Battle of Lake Poyang

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The battle of Lake Poyang was a large naval battle, near the end of the chinese Yuan Dynasty. It was a turning point in the civil war between the rebel factions, and decisively put the Ming Rebels as the naval power of Asia. The navy of the Ming, under Zhu Yuang Zhuang met the Han navy, under Chen Youling, on Lake Poyang, the largest lake in China.

Location

The battle of Lake Poyang was held on Lake Poyang, near the city of Nanchang. The city of Nanchang, then held by the Ming, was of strategical importance, and the fleet of the Han wanted to lay siege to it. The city itself is on a hill, rendering siege difficult.

Battle

The navy of the Han had laid siege to Nanchang, to win a strategical foothold in Ming territory. At that time, there was a severe drought, and the lake was depleted of water. The ships deployed by the Han were tower ships, or Lou Chuan, suited for a naval siege on the ocean. The fleet laid siege to Nanchang for nine days, all the time, the water was going down. On the 2nd day, a ming messenger successfully informed the Ming rebels of the siege, and immediately, a fleet sailed from Nanjing, to engage the Han. The Han commander, realizing that Nanchang was not feasibly capturable, turned his focus onto destroying the Ming Fleet quickly, and leaving the lake. However, on the 30th of august, the Ming fleet arrived, and set up offensive positions. The Ming deployed fire ships, to devastating effect, and burned the slow moving Han fleet. Meanwhile, Nanchang was setting out ships as well, putting significant stress on the Han navy. The Han fleet, now severely damaged, was unable to move, and the Ming needed repairs. The Ming retreated to the mouths of the Gan and Yangtze rivers, and waited. On the 4 of October, the final part of the battle took place, and fire ships were once again sent down to the Han fleet. On this day, Chen Youling recieved an arrow through the head, and died, his navy surrendering shortly afterwards.

Significance

This battle cemented the Ming's position as the most powerful Asian force. The Han, bankrupted by this battle, retreated from the scene, and the Wu, capitulated, unable to fight them. 5 years later, when Beijing fell to the Ming, Zhu Yuangzhuang was made the first emperor of the Ming dynasty. Aside from long lasting political consequences, the battle of Lake Poyang would be the largest naval battle ever, until World War 2.

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