12 February 2016

Yu Da You's Du Lun Che (獨輪車) — Part 2

Yu Da You (俞大猷) organised his war cart regiment to be able to functions at different tactical levels. The smallest military unit in Yu Da You's war cart regiment capable of independent operations was Xiao Ying (小營, small battalion), consisted of thirteen war carts.

Small Unit Tactics
Yu Da You's war cart formation (small) at its initial position, from 'Zheng Qi Tang Ji (《正氣堂集》)'.
As the smallest operational unit in the war cart regiment, Xiao Ying was geared towards small scale engagement, namely to engage and defeat small numbers of Mongol skirmishers or raiders looking for plunder. As such, mobility and firepower were far more important than forming impenetrable defensive formation to defeat an enemy that frequently employed hit-and-run tactics and would not hesitate to retreat at the first sign of trouble. Xiao Ying did not form into wagon fort (Yu Da You thought that defensive formation should be left for larger unit) but deployed in checkerboard formation to maximise the firepower of Fo Lang Ji (佛狼機) cannons.
The tactics of Xiao Ying can be best sum up as "fire and manoeuvre with war cart". Nine carts from Xiao Ying would advance and form two ranks and took turns to fire their cannons, while one command cart and three other carts protected the forward element against enemy flanking manoeuvre. This tactics was fairly aggressive, as the formation would continuously press forward towards the enemy while discharging volleys after volleys of cannon fire (taking full advantage of the fast reloading speed of breech-loading Fo Lang Ji) into their ranks.

Supporting infantry teams and horsemen were tasked with defending the carts.

Other blog posts in my Du Lun Che series:
Yu Da You's Du Lun Che (獨輪車) — Part 1
Yu Da You's Du Lun Che (獨輪車) — Part 2
Yu Da You's Du Lun Che (獨輪車) — Part 3
Yu Da You's Du Lun Che (獨輪車) — Part 4
Yu Da You's Du Lun Che (獨輪車) — Part 5

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