The comprehensive analysis of the Battle of Changping (長平之戰)

Mrbsct

Ad Honorem
Jul 2013
2,620
USA
#11
Did Chinese troops engage mainly with crossbows kinda like a pike and shot formation? Cavalry seemed to be very powerful. 25,000 cavalry vs 100,000+ soldiers in a flanking engagement.
 
Jul 2018
497
Hong Kong
#12
Did Chinese troops engage mainly with crossbows kinda like a pike and shot formation? Cavalry seemed to be very powerful. 25,000 cavalry vs 100,000+ soldiers in a flanking engagement.
Due to the very scarcity of historical source, I know very little about the Warring states' army in formation and tactics.
The military manuel Wuzi (吳子) authored by Wu Qi (吳起) offered only a pitiful amount of information for your question. He said :

「教戰之令:短者持矛戟,長者持弓弩 」

Translation :

"According to the military rule, the shorter people hold spears and halberds, while the taller people hold bows and crossbows."

I know that there're numerous tactical formations used in the Chines Warring Period, such as wedge, "moonfang", long-rectangle, "cranewing"...etc. I don't know how they operate since I really find no source elaborating them in detail.

For cavalry, the historians depicted even less, leaving very little clues for actually how the cavalry work and charge in the age of being without saddle and stirrup. The State of Zhao possessed a great number of fast-mobile mounted archers since the reign of King Wuling of Zhao (reigned 325 - 299 BC), but they seemed mainly deployed at the northern frontier guarding against the Xiongnu hordes' incursion. There are no evidence of any cavalry trait shown in the Zhao army during the Changping Campaign. One Chinese documentary claimed that the contemporary Qin army was the combined infantry-cavalry army based on the evidence of Terracota Army (兵馬俑) — I don't know the detail.

I know too little to help answering your question. But maybe there're some more knowledgeable people could help you here.