Xu Rong (general)
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|General of Dong Zhuo|
Xu Rong was originally from Xuantu commandery (玄菟郡) of You Province. In the year 190, when Yuan Shao led the campaign against Dong Zhuo, Xu Rong successively defeated the forces of Cao Cao and Sun Jian, who were part of the alliance to put down Dong Zhuo.
Cao Cao led his men westward to attack Dong Zhuo's forces. He was followed by a contingent from Zhang Miao's army led by Wei Zi. Cao Cao and Wei Zi's armies advanced to the Bian River at Xingyang, an important staging post en route to Luoyang, and met the opposing army led by Xu Rong there. In a day of fierce fighting, the coalition force was overcome by Xu Rong and forced to fell back. The coalition men were heavily defeated and Wei Zi was killed. Cao Cao and his forces withdrew back to Suanzao by night. Xu Rong considered an attack on Suanzao, but he observed that even though Cao Cao's men were few in number they fought fiercely throughout the day, and so assumed that an attack on Suanzao against these sort of men would be difficult. He, too, withdrew.
In late 190, Sun Jian advanced to Liang county with the intention of striking at Luoyang. Dong Zhuo send Xu Rong to intercept Sun Jian and the two of them fought in Liang. Xu Rong managed to defeat Sun Jian, who fled for his life. One of Sun Jian’s bodyguards disguised himself as Sun Jian in order to lure the pursuers away. The trick worked and Sun Jian was able to safely return to his camp.
Xu Rong may have considered pursuing the battle against Sun Jian, but he did not have the opportunity. Taking advantage of the diversion Sun Jian created, Yuan Shao tried to make a move on Luoyang, so Xu Rong went north to deal with that threat. He was again successful, and that was the end of Yuan Shao’s military involvement with the Coalition
When Dong Zhuo was assassinated by Lü Bu and Wang Yun, Xu Rong served Wang Yun in the new government. Afterwards, Li Jue and Guo Si, former generals under Dong Zhuo, led an army and attacked Chang'an. Xu Rong, along with his ally Hu Zhen, went out to do battle against the invading army. Xu Rong, however, was defeated and slain in battle.
The historical novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms, is a dramatic novelization of the events of the Three Kingdoms era. In it, after Dong Zhuo moved his capital from Luoyang to Chang'an, Cao Cao set off in pursuit of Dong Zhuo's forces. According to the story, Xu Rong intercepted Cao Cao's army but Cao Cao's trusted general Xiahou Dun impaled him with a spear. In recorded history, Xu Rong's ambush of Cao Cao was successful, and Cao Cao would have been killed if he had not been rescued by his cousin, Cao Hong.