Logistics and structures of ancient armies??


Ad Honorem
Mar 2013
What are you talking about? The market from which European soldiers were buying supplies in friendly territory was as wide as the whole Earth. They were using goods from colonies and from all sides of Europe.

Even if you count only the land travel, merchants selling oxen were traveling with herds of oxen from the proximity of Black Sea to the Rhine river or further. But from what I know, the Qing trade used rivers. As did the Russian trade which spanned for many thousands of km.

20,000 in one place is a large concentration of power? You know, European armies often surpassed that. Especially Ottomans quite often had some 200,000 men in one place.

They weren't. Even in ancient times, before Romans were starting a campaign, they needed to collect supplies first. Europeans couldn't just go anywhere in Europe and hope to survive there if the supplies weren't ready in advance. When Western-Europeans operated deep into enemy territory they had problems surviving because the supplies weren't prepared for them in advance. They also couldn't really trade much, because they were surrounded by enemies. So they were taking supplies forcibly, sometimes with money remunerations. But here we are talking about what was happening on friendly soil in 17-18th century.

But it worked when France invaded Netherlands, right? It worked when Ottomans campaigned against Austria, when Russia campaigned against Poland and when the Spaniards marched along the Spanish Road. It worked during Marlborough's long march to the Danube.
There is a huge difference between supplying 100% of supplies and 50% when talking about armies. We can supply bases in Antartica during the winter with small impediment but at the end of the day they only require food and fuel. A base on the moon would require food, fuel, oxygen, water, and more. Similarly an army marching that can get fodder for horses, water, and even half its daily consumption of food from local supplies is effectively using far fewer supplies than an army marching thru a desert that needs to carry everything.

One of the reasons the early colonies failed was because of the difficulty of supply. The reason heavenlykaghan is using the example of the barren lands and the distance is that it demonstrates the organization and capacity of the Qing to supply nearly 100% of supplies for 30k men over a relatively vast distance. My main criticism is that Europeans did not have such vast areas of barren lands to campaign in so they never needed to develop nor had the chance to demonstrate such capacity as the Qing in this same historical period- the colonies come closest but due to naval supply being much cheaper is not a fair comparison.

Sure, Qing and Europe both used rivers when able- where are the rivers in Hexi corridor? There is Gobi desert to the north and quite inhospitable high plains and mountains for 1000ks in the south.

20,000 men marching thru Siberia or the Saharha is way different than marching thru the Black Forest or the Great Alföld.

Not sure what you mean "it worked" with those examples as they all included local supply and foraging to some extent.


Ad Honorem
Feb 2012
As far as I know, the Nazi Germany, unlike Napoleon, was able to fight, march and camp in winter. So it seems you are just wrong with this comparison, but if you are right and Germans really couldn't fight a winter war then their technological advantege over the 16th century Poles only makes the German incompetence even worse. I think it would also show that their logistics was worse than the Polish logistics of 1919-21, though I'm not an expert on the 20th century.
Logistics in Napoleonic Europe were quite primitive and for that matter the French relied on local foraging far more than most armies, in order to maintain mobility and reduce costs. Although Napoleon reached Moscow, his supply situation was untenable due to the climate and continued resistance. The ability of the French to maintain a supply line that far was unlikely and would have been subject to attacks by local populations (as indeed the retreating Grande Armee was)

The ability of Germany to create logistical supply lines was subject to a number of advantages. Railways, motor vehicles, and air transport. The latter wasn't too effective however (attempting it to support the siege of Stalingrad didn't change the result) and in Russia motor vehicles were often frozen or bogged down, which meant the Germans relied heavily on animals for transport. The problem was that Hitler had not anticipated a protracted war against Russia ("You have only to kick in the front door and the whole rotten edifice will collapse") and the Wehrmacht was not supplied with winter gear, nor did they have practical experience of dealing with a Russian winter. Civilian donations of warm clothing were called for as Barbarossa failed to achieve the desired result quickly.
Likes: raziel678
Oct 2017

Please write less insults and more facts. As for me, I'm not insulting you purposely. When I said that you lie, I just really thought that you lie. How can you look at those studies, say that they claim the opposite to what they actually claim, and then change your thesis after it's impossible to defend it, while you say that you didn't change anything? And you really don't see it? But okay, maybe you don't.

And I know that you get angry when I say that you understood something wrong, but how can I discuss with you without saying that? Your claims are full of over-interpretation of sources. To the point that I have completely no idea where in the quotes you provide, you see anything about things you claim. It would be good to know your way of reasoning.

At the same time you put much effort to prove that I'm pathetic and stupid. You even try to silence me with moderator. If you don't want to know the truth about history, if you only want to win some kind of competition, then just stop writting. I'm not even interested in this discussin at this point. I'm only answering you because you write to me. I have an idea: in your next post don't write anything except "admit that you lost". I will then admit that I lost and this will be the happy end of this strange disscussion.

The campaign planned to march off in autumn (before December), passing winter in steppe land through nomadism, and reach their destination in the 4th month (~June).
And what did I say in my post!?
"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."

As it turns out:
1. They stayed for winter in friendly territory(Gansu or its proximity). At least form the quote it looks like they didn't fear any enemy attacks there.
2. They used nomad logistics to survive there.
3. After the winter, they quickly conquered Xinjiang, so it stopped being an enemy territory.
4. They left only a skeleton army in Xinjiang and quickly turned back to Gansu.

And you claimed that in 1755 they stayed for winter in Ili or other place 1,000 km distant from Hami.

Read Davies again. 180,000 is both combatants and support personnel. The military men which marched was only 112,902 in size. You can increase the size of your support personnel indefinitely if they are only carrying logistic train; its hardly a feat.
because you can add rear servicemen on indefinitely; its not a feat, but a burden. There is nothing difficult in doing that.
To quote Shen Kuo of the Song period on logistics:

"Whenever the army marches, because grain has to be sent to deal with the enemy, it is the most urgent matter. Sending grain is not only expensive but it is also hard to be transported far. It is calculated that a commoner can carry 6 dou of rice, in a campaign the soldier carries 5 days of grain by himself, if each commoner supports a soldier, it can last 18 days in one trip: with 6 dou of grain, a person eats 2 sheng per day, with two people eating, it will be used up in 18 days. If we calculate the return journey, we can only advance 9 days. If 2 commoners supports a soldier the trip can last 26 days; the grain is 1 dan 2 dou, eaten by 3 people, 6 sheng per day, in 8 days, the grain carried by one person will already be exhausted..3 person supporting a soldier is the limit, if we sent 100,000 soldiers, one out of three will carry the ration which mean the fighting men will number 70,000, we would already need 300,000 logistic men to carry the ration in support, it is hard to add to that."
This actually makes sense. But I have to disagree.

1. Look at this part: "if we sent 100,000 soldiers, one out of three will carry the ration which mean the fighting men will number 70,000". The support personel which was counted into that number of 180,000 was the counterpart of those 30,000 soldiers who carry the ration in Shen Kuo's example. Usually the number of this support personel was not recorded in any official documents, despite the fact that often less than half of the people in an army camp were regular soldiers. In some cases, soldiers were less than 1/3 of people present in the army during the march and camping.

Usually in Polish armies, all regular soldiers were what Shen Kuo calls "the fighting men" and I think that in Russian Perekop Campaign army it was the case as well. But! Regular soldiers are not actually all fighting men. The actual number is hard to tell for the following reasons:

- Support personel had some cheap weapons. When the army was being attacked in the march or it's camp or supply lines were attacked, the personel was fighting and dying.

- The personel was driving wagons, even in wagenburgs during battles. It was also building trenches and bridges, even under artillery fire.

- Some of the support people were sometimes treated as soldiers by the commander. Especially in sieges. It's cheaper to send the personel to die in a fortress storming instead of sacrificing soldiers.

- In many armies, the artillery crew was not included in regular soldiers.

2. The numbers stated by Davies are: 112,902 Russian soldiers + roughly 20,000 Russian support personel + 50,000 Left Bank Zaporozhian Cossacks. Cossacks were irregular soldiers and the line between the support personel and fighting soldiers was very fuzzy. So it's best to say that the army numbered 180,000. Though Davies has probably too much faith in the credibility of primary sources.

Since we are on this topic let's jump immediately to...
Oct 2017
No Raziel, only the area south of the Samara river was steppe territory, learn your basic geography.
You do realize that 300 KM is still less than a quarter the distance of over 1300 KM that Kangxi and Qianlong marched
The actual campaign in 1689 didn't start off until April 20th at the earliest marching from Novobogoroditskoe. By May 20th, it turned back because of both shortage of food and the lack of fodder. This was at most no more than 60 days and it too was a failed campaign.
Raziel, look up the geography of the area around Samara before making ignorant assumptions. Samara is at the northern end of the steppe zone.
I'm looking at maps and I think I should summarize what we know:

1. First you should look at the map at the beginning of Davies's book. Look also at this map:
View attachment 16175
Кримські походи — Вікіпедія

Then look at these maps:







As you can see, these maps are very minimalistic. They don't even show the area of Zunghar Khanate as a steppe. And my knowledge about 17th century steppes in Europe confirms that there were steppes not shown on the maps. But even those maps show that the concentration point around Sumy was on the border of the steppe.

The actual range of the steppe should be similar to something like this map of a certain steppe animal:
View attachment 16176

It would place Sumy some distance deep into steppes.

Now, what were the actual distances in the campaign?

1. Russian army started around Sumy, the Cossacks started west of Dnieper. They met at Samara. This is that point which Davies describes as being 300 km away from Perekop. That was in straight line.
2. The actual travel distance from Samara was somewhere above 400 km. That's over 800 km with the way back.
3. The distance from Sumy is some 520 km in straight line. Over 700 km of actual travel distance. Somewhere close to 1,500 km when we count both ways. Before the campaigns, some supplies were gathered in Kiev and sent down the Dnieper, to Samara. Sending them further would be difficult because of Dnieper Rapids. It seems that in years 1687-89 soldiers who marched out of Sumy had practically no supplies on the way of their march other than those which were transported there in 1687-89. So they marched some 1,500 km on those supplies (less in the 1st campaign, since they didn't reach the objective), though they used a river transport to some extent. Though it's also possible that some supplies were in Kolomak already before 1687.
4. It's hard to tell where exactly the enemy territory starts. The border of Crimean Khanate is some 90 km south of Samara. From what Davies and others write, it seems that at least from Samara the army marched in insured formation because of constant fear of Tatar attacks. But before 1687, from my knowledge, the most southern fortress on the route of their march was Kolomak. 600 km of march one way(400 km in straight line). So it seems that at least in the first campaign they would have to guard themselves for 1,200 km of march if they reached Perekop. For the second campaign the line of fortresses was extended to Samara.

Now, the duration. You count the duration from Samara and when they are back in Samara the campaign is finished according to you. What I have shown, was the time which passed between leaving Sumy and reaching Sumy again. Depending on what type of achievement is interesting for us, the starting point changes. And the ending point changes as well, because for the Qing campaigns we don't count the retreat, if we count only the time the army marched through enemy steppe. But however you look at it, you can't say that those who left Sumy survived only 1 month on their supplies.

How much food you plan to bring and how much its used isn't the same because of unknown factors
But you know, they brought all that food to Samara. And you can read that they had enough food during the 1st campaign. In the 2nd campaign they wanted to march faster so they took food only for 2 months, so they were hungry during the retreat.

Novobogoroditskoe to Perekop is also only around 130 miles (210 KM)
Lol. Look at the map. I can even guess what over-interpretation you did this time. You read that Golitsyn had to turn back still 210 km from Perekop and then he built the Novobogoroditskoe. Without thinking you took that number as the distance between the two. Because you like how it looks for your thesis. But man, how does your logic work? You read that Golitsyn turned back when he was south of Samara and you read that Novobogoroditskoe was built at the confluence of Dnieper and Samara. So how could you think that Novobogoroditskoe has been built in the place where Golitsyn turned back?

It was 112,902 soldiers and only 180,000 when adding supply personnel. The Qing had 107,000 soldiers.
No. It was 180,000 men from Samara, where two armies met. And after those armies met, there were still other armies about which I told you and you forget I guess. And later, during the retreat, some detachments left the army before it reached Samara. And in 2nd campaign, though they still marched in 1 route, they were somewhat divided. Still, an army of well over 100,000 in one rout is always a bigger achievement than 20,000. And if you say that Qing could also do it but simply never had to do it, or never wanted to, then you know, I have the same answer for your claims about Russia never sending tens of thousands of soldiers 1,000 km away from the border, over steppes(though I think Russia did it anyway during the Astrakhansk expeditions, more on that later).

Except the Perekop campaign failed
Doesn't matter. The point still stands.

Poor comparison. The Russian campaigns in Siberia is a drawn out process that lasted over a century in multiple campaigns where the size of the army was never beyond a couple of thousand. You might as well compare the entire span of the Qing Empire with Russia in the 18th century (which is roughly comparable in extent). Compare like with like.
Look at these maps:

In 1607 they built Turukhansk. In 1649 they built Fort Anadyrskiy. That's some 3,500 km in straight line in 42 years!

And the distances on the first picture are longer than 1,000 km.

And about the army sizes, if you really want to go this way, I can always say that Zunghar campaigns are irrelevant because the armies were a lot smaller than in Perekop campaigns.

Yeah, I might compare the span of the empires. It looks like Russia wins this quite easily.
Oct 2017
a sophisticated system of convoys with an integrated market was something the Qing had which the Russians also didn't have.
I don't want enemy vs. own territory, I want marching on barren land (not seas or settled lands) regardless of who controlled it. This isn't rocket science, what Perdue is arguing is that the Qing can live off the barren land for over a year by Qianlong's time. If you can find a case where they could camp in a location without pillaging or forcing contributions on the locals, then yes it counts (the size of the army also matters, so don't give me some isolated garrisons with just a thousand or so men).
Whether or not its friendly territory, it is barren steppe and that was Perdue's argument.
Perdue is talking about barren land, and not enemy territory
And suddenly...

That is clearly not what Perdue is arguing. [...] Europeans required forced contributions (more than they bought) in foreign territory which caused long term economic decline in places like Nordlingen Germany.
The Qing used convoys from Gansu, not Xinjiang (where it was campaigning) and bought supplies at a market price without forcing contributions at all.

This is very straight forward, you are making this more repetitive than it is necessary.

I don't ask what Perdue claims. I ask what you claim. So what do you actually claim?

I said:
"You reapeat this qoute:
"Therefore many armies, including that of France when it moved beyond its depots continued to live off of the land"

And you say that it says "black", when it clearly says "white". The French lived off of the land only when they moved beyond the depots. They did not need forced extractions when they were close to the depots.

And you:
"I think you are missing the point completely. The lack of ability to supply depots in foreign lands and the lack of ability to buy local products without forced extraction when depots are insufficient is the characteristic of the French (and other European armies) which contrasted them with the contemporary Qing army of the 18th century as Perdue argued."

"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.

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.

[...]they were completely subjugated by Qing, so for me they don't count as foreign lands.

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.

Here you answer me by saying some unrelated things about Kangxi's campaign. Because Kangxi did exactly what I said, he carried food with him and returned to resupply. He didn't stay for 1 year or more at a distance of 1,000 km from the border and he didn't wait there for supplies from Qing. And then you say:
" Europeans required forced contributions in foreign territory which caused long term economic decline in places like Nordlingen Germany.
[...] 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.
[...]Mongolia and Xinjiang are not held by the Qing in the campaigns of 1696 and 1750s

Me:"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...

You:"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.
[...]- 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.

And I finally answered:
"Yes, that is what I wrote.
"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"

To sum it up:
You said that your point was that Qing was sending supplies to large armies waiting 1,000 km deep into enemy territory. You also agreed that Europeans had systems of depots, but you claimed that the difference is that the Qing had this system outside of friendly territory.
Now you revert what you said. When I said thet Perdue talks about Qing supplying their armies on friendly territory, you disagreed. Now you say it yourself. You now claim again that Europe couldn't supply armies on friendly territory. Though you made a little change. Now you emphasize that it has to be not settled land.

But still you talk some wierd things about Perdue making claims about foreign territories.

Okay, for now I assume that you only claim that Qing was sending convoys through friendly territory and you claim that it was special because that territory was unihabited.

It isn't anything special at all. Sending supplies through friendly territory is nothing else than a normal trade. And Zunghar campaigns took place on the Silkroad. As for European powers they also traded a lot in poorly inhabited areas. Siberian trade was huge, it allowed Irkutsk to quickly grow into a city, despite the fact that the area around Irkutsk didn't have enough food to supply the city. At least from what I know about Siberia.
History of Irkutsk | Rusmania

But I guess you will not be happy if I will be talking about civilians, so let's talk about sustaining armies in places with not enough food.

Firstly, I want to emphasize that both for Qing and Europe it's not completely clear which areas were difficult to supply. From what I read about Hami, it appears to be a rich town surrounded by many other towns and good agriculture. As I just said, in Siberia some cities appeared too. As for Ukraine, most of it (especially east of Dnieper) in 16th century was reffered to as desert. In 1570, Kiev had officially about 5,000 inhabitants. From that year the colonisation of Ukraine was going well. In 1647 Kiev had some 15,000 inhabitants. But wars in next years significantly reduced the population.

Secondly, some goods had to be transported to soldiers over distances of thousands of km no matter how inhabited was the area soldiers were in. Agriculture was everywhere, but places with things such as iron, gold, salt, saltpeter, fur, large quantities of wood or flax, et cetera - could have been nowhere to be found in a country and soldiers of that country still had those goods.
Oct 2017
As for poorly inhabited areas I already gave you some quotes from Davies long time ago.

"Very little is known about the logistics of southern array operations in this
period, primarily because provisioning and transport remained for the most part
privately arranged and so went undocumented. The state played little role in
corps logistics because the bulk of the corps still consisted of middle service class
cavalrymen required to provide their own stores sufficient for three to four
month’s campaign, carried on their own packhorses and carts and sent ahead to
the muster point soon after mobilization had been announced. " - That was in 16th century. As you can see, they were sending supplies ahead of the army.

And after they arrived on the frontline, they were still buying goods from other parts of the country:
"Any additional provisions cavalrymen might subsequently need they would have to purchase
or forage for themselves from the villages near where they were stationed.
Musketeers and gunners did get rations money from the state, but they were still
expected to purchase their own supplies with it. The government’s primary
contribution to logistics was therefore limited to providing transport and drivers
(out of the iam post system, or specially requisitioned from taxpayers) to the
musketeers, gunners, and artillery, which elements were usually smaller in the
southern arrays than on campaigns on enemy soil on the western front."

"But baggage trains for the corps of the Borderland
and Riazan’ arrays were probably of much smaller proportion, for these corps
were not intended to make long marches across enemy territory and could draw
from local supply sources along the Abatis Line.
Local supply sources came in three forms. The larger or more strategically
positioned garrison towns along the Bank and Abatis Line (Kolomna, Tula,
Pronsk, Voronezh, etc.) held state granaries, filled by grain taxation or govern-
ment purchase and designed to provision their defenders in time of siege or
blockade; these could also serve as rudimentary magazines from which the corps
could also draw. Merchant sutlers sometimes delivered supplies for sale, although
we cannot tell whether they were operating on government contract and under
instruction to provision particular units. Probably most supplemental provision-
ing was not state-organized but undertaken by servicemen arranging their own
occasional purchases of local food and fodder from townsmen and villagers,
with the government attempting some regulation by insisting these purchases
be made at fair market price so as not to exploit the tsar’s taxpayers (when
operating on enemy territory, of course, the army was free to seize what it
needed and extort “contributions”). " - When they were purchasing provisions, those provisions could have come from any part of the World, since that was normal trade and this is how normal trade worked. And Russian-Tatar frontline didn't have enough goods to supply armies, so those goods had to be imported.

Davies gives more details on such imports when he writes about the 17th century:

"Since reducing the annual Don Shipments had not worked to rein in the Don Cossacks, the opposite tack was now tried and their size expanded: 5,000 rubles, 3,000 quarters of grain, and 6,700 kg of gunpowder were sent in 1644 and 6,400 rubles, 6,300 quarters of grain, and 6,550 kg of gunpowder in 1647. "

"Over the course of 1686 and spring 1687 grain was collected from across
European Russia and shipped to the muster points in Sloboda Ukraine by
wagon and on 125 barges launched from Briansk;"

"The manner in which Tsar Peter, Gordon, Golovin, and Lefort conducted their first Azov campaign (1 May–1 October 1695) shows some effort to learn from the logistical errors that had undermined both of Golitsyn’s Perekop expeditions. To ensure that the main corps would have sufficient stores in wait at its destination a vanguard of 10,000 men under Gordon was sent ahead to establish a forward base on the Koisuga River, a day’s march from Azov. On 26 June Gordon built a dock on the Koisuga to receive the munitions and provisions being shipped down the Don from Voronezh on 1,000 longboats. A second, smaller munitions flotilla sailed down the Volga to Tsaritsyn parallel to the marchroute of the main corps, its cargo to be unloaded at Tsaritsyn for transport across the steppe to Panshin for the final leg of the main corps’ journey down the Don. Additional food stores (beef, salt pork, fish, and salt) were supposed to be awaiting the army at Panshin.
But the spring of 1696 saw a second campaign against Azov, this time on a much grander scale, combining land and naval operations, and under a single commander-in-chief. The Azov expeditionary army of 1696 was over twice the size of the army of the previous year – 70,000 men, counting the 15,000 Ukrainian cossacks under Colonel Lizogub and the 5,000 Don Cossacks. [...] The principal supply depot, holding 94,000 tons of grain, was established at Korotoiak, on the middle course of the Don – farther north than Panshin and Tsaritsyn, but situated so stores could be sent directly down the Don by longboat and barge, thereby avoiding the slow and dangerous portage across the Volga–Don steppe that had wasted a crucial week the year before."

I can also give you many examples outside of Davies's book.

For instance, in Russo-Turkish war of 1735-39, Russian armies campaigned for years in poorly populated areas. They had large casualties, but the campaigns were mostly successsful.
Rus - Rulers

In years 1648-64, large armies, sometimes meassured in hundreds of thousands, fought in Ukraine. They sometimes spent time in populated areas, but at other times they were in poorly or practically not populated areas. When they weren't fighting, they were staying in some areas with at least some villages, but even then, an army wouldn't be able to survive without getting food(I'm only talking about food here, because ammunition and equipement were often imported from distant countries, so the distances were even larger) collected hundreds of kilometers in every direction. In his memorials, Holsten says that most of Ukraine was a desert. He mentions one infantry officer who in summer of 1663 didn't want his unit to be relocated to Ukraine, because the unit had little money. But about winter of 1660, Holsten says that his reiters had surplus of food from Ukrainian and Polish parts of the Commonwealth. Holsten's unit didn't have problems with money.

In 1672-99, Kamianets-Podilskyi had one of largest Ottoman garrisons, at some point it allegedly reached 10,000 soldiers. The town itself had 3,000 people at most, and was surrounded by poorly inhabited area. The Ottomans were also campaigning with large armies in this region.

And if this disscussion will be countinued then I guess I will take a closer look at Astrakhansk cmapaigns, because it seems that at that time, Russia sent supplies to a relatively large (30,000?) army which was not only waiting more than 1,000 km into steppes, but also 1,000 km beyond the line of Russian forts.

As for importing equipement, I don't know if I must prove that equipement form one European country was often being sold in another country, 2,000 km away or so. I think it's common knowledge. But I will give you one quote from Davies and please tell me if I need to quote anything more.
"Filaret’s efforts to counter Polish military modernization began in earnest in 1630. Julius Coyet was brought to Moscow to cast light cannon while additional gun barrels and musket barrels were purchased from Sweden, England, and the United Provinces. Carbines, pistols, rapiers, and armor of the pattern used in Swedish regiments were also imported."
Oct 2017
I want marching on barren land (not seas or settled lands) regardless of who controlled it.
Well, as I said, there were towns and agriculture even in Gansu and Xinjiang so I don't know what do you expect. But this is what comes to my mind:

1. Tatar raids in general.
Especially those against Moscow. Abatis line is 1,000 km from Crimea in straight line. It was a frontier between Russia and steppe nomads. Tatars were also deep into Austria, but at that point they easily marched through some well populated areas. Some Tatar raids into Today's Belarus and Lithuania were effectively longer than 1,500 km but they also led through some populated areas.

2. Polish-Russian fights 1604-19.
Certainly Piotr Konaszewicz-Sahajdaczny's campaign against Moscow made at least 1,000 km through poorly populated areas, not counting the time when they were going back through the same places. There were others, for example Lisowczyks made thousands of kilometers on Russian soil, but we would have to discuss every single march separately and judge weather it was what you are looking for.

3. Polish-Tatar fights.
Poles and Tatars were chasing each other through hundreds of kilometers of steppes. Some of such marches probably made some 1,000 km through poorly populated area. For example, in one book I see a map of Polish raids in 1628-29, wich marched from Bila Tserkva, reached the Black Sea, went to Ochakiv and on the way back it took a different route. From what I see it gives us over 800 km, assuming that they didn't go back to Bila Tserkva but disbanded soon after entering the Commonwealth again.

4. Civil wars in Ukraine.
During civil wars, pro-government and Cossack forces often made distances such as 800 km, sometimes much greater. For example, in 1648-49 Chmielnicki marched from the eastern border of the Commonwealth to Zamość and then to Kiev. That is over 1,500 km. But in all those campaigns, some areas were well populated, at least for Polish standards. Still, I think we can say that most of places they marched through were poorly populated, some of which were completely uninhabited.

5. 1654-55.
Russian soldiers marched from Russia to Lublin through Ukraine, while in the north they entered Lithuania and reached Brest. What I said about population in previous point is a problem in this case as well.

6. Russian expeditions against Astrakhan.
If I'm not wrong in those campaigns they went 1,000 km into steppes beyond the Abatis line.

Okay, I just went back to "Warfare in China Since 1600" and it turns out that Gansu itself was mostly sufficient to supply an army. They needed 1 month to move ressources to the frontline. It's not that extreme. The Chinese armies didn't have many wagons in their camps, but if a Polish army was there, it would just take supplies for 4-6 months while marching through Gansu, so when they reach the frontline they have all those supplies in their wagons as it happend many times when armies marched through Poland. So there would be no need for some special convoys, the army would just recieve those supplies at the same time as it marches on campaign.

No, we only count soldiers, because you can add rear servicemen on indefinitely; its not a feat, but a burden. There is nothing difficult in doing that.
To quote Shen Kuo of the Song period on logistics:
This still doesn't answer all my questions so I still can't tell you how large those campaigns were.

Perdue's article was pretty clear in multiple places that they didn't come back to China
Well, most of them did come back quickly after they occupied Ili. But now it doesn't really matter if we don't talk about friendly vs enemy territory.
Oct 2017
Secondly, coming back to the campaigns discussed previously, Kangxi marched into enemy land (Galdan controlled Mongolia) as did Qianlong's campaign in 1755 (Zunghar controlled land west of Hami), so I have no idea why you said the Qing didn't do that when they did just that.
I said that the Qing didn't send supplies to an army waiting 1,000 km deep into enemy area. The problem with achieving such goals is that when the local population is enemy to you, or when there is an enemy army in the area, you can't easily buy supplies from merchants of your country. You have to protect your merchants through 1,000 km of dangerous rout where they can be attacked by an enemy at any point. And your soldiers have to occupy and watch every town if you want local people to listen to orders of the new government you are establishing on the occupied territory. For example, in "Psków 1581-82", D. Kupisz writes:
"It was impossible to count on merchants, because not many of them decided on a long and dangerous trip to the river Velikaya. Since the beginning of the expedition, the main source of food acquisition has been expeditions collecting contributions from the neighboring areas of Muscovy. However, while in the first months of the campaign, food and fodder could be obtained within 6-20 miles of the fortress (mainly near Porchów and Gdów), from December it was necessary to send people farther and farther up to Stara Russa located near Veliky Novgorod, i.e. 30-40 miles from Pskov (Polish mile was about 7,100 m - Raziel). In September, the march of supply units in both directions lasted up to 6 days, and in December - 20 days and even 30 days. This, of course, had an impact on the constant deterioration of the supply situation of the army.
The aforementioned expeditions were recruited from the camp servants, but fearing for strong Moscow patrols, they had to give them a strong escort, sometimes reaching up to 600 horses. Sometimes, several units were sent for food, engaging 1/5 of all forces standing at the fortress, but thanks to that they could simultaneously conduct reconnaissance activities and fight opponent's raids."
So in this case the supplies had to be transported through some 250 km of enemy territory.

Where is the data for the other two campaigns or are you just pulling things out of thin air? I will get back to you after I scrutinize the primary texts later, in the mean time, quit making baseless speculations that doesn't have a solid source base.
Your own post: "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."

Unless you ask me for proofs that in 1755 the Qing didn't stay in enemy area without any local supplies for a year or longer. But you know they entered the enemy terrain in 1755 and within a few months all enemies surrendered.

Dawaci was defeated at the end of the 6th month and was delivered to Beijing in the 10th month. Traveling back to Hami alone probably took another two months, and to Beijing for 1-2 months. This mean the first Zunghar campaign lasted 6-7 months total, in barren enemy land.
So they spent maybe a bit over 4 months on enemy territory, and that territory at the end of campaign shrinked to some little pocket of resistnace, since most Zunghars surrendered willingly. After the defeat of Dawaci there was no enemy territory to speak of. That is, until the moment when Amursana rebelled.

Aha, and they had only 2 months of supply.

The siege lasted over 3 months
Well, that's not an extremely long siege. Some sieges ended in 1 day, but others lasted for years.

Amursana died in the 9th month of 1757.
This entire campaign lasted around 7 months.
Yes. Though it was as easy as the previous one. The enemy was helpless and from what I understand, after Amursana escpaed, the remaining rebels weren't really dangerous.

As for finding supplies in Xinjiang, the entire Zunghar population only had a couple of hundred thousand people and Amursana's faction was the minority so you'll have to provide the evidence that they've provided any significant logistic support for the Qing army.
Hummel writes that they met little or no resistance, took Ili without fighting and many Zunghars simply surrendered. (p. 10 Eminent Chinese Of The Ch’ing Period 1644-1912 Vol.i : Arthur W.hummel : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive )
So I just put forward a hypothesis, that they bought or recieved some supplies in Ili or other places. At least horses. For all we know, it may be true.
Also, Dawaci must have had some supplies himself, so what did Qing do with those supplies after Dawaci's soldiers were dead?

Prove to me that the Russians only bought supplies and nothing else. Cite the source, I'm tired of your claims without a source citation
Then find me a case where they didn't pillage nor forced contributions for a duration and cite the source.

I already cited it many times. It's Davies's book, p. 72. Russians didn't want to ruin the Smolensk district. And I gave you other examples too. I mentioned "„Disciplina militaris” w wojskach Rzeczypospolitej Do połowy XVII wieku" by K. Łopatecki.

So you admit that Poles and Russians purposely pillaged in every campaign.
Not in every. But I already "admitted" many times that pillage was a good strategy. I qouted "War and society in Early Modern Europe...":
"Much military activity was therefore aimed at the capture or destruction of an opponent’s economic resources."

And pillage often allowed to field larger armies.
Oct 2017
The campaign of 1755 already lasted 6-7 months, that is far more time than what any Russian army lasted on the steppe
Except most of regions in Russia were insufficient to sustain cities, even today it's problematic ;)
Previously I was talking only about enemy steppes and I speciffically wanted to show a case where the army had to carry all supplies in its wagons. But the Qing armies in your examples had safe bases with food on the steppes. And Russia had such bases as well, since large part of Russian territory was a steppe. And in such safe places, large Russian armies could stay for many years, practically forever.

The extermination policy is done after the Zunghars were already pacified, it has nothing to do with logistical problems.
A similar thing can be said about Russian pillage. It was a good strategy.

The campaign of 1757 also lasted 7 months for 50,000 soldiers, and at least 30,000 campaigned continuously for nearly 2.5 years. The support from Qing came in the 11th month of 1758, so around 50,000 in the third campaign also continuously fought on hostile territory for around 8 months.
I don't see how it changes what I wrote about logistical problems of the Qing. In Polish-Russian wars 1604-18, Polish armies stayed in Russia for many years. Russians who invaded Poland in 1654 remained in some parts of conquered territory until fights ended in 1665 (the war ended in 1667). Ottoman siege of Candia lasted 21 years. Swedes fought in Germany for 18 years. And so on.

Wei Yuan even explicitly mentioned Qing staying on campaign during winter;
but 30,000 of the Qing army under Zhao Hui and Fude remained for the winter crushing rebellions and remnant resistant groups.
That example of 1755 campaign is wrong, since they just found some safe and relatively warm place and waited there for the winter to end.

About that other example I have questions:
Did they relocate during winter? Was their camp attacked by rebels in winter?

By the way, isn't campaign against Chingunjav a proof that the Qing could campaign in winter? But this would leave a question: why did Perdue write that the emperor demanded impossible when he scolded his commanders for not campaigning in winter? I have two hypothesis:
1. Perdue is simply wrong.
2. Desertion, casualities and overall costs of campaign against Chingunjav were so high that it prooves that campaigning in winter didn't make much sense .

You said I distorted Perdue, cite a single place where I did and don't make me ask again or I will ask the moderator to rule this as you trolling.
I don't know where you didn't distort Perdue.

For example, in the beginning of your post, you randomly throw quotes from Perdue, like:
"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. "
And why do you give this qoute when you try to prove, that the 1st Perekop campaign didn't have enough food? One has nothing to do with the other. Not to mention that I already showed you long ago that Perdue didn't know much about Russian and European logistics and economy (which he admits himself).

Perdue's article was pretty clear in multiple places that they didn't come back to China, if it did, then it would count as a separate campaign, not the same one. This is common sense.
I do not see how you can read this straight forward passage in any other way other than the Qing army being on the steppe (not returning in the middle) for several years.

"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".
Here you give me this as a proof that they stayed in an enemy steppe for 1 year or more. But you know that Perdue wrote about steppes in general, not specifically about steppes on enemy land. Perdue specifically talks in detail about supporting armies in Hami, Barkul and Uliastai.

Depending on how we understand an enemy area, we could say that maybe in 1757-59 or maybe in 1758-59 the army remained in enemy area for more than a year, but your Perdue qoute is not the proof. Now when you gave me more details I can agree with you in some points.
Oct 2017
"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. "

"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."
With those qoutes you answer me when I ask you what did Qing armies do to people on ENEMY land. My questions were: Did Qing buy supply from people of invaded country during the campaign? Did Qing take those supplies forcibly and remunerated it with money?
You said that "the fundamental point Perdue is making" is that "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."

So I asked if I understand you correctly that you claim (and I don't want to know what Perdue claims, I want to know what you claim) that the Qing didn't buy things for market prices from inhabitatns of enemy land when they were invading that land, but took things forcibly. Because you said that your fundamental point is that "when the Chinese were on an enemy territory they forcefully extracted supplies".

Instead of answering that you give me quote where Perdue describes how the Qing was buying supplies from its own subjects and you even emphasized that they bought supplies on their own territory, not where they were campaigning. It doesn't look like your previous "fundamental point". And it still doesn't answer my question about what did the Qing do to invaded people during a campaign.

1) I only said the campaign of 1687 never even reached 300 KM, and it didn't. I didn't say Russia didn't reach Perekop; if you think I did, quote my post where I said that. So yes, strawman again.
Post #142
"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"

Pre-19th century Russia!

So they never reached Perekop before 19th century according to you!

2) Never said that. I only said they failed to reach their objective in the campaign of 1687 and the campaign only lasted a month. So another strawman. Furthermore, even the campaign of 1689 only reached 210 KM, not 300.
Yu said:
"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. "
"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."

Even in your recent post you claim that the 1st campaign didn't have enough food.

And where do you find that number 210 again?! The 2nd campaign reached Perekop.

3) They are five corps, as Davies stated, which joined into one route.
LEL. Kaghan, you are so bad at lying. You saw that you used the word "corps" so now you try to convince me that you never wrote anything about separate routes. But in another post you wrote:
"as opposed to the 132,000 Russians in the 1687 Crimean campaign divided into 5 routes"

Not to mention that even your reinterpretation of your own words is still incompatible with the facts.

At this point I'm really starting to think that this whole disscussion is just a prank for you.

I am mocking your claim that the Qing army can't campaign in winter because they withdrew in winter; by such logic the Germans can't campaign in winter because they also withdrew in winter during the Soviet campaign. The same applies to Napoleon.
So now you are wrong about Napoleon. His logistics was so bad, that his army couldn't survive long in Russia, even if it defeated Russian armies.

yet you still had the ignorance to say that the Qing army was not campaigning in foreign territory.
I don't know why do you always repeat the word "foreign". The fact that something is technically foreign means nothing. Spanish Road led 1,000 km through "foreign" territory. Polish units in Thirty Years' War marched through 1,000 km of foreign German lands in one go, but those were allies. It's not an achievement. What matters is weather the lands through which you march are enemy, and this is the word which should be used instead of "foreign".

And in general I don't know what you mean. Where did I say such a thing and how exactly did you interpret my words? Most of what I write about Qing are just questions I ask you.

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