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Phrase & Stories
The Battle of Chibi

The Battle of Chibi

The Battle of Chi`Bi is a famous one in Chinese history in which a numerically weak army defeated its stronger foe. The story happened during the Three Kingdoms Period at the end of the two centuries.

After Cao Cao. the actual leader for the state of Wei succeeded in establishing his control over northern China towards the end of the Han Dynasty. he started to move south with his army and defeated the state of Shu. His army captured Jingzhou city. forcing Shu army to retreat to Jiangxia. In a bid to defeat Shu and the state of Wu altogether. Cao Cao led his 200.000.storng army Southward to reach the Yangtsi river. near the border of Wu. Shu and Wu then formed an alliance with each other to put up an effective resistance against Cao Cao.

Although numerically Cao Cao`s army was superior by a wide margin. four times the strength of the allied forces. it suffered some initial defeats as his soldiers were mot familiar with battles on a river. He retreated and dig in on the north bank of the Yangtsi River. facing the allied forces across the river.脗聽

The commander-in-Chief of the Wu side. Zhou Yu and Zhuge Liang. Prime Minister of the Shu state. worked out a stratagem to use fire to burn the enemy boats. This was a rather subtle stratagem. First they devised a feigned surrender by Huang Gai. a veteran general of Wu. For this. Huang Gai purposely provoked a quarrel with Zhou Yu who. enraged. had the old general flogged. After this. Huang Gai went over to Cao Cao. saying that he had made up his mind to come over to the latter with his whole fleet of warships. Wily as he was .Cao Cao jumped at the bait this time. fully believed Huang Gai.

Then. another rare military talent of the time. Pang Tong went to Cao Cao. suggesting him to have all his boat tied up together for smoother and steady sailing. for his soldiers could stand still in battles. This turned out to be an interlocking stratagems. for Pang Tong was a good friend of Zhuge Liang. who tried to help the allied forces. Cao Cao unwisely dismissed the probabilities for fire attacks from the allied side because he believed it blow northwestly wind in Winter. and his army was on the North bank.

As he was waiting exultantly for Huang Gai to sail over with his fleet. there came the warships of Wu. Only they were laden with kindling and fish oil and when they got near enough to Cao Cao`s fleet. they suddenly burst into flames. Helped by a brisk southeasterly wind. they soon enveloped Cao Cao`s warships in roaring flames. Taken completely by surprise. Cao Cao`s fleet was practically destroyed. The flames then spread onto the north bank to the bivouacking area of Cao Cao`s army. destroyed his forces too.

After this decisive battle. Cao Cao was forced to retreat all the way to Luoyang in today`s Henan Province while Wu was able to consolidate its rule in southeast China. The state of Shu recaptured Jingzhou from which he later marched into today`s Sichuan Province in the west. Thus China was divided by three independent kingdoms and entered what in Chinese history is known as the Period of the Three Kingdoms.

 
   
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