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.