Battle of Hefei (234)
|Battle of Hefei|
|Part of the wars of the Three Kingdoms period|
|Cao Wei||Eastern Wu|
|Commanders and leaders|
Sun Tai †
|Battle of Hefei|
|Battle of Hefei New City|
In the second lunar month of 234, Shu Han's chancellor Zhuge Liang launched a Northern Expedition against Wei for the fifth time. Shu requested assistance from its ally, Wu, to attack Wei together, and the Wu emperor Sun Quan agreed.
In the fifth lunar month, Sun Quan's army, claimed to be 100,000 strong, garrisoned near Chao Lake. Sun Quan personally led his troops to attack Wei's fortress at Xincheng (新城; literally: "new city"), Hefei. On the other hand, he also sent his generals Lu Xun and Zhuge Jin to garrison at Jiangxia (江夏) and Miankou (沔口), and they would attack Xiangyang from there. A third Wu army, led by Sun Shao and Zhang Cheng advanced towards Guangling (廣陵) and Huaiyin (淮陰). In total, Wu was attacking Wei from three directions.
The following month, the Wei general Man Chong wanted to lead reinforcements to support Zhang Ying (張穎), who was in charge of defending Xincheng. However, Tian Yu opposed Man Chong's idea, as he thought that Xincheng's defences were adequate, and was worried that the Wu army might turn around to attack the Wei relief force. At that time, many Wei military personnel were on leave, so Man Chong requested for them to be recalled back, and gather them to resist the enemy. The Wei emperor Cao Rui disagreed with Man Chong's view, as he felt that Hefei, Xiangyang, and Mount Qi (祁山) were the three most important positions on Wei's eastern, southern and western borders respectively, so they already had sufficient defences. Liu Shao felt that Man Chong should focus on defending instead of attacking, because of the Wu forces' high morale; the Wei court would first send 5,000 infantry and 3,000 cavalry to relieve Xincheng, and the troops should be spaced further apart, with more flags, banners, and war drums added, so as to create an impression of a large army. Liu Shao predicted that the Wu forces would retreat upon seeing the arrival of this "large army". The Wei emperor Cao Rui approved Liu Shao's strategy and despatched the suggested relief force.
In the seventh lunar month, Cao Rui personally led a naval fleet east to lift the siege on Xincheng. Man Chong recruited several men to set fire to the Wu army's siege engines, and Sun Quan's nephew Sun Tai (孫泰) was killed in the battle. At that time, many Wu soldiers were ill and Sun Quan decided to withdraw his troops when he learnt that Cao Rui's army was approaching. Sun Shao and Zhang Cheng also pulled back their forces when they heard that Sun Quan had withdrawn, while Lu Xun pressed on the attack at Xiangyang for some time but also retreated later.
Order of battle
Cao Wei forces
Eastern Wu forces
In popular culture
The battle is featured as a playable stage in Koei's video game series Dynasty Warriors. In the games, the battle is known as the "Battle of He Fei Castle", and is not to be confused with another stage (Battle of He Fei), which refers to the Battle of Xiaoyao Ford. There is also a version where Wu wins this battle.