Episode 18 Companion: With friends like these…

Wei In Decline

Between the disastrous   Battle of Shimen (364 BCE) and the embarrassing Battle of Guiling (354 BCE) and the battle of Maling (342 BCE), Wei was hemorrhaging territory in the mid-to-late 4th century BCE.

Battle of Shimen (364 BCE)


Kingdom of Han, Kingdom of Wei


Kingdom of Qin

Outcome: Crushing Qin victory, Xihe border territory reoccupied by Qin.


 Battle of Guiling (354 BCE)


Kingdom of Wei – Commander: Gen. Pang Juan, size: ~80,000 infantry, ~10,000 cavalry


Duchy of Zhao, Kingdom of Qi – Commanders: Gen. Tian Ji, Gen. Sun Bin, size: ~80,000 infantry, ~10,000 cavalry

Outcome: Zhao/Qi victory, Wei cavalry annihilated, ~21,ooo Wei casualties, ~9,000 Qi casualties, Wei invasion of Zhao aborted, Wei territory ceded to Zhao and Qi.


Battle of Maling (342 BCE)


Kingdom of Wei – Commander: Gen. Pang Juan, Prince Shen, size: ~100,000 cavalry and infantry


Kingdom of Han, Kingdom of Qi – Commanders: Gen. Tian Ji, Gen. Sun Bin, size: ~120,000

Outcome: Total Han/Qi victory, Wei army annihilated, General Pang Juan killed, >100,000 Wei casualties, 2,100 Qi casualties, Wei invasion of Han aborted, Wei military crippled, and large amounts of territory ceded.



An example of caltrops area-denial weapons employed by Qi against Wei cavalry:


Here’s the promised link to “The Art of Battle’s” great .ppt of the battle, as well as Jonathan Webb’s analysis: http://www.theartofbattle.com/battle-of-maling-342-bc.htm


The Vertical Alliance & the Battle of Hangu Pass (318 BCE)

Hostiles: Chu, Wei Han, Zhao, and Yan



Result:  Crushing Qin victory, Alliance army advance stalled in the fortified Hangu Pass, Qin counterattack routed the Alliance.  Subsequently, the Vertical Alliance broke apart.



2 thoughts on “Episode 18 Companion: With friends like these…

    1. Chinese histical sources are remarkably complete, even this far back. And especially given the Shimen was one of the larger victories for the ultimately ascendant Qin state, it made sure to well-note the details of the battle.

      Such tales, of course, would need some form of verification! Fortunately there have been scores of archaeological digs that have uncovered evidence of many of these ancient battlesites.

      In terms of positioning, too, that has been the accumulated effort of many to put together writtn accounts of the battle with what was known as standard military formations/positioning of the era.

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