Comparison of the Ming, Mughal and Japanese militaries in the 1590s

Nov 2015
47
Pacific Rim
#91
How was the Ming military organized, trained, drilled at the time? A (terribly common) argument you'll see is "Well they're just Chinese hordes..." to dismiss any particular Chinese military.

Was there standardization in armor quality? In another thread you bring up a lot of interesting data on how plate armor in europe varied from being wrought iron to tempered steel.

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".
Would also like to learn more about Ming shock cavalry, how they were used in conjunction with mounted archers, and details on battles won by Ming cavalry (what did the Japanese have to fight against them?)
 
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Dec 2011
3,492
Mountains and Jungles of Southern China
#92
How was the Ming military organized, trained, drilled at the time? A (terribly common) argument you'll see is "Well they're just Chinese hordes..." to dismiss any particular Chinese military.
It's quite hard to generalize an entire dynasty that spanned over nearly three hundred years. Each region and each general had some particularities. Early Ming, Mid Ming, and Late Ming were also somewhat different in terms of weapons and tactics used. The quality of troops also varied greatly. A good general such as Qi Jiguang emphasized on training very much and his army was probably comparable to European or Japanese armies, while some other not-so-good Ming armies were basically hordes of armed peasants.

As a very simple generalization, you could basically sum up the common Ming tactic as infantry armed with firearms and bows shooting at the enemy at different ranges and then cavalry rush in and finish the rest of the job. The Ming formation was also likely to be protected by a chain of wagon forts.
 
Nov 2015
47
Pacific Rim
#93
It's quite hard to generalize an entire dynasty that spanned over nearly three hundred years. Each region and each general had some particularities. Early Ming, Mid Ming, and Late Ming were also somewhat different in terms of weapons and tactics used. The quality of troops also varied greatly. A good general such as Qi Jiguang emphasized on training very much and his army was probably comparable to European or Japanese armies, while some other not-so-good Ming armies were basically hordes of armed peasants.

As a very simple generalization, you could basically sum up the common Ming tactic as infantry armed with firearms and bows shooting at the enemy at different ranges and then cavalry rush in and finish the rest of the job. The Ming formation was also likely to be protected by a chain of wagon forts.
I was thinking around the time that this thread is discussion, which seems to be during or after the Imjin war.

But if I could get a detailed breakdown of Ming dynasty organization through the generations and regions (which ones were elite and which ones were rabble at what time periods etc.) that'd also be great, though I'm asking for a lot.

I've been saving as much as I can in various google docs to eventually organize into a handy reference.

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I'm also curious why the Ming dynasty seems to field lighter cavalry than the horse deprived Song did, and in general it seems that heavy gendarme style shock cavalry never took off in China. Would Ming infantry or cavalry of the 1200's-1500 be able to withstand a full plate armor couched lance charge? Or did tactics/strategy develop in a way where such heavy cavalry wouldn't have been useful?
 
Dec 2011
3,492
Mountains and Jungles of Southern China
#95
I was thinking around the time that this thread is discussion, which seems to be during or after the Imjin war.

But if I could get a detailed breakdown of Ming dynasty organization through the generations and regions (which ones were elite and which ones were rabble at what time periods etc.) that'd also be great, though I'm asking for a lot.

I've been saving as much as I can in various google docs to eventually organize into a handy reference.

---

I'm also curious why the Ming dynasty seems to field lighter cavalry than the horse deprived Song did, and in general it seems that heavy gendarme style shock cavalry never took off in China. Would Ming infantry or cavalry of the 1200's-1500 be able to withstand a full plate armor couched lance charge? Or did tactics/strategy develop in a way where such heavy cavalry wouldn't have been useful?
I suggest that you read Jixiao Xinshu (New Treatise on Military Efficiency) and Lianbing Zaji (Mixed Treatises on Troop Training). Both were written by the well-renowned late Ming general Qi Jiguang (1528 - 1588). But I'm not sure if there are available English copies.

China indeed had heavy cavalry with both the rider and the horse wearing heavy lamellar armors (Rider's armor was mostly likely metal, while the horse's armor could be leather). Such heavy cavalry first appeared during the Age of Fragmentation around the 4th century AD with the introduction of stirrups, and continued to be the dominant force on the battlefield up until the Song-Jin period in the 12th and 13th centuries. But during the Ming period with the introduction of firearms such heavy cavalry became obsolete.

During the Ming period the cavalryman still had considerable amounts of armor, but the horse became largely unarmored.

Ping Fan De Sheng Tu ("Victory over the Barbarians", painted around 1575, and depicted a battle happened in Northwest China). The Ming cavalrymen on this scroll were wearing red and dark brown brigandine armors.

 
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Dec 2011
3,492
Mountains and Jungles of Southern China
#96
How much were the Ming multiple rocket launchers used?
They indeed used a lot of rockets, this can be confirmed by the abundance of rocket types in various Ming military treatises and also by Qi Jiguang's saying "Arquebus was the best firearm, and the rockets were the second best".

Here's a passage from Jing Lue Fu Guo Yao Bian, written by Song Yingchang, and described the siege of Pyongyang in 1593.

是日火箭火炮齐发楼台房屋烟火大作,倭被火焚炮击火箭射死者各无算。复摅“查大受”家丁“查应奎”口报:“初九日於牡丹台侧瓮城屋内见被火箭焚烧倭死者二三百,平壤城中烧死者无数,焦臭冲天,秽闻十里,平壤东面江临城下倭跳城奔走落江溺死者又不计其数。”
其日贼见城守不住,弃城避入民舍,欲效去年七月用鸟机击打祖承训之法,屋内发枪戕杀我军,不意我兵各持明火毒火等箭齐发焚薰,彼倭缓不及事,以故烧死甚众。
Translations:

On the day of battle our rockets and cannons launched in a salvo and the buildings and houses in the city were burning with smoke and fire. The Japanese had countless deaths from the burning, rocket shots, and cannon shots. According to Zha Dashou's retainer Zha Yingkui's oral report "On the ninth day of the lunar calendar in the houses of the outer city besides the peony pavilion, I saw two or three hundred Japanese burnt by the rockets. There were countless deaths in Pyongyang, the smell was horrible, could be scent from ten li away. There were also countless drowned Japanese on the east side of Pyongyang where a river flowed by the city.

A day the Japanese realized that they could not defend the city, so they abandoned the city and hid inside civilian houses, trying to imitate what they did on the seventh month of the lunar calendar last year, when they defeated general Zu Chengxun by hiding inside houses and shooting at our soldiers using their arquebus. But they didn't realize that this time our soldiers each had flaming and poisonous rocket arrows and launched them in a salvo which burnt and smoked them, they were slow to react, so there were countless burnt.
 
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Nov 2015
47
Pacific Rim
#97
I'm wondering what the source of Yu Dayou's quotation on how to fight Portuguese, is it from 正氣堂集; "Compilation of Vital Energy"? Is the original quotation in Chinese online anywhere?
 
Mar 2012
4,324
#98
I found the price of wheat in India in 1697 its around 0.87 rupee per mound in Rajastan, this would mean that in 1697, the Indian revenue was 386,246,802 rupees = 14.3 billion liters of grain. Whether Rajastan represented the grain price of India is another question however as Indian grain market isn't as integrated as Europe or China's.

http://www.iisg.nl/hpw/papers/haider.pdf

Considering Akbar's revenue was around 142 million rupees, it would be roughly 5 billion liters of grain equivalent.

According to Liu Guanlin's estimate the late Ming had roughly 4.2 billion liters of grain (early Ming had around 4.7 billion liters), and the early Qing probably had a comparable amount around 3.6-4.0 billion liters.

So late Ming and Mughal under Akbar probably had a comparable revenue.

However, there is no unified price of wheat across different Indian provinces (and neither are Chinese price in the late Ming), so these estimates are in no way exhaustive.
 
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Aug 2014
1,126
pakistan
#99
Civic fanatic's data about Mughal army is incorrect. Just from Bangash division of Kabul province, Mughals were recruiting 94,000 soldiers. From Ain-i-AKbari
 

mingming

Ad Honorem
Feb 2011
4,742
Los Santos, San Andreas
I found the price of wheat in India in 1697 its around 0.87 rupee per mound in Rajastan, this would mean that in 1697, the Indian revenue was 386,246,802 rupees = 14.3 billion liters of grain. Whether Rajastan represented the grain price of India is another question however as Indian grain market isn't as integrated as Europe or China's.

http://www.iisg.nl/hpw/papers/haider.pdf

Considering Akbar's revenue was around 142 million rupees, it would be roughly 5 billion liters of grain equivalent.

According to Liu Guanlin's estimate the late Ming had roughly 4.2 billion liters of grain (early Ming had around 4.7 billion liters), and the early Qing probably had a comparable amount around 3.6-4.0 billion liters.

So late Ming and Mughal under Akbar probably had a comparable revenue.

However, there is no unified price of wheat across different Indian provinces (and neither are Chinese price in the late Ming), so these estimates are in no way exhaustive.
You posted this from another thread but it was brought up here:

"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."

I'm wondering how did you get 35 cannons for every 1,000 soldiers from 80,000 soldiers and 300 cannons? Wouldn't that mean there would be ~2,800 cannons then?