24 November 2023

Patreon supporter only: Firearms regiment of Wen brothers

Some firearms commonly used in Northwest China (in particular Shaanxi and Xuanfu Garrison) around 1600s, roughly to-scale to the soldier.

Preface

The reluctance of various garrisons in North China to adopt matchlock gun on a large scale, criticism by general Qi Ji Guang (戚繼光) regarding Ming northern troops' impatience and indiscipline, and the bad impression northern troops left on the Koreans during Imjin War, sometimes give an impression that northern troops were somehow unsophisticated, close-minded and hidebound compared to their southern brethren who eagerly absorbed European science and technology.

However, this is evidently untrue. Ming northern troops were very much shaped by their environment (i.e. strong winds common in North China often blow away gunpowder inside priming pan, whcih makes matchlock gun unreliable), limitations (i.e. difficulties in acquiring good quality iron ore which were mostly produced in Fujian) as well as challenges they faced (i.e. Mongols horsemen), and refined their tactics and equipment along a very different path.

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