Battle of Hwangsanbeol

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Battle of Hwangsanbeol
Part of Conquest of Baekje by Silla and Tang
Date July 9, 660
Location Nonsan, South Korea
Result Decisive Silla victory
Belligerents
Silla Baekje
Commanders and leaders
Kim Yushin
Kim Heum-sun
Kim Pumil
Bangul 
Gwanchang 
Gyebaek 
Sangyeong (POW)
Chungsang (POW)
Strength
50,000 5,000
Casualties and losses
Unknown, but many casualties Annihilation

Battle of Hwangsanbeol (Hangul: 황산벌 전투, Hanja: 黃山─戰鬪) was a battle that took place between forces of Silla and Baekje[1] in 660.

By the time King Muyeol was able to gain the support of Emperor Gaozong of Tang China, King Uija had led Baekje into demise as his parties and dissipation caused neglect for state affairs. In 660, Kim Yushin of Silla set out with fifty-thousand strong to rendezvous with the Tang army (size about: 122,711 to 130,000 men[1]) which was being shipped over the sea. When King Uija heard of this crisis, he had already lost support from his ministers and only managed to rally up five thousand men. He quickly appointed General Gyebaek as the commander of the armed forces, and sent him out to face Kim Yu-Shin in battle.

The Baekje army arrived at Hwangsanbeol first. Gyebaek set up camp and rallied his troops to make a heroic speech. He reminded the soldiers of the armies of antiquity when Goujian defeated a seven hundred-thousand force with a mere five thousand. With this speech, the Baekje forces regained their strength, and prepared for a face off with the Silla forces.

Kim Yu-Shin soon arrived, and the Silla forces attempted a full attack on the Baekje forces. However, fighting to the death, the Baekje forces soon repelled the enemy, and victored over all five skirmishes. The Silla forces gradually lost morale, and the General Kim Pumil sent his young son and Hwarang, Gwanchang, to single-handedly go out and fight the enemy. Gwanchang was captured by the Baekje forces at first and was released by Gyebaek. The young hwarang then returned to the Silla base only to once again charge out at the enemy. Gyebaek captured him once more, and because he respected his young enemy, he executed Gwan Chang and sent his body to the Silla base.

Through Gwanchang's martyrdom, the Silla forces renewed their morale and Kim Yu-shin released a full attack on the dwindling Baekje forces. In the end, Kim Yu-Shin's Silla forces victored and Gyebaek died in battle. Kim later stated that his enemy was a man of honor and bravery.

As this battle was the last Baekje resistance to Silla/Tang forces, Baekje soon fell when Kim Yu-Shin and the Chinese general So Jung-Bang surrounded Gongju and King Uija surrendered.

Modern depiction[edit]

The 5000 Baekje army was defeated by a 50,000 Silla army led by General Kim Yu-shin. There is a Korean comedy/war film about this battle, called Once Upon a Time in a Battlefield (Hangul: 황산벌; RR: Hwangsanbul), starring Park Joong-hoon and Jung Jin-young.

During the Baekje festival held in Buyeo and elsewhere, there was a re-enactment in 2008 of the battle that was done at the park in Nonsan along the river.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Il-yeon: Samguk Yusa: Legends and History of the Three Kingdoms of Ancient Korea, translated by Tae-Hung Ha and Grafton K. Mintz. Book One, page 68. Silk Pagoda (2006). ISBN 1-59654-348-5