Ju Ma (拒馬)

Ju Ma (拒馬, lit. 'Horse repeller'), also known as Lu Jiao (鹿角, deer horn) and many other names, is the Chinese name for cheval de frise. Unlike most other cultures in the world, Chinese armies employed Ju Ma not only to fortify a defensive position, but as part of their mobile tactical formation as well.

Chinese had been using archer's stake and cheval de frise as early as Warring States period. Over the years many variant designs and modifications were created. By Ming period, there were several variants of Ju Ma in use.

Note that the names of these chevaux de frise are so-called "fancy names", most probably coined by scholars. In practical usage, it was always known as Ju Ma or Lu Jiao regardless of design.

Jin Shou Ju Ma Lu Jiao Qiang (近守拒馬鹿角鎗, lit. 'Close defence horse repelling deer horn spear')
Ming Dynasty cheval de frise
Drawing of a Jin Shou Ju Ma Lu Jiao Qiang, from 'Wu Bei Zhi (《武備志》)'.
Jin Shou Ju Ma Lu Jiao Qiang is the heavy variant of cheval de frise. It is a wooden log covered with nine or ten projecting iron spears. As this variant is quite heavy, it is often used to defend relatively static position.


Yuan Tuo Gu Ying Ju Ma Qiang (遠馱固營拒馬鎗, lit. 'Far carrying, camp reinforcing, horse repelling spear')
Chinese Cheval De Frise
Drawing of a Yuan Tuo Gu Ying Ju Ma Qiang, from 'Wu Bei Zhi (《武備志》)'.
Yuan Tuo Gu Ying Ju Ma Qiang is the light variant of cheval de frise. Made from three wooden spears connected at the middle of their shafts, this variant is lighter and more mobile. Yuan Tuo Gu Ying Ju Ma Qiang comes with pre-installed iron chains, so that multiple Ju Ma can be linked together to form a barricade.

It is often used to defend temporary camp and wagon fort. Ming foot soldiers and mounted infantry often carried Ju Ma wherever they went, only deploying it when they were expecting combat.


Ji Xiao Xin Shu (《紀效新書》) variant
Ming Dynasty hooked cheval de frise
A Ju Ma with hooks (highlighted), from 'Ji Xiao Xin Shu (《紀效新書》)'.
Designed by Qi Ji Guang (戚繼光), this variant is similar to Yuan Tuo Gu Ying Ju Ma Qiang, but replaces its spearheads with iron hooks.

No comments:

Post a Comment

StatCounter