Chinese

General wargaming related discussions.

Re: Chinese

Postby zedeyejoe » 06 Jun 2015, 04:57

Yep I met a student from China about two years back and he was very keen on the emerging military power of todays China. He reckoned that they will be able to beat any army in the world. China has some real national pride.

Of course China is a very controlled society and it was only last year that the ban on foreign game consoles was suspended.
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Re: Chinese

Postby mrinku » 06 Jun 2015, 16:44

HalberKill wrote:
mrinku wrote:I'd have to see the models in the flesh, but the Steppe Warriors don't look very Korean to me.
They have Korean subjugated warrior heads in addition to the standard Mongol heads on the sprue. The Koreans are the ones with the cloth head coverings in the picture below, which is an actual drawing from that time. The Mongols have those fur hats, and the Japanese are kicking the butt on a horse.

Image


mrinku wrote:The armour is quite different and no-one does them in 28mm plastic that I know of.

The make up of the armor was different, but the basic look was the same. The biggest difference is the helmets, which I got a set of metal heads with those helmets from somewhere.

Halber


Ah, I see what you meant, Halber. I was thinking more in terms of 16th C Koreans, not Mongol vassals. Yes, they will do very nicely for a Mongol Invasion game, as long as you can find some matching 12th C Japanese to fight them...
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Re: Chinese

Postby bvandewalker » 06 Jun 2015, 19:12

As I mentioned earlier Curteys miniatures has 13th century mongol and Japanese labeled as 25mm for the mongol invasions (they happened in 1274 and 1281 remember 1200s mean 13th century :roll: ), so yes there are minis for it they just happen to be metal and "25mm" which means they probably match up okay next to WGF stuff.
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Re: Chinese

Postby mrinku » 07 Jun 2015, 01:29

Yeah, I should have said "13th C Japanese". The dates had slipped my mind and I didn't check myself for once...
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Re: Chinese

Postby Imho » 07 Jun 2015, 05:34

After painting a WSS and a SYW army from frontrank I just can´t see myself building up an army in metal again. I like the conversion possibilities of plastic, and as I go for huge armies the Perry Koreans might play the role of allies, but I will not spend a lot of money on them.

Thanx for the interesting information about today´s China.

cheers
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Re: Chinese

Postby bvandewalker » 19 Jun 2015, 22:45

Luoshangzhi wrote:There is nothing to haggle about any further. The simple fact remains is that the Ming Chinese intervention in the land war was strategically significant and tipped the balance fully away from the Japanese in a manner that on the evidence the Koreans might not have accomplished on their own despite their naval superiority.


Lealand that is haggling over the details, since one of us has to be an adult I am replying here where it will be constructive (at least keep thread going), first off yes they dressed very similarly:

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And assuming that they that looked the same is more from the fact that they were both medieval armies from nations that share strong trade relations and are in close proximity to one another, in the rest of the world at the time armies that shared one or more of those traits often did look pretty much the same with the exception of color preference and funny hats (at most). The fact that Ming and the Koreans are not even more similar in appearance is frankly odd. (Although it might be because the Ming were snobs who relied in inferior padded and leather armor and were too proud to upgrade :roll: ).

Luoshangzhi wrote:

bvandewalker wrote:As to the truth of Ming and Japanese accounts in that war, this is Asian history we are talking about :P you have to look at and incorporate all sides to get a real sense of what was going on, not just two, because everyone lies to save face in Asia (particularly the Chinese and Japanese :P ), and Turnbull really shouldn’t be your main authority when it comes to researching events :twisted:



Really? Actually, if my own anecdotal experiences are any guide, everyone in the Far East does not lie to save face, and who exactly said Dr. Turnbull was my main or only source? And how is Turnbull in error other than perhaps his building a career out of being a recognized non-Asian (Western) historian on Feudal Japanese warfare? I happen to be an academic, trained researcher and source analyst, and was the person who provided the research behind WF's Rising Sun figure sets among other projects, just a friendly FYI. My sources range from the primary to the tertiary, from the Japanese to the Korean to the Ming Chinese. If I did anything less, I wouldn't be doing my freakin' job not to put too fine a point on the matter... :twisted:


Your right, they don’t all lie about everything, but when it comes to government sanctioned histories or the letters about current events of the time written by politicians (basically anything written for or by the Asian nobility/politicians/officials) is deeply colored at best at worst they are lies (mostly of the half-truth, ignore truth, official cover up verities). Often this is either to save face (sometimes on a national level) or make political opponents look bad. :twisted: :lol:

To be fair western historical accounts of Europe at are often guilty of this too at times, however the Asian accounts tend to suffer from this even more so and usually at least one additional issue or another when it comes credibility but we will come to that a bit later. ;)

The reason Why Turnbull shouldn’t be a main research source in a serious study has nothing to do with him being a westerner. I didn’t say Bryant or Swop were bad sources now did I and they are both westerners. :P

No the real reason I don’t view Turnbull as good source was that when I first began to take a serious study of the Imeijn war I heard conflicting reports about his accuracy on the subject he is expert in that varied from mild praise to harsh criticism by both western and eastern experts. (Even some of the books I came across that sited him as a source had things to say, not all of them good :? ).

Now don’t get me wrong, when it comes to costumes, armor and weapons he is a great source (so using him as info for miniatures is just fine, and thank ever so much for doing that), but when it comes to the actual story of history he fails the “separate myth from fact” test for some things (for me that puts him in the “interesting but not to be relied upon heavily source when doing papers” box, I am harsh that way :twisted: ).Plus he kind of picks sides a bit too much :| .

And, while I don’t care as much about it, some snobs think he needs to work on his medieval Japanese a bit more before writing stuff down like names and job titles (apparently samurai is a purely masculine word, so there really are no female samurai due to syntax :( :lol: ). But you don’t have to take my word for it:

http://www.theshogunshouse.com/2010/11/ ... bulls.html

Also, if Turnbull isn’t a main source for you than you could’ve fooled me. Your web list have practically all of his books up to that point in time you posted it and then praise him as “Something of legend in the subject Japan’s Feudal past” (which when it comes to costumes and weapons is true).

http://blackwidowpilot.blogspot.com/201 ... rence.html

Luoshangzhi wrote: So Swope stated up front why he was relying upon Chinese source materials including primary source materials but not exclusively, and stated his scholarly credentials and perspectives no less clearly, one cannot fault him for "daring" to tread the scholarly road less traveled by those with partisan agendas.

Leland, Leland, the reason nobody used the Ming court documents as main source before probably isn’t just because of researcher bias, but also because the Ming court documents themselves are partisan agendas to either further various schemes of Ming court officials of the time they were written (typical) or in support of Ming’s own overarching “Ming is better than all the rest of you and is the center of the world, we should rule the world we are so awesome mwahahaha!” view point (just like every other Chinese dynasty before and after them… plus the French*).
Add to this that the Ming dynasty probably burned any real evidence that countered the latter view that they could get their hands on and you can see why I am skeptical of their records. The French tend to draw the line at book burning and purging history, but traditionally the Chinese governments just do it whenever the head mucky muck(s) says to for the sake unity (that is China’s big issue as a source).
The main problem with Swop as a source is that he can’t read Korean.This keeps him from analyzing the only accounts of that war that might actually be reliable since the Koreans had an educated peasant population who could leave written accounts from an average, albeit slightly nationalistic, Joe’s perspective (thank you hangul). If those were written and didn’t all get burned in WW2 or something equally stupid, than someone on our side of the pond needs to check them out and translate them.
Also he seemed a bit too focused on making the Imejin out to be “the first great Asian war” totally missing the fact that the Chinese warring states period was Asia’s HYW and involved multiple countries, many of which are now part of china but still retain their ethnic identity and dialects to this day.


Luoshangzhi wrote: The simple fact remains is that the Ming Chinese intervention in the land war was strategically significant and tipped the balance fully away from the Japanese in a manner that on the evidence the Koreans might not have accomplished on their own despite their naval superiority. Caught between the rock of the Korean navy and the hard place of Ming superiority in siegecraft and artillery coupled to stiffening Korean resistance particularly asymmetric warfare, the Japanese position became increasingly untenable both strategically and operationally.


Based what I have read (including Swop), “superior” Ming siegecraft led to little more than a few interesting stalemates (best described as pyrrhic victories for the Japanese since the attackers turned tail) early on and maybe added to the successful mop up later. this seems pretty accurate for a couple of reasons.

First even if they had the best tech of all three combatants at all levels (which they did not have, more on that), for any successful attack against a fortified position at that time they would need something like 10 attackers for every defender (even with the best artillery available at the time).

Now the real number of Ming troops in Korea at any given point in the war is unknown (like most things from before the info age :lol: ), the Wikipedia alone has a hard time on that (one section estimate no more than 60,000 at any given time, while other sections go higher than that and I believe I have heard even lower estimates), however all the accounts I have read (with views from all three nations) viewed the land forces sent by Ming at all times as being much smaller than the number of combatants fielded by both the Koreans and Japanese by either tens or hundreds of thousands depending on what numbers you want to believe. (Well under a hundred thousand at any given point).

This means that one of two things needed to happened for them to have even pulled off any siege victories: 1 their land forces always moved as a solid group (highly unlikely given records and the logistics), 2 they got tons of help in the form of Korean troops and guerrillas (which means you are putting the cart before the horse). :|

Second, not to sound too much like 1classybadger, but their body armor for regular foot troops couldn’t even handle Japanese arrows let alone bullets, the best armor they had was chainmail and that was exclusively for officers. The normal troops wore either padded armor or leather armor, which makes them about as good as light cannon fodder (except slower) even their cavalry was lightly armored (from what I have heard the Koreans army had better armor at the beginning of the war), now with the right numbers and/or tactics (hit and run) one can do some amazing work with such a force, but from the records its clear the Ming had neither.

Third tech wise the Ming were still relying on match cord guns on sticks for the bulk of their infantry firearms (they were a century or two behind the Japanese when it came to guns). As to cannons, they may have had the world’s best artillery, but I clearly remember my college world hist text book stating that towards end of their empire the Ming abandoned the use and development of field cannons, probably immediately after the war, which suggests that they may have ditched them because they performed poorly in Korea.

Of course the text book could be (probably is) wrong on that, still cannons at that time were more like can openers than the devastating field weapons we know today** when it came to siege warfare and if said can is full of carnivorous worms armed with katana, well. :twisted:

The Ming did have fire arrows, rockets, and other more exotic gunpowder weapons but their part in the war didn’t seem to turn the tide when it came to the land war.

Fourth, the Ming empire was kind of falling apart internally at the time due to an unwieldy (if not corrupt) bureaucratic civil government that ran everything including the army. Ming officials were back set driving the Ming army the entire war, and they weren’t terribly competent at it since they were known for rewarding generals who committed war crimes (against their own allies no less) while at the same time accusing commanders who were actually getting stuff done of treason. :twisted:

Quite frankly it is amazing they had an empire still yet alone played as big a role as any of the records say they did. :twisted:

Luoshangzhi wrote: Like WW2, the Imjin War was not so much won by a single participant, but by an allied coalition with strategic components of the constituent members each contributing to the final victory. Ming participation was instrumental in driving the Japanese out of the North and back to their coastal strongpoints, and put the writing on the wall as to what was to inevitably come if the Japanese didn't eventually withdraw from Korea.


The Imjin War was more like Vietnam than WW2, it was a war attrition won (sort off, it was a really hollow victory :? ) by clever to overwhelming naval tactics and constant hit and run guerrilla fighting on the part of the allies, not field or siege craft on the part of the Ming who were more instrumental in the later naval battles than they ever were in the land battle.

They did put a cavalry on the table that succeeded in getting a goodish stalemate at one point, but that’s all they accomplished with it. The Ming did participate in few larger siege in a big way but those can be at best be described as stale mates (in both cases something caused the allies to retreat and then the Japanese would abandoned the fortress, and everyone agrees on that) and in those cases they had tons Korean Irregulars to back them up. :|

As to sieges by the Allies, there were successful ones, but those were much smaller and where carried out by Korean guerrillas towards the end (if anything was writing on the wall in the land war it was that). Both the Japanese and Koreans mention Korean forces and guerrillas a lot but the only mention Ming foot troops in any detail at the successful sieges (or at all for that matter) is by the Ming themselves, so while they may have been there it wasn’t in great numbers and they certainly weren’t key to victory in any. The key things Ming provided to the land war (that actually did any good) were tactical advisors/drill instructors in the form of Ming generals and financial aid.

So in short Ming ground troops are about as important to the Imejin as Hessians are to the AWI and all this nonsense aside everyone knows that the greatest traditional enemy of the samurai are ninja (even historically that is the case) and pirates, not the Ming. :P

*pretty much all of East Asian history is deeply colored by a level of nationalistic pride that is best compared to that held by the French. Quite frankly I would not be too surprised if they were somehow related way back in prehistory. :lol:

**to my knowledge cannonballs didn’t really explode and grapeshot wasn’t even invented yet.
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Re: Chinese

Postby Imho » 20 Jun 2015, 07:53

So in short Ming ground troops are about as important to the Imejin as Hessians are to the AWI

Thanx for the extensive explanation why plastic chinese should be produced, just like Hessians.

cheers
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Re: Chinese

Postby 1classybadger » 20 Jun 2015, 10:53

Second, not to sound too much like 1classybadger, but their body armor for regular foot troops couldn’t even handle Japanese arrows let alone bullets, the best armor they had was chainmail and that was exclusively for officers. The normal troops wore either padded armor or leather armor, which makes them about as good as light cannon fodder (except slower) even their cavalry was lightly armored (from what I have heard the Koreans army had better armor at the beginning of the war), now with the right numbers and/or tactics (hit and run) one can do some amazing work with such a force, but from the records its clear the Ming had neither.


Hey! I resemble that remark!
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Re: Chinese

Postby bvandewalker » 21 Jun 2015, 01:04

Imho wrote:
So in short Ming ground troops are about as important to the Imejin as Hessians are to the AWI

Thanx for the extensive explanation why plastic chinese should be produced, just like Hessians.

cheers


Yes, but just as Hessins shouldn't come before continental army, British, militia, or Amerindians, The Ming shouldn't come before Korean army foot troops (light and heavy) or Righteous army peasants if we are doing the land war aspect of the Imejin, if we even do the Imejin.

Frankly for the Rising Suns the next set (or preferably compatible fantasy line set ;) ) should be ninja (one or to sets of them depending), and after that it would be smarter to do mixed Asian nationality Wako pirates (everyone had to fight them even the samurai at times) or pick a different era and do Three Kingdoms China
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Re: Chinese

Postby Luoshangzhi » 28 Jun 2015, 23:14

bvandewalker wrote:
Lealand that is haggling over the details, since one of us has to be an adult I am replying here where it will be constructive (at least keep thread going), first off yes they dressed very similarly:



Right, because taking up a conversation on another thread then proceeding to attack the other party ad hominem is the epitome of adult behavior... especially when you take it to another thread and don't tell the person you're going to publicly excoriate their capacity for good scholarship but still address them as if they were present... :lol:


bvandewalker wrote:And assuming that they that looked the same is more from the fact that they were both medieval armies from nations that share strong trade relations and are in close proximity to one another, in the rest of the world at the time armies that shared one or more of those traits often did look pretty much the same with the exception of color preference and funny hats (at most). The fact that Ming and the Koreans are not even more similar in appearance is frankly odd. (Although it might be because the Ming were snobs who relied in inferior padded and leather armor and were too proud to upgrade :roll: ).



Koreans:


Image

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Koreans fighting the Japanese:


Image


Most Koreans of the period wore [img]no[/img] armor BTW. :shock:


Now here's the Ming Chinese:


Image

Image


Image




Yeah. No real detectable differences other than funny hats... :twisted:





bvandewalker wrote:Your right, they don’t all lie about everything, but when it comes to government sanctioned histories or the letters about current events of the time written by politicians (basically anything written for or by the Asian nobility/politicians/officials) is deeply colored at best at worst they are lies (mostly of the half-truth, ignore truth, official cover up verities). Often this is either to save face (sometimes on a national level) or make political opponents look bad. :twisted: :lol:




Funny how I am pretty sure I told you I am a trained researcher and yet you keep carrying on as if I don't know a primary source from a secondary or tertiary source, nor how to take into account source bias (including avoiding a little thing called Confirmation Bias), nor how to engage in actual scholarly analysis and discourse.... this is all the more ironic given your originally resorting to a blanket stereotype, then backpedaling only after I call you out on it (and do so on another thread on another subject board entirely)... :evil: :twisted:





bvandewalker wrote:To be fair western historical accounts of Europe at are often guilty of this too at times, however the Asian accounts tend to suffer from this even more so and usually at least one additional issue or another when it comes credibility but we will come to that a bit later. ;)

The reason Why Turnbull shouldn’t be a main research source in a serious study has nothing to do with him being a westerner. I didn’t say Bryant or Swop were bad sources now did I and they are both westerners. :P

No the real reason I don’t view Turnbull as good source was that when I first began to take a serious study of the Imeijn war I heard conflicting reports about his accuracy on the subject he is expert in that varied from mild praise to harsh criticism by both western and eastern experts. (Even some of the books I came across that sited him as a source had things to say, not all of them good :? ).



OK, your straw man fallacy aside, you cite other sources but you don't name them, and still carry on as if I ever stated that I relied upon Turnbull as my primary source of information... this is getting sillier by the minute.... :lol:



bvandewalker wrote:Now don’t get me wrong, when it comes to costumes, armor and weapons he is a great source (so using him as info for miniatures is just fine, and thank ever so much for doing that), but when it comes to the actual story of history he fails the “separate myth from fact” test for some things (for me that puts him in the “interesting but not to be relied upon heavily source when doing papers” box, I am harsh that way :twisted: ).Plus he kind of picks sides a bit too much :| .



Which is fine, as skepticism is the best place to start when analyzing source materials, but again, if you're going to claim a source is questionable, you could at least cite your sources that point out Turnbull's inaccuracies and that means naming them, if only because that is simply good professional practice in any scholarly exchange, and any actual professional scholar would not be the least bit shy about backing up their arguments with source citations.




bvandewalker wrote:And, while I don’t care as much about it, some snobs think he needs to work on his medieval Japanese a bit more before writing stuff down like names and job titles (apparently samurai is a purely masculine word, so there really are no female samurai due to syntax :( :lol: ). But you don’t have to take my word for it:

http://www.theshogunshouse.com/2010/11/ ... bulls.html




Yes, and as much as I'd like to take an anonymous blogger at their word as to their scholarly bona fides, my training as a source analyst doesn't exactly allow me to do so uncritically.... ;) A further explanation on this point may be that Turnbull is writing for an English-speaking Western audience and doing so in a format (Osprey) with a decidedly limited word count restriction imposed by the publisher, so his use of the word "samurai" could be as "generic" as the use of the word "knight." It isn't the wisest or most scholarly of omissions to commit, but then again without the author himself publicly stating why he didn't provide a more detailed explanation of his use of the term we are reduced to speculation (and not much else).



bvandewalker wrote:Also, if Turnbull isn’t a main source for you than you could’ve fooled me. Your web list have practically all of his books up to that point in time you posted it and then praise him as “Something of legend in the subject Japan’s Feudal past” (which when it comes to costumes and weapons is true).

http://blackwidowpilot.blogspot.com/201 ... rence.html




From that very blog entry:



"The list is by no means exhaustive, but is meant to provide a reasonably thorough introduction to this fascinating chapter of military history that is poorly known or understood by most Westerners. Swope's accounting of the Imjin War is especially thorough, as the author relied upon not only Japanese and Korean accounts of the conflict, but also went the extra step in procuring access to Chinese primary reference sources.

Dr. Stephen Turnbull is rightly something of a legend in the subject of Japan's feudal past. His works lead the way for English speakers into understanding the fascinating subject of the samurai, their lives and times, their weapons and armor, their methods of waging war. His titles published by Osprey are not only informative, but often lavishly illustrated, especially those works that contain the stunning reconstructive paintings of the late Angus McBride, who is perhaps the most talented military artist of his generation (a retired career British Army NCO entirely self taught as an artist!).

Anthony Bryant is also a well known military historian who specializes in this subject matter. Although less prolific in his output than Dr. Turnbull, Mr. Bryant's works are concise, thorough, and no less invaluable to English language readers in starting their education on this fascinating subject. I am especially appreciative of his volume covering Early Samurai AD 200-1500, as it shows how the iconic arms and armor of the samurai came into being, the result of a process of evolution driven by an increasing frequency and degree of warfare that devolved into the Sengoku Jidai."



Whoops. Looks like there's a *context* involved you keep willfully ignoring... like the word *introduction*... :shock:




bvandewalker wrote:Leland, Leland, the reason nobody used the Ming court documents as main source before probably isn’t just because of researcher bias, but also because the Ming court documents themselves are partisan agendas to either further various schemes of Ming court officials of the time they were written (typical) or in support of Ming’s own overarching “Ming is better than all the rest of you and is the center of the world, we should rule the world we are so awesome mwahahaha!” view point (just like every other Chinese dynasty before and after them… plus the French*).
Add to this that the Ming dynasty probably burned any real evidence that countered the latter view that they could get their hands on and you can see why I am skeptical of their records. The French tend to draw the line at book burning and purging history, but traditionally the Chinese governments just do it whenever the head mucky muck(s) says to for the sake unity (that is China’s big issue as a source).
The main problem with Swop as a source is that he can’t read Korean.This keeps him from analyzing the only accounts of that war that might actually be reliable since the Koreans had an educated peasant population who could leave written accounts from an average, albeit slightly nationalistic, Joe’s perspective (thank you hangul). If those were written and didn’t all get burned in WW2 or something equally stupid, than someone on our side of the pond needs to check them out and translate them.
Also he seemed a bit too focused on making the Imejin out to be “the first great Asian war” totally missing the fact that the Chinese warring states period was Asia’s HYW and involved multiple countries, many of which are now part of china but still retain their ethnic identity and dialects to this day.




Really? And you can substantively demonstrate that Swope didn't understand the inherent bias of the source materials he was working from? Further, Swope stated he worked with a number of Korean native speakers as he developed and analyzed his sources; can you refute them being fluent in Korean yourself, and cite your sources as you do so?

And what precisely makes you think I am ignorant of China's Warring States Period, or the fact that China is populated by over 90 different ethnic groups only unified by a common written language? The Warring States Period in fact was if anything the first Chinese Civil War as much as anything, except that China in the modern sense didn't yet even exist, so it's more akin to the various wars and alliances made and broken between the assorted Germanic states before their unification at long last under the Prussian Hohenzollern dynasty. Like Russia, China was an empire more than a country, but unlike Russia China succeeded in imposing a deeper sense of national identity over the subject member groups over time, aided by the shrewd expedient of the first emperor imposing a common written language upon everyone (or else).





bvandewalker wrote:Based what I have read (including Swop), “superior” Ming siegecraft led to little more than a few interesting stalemates (best described as pyrrhic victories for the Japanese since the attackers turned tail) early on and maybe added to the successful mop up later. this seems pretty accurate for a couple of reasons.



Yes, the first Chinese attack on Pyongyang in 1592 failed because the hotheaded Chinese commander attacked with a few thousand men a garrison that outnumbered him by orders of magnitude... :shock:

Then as the campaign gets going, the Chinese laid siege to Pyongyang again in full strength in 1593, and the Japanese abandoned the city after nine days of fighting and retreated to Seoul. This is followed the the near run battle at Pyokjeyek that is the largest land battle of the war and a tactical Japanese victory. The Japanese continue to retreat until they occupy only Pusan and a string of coastal wajo (forts) and there the Japanese remained for the next four years.

So this begs the question, "bvandewalker," if the Ming hadn't shown up to the party, where would the Japanese have been with only the Koreans to oppose them in 1592? Could it be that you don't fully appreciate the differences between strategic, operational, and tactical levels of operations and the concept of what is meant in the English language by the word significance? There's a reason I stated that the Ming intervention was strategically significant for the same reason that when I lecture on the Imjin War I also point out the strategic as well as operational and tactical significance of the Korean Navy on the outcome of the war....






bvandewalker wrote:First even if they had the best tech of all three combatants at all levels (which they did not have, more on that), for any successful attack against a fortified position at that time they would need something like 10 attackers for every defender (even with the best artillery available at the time).

Now the real number of Ming troops in Korea at any given point in the war is unknown (like most things from before the info age :lol: ), the Wikipedia alone has a hard time on that (one section estimate no more than 60,000 at any given time, while other sections go higher than that and I believe I have heard even lower estimates), however all the accounts I have read (with views from all three nations) viewed the land forces sent by Ming at all times as being much smaller than the number of combatants fielded by both the Koreans and Japanese by either tens or hundreds of thousands depending on what numbers you want to believe. (Well under a hundred thousand at any given point).

This means that one of two things needed to happened for them to have even pulled off any siege victories: 1 their land forces always moved as a solid group (highly unlikely given records and the logistics), 2 they got tons of help in the form of Korean troops and guerrillas (which means you are putting the cart before the horse). :|



Wikipedia? I guess you weren't aware that Wikipedia is not an acceptable source citation for American public school K-12 students, let alone for university level discourse and source citations. You further insist that a 10 to 1 ratio between besiegers and besieged is necessary for success; funny how that didn't hold up in more sieges than one could care to start citing including the Japanese assault on the Korean fortification at Haengju. 30,000 Japanese attacked a garrison of circa 2,300 Korean regulars and monks. The Japanese were repulsed with very heavy losses by all accounts, so again, your 10 to one ratio? Source of that, please?

The Ming laid siege to Pyongyang with a much lower ratio, yet the Japanese abandoned the city after only nine days of fighting and retreated never to return to the city. The various accounts that have survived point to a Chinese army of circa 40,000 total with circa 400 cannons. Not the vast 100,000-man hosts of past or later dynasties, but with the added firepower clearly enough to make their presence felt on a strategic level if the course of the land campaign is any indicator in the matter. :shock:




bvandewalker wrote:Second, not to sound too much like 1classybadger, but their body armor for regular foot troops couldn’t even handle Japanese arrows let alone bullets, the best armor they had was chainmail and that was exclusively for officers. The normal troops wore either padded armor or leather armor, which makes them about as good as light cannon fodder (except slower) even their cavalry was lightly armored (from what I have heard the Koreans army had better armor at the beginning of the war), now with the right numbers and/or tactics (hit and run) one can do some amazing work with such a force, but from the records its clear the Ming had neither.



Korean irregulars and the vast majority of their regular soldiers were even less well equipped than the Ming in terms of personal armor protection. The Chinese also employed shields apparently if the contemporary artwork Chinese and Japanese among other sources is to be believed, which probably mitigated the impact of arrows along with the fact that the Japanese use of the bow was much rarer by this point in history (ie., archers supported the arquebusiers by providing covering fire while they reloaded, and acted as sharpshooters to pick off officers or other significant individual targets). Normal troop armor also included a cloth jacket or torso protector with metal or laquered leather plates sandwiched between two layers of the base material and riveted in place (ie., the handgunner and footsoldier on the right side of this group reconstruction):


Image



bvandewalker wrote:Third tech wise the Ming were still relying on match cord guns on sticks for the bulk of their infantry firearms (they were a century or two behind the Japanese when it came to guns). As to cannons, they may have had the world’s best artillery, but I clearly remember my college world hist text book stating that towards end of their empire the Ming abandoned the use and development of field cannons, probably immediately after the war, which suggests that they may have ditched them because they performed poorly in Korea.

Of course the text book could be (probably is) wrong on that, still cannons at that time were more like can openers than the devastating field weapons we know today** when it came to siege warfare and if said can is full of carnivorous worms armed with katana, well. :twisted:



Even the Japanese admitted that the Ming cannon were a real menace, and that the Ming were formidable opponents in a stand up fight if only tacitly by claiming that numbers made the Ming difficult to overcome. So again, we're engaging in source analysis here: if you have an elevated opinion of yourself and you aggressively take on an opponent you hold in open contempt only to have that opponent give you some hard knocks and nasty shocks, how do you explain it away? Like Ramses after Kadesh, you simply exaggerate the numbers of your enemy in your official accounts of the conflict (and hope nobody in your target audience catches on). ;)

Further incentive to do so would have come from the nest of vipers that was Japanese geopolitics of the 1590s. Hideyoshi had only just unified Japan for the first time in over 50 years of civil war. Japan was still a proverbial snake pit of rival daimyos each with a powerful combat tested standing army under their control. Hideyoshi had an infant son as his heir. You as one of the returning Korean campaign daimyos is are not going to want to admit that you and your troops were beaten by an enemy -the Chinese and Koreans- that your society overwhelmingly holds in contempt as "weak" and lacking in military skill and ability. Instead, you want to return with your heads held high, your honor and reputation as a warlord and commander intact. You want your local rivals to still fear you as a formidable opponent in time of war, so how do you justify being sent home after nearly six years of campaigning and thousands of dead? Simple; the enemy was victorious because there were just too damn many of 'em for even the very best of men to handle.

Ever gone fishing, "bvandewalker?" Here in America we fishermen have a saying about "The One That Got Away"... :twisted:



bvandewalker wrote:The Ming did have fire arrows, rockets, and other more exotic gunpowder weapons but their part in the war didn’t seem to turn the tide when it came to the land war.



No, and neither did the Korean Hwacha turn the tide of the Imjin War (except perhaps in Korean cinema), but apparently the Ming cannons did make an impression on the Japanese enough to run them out of Pyongyang and send them "advancing to the rear" to the coast enmasse (and kept them incentivized to keep right on moving in a generally Southerly direction)...



bvandewalker wrote:Fourth, the Ming empire was kind of falling apart internally at the time due to an unwieldy (if not corrupt) bureaucratic civil government that ran everything including the army. Ming officials were back set driving the Ming army the entire war, and they weren’t terribly competent at it since they were known for rewarding generals who committed war crimes (against their own allies no less) while at the same time accusing commanders who were actually getting stuff done of treason. :twisted:

Quite frankly it is amazing they had an empire still yet alone played as big a role as any of the records say they did. :twisted:



Frequency and degree rule all things in the universe, "bvandewalker," and an empire collapsing but still potentially dangerous is nothing new to human history, as such agrarian civilizations invariably rise slowly and fall slowly by inches rather than by miles... as for the Ming withdrawal of cannon from the field armies to strictly garrison use, cannon for one thing are expensive to manufacture and maintain, and not exactly the easiest of implements of war to employ on campaign especially against an enemy that is nomadic in nature (and far more mobile than your mainly infantry armies). Now, add in the economic considerations of an empire exhausted by constant campaigning and maintaining large standing armies in garrisons and in the field and having had to contend with a major rebellion at home (Ningxia), a major nomadic threat that just wouldn't seem to go away (Jurchens), and have to come to the rescue of your loyal neighboring vassal state (Korea) suddenly invaded by a powerful newcomer (Japan) who is rolling over them on their way to your country next if you don't send substantial military aid and quick.




bvandewalker wrote:The Imjin War was more like Vietnam than WW2, it was a war attrition won (sort off, it was a really hollow victory :? ) by clever to overwhelming naval tactics and constant hit and run guerrilla fighting on the part of the allies, not field or siege craft on the part of the Ming who were more instrumental in the later naval battles than they ever were in the land battle.



Except that the U.S. didn't lose the Vietnam War because of naval superiority on the part of the North Vietnamese Navy, nor did the Chinese Navy intervene while they were at it, nor did the U.S. lose due to the victories won by the VC or NVA in the land war. The U.S. defeat in the Vietnam War was a strategic defeat and solely a *political* defeat, not a military one. Japan's defeat in the Imjin War was military on a strategic and operational level without question, with a number of lopsided tactical defeats mostly naval mixed in that led to the inevitable Japanese failure to just hang on in Korea over the long haul and consolidate their initial gains let alone march to the Imperial Palace in China and place Toyotomi Hideyoshi on the Dragon Throne.

Again, the Ming were the main actors at the Siege of Pyongyang and after nine days of siege prompted the Japanese into a strategic retreat, a strategic posture the Japanese did not reverse until four years later (and failed again in accomplishing their goal of conquering Korea and moving on to the conquest of the Chinese Empire). The Koreans in 1592 were simply in no position or condition to have accomplished this feat that year or the next without the Ming army's intervention.

My point still stands; the war was won by a coalition of two allies, the victory being the outcome of the serendipitous effect of the Ming intervention, Korean asymmetry on land to a lesser extent, and the superiority of the Korean navy and especially the leadership of Admiral Yi Sun Shin the later two factors which ensured that Japan's ability to keep their armies in the field supplied and periodically replenished with fresh troops was dramatically and decisively undermined.

Unable to sustain themselves by living entirely off the land and unable to be adequately resupplied by sea, the Japanese armies in Korea were slowly starved of the necessary human and material resources they needed to succeed and they knew it. The death of Hideyoshi clearly came as a relief to the hapless daimyo who had been tasked with executing Hideyoshi's delusions of imperial grandeur. This freed the daimyo to return to Japan and resume their customary pastime of trying to figure out who was going to make the next Big Move to be The Boss (and which of the Biggest Dogs should I back, or should I just go for the gold myself?!).



bvandewalker wrote:They did put a cavalry on the table that succeeded in getting a goodish stalemate at one point, but that’s all they accomplished with it. The Ming did participate in few larger siege in a big way but those can be at best be described as stale mates (in both cases something caused the allies to retreat and then the Japanese would abandoned the fortress, and everyone agrees on that) and in those cases they had tons Korean Irregulars to back them up. :|



The Ming siege warfare efforts forced the Japanese to fish or cut bait, and they pulled out rather than stayed put more often then not, which speaks to the Ming siegecraft that it was enough to persuade the Japanese to pull out and retreat towards the coast. So again, if you maybe don't win all the tactical battles, but most of the time you lay siege to your enemy and his forces wind up withdrawing and falling back towards where they came from... and that is the overall strategic goal...



bvandewalker wrote:As to sieges by the Allies, there were successful ones, but those were much smaller and where carried out by Korean guerrillas towards the end (if anything was writing on the wall in the land war it was that). Both the Japanese and Koreans mention Korean forces and guerrillas a lot but the only mention Ming foot troops in any detail at the successful sieges (or at all for that matter) is by the Ming themselves, so while they may have been there it wasn’t in great numbers and they certainly weren’t key to victory in any. The key things Ming provided to the land war (that actually did any good) were tactical advisors/drill instructors in the form of Ming generals and financial aid.



Excuse me? The Japanese accounts do indeed mention the presence of the Chinese and their cannon at the sieges especially Pyongyang, Ulsan, and others, so which is it, "bvandewalker," the Chinese were present and in numbers cannon and all at a number of the major sieges or they weren't? The Chinese land forces deliberately backed off of directly confronting the Japanese as they retreated to the coast as long as the Japanese kept moving. When they would stop, the Ming and the Koreans would remind them that yes, we're still following you.

This is where the Korean and Japanese accounts begin to point out the lack of Chinese participation, but that is after the initial heavy lifting of Pyongyang et al. This is frankly fairly typical Chinese strategic thinking (there's that word again); as long as the opposing force is retreating in the direction we want them to go, we'll conserve our strength and just keep nudging him along only when we have to (did I mention I actually teach Sun Tzu's Art of War as part of a larger university course in strategy and tactics?).



bvandewalker wrote:So in short Ming ground troops are about as important to the Imejin as Hessians are to the AWI



Um, no, the comparison between the Ming and the Hessians is not as apt a one as you might think, as the Hessians constituted a full one quarter of the Crown's army in the Colonies during the war. Now compare that to the number of Ming troops -circa 40,000 plus circa 400 cannon- to their impact on the strategic picture and outcome of the conflict. Maybe the comparison is actually more significant -and ironic on your part- than you appreciate? 25% of your entire army is nothing to sneeze at, now is it? :lol:

The Ming tipped the balance in the Imjin War on land. The Hessians didn't tip the balance in favor of the British Empire's effort to hold onto her North American colonies, especially after the French fleet showed up and won an unexpected victory over the Royal Navy just when the combined Franco-American army under Washington's command had cornered the British Army at Yorktown. A few more moves and the British band was playing The World Has Turned Upside Down. :twisted:

Timing is everything it seems and war is never an exception to this rule... ;)


bvandewalker wrote:...and all this nonsense aside everyone knows that the greatest traditional enemy of the samurai are ninja (even historically that is the case) and pirates, not the Ming. :P



Shinobi. "Ninja" is a misreading of the characters by Western translators IIRC. And I don't believe I ever said the Ming were the "greatest" opponents of the samurai, but an historical opponent other than Koreans or other samurai.



bvandewalker wrote:*pretty much all of East Asian history is deeply colored by a level of nationalistic pride that is best compared to that held by the French. Quite frankly I would not be too surprised if they were somehow related way back in prehistory. :lol:



And the rest of the world isn't? Ramses the Great wanted posterity to believe he won the Battle of Kadesh. Too bad for Ramses that a later academic discipline called *archaeology* evolved and eventually exposed his "victory" monuments as just another cynical political PR campaign... :twisted:



bvandewalker wrote:**to my knowledge cannonballs didn’t really explode and grapeshot wasn’t even invented yet.



The only explosive projectiles available in theory at the time were Korean mortar bombs and assorted explosive bombs fired from catapults. That being said getting clipped by a stone or metal solid shot is going to ruin your whole day even if you are wearing metal armor worth thousands of koku and you're armed with a sword with a thousand fold blade. :twisted:

So in summary, "bvandewalker," if you're going to attack me ad hominem, just think again and don't do it. If you want to debate an historical topic with me including one like this that I was first exposed to at the age of around 8 or 9 years old, feel free, just try being honest about what I have said and that means respecting a little thing like *context* especially if you're going to try and quote me on anything. If you're going to move the conversation to another thread, have the courtesy of telling me about it.

At the very least, it's simply good manners, and seeing that we're all ostensibly here to have fun rather than not, why not do me the basic courtesy of refraining from being insulting and condescending, and trying to score points as it were behind my back? :twisted:
Last edited by Luoshangzhi on 28 Jun 2015, 23:26, edited 1 time in total.
Leland R. Erickson

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