Battle of Han River

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Battle of Han River
Part of the Hanzhong Campaign
Date 219 AD
Location Hanzhong, Shaanxi, China
Result Liu Bei victory
Liu Bei Cao Cao
Commanders and leaders
Zhao Yun, Huang Zhong, Liu Bei Cao Cao, Cao Hong, Cao Xiu
10,000-20,000 40,000-50,000
Battle of Han River
Traditional Chinese 漢水之戰
Simplified Chinese 汉水之战

The Battle of Han River was fought between the warlords Liu Bei and Cao Cao in 219 during the prelude to the Three Kingdoms period of Chinese history. The battle was the last major engagement in the Hanzhong Campaign, in which Liu Bei emerged victorious and subsequently declared himself King of Hanzhong.


Cao Cao was defeated by Liu Bei at the Battle of Mount Dingjun in 219 and his general Xiahou Yuan was killed in action. In retaliation, Cao Cao led a large army to attack Liu Bei's camp at the south of the Han River. Liu Bei sent his generals Zhao Yun and Huang Zhong to defend. Huang Zhong and Zhang Zhu went to destroy the enemy's supplies while Zhao Yun would remain in the camp with Zhang Yi unless they did not return.

The battle[edit]

Huang Zhong's army moved to burn the supplies of grain Cao Cao had at the North Mountain; his troops marched in the night, and at sunrise they reached the granary. Wei general Zhang He's army arrived before Huang Zhong could successfully burn the grain. Cao Cao then sent Wei general Xu Huang to intercept Huang Zhong and block his retreat. He succeeded, and Huang Zhong's army was surrounded. Zhao Yun's army dispatched to look for Huang Zhong after he had not returned by noon.

Zhao Yun left Zhang Yi in charge of the camp's defense. He then departed to find Huang Zhong in battle, and successfully rescued him and retreated back to the main camp.

When Zhang Yi heard that Cao Cao's army was in pursuit of Zhao Yun, and was headed towards the main camp he thought they should close the gates and while they make preparation. However, as soon as Zhao Yun returned to camp he ordered all flags and banners removed, all drums silenced, and the gates to be left open completely. He stationed all his archers and crossbowmen in a covered area outside, and he stood in front of the gates. Fearing an ambush, Cao Cao ordered his men to retreat. As his men began to retreat Zhao Yun ordered his men to beat the drums as loudly as they could, and rain arrows down on the retreating enemy.

Zhao Yun, Huang Zhong, and Zhang Zhu closed down on Cao Cao's army. They rushed toward the Han River, and in confusion many were pushed into the river and drowned. Meanwhile, Meng Da and Liu Feng arrived and burned all the enemy supplies at the North Mountain.


Liu Bei came and inspected the battlefield and exclaimed, "Zhao Yun has valor through and through". He ordered a celebration to late that night honoring Zhao Yun. From then on, Liu Bei's army called Zhao Yun "General of Tiger's Might" (虎威將軍).

In popular culture[edit]

The battle is featured as a playable stage in Koei's video game Dynasty Warriors 5: Xtreme Legends. The player can choose to play as Zhao Yun or Huang Zhong, with both characters following different paths even though they are on the same battleground.