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Old April 13th, 2015, 08:03 PM   #51
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Found this picture on a Chinese website, a Ming period large breech-loading cannon mounted on a two-wheeled cart

Click the image to open in full size.

And also this picture, a Ming period light breech-loader mounted on a two-wheeled cart, which is on the left side of the page, and on the right side of the page there seem to be some interconnected guns. These illustrations came from a Ming military manuscript named "Che Chong Tu" (車銃圖), literally means "Pictures of Carts and Guns".

Click the image to open in full size.

And this is not the same weapon, but it was also a field artillery, so I'll post it here anyway. The rocket wheelbarrow illustrated in the Ming military manual Wu Bei Zhi, capable of launching several dozens of rocket arrows in a salvo. Apart from the rocket arrows, this wheelbarrow also carries two spears and two handgonnes for close-range defense, and a large piece of quilt in the front that could be scrolled down to defend against enemy arrows. It was a really an all-purpose battle wheelbarrow.

Click the image to open in full size.

Last edited by purakjelia; April 13th, 2015 at 08:28 PM.
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Old April 13th, 2015, 09:16 PM   #52
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The problem with much of your number juggling is you are relying too much and too uncritically on the paper strengthes purported by a single or a few authors, and treat them like gospel. This is not history, but credulity. Your evidence basis is much too narrow.
No, the problem is exactly the opposite. The problem is that you are blindly talking about a subject that you have not demonstrated any professional competence in. This is very much history, and you are no historian, so you lack critical assessment skills as well as technological skills to be qualified to comment and that is the issue. I've cited several Chinese military historians from the Chinese military academy of science who actually design cannons, you have nothing but your worthless amateur opinion. I'm sorry, but your conjectures simply carries no weight, nor are they really rational.

Also, you work with a lot of simplistic, false premises like that the mere number of cannon is indicative of the firepower or that artillery did not develop much between 1500 and 1800. It did, just not in China.

Who ever said there was no development? I didn't. Both China and European cannons improved drastically, you just failed to notice the former, and is too dense to comprehend the evidence that was directly spoon fed to you, which is an observable fact; the cannons in China got lighter and fired heavier shots or more rapid shots. The Zimu cannon was an improvement of the Folangji that fell out of use during the Qing period. And having more artillery per corps gives superior firepower isn't a false premise, its a fact that is noted by military innovators like Gustavus, who are far more experienced and qualified than you.

You don't seem to understand my line of reasoning that we do not even need to discuss en detail about Chinese gunpowder warfare being anywhere near to the European one because the former lacks certain basic technologies which are fundamental for its performance.
Your fundamental reasoning is nothing but one blind conjecture upon another that is stated shamelessly without regard to its accuracy and is an utter mockery of military history.
The recorded range and performance of most Chinese cannons are comparable with European ones and many were actually lighter. The 17th century Zimu cannon for example, fired 0.5 lb shots while weighing only 120 lb. Contemporary European breechloading Swivel guns weighed nearly 250 lb and fired shots that only weighed 280g (about the same weight), both with a distance of over 500 meters. The Chinese military academy of science considers the early Zimu cannon as the best type of these cannons in the world.
You can construct untested theories all you want, but the results speak for themselves and renders your conjecture that the Chinese cannons had fundamental weakness incorrect.

Please do read this passage again:

You don't even seem to understand my line of reasoning that we do not even need to discuss about Chinese gunpowder warfare being anywhere near to the European one because the former lacks certain basic technologies which are fundamental for its performance:

  • The absence of the multi-decked broadside alone meant that Chinese junks could not have been remotely as powerful because to equipp their ships with as much and heavy artillery as the Europeans would have made them completely unseaworthy vessels.
  • The absence of carriages and pegs alone meant that the Chinese could not have a field artillery remotely as mobile as the Europeans.
  • The absence of certain characteristics in Chinese fortifications alone meant that Chinese siege guns must have been much less powerful than the European ones because otherwise we would have witnessed adaptative changes along the line of the trace italienne.
You can speculate all you want, but broadside multi decked gunnery was not immune to Koxinga's incendiary boats that burned it and there were comparable or even more firepower in the navies of Shilang per personnel than the contemporary English battleships. Furthermore, the broadside multi gunnery tactics was only first used in 1625 when a Royal Navy ship and an East Indiaman commanded by Richard Swaley, ran into a Portuguese squadron. The line ahead tactic wasn't anything more than a defensive expedient until the first Anglo Dutch War in the 1650s. It wasn't around in the 16th century and most Chinese ships are too small for such a tactic to be adopted anyways.

Carriages were common for Chinese cannons, read some basics.

Chinese forts were rammed earth, which was more sturdy than contemporary European fortresses and European cannons had trouble taking them down even in the 19th century, what weakness are you talking about? Be specific.

Last edited by heavenlykaghan; April 13th, 2015 at 09:57 PM.
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Old April 13th, 2015, 10:23 PM   #53
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However, since you will probably rant on in the same way anyway, let me close this thread with a summarizing quote:
The problem with your reasoning is consistently its simplistic generalizations. If you bothered to read my post, you would know that the Ming needed the Dutch to built larger Hongyi cannons, but it already surpassed the Europeans in the design of light artillery (and in its tactical application) as a Spanish travelor noted himself.
16th century field artillery were very limited, and anti-personnel light artilleries played far more decisive roles than heavy guns on the battlefield. Only siege cannons were of the heavier type and the Ming wanted these built precisely to beat the Manchus in siege. Yuan Chonghuan defeated Nurhachi in siege but none of these heavy Hongyi cannon helped the Ming on the battlefield against the Manchus initially because they were too heavy to transport.

Also, most English sources on Qing dynasty army, especially firearms are shallow and lacks in depth research. Peter Perdue did good study on the logistics of the Qing, but not the firearms. Chinese books on such topics are much more extensive in comparison.

By the end of the 16th century European heavy artillery was considered so superior to indigenous types that the latter had almost disappeared except for the defence of city walls, where their mobility and rate of fire were less important than in the open field.

Yes, just as the Japanese adopted European weaponry after the Meiji and routed the Russians in battle. The topic of this thread is late 16th century, so mentioning more traditional weapons that are outdated by then is pointless.

Europeans themselves were generally recognized as the experts in the use of artillery, and the Ming frequently sought European help in the wars against the Manchus.

Most of these cannons were easily copied once the they were made. The Manchus under Huang Taiji made their own Hongyi cannon in 1631 from captured Chinese smiths and soon fielded an artillery corps larger than the Ming army without the Jesuits at all.

The Chinese were notoriously casual with gunpowder, and accidents were common: hundreds were killed in one explosion in 1605 after a group of soldiers, finding that their powder supply had been stored for so long that it had congealed into a solid block, attacked it with axes.

Chinese gunpowder mixture actually improved throughout the Qing. Under Qianlong, the proportion of the three components was 73.75:13.12:13.12, by Jiaqing's period it was 78.43:9.80:11.77, and by Daoguang it was 74:11:15, which was little different from the most ideal modern blackpowder proportion of 74:11:15.

Even in Late Ming times the majority of soldiers were equipped with more traditional weapons. Cavalry were mainly mounted archers a technique adopted from the Mongols.
This quote is vague. Define traditional weapon. Mounted archers was more effective than mounted musketeers in many ways and remained prominent throughout the Qing in both China and in Inner Asia despite the presence of the later.

Last edited by heavenlykaghan; April 13th, 2015 at 11:27 PM.
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Old April 14th, 2015, 11:39 AM   #54
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Adolphus Gustavus' tactics were actually very similar to the tactics adopted by contemporary Chinese armies, that is equipping more light artillery per regiment and focused on offensive tactics based on mobility with a heavy emphasis on cavalry charges over caracoles. His philosophy was that armies should move at a moment's notice and strike right when it senses enemy weakness. Gustavus often equip his army with 6 artillery pieces per 1,000 men regiment, and up to as many as 12 artillery pieces in some battles (comparable to the ratio of standard Chinese armies during the same period). Gustavus' artillery includes some very light artillery pieces such as breechloading swivel cannons (the main type of cannon Ming and Qing armies used), falconets with a few heavy artillery thrown in.

The disadvantage of heavy artillery (6 pounders or more) is their static nature and the lack of abilities to take initiatives and mount distant strikes (both tactically or strategically). However, its advantage lies in its superior defensive firepower, and is certainly better for siege warfare. Gustavus' organizations and tactics were very controversial as he was able to win many battles through the strict discipline of his soldiers, but many commanders after him reduced the artillery pieces per regiment and often used heavier pieces. Like the Qing as well, Gustavus' armies relied on purchasing ratio rather than pillage. However, I must say that the Qing army was even more efficient in long distant warfare because of the scope of their integrated market economy that extended hundreds of miles or even over a thousand, from different Chinese provinces and even into the steppe and the Tibetan plateau where soldiers could purchase goods from the locals and grain merchants could travel to conduct business. Furthermore, thanks to its control of the steppe and nomadic units within the army, each soldier also had 4-5 mounts to carry ration and artillery pieces which the Swedish army did not have the luxury of possessing.

Against nomads and in other distant prolonged campaigns the typical Chinese armies would have an advantage, but the European armies would have an advantage in more static defensive warfare(The Chinese armies also did use heavy artillery for short distant campaigns and sieges, so while the Ming army lacked in such weaponry before the 1620s, the early Qing army doesn't seem to have a disadvantage in that either).

Last edited by heavenlykaghan; April 14th, 2015 at 01:27 PM.
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Old April 14th, 2015, 12:23 PM   #55

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Who is Alexander Gustavus? Do you mean Gustav Adolf?
The main drawback for the heavy artillery of the period was indeed its lack of mobility. The heavy siege artillery was especially problematic and required an excellent road system or major waterways to transport them by siege. This type of heavy artillery was unsuited for areas like Iran, Central Asia, Xinjiang, Mongolia and Russia etc. In the interior of China it was similar with the superior infrastructure, canal and river transportation. For example the very heavy artillery of Gustavus was transported via the Baltic Sea. Likewise the armed forces of Nader Shah utilized the Tigris-Euphrates river system and the Persian Gulf to invade Iraq. As the armies could travel ahead and set up a siege works they could then blockade the city until their siege artillery came up along the water ways.

Even the heavy field artillery was a work in progress until French engineers produced lighter models and more mobile carriages but with the same amounts of firepower. The French artillery was the best in Europe for that reason during throughout the Napoleonic wars. A French cannon weighed hundreds of pounds less than any other guns of that caliber and so required less horses per gun thus increasing the amount of guns per battery and field engineers/gunners per guns. As the original organization was to have independent batteries and then gradually changed to dividing much of the artillery amongst independent regiments and finally during the Napoleonic Wars more artillery was brought forward into independent reserve batteries.
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Old April 14th, 2015, 02:29 PM   #56
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wrong thread

Last edited by Aetius; April 14th, 2015 at 02:29 PM. Reason: wrong thread
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Old May 23rd, 2015, 12:38 PM   #57
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Originally Posted by Aetius View Post
One could give an eloborate answer dealing with all the details you mention or one could make it quick. The Ming soon afterwards lost against a semi-nomadic force whose main battle weapon was still the bow, whereas the weakest large European state, Russia, had been beating similar steppe opponents since the mid-16th century. Shouldn't this comparative approach tell you something?
I see you are either mistakenly or deliberately conflating the semi-nomadic Tungsic peoples of the Amur river basin (the Evenks, Oroqen, Nanai, Udeghe, and Daur), with the mainstream sedentary farming Tungusic Manchu-Jurchens of Jilin.

The mainstream Manchus of the Jianzhou Jurchens were totally sedentary farmers and not nomadic in any form.

The sedentary farming Jianzhou Jurchens formed the entirety of the Jurchen component of the Manchu ethnicity declared by Hong Taiji in 1636.

Even then, the majority of the Qing Eight Banner Armies who invaded Ming China in 1644 were Han Bannermen with a minority of Manchu (read Jianzhou Jurchen) Bannermen supporting them.

The Han Bannermen were called ujen coohai (heavy troops) because they wielded gunpowder arms.

It was only after the Qing completed the conquest of China with its Han bannermen that it proceeded to incorpote the semi-nomadic Tungusics into its empire.

The Qing under the Kangxi Emperor, decades after the entry into China in 1644, proceeded to attack and incorporate the semi-nomadic Tungusics (Evenks, Nanais, Oroqen, Daurs) into the Qing empire and enrolled them into the Manchu Banners as "New Manchus" while the mainstream sedentary farming Jianzhou Jurchens became known as the "Old Manchus".

The force that conquered China in 1644 was made out of sedentary farming Han Bannermen armed with gunpowder weapons and a minority of sedentary farming Jianzhou Jurchen Manchus armed with arrows and bows. There was nothing semi-nomadic about it except for a few Mongol auxiliaries.

Originally Posted by Aetius View Post
One could give an eloborate answer dealing with all the details you mention or one could make it quick. The Ming soon afterwards lost against a semi-nomadic force whose main battle weapon was still the bow, whereas the weakest large European state, Russia, had been beating similar steppe opponents since the mid-16th century. Shouldn't this comparative approach tell you something?
The comparative approach tells me that Russia was weaker than China, since the sedentary farmer Manchus of the Qing dynasty managed to totally defeat the last remnant of the Mongol Empire in its region when it defeated the Genghisid Ligden Khan in 1635 and annexed the Inner Mongols into its empire, and annexed the Outer Mongols in 1691. The Qing completely defeated and annexed the last remnants of Genghis Khan's empire.

To top that achievement, it was the Qing, not the Russians, who defeated the last nomadic empire- the Dzungar Khanate- in 1755.

Comparatively, Russia did not defeat the last remnant of the Mongol Empire in its region, the Crimean Khanate, until 1783.

The comparative approach says alot as to how pathetic the comparative approach works.

The Qing dynasty also used Han Chinese Bannermen- formerly Koxinga'a "rattan shield" loyalists from Taiwan- to defeat and utterly massacre Russian Cossack forces at Albazin. The Qing felt that they had skills which the local Manchu Bannermen did not.

Comparatively, the less than a million strong Chechen and Dagestani peoples managed to fight off the tens of million strong Russian Empire when the Russians began their war of aggression against the natives of the Caucasus mountains, for decades. The Russians were forced to resort to genocide against the Circassians and could not even accomplish that against the Chechens and Dagestanis.
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Old October 6th, 2015, 11:00 AM   #58

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Originally Posted by heavenlykaghan View Post
The Mughal, Ming and Japan probably had the three greatest military establishment on earth in the late 16th century, dwarfing the Spanish and Ottoman armies (both being no bigger than 200,000 when mobilized for war, and only 80,000 and 120,000 respectively in peace time).

We had a discussion with this in the Greatest Asian Armies thread, but I never had the time to present the data. Below is Civfanatic's data on Mughal army:

Province | Cavalry
Bengal 23,330
Bihar 11,415
Allahabad 11,375
Oudh 7,640
Agra 50,681
Malwa 29,668
Gujarat 26,300
Ajmer 86,500
Delhi 31,490
Lahore 54,480
Multan 18,785
Kabul 24,687
Total: 376,351 cavalry

These numbers from Volume II of the A'in-e-Akbari, a famous text on the administration of the Mughal empire. According to the Mughal court historian Abdul Hamid Lahori, the imperial forces numbered 200,000 cavalry and 40,000 infantry (including musketeers and artillerymen) in 1647. In c.1600, they were probably somewhat smaller, perhaps a total of 200,000 for the imperial cavalry and infantry combined.

Total force government and provinces: 580,000.

For the fiscal year 1595-96, Mughal budget allocation to the imperial army was as follows:
Click the image to open in full size.

As is apparent from the above chart, the Mughals spent an extraordinarily large sum of money - some 80.95 million rupees, or the equivalent of 940 tons of silver - in paying the imperial army.

The Ming frontier garrisons are as follows according to Hui Jilu and Wu Beizhi:

Twenty first year of Wanli (1593)

1) Liaodong: 83,324
2) Suzhou: 31,658
3) Yongping: 33,911
4) Miyun: 52,502
5) Changping:28,875
6) Yizhou: 34,697
7) Xuanfu: 78,924
8) Datong: 85,311
9) Shanxi:51,764
10) Yantuo: 36,230
11) Ningxia:27,773
12) Gansu: 46,901
13) Guyuan: 59,813

Total: 651,665 with 279,158 horses, oxen and camels
Expenditure: 7,154,630 liang of silver (310 tons) and 1,900,000 dan of grain.
I don't have the details of the price of grain to silver in 1590s, but in 1522, eunuchs were selling 0.45 liang of silver for each dan of grain. This mean 1,900,000 dan would roughly be the equivalent of 855,000 liang of silver or a rough total of 9 million liang of silver as the total budget or 335 tons of silver. Silver worth somewhat more in China compared to India, so the Ming military expenditure in these years was probably around 40-50% that of the Mughal military expenditure.

These doesn't include inland units, although the frontier forces made up the vast majority of the Ming expenditure.
The total force Ming had on paper was larger, but these are probably the functional units. In 1610, the board of military under Huang Jiashan estimated the entire army of the empire including the capital garrisons to the frontiers to be 1,160,000:“国家兵制,自京营及边腹主客兵一百一十六万有奇”. Yet the actual fighting force was estimated by the shangshu of the board of military Liang Yanchen in the third year of Chongzheng to be only 500,000."臣就九边额设兵饷考之,兵不过五十万” (This figure was underestimating as the Wubei Zhi and Hui Jilu was more detailed).

For Japan as posted before:

Hideyoshi registered 22,530,000 units of field and each had the potential to sent 250 soldiers, meaning he had 563,000 total soldiers.

The total forces the 4 western do could mobilize alone for the Imjin war was 330,000 and only half crossed the straight. The Eastern Daimyos like Tokugawa Ieysu (75,000 soldiers) and Date Masamune did not send their forces.

I don't have data for military expenditures or regional breakdown of the Japanese army so if anyone has the info, please share.
Japanese levels of military mobilization appear to be much larger than almost any other pre-industrial empires.

Usually these army sizes are around .5% of the population:

Mughal India: 580,000 out of pop. around 100 million
China (1600): 650,000 out of a pop. around 150 million
Roman Empire (1st century): 400,000 out of a pop. around 70 million

Japan had like 15 million people in 1600 but armies of several hundred thousand, at like 3-4% of the total population. But they were in constant civil war and maybe their per capita income was higher than other Asian empires so they could support larger militaries per capita.

Roman military expenditures were around 500-600 tons of silver though silver was perhaps worth less than in Ming China. Roman prices were around 1 gram of silver = 2.5 kg of wheat. Chinese and Indian prices in the 18th century were around that level (after influx of thousands of tons from the New World).

Last edited by Guaporense; October 6th, 2015 at 11:03 AM.
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Old October 6th, 2015, 12:13 PM   #59
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Nice to see you back, Gua!
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Old October 6th, 2015, 12:42 PM   #60

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Originally Posted by heavenlykaghan View Post
No, I meant biggest as well as the most powerful, and I'll even argue that they are also more efficient pound for pound in many areas. Mediterranean armies were probably more efficient in certain terrains, but in most of the Eurasian terrain suitable for cavalry, they are at a notable disadvantage, in tactics, and certainly in mobility and logistics.
Which countries had the biggest empires at the time? Its amazing how much of the globe speaks Spanish, English, and Portuguese.
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