Monday, May 01, 2006

Razadarit takes Martaban (c. 1388)

The Battle of Lagun Pyi

After the town of Wun, Razadarit marched to Lagun Pyi. Razadarit filled a nearby elephant shed with dry weeds and hay and lit it on fire around noon and the wind carried the conflagration to the stockades of the town. Baw Goon, who controlled Lagun Pyi at the time, left the confines of the city riding an elephant to put out the flames, but the elephant was spooked by the flames and ran away. Out of control the elephant ran under a house knocking Baw Goon off and killing him (SL 65). The town of Lagun Pyi surrendered, but Magyan, the governor of Thanmaung who had been reinstalled, attacked some of the outlying troops of Razadarit at night with a force of 5,000. Razadarit sent Mathalon, a warrior from Lagun Pyi that Razadarit had just taken into his side, on a mission to kill Magyan. Mathalon returned with his head (SL 65-66).

Razadarit takes Martaban in 1388

In 1388 [750] Razadarit launched an attack against the formidable Martaban that his father had ruled from only 20 years before. Realizing that the superior manpower of Martaban could result in great battle casualties, Razadarit remained in Lagun Pyi and sent seven columns to attack Martaban. Martaban forces attacked Razadarit’s forces at midnight surprising them. Five of the columns Razadarit sent were scattered, leaving two intact. A frequent outcome of battles in mainland Southeast Asia during this time was a rout followed by mass defection, effectively scattering the forces. These two remaining columns concealed their existence and made the Martaban leader believe that all of the forces had been scattered, when there were actually two columns left to attack with. Then a surprise attack was launched on the Martaban forces while they were picking up spoils on the battlefield (SL 66). The ruler of the town fled by boat and Martaban having lost its ruler, surrendered. Razadarit traveled from Lagun Pyi to Martaban. The tax payments that were in arrears that should have been paid to Razadarit’s father were collected in silver and gold and a new governor was installed. New governors were also installed at Moulmein, Tari, Lagun Pyi, and Thanmaung. The commander responsible for the victory was given the title Byat Za and would from this time on have an illustrious career as Razadarit’s top strategist. In the same year, the town of Martaban was devastated by famine (SL 66-67).