Can anyone tell me in detail about battle ships of Ming and Japan?

Dec 2018
65
Singapore
#71
Excellent! Thank you very much- it explain me a lot!
Could you please also help me to understand a few phrases, as highlighted? Not all are clear yet...
InkedThe Ryukyu Kingdom Junk_LI 1.jpg
I am very appreciate your help!
 
Dec 2018
65
Singapore
#73
A Sung Dynasty sunken ship named " Nanhai No 1" was explored in the South China Sea and now is lifted and displayed in a meseum in Guangdong, China.
It measures about 30metres by 11 metres and probably would carry a load about 300 to 400 tons.
Thank you, very interesting.
Any more details? Links to research?
 

Bart Dale

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
7,095
#74
A Sung Dynasty sunken ship named " Nanhai No 1" was explored in the South China Sea and now is lifted and displayed in a meseum in Guangdong, China.
It measures about 30metres by 11 metres and probably would carry a load about 300 to 400 tons.

Exploration Of The Song Dynasty's Largest And Oldest Shipwreck 'Nanhai Number One' - MessageToEagle.com
That wreck was the biggest premodern Chinese shipwreck found. When you look at the number of ships involved and the number of people involved in Ming dynasty battles, you can see the ships were rather small, smaller than the Nanhai Number One ship on the average.

The standard naval sailing ship during the late Qing was the Tongan ship, and the larger of the 2 versions, the Ji, was only 26 m long. Before the Qing used the Tongan shps,
A Sung Dynasty sunken ship named " Nanhai No 1" was explored in the South China Sea and now is lifted and displayed in a meseum in Guangdong, China.
It measures about 30metres by 11 metres and probably would carry a load about 300 to 400 tons.

Exploration Of The Song Dynasty's Largest And Oldest Shipwreck 'Nanhai Number One' - MessageToEagle.com
The ancient typical Ming warship is likely smaller than ths Nahai Nu.bsr one wreck, which was the largest premodern (before 19h century) wreck found.

The late Qing sailing warships was base on the Tongan ship, and Ji, the larger version the Ji was still only 26 m long. The Tongan ships replaced the earlier smaller gangzeng ships of the Qing.

When you look at operations by the Ming dyansty and the number of ships and men inovlved, it impiles the Ming ships would have been smallef compared to Western warships counterparts.
 
Mar 2012
4,319
#75
That wreck was the biggest premodern Chinese shipwreck found. When you look at the number of ships involved and the number of people involved in Ming dynasty battles, you can see the ships were rather small, smaller than the Nanhai Number One ship on the average.

The standard naval sailing ship during the late Qing was the Tongan ship, and the larger of the 2 versions, the Ji, was only 26 m long. Before the Qing used the Tongan shps,

The ancient typical Ming warship is likely smaller than ths Nahai Nu.bsr one wreck, which was the largest premodern (before 19h century) wreck found.

The late Qing sailing warships was base on the Tongan ship, and Ji, the larger version the Ji was still only 26 m long. The Tongan ships replaced the earlier smaller gangzeng ships of the Qing.

When you look at operations by the Ming dyansty and the number of ships and men inovlved, it impiles the Ming ships would have been smallef compared to Western warships counteon't.
Haven't we already had an exact conversation on this topic? Stop pulling up unverified statements that was debunked multiple times.
What country had the largest navy in history
The only two naval operations which we do know in the Ming is in 1405, where there was 27,800 people in 208 ships, with an average of 134 men per ship. This gives an average shipping displacement of over 300 tons. Roughly comparable to the Nanhai #1 ship. The expedition of 1412 had 28,640 men in 63 ships with an average of 455 men per ship, which gives an average of over 1,000 tons. These are much bigger than the Nanhai #1 ship and average contemporary western warships. The entirety of Europe had just one sailing warship that reached the size of the average ships in the 1412 expedition at the time, and that is the Grace Dieu of England which never even successfully sailed beyond port.



We know that the average sea vessel in the Song period was around 230 metric tons:

In premodern China, the most regular and bulky transportation operation was the transporting of grain from the south to the north (caoyun), because of the long-term economic dependency of the north on the south in the Sui-Tang period (see Deng 1993a: 156-63). The grain carriers were largely standardized in design and size, as indicated by the cargo-ship ratio of the Qing Period in Table 3.1 It is known that during the Tang-Song Period, the loading capacity of an average sea vessel was around 230 metric tons (see Li F. 983 A.D.: vol. 769; Sima G. 1084: ch. "Suiji Si"; Xu J. c. 1123; Zhou Q. 1178: vol. 3; Wu Z. 1334), in Qing times, the loading capacity of the shallow water ship was between 100 and 200 tons (Wang G. Z. 1991: 40-46; Zhang X. 1991: 101). It is also known that (1) in the Tang Dynasty over 2 million shi of grain (83,200 tons) was transported through the canals each year (Zhang X. 1991: 56) and (2) in the Northern Song Dynasty, the amount reached over 6 million shi (278,900 tons), an average of 764 tons per day (Blunden and lvin 1983: 104). This makes it possible to use the weight transported by ships as a base to estimate the size of transportation fleets.


Gang Deng
Chinese Maritime Activities and Socioeconomic Development, C. 2100 B.C.-1900 A.D.


It's not like there are many ancient Chinese ship wrecks that are found anyways. So far, the only pre-modern ships systematically measured other than Nanhai was the Huaguangjiao 1 of the Southern Song that's 20 meters by 6 meters and the Ming era Nan'ao which was 25.5 meters by 7 meters, not significantly smaller than the 30 meters by 9.8 meters of the Nanhai.
 
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Feb 2011
6,233
#76
Yep, it's highly unlikely going to get the maximum size of ships when the sample size is small. The smaller the sample size the less likely it is. If you only have a limited sample size, then chances are they would represent more or less the most common type of ships, rather than the top 5% (that is, if you have to pick).
 
#77
The Sung mention unusually large ships called "whales" but I dont think the exact dimensions of these big ships was ever recorded. But it does show that the Chinese didnt shy away from building large vessels.
 

Bart Dale

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
7,095
#78
Haven't we already had an exact conversation on this topic? Stop pulling up unverified statements that was debunked multiple times.
What country had the largest navy in history
The only two naval operations which we do know in the Ming is in 1405, where there was 27,800 people in 208 ships, with an average of 134 men per ship. This gives an average shipping displacement
Zheng He's fleet was not a war fleet, and there is no solid evidence that his largest ships, the Treasure Ships, were warships. Both in Ancient times and modern times, commercial ships can be far bigger than warships. The 1000 ton Roman grain ships were larger than the largest Roman warships, and the Harmony or the Seas, the largest cruise ship, at 226,900 tons is more than twice the size of the largest naval ship, for example.

Further, Zheng He's fleet seemed purpose built, so the size of the ships might not reflect normal ship sizes, but special case. And the dimensions of Zheng He ships have been exaggerated by official Chinese sources. Qing dynaty's Ming Shi accepted the 450 ft dimension of Zheng He's ships, a dimension that first appeared in a fantasy novel written many decades after Zheng He's voyages.

There are other Ming operations, such as the Battle of Noryang, that indicate smaller ship sizes. The combined Korean Ming fleet had around 148 ships, and about 16,000 men and marines, implying ships less than 200 tons on the average. The largest Chinese ships, 6 Ming junks used oars and sails, and from From the Anthony Roll, the largest galleass that used oars and sails, like the Anne Gallante, were only 400 tons, so the Ming junks would have been no larger than that. In the Chinese invasion of Taiwan and capture from the Dutch, there were some 25,000 troops and 400 ships, again implying small size for the Ming ships.

We know that the average sea vessel in the Song period was around 230 metric tons:

In premodern China, the most regular and bulky transportation operation was the transporting of grain from the south to the north (caoyun), because of the long-term economic dependency of the north on the south in the Sui-Tang period (see Deng 1993a: 156-63). The grain carriers were largely standardized in design and size, as indicated by the cargo-ship ratio of the Qing Period in Table 3.1 It is known that during the Tang-Song Period, the loading capacity of an average sea vessel was around 230 metric tons (see Li F. 983 A.D.: vol. 769; Sima G. 1084: ch. "Suiji Si"; Xu J. c. 1123; Zhou Q. 1178: vol. 3; Wu Z. 1334), in Qing times, the loading capacity of the shallow water ship was between 100 and 200 tons (Wang G. Z. 1991: 40-46; Zhang X. 1991: 101). It is also known that (1) in the Tang Dynasty over 2 million shi of grain (83,200 tons) was transported through the canals each year (Zhang X. 1991: 56) and (2) in the Northern Song Dynasty, the amount reached over 6 million shi (278,900 tons), an average of 764 tons per day (Blunden and lvin 1983: 104). This makes it possible to use the weight transported by ships as a base to estimate the size of transportation fleets.


Transportation ships which is what the article mentions, are not warships or battle ships. We know that the larger Qing naval ships, the Tongan Ji, were only 26 m long, far smaller than the commercial Qing ships like the Keying and the Tek Sing. This thread is about warships, not any old ship.



It's not like there are many ancient Chinese ship wrecks that are found anyways.
Yet we have numerous Roman ships found in a variety of locations all bigger than the largest pre-modern Chinese ships that have been found , even including medieval Chinese ships. And the Vasa, the Mary Rose, the Mars are larger than any Chinese ship found before the 19th century.

If we can find not just one, but mutiple examples of European ships, but none for for the Chinese it does raise questions as to why not.

So far, the only pre-modern ships systematically measured other than Nanhai was the Huaguangjiao 1 of the Southern Song that's 20 meters by 6 meters and the Ming era Nan'ao which was 25.5 meters by 7 meters, not significantly smaller than the 30 meters by 9.8 meters of the Nanhai.
26 m is significantly smaller than 30 m. The Mayflower, which was 24m long, was 180 ton burthen, for example.

The Ming era Nan'ao's 25.9 m would make it similar to the Qing Tongan Ji ship in length, which was only equivelent to a 5th rate British ship.
 
Feb 2011
6,233
#79
Bart Dale said:
Zheng He's fleet was not a war fleet, and there is no solid evidence that his largest ships, the Treasure Ships, were warships. Both in Ancient times and modern times, commercial ships can be far bigger than warships. The 1000 ton Roman grain ships were larger than the largest Roman warships, and the Harmony or the Seas, the largest cruise ship, at 226,900 tons is more than twice the size of the largest naval ship, for example.
Roman grain ships were given economic incentives by the Roman government to be very large, as this makes it easier for government record keeping. This meant the size of the larger Roman grain ships were not built to be the most commercially efficient or else the Roman government would have no need to provide such incentives. On the other hand Roman warships are of galley-type construction and galley type ships have a much higher incentive to be lighter, but not all warships were of the galley type construction.

16th century British commercial ships from what evidence there is seems to be significantly smaller than British warships on average, being mostly 41--60 tons, while foreign ships docking in London (ergo mostly European) were only 21-40 tons on average.


Source:
From Ports in Perspective: Some Comparative Materials on Roman Merchant Ships:

Same source also says:
The first item is a decree of the Emperor Claudius. In the 40s A.C., Claudius granted certain civil rights to men or women who built ships of at least 10,000 modii and used them to transport grain for six years (Gai. Inst. 32c; Suet. Claud. 18-19). Casson argued that the terms of this decree suggest that "a 70-tonner was the smallest-sized carrier the government considered useful." While we may readily agree that the decree indicates that 70-ton ships and larger were considered desirable, two further points need to be made. First, the decree clearly implies that, in Claudius's day, there were many ships in the grain fleet which were not as large as 70 tons; and this is the grain fleet, ships carrying a single product over a long-distance route, rather than the general merchant fleet, which must have included many coasters like those discussed above. Second, the decree contains not one, but two, conditions: not just the size of the ship, but the length of service in the annona (six years are specified) is of concern. This helps clarify the purpose and background of the decree. It is presumably designed at least in part for administrative convenience, for it will be much easier to deal with a small number of ships, each committed to a long period of service, than with many ships each making only one or a few voyages. And this implies that, at least down to the time of Claudius, a significant percentage of Rome's grain was in fact being transported by a large number of presumably smaller vessels, each spending fewer than six years in the service of the annona.
Our second item indicates that, however much the Roman government may have wanted only large ships in the grain fleet, it found it difficult to achieve that goal. Over a century after Claudius, exemptions from liturgies were offered to those who built and placed in the service of the annona either one ship of 50,000 modii (=350 tons) or several (perhaps five) of 10,000 modii (=70 tons each). While the decree clearly shows that large ships of 350 tons were in use, it also implies that there were still many ships of less than 100 tons in the grain fleet, and that despite Claudius' earlier concessions there continued to be a shortage of ships even as large as 70 tons. Left to their own devices, merchants and ship-builders seem to have preferred to construct ships of less than 70 tons burden, and/or to have used their ships to carry freight as opportunity arose rather than commit them to a long-term service.
Finally, we may note three further items which, taken together, imply the existence of large numbers of smaller ships. First, a series of passages in the works of Hero of Alexandria: in his Stereometrica, Hero gives the formulas for calculating the capacity (in amphorae and modii) of merchant vessels of various sizes. The ships he deals with are relatively small. The three he gives as examples have capacities according to his calculations, of 7,680 modii (=about 58 tons), 12,600 modii (=about 95 tons), and 19,200 modii (=about 144 tons). In other passages, he mentions ships with lengths of only 24 and 60 ft, and nowhere does he mention a merchant vessel with a capacity of more than 144 tons.............
Second, the famous lex Claudia of 218 B.C., prohibited senators and sons of senators from owning ships with a capacity of more than 300 amphorae (=15 tons). This law implies that ships in use at that time were often of low tonnage, certainly below 100 tons, for if ships were regularly over 100 tons burden, the same result could have been achieved by setting the limit at(for example) 50 tons. Third and last, a passage in Cicero seems to imply that a ship of 2,000 amphorae (=100 tons) was considered large; vessels of this size are cited by the writer (Lentulus) in a passage where it is in his interest to imphasize the impressive nature of his enemy Dolabella's preparations.............
There is at present very little evidence to suppor tthe view that ships of 500 tons burden or more were anything but extraordinary, and much of both our comparative and ancient material suggests that small ships-ships of, day, 60 tons burden and less, comprised the vast majority of Roman merchant vessels.


Bart Dale said:
The Ming era Nan'ao's 25.9 m would make it similar to the Qing Tongan Ji ship in length, which was only equivelent to a 5th rate British ship.
The average ship size of the Anthony Roll Call was only around 180 tons, making the commercial Nanhai No. 1 bigger than the majority of British warships in the Anthony Roll Call. Even the Ming era Nan'ao with the tons burthen you implied it had (180 tons or somewhat bigger) would be average when compared to the warships in the Anthony Roll Call, and among the top 5% when compared to the Ships Docking in London in 1567 and 1568 AD.

Also Heavenlykaghan already made it abundantly clear, especially to you, that the primary Chinese source regarding Ming ships were 5000 liao ships (1250 tons burthen). Nowhere did he say that secondary Chinese sourcing was correct in regards to Zheng He's ship size, as it contradicts primary Chinese sourcing. So I don't know why you keep bringing Zheng He up.

Anthony Roll Call:
 
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Dec 2018
65
Singapore
#80
The only two naval operations which we do know in the Ming is in 1405, where there was 27,800 people in 208 ships, with an average of 134 men per ship. This gives an average shipping displacement of over 300 tons.
The averaging of fleet's ship size is not very scientific: any fleet of any time consists of ship of different type and size.
And difference not only depends on ships availability, but also on tactical and strategical tasks: an invasion fleet must have a lot of big troop/supply carriers, but defending fleet does not need carriers at all- they need a fast and powerful warship, maybe of small size and coastal type.
Zheng He's fleet was close to former- it include a lot of transports (Bǎo Chuán, Mǎ Chuán, Liáng Chuán) escorted by warships (war Junks Fú Chuán and war galleys Zuò Chuán). Averaging will not give us any meaningful information about size of war ships.
On the other hand, during the Battle of Noryang, combined fleet of Ming/Joseon doesn't have any carriers- only war ships.

The Sung mention unusually large ships called "whales" but I dont think the exact dimensions of these big ships was ever recorded. But it does show that the Chinese didnt shy away from building large vessels.
Agree. There were a very advanced shipbuilding centers in China and SE Asia. The fact that Chinese ships were limited in size for political reasons (the closed-country policies in China the 15th to 17th centuries) doesn't means that they didn't built big ships- for foreign clients for example.Also a big trading ships were often built and repaired in Southeast Asia for Chinese merchants based in Southern China or living among the growing local communities.
We know about 2 documented encounters with such big junks- the one known as Naval battle of Pacem 1511, and another - Battle for Malacca in 1513. So called "Junk of Pati Unus" was (from Fernão Pires de Andrade 1513, ):"...the largest ship seen by men of these parts so far. It carried a thousand fighting men on board, and your Lordship can believe me . . . that it was an amazing thing to see, because the Anunciada near it did not look like a ship at all..." Some estimations of her tonnage are from 1000 to 2000 tons.
Djong_Pati_Unus.jpg
Just would like to add one consideration to above mentioned:
The early sailing warships in Europe ware rather "armed" merchants than actually warships (the first purpose-built sailing warships in Europe ware galleons -1540s). I believe that this is correct for Chinese shipbuilding as well. Therefore the borderline between those type of ships were not in construction or size , but rather in it's tactical characteristics. In general, the approach is same- warship shall be faster and more maneuverable, merchant/troop carrier - have bigger tonnage. But exceptions are known- for example flag ships like Henry Grace a Dieu or Junk of Pati Unus.