The Diary of a Manchu Soldier in Seventeenth-Century China: My Service in the Army, by Dzengseo

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Geographically, it focuses on the continental region from East Asia to E The personal experience of the author, a young Manchu officer fighting in inhospitable South-Western China, take us close to the 'face of the battle' in seventeenth-century China, and en By investigating the formation of nomadic cultures, by analyzing the evolution of patterns of interaction along China's frontiers, and by exploring how this interaction was recorded in historiography, this looks at the origins of the cultural and political tensions between these two civilizations through the first millennium BC.

The main It is especially with regard to disciplinary pluralism and historical breadth that this book most clearly departs and distinguishes itself from other works on Chinese boundaries and ethnicity. In addition to history, the disciplines repre How did this vast country come into being?


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The state credo describes an ancient process of cultural expansion, where border peoples gratefully accepted Chinese high culture. But why has the "centre" so often been compelled to maintain control over its border regions? The essays in this volume look at this relationship over a long Nicola Di Cosmo explores the tensions existing between these two worlds as they became progressively more polarized, with the eventual creation of the nomadic Hsiung-nu empire in the north, and of the Chinese empire in the south. Winney, B. Published online 10 Aug. Winter, D. Winter, and E.

Chinese gingal guns firing massive shells were used accurately, and inflicted severe wounds and death on the Allied troops during the Boxer Rebellion. During the Boxer Rebellion , Imperial Chinese forces deployed a weapon called " electric mines " on June 15, at the river Peiho river before the Battle of Dagu Forts , to prevent the western Eight-Nation Alliance from sending ships to attack. This was reported by American military intelligence in the United States. War Dept. Adjutant-General's Office. Military Information Division.

For example, during the Boxer Rebellion, in contrast to the Manchu and other Chinese soldiers who used arrows and bows, the Muslim Kansu Braves cavalry had the newest carbine rifles. Chinese artillery fire caused a steady stream of casualties upon the western soldiers.

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During one engagement, heavy casualties were inflicted on the French and Japanese, and the British and Russians lost some men. The Chinese artillery shells slammed right on target into the western armies military areas. Historians have judged the Qing dynasty's vulnerability and weakness to foreign imperialism in the 19th century to be based mainly on its maritime naval weakness while it achieved military success against westerners on land, the historian Edward L. At the start of the Opium War, China had no unified navy and no sense of how vulnerable she was to attack from the sea; British forces sailed and steamed wherever they wanted to go In the Arrow War , the Chinese had no way to prevent the Anglo-French expedition of from sailing into the Gulf of Zhili and landing as near as possible to Beijing.

Meanwhile, new but not exactly modern Chinese armies suppressed the midcentury rebellions, bluffed Russia into a peaceful settlement of disputed frontiers in Central Asia , and defeated the French forces on land in the Sino-French War But the defeat of the fleet, and the resulting threat to steamship traffic to Taiwan, forced China to conclude peace on unfavorable terms. The Qing dynasty forced Russia to hand over disputed territory in the Treaty of Saint Petersburg , in what was widely seen by the west as a diplomatic victory for the Qing. Russia acknowledged that Qing China potentially posed a serious military threat.

In the book, Sun Tzu laid out several important cornerstones of military thought, such as:. Sun Tzu's work became the cornerstone of military thought, which grew rapidly. By the Han Dynasty, no less than 11 schools of military thought were recognized. During the Song Dynasty, a military academy was established.

In their various campaigns, the Chinese armies through the ages, employed a variety of equipment in the different arms of the army. The most notable weaponry used by the Chinese consisted of crossbows, rockets, gunpowder weapons, and other "exotic weapons", but the Chinese also made many advances on conventional iron weapons such as swords and spears that were far superior to other contemporary weapons.

The crossbow , invented by Chinese in the 7th century BC, [] and by Greeks in the 5th century BC, [] was considered the most important weapon of the Chinese armies. The mass use of crossbows allowed Chinese armies to deploy huge amounts of firepower, due to the crossbow's deadly penetration, long range, and rapid rate of fire. As early as the 4th century BC, Chinese texts describe armies employing up to 10, crossbowmen in combat, where their impact was decisive. Crossbow manufacture was very complex, due to the nature of the firing bolt. Historian Homer Dubs claim that the crossbow firing mechanism "was almost as complex as a rifle bolt, and could only be reproduced by very competent mechanics.

This gave an additional advantage, as this made the crossbow "capture-proof" as even if China's barbarian enemies captured them they would not be able to reproduce the weapon. Crossbow ammunition could also only be used in crossbows, and was useless in the conventional bows employed by China's nomadic enemies. In combat, crossbows were often fitted with grid sights to help aim, and several different sizes were used. During the Song Dynasty , huge artillery crossbows were used that could shoot several bolts at once, killing many men at a time. Even cavalrymen were sometimes issued with crossbows.

It was recorded that the crossbow could "penetrate a large elm from a distance of one hundred and forty paces". Repeating crossbows were introduced in the 11th century, which had a very high rate of fire; men could discharge bolts in 15 seconds, with a range of yards. This weapon became the standard crossbow used during the Song , Ming , and Qing dynasties.

As inventors of gunpowder, the Chinese were the first to deploy gunpowder weapons. A large variety of gunpowder weapons were produced, including guns, cannons, mines, the flamethrower, bombs, and rockets. After the rise of the Ming Dynasty, China began to lose its lead in gunpowder weapons to the west. The first "proto-gun", the fire lance , was introduced in AD. This consisted of a bamboo or metal tube attached to a spear filled with gunpowder that could be ignited at will, with a range of five metres.

It was capable of killing or maiming several soldiers at a time and was mass-produced and used especially in the defense of cities. Later versions of the fire lance dropped the spear point and had more gunpowder content. Traditionally interpreted as a wind god, a sculpture in Sichuan was found holding a bombard, and the date must be as early as AD [] These cast-iron hand cannons and erupters were mostly fitted to ships and fortifications for defense.

Cannon were used by Ming dynasty forces at the Battle of Lake Poyang. One shipwreck in Shandong had a cannon dated to and an anchor dated to High explosive bombs were another innovation developed by the Chinese in the 10th century. These consisted largely of round objects covered with paper or bamboo filled with gunpowder that would explode upon contact and set fire to anything flammable.

These weapons, known as "thunderclap bombs", were used by defenders in sieges on attacking enemies and also by trebuchets, which hurled huge numbers of them onto the enemy. A new improved version of these bombs, called the "thunder-crash" bomb, was introduced in the 13th century; it was covered in cast iron, was highly explosive, and hurled shrapnel at the enemy. These weapons were not only used by Song China, but also its Jur'chen and Mongol enemies.

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In the history of the Jur'chen Jin dynasty, the use of cast-iron gunpowder bombs against the Mongols is described. By the time of the Ming Dynasty , Chinese technology had progressed to making large land mines, many of them were deployed on the northern border. Flamethrowers were employed in naval combat in the Yangtze river , and large-scale use of the flamethrower is recorded in , when the Southern Tang navy employed flamethrowers against Song naval forces, but the wind blew the other way, causing the Southern Tang fleet to be immolated, and allowing the Song to conquer South China.

During Song times, the flamethrower was used not only in naval combat but also in defense of cities, where they were placed on the city walls to incinerate any attacking soldiers. During the Ming dynasty, the design of rockets were further refined and multi-stage rockets and large batteries of rockets were produced. Multi-stage rockets were introduced for naval combat. Like other technology, knowledge of rockets were transmitted to the Middle East and the West through the Mongols, where they were described by Arabs as "Chinese arrows".

In the 2nd century BC, the Han began to produce steel from cast iron. New steel weapons were manufactured that gave Chinese infantry an edge in close-range fighting, though swords and blades were also used. The Chinese infantry were given extremely heavy armor in order to withstand cavalry charges, some The cavalry was equipped with heavy armor in order to crush a line of infantry, though light cavalry was used for reconnaissance.


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  • However, Chinese armies lacked horses and their cavalry were often inferior to their horse archer opponents. Therefore, in most of these campaigns, the cavalry had to rely on the infantry to provide support. An important innovation was the invention of the stirrup. From early Indian invention, [] [] which allowed cavalrymen to be much more effective in combat; this innovation later spread to East, north and west via the nomadic populations of central Asia and to the west by the Avars.

    However, some believe northern nomads were responsible for this innovation. Some authors, such as Lynn White , claim the use of the stirrup in Europe stimulated development of the medieval knights which characterized feudal Europe. However, this thesis was disputed in the Great Stirrup Controversy by historians such as Bernard Bachrach , [] although it has been pointed out that the Carolingian riders may have been the most expert cavalry of all at its use.

    During the Han Dynasty, state manufacturers were producing stink bombs and tear gas bombs that were used effectively to suppress a revolt in AD. Poisionous materials were also employed in rockets and crossbow ammunition to increase their effectiveness. The Chinese armies also benefited from a logistics system that could supply hundreds of thousands of men at a time. An important innovation by the Chinese was the introduction of an efficient horse harness in the 4th century BC,strapped to the chest instead of the neck, an innovation later expanded to a collar harness.

    This innovation, along with the wheelbarrow, allowed large-scale transportation to occur, allowing huge armies numbering hundreds of thousands of men in the field.

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    Chinese armies were also backed by a vast complex of arms-producing factories. State-owned factories turned out weapons by the thousands, though some dynasties such as the Later Han privatized their arms industry and acquired weapons from private merchants. During the Han dynasty, Chinese developed methods of food preservation for military rations during campaigns such as drying meat into jerky and cooking, roasting, and drying grain.

    In early Chinese armies, command of armies was based on birth rather than merit. For example, in the State of Qi during the Spring and Autumn period BC— BC , command was delegated to the ruler, the crown prince, and the second son. By the time of the Warring States Period, generals were appointed based on merit rather than birth, the majority of whom were talented individuals who gradually rose through the ranks.

    Nevertheless, Chinese armies were sometimes commanded by individuals other than generals. For example, during the Tang Dynasty, the emperor instituted "Army supervisors" who spied on the generals and interfered in their commands, although most of these practices were short-lived as they disrupted the efficiency of the army.

    Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses. Home FAQ Contact. Military history of China before Wikipedia open wikipedia design. Related articles. Chinese historiography Timeline of Chinese history Dynasties in Chinese history Linguistic history Art history Economic history Education history Science and technology history Legal history Media history Military history Naval history.

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    Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. China portal History portal War portal. Burton Watson New York and London, , p. The religious traditions of Asia: religion, history, and culture. Retrieved Greenwood Publishing Group. Weng China: a history in art. China: a short cultural history. Panorama de la Chine. Delgado Khubilai Khan's lost fleet: in search of a legendary armada. University of California Press. Fighting techniques of the Oriental world, AD equipment, combat skills, and tactics illustrated ed.

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