Battle of Julu(208-207 BC)

Battle of Julu (208-207 BC)

The decisive battle for the rebellion armies to defeat the Qin Army in 208-207 BC at Julu (modern-day Xingtai), Hebei (Hopei) Province. The fight occurred between Qin forces led by Zhang Han and Chu rebels led by Xiang Yu. Xiang Yu defeated the Qin forces with a relatively small number of troops. After the battle, Qin’s main force had been eliminated, which precipitated the decline of Qin’s military power during the late Qin dynasty (221-206 BC).In 208 BC, Qin general Zhang Han eliminated Xiang Liang, and he led his forces across the Yellow River (Huanghe), planning to attack the state of Zhao. After he defeated Zhao’s army, Zhang ordered Wang Li and She Jian to surround Julu, in the state of Zhao. Zhang Han himself garrisoned the rest of army in the south of the city, and maintained a corridor to supply

Wang Li and She Jian’s forces. In response to this, King Huai of Chu separated his military forces into two parts: one part led by Song Yi and Xiang Yu marched toward Julu to help the state of Zhao; the other part led by Liu Bang planned to attack Guanzhong in the heart of the Qin dynasty. Also, King Huai promised that anyone who conquered Guanzhong first would be the king of Guanzhong.Song Yi, along with his troops, arrived at Anyang and stayed there for 46 days, which upset Xiang Yu. So he killed Song Yi and told his soldiers that Song Yi had betrayed King Huai of Chu. Later, King Huai named Xiang Yu general.As Chu had fewer soldiers than Qin, Xiang Yu ordered Ying Bu to lead a force of 20,000 soldiers to cross the river. They won several skirmishes, and later, Xiang Yu commanded that all of his soldiers destroy their cooking materials.

He stated that they could bring food for only three days; in addition, after crossing the river, they must destroy their boats, so that their only choices would be to win the battle or perish. The strategy succeeded, with Xiang Yu’s soldiers winning every battle through their bravery. As Sima Qian said: “One Chu soldier can take on ten Qin soldiers.” Not only did they destroy Qin’s corridor, they also caught Wang Li alive. Before Xiang Yu started to attack Qin’s armies, there were more than 10 troops formed by other states waiting outside. But they were afraid to attack until Xiang Yu had won a certain number of skirmishes. By June 207 BC, Xiang Yu had defeated Qin’s armies in Yushui and Sanhujin. They won the battle of Julu after Zhang Han, Sima Xin, and Dong Yi surrendered. A year later, the Qin dynasty collapsed. The rebels established the Han dynasty (206 BC-220 AD).

Yong Tong

See also: Han, Cavalry of; Han Dynasty; Qin Dynasty; Qin Shi Huangdi, Emperor; Rebellion Led by Chen Sheng.

References

Fairbank, John K, and Goldman, Merle. China: A New History. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2006.

Gascoigne, Bamber. The Dynasties of China: A History. Philadelphia: Running Press, 2003.

Lewis, Mark Edward. The Early Chinese Empires: Qin and Han. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2007.

Macgowan, J. The Imperial History of China. London: Curzon Press, 1973.