The Battle of Jieqiao (Jiēqiáo zhī zhàn 界橋之戰) or Battle of Jie Bridge was a military engagement fought between the forces of Yuan Shao and Gongsun Zan in 192 A.D. It was a result of Battle of Yangcheng.
This battle is unique, because Sanguo zhi describes it in detail, including arrangements of armies and tactics used.
Earlier in the year 191 A.D., Yuan Shu's forces, led by Sun Jian, clashed with Yuan Shao's forces, led by Zhou Renming at Yangcheng. Sun Jian's camp was attacked by surprise and captured. Sun Jian regrouped and counter-attacked. In his counter-attack, Sun Jian received reinforcements led by Gongsun Yue, the younger cousin of Gongsun Zan. During the battle, Gongsun Yue was hit by a stray arrow and died.
When Gongsun Zan heard about Gongsun Yue's death, he was furious and shouted: "My cousin is dead, and Yuan Shao is to blame." He led an army and camped at Pan River. He also sent a memorial with a list of Yuan Shao's wrongdoing's to the court, and brought his men forward to attack him.
Gongsun Zan was supported by many of the villages of Jing province, who all rebelled against Yuan Shao.
Before this, Liu Dai, the Inspector of Yan province, was on good terms with both Yuan Shao and Gongsun Zan. Yuan Shao had sent his wife and sons to stay at Liu Dai's and Gongsun Zan sent his Attendant Official Fan Fang to lead cavalry to help him. Then, Gongsun Zan attacked and defeated Yuan Shao's army and told Liu Dai to send Yuan Shao's wife and children home. He also sent a separate order to Fan Fang:
"If Liu Dai does not send Yuan Shao's family away, bring the cavalry back. I shall first deal with Yuan Shao, then send troops against Liu Dai."
Liu Dai then discussed the problem with his subordinates, days passed and they could not decide on what to do. They heard that a man from Dong commandery, named Cheng Yu, was wise in planning, so they summoned him. Cheng Yu said:
"If you give up the alliance with Yuan Shao who is close at hand, and look for distant aid from Gongsun Zan, that is like getting help from a man in Yue when your son is drowning. Gongsun Zan is no match for Yuan Shao, and although he has beaten him once, Yuan Shao will get him in the end."
Liu Dai followed this advice. Fan Fang led his cavalry back.
The Battle Begins; Yuan Shao vs. Gongsun ZanEdit
Yuan Shao himself took command against Gongsun Zan. The battle took place twenty li south of Jie Bridge. Gongsun Zan had 30.000 men with him and attacked fiercely. Yuan Shao sent his officer Qu Yi against them with only 800 good soldiers, supported from either side with 1.000 Strong Bowmen. Gongsun Zan was not impressed with Qu Yi's small force and he sent his cavalry to drive them away. Qu Yi ordered his men to take cover behind their shields and they made no move. Gongsun Zan's men approached. When they were about ten or twenty yards away, Qu Yi's forces leapt up together, shouting so that the ground shook, and completely defeated Gongsun Zan's army. Yan Gang was beheaded and another thousand armed men were killed.
Yuan Shao's force maintained their pursuit to Jie Bridge. Gongsun Zan regrouped his men to turn to fight, but Qu Yi again defeated them. They came to Gongsun Zan's camp, captured his standard, and the army took flight.
Fan Fang, who was leading his cavalry back following Cheng Yu's advice, arrived after Gongsun Zan's defeat.
- The Jie Bridge was a crossing of the Qing River, which flowed northeast across the plain parallel with the Yellow River to join the coast south of present-day Tianjin.
- The 30.000 soldiers of Gongsun Zan are mentioned in Zizhi Tongjian.
- Participants as mentioned in ZZTJ.
- All quotes in this article are translated from historical sources by Professor Rafe and taken from his work.