Battle of Jingzing, 205 BC

The battle of Jingzing (205) BC was one of a number of unusual victories won by Han Xin, one of the most able supporters of Liu Bang, the founder the Han Dynasty (Chu-Han Contention).

In the aftermath of his defeat at Pengchang (205 BC) Liu Bang found a number of his supporters changed their minds. Chen Yu, premier of Zhao (and king of Dai), was one of them. Han Xin, having subdued Wei, asked for and was granted permission to move against Zhao. As the Han army advanced Chen Yu moved his force of around 200,000 men into a strong position in the Jingxing Pass.

Map showing the Eighteen Kingdoms, 206-202 BC
Map showing the
Eighteen Kingdoms,
206-202 BC

Han Xin decided to try and lure the Zhao army out of this position. A party of 2,000 men were sent into the mountains to find a position that overlooked the Zhao army. Han Xin then led 10,000 troops into the gorge while the rest of his army took up a position with the Jinman River to their rear. Chen Yu was unable to resist this tempting target, and ordered his men out of their camp.

Han Xin allowed the battle to go on for a convincing length of time, and then ordered his men to make a feigned retreat, abandoning their banners and drums. The Zhao troops left to guard the camp fell for this trick, and joined in the pursuit, leaving the camp empty. The 2,000 men in the mountains took their chance to occupy the camp and replace the Zhao flags with red Han flags.

Meanwhile Han Xin had retreated back to the main part of the army, and a fierce battle developed close to the river. With no way to retreat the Han troops resisted until the Zhao commanders gave up and decided to retire back to their camps. When they saw the enemy flags flying over the camp, many in the army assumed that King Zhao Xie or Chen Yu had been killed or captured and began to desert. At this point the Han attacked from the front and rear, inflicting a heavy defeat on the disorganised Zhao army. Chen Yu was killed in the battle, while Zhao Xie was captured. He was replaced as king of Zhao by Zhang Er, one of Liu Bang’s supporters.

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (24 January 2012), Battle of Jingzing, 205 BC , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/battles_jingzing.html

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