The Battle of Yangping, also known as the Battle of Yangping Pass, was fought between the warlords Cao Cao and Zhang Lu in 215 CE during the late Eastern Han dynasty. The battle concluded with a victory for Cao Cao.
In the third lunar month of 215, Cao Cao launched a campaign against Zhang Lu in Hanzhongcommandery. When Cao Cao's army arrived at Chencang (陳倉; present-day Chencang District, Baoji, Shaanxi) and was about to pass through Wudu (武都; around present-day Longnan, Gansu), the Di tribes in the area blocked their path, so Cao sent Zhang He, Zhu Ling and others to attack the Di and clear the way. In the fourth month, Cao Cao's army passed through San Pass (散關) and arrived at Hechi (河池). The Di king, Dou Mao (竇茂), led thousands of tribesmen to resist Cao Cao, but Cao defeated them by the following month and he massacred the Di population. Qu Yan (麴演), Jiang Shi (蔣石) and other generals from Xiping (西平) and Jincheng (金城) killed Han Sui and sent his head to Cao Cao.
In the seventh month, Cao Cao's forces reached Yangping Pass (陽平關; in present-day Ningqiang County, Hanzhong, Shaanxi) after making a long and arduous journey through mountainous terrain. When his soldiers started complaining, Cao Cao announced that he would remember them for their contributions to encourage them to move on.
Zhang Lu ordered his younger brother Zhang Wei and officer Yang Ang to lead troops to defend the pass. Zhang Wei and Yang Ang had defensive structures built in the mountainous areas, spanning over 10 li, to deter Cao Cao's advances. Cao Cao was unable to overcome the enemy after launching assaults so he withdrew his forces. Zhang Lu's men lowered their defences when they saw Cao Cao retreating. Cao Cao gave secret orders to Xie Biao (解忄剽) and Gao Zuo (高祚) to lead a sneak attack on the enemy at night and they achieved success. Yang Ang was killed in action while Zhang Wei fled under the cover of night.
Zhang Lu retreated to Bazhong (巴中; in present-day eastern Sichuan) when he heard that Yangping Pass had been taken. Cao Cao's army occupied Nanzheng (南鄭; present-day Nanzheng County, Hanzhong, Shaanxi), the capital of Hanzhong commandery, and seized the precious items stored in Zhang Lu's treasuries.
The people in Hanzhong surrendered to Cao Cao, who then renamed the place to "Hanzhong" from its previous name "Hanning" (漢寧).[notes 1] Cao Cao separated Anyang (安陽) and Xicheng (西城) counties from Hanzhong and placed them under the jurisdiction of Xicheng commandery (西城郡) and appointed an Administrator (太守) to oversee the commandery. He also partitioned Xi (錫) and Shangyong commandery (上庸郡) and appointed Commandants (都尉) to govern those areas. In the ninth month, the tribal king Pu Hu (朴胡) and Du Huo (杜濩), the Marquis of Congyi (賨邑侯), led the people in Bayi (巴夷) and Cong (賨) to submit to Cao Cao. Cao Cao split Ba commandery (巴郡) into Badong (巴東; "East Ba") and Baxi (巴西; "West Ba") commanderies and appointed Pu Hu and Du Huo, who also received marquis titles, as their Administrators respectively. Emperor Xian also granted Cao Cao the authority to confer titles upon the nobles and officials in the area.
In the 11th month, Zhang Lu led his followers out of Bazhong and came to surrender to Cao Cao. Cao Cao accepted their surrender and granted marquis titles to Zhang Lu and his five sons. Around the time, Liu Bei had recently seized control of Yi Province (益州; covering present-day Sichuan and Chongqing) from its governor Liu Zhang and occupied Bazhong after Zhang Lu left. Cao Cao ordered Zhang He to lead a force to attack Liu Bei, but Zhang He was defeated by Liu's general Zhang Fei at the Battle of Baxi.
In the 12th month, Cao Cao left Nanzheng and headed back to Ye (鄴; in present-day Handan, Hebei), leaving behind Xiahou Yuan to guard Hanzhong.