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

Mar 2012
4,324
Typo, and I repeated it, it should be 3.5, the Galdan campaign was actually under gunned, however, most Qing armies in late 18th century interior regions of China were armed with over 30 cannons of various types per regiment. However, most of these were much smaller traditional Chinese cannons. The Qing campaigns in the northwest in the 18th century were typically armed with two types of cannons, the Zimu and the Weiyuan Pao, the former is about half pounds swivel gun and the later is about 2 pounds Hongyi cannon and the Qing was usually equipped with 10 cannons per 1,000.
According to the Qing Shilu, in the Zunghar campaign of 1757, the military commissioner of Shanxi and Gansu suggested to equip every 100 Qing soldiers with 75 muskets (a mixture of arquebus and flintlock), 20 bows, and 5 cannon operators, with one Wei Yuan cannon (2 pounders). The pacifying force was eventually 30,000 in size with 150,000 horses (each soldier had 5 mounts and capable of carrying 80 days of ration by themselves because of these mounts, an infantry typically carry only 3 days of ration by themselves).

The Zimu is the Chinese equivalent of the Zamburak used in Persia and the Mughal empire, both of which also had about 10 cannons per regiment, mounted on camels. These were smaller but more mobile than the two 3 pounders present in most European regiments of the time. In conclusion, early 18th century Asian cannons were more suited for mobile open warfare whereas European cannons were more suitable for infantry exchange fire.
 
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civfanatic

Ad Honorem
Oct 2012
3,305
Des Moines, Iowa
I would like to clarify some of the figures that heavenlykhagan quoted from me in the OP. Basically, all of the military personnel in Mughal India could be grouped in one of three broad classes:

1) The military personnel recruited and paid directly by the central imperial establishment. These troops constituted the Mughal emperor's personal military strength, and were paid using revenues from the imperial crownlands (khalisa), which were administered directly by the imperial revenue officers.

2) The military personnel recruited and paid by the mansabdars, who were aristocrats that were appointed by the Mughal emperor and received the right to revenues for the maintenance of their military contingents. The mansabdars received land grants (jagirs), and they used the revenue from the granted lands to render their service obligations to the emperor. Much of the land revenue in the Mughal empire was allocated to the mansabdars, with only a small portion of land revenue held by the Emperor himself.

3) The military personnel recruited and paid by the various local zamindars (landholders) and petty kings or rajas, who held hereditary estates of various sizes in all of the Mughal subas (provinces). The aggregate total of the military personnel recruited and maintained by these local potentates was the largest of the three classes of troops. When the Mughal empire collapsed in the early 18th century, many of these local zamindars and rajas carved out their own independent states, such as the Jat princely state of Bharatpur. Indeed, in one sense the Mughal emperor could be viewed as just the greatest zamindar out of a collection of many zamindars of various sizes, with the khalisa lands forming the emperor's watan (personal landholding). Of course, this view doesn't capture the true extent of the Mughal emperor's authority, since the Mughal emperor also had control over the mansabdars, which were non-hereditary positions and therefore dependent on the emperor for appointment.


In the information provided in the OP, the number of cavalry recorded for each province (which I took from the Ain-e-Akbari) pertains to the third class of military personnel in the above classification scheme. It is important to keep in mind that these troops were NOT loyal to the Mughal emperor or imperial establishment. They were loyal to their own patrimonial lord on whom they were dependent.

In the above classification scheme, the classes of military personnel that could be considered "imperial" troops would be the first two classes: the troops of the central military establishment, and the troops of the mansabdars or service nobility. The first class was always quite small. Under Akbar, only about 24,000 men were maintained directly by the imperial establishment, and even at the zenith of the Mughal empire in the mid-17th century, only 47,000 men were recruited and paid for directly by the Mughal crown. The vast majority of the "imperial" forces were recruited and maintained by the mansabdars. During the reign of Shah Jahan, the mansabdars numbered 8,000 and commanded 185,000 cavalry. Quoting from Military Manpower, Armies, and Warfare in South Asia by Kaushik Roy:





Because the mansabdars provided the bulk of the empire's military forces, the mansabdars also were responsible for the bulk of state expenditures, usually over 80% of the total. In the table that was posted in the OP, you can see that during the fiscal year 1595-96, some 80.95 million rupees were consumed by the mansabdars out of a total expenditure of 94.6 million rupees, while only 8.97 million rupees were consumed by the central military establishment.
 
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Mar 2012
4,324
So, basically, the standing Mughal army was only around 240,000? That seem to be less than half the size of the Ming army, and less than a third that of the Qing but somehow the Mughal expenditure was more than twice those of theirs. So it seems the soldiers are much better paid or unless the Mughal revenue are also feeding the armies of the landholders. If so, how much revenue is used to maintain the imperial controlled armies alone?
 
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civfanatic

Ad Honorem
Oct 2012
3,305
Des Moines, Iowa
So, basically, the standing Mughal army was only around 240,000? That seem to be less than half the size of the Ming army, and less than a third that of the Qing but somehow the Mughal expenditure was more than twice those of theirs. So it seems the soldiers are much better paid or unless the Mughal revenue are also feeding the armies of the landholders.
Yes, Mughal soldiers, particularly the suwars (cavalrymen), were extremely well-paid. Indeed, Mughal cavalrymen might have been the best-paid regular soldiers in the entire world during the late 16th and 17th centuries. In the table posted in the OP showing imperial expenditures for fiscal year 1595-96, some 50.97 million rupees (over half of the total expenditures) were allocated for the payment of the suwars of the mansabdars. As a point of comparison, a Mughal cavalryman was paid about three times more than a cavalryman in the neighboring Safavid empire, and the Safavids themselves gave their troops quite high salaries. Quoting from p.127 of India before Europe by Cynthia Talbot and Catherine Asher:




If so, how much revenue is used to maintain the imperial controlled armies alone?
That information can be found in the table posted in the OP. A sum of 80.95 million rupees was consumed by mansabdars, and 8.97 million rupees by the central military establishment. The troops of the various local potentates were not considered part of the imperial military forces and were not supported using imperial revenues (neither the revenue from the crownlands nor the revenue from jagirs given by the emperor to leading aristocrats). The troops of local potentates were entirely supported using local revenues.
 
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Mar 2015
838
Europe
So, the Mogul army was:
under Akbar, ahadi force of 12 000 horse and 12 000 foot
under Jahan, ahadi force of 7000 horse and 40 000 foot, plus mansabdari force of 193 000 horse
Correct?
Also, a military budget is offered for Akbar, the force unspecified, while for Jahan, the force is specified, but budget is not?
 
Mar 2012
4,324
How would Ming cavalry fare compared to European lancers then(not caracole gun units), like those spanish lancers did at the battle of mookerheyde?

How would Ming infantry fare against Eurpean lancers?

A bit of a tangent, but I thought the caracole tactics cuirassiers became popular because they were able to defeat heavily armored lancers like the French gendarmes. So why would they eventually be phased out in favor of lancers?
I was more comparing the role of the European pistol with mounted archers as lancers did exist in both armies, and it also depended on which European army we are talking about. The point was that pistol riders were vulnerable to lancers when they are loading, something that mounted archers does not suffer; whether the pistol rider itself could beat lancers in combat had long been a debated topic.

I would assume both the Ming and Mughal cavalry fought in similar ways to Central Asian cavalries:

"Central Asian style cavalry was trained to employ a much more destructive version of the European caracole. In this maneuver a unit of mounted archers would spread out into a long line of smaller groups and then proceed in a circular path in front of an enemy formation. Each group fired seeral volleys of arrows as it passed within range of the enemy and then moved on to be repaced by the next. Another variant of this tactic involved ranks of mounted archers firing and retreating to be replaced by the line behind the in a manner reminiscent of the Western-style infantry countermarch. They kept the enemy under steady fire, but their constant movement and open order made individual troopers more difficult targets for return fire. The down time they spent at the far side of a circuit or in the back ranks out of range of the target allowed them to consere both their stamina and their ammunition. In more sustained engagements they might also get a chance to grab fres quivers of arrows, brought out to them by horsemen specifically assigned to that duty. "

The Mughal Empire at War: Babur, Akbar and the Indian Military Revolution, Andrew de la Garza p.87



Late Ming cavalry had lots of Mongol units that undoubtly performed the same tactics; but it also had mounted firearms like the Europeans.
Mounted pistols exist in Qing armies as well, but the Manchus preferred mounted archery far more and in several paintings we had of Qing conquest of Xinjiang, the Manchu cavalry was depicted completely as mounted archers defeating the mounted Uighur gunmen:







American plains Indians also considered mounted archery more effective than guns.


“To the Eastern Indians, single-shot muzzle loading firearms proved superior to bows because they were more accurate with greater range. On the wide-open Plains, however, where travel and fighting were usually done from horseback, the white frontiersmen suffered a distinct disadvantage with their single shot weapons, since a muzzle loader was virtually impossible to reload from the back of a running horse. Any time white settlers were caught in the open and could not get to cover, they delivered one shot apiece and then were generally cut to pieces by the rapid-fire arrows. In fact, until the introduction of the repeating Walker revolver by Samuel Colt in 1839, the Plains Indians were much better armed for mobile combat than the white frontiersmen. The revolvers, and later the repeating Spencer and Henry rifles from the Civil War, finally swung the tide of firepower away from the Indians.”

"Bows & Arrows of the Native Americans: A Step-By-Step Guide to Wooden Bows" p.20 - Jim Hamm


Also, I suspect that mounted firearms in both the Ming and Qing army was largely carried by Chinese cavalrymen who were inferior in mounted archery to the nomads. Manchus and Mongols themselves in both the Ming and Qing cavalry however, preferred using the "Manchu bow", which had a range of 60 meters (slightly superior to the pistol and three eyed gun). The average draw force would be around 70-80 lb producing around 109-130 J of energy.
(Also I've seen depictions of Qing cavalrymen carrying a lance, a pistol AND a bow at the same time, showing that these units were highly skilled in multi-tasking.)

That's around 40% the penetration power of the infantry arquebus. I assume the pistol would be less powerful than the arquebus and I wonder if anyone have stats in regard to cavalry pistols. If these pistols were not significantly more powerful than the Manchu bow, it is understandably a vastly inferior weapon to a trained mounted archer.
 
Mar 2012
4,324
As I posted elsewhere, Williams gave a wheel lock handgun an energy output of 917 J at a muzzle velocity only slightly greater than 430 m/s, a typical Manchu mounted archer could pull at least 80 lb and would fire around 130 J of energy. This is roughly equivalent to 780 J of a musket in penetration power, and not significantly lower than the typical mounted pistol. A fairly strong Qing mounted archer pulling 7-8 stone bow (93-106 lb) would have matched the mounted pistol in power, but could fire much faster volleys. This was why mounted archers were still the basis of Manchu military might.


Also, a few comments from observing the flintlock and matchlock. The flintlock itself has no significant inherent speed advantage over the matchlock. The only difference in loading is the part where in a matchlock when you press the trigger, the matcharm swung down several inches into the priming pan to ignite the powder for the trail burned into the main charge, whereas in a flintlock you pull the trigger and the sparks hit the powder almost instantly. The difference in speed here is probably no more than a split second, but this probably gave the flintlock an edge in accuracy because of a shorter lock time. The only possible speed advantage for the flintlock is that this improved the reliability of the arm, so you do not have to reignite it from failed ignition, especially in rainy or windy weather with its weatherproof pan cover over the priming powder.

From Matchlock to Flintlock - History Is Fun


The idea that flintlocks fired faster than old arquebuses has more to do with changing military tactics than the technology itself.
Muskets in the 18th century used paper cartridges and looser fitting undersized ball to make loading easier and faster for volley fire with less regard for accuracy. This enabled 18th century flintlocks to fire around 3 shots a minute, and possibly 4 whereas arquebuses tend to fire no more than 2 and the Japanese arquebus with the Hayago might have fired even faster than the flintlock.

On the other hand, 18th century flintlocks are actually less accurate than 16th century arquebuses as primary sources of the day seem to suggest. The idea that muskets are less accurate than archery also comes from early 19th century disparaged writings of these weapons.


However, things were different in the 16th century. There were records of target practices in 16th century that had high accuracy rate at as far as 200 yards. Chinese sources also confirm that arquebuses were far more accurate than bows.
Qi Jiguan talks about target practices for arquebus at 100 paces, or 120 meters and how its superior in accuracy to the bow. At 80 paces, the soldier was expected to land 1/3 shots as standard:
利能洞甲,射能命中,弓矢弗及也
...
凡铳把,必以百步为准。每把六人为一班。鸣锣一声,一人举放,大铳以长声喇叭一声举放一位,大铳每人以三发为止。鸟铳快枪,每人以六发为止,报名下筹,俱照射箭例。凡鸟铳手,须眼看两照星,铳去不动手,不转头,又中多者为上,打放如式而中少者次之,转头摇手,虽中而在下等。



Jixiao Xinshu states arquebus starts firing at 100 paces (120 meters), when the enemy advances "whenever a trumpet blows a long sound, one volley is fired":
俱伏已毕,候近贼百步之内,中军放铳一个,吹长声喇叭,鸟铳手在前打铳, 每长声喇叭一声,打放一层,只至擂鼓而止。


The Shenqi Pu written by Zhao Shizhen also said that
"The arquebus is 10 times more accurate than a hand cannon and 5 times more accurate than bows and arrows"

鸟铳命中十倍快枪,五倍弓矢


The Shilv by Fan Jingwen also recorded the same thing:

"Because it can land 8-9 out of 10 times, even shooting down flying birds in the forest, the name (bird gun) was given to it. This is why the arquebus is a powerful weapon. The accuracy of the arquebus is something that bows and arrows cannot compare. The arquebus can penetrate heavy armor, no matter how strong it is, nothing can resist it."
故十发有八九中,即飞鸟之在林,皆可射落,因是得名,此鸟铳之所以为利器也。此鸟铳之所以较中,虽弓矢弗如也,此鸟铳之所以洞重铠而无坚可御也.


The difference between 16th century arquebus rate of fire and accuracy and 18th century musket fire is hence more due to a tactical preference. The flintlock muskets like the brown bess is not that significant and decisive of an advantage over the matchlock arquebus itself. This makes it doubtful whether even 18th century European musketeers were significantly more effective than Japanese arquebusiers against Manchu or Mongol cavalry without cannon in the quation.
 
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Dec 2015
26
California
there was a lecture about this period at USC a while back i believe. the lecturer mentioned how during the Imjin war, Korea started with 100,000 military, growing to about twice that size by the peak, Ming sent over originally 60,000 after hesidation due to disbelief that Japan would attack Ming ((but first needs to control Korea). Japan had a force of ~150,000 + many many ships and weaponry.

the Spanish Armada which was also roughly during this time, said to be the greatest in the world (western world) was a dwarf compared to the numbers between China Korea and Japan during this time. when the Spanish Armada tried to take England, a "huge" force of 55,000 men greeted them. Europe's big wars would have had armies totalling in mmaybe 100,000. while the 3 countries in east Asia would have had armies in the hundreds of thousands, about 5 times the size not including drafted citizens which would have made it nearly 10 times the scale of european wars during that time.
 
Jan 2015
1,309
meo
there was a lecture about this period at USC a while back i believe. the lecturer mentioned how during the Imjin war, Korea started with 100,000 military, growing to about twice that size by the peak, Ming sent over originally 60,000 after hesidation due to disbelief that Japan would attack Ming ((but first needs to control Korea). Japan had a force of ~150,000 + many many ships and weaponry.

the Spanish Armada which was also roughly during this time, said to be the greatest in the world (western world) was a dwarf compared to the numbers between China Korea and Japan during this time. when the Spanish Armada tried to take England, a "huge" force of 55,000 men greeted them. Europe's big wars would have had armies totalling in mmaybe 100,000. while the 3 countries in east Asia would have had armies in the hundreds of thousands, about 5 times the size not including drafted citizens which would have made it nearly 10 times the scale of european wars during that time.
And it's not even matter simply because European countries beat the **** out of the more numerous Ottoman so many times with a much smaller army similar to how many people before that ****ed the Middle East in the ass over and over with an ant size army.
 
Sep 2016
15
Mordor
Spain never really fully mobilized for the invasion of England, I am pretty sure even the army of Flanders didn't send over their full strength. Spain had a lot more troops in the mainland and southern Italy, all in all it managed to field 300,000 soldiers during the 30 years war which happened a few decades later.

Imjin war landings happened in waves where as the Spanish attempted a crossing in one move. The Spaniards probably would have won the war if they were in a position to do this.