23 November 2015

Qi Ji Guang's Yuan Yang Zhen (鴛鴦陣) — Part 6

Basic layout of the late formation. Note the lack of Ai Pai (挨牌). From second edition 'Ji Xiao Xin Shu (《紀效新書》)'.
A hero's end
Unfortunately for Qi Ji Guang (戚繼光), political fallout following the death of Zhang Ju Zheng (張居正), then Grand Secretariat of the Ming Dynasty, eventually caught up with him. After serving at Ji Garrison for sixteen years, Qi Ji Guang was sidelined to Guangdong, a relatively unimportant post, before being discharged from military service altogether. Disheartened and having nothing better to do, Qi Ji Guang began reorganising his life's works and military experience and wrote the second edition of Ji Xiao Xin Shu (《紀效新書》).

Back to square one
Late Mandarin Duck Squad
Rendition of a full Mandarin Duck squad, without its squad leader and porter. This image is cropped, edited and pieced together from the training manuals of 'Ji Xiao Xin Shu (《紀效新書》)'. Weapons are edited to show realistic length.
Save for some minor differences, Mandarin Duck squad of the second edition Ji Xiao Xin Shu reverted back to its original form. It consisted of two identical teams of five, plus one squad leader and one porter. Each team consisted of one swordsman with rattan shield, one Lang Xian (狼筅), two pikemen armed with long spears, and one troop armed with a Tang Pa (鎲鈀). Unlike the original version however, Ai Pai (挨牌) was no longer used, so the teams were now completely identical. Da Bang (大棒) was also removed from the squad, except as backup weapon for the porter (which doubled as carrying pole).

Qi Ji Guang also incorporated the idea of dual role unit into this Mandarin Duck squad. Javelins were given back to the swordsmen, troops armed with Lang Xian were given swords (Lang Xian was considered "long reach" weapon), pikemen given either bows or crossbows (depending on his skill in archery), and troops armed with Tang Pa were equipped with rockets. Additionally, entire squad could be armoured in Qi Jia (緝甲) designed by Qi Ji Guang, most probably inspired by the iron armour of Northern troops. Qi Ji Guang also advised that every arquebusier should be given a Chang Dao (長刀).

While Qi Ji Guang attempted to implement this revised formation to Guangdong troops during his office at Guangdong, he was relieved from duty too soon to had any chance of succeed. However, his ex-subordinates from Zhejiang probably picked up his book and at least tried to implement it after his death. This version of Mandarin Duck Formation was later taught to Koreans during the interbellum of Imjin war.

Other blog posts in my Mandarin Duck Formation series:
Mi Zhan — the original Yuan Yang Zhen
Qi Ji Guang's Yuan Yang Zhen — Part 1
Qi Ji Guang's Yuan Yang Zhen — Part 2
Qi Ji Guang's Yuan Yang Zhen — Part 3
Qi Ji Guang's Yuan Yang Zhen — Part 4
Qi Ji Guang's Yuan Yang Zhen — Part 5
Qi Ji Guang's Yuan Yang Zhen — Part 6
Xu Guang Qi's Yuan Yang Wu


  1. Thank you for making this blog on the Ming Military, I love the Qijiguang section especially on the development of Mandarin duck Formation. His well known book Jixiaoshinshu was copied and adopted by the Korean armed forces , and together with other books were incorporated into the final Korean Military book Muyedobotongji.

    I am wondering if you will put a section on the Qijiguang trained men such Wu Weizhong and Luo Shangzhi who later in their late years served in action against the Japanese in Imjin War in Korea.

    Gen Qi was a dedicated Military man who loved and served a his country, but unfortunately there was a war that no great general could ever won, that is political ineptness and corrupt officials in the Ming Central Govt at that time. Gen Qi died in poverty and suffered injustices for serving his country so well.

  2. @Wushangkhan
    Good day and welcome to my blog!

    I don't think I will specifically write about Wu Weizhong or Luo Shangzhi, as what they did was basically the continuation of Qi Jiguang's legacy, but I will probably write about the Imjin war and their involvement some time in the future.

  3. - Where does the squad leader stand in a Mandarin Duck Formation? Is he represented by the flag in the illustration?

    1. @Riggs Bros.
      Good day and welcome to my blog.

      Yes, the squad leader is represented by the flag. Squad leader's position isn't fixed, he can lead at the front, but also command from the back row or standing beside the squad.


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