, missed strategic advantages, the monarchs and ministers were motivated, the commander was proud of the enemy, misjudged, and was controlled by others, eventually leading to defeat.

The battle of Ying: the second battle between Jin and Chu to dominate the Central Plains

The battle of Ying was a famous battle in the middle of the spring and Autumn period. It was the two most powerful vassal states at that time; The second major contest between Jin and Chu to dominate the Central Plains. In the battle, the Chu army took advantage of the weakness of the Jin army, such as internal differences and weak command, to attack at the right time and defeat the enemy, thus washing away the humiliation of failure in the battle of Chengpu and temporarily gaining the upper hand in the struggle for hegemony in the Central Plains. As for King Zhuang of Chu himself, due to the victory of this battle, he indisputably squeezed into the position of “five hegemons in the spring and Autumn Period” called by history.

Although the state of Chu was defeated in the battle of Chengpu, it still has the strength to make a comeback because it has been a big country in the south for a long time, with a wide range of people, rich products and abundant troops. Shortly after the war of Chengpu, the state of Chu made peace with the state of Jin to reduce the pressure on the state of Jin and divert its attention. After achieving this goal, the state of Chu actively developed its military strength, waiting for the opportunity to go north to the Central Plains again and compete for hegemony with Jin.

After winning the battle of Chengpu, Jin began to relax its vigilance against Chu’s movements, which led to contradictions with its original ally Qin. The intensification of contradictions is the result of several wars between the two countries. One of the most famous is the battle of food. It was the battle, although the Jin army ambushed the Qin army successfully, making the other party “never return”, and achieved a great victory in the battle; But strategically, it lost a lot of points, which led to the collapse of the alliance between Qin and Jin, frequent wars between the two countries, and Qin’s proximity to Chu, which greatly hampered the power of Jin, which provided objective help for Chu to enter the Central Plains again.

The state of Chu took advantage of this opportunity to use troops again in the Central Plains to expand its own power. It successively annexed small countries such as Jiang, Liao and Liu in the south of the Central Plains, and subdued Zheng and Chen. Then it forced Cai, song and other countries to annex themselves. After King Zhuang of Chu succeeded to the throne, he was wise and promising. Under his regulation, the strength of the state of Chu was further enhanced. Even in the name of sending troops to fight against the army of Lu Hun, he openly Chen Bing in the territory of Luoyi and asked Zhou Tianzi about the size and weight of the nine tripods. Jiuding is a symbol of state power. King Zhuang of Chu undoubtedly exposed his intention to replace the son of Zhou. Although this move was refuted by Zhou Chen and Wang Sunman, it fully reflects the objective fact that the strength of Chu has risen again.

Of course, King Zhuang of Chu knew that it was not enough to conquer Chen, CAI and other countries in order to truly command the princes of the Central Plains. He had to defeat Jin militarily to realize his long cherished wish. Therefore, he actively sought the opportunity to start a war with Shanxi. At the same time, the state of Jin could not tolerate the situation that the forces of the state of Chu once again permeated the Central Plains, so it held an alliance meeting to strive for cooperation with the state and try to restrain the northward advance of the state of Chu. At that time, Zheng, song and other countries were caught between the Jin and Chu forces, and they did not dare to offend any party easily, so they had to curry favor with both sides in order to protect themselves. In particular, the state of Zheng, located in the hinterland of the Central Plains, is in a delicate situation. At this time, it was intimidated by Jin, weighed its interests, and took refuge in Jin. Knowing the importance of Zheng in the overall struggle for hegemony, the state of Chu decided to use troops against Zheng and force him to obey himself, so as to block the Yellow River and prevent Jin from going south. So in the spring of the tenth year of King Ding of Zhou (597 BC), King Zhuang of Chu attacked Zheng on a large scale on the charge of Zheng Tongjin, opening the prelude to the war between Jin and Chu.

In June of that year, after being besieged for several months, the capital of the state of Zheng was finally captured by the Chu army after firm resistance because it could not receive timely assistance from the Jin army. Zheng Xianggong offered peace to the Chu army, and King Zhuang of Chu agreed to the peace request. He withdrew his troops for 30 Li and sent envoys to Zheng Meng. The state of Zheng pledged Liang, a disciple of Xiang Gong, to enter Chu.

The state of Zheng was the channel for Jin to enter the Central Plains, and Jin naturally could not allow Chu to control here. So when Chu surrounded Zheng for two months, Duke Jing of Jin appointed Xun Linfu as the marshal of the Chinese army and led the army to save Zheng. However, the Jin army had delayed the warplanes and did not advance quickly. Therefore, when the news of the peace between Zheng and Chu came, the Jin army arrived in Wenxian County, on the North Bank of the Yellow River in Henan Province, and fell into strategic passivity. When deciding on the next strategic plan, sharp differences and fierce disputes occurred within the Jin army. Xunlin’s father believed that it would be meaningless for the Jin army to save Zheng after Zheng had surrendered to Chu, so he advocated not crossing the Yellow River for the time being, reining in troops and observing fights, and then entering the army after the Chu army withdrew to the south, forcing Zheng to attach himself. The commander in chief of the Shang army would agree with xunlin’s opinion, emphasizing that the soldiers could only move against each other. At that time, the Chu army was in a rational, advantageous and restrained dominant position. Now fighting against it was not conducive to Jin, and he advocated waiting for another opportunity to establish hegemony. Their opinions were undoubtedly correct, but they were firmly opposed by the Vice General of the Chinese army, Ying Gu. He believed that the reason why Jin dominated the Central Plains was because the army was brave and the subjects did their best. Now that the state of Zheng has been lost, it cannot be called “powerful”; Facing the enemy without fighting is not “martial”. If we lose the supremacy in our hands, we might as well die.

He also stressed that “it is not the husband who will retreat after hearing that the enemy is strong”. Driven by this belligerent mentality, Yingu ignored xunlin’s father’s military order and led his subordinates to cross the river southward without authorization. His behavior seriously interfered with the effective command of the Jin army commander center.

After the incident of Jiagu crossing the river without authorization, the military doctor under the Jin Dynasty thought that doing so would undoubtedly defeat. At this time, Sima hanjue suggested to xunlin’s father, “Yingu’s partial division against the enemy is bound to lead to danger. As a marshal, you are responsible for this. It’s better to order the whole army to cross the river and advance, so that even if you lose the war, the responsibility is shared by everyone”. Xunlin’s father hesitated, and finally was forced to order the whole army to cross the Yellow River southward to Jiadi (southwest of Hengyong, Henan), with his back against the Yellow River from west to East.

Hearing that the Jin army crossed the river, the Chu army also had differences between war and non war. Ling Yin sunshu’ao advocated that the troops should be withdrawn as soon as possible, and that there should be no direct conflict with the Jin army; Wu Shen, the favorite minister, suggested to King Zhuang of Chu to fight with Jin after analyzing the weaknesses of the Jin army, such as the discord between generals and generals and low morale. King Zhuang of Chu adopted Wu Shen’s advice, gave up the idea of withdrawing southward, and instead led his troops northward to reach Guandi (now Zhengzhou, Henan Province).

On the eve of the imminent outbreak of the war, Zheng Xianggong sent envoys to the Jin camp. On the grounds that “the Chu division was proud of its sudden victory, and its division was old, but not equipped”, he persuaded Xun Linfu to attack the Chu army and promised Zheng army to cooperate with the Jin army. There was another debate among the Jin army generals about Zheng’s proposal to persuade the war. Yingu strongly agreed to Zheng’s request and agreed to go to war immediately. He believed that “this is the key to defeating Chu and subduing Zheng”.

Luan Shu, the Deputy General of the lower army, disagreed with Ying Gu’s opinion and believed that the actual situation of the Chu army was not “arrogant”, “old” and “unprepared”. Zheng came to persuade the war purely out of consideration of his own interests. He hoped that Jin and Chu would make a quick decision and decide Zheng’s fate with the outcome of the war. Xun Linfu, the marshal of the Chinese army, hesitated between the opinions of the two factions for a moment and failed to make a decision.

When the Jin army was in doubt, King Zhuang of Chu sent an envoy to see the commander of the Jin army, saying that the purpose of Chu’s departure to the North was only to teach Zheng a lesson and had no intention of offending Jin. Xun Linfu, the representative of the Jin Shangjun soldiers’ Association, replied that Jin and Zheng Tong were appointed to assist the Zhou royal family. Now Zheng Huai has two minds, and Jin TE was ordered by the king to question the state of Zheng, which has nothing to do with the state of Chu. The answer was quite polite. Yinggu was very dissatisfied with this, and thought that xunlin’s father flattered the state of Chu, so he sent Zhao Kuo, a Chinese military doctor, to reply to the envoy of Chu in provocative language:

The Jin State sent troops to drive the Chu army away from the state of Zheng. “The Chu army must be chased”. For this reason, it did not hesitate to fight with the Chu army and “did not avoid war”. In this way, the chaos and differences within the Jin army were directly exposed to the envoy of Chu, and King Zhuang of Chu thus mastered the intention and reality of the Jin army.

In order to further paralyze the Jin army and ensure the victory of the decisive battle, King Zhuang of Chu once again sent people to beg for peace with the Jin army in humble words. Xunlin’s father had no determination to fight a decisive battle. Seeing the Chu army’s request for peace, he agreed and relaxed his vigilance. At this time, the Chu army took the opportunity to send Le Bo, Xu Bo, she Shu and others to challenge the Jin army in a chariot. It not only destroyed the morale of the Jin army, but also found out the reality of the Jin army.

After the Chu army challenged, two of the Jin army were dissatisfied. They hoped that the Jin army would lose. Zuo Wei Kai and Zhao Zhan also successively asked to go to challenge the Chu army. Without permission, they were sent out to invite peace. After entering the Chu camp, Zhao and Wei challenged and attacked the Chu army without authorization, and the result was just used by the Chu army. The Chu army poured out and attacked all the departments of the Jin army violently, giving a heavy blow to the Wei Wei, Zhao Zhan and Xun Ying departments of the Jin Army who came to challenge.

And took advantage of the victory to advance to the Jin army camp.

At this time, xunlin’s father was still waiting in the camp for the Chu army to send envoys to negotiate peace. The Chu army suddenly came in such a tide that it was at a loss. In panic, it issued the order of the whole army to cross the river and withdraw north, and shouted that those who crossed the river first would be rewarded. In this way, the Jin army was in chaos, defeated and fled, crowded near the Bank of the Yellow River, competing to cross the river for their lives. There were few boats and many people, and there was no command to cross the river. Those who got on the boat first were afraid of being chased by the Chu army and were eager to set sail. Those who did not get on the boat jumped into the river and climbed the boat string with their hands, so that the boat could not start. As a result, there was a burst of self cutting, causing a pile of broken arms and fingers on the ship, which caused great losses to the Jin army.

Fortunately, the Chu army had no plan to oppress the Jin army to gather and annihilate on the river bank, and most of the Jin army was able to cross the river and escape the battlefield. In addition, under the command of the scholars’ Association, the upper Jin army made preparations to defeat the Chu left army led by Chu childe Ying Qi, and retreated orderly to the North Bank of the Yellow River; In order to rescue his son Xun Ying, Xun Shou, a military doctor under the Jin Dynasty, raided the Chu spearhead army successfully, shot and killed the Chu general Lian Yinxiang, and captured the young master Gu Chen alive. All these also played an objective role in protecting the Jin army from crossing the river and reducing the casualties of the Jin army.

After a day of fierce fighting, the Chu army won the war, and the battle of Ying came to an end. Then, King Zhuang of Chu marched into Heng Yong, where he built the palace of Chu’s ancestors as a winner, and held a river sacrifice ceremony and a victory ceremony. Then withdraw troops and return to the South triumphantly. Since then, Chu’s influence in the Central Plains has become more prominent. The victory and defeat of the war of Ying is different from that of Chengpu, but the reasons for the victory and defeat of the two wars have some similarities, that is, the victory and defeat are not due to the great disparity between the military strength of the two sides, but lies in the subjective command of the war directors of the two sides. The failure of the Jin army was due to the late dispatch of the division to assist Zheng; Internal opinions are not unified, and the commander xunlin’s father lacks authority and hesitates in case of trouble; Credulous Chu army’s request for peace, relax the alert, and give the enemy an opportunity to take advantage; When the war broke out in an all-round way, he panicked and rashly ordered to cross the river and retreat, falling into danger; When crossing the river, the defense was not properly implemented, resulting in chaos. As a result, he lost the initiative in the war and fell into failure.

The victory of the Chu army lies in its superior combat guidance. King Zhuang of Chu personally commanded the Chu army, commanding centralized and unified, unlike the Jin army. Before the war, he repeatedly sent envoys to investigate the falseness and reality of the Jin army, and pretended to seek peace in order to gain political initiative and relax the defense of the Jin army. In the battle, they responded by challenging, changing from a small battle to a big one, and quickly launched surprise raids to defeat the Jin army at one fell swoop. As for the critics, most of them thought that the Chu army did not implement a fierce pursuit, so that it failed to achieve greater results.

This is actually a misunderstanding of the military etiquette principle of “not far away from each other” in the spring and Autumn period.

Under the norms of the military etiquette principle at that time, the Chu army could only “not be poor”, but could not gather and annihilate the Jin army without taking into account the specific historical conditions.

Battle of Yanling: the last act of Jin Chu hegemony

The battle of Yanling took place in June of the 11th year of King Jian of Zhou (575 BC) in Yanling area (now the southwest of Yanling, Henan Province). In the battle, the Jin army was good at observing warplanes, skillfully commanding, and defeating its old rivals who were fighting for hegemony in the Central Plains; Chu further consolidated its dominant position in the Central Plains. After this war, both Jin and Chu gradually lost the strong momentum of fighting for hegemony in the Central Plains by force, and the Central Plains battlefield began to subside.

In this sense, the battle of Yanling was the last act of the Jin Chu hegemony at that time.

In 578 BC, after the victory of the war against Qin Ma tunnel, Jin was in the most favorable strategic position and historical period for hegemony. At this time, Qin was defeated and was unable to look East for a moment; The Qi Jin Alliance is in the consolidation stage; All the small and medium-sized vassal states in the central plains were subject to Jin; The state of Wu and Jin in the South joined hands and became enemies with Chu. The state of Jin can fight against Chu as soon as the favorable opportunity arises, so as to further consolidate its hegemony in the Central Plains. The battle of Yanling is an inevitable outcome under this historical background.

In the ninth year of King Jian of Zhou Dynasty (577 BC), the state of Zheng launched an attack on the state of Xu and invaded the outer city of Xu capital. Xu was forced to cede land and make peace. Xu was a vassal of the state of Chu, and the actions of the state of Zheng naturally led to the interference of Chu. So the following year, the state of Chu attacked the state of Zheng and forced it to submit to itself. After the rebellion of the state of Zheng against the state of Jin, relying on the backing of the state of Chu, the state of Zheng launched an attack on the state of song. What Zheng did directly violated the covenant of the princes and provided convenient conditions for the forces of Chu to go north. Naturally, the state of Jin could not sit idly by, so it decided to attack the state of Zheng: Taking Luan Shu as the commander of the Chinese army, and sending troops to kill the state of Zheng together with Qi, Lu, Wei and other countries, in 575 BC.

Hearing that the state of Jin sent troops, the king of the Communist Party of Chu was not willing to be outdone. He personally commanded the Chu army, Zheng army and Yi army, took Sima Zi as the commander of the Chinese army, and quickly went north to rescue the state of Zheng. The armies of the two countries met in Yanling, the land of Zheng.

At that time, the Allied Qi, Lu and Wei armies of Jin were still on their way to Yanling. In view of this situation, the Chu army headquarters made a decision: before the armies of Qi and Lu countries arrived at the battlefield, they should first concentrate their superior forces to defeat the Jin army and grasp the military initiative.

For this reason, the Chu army suddenly approached the Jin army barracks on the dark day of June 29, which was taboo in ancient military use. Taking advantage of the unprepared Jin army and using the morning fog as a cover, the Chu army hoped to make a quick decision and win with the Jin army.

At this time, the Jin army did not see the arrival of allied reinforcements. In addition, there was a marsh in front of the camp. The Chu army was approaching, and the troop chariots could not leave the camp array, so they were at a disadvantage. In view of this situation, Luan Shu, the commander of the Jin army, advocated to stick to and wait for help, “the Chu army is light and slim, the base is solid and wait for it, and it will retreat in three days. If it retreats and attacks it, it will win.” However, the commander of the new army, Ying Zhi, believes that the Chu army has many weaknesses, specifically: ? the relationship between the commander-in-chief of the Chu army and the commander-in-chief of the left army is not good; ? The soldiers of the king of Chu are old and not good; ? Zheng Jun’s formation is not neat; ? The barbarians who went out with Chu didn’t know the array; ? It was unlucky for Chu troops to arrange their formation on a moonless night; ? After the Chu army deployed, the soldiers in the formation were noisy and disorderly. It is pointed out that once such a disordered army is put into battle, it must be watching each other and have no fighting spirit. If our army takes this opportunity to launch an attack, it will be able to defeat them. Therefore, it is advocated to take advantage of the weakness of the Chu army, strike first and take the initiative to attack the Chu army.

Jin Li recognized that what Ying Zhi said was very reasonable, so he changed his previous plan to stick to the aid and attack later, determined to pursue advantages and avoid disadvantages, and immediately fought a decisive battle with the Chu army. Then he filled the well and stove in the camp, expanded the space of the array, and mobilized the upper, middle, lower and new army to arrange the array.

Both sides conducted battlefield reconnaissance activities on the eve of the decisive battle. As for the Chu army, the king of the Chu Communist Party, accompanied by Bo Zhouli, a rebel of the Jin State, boarded the nest car and observed the movements of the Jin army in the camp. Bozhou Li explained the nature and purpose of the Jin army’s activities one by one to the Communist king of Chu, and introduced the readiness of the Jin army. However, the Chu army failed to identify the Jin army’s combat intention and make corresponding preparations. On the other hand, accompanied by the former Minister of Chu, Emperor miaobi, Duke li of Jin also climbed the platform to observe the formation of the Chu army. Knowing the inside information of the Chu army, Emperor Miao Ben proposed to Duke li of Jin at this time that the elite of the Chu army was the Royal Army of the central army. According to this, the Jin army should first attack the left and right armies of Chu with elite troops, and then unite the army to attack the central army of Chu. I think this will definitely defeat the Chu army. Duke li of Jin and Luan Shu readily adopted this suggestion and changed the original formation in time, that is, the left and right wings should be strengthened by the elite department headed by the general of the central army and Zuo Ge. The battle plan of first breaking through the weak left and right armies in the Chu army and then encircling and annihilating the middle army was determined. After the deployment was established, the Jin army opened a channel in the camp, quickly left the camp, and attacked the Chu army around both sides of the marsh in front of the camp.

Seeing that the Jinzhong army where Jin Ligong was located was weak, the king of the Communist Party of Chu led the central army to attack, trying to defeat the Jinzhong army first, but was doggedly resisted by the Jin army. Wei Kai, the general of Jin, shot the eyes of the Communist king of Chu with an arrow, forcing the central army of Chu to retreat and failed to support the two wings.

The news that the king of the Communist Party of Chu was wounded by an arrow soon spread throughout the Chu army, causing people’s hearts to fluctuate. The Jin army took advantage of the situation to storm the Chu left and right armies. The Chu army could not resist, was forced to the inconvenient terrain, fell into passivity, the formation was in chaos, and retreated towards the North Bank of Yingshui. The two sides fought from the morning until nightfall. The Chu army lost a lot, and the prince Mao also became a prisoner of the Jin army. The Communist king of Chu had to withdraw his troops, and the Jin army saw that it was dark, and temporarily suspended the pursuit.

That night, the commander-in-chief of the Chu Central Army checked and rescued the wounded soldiers, supplemented soldiers and chariots, repaired armor and weapons, reorganized the troops, and prepared to fight again tomorrow. Seeing that Chu did not admit defeat, the Jin army also took active action to supplement the army and prepare for another showdown in the future. Hearing the news that the Jin army was preparing for war, the king of the Communist Party of Chu was uneasy and hurried to summon Zifan to discuss countermeasures. But at this time, Zi was too drunk to answer the call because he drank two more cups. Seeing that the marshal was like this, the king of the Communist Party of Chu couldn’t help but be discouraged. He expected that there would be no advantage in fighting again, so he led the army to escape. When he retreated to the defective place, the commander-in-chief of the Chu army took the blame and committed suicide.

The next day, the Jin army successfully occupied the Chu army camp, ate the food left by the Chu army, rested there and returned to the division triumphantly after 3 days. The battle of Yanling ended with the victory of the Jin army.

The battle of Yanling was the third and last battle between the armies of the two countries, which was of great significance in history. It marked the decline of Chu’s struggle for the Central Plains; Although Jin was able to reorganize its hegemony (that is, the so-called Jin mourning and regaining hegemony), its control over the princes of the Central Plains gradually weakened.

The reasons for the failure of the Chu army in this battle can be summarized as follows:

?1? The army was built up in a hurry, and the march was too hasty. “Its speed was too dangerous and untidy” (Zuo Zhuan, the 16th year of Chenggong), causing military fatigue;

?2? It is too impatient to blindly emphasize the battle with the Jin army before the arrival of the armies of Qi, Lu and other countries;

?3? Failed to identify the Jin army’s operational intent and take corresponding actions;

?4? In the battle, they lacked the ability to change expediency, so that they were beaten passively;

?5? The commander-in-chief did not abide by military discipline and was drunk, causing the Communist king of Chu to lose confidence in fighting again.

The Jin army showed high operational guidance ability in this battle: it dispatched its troops in time, “base on the battlefield first and wait for the enemy”, and won a certain initiative. In the battle, we can not only make a decisive and preemptive strike according to the formation and terrain characteristics of the Chu army. And timely change the deployment, strengthen the two wings, first weak and then strong, so as to defeat the Chu army at one stroke.

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