The BATTLE OF CHANGPING (長平之戰) was a military campaign that
took place during the
Warring States period
* 1 Qin invasion of Shangdang * 2 A new strategy * 3 Zhao defeated * 4 Aftermath * 5 In popular culture * 6 Notes * 7 Sources * 8 External links
QIN INVASION OF SHANGDANG
Qin attacked the town of Qinyang of State of Han in 265 BC which made
Shangdang (in modern-day southeastern
Rather than see Qin take Shangdang, Han offered the commandery to Zhao. King Xiaocheng of Zhao (趙孝成王) accepted and dispatched Lian Po and an army to secure the strategic territory from the encroaching Qin. The Zhao army met the Qin army, led by Wang He, in 262 BC at Changping, south of Shangdang. The Zhao suffered several minor defeats during initial confrontation with the Qin forces. Having assessed the enemy, Lian Po decided the only way to defeat the Qin was to wait them out, as Changping was much farther away from Qin territory than Zhao and thus keeping the army supplied would be much more taxing to the Qin.
The Zhao built several fortresses in the summer of 260 BC and then waited for the Qin to go away. The Qin managed to breach the defences once but did not have the strength or equipment to exploit it; nonetheless, the Qin refused to leave. A three-year stalemate ensued.
A NEW STRATEGY
The Qin sent agents into Zhao and Han to spread rumours/accusations
Lian Po was too cowardly to fight.
King Xiaocheng of Zhao was
already dissatisfied with Lian Po's strategy.
Lian Po was replaced by
Zhao Kuo , son of the famous, deceased Zhao general
Zhao She . At the
same time, the Qin secretly replaced Wang He with the renowned general
According to legend, the famous General Zhao She on his deathbed had told his wife never to let his son Zhao Kuo command an army. When Zhao Kuo was appointed general, Lady Zhao and minister Lin Xiangru could not persuade King Xiaocheng to rescind the appointment. However, Lady Zhao extracted a promise from the king that the Zhao clan would not be punished if Zhao Kuo failed.
Zhao Kuo assumed command in July 260 BC of an army reinforced to
approximately 400,000 men.
Zhao Kuo took part of his army and attacked
the Qin camp.
When the Zhao attack reached the Qin fortress, the Qin cavalry
ambushed the Zhao Kuo's rear while the Qin light cavalry surrounded
the Zhao fortress. With the enemy trapped,
Since 295 BC, Zhao foreign policy had been dominated by opportunism
and had frequently shifted between hezong (合縱) (anti-Qin
alliances) and lianheng (連橫) (pro-Qin alliances). Thus, as the
battle in Changping unfolded, Zhao was unable to secure support from
either the State of Chu or the State of Qi . King Zhaoxiang of Qin
used this opportunity to mobilize additional forces against Zhao from
Henei, in modern-day
Zhao Kuo's hill fortification was besieged for 46 days. In September, having run out of food and water, his desperate army made several unsuccessful attempts to break out. The general was killed by Qin archers while leading his best troops. The Zhao army finally surrendered.
Prior to the campaign, Zhao had been one of the most powerful of the Warring States. The campaign addressed the immediate Qin threat, as three years of war financially and domestically exhausted both states. However, Zhao never recovered from the defeat, which allowed Qin to gain military dominance over the other states. In 221 BC, Qin would use this dominance to unify China .
IN POPULAR CULTURE
The 2004 Chinese television series Changping of the War is based on the battle. The battle also features as background to the events taking place in the manga Kingdom with the events having a direct and indirect impact on the character development of several major charact