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Old October 24th, 2012, 05:33 AM   #1
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Alexander vs Shih huangdi in Uzbekistan


This is just speculative section so what our members think on a fight between

shih huangdi and Alexander the great.

It would be unfair on our part to force western heroes as invaders as this makes their task a lot difficult .

therefore, let us suppose battle takes place in modern day Uzbekistan.

I think it would be great to see these two battling in uzbekistan with both facing logistical difficulties.
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Old October 24th, 2012, 01:51 PM   #2

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Uzbekistan provides far greater logistical challenge to the Chinese than Alexander- the Chinese have to cross the Tien Shan, which freezes over in the winter and thus presents a break in Chinese logistical chain.

IMO it is impossible to provide a logistically neutral position when pitting the Chinese against Indians or Romans/Persians- one side will clearly be logistically superior depending on where the battle takes place.

Now, for the meat of the battle: I think it will be interesting, since the Chinese crossbows would provide a huge threat to the Phalanx lines, while the Phalanx were probably a bit more disciplined and combat effective than the Chinese spearmen. Overall, i will give the Chinese a slight edge in infantry during this period, for posessing the crossbow and being more manueverable than the Phalanx, which was quite cumbersome.

On the other hand, Alexander had clearly superior cavalry and IMO Qin Shih Huang would lose due to this factor.
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Old October 25th, 2012, 11:00 AM   #3

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Especially if the battle takes place in winter, I'd believe that food is going to be a big issue. So, with all other factors roughly balancing up, the one who's regularly starting battle with a fuller belly, therefore a warmer body and a stronger morale, would prevail eventually.

In relation to that, as well as in other ways, the local Uzbeks - whether or not they were already called that at the time - may be a factor too, according to which side they throw their weight behind.

Chinese cavalry was still far too backward at this time, if it did exist at all yet. In fact they only came up to scratch after learning the rudimentaries from the Mongols. So, yeah, Alexander would have a big head start there. Would the big Macedonian shields cope with the Chinese crossbow volleys? I don't know.

Did the Chinese ever use poison tipped arrows? I hear the Scythians used a mix of human excrement and snake heads left to putrefy for weeks for this purpose. The decomposition alone would release hydrogen sulphide which causes sudden death, and there'd be the snake poison on top. With their vast knowledge of herbal medicine, the Chinese would know many lethal plant poisons too. They could use those with their rapid fire crossbow arrows to hit the Macedonian horses and decimate Alexander's cavalry.

The Tang Chinese lost to the Arabo-Turko-Persian army of the Abbassid Caliphate at Artlakh (Talas) in mid 8th century. Whether that provides any yardstick would be anyone's guess.

All in all, a very intriguing match up. I say, 50-50.

Last edited by Dreamhunter; October 25th, 2012 at 11:47 AM.
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Old October 25th, 2012, 01:24 PM   #4
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The Tang Chinese lost to the Arabo-Turko-Persian army of the Abbassid Caliphate at Artlakh (Talas) in mid 8th century. Whether that provides any yardstick would be anyone's guess.
Not much of one given that the Tang army was only 30k strong (10k Chinese and 20k mercenaries) while the Abbasid army was 200k strong. At least according to Tang records.
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Old October 25th, 2012, 11:35 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Mephistopheles View Post
Not much of one given that the Tang army was only 30k strong (10k Chinese and 20k mercenaries) while the Abbasid army was 200k strong. At least according to Tang records.
That shows lies of Tang records as Abbasids had no chance of sendind so many soldiers.
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Old October 26th, 2012, 05:43 AM   #6

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Originally Posted by avantivarman View Post
That shows lies of Tang records as Abbasids had no chance of sendind so many soldiers.
What it shows is the lies of wikipedia as Tang records made no mention of any such number. Heavenlykaghan discussed it here, although it seems people didn't process it in that thread.

http://www.historum.com/middle-easte...ml#post1196188

Quote:
Originally Posted by heavenlykaghan View Post
The Chinese sources never mentioned the size of the Abbassid forces, the 200,000 figure is the fabrication of some online user. Chinese forces couldn't have been larger than the number suggested because the entire military garrison of the Anxi protectorate was 24,000. Jiu Tang Shu recorded 20,000 Tang forces while Zi Zhi Tongjian mentioned 30,000 for the size of the army at Talas.



Al Tabari didn't mention it whatsoever, and the Jiu Tang Shu only had one short sentence describing the battle. Thats because the battle was no more than a skirmish and was not important to either the Islamic or the Chinese historians.
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Old October 26th, 2012, 05:59 AM   #7

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Originally Posted by Dreamhunter View Post
Chinese cavalry was still far too backward at this time, if it did exist at all yet. In fact they only came up to scratch after learning the rudimentaries from the Mongols.
Considering we are talking about Qin Shihuangdi (which is not in the same time frame as Alexander by 100 years, btw), the Chinese cavalry certainly was very developed. Please look at the terracotta warriors of Qin Shihuangdi, in which pit 2 consists of a mostly cavalry and chariot force. This was well before the Mongols even existed.

Click the image to open in full size.

Cavalry was certainly less developed during the time of Alexander, yet it still existed in significant numbers. Sunbin, who predates Alexander by a little, destroyed Pangjuan's cavalry vanguard with a crossbow ambush. In 307 BC the state of Zhao switched to training its own cavalry archers for its army. The number of cavalry archers must of been significant as one of the primary argument against this policy was that it would require the state's soldiers to completely retrain, costing time and resources. This argument wouldn't have been made if the state only required a small amount of cavalry archers. So we can conclude that during the time of Alexander cavalry existed for Warring States armies, but they haven't transitioned into cavalry archers (as Alexander died a little before 307 BC) but most likely fought similarly to Alexander's companion cavalry, ie up close and personal. By QinShiHuangdi there would be cavalry armed with crossbows or bows for skirmishing, as by trial and error the only way to decisively defeat the nomads was to beat them at their own game. A nomad army would only run away from an infantry army with superior strength. By the Han dynasty armies were sent into the north that were composed entirely of cavalry, although a sizable portion might have fought as infantry after skirmishing (riding into battle, but dismounting to fight after releasing a couple volleys). This was still 1000 years prior to the Mongols.

Anyway, it must be stressed that Qin Shihuang was born after Alexander died. During Alexander's time, the most notable man in the state of Qin was Shang Yang, whose reforms made the ambitions of Qin Shihuang achievable. These reforms transformed the Qin economy focused entirely on war. They include:
1) A more thorough system of rewards and punishments. In truth Shang Yang was merely repeating what everyone was practicing: soldiers are given incentives to do well in battle as the lowliest grunt could gain significant promotions as decided by the number of enemies they kill. Standardized punishments were given as well, the most severe being pulling apart of the limbs by chariots.
2) Organizing society by military organization. Families are grouped into units of five, the basic unit of the military (called the Wu). The same goes for higher organizations. In this way neighbors would be conscripted into the same basic military unit of Wu, people from the same village would be conscripted into the next higher unit of Dui, etc... ergo increasing military cohesiveness.
3) Mutual responsibility: Should an individual fail in his duty his entire unit would be punished in a likewise fashion. This does not simply apply to the military but to the average subject. In effect the entire society is transformed into a military.
4) Favoring agriculture as the primary occupation, as a higher surplus of food means that the state is capable of supporting a larger army. Farmers who produced much were rewarded. Farmers who produce little were enslaved, their body and lands being given as rewards to others who achieved merit (such as in battle)
5) Meritocracy over aristocracy: All are equal under the law except for the king himself. The aristocracy is attacked, their lands being redistributed to the peasantry or to soldiers who achieved merit in battle.

Shang Yang eventually fell into disfavor in court, but his methods continued. Ironically, it was Shang Yang's methods which caught him in hiding, while his death was carried out by his method of being pulled apart by chariots.

I wrote an article on Mozi's defensive techniques with a section dedicated to the system of Rewards and Punishments he described. Please note that Mozi was a pacifist and a humanist throughout most of his chapters. Shang Yang was a Nazi as compared to him, yet Mozi's methods were incredibly harsh. How much harsher must have been those of Shang Yang's!

Rewards and Punishments
Although Mozi preached love and virtue, the bitter reality of war caused him to embrace the harsh Legalist system of Rewards and Punishments. War has a knack for making realists out of the most fervent idealists. One will notice that the last two books of Mohist texts have a very different tone from the other sections. Light punishments such as cleaning the latrines were described, but cruel punishments such as the killing of an entire family solely for the crime of one member was frequently advised. The harshest punishments include the pulling apart by chariots, kinship extermination, and displaying bodies in the marketplace. Contrary to his previous preaching about loving all nations and people equally, the chapters on military techniques show Mozi favoring a nation in harmony on all levels, but harboring deep enmity against the enemy. People were made responsible for the actions of their neighbors. If they failed to report criminal activity of their neighbors, then they too would be implicated. Likewise soldiers on the wall were responsible in protecting those on their left and right. Yet they were also responsible in locating crimes committed by their left and right comrades. The basic unit of the army was a five-man squad, and each squad-member was in some way responsible for the actions of every other squad-member. Officers were responsible for the actions of his squad and Commanders were responsible for the actions of his Officers.

Crimes that warrant latrine cleaning, ear being pierced by an arrow, or the like, includes: Displaying arrogance by blocking roads, having musical instruments or weiqi (a board game) within the army, running on foot without appropriate reason, drinking and eating at inappropriate times, singing or wailing in the army

Crimes that warrant execution include: Failure to prevent collaborators from escaping, failure to prevent fellow squad-mates from defecting to the enemy, failure to prevent direct subordinates from defecting to the enemy, reducing morale, disobeying orders, abandoning duties in face of the enemy, addressing matters outside of one’s responsibility, failing to address matters within one’s responsibility, failing to deliver messages within an appropriate amount of time, starting an uncontrolled fire, raping other men’s wives or daughters, failing to stop people without tallies, stealing weapons or implements over 1 cash in value, concealing prohibited items, failing to report a crime despite having full knowledge of it (for officers), letting a perpetrator escape (for officers), intentionally wounding oneself to escape his duties, showering the enemy with untruthful praises, frightening the populace, leaving one’s post without permission, condemning superiors without remonstrating with them, unrestrainedly indulge in evil words, using the many and strong to oppress the weak and few, fighting with ordinary people in disregard to laws (for generals and leaders), failing to send appropriate witnesses(knights, soldiers, officers, and people) to hear the oath of command (for supervisors).

Crimes that warrant kinship extermination, pulling apart by chariots, or both, include: collaborating with the enemy, defection to the enemy, reading letters shot by the enemy, shooting letters towards the enemy, colluding with the enemy, purposely starting an uncontrolled fire

Actions that warrant rewards (in terms of goods, land, increased salaries, promotion, or honorary titles) include: Catching collaborators, driving enemies from the wall, beating back three advances of the enemy, taking part in defense of walls as a woman (in 5000 cash), taking part in defense of walls as a man(in promotion by rank), winning the siege (in which all inhabitants have a complete tax remittance of three years), seizing or reporting people who plan to rebel, seizing or reporting criminals, dying in battle, becoming wounded in battle, displaying bravery or merit in battle-http://www.historum.com/asian-history/38905-mozi-way-war.html

Last edited by HackneyedScribe; October 26th, 2012 at 07:00 AM.
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Old October 26th, 2012, 07:45 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HackneyedScribe View Post
Considering we are talking about Qin Shihuangdi (which is not in the same time frame as Alexander by 100 years, btw), the Chinese cavalry certainly was very developed. Please look at the terracotta warriors of Qin Shihuangdi, in which pit 2 consists of a mostly cavalry and chariot force. This was well before the Mongols even existed.

Click the image to open in full size.

Cavalry was certainly less developed during the time of Alexander, yet it still existed in significant numbers. Sunbin, who predates Alexander by a little, destroyed Pangjuan's cavalry vanguard with a crossbow ambush. In 307 BC the state of Zhao switched to training its own cavalry archers for its army. The number of cavalry archers must of been significant as one of the primary argument against this policy was that it would require the state's soldiers to completely retrain, costing time and resources. This argument wouldn't have been made if the state only required a small amount of cavalry archers. So we can conclude that during the time of Alexander cavalry existed for Warring States armies, but they haven't transitioned into cavalry archers (as Alexander died a little before 307 BC) but most likely fought similarly to Alexander's companion cavalry, ie up close and personal. By QinShiHuangdi there would be cavalry armed with crossbows or bows for skirmishing, as by trial and error the only way to decisively defeat the nomads was to beat them at their own game. A nomad army would only run away from an infantry army with superior strength. By the Han dynasty armies were sent into the north that were composed entirely of cavalry, although a sizable portion might have fought as infantry after skirmishing (riding into battle, but dismounting to fight after releasing a couple volleys). This was still 1000 years prior to the Mongols.

Anyway, it must be stressed that Qin Shihuang was born after Alexander died. During Alexander's time, the most notable man in the state of Qin was Shang Yang, whose reforms made the ambitions of Qin Shihuang achievable. These reforms transformed the Qin economy focused entirely on war. They include:
1) A more thorough system of rewards and punishments. In truth Shang Yang was merely repeating what everyone was practicing: soldiers are given incentives to do well in battle as the lowliest grunt could gain significant promotions as decided by the number of enemies they kill. Standardized punishments were given as well, the most severe being pulling apart of the limbs by chariots.
2) Organizing society by military organization. Families are grouped into units of five, the basic unit of the military (called the Wu). The same goes for higher organizations. In this way neighbors would be conscripted into the same basic military unit of Wu, people from the same village would be conscripted into the next higher unit of Dui, etc... ergo increasing military cohesiveness.
3) Mutual responsibility: Should an individual fail in his duty his entire unit would be punished in a likewise fashion. This does not simply apply to the military but to the average subject. In effect the entire society is transformed into a military.
4) Favoring agriculture as the primary occupation, as a higher surplus of food means that the state is capable of supporting a larger army. Farmers who produced much were rewarded. Farmers who produce little were enslaved, their body and lands being given as rewards to others who achieved merit (such as in battle)
5) Meritocracy over aristocracy: All are equal under the law except for the king himself. The aristocracy is attacked, their lands being redistributed to the peasantry or to soldiers who achieved merit in battle.

Shang Yang eventually fell into disfavor in court, but his methods continued. Ironically, it was Shang Yang's methods which caught him in hiding, while his death was carried out by his method of being pulled apart by chariots.

I wrote an article on Mozi's defensive techniques with a section dedicated to the system of Rewards and Punishments he described. Please note that Mozi was a pacifist and a humanist throughout most of his chapters. Shang Yang was a Nazi as compared to him, yet Mozi's methods were incredibly harsh. How much harsher must have been those of Shang Yang's!

Rewards and Punishments
Although Mozi preached love and virtue, the bitter reality of war caused him to embrace the harsh Legalist system of Rewards and Punishments. War has a knack for making realists out of the most fervent idealists. One will notice that the last two books of Mohist texts have a very different tone from the other sections. Light punishments such as cleaning the latrines were described, but cruel punishments such as the killing of an entire family solely for the crime of one member was frequently advised. The harshest punishments include the pulling apart by chariots, kinship extermination, and displaying bodies in the marketplace. Contrary to his previous preaching about loving all nations and people equally, the chapters on military techniques show Mozi favoring a nation in harmony on all levels, but harboring deep enmity against the enemy. People were made responsible for the actions of their neighbors. If they failed to report criminal activity of their neighbors, then they too would be implicated. Likewise soldiers on the wall were responsible in protecting those on their left and right. Yet they were also responsible in locating crimes committed by their left and right comrades. The basic unit of the army was a five-man squad, and each squad-member was in some way responsible for the actions of every other squad-member. Officers were responsible for the actions of his squad and Commanders were responsible for the actions of his Officers.

Crimes that warrant latrine cleaning, ear being pierced by an arrow, or the like, includes: Displaying arrogance by blocking roads, having musical instruments or weiqi (a board game) within the army, running on foot without appropriate reason, drinking and eating at inappropriate times, singing or wailing in the army

Crimes that warrant execution include: Failure to prevent collaborators from escaping, failure to prevent fellow squad-mates from defecting to the enemy, failure to prevent direct subordinates from defecting to the enemy, reducing morale, disobeying orders, abandoning duties in face of the enemy, addressing matters outside of oneís responsibility, failing to address matters within oneís responsibility, failing to deliver messages within an appropriate amount of time, starting an uncontrolled fire, raping other menís wives or daughters, failing to stop people without tallies, stealing weapons or implements over 1 cash in value, concealing prohibited items, failing to report a crime despite having full knowledge of it (for officers), letting a perpetrator escape (for officers), intentionally wounding oneself to escape his duties, showering the enemy with untruthful praises, frightening the populace, leaving oneís post without permission, condemning superiors without remonstrating with them, unrestrainedly indulge in evil words, using the many and strong to oppress the weak and few, fighting with ordinary people in disregard to laws (for generals and leaders), failing to send appropriate witnesses(knights, soldiers, officers, and people) to hear the oath of command (for supervisors).

Crimes that warrant kinship extermination, pulling apart by chariots, or both, include: collaborating with the enemy, defection to the enemy, reading letters shot by the enemy, shooting letters towards the enemy, colluding with the enemy, purposely starting an uncontrolled fire

Actions that warrant rewards (in terms of goods, land, increased salaries, promotion, or honorary titles) include: Catching collaborators, driving enemies from the wall, beating back three advances of the enemy, taking part in defense of walls as a woman (in 5000 cash), taking part in defense of walls as a man(in promotion by rank), winning the siege (in which all inhabitants have a complete tax remittance of three years), seizing or reporting people who plan to rebel, seizing or reporting criminals, dying in battle, becoming wounded in battle, displaying bravery or merit in battle-http://www.historum.com/asian-history/38905-mozi-way-war.html
I must say it was great but since I have started thread please feel free to use shih Huangdi and his resources ignoring time factor of 100 years.

I mean in Ashoka vs Caesar thread we used Ashokan army and not Kanva army , so it would be great if we take all technological and military reforms and not exclude them.
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Old November 1st, 2012, 05:59 AM   #9

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From my knowledge about ancient Chinese armies, during the Qin period, they already had horse archers armed with bows or handheld crossbows, but most of the time these cavalry only served as scouts for harassing their enemies. Chariots were still the major weapons of the Qin armies. It was only until the Han Dynasty that they developed a full-fledged cavalry to counter the threats of Xiongnu nomads.

Most Qin weapons were made of bronze. Iron weapons did exist in China at this time, but they were not yet popularized. Qin soldiers would be armed with crossbows, composite bows, bronze swords, and bronze dagger-axes.

Qin soldiers wore lacquered leather armors with a leather cap or a lamellar helmet.
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Old November 1st, 2012, 03:37 PM   #10

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Skirmishing cavalry developed after close-combat cavalry, and during this time I would say that it was still more important for cavalry to flank than it was for skirmishing at a distance.

From the six secret teachings from the Warring States period:
On Cavalry in battle:
King Wu asked Tai Gong:"How should we employ the cavalry in battle?"
Tai Gong responded:"For the cavalry, there are ten situations that can produce victory and nine that will result in defeat."
King Wu asked:"What are the ten situations that can produce victory?"
Tai Gong replied:"When the enemy first arrives and their lines and deployment are not yet settled, the front and rear not yet united, then strike into their forward cavalry, attack the left and right flanks. The enemy will certainly flee.
When the enemy’s lines and deployment are well-ordered and solid, while their officers and troops want to fight, our cavalry should outflank them but not go far off. Some should race away, some race forward. Their speed should be like the wind, their explosiveness like thunder, so that the daylight becomes as murky as dusk. Change our flags and pennants several times; also change our uniforms. Then their army can be conquered.
When the enemy’s lines and deployment are not solid, while their officers and troops will not fight, press upon them both front and rear, make sudden thrusts on their left and right. Outflank and strike them, and the enemy will certainly be afraid.
When, at sunset, the enemy wants to return to camp and their army are terrified, if we can outflank them on both sides, urgently strike their rear, pressing them to the entrance of their fortifications, not allowing them to go in. The enemy will certainly be defeated.
When the enemy, lacking the advantages of ravines and defiles for securing their defenses, penetrate deeply into their territory and sever their supply lines, they will certainly be hungry.
When the land is level and easy and we see enemy cavalry approaching from all four sides, if we have our chariots and cavalry strike into them, they will certainly become disordered.
When the enemy runs off in flight, their officers and troops scattered and in chaos, if some of our cavalry outflank them both on sides while others obstruct them to the front and rear, their general can be captured.
When at dusk the enemy is turning back while his soldiers are extremely numerous, his lines and deployment will certainly become disordered. We should have our cavalry form platoons of ten and regiments of hundred, group the chariots into squads of five and companies of ten, and set out a great many flags and pennants intermixed with strong crossbowmen. Some should strike their two flanks, others cut off the front and rear, and then the enemy’s general can be taken prisoner. These are the ten situations in which the cavalry can be victorious."
King Wu asked:"What about the nine situations which produce defeat?"
Tai Gong said:"Whenever the cavalry penetrates the ranks of the enemy but does not destroy their formation so that the enemy feigns flight, only to turn their chariots and cavalry about to strike our rear - this is a situation in which the cavalry will be defeated.
When we pursue a fleeing enemy into confined ground, ranging far into their territory without stopping, until they ambush both our flanks and sever our rear - this is a situation in which the cavalry will be encircled.
When we go forward but there is no road back, we enter but there is no way out, this is referred to as ‘Heaven Trap’, ‘Earthly Cave’. This is fatal terrain for the cavalry.
When the way by which we enter is constricted but the way out is distant; their weak forces can attack our strong ones; and their few can attack our many - this is terrain on which the cavalry will be exterminated.
When there are great mountain torrents, deep valleys, tall luxuriant grass, forests and trees - these are conditions which will exhaust the cavalry.
When there is water on the left and right, while ahead are large hills, and to the rear high mountains, and the army are fighting between the bodies of water while the enemy occupies both the interior and exterior ground - this is terrain that means great difficulty for the cavalry.
When the enemy has cut off our supply lines, and if we advance, we will not have any route by which to return - this is troublesome terrain for the cavalry.
When we are sinking into marshy ground while advancing and retreating must both be through quagmires - this is a terrain that will labor the cavalry.
When on the left, there are deep water sluices, and on the right, there are gullies and hillocks, but the ground appears level - good terrain for advancing, retreating, and enticing an enemy - this terrain is a pitfall for the cavalry.
These nine comprise fatal terrain for cavalry, the means by which the enlightened general will keep the enemy far off and escape and the ignorant general will be entrapped and defeated."

On selecting Cavalry Warriors:
King Wu asked Tai Gong:"How does one select warriors for the cavalry?"
Tai Gong said:"The rule of selecting cavalry warriors is to take those under forty, who are at least seven chi five cun tall, strong and quick, who surpass the average. Men who, while racing a horse, can fully draw a bow and shoot. Men who can gallop forward and back, left and right and all around, both advancing and withdrawing. Men who, while racing a horse, can jump over moats and ditches, ascend hills and mounds, gallop through narrow confines, cross large water bodies, and race into a strong enemy, causing chaos among their masses. They are called the ‘Martial Cavalry Warriors’. You cannot but be generous to them."

There are more cavalry than chariots in Pit 2 of Qin Shihuang's terracotta army, although there are more horses used for chariots than horses used for cavalry (because a chariot requires four horses while a horseman requires only one).
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