The various steps taken by King Taksin to liberate the country at that time show his ingenuity in warfare. He shrewdly made plans for both fighting on land and at sea.
From Ayutthaya to Eastern Towns
The morning after he broke through the enemy line at Wat Phichai in January, 1768, Phraya Tak headed for Ban Pho Sanghan, where he clashed with Burmese garrison and defeated them. The general then led his exhausted men, to Ban Phran Nok for a rest. One group was sent out to find food. By chance it came upon 200 Burmese soldiers, who pursued them to Ban Phran Nok. Phraya Tak divided his men into two groups and ordered them to lie in ambush while he and four other officers on horseback fiercely charged thirty Burmese cavalrymen. The Burmese were surprised and retreated only to collide with their own infantry. This gave the men who were hiding on both sides of the path the opportunity to outflank the Burmese and kill them all.
Seeing that Phraya Tak could overcome the Burmese, people who had previously been in hiding submitted themselves and help persuade heads of various groups to acknowledge his leadership. Those who refused to do so were forcefully suppressed, their elephants, horses, vehicles, provisions, and weapons confiscated. Then Phraya Tak proceeded by way of Na Reung in Nakhon Nayok, passed through the Kob Chae outpost, crossed the Prachinburi River, and settled at the edge of Si Maha Pho on the east side. At that time, a group of Burmese forces stationed at the mouth of the river followed Phraya Tak's troops and attacked. The Burmese were killed and none dared trail Phraya Tak's army again.
Phraya Tak then traveled through Chacheongsao and entered Chonburi. He learned that a certain leader called Nai Thongyu Nok lek opposed him and tried avoid joining him. When Phraya Tak confronted him, however, Nai Thongyu Nok Lek feared for his life and submitted himself without further ado. Phraya Tak's army moved on to Na Kloe and Bang Lamung and finally to Rayong where the governor of Rayong, who had heard about Phraya Tak, humbly invited him to enter the city. From the day Phraya Tak broke through the enemy line from Ayutthaya to the entry into Rayong took less than one month. This shows that Phraya Tak's faction was a power of greater potentiality than other factions.
Strategic Importance of Chantaburi
From Rayong, Phraya Tak marched his army past Klaeng to Bang Kracha with the aim of taking Chantaburi, a major province, as his base, to build public morale. The governor of Chantaburi, however, refused to submit. Phraya Tak then devised a psychological strategy, ordering all his men to finish their evening meal, throw away the left overs, and smash all the pots and pans. He declared that they would take Chantaburi that night and eat breakfast in the city. This display of confidence that he would win Chantaburi meant either victory or death for him and his troops.
That evening Phraya Tak ordered the Thai and Chinese troops to surround the city and hide and waiting for the signal to attack from all sides. They were instructed not to utter a sound until the city was taken. The first group that entered the city would cheer as a signal to others. The army lay in wait until three o'clock in the morning. Then Phraya Tak mounted his elephant, called Phang Khiri, ordered a shot to be fired as a signal, and drove his elephant to break down the city gate. When the guards manning the fortifications realized what was going on, they showered gunfire on the troops. The mahout, fearing that Phraya Tak would be hit, pulled the elephant back. Phraya Tak was so exasperated that he pulled out his sword to strike the man. The mahout then pleaded for his life and rushed the elephant against the gate until it fell down. The troops rushed into the city and the townspeople dispersed. Phraya Chantaburi and his family fled to Bantaimat in a boat. Phraya Tak took the city on Sunday, June 15, 1767, only two months after the fall of Ayutthaya.
After taking Chantaburi, the general headed for Trat. City officials and people who heard the news were afraid and humbly came out to surrender.
At that time, there were Chinese junks moored at the month of Trat river. Phraya Tak asked their captains to come and see him but they refused, and fighting ensued. He devised a plan whereby fighting vessels fromed a circle around the junks. The Chinese retaliated by firing their cannons. After half a day of fierce naval engagement, Phraya Tak was able to seize all the Chinese junks together with a lot of weapons and ammunition.
It should be noted that Phraya Tak's war vessels were only small long boats, about the size of present day racing boats. They were, however, able to engage in a battle and seize larger junks equipped with cannons.
Effective Planning Back to Ayutthaya
After the Trat battle, Phraya Tak went back to his base in Chantaburi and ordered that more fighting vessels be built and more weapons assembled. The future king devoted three months to training men and building war boats so that his mighty fleet would be ready to go into combat right after the monsoon season. He realized that moving troops by land would be disadvantageous. The distances were too far and they would be unable to keep the journey a secret. The Burmese would retaliate and fighting would delay the troops who would be tired by the time they reach Ayutthaya.Phraya Tak also knew two weaknesses of the Burmese, they were only good at fighting on land and they do not have fighting boats.
When all the preparations were made, the future king chose to leave Chantaburi with his fleet in October at the end of the monsoon season, when the areas around Ayutthaya were flooded. He entered the Chao Phraya estuary, attacked the enemy camp at Thon Buri, and took the town after defeating Nai Thong In, who was put in charge of defense there by the Burmese.
Phraya Tak then moved on to Ayutthaya to surprise the Burmese. They did not have time to make any plan. The general was able to land his troops, crush the Burmese at the Pho Sam Ton Camp completely and liberate the country on November 7, 1767, only seven months after Ayutthaya was taken by the Burmese.