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Old April 11th, 2015, 01:41 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by HackneyedScribe View Post
Manchus weren't just "bow and arrow" nomads but had their own cities and sophisticated artillery divisions, and most of the Manchu army was not comprised of bow wielding Manchus in the first place.
I specifically wrote that the "main battle weapon" remained the bow and arrow and this is true. The importance of field artilley was negligible in the mobile warfare of the steppe, at least as far as the Chinese were concerned.

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Originally Posted by HackneyedScribe View Post
The "semi-nomadic" force defeated Russia too in the 1690s:
This has been pointed out many times. This was a war of logistics and Russia had probably the longest overland supply line in the history of warfare just as the Dutch in Zeelandia had the longest sea supply line at their time. The Manchu heartland were much closer, hence they had the logistical advantage.
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Old April 11th, 2015, 01:50 PM   #12
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It is 6144 km by the crow from Moscow to Khabarovsk in the Amur region, while it is only 1762 km from Beijing to Khabarovsk.

Then consider that the Russians had to traverse the entire breadth of Siberia, the most harshest terrain on planet, while the Manchurian heartland was actually closer to the fighting area than the capital Beijing, only 711 km from what is today Harbin.

The logistical advantage of the Manchu bowmen over the Cossacks was thus, in terms of distance, 3.5-9 times as large.

This war was for the Russians first and foremost about logistics, second the challenge of nature and only thirdly the quality of the enemy.

Last edited by Aetius; April 11th, 2015 at 01:55 PM.
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Old April 11th, 2015, 01:54 PM   #13

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I specifically wrote that the "main battle weapon" remained the bow and arrow and this is true.
And as stated the Han Chinese made up 75% of the Manchu bannermen, was the bow and arrow their "main battle weapon" as well? If so, where is your source? What do you mean by "main"? Didn't they carry swords and spears as well?

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The importance of field artilley was negligible in the mobile warfare of the steppe, at least as far as the Chinese were concerned.
Taking China meant taking cities, artillery was hardly negligible. Yzizhang, for example, surrendered to the Manchu after being pounded for days by 6 Portuguese cannons and 50 cannons of other types.

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This has been pointed out many times. This was a war of logistics and Russia had probably the longest overland supply line in the history of warfare just as the Dutch in Zeelandia had the longest sea supply line at their time. The Manchu heartland were much closer, hence they had the logistical advantage.
Yet if the Manchu army were only bow-wearing steppe nomads, then if despite logistics the Russians would have had prevailed. The Russians certainly had no trouble in subduing the indigenous people of Siberia.

From heavenlykaghan:
Russian warhawks have wanted to attack the Qing for some of the arrogant words that the Li Fanyuan used, including calling Russia under Empress Elizabeth a "country under the rule of a Woman who cannot be compared to the omnipotent emperor". The Russian general of the East however, made a more realistic estimate; “the condition and Strength of the Chinese state” he claimed, “We may easily conceive of a war with China, but we must take into consideration the fact that it would not be an easy undertaking. We would have to concentrate on the borders at least ten regiments of the line and an equal number of irregulars. The cost of such an undertaking even assuming that it should be successful, will never be recovered” Thus the governors insist that a conflict with China be avoided at all cost and the best security is peace and “minor vexations be disregarded”.

Nor was Russia weak as you say. It managed to fight Sweden (who defeated the Holy Roman Empire) to a standstill, and sued for peace only because it suddenly had to fight Poland as well. Now the Russian general as noted above himself claimed that in a war with China they would need at least 20 regiment sized forces along the border, and note that around this time Russia only had around 33 regular regiments and 25 cavalry regiments. When Russia fought a scattering of true steppe nomads, only a couple dozen men were needed. So the Russians themselves didn't think the Qing was a pushover.

Last edited by HackneyedScribe; April 11th, 2015 at 02:05 PM.
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Old April 11th, 2015, 02:17 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by HackneyedScribe View Post
And as stated the Han Chinese made up 75% of the Manchu bannermen, was the bow and arrow their "main battle weapon" as well? If so, where is your source?
I am still waiting for a source which shows these eastern armies to be more powerful than the European or Ottomans. The burden of proof is on him.

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Originally Posted by HackneyedScribe View Post
Taking China meant taking cities, artillery was hardly negligible.
I wrote field artillery. The manufacture of Chinese siege artillery was anyway dominated by European gunfounders (or their pupils) since 1600. Still, the overall importance of siege warfare in China must have remained negligible, otherwise we would have seen changes in Chinese fortifications which we don't.

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Yet if the Manchu army were only bow-wearing steppe nomads, then if despite logistics the Russians would have had prevailed. The Russians certainly had no trouble in subduing the indigenous people of Siberia.
I added some info on logistics above. Being 3.5 to 9 times closer to the Amur region, the Manchu could send in more troops, reinforcements and supplies at any point of time of the conflict.

By contrast, it would take Moscow perhaps a year or two to react to changing circumstances, considering that it takes months for an envoy to get back to the Czar's court and that marching large bodies of troops across Siberia was only really feasible in the summer season (unless you were prepared to take a heavy toll on the troops).

Personally, I would have rather gone into this kind of tundra war with a bow than a musket for which I would have to march back thousands of kilometres to the next work shop in case it was damaged beyond field repair or if I were running out of lead for the bullet manufacture....

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Nor was Russia weak as you say. It managed to fight Sweden (who defeated the Holy Roman Empire) to a standstill, and sued for peace only because it suddenly had to fight Poland as well.
But Sweden and Poland were right at Moscow's doorstep, the Pacific coast region was almost on Mars in terms of logistics.
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Old April 11th, 2015, 02:25 PM   #15
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Here a source for the important role of Europeans, specifically Jesuits, in the building of the Manchu artillery corps:

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Over a period of fifty years of the Kangxi reign, 905 cannons had been cast. More than half of them were designed by, and cast under the supervision of Verbiest. Their perfect technique, their beautiful shape, and their solid body were never to be equalled by the cannons of later reigns. The most impressive cannon preserved is the wciclzetzgyonggu cannon, which bears the engraved name of Verbiest. Of these 905 cannons, only 201 cannons weigh more than 250 kg., compared to the lighter cannons, which weigh less than 250 kg. Of the 704 light cannons, one-third were designed by Verbiest and cast under his supervision. The data above show that Verbiest was creatively devoted to the casting of low-weight and easily transportable cannons, thus meeting the practical needs of warfare of the Qing dynasty...

We can say, therefore, that Verbiest was beyond doubt a very important figure in the history of the development of ancient China's cannons, and also in the history of the transfer of western science and technology to China.

http://www.battle-of-qurman.com.cn/l...biest-1994.pdf
Now how could the Manchu artillery corps, heavenlykaghan, be considered a superior force to the Europeans when they heavily relied on the - often outdated - technical knowledge of the Jesuits?
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Old April 11th, 2015, 02:26 PM   #16

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I am still waiting for a source which shows these eastern armies to be more powerful than the European or Ottomans. The burden of proof is on him.
I see you misdirected the argument about Manchu army composition to something else about heavenlykaghan.Now Heavenlykaghan did show proof that East Asian armies of this time could hold their own against European (why do you bring Ottomans into this?) forces, what I fail to see is you giving any sort of an argument in response. This was what he said:

"
1) Japanese armies:

Japanese arquebuses were actually better designed and the gunners adopted superior tactics compared to the European army.
Logistically, musket bore was standardized and could be replaced readily. They are also lighter than their European counterparts and a lacquer was created as cover to enable firing a matchlock during the rain. There were far more arquebus in Japan than any European countries or even a combination of them.

Tactically, the Japanese were the first army to use linear tactics that emphasized offensive firepower down to the company level over melee in the form of pike, whereas Spanish armies were still using the pike dominated relatively inflexible Tercio. Spanish gunners did not volley fire and each soldiers fired on an individual basis. The Dutch and later Swedes were ahead of the Spanish in that the former adopted a defensive 10 rank line tactic while Gustavus only introduced volley fire in the thirty years war and decimated the Tercio. Japanese formations under Nobunaga were able to adopt three line rank rotation fires, giving superior firepower over the contemporary Dutch 10 rank formations, and used offensive firing tactics which was at least half a century ahead of similar European formations.

The Japanese army also probably had superior hand to hand melee ability in short weaponry compared to the Europeans. Yu Dayou casually dismissed the Europeans as having inferior melee in naval confrontations and used boarding as the standard tactic against them; "these people's only weapon is a soft sword, their naval combat ability is inferior to our soldiers, and on the ground, long spears would have subdued them." On the other hand, Qi Jiguang often avoided confronting Japanese pirates in close confined melee at all costs and used rattan shields and bamboo spearmen specifically designed to beat them (along with adopting their own tactics). The emphasis on plate armor is a bit misleading, as the majority of European infantries wore Corselet and Brigandine armor (mainly 15th century) just like the Ming soldiers, who often got the worst end of the deal in close spaced melee with the Japanese and their longer swords.

Only in cavalry and artillery were Japanese army inferior as the horses in the island did not allow heavy cavalry charges and many fought as mounted infantrymen. This became apparent when they fought the Chinese in the Imjin war. However, field artillery actually played a very minor role in 16th century European warfare and cavalry in most of the 16th century were often more skirmishers that lacked shock power.


2) Chinese armies:

In contrast to Japanese, Chinese cavalry warfare was far more experienced and tactically more efficient compared to even contemporary European ones. Heavy shock cavalry armed in mail and lance played decisive roles in the Ming army, whereas mounted gunmen in the form of Caracoles was the preferred European tactic until the very end of the 16th century. Only the Polish and the Swedes under Gustavus discarded Caracoles and adopted lancers and routed the former as a result. In addition to heavy lancers, Ming Mounted archers were superior to the Caracole gun units that played a similar tactical role in 16th century European cavalry warfare. For one, the caracoles can only stop to fire whereas Ming mounted archers could gallop and fire at the same time. The former became a static target which was highly vulnerable to cavalry assault. This was evident when battle of Mookerheyde when 400 Spanish lancers routed an entire 2,000 German unit when the later was reloading. The Ming mounted archers fought in disciplined conjunction with the lancers and whereas the Caracoles would most likely be annihilated against a superior arquebus infantry formation because of the latter's superior fireopower, the Ming cavalry could often outmaneuver Japanese arquebusers in the Imjin war, and was one of the reasons for the Ming victory at Chiksan, and Korean sources recorded that "the Japanese feared Ming cavalry".


In the field of artillery, the idea that European armies were ahead is also simplistic. First, heavy cannons were rarely adopted for battlefield and was more of a siege weapon. The Spanish were the first to mount cannons on wheels and their cannons were usually no more than a heavy shotgun. Yet in the area of light artillery for field combat, the Chinese arguably outperformed the Europeans. It is highly probable that Chinese units since the late Ming had more cannons per personnel than European armies down to the 18th century, the Ming soldiers were already commonly equipped with field cannons in the Imjin war (something which I have yet to come across when reading l6th century European warfare). Typical Chinese infantries had 10 cannons per 1,000 soldiers in the 17th and 18th century whereas Europeans only had 1 and at most 6 again under the reforms of Gustavus.

Ming field cannons were behind in heavy cannons for siege but were probably better designed than their European counterparts in light artillery. In 1585, Juan de Mendoca described Ming cannon as "of huge greatness, and better made than ours".
Furthermore in the wars against Li Zicheng's rebellion in the 1630s, gazeteers of Suzhou showed that gunners using telescope to spot targets, which predates its use in Europe. In the 1620s, even in the field of heavy artillery, the Ming caught up when they introduced large Hongyi cannons and briefly surpassed European designs when they created lighter iron cored cannons.

Northern Chinese units still relied on composite bows, but southern Chinese units were increasing their use of muskets and Qi Jiguang's manuals showed that over 50% of the men were armed with muskets, which was comparable to the percentage of musketeers in contemporary tercio units. "

Quote:
I wrote field artillery. The manufacture of Chinese siege artillery was anyway dominated by European gunfounders (or their pupils) since 1600. Still, the overall importance of siege warfare in China must have remained negligible, otherwise we would have seen changes in Chinese fortifications which we don't.
Walls that didn't even crumble against Japanese artillery fire in WW2 means it is good enough to resist artillery of the 17th century.

As for field artillery, the Qing would actually be ahead of Europe in this respect:

I was inspired by the naval comparison threat to start an army comparison as well. There tend to be a view that Qing firearms was outmatched by European firearms since the beginning. However, research shows otherwise. Qing cannons were actually superior for the part and it's muskets were comparable until the 18th century. I will start with cannons.


There are cannons weighing several dozen jin (half kilos) to 3-400 jin for field operation and heavy cannons of 5-600 jin for siege. 《钦定工部则例造火 器式》listed 85 types of cannon.

The Wei Yuan Jiangjun Pao weighed 280-330 jin, fired balls canisters weighting 20-30 jin, and had a range of 200 paces -3 li, or around 400 meters to 1.7 km. According to Qing Wenxian Tongkao; the firing distance depends on the amount of powder inserted, ranging from 200 paces to 3 li. “如放二百步至二百五十步,用药一斤;三百步增二两;如放二三里,用药三斤”(《清文献通考》) 。

The Zi Mu cannon weighs 85-95 jin, mounted on 4 wheels and fires balls weighing 8 jin at a distance of around 500 meters. It's used as a defensive weapon and has what resembles a fixed ammunition, perhaps the first of it's kind in the world, which gave it the highest rate of fire of any cannon. It is the arguably the most advanced cannon of it's era.

Each banner had 9 Zimu cannon, 2 Wei Yuan Jiang Jun cannon, and One Dragon cannon.

The prominence of light cannons in the Qing army was reflected in European armies as well. Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden emphasized the use of light cannons due to their mobility. He preferred 4-9 pounders over 12 pounders. The rapidity of the fire of the cannon was more important than the power of its shots and in the Battle of Breitenfeld in 1631, Adolphys's tactics proved effective as he was able to fire 3-5 times of many volleys as the enemy.
This is comparable to the range of European cannons of the 18th century, which generally comes in 6, 8, or 12 pound cannons and had a range of 600-1800 yards.

Although the range and weight of the cannons that were fired were comparable between Qing and European armies of the 17th and 18th century, the Qing cannons had a higher rate of fire because of the nature of the fixed ammunition of the Zi Mu (son-mother) cannons (although because of this, it had a slightly less range, but the rate of fire was more important in the warfare of the time), which after 1717 also used canister shots. Even more importantly, the percentage of cannons per personnel was a lot higher in the Qing army.

Most European armies of the 17th and 18th century had only around 1 cannon per 1,000 soldiers. Only in large campaigns do we see some exceptions.
Gustabus Adolphus was revolutionary in having 6 cannons per 1,000 soldiers and it was a significant amount.
Yet even as late as the Battle of Hastenbeck in 1757, the allies had 30,000 infantry, 5000 cavalry and 28 canons, whereas the French had 50,000 infantry, 10,000 cavalry and 68 cannons. In another word, there was only about 1 cannon for every thousand soldiers.

At the battle of Minden in 1759, the allies had 42,500 soldiers and 187 cannons whereas the French had 54,000 men and 170 cannons. Here, there were about 4 cannons per thousand soldiers.

Even as late as 1794, in the Battle of raclawice between Pland and Russia, there were 11 cannons per 4,440 on the Polish side and 12 cannons per 3,000 on the Russian side. The ratio is still around 3-4 cannon per 1,000 soldiers.


On the other hand, typical banner as described above had 9 Zimu cannon, 2 Wei Yuan Jiang Jun cannon, and One Dragon with a total of 12 cannons. The size of an average banner is 7,500 men. This is about 1.7 cannons per 1,000 personnel.

Large campaigns during the Qing had even more cannons and were unrivaled in Europe until the Napoleonic wars.

In the battle of Jaomodo in 1696, Kang Xi mobilized 80,000 soldiers with 300 cannons, or over 35 cannons for every 1,000 soldiers. Only battles by the time of the Napoleonic war, such as the battle of Austerliz where there was 75,000 french soldiers and 150 cannon as well as 90,000 allies and 300 cannons did it reach the major Qing campaigns in the number of cannons both in total and per personnel.



In terms of non-artillery units, 17th century European equipments were roughly similar to the Chinese ones in both weaponry and percentage of distribution.
Both had around 60 or more percent of their infantry been musketeers.

In the Cheng Zhou Fu Zhi, it was recorded that in 1839, the middle battalion of Cheng prefecture had 117 cavalrymen, 394 guards and 244 muskets, or over 60% of the infantry were musketeers. The left batallion had 115 cavalrymen, 368 infantry and 235 musketeers and 32 cannons. Again over 60% of the infantry were musketeers and around half were musketeers in total including the cavalry units. The Qing shigao record of Tibetan units of the 18th century also mentioned that there were 50% musketeers, 30 percent bowmen and 20 percent swords and pikesmen. This is only the Green standard soldiers, and the bannerman were in all likelyhood armed with more firearms. 17th century European armies similarily had around 60% of their soldiers armed with matchlocks (or later wheellocks) and a similar proportion of pikemen and around 1/6 cavalry (whereas the Green Standard cavalry made up around 1/5 of the total force).

Only by 1700 did European musket tactics change. Flintlocks were introduced along with the bayonet but the superiority was not decisive. Matchlocks and flintlocks both had effective range of only around 100 meters and flintlocks fired about 24 shots compared to 20 for the matchlock. More importantly however, flintlocks are lighter and can be equipped with a bayonet which allowed European armies to get rid of pikemen altogether around 1700(with the exception of some east European armies that retained them until the 1720s). Although pikemen largely disappeared from European warfare, it was still used in the Battle of Raclawice by the Poles against Russia in 1794 where the Polish force of 4,400, near half of whom were peasants armed with pikes won against a 3,000 men Russian army armed with bayonets.



It would appear then, that Qing hand held firearms were comparable to European ones in the 17th century while it's artillery was more powerful. Whereas in the 18th century, the Qing hand held firearms became inferior but it still had an edge in artillery; the Qing had by far the most amount of artillery of any regime on earth and could arm it's soldiers with more of it at least until the late 18th century. Yet firepower aside, according to Peter Perdue, the Qing army also had a superior logistics and mobility throughout the 17th and 18th century compared to western armies. Due to a significant horse supply and a highly universally monetized economy over all of China, the Qing was capable of projecting military campaigns over 1,500 KM from home whereas European armies of the time had trouble with merely an eighth of that distance.


Quote:
I added some info on logistics above. Being 3.5 to 9 times closer to the Amur region, the Manchu could send in more troops, reinforcements and supplies at any point of time of the conflict.
The Manchus could have, but they didn't commit in doing so. Using Russian sources for Russian numbers, and Qing sources for Qing numbers, the first siege of Albazin was 500 Russians against 2,500 Qing soldiers, whereas the second siege was 826 Russians against 2,000 Qing soldiers. If the Russians thought 826 of them could take on 2,000 Qing soldiers on the field, then they would have made a sortie to break the siege as time was against the Russians. Instead they huddled in their fort until they ran out of water. If the Qing thought 2,000 of them couldn't take on 826 Russians, then they could have easily sent more as you seem to admit here.

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But Sweden and Poland were right at Moscow's doorstep, the Pacific coast region was almost on Mars in terms of logistics.
The point is you said Russia was the "weakest" large European state, and I pointed out that Russia managed to fight Sweden (a large european state at the time) to a standstill, whereas Sweden fought defeated the Holy Roman Empire, another "large European state".

Last edited by HackneyedScribe; April 11th, 2015 at 02:38 PM.
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Old April 11th, 2015, 02:27 PM   #17
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[quote=Aetius;2151467]I am still waiting for a source which shows these eastern armies to be more powerful than the European or Ottomans. The burden of proof is on him.



I wrote field artillery. The manufacture of Chinese siege artillery was anyway dominated by European gunfounders (or their pupils) since 1600. Still, the overall importance of siege warfare in China must have remained negligible, otherwise we would have seen changes in Chinese fortifications which we don't.

Quote:
But Sweden and Poland were right at Moscow's doorstep, the Pacific coast region was almost on Mars in terms of logistics.
We're all impressed with the accuracy of your distance calculations but given these were not protracted war your gibberish about "logistics" means little. Even when the Russians had already swarmed over Siberia and Central Asia like cockroaches they were regularly trounced in Xinjiang by Hui Muslim auxiliaries.

Russians as well as other Euros were well-known in East Asia for their cowardice, poor aim and inability to handle the cold, technological advantages notwithstanding.
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Old April 11th, 2015, 02:29 PM   #18
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Now how could the Manchu artillery corps, heavenlykaghan, be considered a superior force to the Europeans when they heavily relied on the - often outdated - technical knowledge of the Jesuits?
Technology isn't everything, or you people wouldn't have lost more or less every single war you waged against non-Euros in the last 70 something years.
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Old April 11th, 2015, 02:37 PM   #19
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The same source supports my statement that Chinese cannon, particularly the best and largest ordnance, from 1600 onwards was heavily influenced by imported European design.

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In November 1675 the commander of the local army of Shaanui, Wang Fuchen, rose in rebellion, thus menacing Shanxi and Gansu. The Dutch cannons, imported in 1604 from Holland, were much needed to put down Wang's rebellion. Verbiest and his workers had cast twenty of these Dutch cannons within only twenty-eight days. They were the most powerful cannons of that time.
So, with bow and arrow remaining the mainstay of the Chinese armies through Ming and most Qing, and with the artillery following European models since very shortly after the Imjin War, just how could the Chinese military be more "powerful pound by pound" than the Europeans from which they copied the designs wherever they could?
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Old April 11th, 2015, 02:49 PM   #20
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just how could the Chinese military be more "powerful pound by pound" than the Europeans from which they copied the designs wherever they could?
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