Battle of T'u-mu, 1449 (China)

The Chinese Cheng-t'ung Emperor led an expedition against the Oirat Mongols. Military command was given to Wang Chen and the army was said to number 500,000 the whole of the 'Ching-wei'. As typically the Mongols fell back before the Chinese army luring it onto the steppe. The Chinese march was slowed by heavy rain and when they reached Yang-ho they discovered the remains of a Ming force which the Mongols had destroyed.

Wang became unnerved decided to retire and claim a victory only to have the Mongols close in from behind and destroy his rearguard and a cavalry force sent to rescue it. Wang now decide to stand and fight and halted at T'u-mu 8 miles from the walled town of Huai Lai. This was a bad mistake, the site was waterless but Wang feared loosing the baggage train. By the next day the camp was surrounded by 20,000 Mongols who promised mercy if the troops surrendered. Desperately thirsty many did so and the army routed and scattered, with many heading towards the nearby river to drink. The Mongols slaughtered them and captured the Emperor.

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How to cite this article: Dugdale-Pointon, TDP. (31 May 2001), Battle of T'u-mu, 1449,

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