Battle of Ch’ents’ang, 206 BC

The battle of Ch’ents’ang (206 BC) was the first victory won by Liu Bang, the founder of the Han dynasty, in the civil war that followed the fall of the Qin dynasty. Liu Bang had been the first rebel leader to occupy the Qin heartland, and according to an earlier agreement he expected to be made king of Qin after the rebel victory. Instead Xiang Yu, the leader of the rebel alliance, gave Liu Bang the kingdom of Han and split Qin into three kingdoms – Yong, ruled by Zhang Han (Chang Han), with its capital at Fei-ch’iu; Sai, ruled by Sima Xin (Szu-ma Hsin), with its capital at Yuej-yang and Di (Ti), ruled by Dong Yi (Tung Yi), with its capital at Kao-nu. Liu Bang’s kingdom bordered Yong to the south and south-west.

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

In the aftermath of their victory the former rebels and their armies began to disperse to their new kingdoms. Liu Bang was angered by what he saw as Xiang Yu’s treachery, and didn’t take much prompting to turn on his former ally. Han Xin, one of Liu Bang’s most able supporters, suggested that this was the best time to attack, while his army was still in the field. Liu Bang decided to follow this plan.

In the fifth month of his reign Liu Bang’s army launched a surprise attack on Yong. Zhang Han responded quickly, and attacked Liu Bang’s army at Ch’ents’ang. Liu Bang was victorious, and the Yong army retreated to Haochih, where it suffered a second defeat. Zhang Han then retreated to his capital at Fei-ch’iu, where he was besieged into 205 BC.

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (17 January 2012), Battle of Ch’ents’ang, 206 BC , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/battles_chentsang.html

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