Logistics and structures of ancient armies??

Mar 2012
4,226
Haevenly Kaghan, I don't remember the whole discussion very well, but I red some of my previous posts and they seem to already answer your newest post.



And previously I said:
As you can see, European armies did not need forced extractions. They did it only far away from their borders. As for Qing, they sometimes bought something from the Mongols, but they usually took food with them and then returned to their borders to resupply. Sometimes happened that an army abroad was waiting for supplies, but it seems that
1. Usually it was a small army.
2. The distance from the border was not particularly large, though I'm not sure about all the cases.
3. The Chinese handled it worse than the Russians.
I'm repeating myself. And people wonder why I post the same thing like a broken record. I will only use Kangxi's campaign in 1696 to make it simple as the figures cited by Perdue here are very straight forward.
To quote Perdue, "Military Mobilization in Seventeenth and Eighteenth-Century China, Russia, and Mongolia":

"The Central Army, 37,000 men led by Kangxi himself, would travel from Beijing 1100 kilometers across the Gobi desert; the East Route army would leave from Shengjing (Fengtian) with 35,000 men and head for the Kerulen, a distance of traveling 1300 kilometers; the West Route army of 35,000 men would set out from Guihua in Ningxia and travel a shorter route of 900-1100 km to the Tula River."

So to counter your points:

1) Kangxi's 1696 campaign was with 107,000 soldiers.


2) The distance for the campaign of 1696 is divided into three routes with the Central Army 37,000 in strength marching 1100 km across the Gobi; the East Route with 35,000 traveling 1300 KM, and the west Route army of 35,000 traveling 900-1100 km to the Tula River. This is over 1100 KM. The distance in the Zunghar campaign of 1755 was from Hami to Ili, which is 1,275 KM (you assume it stopped at Gansu when it went much further than that).


3) No.

To quote Brian Davies' Warfare, State and Society on the Black Sea Steppe, 1500-1700:
"To lead a column of 132,000 Muscovite troops and support personnel and
100,000 horses from the banks of the Samara across 300 km of empty steppe was
an enormous logistical challenge."


The Zunghar campaigns travelled over a thousand miles in foreign lands for over a year. Kangxi's 1696 campaign with 107,000 soldiers might have only lasted 3-4 months, but it was still divided into three routes with the Central Army 37,000 in strength marching 1100 km across the Gobi; the East Route with 35,000 traveling 1300 KM, and the west Route army of 35,000 traveling 900-1100 km to the Tula River; as opposed to the 132,000 Russians in the 1687 Crimean campaign divided into 5 routes that only traveled less than 300 KM on the steppe for barely three months.

Perdue doesn't give evidence to disprove that. Everything you quoted is so vague that it can't prove your point.
How are the numbers above vague?
They are so precise I wonder whether you've even read the entirety of Perdue's article before responding.

Since I posted them several times, and it seems you still didn't catch them, let me put it in simpler words:

1) Army Size:

Qing: 107,000 Russia: 132,000

2) Distance:

Qing: 1100 + KM Russia: less than 300 KM (only part of the army reached that distance too)

3) Duration:

Qing: 99 days Russia: less than 3 months








And if by "supply depots in foreign lands" you mean that the Qing supllied the foreign depots by buying food from the local population on foreign territory, then you are talking about something which was not an achievement at all. Everybody did that. Only if Qing sent food from inside their borders to the foreign depots, it would be an achievement, but as I said, Poles and Russians did it too.
I don't know whether its because you are not putting in enough effort at reading the sources presented, or just isn't capable of grasping their main points.

Europe:

"Therefore many armies, including that of France when it moved beyond its depots continued to live off of the land well into the eighteenth century. In such cases the army increasingly used a system pioneered by the Spanish Army of Flanders in the 1570s and perfected during the Thirty Years War...it aimed to limit soldiers' pillage of a region...in this system armies extracted regular payments in money or kind from a region under threat of force. In return for the Kontributions, occupying commanders promised to safeguard the region from violence by their soldiers...Sometimes armies' demands exceeded a locale's ability to pay, and soldiers resorted to seizing forcibly what they wished or took hostages to assure final payment - as did the Swedes in 1631 when they evacuated Munich with a third of their Kontribution, unpaid. Sometimes, too, an army might be driven from an area after it had collected what it needed, only to be replaced by its opponents with fresh demands on civilians. The system could thus still be extremely costly for inhabitants and have long-term consequences, due to the period's recurring warfare. In the prosperous Basse-Meuse region the cost of Kontributions doubled - and sometimes tripled-the nomal levels of taxes in the 1690s, a burden from which the area nonetheless recovered eventually. In economically less strong areas, like Nordlingen in Germany, early modern military exactions contributed to long-term decline."

Violence in Early Modern Europe 1500-1800 p.64

Europeans required forced contributions in foreign territory which caused long term economic decline in places like Nordlingen Germany.


The Qing:

"The campaign of 1755-60 drew most of their grain supplies from Gansu, and the army purchased its supplies on the market. The local effect was to drive prices up by a factor of three, but so far as I know at this point, no major subsistence crisis ensued. Mobilization of ever-normal granary stocks, plus relief campaigns, combined with the more important impact of the private grain market to ensure regular flows of grain following established marketing links. In this way, the establishment of the commercial grain economy of the Northwest served as the foundation for the conquest of Inner Asia. "

"my current limited and rather chauvinist impression is that the Qing state was much more successful than Muscovy. Russian state provisioning remained almost exclusively military; there seems to have been no concern about sparing the civilian population the burdens of provisioning or with giving it regular relief. The Muscovite grain trade had such a low level of commercialization that market purchases only rarely proved possible. Agricultural yields improved in the southern region, but at the cost of the extension of serfdom. "


Gansu bore the burden of the Zunghar campaign (NOT Xinjiang, so the comparison with Xinjiang is invalid, even though Xinjiang is the foreign territory, Gansu was the province that was taxed).

Peter Perdue. "Military Mobilization in Seventeenth and Eighteenth-Century China, Russia, and Mongolia"
 
Mar 2012
4,226
1. You claimed that Perdue did not write anything about retreating in the winter. It doesn't matter if the Qing stayed for the winter a few times in their campaigns. What matters, is that you say that Perdue said one thing, when he clearly said the opposite thing. As far as I remember, you said, that Perdue never mentioned a single instance when the Qing retreated in winter. But I showed you that he talked about at least 2 specific examples and he even used words "yearly winter withdrawal" suggesting that the Qing never stayed for winter.
You are talking about two entirely different campaigns. Read the sources (not glancing over it) before responding.




2. As I said, Perdue counts Gansu and Inner Mongolia as foreign territory. But they were completely subjugated by Qing, so for me they don't count as foreign lands.
Inner Mongolia is largely barren territory, so whether its subjugated by the Qing is hardly relevant when there are no population to provide food for the army (part of the Pontic steppe was also subjugated by Russia, so the comparison with the Crimean campaign of 1687 is still valid). As for Gansu, you missed Perdue's point, Gansu was compared because it was the province that took the burden of supplying the Qing army, Xinjiang, foreign territory which the Qing marched over at the time, from Hami to Kashgar with a distance of some 1800 KM, did not provide anything. Besides, Perdue also gave the 1696 Qing campaign in Mongolia a distance of over 1000 KM on average across the Gobi with 107,000 soldiers, lasting 3-4 months.

Previously I said:
It seems that according to Perdue, the incredible achievement of Chinese logistics was not the ability to maintain an army on foreign soil, only the ability to move and maintain the army on its own land. It is a bit ridiculous that he thinks that Europe has failed to do the same and that he thinks that European local populations suffered more than Chinese. The usual march of the army caused a crisis in China, small, but still.
Mongolia and Xinjiang are not held by the Qing in the campaigns of 1696 and 1750s, you should read the article carefully, and get a basic grasp of the historical background for these campaigns.

I already summed up Perdue's points and you have not addressed any of them:

1) large government granaries in the Qing which can stabilize the local economy so soldiers could purchase locally.

2) a large private granary market where soldiers could buy grain from merchants locally or from merchants accompanying the army. This can be done because of the high degree of an integrated commercialized agrarian economy combined with government interference on the economy.

3) the diet of Qing soldiers was lighter and hence easier to carry. Qing soldiers only needed an average of 1.08 pounds of bread and noodles and 1.85 ounces of meat per man per day, compared to more than two pounds of bread per day for European soldiers. This along with other dietary products and animal meat on the steppe to purchase, mean Qing soldiers could be fed with just half the weight of the food that typical European soldiers are feeding off of, meaning lighter logistics.

4) larger grazing area for the horses because of the larger size of the Mongolian steppe that the Qing army marched over.


Do you want me to cite the exact places these facts are covered in Perdue's article? I've already done that throughout this thread, and everyone is already getting tired of me posting the same things over and over.


And I think you don't understand what Perdue means by "The campaigns of 1755-60 included three main armies, totalling 50,000 men each, who stayed on each campaign for one to two years. "
It seems that he actually said that there were three campaigns, each one lasted for 1-2 years and each had 50,000 men. So the Qing main armies never had more than 50,000 men in total during those campaigns. One 50,000 men army started a campaign and then it disbanded and another 50,000 men army was formed.
I went back to examine the Qing Shilu, and it seems this is the only part where you are right, the campaigns were three separate armies of 50,000 each (I recall Perdue mentioning the figure 150,000 elsewhere in China Marches West, he might have been referring to another campaign). However, just about everything else you said are wrong. To quote Perdue's same article:
"In 1754/5 he(Qianlong) decided on a major military expedition, the first of the Three Great Campaigns waged in Central Asia. Thirty thousand men in the Northern Route set out from Ulitarsutai, with Amursana as assistant commander, while twenty thousand men in the West Route army left from Hami and Barkul. They defeated Dawaci at the Ili River, captured him drunk, and delivered him to Qianlong in Beijing on 1755/10/17."

In another word, the above shows that the Qing army campaigned from the May of 1754 to the October of 1755, a total of around 17 months, in foreign Zunghar territory. They marched from Uliyasutai and Hami to Ili (a distance of 1275 KM). The second and third Qing campaigns went even further into Kashgar and the rest of the Tarim (one small offshoot even reached Tashkent).


By "stayed on campaign" Perdue doesn't mean that the army stayed on enemy territory, or even in Gansu. He only says that the soldiers were not sent to their homes and families before 1-2 years have passed.
This is clearly not what Perdue meant, and I think the problem is that you are simply not familiar with where the Zunghars are geographically located, which is leading you to make some comical errors. The Qing was campaigning against the Zunghars and the Tarim Basin in Xinjiang. The Qing only controlled up to Hami at the time, and the distance between Hami and Ili is 1275 KM and to Kashgar is 1,790 KM. The Qing army didn't stay in Gansu, they stayed in the even further away territory of the Zunghars in Xinjiang.

Other than the quote from Perdue provided above, I have no idea why you believe in your farfetched interpretation when Perdue's article also stated it clearly multiple times elsewhere what it means: "The ability to supply up to fifty thousand soldiers for several years with grain, meat, weapons, and horses transported over thousands of miles of steppe, desert, and steep mountains represented an amazing feat of organization. By contrast, European armies at this time wriggled instead of marching on their stomachs."
or "Not until the Qianlong emperor broke through the logistical barrier by constructing a suppoy route leading through the Gansu corridor into Xinjiang could the Chinese support large armies in the steppe for several years at a time."

These armies were in Zunghar steppe territory for several years, not in Qing territory.

3." Even Napoleon and the German army faced difficulties in the Russian winter and was forced to retreat, does that mean they cannot campaign there? "

Right, they couldn't campaign in Russia in winter. And that shows that their logistics was worse than Polish and Russian logistics during Polish-Russian wars.
No, it shows that the conditions of the time (including more powerful opponent) limited the French and German advances. If you honestly think that modern mechanized logistics with trucks, cars, trains, and even air support is worse than Polish and Russian logistics of the 17th century that have trouble marching 300 KM with horses, you are more delusional than I thought. Also, considering the Russians couldn't even march for 3 months, they in fact couldn't march for the entire winter season, or even summer for that matter on the steppe. Lumping all winter campaigns together without specifying the location the campaign takes place is just lazy scholarship on your part.

In sum, the campaign of 1696 showed that the Qing force, with comparable numbers to the Russians, marched some 4 times the distance of barren steppe and completed their missions. The armies of 1755-1760, although having somewhat less than half the size of the Russian forces, marched 4-6 times the distance lasting over 4-8 times as long. All of this must also take consideration of the fact that the Russian 1687 Crimean campaign never reached its destination nor achieved its objective. Pre-19th century Russia has not demonstrated that it had the ability to even transport 100,000 soldiers to as far as 300 KM into the steppe.
 
Last edited:
Oct 2017
147
Poland
@heavenlykaghan



You mix so many different things that I don't know what you actually want to say. Do you even know what you want to say? Let's look at the following quote:


"The ability to supply up to fifty thousand soldiers for several years with grain, meat, weapons, and horses transported over thousands of miles of steppe, desert, and steep mountains represented an amazing feat of organization. By contrast, European armies at this time wriggled instead of marching on their stomachs."

or "Not until the Qianlong emperor broke through the logistical barrier by constructing a suppoy route leading through the Gansu corridor into Xinjiang could the Chinese support large armies in the steppe for several years at a time."


These armies were in Zunghar steppe territory for several years, not in Qing territory.

Please decide what you actually mean. Is that anything from the following 6 points?


1. The Chinese adopted the Mongolian logistics(eating horse meat and small amounts of grain + having a large number of pack horses with grain in the army on enemy territory), which allowed them to stay for many months(possibly for over a year) on an empty steppe with no deliveries of food. At the same time, French logistics would not allow an army to survive for one month on a steppe without deliveries from some depot.


I agree with that. But:

- Polish and Russian light cavalry also adopted Mongolian logistics and had the same abilities to survive on an empty steppe.

- Polish and Russian infantry and heavy cavalry were required to take up to 6 months worth of supplies with them(depending on specific campaign), so they could stay in a completely uninhabited area for up to 6 months if that was a necessity. That required a large number of wagons and slowed the army down. As I said, the light cavalry is a different story.


2. The Chinese built a chain of supply depots on their own territory. They built that in Gansu because Gansu alone didn't have enough food to supply an army. Only the Chinese did that and, for example, if Spanish army marched through it's own territory and villages they marched through didn't have food to suplly the army, that Spanish army would starve to death.


In reality, building chains of supply depots was a common thing in Europe. France had that, Spain had the famous Spanish Road and others had similar logistics as well. It's something you can read in all books and everybody knows that. If you argue against it, I will give you quotes one last time and if you still want to show me those other qoutes taken out of context again and you think they prove that France and Spain didn't have chains of supply depots, I have no more hope for you. Though I think we have already agreed on this point, because you started saying that France indeed had chains of depots/granaries, but it didn't send supplies to distant foreign depots/granaries, which leads me to the next point...


3. The Chinese army stayed for one year or longer at the distance of about 1,000 km away from Gansu or Inner Mongolia and during that time supplies were sent to them from Gansu or Inner Mongolia over that distance of 1,000 km. They didn't have any local food to buy or pillage and they didn't take enough food with them when they crossed the border so they survived on the supplies which have been sent to them later, when they were already 1,000 km away from the border.


That would be indeed an achivement and I don't say the Chinese didn't do it, but:


- The sources you provide don't state clearly that they did it.


"The Central Army, 37,000 men led by Kangxi himself, would travel from Beijing 1100 kilometers across the Gobi desert; " - Here Perdue measures the distance from Beijing, not from the border. And he doesn't say anything about staying far away from the border and waiting for supplies.


"The distance in the Zunghar campaign of 1755 was from Hami to Ili, which is 1,275 KM (you assume it stopped at Gansu when it went much further than that)." - Did they stay at Ili and wait for supplies from Hami? And I don't assume they stopped at Gansu, I have a hypothesis that they went back to Gansu (or at least it's proximity) before it snowed or they survived on Mongolian logistics or they found some supplies to buy/plunder on the enemy territory.


"Xinjiang, foreign territory which the Qing marched over at the time, from Hami to Kashgar with a distance of some 1800 KM, did not provide anything. " - Same problems here.


- Europeans did send supplies to armies waiting on enemy territory. The distances were not as large as 1,000 km from the border though.


- I found one case where Perdue describes a Chinese army waiting for supplies on an enemy territory, but as far as I remember the army was not as large as 50,000 men and the distance was a lot smaller than 1,000 km.


4. During Zunghar campaigns, the Chinese armies once or a few times stayed for 1 year or longer in enemy-controlled Xinjiang. In Xinjiang they didn't find any supplies except water and grass. No local merchants sold them anything. They had to take everything from Gansu(which was not a foreign territory).


Okay, but I have problems in bringing it together with the next point...


5. The difference between the Chinese and the European armies is that when the Chinese were on an enemy territory they could buy supplies from local merchants, which was a superior technique to forced extractions which were the only logistical technique known to Europeans.


That says three things: The Chinese were buying from people they invaded; Forced extractions were always worse than trade; Europeans never bought supplies form people they invaded;


- It collides with the point number 4.


- Forced extractions were a valid tactic when you wanted to destroy the enemy land or when other methods became impossible. I don't say that Europeans used forced extractions only in those cases, but you would have to analyze a scpecific European commander and then you could prove that that commander was bad at logistics. And I know both European commanders who were bad and those who were good at logistics.


- I think my sources already proved that Europeans often(maybe more often than not) tried to use all possibilities to supply their armies through trade. But to make your argument invalid I don't need to prove that much. I only need to show any examples of Europeans trading on an enemy land. And I can repeat some of what I qouted:

a) "On arriving at Smolensk the army would in fact

find most area foodstuffs already gathered up by the Poles for storage inside

Smolensk, the residue to be had only at astronomical prices;"

So they tried to trade, but there was not much to buy.


b) Top center on this picture:
They were buying supplies when they occupied a town.


I will also give you some new examples.


c) In "Moskwa 1612", Tomasz Bohun writes that Poles besiged in Moscow bought food from civilians closed in the siege. It sounds surprising that starving soldiers paid for food from people with whom they were closed in a besieged fortress together, but that was not the only such case. Rather, it was the norm. They also bought food from enemy soldiers(or people who pretended to be the enemy soldiers) who smuggled supplies for very high prices. In their memoirs, Żółkiewski and Maskiewicz write that before the siege, Poles were buying a lot from Russian merchants - but it should be noted that they speak about the time when Russia was not really an enemy territory, because it surrendered to Poles. Maskiewicz also mentions that before Russia surrendered, Russian peasants were transporting supplies to Polish camp. But I'm not sure if Poles bought that for market prices. At that time there was also another army in Russia, under False Dmitry II, they were kinda enemy towards each other, but apparently they traded a little, because Dmitry specifically forbade that. It's also worth noting that some of the Poles who besieged Smolensk, supplied themselves by cultivating the surrounding land with their own hands.


d) In "Chocim 1673", Damian Orłowski writes that Polish soldiers marching through Moldavia were buying supplies for such high prices that many of them started to plunder Moldavians. It made Moldavians afraid to bring food. Sobieski severely punished soldiers for that.


e) In "„Disciplina militaris” w wojskach Rzeczypospolitej Do połowy XVII wieku" Karol Łopatecki writes that in Moldavia in 1572, Polish commander issued a legal act regulating the behavior of soldiers. It ordered a purchase of food and forbade plundering and ravaging of the enemy land. Many soldiers were severely punished.


6. The difference between the Chinese and the European armies is that when the Chinese were on an enemy territory they forcefully extracted supplies, but they remunerated it with money. Europeans never gave any compensation.


Previous qoute:


but there would have to be controls upon their efforts

to supplement their stores by foraging lest they provoke resistance from the
rural population of Dorogobuzh and Smolensk districts and frustrate the aim of
“restoring” them to Muscovy. On arriving at Smolensk the army would in fact
find most area foodstuffs already gathered up by the Poles for storage inside
Smolensk, the residue to be had only at astronomical prices; purchasing would
therefore be abandoned for exactions remunerated at below market price.


And there are many more examples. It was a very common practice in many armies.


Of course, the contribution system didn't give any compensation, but you are wrong that the contribution system was the only way in which European armies supplied themselves in enemy land. That is very far from the truth.


Also, see the point no. 4.
 
Oct 2017
147
Poland
Perekop Campaigns:
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/uk/e/e7/S23.gif

You are talking about two entirely different campaigns.


Firstly, it doesn't matter. What matters is that you deceived me into thinking that Perdue never wrote anything about Qing being forced by winter conditions to turn back. At first I thought that I misunderstood him. The fact is that Perdue wrote that at least sometimes(maybe always, he didn't really specify) the Qing were forced to retreat because of winter conditions. But you pretended that Perdue never wrote that. You said:
"Are we even reading the same article? Where did you even get the information the Qing couldn't wage a winter war? "

"Where did Perdue write that Qing armies have to be withdrawn in winter? Cite it. "


That is: "You will not find Perdue writting anywhere that Qing armies had to be withdrawn in winter".


But they had to be withdrawn in winter and Perdue says that. Maybe sometimes they didn't, but there were times when they had to be withdrawn in winter and you lied to me that Perdue didn't write about it anywhere.


Secondly, if you are now trying to tell me that what you actually meant was "there were campaigns in which the Qing could wage a winter war and if you think that the Qing never waged a war in winter you should look at what Perdue wrote and you will see that there are times when he writes about retreating in winter, but there are also times when he doesn't write about it and that proves that the Qing sometimes fought in winter" - then it only shows how dishonest you are. I started the winter topic by saying that Perdue gave me data wich suggests the Qing were unable to wage winter war. In this situation, it would be appropriate to refer to what Perdue writes about withdrawal in the winter. Instead of doing that, you treated me in a condescending way and answered me with a question. You ask me to give a quote when you say you know Perdue so well. Then why do you need that quote? To show me my mistake or what? If you knew all of that, then you should have written it right away.


Thirdly, I still have doubts about Qing being able to fight in winter in Xinjiang. Perdue writes:

1. EACH YEAR the emperor was TEMPTED to campaign far into winter, but that would be DANGEROUS. It suggests that he never actually extended any campaign for that long. At least never in Xinjiang as for 1756, maybe he did that later or in campaigns in a different land.

2. In winter, they had problems feeding horses even in the capital.

3. In winter, it would be impossible for the Qing to reach Galdan's camp. They couldn't really march in winter, it seems.

4. Emperor's expectations to wage a winter war were UNREALISTIC.


part of the Pontic steppe was also subjugated by Russia

Yes. Before they marched through 300 km of enemy steppe, they had to march through many km (I don't know how many, maybe 200 km, maybe less, maybe a lot more) of their own steppe. And that wasn't the longest expedition of Russian armies in underpopulated areas. Later they went into Crimea and then they went to Moldavia. And you know, they also conquered Siberia.

"In 1754/5 he(Qianlong) decided on a major military expedition, the first of the Three Great Campaigns waged in Central Asia. Thirty thousand men in the Northern Route set out from Ulitarsutai, with Amursana as assistant commander, while twenty thousand men in the West Route army left from Hami and Barkul. They defeated Dawaci at the Ili River, captured him drunk, and delivered him to Qianlong in Beijing on 1755/10/17."


In another word, the above shows that the Qing army campaigned from the May of 1754 to the October of 1755, a total of around 17 months, in foreign Zunghar territory.

Eh... 17 months, according to the qoute, is the time which passed from the DECISION to start the campaign to the moment they went back to BEIJING. Not the time they spent in Xinjiang. I don't know for how long they were in Xinjiang, but not 17 months.


I think the problem is that you are simply not familiar with where the Zunghars are geographically located

I still have problems in understanding how exactly these campaigns looked like. Perdue tries to cover a very long period in very few words. And he's just one author - that's never enough. I hope that at least you have read more than one author on the matter. Because I would like to actually find out how those campaigns looked, but it seems like you only manipulate qoutes taken out of context. At least when you talk about European armies I know when you lie. And it's awful how you distort everything. You are fantasizing that Russians never reached Perekop and that they couldn't carry supplies for 3 months or more, you confuse the size of the army and there are several more misconceptions. Are you trying to deceive somebody here? Maybe yourself, to cultivate your ignorance? If you do, then please stop. I'm trying to help you.


Lumping all winter campaigns together without specifying the location the campaign takes place is just lazy scholarship on your part.

Please don't complain, you should not have lumped together Napoleon and Nazi Germany in the first place. I have so many objections to what you said(there is such a thing as The Polish–Soviet War 1919-21 and you assume I compare the technology...), but I just don't discuss it because we have to discuss other topics first. But yeah, Napoleon really failed in winter in the same places where armies campaigned and fought battles in snow during 16-17th century wars.
 
Mar 2012
4,226
@heavenlykaghan



You mix so many different things that I don't know what you actually want to say. Do you even know what you want to say? Let's look at the following quote:.
Just because I'm saying many things, doesn't mean they are not coherently organized, with the source origin cited, and the exact comparisons made.
I'm pretty sure most people following this thread carefully understands my points, as they are pretty straight forward. You are the only one who apparently have problem doing that, probably because you only read things half baked, without digesting the details, and considering you missed many parts of Perdue's article, it wouldn't surprise me in the least bit.

I compared the army size, distance marched, and duration of a campaign and demonstrated that the Qing outperformed Russia's marching distance by about 4 times. What is so hard to understand about these numbers on your part?



Please decide what you actually mean. Is that anything from the following 6 points?


1. The Chinese adopted the Mongolian logistics(eating horse meat and small amounts of grain + having a large number of pack horses with grain in the army on enemy territory), which allowed them to stay for many months(possibly for over a year) on an empty steppe with no deliveries of food. At the same time, French logistics would not allow an army to survive for one month on a steppe without deliveries from some depot.


I agree with that. But:

- Polish and Russian light cavalry also adopted Mongolian logistics and had the same abilities to survive on an empty steppe.

- Polish and Russian infantry and heavy cavalry were required to take up to 6 months worth of supplies with them(depending on specific campaign), so they could stay in a completely uninhabited area for up to 6 months if that was a necessity. That required a large number of wagons and slowed the army down. As I said, the light cavalry is a different story.
Except I quoted a source which shows the Russians weren't capable of supplying an army of over 100,000 on the steppe for 3 months.
Maybe reading the source on your part would make this conversation less repetitive. Since you seem to not even attempt to read sources carefully, I will do you a favor by providing you the exact pages:


To quote Brian Davies' Warfare, State and Society on the Black Sea Steppe, 1500-1700, p.178:

"To lead a column of 132,000 Muscovite troops and support personnel and
100,000 horses from the banks of the Samara across 300 km of empty steppe was
an enormous logistical challenge."


Furthermore,

"Over the course of 1686 a plan was developed for Golitsyn to lead a Muscovite-Urakinan army down the Vorskla and Dnepr to seize the Perekop isthmus, thereby pinning down the Tartars in Crimea while Ausrian troops engaged the Turks in Tramslyvania, the Poles invaded Moldavia, and the Venetians campaigned in Dalmatia. Golitsyn undertook two such expeditions against the Crimean Khanate, in 1687 and 1689. They have been widely if somewhat unfairly viewed as ignominious failures...

Delays in troop mobilizations held up Golitsyn's march from Akhtyrka until 2 May. This meant that he did not rendezvous with Samoilovich's force on the Samara River until 30 May, at the onset of the summer heat...On 13 June the army halted on the Konskie Vody to replenish its hay and water and beheld a great readish glow along the southern horizon: the Crimean Tatars had set fire to the steppe ahead to deprive the invaders of forage...The army's transport horses and cavalry mounts were too sick and exhausted to continue on, even though Perekop lay another 200 KM away-about six weeks' journey, at this pace-and no contact had yet been made with the enemy. On the following day a council of war made the decision to turn back."
Warfare, State and Society on the Black Sea Steppe, 1500–1700

The actual plan to sent 132,000 men 300 km into the steppe never succeeded, in reality the campaign only had 112,902 men in five corps marching around 100 km into the steppe for 15 days (a around trip would be less than 30 days). This is a much less impressive performance than Kangxi's army of 107,000 soldiers marching on average over 1100 km in three separate routes into the steppe.


In fact this is one of the largest campaign Russia conducted in that century. Most armies mobilized by Poland and Russia were no larger than 15,000-50,000.


If you have a source which shows the Russians have greater feats than that (that is, mobilizing larger armies, marching further distance for longer time), cite it. Right now, all you are doing is talking the talk, and not walking the walk.


2. The Chinese built a chain of supply depots on their own territory. They built that in Gansu because Gansu alone didn't have enough food to supply an army. Only the Chinese did that and, for example, if Spanish army marched through it's own territory and villages they marched through didn't have food to suplly the army, that Spanish army would starve to death.


In reality, building chains of supply depots was a common thing in Europe. France had that, Spain had the famous Spanish Road and others had similar logistics as well. It's something you can read in all books and everybody knows that. If you argue against it, I will give you quotes one last time and if you still want to show me those other qoutes taken out of context again and you think they prove that France and Spain didn't have chains of supply depots, I have no more hope for you. Though I think we have already agreed on this point, because you started saying that France indeed had chains of depots/granaries, but it didn't send supplies to distant foreign depots/granaries, which leads me to the next point...
No, the Qing also had a chain of supply depots in Zunghar territory, which is not Qing territory. The Qing did not control Ili when they invaded the Zunghars in 1755, they went no further than Hami. How many times do I have to repeat that? That line extended from Hami to Ili, well beyond Gansu at a distance of some 1300 km.




3. The Chinese army stayed for one year or longer at the distance of about 1,000 km away from Gansu or Inner Mongolia and during that time supplies were sent to them from Gansu or Inner Mongolia over that distance of 1,000 km. They didn't have any local food to buy or pillage and they didn't take enough food with them when they crossed the border so they survived on the supplies which have been sent to them later, when they were already 1,000 km away from the border.



That would be indeed an achivement and I don't say the Chinese didn't do it, but:


- The sources you provide don't state clearly that they did it.


"The Central Army, 37,000 men led by Kangxi himself, would travel from Beijing 1100 kilometers across the Gobi desert; " - Here Perdue measures the distance from Beijing, not from the border. And he doesn't say anything about staying far away from the border and waiting for supplies.
Raziel, you don't know basic Chinese and Mongolian geography do you? The Badaling portion of the Great Wall is in the outskirt of Beijing and only 70.9 KM from the center of the city. Marching out of that and Kangxi is already in steppe territory, with no population to pillage upon. If you read the entire article in context, its clear Perdue implied that compared to Qianlong's successful campaign in barren steppe territory for 1-2 years, Kangxi's limit was 99 days. Yet that is still much better than what the Russians accomplished in 1687.

"The distance in the Zunghar campaign of 1755 was from Hami to Ili, which is 1,275 KM (you assume it stopped at Gansu when it went much further than that)." -

Did they stay at Ili and wait for supplies from Hami? And I don't assume they stopped at Gansu, I have a hypothesis that they went back to Gansu (or at least it's proximity) before it snowed or they survived on Mongolian logistics or they found some supplies to buy/plunder on the enemy territory.
Except in no primary source of the time did it say they went back to Gansu. Perdue clearly didn't imply that given the context of his comment that this campaign "broke through the logistical barrier by constructing a suppoy route leading through the Gansu corridor into Xinjiang could the Chinese support large armies in the steppe for several years at a time", so your hypothesis has no basis other than your pre-conceived assumption.


"Xinjiang, foreign territory which the Qing marched over at the time, from Hami to Kashgar with a distance of some 1800 KM, did not provide anything. " - Same problems here.


- Europeans did send supplies to armies waiting on enemy territory. The distances were not as large as 1,000 km from the border though.
This was one of my points for the last few pages, and it took you this long to catch because you didn't put in effort at reading. European armies generally didn't march beyond 80 KM into barren land, and even the Russians didn't march as far as 300 KM. This is demonstrated in the sources you brought up yourself.

- I found one case where Perdue describes a Chinese army waiting for supplies on an enemy territory, but as far as I remember the army was not as large as 50,000 men and the distance was a lot smaller than 1,000 km.
You'll need to be a lot more specific than this. If you are not even going to provide the background of the campaign and the objectives then its meaningless as a sample.
 
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Mar 2012
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5. The difference between the Chinese and the European armies is that when the Chinese were on an enemy territory they could buy supplies from local merchants, which was a superior technique to forced extractions which were the only logistical technique known to Europeans.


That says three things: The Chinese were buying from people they invaded; Forced extractions were always worse than trade; Europeans never bought supplies form people they invaded;
The Europeans didn't buy them, they forced contributions, that is taking things without paying. The Qing army paid for them. I believe that is very clearly implied in the sources I cited.


- It collides with the point number 4.
No it doesn't. There were three campaigns of 1755-1760, the second and third one were not directed towards the steppe, but towards the sedentary city states of the Tarim Basin.


- Forced extractions were a valid tactic when you wanted to destroy the enemy land or when other methods became impossible. I don't say that Europeans used forced extractions only in those cases, but you would have to analyze a scpecific European commander and then you could prove that that commander was bad at logistics. And I know both European commanders who were bad and those who were good at logistics.
The point isn't that it can destroy the enemy land, its the fact that the European armies of the time cannot march far without such means. If you say otherwise, you'll need to cite a source where any European armies marched in enemy territory without forced extractions and survived for many months.


- I think my sources already proved that Europeans often(maybe more often than not) tried to use all possibilities to supply their armies through trade. But to make your argument invalid I don't need to prove that much. I only need to show any examples of Europeans trading on an enemy land. And I can repeat some of what I qouted:

a) "On arriving at Smolensk the army would in fact

find most area foodstuffs already gathered up by the Poles for storage inside

Smolensk, the residue to be had only at astronomical prices;"

So they tried to trade, but there was not much to buy...

You are missing the point entirely. I repeat, no one said there was no European trade at all on enemy land. However, that is not enough by itself to feed the army.

Sometimes armies' demands exceeded a locale's ability to pay, and soldiers resorted to seizing forcibly what they wished or took hostages to assure final payment - as did the Swedes in 1631 when they evacuated Munich with a third of their Kontribution, unpaid. Sometimes, too, an army might be driven from an area after it had collected what it needed, only to be replaced by its opponents with fresh demands on civilians. The system could thus still be extremely costly for inhabitants and have long-term consequences, due to the period's recurring warfare.

In contrast:

"The campaign of 1755-60 drew most of their grain supplies from Gansu, and the army purchased its supplies on the market. The local effect was to drive prices up by a factor of three, but so far as I know at this point, no major subsistence crisis ensued. Mobilization of ever-normal granary stocks, plus relief campaigns, combined with the more important impact of the private grain market to ensure regular flows of grain following established marketing links. In this way, the establishment of the commercial grain economy of the Northwest served as the foundation for the conquest of Inner Asia. "



It's not so much that you need to show European trade in enemy territory to refute Perdue's point, you need to show that the Qing armies had policies forcing contributions at all and compare their numbers to prove your point, which you didn't do.



6. The difference between the Chinese and the European armies is that when the Chinese were on an enemy territory they forcefully extracted supplies, but they remunerated it with money. Europeans never gave any compensation.
And that is the fundamental point Perdue is making.

The difference between places "like Nordlingen in Germany, (where) early modern military exactions contributed to long-term decline" and Gansu, where "no major subsistence crisis ensued" is a blatant result of such differences that Perdue wanted to demonstrate.





Of course, the contribution system didn't give any compensation, but you are wrong that the contribution system was the only way in which European armies supplied themselves in enemy land. That is very far from the truth.


Also, see the point no. 4.
Strawman argument. I never said the contribution system was the only way in which European armies supplied themselves, and I made that very clearly in my previous posts. You just didn't read them carefully, like usual.
 
Mar 2012
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Firstly, it doesn't matter. What matters is that you deceived me into thinking that Perdue never wrote anything about Qing being forced by winter conditions to turn back. At first I thought that I misunderstood him. The fact is that Perdue wrote that at least sometimes(maybe always, he didn't really specify) the Qing were forced to retreat because of winter conditions. But you pretended that Perdue never wrote that. You said:
"Are we even reading the same article? Where did you even get the information the Qing couldn't wage a winter war? "

"Where did Perdue write that Qing armies have to be withdrawn in winter? Cite it. "


That is: "You will not find Perdue writting anywhere that Qing armies had to be withdrawn in winter".


But they had to be withdrawn in winter and Perdue says that. Maybe sometimes they didn't, but there were times when they had to be withdrawn in winter and you lied to me that Perdue didn't write about it anywhere.
No Raziel, it matters a lot, because you are the one who made a misleading comment first. This is what you wrote in post 107.

" The reality of the Chinese steppe wars is far from the idealized picture you paint for us. It seems that Qing did not even have the ability to wage a war in the winter. "

To which I asked you "Where did you even get the information the Qing couldn't wage a winter war? Cite it."

The fact that the Qing had to turn back in one war because of multiple factors of which winter is only one, is entirely different from saying the Qing can't wage a war in winter, period.
As Perdue demonstrated clearly, the Qing did just that in 1755, when it campaigned in Zunghar territory for 1-2 years at a time.
This conversation is you making a problematic claim, and I challenged it and pointed out its flaws because you didn't understand what Perdue was arguing.



Secondly, if you are now trying to tell me that what you actually meant was "there were campaigns in which the Qing could wage a winter war and if you think that the Qing never waged a war in winter you should look at what Perdue wrote and you will see that there are times when he writes about retreating in winter, but there are also times when he doesn't write about it and that proves that the Qing sometimes fought in winter" - then it only shows how dishonest you are. I started the winter topic by saying that Perdue gave me data wich suggests the Qing were unable to wage winter war. In this situation, it would be appropriate to refer to what Perdue writes about withdrawal in the winter. Instead of doing that, you treated me in a condescending way and answered me with a question. You ask me to give a quote when you say you know Perdue so well. Then why do you need that quote? To show me my mistake or what? If you knew all of that, then you should have written it right away.
Don't mince words with me. Read the whole conversation again to see who made the misleading comment and why I asked you the question first. It's very clear what I implied in the beginning is the same throughout. That the Qing can in fact wage a winter war and you were simply wrong for reading it another way.

Perdue clearly said the Qing could wage war in Zunghar territory in 1755 throughout the year, so you can only blame yourself for not reading hard enough and you are not even man enough to admit your negligence. You even had the arrogance and silliness to tell me I misinterpreted Perdue, when you clearly didn't even understand the main points of his article and only now do you start to notice them when I babysitted you through it.


Thirdly, I still have doubts about Qing being able to fight in winter in Xinjiang. Perdue writes:

1. EACH YEAR the emperor was TEMPTED to campaign far into winter, but that would be DANGEROUS. It suggests that he never actually extended any campaign for that long. At least never in Xinjiang as for 1756, maybe he did that later or in campaigns in a different land.

2. In winter, they had problems feeding horses even in the capital.

3. In winter, it would be impossible for the Qing to reach Galdan's camp. They couldn't really march in winter, it seems.

4. Emperor's expectations to wage a winter war were UNREALISTIC.
None of this proves the Qing can't wage a winter war, as Qianlong was worried about previous failures under Kangxi and Yongzheng, such concerns are natural. Perdue made it abundantly clear that the Qing army could camapaign in the steppe for over a entire year compared to just 99 days under Kangxi when he said this: "Not until the Qianlong emperor broke through the logistical barrier by constructing a suppoy route leading through the Gansu corridor into Xinjiang could the Chinese support large armies in the steppe for several years at a time."


Yes. Before they marched through 300 km of enemy steppe, they had to march through many km (I don't know how many, maybe 200 km, maybe less, maybe a lot more) of their own steppe. And that wasn't the longest expedition of Russian armies in underpopulated areas. Later they went into Crimea and then they went to Moldavia. And you know, they also conquered Siberia.

Stop making things up. Brian Davies' said it was empty steppe; period. Not enemy steppe and if you insist it was you'll have to cite the evidence:
"To lead a column of 132,000 Muscovite troops and support personnel and
100,000 horses from the banks of the Samara across 300 km of empty steppe was
an enormous logistical challenge."



Eh... 17 months, according to the qoute, is the time which passed from the DECISION to start the campaign to the moment they went back to BEIJING. Not the time they spent in Xinjiang. I don't know for how long they were in Xinjiang, but not 17 months.
Minor nitpicking. Perdue already made it clear throughout his post that it lasted over a year.
"The campaigns of 1755-60 included three main armies, totalling 50,000 men each, who stayed on each campaign for one to two years. "

"The ability to supply up to fifty thousand soldiers for several years with grain, meat, weapons, and horses transported over thousands of miles of steppe, desert, and steep mountains represented an amazing feat of organization. By contrast, European armies at this time wriggled instead of marching on their stomachs."

or "Not until the Qianlong emperor broke through the logistical barrier by constructing a suppoy route leading through the Gansu corridor into Xinjiang could the Chinese support large armies in the steppe for several years at a time."


I still have problems in understanding how exactly these campaigns looked like. Perdue tries to cover a very long period in very few words. And he's just one author - that's never enough. I hope that at least you have read more than one author on the matter. Because I would like to actually find out how those campaigns looked, but it seems like you only manipulate qoutes taken out of context. At least when you talk about European armies I know when you lie. And it's awful how you distort everything. You are fantasizing that Russians never reached Perekop and that they couldn't carry supplies for 3 months or more, you confuse the size of the army and there are several more misconceptions. Are you trying to deceive somebody here? Maybe yourself, to cultivate your ignorance? If you do, then please stop. I'm trying to help you.
Pray tell just which quote did I distort? So far, your accusations are all blatant strawmans. I challenge you to cite my so called "distortions" here for a moderator ruling because I am that confident that you are full of it.
The only one whose distorting quotes here is you, starting from Davies' comment that Russians only marched in enemy steppe. You have cited no evidence to back that up. You can do everyone a favor by actually citing the source, instead of just claiming and accusing. The rest is just you misreading my comments, either out of sheer negiligence, laziness, or yes, outright dishonesty, and making lame strawmans as a result. Your entire argument is an incoherent mess and you can only blame yourself that other people responded the way they did.




Please don't complain, you should not have lumped together Napoleon and Nazi Germany in the first place. I have so many objections to what you said(there is such a thing as The Polish–Soviet War 1919-21 and you assume I compare the technology...), but I just don't discuss it because we have to discuss other topics first. But yeah, Napoleon really failed in winter in the same places where armies campaigned and fought battles in snow during 16-17th century wars.
You are the only one complaining. I cited actual sources and quotes in verbatim, which is a mountain next to your molehole. I've already addressed all of your objections.

I said this;
" Even Napoleon and the German army faced difficulties in the Russian winter and was forced to retreat, does that mean they cannot campaign there? "

You responded with this:
"Right, they couldn't campaign in Russia in winter. And that shows that their logistics was worse than Polish and Russian logistics during Polish-Russian wars. "

Given the context that you claimed the Qing can't campaign in winter irredardless of context, what did you expect the above quote to be interpreted as? I'm sure I'm not the only one who interepreted that you meant the Nazi Germans had inferior logistics to the Polish and Russians in the 17th century as a whole, which is ludicrous.

Either that, or you are so dishonest, that you are re-interpreting what you wrote yourself, now that I exposed you of mis-using Perdue's article due to your poor knowledge of basic geography of the Qing and Zunghars.
 
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