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Chengyu Story: To fight to win or die
背水一战 (bèi shuǐ yí zhàn) means to fight with one's back against the river - fight to win or die. The idiom implies that if one is trapped and has no turning back, he will fight his way out.
Han Xin was a military genius in the Chu Han war. In October 2004 BC, Han Xin led 10000 soldiers to cross the Taihang Mountains to attack the state of Zhao. King Zhao and General Chen Yu gathered 200000 troops to prepare for the battle at Jingxingkou, an important place to the east of Taihang Mountain. There was a gorge road about 100 li long to the west of Jingxingkou, with mountains on both sides and narrow road. It was the only place for Han Xin to pass through. Li zuoche, a counselor of the Zhao army, offered a plan and said: "the front side will not fight. Send troops around the back to cut off Han Xin's grain road and trap him in Jingxing gorge road." General Chen Yu did not listen and said, "there are only a few thousand people with Han Xin.”
After finding out the news, Han Xin set up a camp 30 Li from Jingxing. In the middle of the night, Han Xin sent 2000 light cavalry, each carrying a Han Army flag, and made a detour to the rear of Zhao's camp to ambush. Han Xin warned the soldiers: "during the war, when the Zhao army sees our army defeated and fled, they will certainly go out and chase our army. You will rush into the Zhao army's barracks, pull out the flag of the Zhao army, and erect the red flag of the Han army." After eating some simple dry food, the rest of the Han Army immediately marched to Jingxing. The brigade bypassed Romanshui and set out on the back of the water. All the high-altitude Zhao Jun saw and laughed at Han Xin. After daybreak, Han Xin set up a big flag and honor guard and led his army to battle. Chen Yu led his cavalry elite to rush out to capture Han Xin alive. Han Xin pretended to abandon the flag and fled back to the riverside position. Chen Yu ordered the whole battalion of Zhao Jun to attack directly against the Han Army's position. Because there was no way out for the Han Army to retreat, they all fought bravely for the first place. After fighting for a long time, the Zhao army had no way to win and had to return to the barracks. However, they found that their camp was full of Han Army flags, and the troops were in chaos. Han Xin took advantage of the situation to counterattack, Zhao army was defeated, Chen Yu was killed and Zhao Wang was captured.
The idiom "battle against the back" is used to describe being in a desperate situation and fighting for survival. It can also be used to show that in order to complete a thing, one has to put oneself in a desperate situation and fight hard.
How to use 背水一战:
这场 排球比赛 十分 重要,大家 一定 要 背水一战!
zhèchǎnɡ páiqiúbǐsài shífēn zhònɡyào, dàjiā yídìnɡ yào bèishuǐyízhàn!
This volleyball match is very important. Let’s try our best to fight!
这次 期末 考试,我 只有 背水一战。
zhècì qīmò kǎoshì, wǒ zhǐyǒu bèishuǐyízhàn.
I have to fight with all my effort in the final exams.
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