7 Small Armies That Devastated Larger Foes

Unknown authorUnknown author, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

207 BC – The Battle of Julu

By 208 BCE the Qin dynasty, founded by Qin Shi Huang, the First Emperor of Qin and the first dynasty of Imperial China, had carried out a series of swift conquests in his attempts to create a unified state which we would now recognize as modern China. That same year the Qin army, under the command of Zhang Han, had already defeated the force from the insurgent Chu state led by Xiang Liang.

His sights would soon turn to another rebel state, Zhao, and defeated the Zhao army. The King of Zhao, Zhao Xie, would retreat to the town of Julu and send word to other rebel states asking for their assistance, and those states would duly reply. Led by Xiang Yu, the rebel forces managed to amass an army of between 120,000 and 130,000 troops to defend Julu from the Qin army, which numbered well over 200,000.

This seemed to make little difference to Xiang Yu as his army fought fiercely causing massive casualties to the Qin army until Zhang Han eventually surrendered after losing an estimated 100,000 men. According to historical records, the surviving members of the Qin army didn’t survive for long as Xiang Yu had them all buried alive. This defeat marked the end of the military superiority of the Qin dynasty in China.

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