Battle of Irtysh River

The Battle of Irtysh River (Chinese: 額爾齊斯河之戰) or Battle of Yexi River (Chinese: 曳咥河大戰) was a battle in 657 between Tang Dynasty general Su Dingfang and the Western Turkic Khaganate qaghan Ashina Helu during the Tang campaign against the Western Turks. It was fought along the Irtysh River near the Altai Mountains. Helu's forces, consisting of 100,000 cavalry, were ambushed by Su as Helu chased decoy Tang troops that Su had deployed. Helu was defeated during Su's surprise attack, and lost most of his soldiers. Turkic tribes loyal to Helu surrendered, and the retreating Helu was captured the next day.[1]

Battle of Irtysh River
Part of Tang campaign against the Western Turks
Conquest of Western Turks.png

Decisive Tang victory

Tang Dynasty
Former vassals of the Western Turks
Western Turkic Khaganate
Commanders and leaders
Su Dingfang
Ren Yaxiang
Ashina Mishe
Ashina Buzhen
Xiao Siye
Ashina Helu
10,000 Tang and Uyghur troops 100,000 troops

Helu's defeat ended the Western Turkic Khaganate, strengthened Tang control of Xinjiang, and led to Tang suzerainty over the western Turks.[2]


  1. ^ Jonathan Karem Skaff (2009). Nicola Di Cosmo (ed.). Military Culture in Imperial China. Harvard University Press. pp. 181–185. ISBN 978-0-674-03109-8.
  2. ^ James A. Millward (2007). Eurasian Crossroads: A History of Xinjiang. Columbia University Press. p. 33. ISBN 978-0-231-13924-3.