Battle of Kunyang


Battle of Kunyang

Infobox Military Conflict
conflict=Battle of Kunyang
partof=the Lülin Rebellion


caption=
date=23 AD
place=Kunyang, Henan
casus=
territory=
result=Decisive Lülin victory
combatant1=Xin Dynasty
combatant2=Lülin
commander1=Wang Yi, Wang Xun†
commander2=Liu Xiu
strength1=430,000
strength2=~10,000
casualties1=Heavy
casualties2=Minimal
The Battle of Kunyang (昆陽之戰) was fought in June-July of 23 between the resurgent Han and Xin forces. The Han forces (Lülin) were led by Liu Xiu, while the far more numerous Xin were led by Wang Yi and Wang Xun (王尋). Wang Xun was killed during a foolish attack on Liu's force with a small contingent of his force, and the Han forces disrupted the remainder of the Xin army, forcing Wang Yi to retreat. This battle was the decisive battle that led to the fall of the Xin Dynasty.

Background

By the end of the Xin Dynasty, peasants all over the country rebelled against Wang Mang for the years of his incompetent rule. Calls for the reestablishment of the Han Dynasty, which Wang Mang overthrew, was on the rise. Heeding these voices, the leaders of the rebellions supported Liu Xuan to be the emperor of the new Han Dynasty.

Xin Emperor Wang Mang decided that he must crush the newly constituted Han regime before the new regime gained momentum, and sent his cousin Wang Yi and his prime minister Wang Xun with what he considered to be overwhelming force, some 430,000 men, to attack the Han forces. The Han forces were split in two — one led by Wang Feng, Wang Chang, and Liu Xiu; while the other, the majority, was led by Liu Yan. Wang Feng, Wang Chang, and Liu Xiu soon took the castles of Kunyang (昆陽), Dingling (定陵), and Yanxian (郾縣). Liu Xiu's forces had started attacking Yangguan (陽關), but after hearing of the arrival of the main Xin forces, he decided to retreat to Kunyang. The nine thousand rebels in Kunyang, vastly outnumbered by the Xin force, initially wanted to scatter and retreat to Jingzhou, but Liu Xiu opposed it. He advocated that they guard Kunyang securely, since a scattered army would be easy prey. Liu Xiu promised to gather all other available troops in surrounding areas and attack the Xin forces from the outside. After initially rejecting Liu Xiu's idea, the rebels eventually agreed.

The battle

With the Xin forces approaching Kunyang from the north, Liu Xiu led 13 horsemen out of Kunyang at night to rally for reinforcements from Dingling and Yanxian.

The Xin commander, Wang Yi, confident of his overwhelming numbers, stated that his army would "annihilate all in his path, massacre the town, and dance in its blood" and laid siege to the town. Faced with siege towers and tunnels dug under its castle walls, Kunyang's defenses held on until Liu Xiu returned with ten thousand footmen and cavalry on July 7.Crespigny, 558.] By then, the Xin forces' morale was dropping while the Han forces' morale was booming with Liu's return. Liu Xiu took this chance to lead a thousand men to engage the Xin forces, while another brigade of 3000 marched around to the rear of the Xin army and attacked the Xin main camp. Wang Yi, still underestimating the Han forces, led ten thousand men with Wang Xun to meet the enemy while ordering the rest of his troops to stand ground unless he orders them to attack. Once they engaged in battle, however, after minor losses, the other units were hesitant to assist them, and Liu Xiu killed Wang Xun in battle. Once that happened, the Han forces inside Kunyang burst out of the city and attacked the other Xin units, and the much larger Xin forces suffered a total collapse. Adding to the misery of the Xin forces is a sudden rainstorm which caused a flashflood drowning many of the fleeing men.

Aftermath

Unable to gather most of his men, Wang Yi had to withdraw with the remaining several thousand men back to Luoyang. Once the news about the battle of Kunyang spread throughout the empire, the people rose everywhere else simultaneously, often killing the local government officials and claiming to be officials under the new Han regime. Within a month, nearly the entire empire slipped out of Xin control.

Notes

References

*Crespigny, Rafe de. (2007). "A Biographical Dictionary of Later Han to the Three Kingdoms (23-220 AD)". Leiden: Koninklijke Brill. ISBN 9004156054.
*"This article uses the translation of the corresponding Chinese-language article, retrieved on August 18, 2006."


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Lülin — (綠林) or Lülin Force (綠林兵) refers, as an umbrella term, to one of the two major agrarian rebellion movements against Wang Mang s Xin Dynasty in the modern southern Henan and northern Hubei region who banded together to pool their strengths, and… …   Wikipedia

  • Emperor Guangwu of Han — Emperor Guangwu (January 13, 5 BC March 29, 57), [Bielenstein, 245.] born Liu Xiu, was an emperor of the Chinese Han Dynasty, restorer of the dynasty in AD 25 and thus founder of the Later Han or Eastern Han (the restored Han Dynasty). He ruled… …   Wikipedia

  • Emperor Gengshi of Han — Emperor Gengshi of Han, ch. 漢更始帝, py. gèng shĭ dì, wg. Keng Shih ti, (d. strangled AD 25), also known as the Prince of Huaiyang (淮陽王, the title that Emperor Guangwu (Liu Xiu) gave him in absentia after he was deposed by Chimei forces), courtesy… …   Wikipedia

  • Синь (династия) — У этого термина существуют и другие значения, см. Синь. История Китая Доисторическая эпо …   Википедия

  • List of battles (alphabetical) — Alphabetical list of historical battles (see also Military history, List of battles): NOTE: Where a year has been used to disambiguate battles it is the year when the battle started. In some cases these may still have gone on for several years.… …   Wikipedia

  • List of battles (geographic) — This list of battles is organized geographically, by country in its present territory. For other lists of battles, see List of battles. Angola* Battle of Mbwila 1665 * Battle of Quifangondo 1975 * Battle of Cassinga 1978 * Battle of Cuito… …   Wikipedia

  • List of battles before 601 — List of battles: before 601 601 1400 1401 1800 1801 1900 1901 2000 2001 current See also: List of Roman battles Before 500 BC5th century BC4th century BC*398 BC Siege of Motya Phoenician city Motya sacked. *397 BC Battle of Messene Ionian Greek… …   Wikipedia

  • List of Chinese battles — The following is a list of Chinese wars and battles, organized by date. The list is not exhaustive. Contents 1 Ancient China 2 Imperial China 2.1 Qin Dynasty (221 BC–207 BC) 2.2 Chu Han …   Wikipedia

  • Timeline of Chinese history — History of China ANCIENT …   Wikipedia

  • Han Dynasty — 漢朝 ← 206 BCE–220 CE …   Wikipedia


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.