Zhang He

Translated Description:

Anticipating Military General


Kusarigama (Chained Sickle)




Wei Army

First Appearance:

Chaos of the Three Kingdoms 2

First Playable:

Chaos of the Three Kingdoms 2

Zhang He is a character that was first introduced in Chaos of the Three Kingdoms 2. He is a member of an assassin clan that once worked for Yuan Shao, but he ended up serving Dark Lord Cao Cao after the latter wiped out his liege's army at Guan Du and absorbed the assassin clan into Wei Kingdom's forces.


Zhang He is depicted as a silent assassin who belongs to the Lin Kuei, an ancient clan of night warriors who operates in many covert missions involving assassination and espionage. He was sent by the leader of the Lin Kuei to serve and protect the 13 year old Yuan Shao (To assassinate him if he proves to be incompetant.). This all began to change during the battle of Guan Du Terrrace, when Yuan Shao ordered him to assassinate Dark Lord Cao Cao while he's left wide open in his main camp. However Zhang He becomes intimidated by the Dark Wei emperor's sinister aura upon encountering him, leading the elite assassin and the Lin Kuei to ultimately turn against their liege and causing the utter downfall of his army. Now that Zhang He has thrown his lot with Dark Lord Cao Cao and his fellow clan members of the Lin Kuei has been absorbed into ranks of the Wei Kingdom, the first objective that was given to him: To assassinate the Shu Empress Liu Bei and her five tiger generals.

Historical InformationEdit

Historical InformationEdit

Service under Han Fu and Yuan Shao[edit]Edit

Zhang He was from Mao county (鄚縣), Hejian state (河閒國), which is in present-day Maozhou, Renqiu, Cangzhou, Hebei. Towards the end of the Han dynasty, when the Yellow Turban Rebellion broke out, he responded to the Han government's call for volunteers to serve in the army and help to suppress the revolt. He was appointed as an army Major (司馬) and placed under the command of Han Fu, the Inspector (刺史) of Ji Province (present-day southern Hebei). In 191,[3] after Han Fu relinquished his control of Ji Province to the warlord Yuan Shao, Zhang He came to serve Yuan and was promoted to the rank of Colonel (校尉). Between 191 and 199, Zhang He fought on Yuan Shao's side in the war between Yuan and his rival Gongsun Zan. In 199,[4] after Yuan Shao had eliminated Gongsun Zan at the Battle of Yijing, Zhang He was further promoted to "General of the Household Who Brings Peace to the Country" (寧國中郎將) for his achievements in battle.[5]

Defection to Cao Cao[edit]Edit

Main article: Battle of GuanduIn 200 CE,[4] Yuan Shao fought the Battle of Guandu with Cao Cao, a warlord who controlled the Han central government and the figurehead Emperor Xian. When Yuan Shao had the upper hand in the initial stages of the battle, Zhang He suggested that he avoid direct confrontation with Cao Cao and instead send a light cavalry force south to attack the rear of Cao's camp. Yuan Shao did not heed Zhang He's suggestion.[6]

Yuan Shao had sent his general Chunyu Qiong to guard his army's supply depot at Wuchao (烏巢; southeast of present-day Yanjin County, Xinxiang, Henan). One night, Cao Cao personally led a raid on Wuchao to destroy Yuan Shao's supplies. When news of the attack on Wuchao reached Yuan Shao's camp, Zhang He advised Yuan, "Lord Cao's forces are well-trained so they will definitely defeat Chunyu Qiong. If Chunyu Qiong is defeated, all is lost for you, General. You should immediately despatch forces to reinforce Wuchao." Yuan Shao's adviser Guo Tu disagreed with Zhang He, "Zhang He's idea is not right. Why don't we attack Cao Cao's main camp instead? He will definitely head back to defend his camp. In this way, we can stop the attack on Wuchao without having to send reinforcements there." Zhang He replied, "Lord Cao's camp is well-defended and cannot be conquered easily. If Chunyu Qiong is taken captive, we will all become prisoners-of-war." Yuan Shao despatched a detachment of light cavalry to reinforce Wuchao and sent heavily-armed forces to attack Cao Cao's main camp. Cao Cao succeeded in destroying Yuan Shao's supplies at Wuchao, while his main camp successfully resisted Yuan's attacks. Cao Cao scored an overall decisive victory over Yuan Shao in the battle.[7]

Guo Tu felt embarrassed after seeing that his suggestion had resulted in his lord's defeat, so he attempted to divert attention away from himself by accusing Zhang He of displaying schadenfreude upon learning of their defeat. Zhang He became afraid when he heard about this, so he defected to Cao Cao's side.[8] Cao Cao was very pleased when Zhang He came to join him and he told Zhang, "In the past, Wu Zixu failed to realise and met his downfall.[notes 2] What if he had abandoned Yin like Weizi[notes 3] and defected to Han like Han Xin?[notes 4]"[9]

Inconsistency in historical records[edit]Edit

The historian Pei Songzhi pointed out a discrepancy between Zhang He's biography and the biographies of Cao Cao and Yuan Shao about the time when Zhang He defected to Cao Cao's side. According to Cao Cao and Yuan Shao's biographies, Yuan sent Zhang He and Gao Lan to attack Cao's main camp per Guo Tu's suggestion. They defected to Cao Cao when they learnt that Wuchao was lost, and their defection resulted in Yuan Shao's defeat. Based on these two accounts, Zhang He defected to Cao Cao before Yuan Shao's defeat at the Battle of Guandu. On the other hand, Zhang He's biography mentioned that Zhang defected to Cao Cao after Yuan Shao's defeat at Guandu and after Guo Tu slandered him.[10]

Service under Cao Cao[edit]Edit

After his defection, Zhang He was appointed by the Han imperial court (under Cao Cao's control) as a Lieutenant-General (偏將軍) and received the title of a "Marquis of a Chief Village" (都亭侯). Between 200 and 207, he fought on Cao Cao's side against Yuan Shao's heirs and allies at the battles of Ye (204), Bohai (205) and Liucheng (207). In 206, he participated in the campaign against pirate forces led by Guan Cheng (管承) in Donglai commandery (東萊郡; around present-day Yantai and Weihai, Shandong).[11] He was promoted to "General Who Pacifies the Di" (平狄將軍) for his contributions. In 209, after the Battle of Red Cliffs,[12] Chen Lan and Mei Cheng (梅成) started a rebellion in Lu county (六縣; in present-day Lu'an, Anhui). Cao Cao ordered Zhang Liao to lead a force to suppress the revolt. Zhang He and Niu Gai (牛蓋) served as Zhang Liao's deputies and they succeeded in eliminating the rebels.[13][14]

Campaigns in northwestern China[edit]Edit

See also: Battle of Tong Pass (211)In 211,[12] Zhang He participated in the Battle of Weinan against a coalition of warlords from the Guanzhong region led by Ma Chao and Han Sui. The coalition broke up after Cao Cao defeated the warlords in the battle. Cao Cao sent Zhang He to lead a force to attack one of the warlords, Yang Qiu, at Anding commandery (安定郡; covering parts of present-day Ningxia and Gansu), and Zhang succeeded in forcing Yang to surrender. In 212,[12] Zhang He accompanied Xiahou Yuan on a campaign against another of the warlords, Liang Xing, and the Di tribes in Wudu commandery (武都郡; in present-day Longnan, Gansu). In 214,[15] Xiahou Yuan and Zhang He defeated Ma Chao, who had borrowed troops from the warlord Zhang Lu in Hanzhong after being driven out of Guanzhong. They also eliminated a rebel king, Song Jian (宋建).[16][17]

Battles in Hanzhong[edit]Edit

Main articles: Battle of Yangping and Hanzhong CampaignIn 215, when Cao Cao launched a campaign against Zhang Lu in Hanzhong commandery, he first sent Zhang He to lead an army ahead to attack Liang Xing and the Di king, Dou Mao (竇茂). He ordered Zhang He to lead 5,000 infantry to clear the path after entering Hanzhong via San Pass (散關; southwest of present-day Baoji, Shaanxi). After receiving Zhang Lu's surrender, Cao Cao headed back and left behind Xiahou Yuan, Zhang He and other generals to defend Hanzhong from his rival Liu Bei, who controlled Yi Province (covering present-day Sichuan and Chongqing), which was directly south of Hanzhong.[18]

Later that year, Zhang He pacified Badong (巴東; east of present-day Chongqing) and Baxi (巴西; around present-day Langzhong, Nanchong, Sichuan) commanderies and relocated the residents to Hanzhong. He was defeated by Liu Bei's general Zhang Fei at Dangqu (宕渠; in present-day Qu County, Dazhou, Sichuan) and abandoned his horse and escaped on foot via a shortcut with only a few of his men. He retreated back to Nanzheng (南鄭; present-day Nanzheng County, Hanzhong, Shaanxi) with his remaining troops. He was promoted to "General Who Rocks Bandits" (盪寇將軍) later.[19][20]

In 218, Liu Bei launched a campaign to seize control of Hanzhong from Cao Cao's forces.[21] He garrisoned his forces at Yangping (陽平; in present-day Ningqiang County, Hanzhong, Shaanxi) while Zhang He stationed his troops at Guangshi (廣石). Liu Bei divided his thousands of elite soldiers into ten groups and ordered them to attack Zhang He's position at night. Zhang He personally led his men to resist Liu Bei's forces and succeeded in holding off the enemy. In the meantime, Liu Bei set fire to the fences at Zhang He's camp in Zouma Valley (走馬谷). Xiahou Yuan led some soldiers to put out the fire and encountered Liu Bei's force along the way and engaged the enemy. Xiahou Yuan was killed in action while Zhang He retreated.[22] According to the Weilue, Liu Bei was fearful that Xiahou Yuan would be replaced by Zhang He as the commander of Cao Cao's forces in Hanzhong. He also expressed disappointment after learning that it was Xiahou Yuan, and not Zhang He, who was killed in battle.[23]

Cao Cao's forces in Hanzhong were shocked when they learnt of their commander's death and became worried that Liu Bei might take advantage of the situation to press on the attack. Guo Huai, a Major (司馬) who served under Xiahou Yuan, expressed support for Zhang He to be the new commander. He said, "General Zhang (He) is a famous general in the Empire. Even Liu Bei is afraid of him. He is the only person capable of restoring stability in this hour of peril." Zhang He assumed the role and reorganised his forces. The other officers were all willing to submit to his command. Stability was restored.[24]

Cao Cao, who was then in Chang'an, sent a messenger to Hanzhong to approve Zhang He's command. In the following year, he personally led an army to Hanzhong to reinforce Zhang He. Liu Bei ordered his forces to remain in their positions in the mountainous regions and refused to engage Cao Cao in battle. Cao Cao eventually gave up on Hanzhong and led his forces out. Zhang He was relocated to a garrison at Chencang (陳倉; present-day Chencang District, Baoji, Shaanxi).[25]

Service under Cao Pi[edit]Edit

Cao Cao died in early 220[26] and was succeeded by his son Cao Pi as the "King of Wei" (魏王). Cao Pi promoted Zhang He to "General of the Left" (左將軍) and increased his marquis rank to "Marquis of a Chief District" (都鄉侯). Later that year, Cao Pi ended the Han dynasty and established the state of Cao Wei with him as its first ruler, after which he enfeoffed Zhang He as the "Marquis of Mao" (鄚侯).[27] In 221,[26] Cao Pi ordered Zhang He and Cao Zhen to lead forces to attack the Lushui and Eastern Qiang tribes in Anding commandery (安定郡; covering parts of present-day Ningxia and Gansu).[28]

Battle of Jiangling[edit]Edit

Main article: Battle of Jiangling (223)In the following year, Cao Pi summoned Zhang He and Cao Zhen for an audience with him in the Wei capital Luoyang, and then ordered them, Xiahou Shang and other generals to lead armies to attack Jiangling commandery (江陵郡; commandery capital in present-day Jiangling County, Jingzhou, Hubei), which was controlled by Wei's rival state Eastern Wu. During the battle, Zhang He supervised the Wei forces as they captured an island on the Yangtze River and started constructing a small castle on it.[29] The battle had an inconclusive overall result because the Wei forces withdrew on their own without making any significant gains.

Service under Cao Rui[edit]Edit

Cao Pi died in 226 and was succeeded by his son Cao Rui as the emperor of Wei.[30] Cao Rui ordered Zhang He to garrison in Jing Province to defend Wei's southern border from Eastern Wu. Later on, Zhang He and Sima Yi led troops to attack Wu forces commanded by Liu E (劉阿) and defeated them at Qikou (祁口).[31]

Repelling the first Shu invasion[edit]Edit

Main article: Battle of JietingIn 228, Zhuge Liang, the chancellor of Wei's rival state Shu Han, led the Shu forces on the first of a series of campaigns to attack Wei. Zhang He was recalled back from Jing Province to defend Wei's western borders in the Guanzhong region (covering areas in present-day Gansu and Shaanxi) from the Shu armies. Later that year, he defeated the Shu general Ma Su at the Battle of Jieting by first sealing the enemy's access to water supplies and then attacking them. Earlier on, the three commanderies of Nan'an (南安; in present-day Dingxi, Gansu), Tianshui (天水; in present-day Tianshui, Gansu) and Anding (安定; covering parts of present-day Ningxia and Gansu) had responded to Zhuge Liang's call and defected to Shu. Zhang He attacked the three commanderies and took them back for Wei. Cao Rui issued an imperial decree to praise Zhang He for his success in repelling the Shu invasion and reward him by adding 1,000 taxable households to his marquisate. Zhang He had 4,300 households in his marquisate after the increment.[32]

Aborted campaign against Wu[edit]Edit

Around the time, the Wei general Sima Yi, who was training naval forces in Jing Province, planned for an invasion of Wu via the Han River, which links to the Yangtze River. Cao Rui ordered Zhang He to lead forces from the Guanzhong region to Jing Province to support Sima Yi. However, when they arrived in Jing Province, it was already in winter and the waters were unsuitable for the larger ships to sail on, hence the campaign was aborted. Zhang He then returned to his garrison at Fangcheng (方城).[33]

Predicting the outcome of the Siege of Chencang[edit]Edit

See also: Siege of ChencangIn late 228, Zhuge Liang launched a second campaign against Wei and besieged the Wei fortress at Chencang (陳倉; present-day Chencang District, Baoji, Shaanxi), which was defended by Hao Zhao. Cao Rui summoned Zhang He back to the capital Luoyang to discuss plans to counter the Shu invasion but they met in Henan instead. Cao Rui placed Zhang He in command of 30,000 troops and reassigned some of the Imperial Guards to serve as Zhang's bodyguards. He asked Zhang He, "General, if you're late, will Zhuge Liang have already captured Chencang?" Zhang He predicted that Zhuge Liang's forces could not maintain the siege on Chencang for long because they lacked supplies. He replied, "Zhuge Liang will have already left before I even reach Chencang. I estimate he has less than 10 days worth of supplies." He then led his troops towards Nanzheng (南鄭; present-day Nanzheng County, Hanzhong, Shaanxi), travelling day and night. The Shu forces retreated. Cao Rui summoned Zhang He back to Luoyang and commissioned him as "General of Chariots and Cavalry Who Attacks the West" (征西車騎將軍).[34]


See also: Battle of Mount Qi In 231,[35] when Zhuge Liang launched the fourth campaign against Wei, Cao Rui ordered Sima Yi and Zhang He to lead Wei's forces west to counter the invasion. When Zhang He's army arrived in Lueyang (略陽; present-day Lueyang County, Hanzhong, Shaanxi), Zhuge Liang retreated to Mount Qi (the mountainous regions around present-day Li County, Longnan, Gansu) to defend his position. When Sima Yi ordered Zhang He to pursue the enemy, Zhang refused and said that according to classical military doctrine, they should not pursue an enemy force returning to its base. Sima Yi insisted, so Zhang He had no choice but to pursue the retreating Shu forces. He fell into an ambush at Mumen Trail (木門道; near present-day Mumen Village, Mudan Town, Qinzhou District, Tianshui, Gansu) and died after a stray arrow hit him in the right knee.[36] Cao Rui granted him the posthumous title "Marquis Zhuang" (壯侯),[37] which literally means "robust marquis".


Zhang He had four sons, who were all enfeoffed as marquises by Cao Rui in recognition of their father's contributions to Wei. The eldest, Zhang Xiong (張雄), inherited his father's title "Marquis of Mao" (鄚侯). The youngest son, whose name is unknown, received the title of a "Secondary Marquis" (關內侯).[38]


Zhang He was described to be a resourceful and proficient military leader who was well versed in geography and capable of making accurate predictions about war situations, to the point where even Zhuge Liang was wary of him. Even though he served in the military, he highly respected Confucian scholars. He once recommended Bei Zhan (卑湛), a learned scholar who was known for his good moral conduct and who was from the same hometown as him, to serve in the Wei government. Cao Rui accepted Zhang He's suggestion and appointed Bei Zhan as an Academician (博士). He also issued an imperial decree to praise Zhang He for not only defending Wei's borders, but also showing concern for the internal preservation of Wei.[39]


Mirage Flux

  • First Appearance: Chaos of the Three Kingdoms 2
  • Description: Zhang He emits a smokescreen in front the enemy soldiers and attacks them with a number of slashes in a zig zag motion. Wind Elemental.

Illusional Rhyme

  • First Appearance: Chaos of the Three Kingdoms 2
  • Description: Zhang He creates a couple of shadow clones and sends them to attack enemy soldiers at his bidding. Wind Elemental. 

Hasteful Sting

  • First Appearance: Chaos of the Three Kingdoms 2
  • Description: Zhang He leaps vertically in the air while unleashing a barrage of flying daggers at enemy soldiers. Wind Elemental.

Valor Attack: Deathly Silence Within The Tailwind

  • First Appearance: Chaos of the Three Kingdoms 2
  • Description: