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Alliance against Dong Zhuo
Alliance
Date: 189-191 CE
Place: Si Province, China
Outcome: Alliance victory
Major Battles: Rescue of the Two Qiaos
Battle of Si Shui Gate
Battle of Hu Lao Gate
Battle of Xingyang
Combatants

Allied Forces

Dong Zhuo's Forces

Commanders

Yuan Shao
Cao Cao
Sun Jian
Yuan Shu
Han Fu
Gongsun Zan
Liu Yan
Kong Zhou
Kong Rong
Liu Dai
Wang Kuang
Qiao Mao
Zhang Miao
Ma Teng
Zhang Yang
Zhang Chao
Yuan Yi
Bao Xin

Dong Zhuo
Li Ru
Lu Bu
Li Jue
Guo Si
Hu Zhen
Fan Chou
Wang Fang
Zhang Liao
Xu Rong

The Alliance against Dong Zhuo was a coalition formed against the exceptionally brutal military commander Dong Zhuo, who had seized power in 189 after massacring the Ten Eunuchs. Although the alliance failed to save the Emperor from the clutches of Dong Zhuo, prevent Luoyang's destruction, or capture Dong Zhuo, he was betrayed and killed a year after the coalition dissolved.

Background

Dong Zhuo

Dong Zhuo

[[Dong Zhuo|
Yuan Shao

Yuan Shao

Dong Zhuo]], Governor of Hedong Commandery, was originally a general from Liang Province who was responsible for evicting the barbarians from the Later Han's newly-conquered regions. In 184 AD he took part in the quelling of the Yellow Turban Rebellion in his province, and also crushed a rebellion by Bian Zhang and a coalition of Liang Province warlords at the Battle of Liang Province a year later. Dong Zhuo proved to be an exceptionally brutal commander, whose savage behavior provoked the uprising in his province. He still held power in the Imperial Court, and when Yuan Shao came to the aid of He Jin's revolution against the Ten Eunuchs in 189 AD, Dong Zhuo led his forces into the battle, massacred the attendants, and captured the Emperor, seizing power in the court.

Dong Zhuo's tyranny was contested by his former ally Yuan Shao, who formed a coalition to fight against his rule. It was composed of:

1. Governor of Nanyang---Yuan Shu
2. Imperial Protector of Jizhou Region --- Han Fu
3. Imperial Protector of Yuzhou Region---Kong Zhou
4. Imperial Protector of Yanzhou Region---Liu Dai
5. Governor of Henei---Wang Kuang
6. Governor of Chenliu---Zhang Miao
7. Governor of Dongjun---Qiao Mao
8. Governor of Shanyang---Yuan Yi
9. Lord of Jibei---Bao Xin
10. Governor of Beihai---Kong Rong
11. Governor of Guangling ---Zhang Chao
12. Imperial Protector of Xuzhou Region---Tao Qian
13. Governor of Xiliang---Ma Teng
14. Governor of Beiping---Gongsun Zan
15. Governor of Shangdang---Zhang Yang
16. Governor of Changsha---Sun Jian
17. Governor of Bohai---Yuan Shao

The contingents that these warlords brought with them spanned from 10,000 to 30,000, which meant that the coalition had at least 170,000 and, at most, 510,000 troops. The coalition generals were a mix of men from across the land, including fierce warriors, cunning strategists, and skillful leaders. Yuan Shao was chosen as the leader, although it was Cao Cao's idea to form the alliance, with Wang Yun as a conspirator.

At a meeting, Yuan Shao decided that Sun Jian would take the lead, while Yuan Shu would provide support. Other generals involved were Liu Bei, Zhang Fei, Guan Yu, Huang Gai, and Xiahou Dun.

War

The Allies' goal was to capture the Han capital of Luoyang, which was occupied by Dong Zhuo's forces. However, the passes of Sishui and Hulao blocked their path, and Dong Zhuo made sure to reinforce each one; Li Jue would hold the first, and Lu Bu would hold the last line of defense at Hulao. His general Fan Chou would hold Luoyang.

Si River Pass

The first gate, at Sishui, was defended by 50,000 of Dong Zhuo's troops under the command of General Li Jue. Among these troops were Hu Zhen, Hua Xiong, Li Su, and Zhao Cen. The Allied Forces besieged the gate with Sun Jian leading the advance guard, with Yuan Shu in charge of supplies. The battle opened with the Allied lords sending their champions to fight Hua Xiong, but all returned without their heads. Sun Jian also suffered reverses, as his starving troops started to lose morale; Yuan Shu refused to send the supply convoy, as he feared that all of the glory would be Sun Jian's. Fortunately, Gongsun Zan's officer Zhao Yun found a back road to Fan Chou's supply depot, and raided it, repleneshing Sun Jian's unit's morale and supplies. Hua Xiong charged out of Si Shui Gate, but Guan Yu, a general of Liu Bei also serving Gongsun Zan, smote him after a short duel. The death of Hua Xiong caused the morale of Dong Zhuo's forces to drop, and Dong Zhuo also lost Hu Zhen to a fatal arrow wound. When Li Meng and Yang Feng, his two subordinates, were defeated, Li Jue felt that Sishui Gate was lost and ordered a retreat.

Hu Lao Gate

With Si Shui Gate knocked down, the Allies had only to destroy Hu Lao before they could attack Luoyang. Unlike Si Shui, Hu Lao was defended by a true warrior, the mighty Lu Bu. Also, it had an 80,000-man garrison that could be reinforced by the millions of Luoyang inhabitants. Dong Zhuo himself oversaw the battle from the Imperial Palace. Wang Guo was the first champion to offer battle, but his arm was severed by Lu Bu, and he retreated to the Allied Camp. Many other champions were slain, but the Three Sworn Brothers Liu Bei, Guan Yu, and Zhang Fei defeated Lu Bu in a combined attack. This surprised all of the Allied generals, who were enabled to capture the gate's defenses. Dong Zhuo had no need of Luoyang, and burnt the city to the ground. His retreat was shattered by an attack by Sun Jian, who slashed him, but he was only wounded, and escaped with the emperor in custody. He switched the capital to Chang'an, and continued resistance. By this time, the Confederacy was being torn apart, and the alliance fell apart.

Aftermath

The first war was between Liu Dai and Qiao Mao, with Liu Dai killing Qiao Mao in a dispute over borrowing some grain. Soon after, Yuan Shao and Gongsun Zan fought in the Battle of Chang Shan, and war tore the alliance apart. Dong Zhuo enjoyed a year of prosperity, and was killed in 192 AD by Lu Bu. However, he died without official ranking as regent; it was Sun Jian who held the Imperial Seal, resulting in his death in the Battle of Xiang Yang.

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