25 April 2016

Da Feng Ke (大蜂窠)

Ming Chinese Paper-wrapped bomb
A Da Feng Ke, from 'Wu Bei Zhi (《武備志》)'.
Da Feng Ke (大蜂窠, lit. 'Great wasp nest'), also known as Huo Feng Wo (火蜂窩, lit. 'Fire wasp nest'), is a type of primitive but powerful bomb. Made of one hundred layers of paper and ten layers of fabric, its payload includes everything from incendiary and poison gas gunpowder, firecrackers, Di Shu (地鼠), small bomblets, darts, poisoned ceramic fragmentation, iron fragmentation and caltrops, to sulphur, resin, human hair and feces. Da Ke Feng is usually thrown by hand or launched from siege engine, and is most useful during siege or naval warfare. It is sometimes confused with Yi Wo Feng (一窩蜂) due to similarly sounding names.

It is possible that a type of early land mine known as Yi Ke Feng (一窠蜂, lit. 'A nest of wasp'), used by Ming army as early as 1400, refers to the same weapon.

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