Do you agree with the theory that Chinese guns didn't develop to the size and complexity of European ones due to their massive earthen walls?

I guess Japanese firearms would be another example of how isolation can slow gunpowder development. From my understanding, Japanese copied Dutch guns were used quite well but there were minimal advancements before isolation ended

Also wasn't it the Turks that were the gunpowder champions of Europe for a hundred years or so?
 
One idea I heard in a prior discussion on these matters was that the Europeans pulled ahead of China in metallurgy at some point in either the Middle Ages/Renaissance, which made it possible to make progressively more powerful cannons, since the material for the barrel wouldn't be in danger of bursting from the explosive force of discharging. I don't know if there's any validity in that, but if the Chinese fell behind in iron casting and the like, then that might have imposed an upper limit on how big their guns could get.
 
Europe developed superior cannons because Europe had a highly advanced metal casting industry compared to the rest of the world. European cannons don't come from a particular element of European cannons but from their knowledge about casting metal letting them build a better cannon. Some historians put the credit for this solely on Europe's bellfounding industry, but I'm in the camp that it also had to do with the particular institution of European guilds causing people to look for alternate ways to use their knowledge.
 
So that goes back to the question, what do you think is the answer to why many Chinese armies held onto medieval era arms well into the 19th century, despite the headstart they had over Europeans in developing gunpowder small arms?
Beats me.

Part of it is political; archery was a skill closely identified with Manchu identity, and the Qing were very much concerned about getting assimilated by the Han. Additionally, the difference between archery and matchlock firearms isn't as one-sided when used on horseback. For whatever reason, the Chinese never adopted wheel/snap/dog/flintlocks in large numbers, which were convenient for cavalry use and so good for infantry they became the sole weapon of the footsoldier.

I would not call any 15th century guns acurrate even the arquebus was not that acurrate and yes guns where could be used by peasant most of Pizarro force in the conquest of Peru where that with some having experience in other parts but by no means they where professionals
The training of guns was mostly the drills as they need it to shoot while moving and retreat while the pike wall advance with them which requiered a high level of training to do that consistently
They were more accurate than any other missile weapon by the late 15th century; German shooting contests placed the targets for smoothbore firearms at 2x the distance of crossbow targets, for instance. When the arquebus came to Japan, the thing that most impressed the Japanese [as recorded in the Teppo-ki] was its superior accuracy. Qi Jiguang, one of the most successful commanders in Chinese history, said it was superior in range and accuracy to the bow.

The gun was considered a weapon for highly trained soldiers. European armies were by and large made of long service professionals for most of the Early Modern period, either mercenaries like the Landsknechts or raised by the state like the tercios and later royal armies. Soldiers who advocated for adopting the gun never really made the argument that it was a weapon that required less training; they considered poorly trained men 'fitter to furnish a funeral than fight a field.' If you know of any examples of 16th century armies being made up of masses of peasants hastily equipped with firearms, I'd love to hear them.
 
Jixiao Xinshu said:
The musket was originally considered a powerful weapon, and in attacking the enemy is one that has been much relied upon. But how is it that so many officers and soldiers don't think it can be relied upon heavily? The answer lies in the fact that in drills and on the battlefield, when all the men fire at once, the smoke and fire settle over the field like miasmal clouds, and not a single eye can see, and not a single hand can signal. Not all [soldiers] hold their guns level, or they don't hold them to the side of their cheek, or they don't use the sights, or they let their hands droop and support it to hold it up, and one hand holds the gun and one hand uses the fuse to touch off the fire, thus failing to use the matchlock grip— what of them? It's just a case of being out of practice and uncourageous, hurrying but not being able to take out the fire fuse and place it in the matchlock grip, trying for speed and convenience. In this way, there is absolutely no way to be accurate, and so how could one value muskets? Especially given that the name of the weapon is "bird-gun," which comes from the way that it can hit a flying bird, hitting accurately many times. But in this way, fighting forth, the power doesn't go the way one intends, and one doesn't know which way it goes— so how can one hit the enemy, to say nothing of being able to hit a bird?
Certainly an argument that firearms need the drill to be extremely effective. The Dutch pioneered this in Europe
 
The gun was considered a weapon for highly trained soldiers. European armies were by and large made of long service professionals for most of the Early Modern period, either mercenaries like the Landsknechts or raised by the state like the tercios and later royal armies. Soldiers who advocated for adopting the gun never really made the argument that it was a weapon that required less training; they considered poorly trained men 'fitter to furnish a funeral than fight a field.' If you know of any examples of 16th century armies being made up of masses of peasants hastily equipped with firearms, I'd love to hear them.
again yes it was considered that but that by no way means a peaseant could not use it
well
lets see we have in the 15th century the hussites to some extend , we also have the german peasants war and pizzarro and his men who where all peasants that where given guns and canons against the inca.
i think the last one is the most true of what you where asking but yes it was commonly used by professionals but again that was not my point tho.
 
again yes it was considered that but that by no way means a peaseant could not use it
well
lets see we have in the 15th century the hussites to some extend , we also have the german peasants war and pizzarro and his men who where all peasants that where given guns and canons against the inca.
i think the last one is the most true of what you where asking but yes it was commonly used by professionals but again that was not my point tho.
Wasn't your initial argument that guns only supplanted bows because they made it practical to press large numbers of less-trained soldiers into the field, bows being superior in every other respect? If that were true, then logically the profusion of guns in warfare would have to coincide with an expansion in army sizes, that being the only rationale we accept for their adoption. But that didn't actually happen, and if anything, armies in the age of gunpowder became more professional and dominated by mercenaries, which throws your premise into question, to say the least.
 
again yes it was considered that but that by no way means a peaseant could not use it
well
lets see we have in the 15th century the hussites to some extend , we also have the german peasants war and pizzarro and his men who where all peasants that where given guns and canons against the inca.
i think the last one is the most true of what you where asking but yes it was commonly used by professionals but again that was not my point tho.
How many of the German peasants in the rebellion had guns?
Also, very few of Pizarro's men had guns, and they weren't really peasants; they were guys who had weapons and knew how to use them.
Regardless, the fact is that the ability to arm masses of peasants was clearly *not* what drove the widespread adoption of firearms.
 
Wasn't your initial argument that guns only supplanted bows because they made it practical to press large numbers of less-trained soldiers into the field, bows being superior in every other respect? If that were true, then logically the profusion of guns in warfare would have to coincide with an expansion in army sizes, that being the only rationale we accept for their adoption. But that didn't actually happen, and if anything, armies in the age of gunpowder became more professional and dominated by mercenaries, which throws your premise into question, to say the least.
Are you confusing me with some one else because I never claimed that I never compared the to bows I only said most gun training was for syncomtrisim while shooting and moving back nd moving in sync with the pike walls which was hard in terms of just shooting the gun any one could do that and could use it for that seen by the example I mentioned
Yes any one could use them that does not mean any could use them to the proficency of tercios other professionals
 
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Are you confusing me with some one else because I never claimed that I never compared the to bows I only said most gun training was for syncomtrisim while shooting and moving back nd moving in sync with the pike walls which was hard in terms of just shooting the gun any one could do that and could use it for that seen by the example I mentioned
I half did, I suppose. You didn't say the bit about bows being superior, but what exactly is the point of this sidebar about the ease of peasant use of firearms, if not as supporting evidence for that claim? Yeah, peasants could and did use guns, but they also used a multitude of other weapons, including pikes and bows, so that's hardly a meaningful observation by itself.
 
Firearms don't become really suitable for mass use by levied soldiers until the widespread adoption of the paper cartridge. Early firearms being cheap and easy to use is a myth created by Victorian historians projecting backwards onto history combined with an ill earned mythologization of the capabilities of the English longbow.

I'm going to quote myself from an essay here:

Prior to the development of the paper cartridge, gunpowder was loaded via mechanisms such as powder horns and required the user to measure out the amount needed. Too little powder would mean that the ball would fall short of the target, but too much powder posed a risk of explosive malfunction as well as simply overshooting. The standardized amount of powder in the paper cartridge not only significantly sped up the reloading process but the standardized amount of powder also meant that the performance of the firearm was more reliable. An experienced marksman could achieve a higher level of accuracy with the powder measuring method, but the accuracy of the average soldier was significantly improved by making the behavior of the shot more dependable.
Something not mentioned in the quote is that powder measuring also gave a higher effective range.

Widespread adoption of firearms correlated with an increase in training almost everywhere in the world where it happened.
 
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Firearms don't become really suitable for mass use by levied soldiers until the widespread adoption of the paper cartridge. Early firearms being cheap and easy to use is a myth created by Victorian historians projecting backwards onto history combined with an ill earned mythologization of the capabilities of the English longbow.

I'm going to quote myself from an essay here:
Honestly, I think that explains this entire misconception by itself, since not only does the longbow's accuracy get overpraised, but perhaps even more importantly, so does its ability to penetrate armor. If you swallow all of that without questioning it, then cost or ease of use seem like the only remaining explanations for why bows disappeared from the battlefield.
 

RousseauX

Donor
I guess Japanese firearms would be another example of how isolation can slow gunpowder development. From my understanding, Japanese copied Dutch guns were used quite well but there were minimal advancements before isolation ended

Also wasn't it the Turks that were the gunpowder champions of Europe for a hundred years or so?
Guns were brought to Japan to fight the Sengoku Jidai and the invasion of Korea. There were no wars under the Tokugawa Shogunate: the reason for lack of advancement is the lack of wars. Not isolation.

It's kinda like how WWII had the fastest advancement of any period of militar technology in history, we don't see revolutionary military technology coming out every 6-12 months the way it did in WWII today. The world isn't anymore isolated, there just isn't the demand for it without big conventional wars.
 
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Considering the CCP explicitly came to power off of a civil war borne from an era of complete Chinese disunity and foreign invasion, humiliation at the hands of the Western Powers, etc. I wouldn't say it's really correct that China emphasizes perpetual unity in discussions on Chinese history. It's more that they emphasize that a united China is one that can withstand foreign invasion and attack, while the China wrought with conflict and "civil war" was weak and open to exploitation and punitive treaties from all sides.
The CCP projects the myth that China always had the current borders it has today, including Tibet, Taiwan, and Manchuria. Periods of civil conflict were fought for control of the Whole Empire. In fact whenever the central authority weakened the Empire broke up. Taiwan was only subdued in the middle 17th Century, and then control was always only tenuous, till Japan took it in 1995. Tibet was invaded in the late 18th Century. Manchuria was outside the Great Wall, and became part of China because the Manchus conquered China. The Government of mainland China has only ruled Taiwan for 4 years out of the last 125, The Taiwanese are a different ethnic group, and culture, then the Han Chinese.
 
Guns were brought to Japan to fight the Sengoku Jidai and the invasion of Korea. There were no wars under the Tokugawa Shogunate: the reason for lack of advancement is the lack of wars. Not isolation.

It's kinda like how WWII had the fastest advancement of any period of militar technology in history, we don't see revolutionary military technology coming out every 6-12 months the way it did in WWII today. The world isn't anymore isolated, there just isn't the demand for it without big conventional wars.
The Tokugawa Shogunate tried to ban guns because a peasant with a gun can kill a Samurai. The Samurai disappeared in the Meiji period, because their weapons, skills, and tactics became obsolete. It's tough to loss you social privileges, and people will try to stop time to keep them.
 

RousseauX

Donor
The Tokugawa Shogunate tried to ban guns because a peasant with a gun can kill a Samurai. The Samurai disappeared in the Meiji period, because their weapons, skills, and tactics became obsolete. It's tough to loss you social privileges, and people will try to stop time to keep them.
No they didn't


Guns were used less frequently because the Edo Period did not have many large-scale conflicts in which a gun would be of use. Oftentimes the sword was simply the more practical weapon in the average small-scale Edo Period conflicts, nevertheless there were gunsmiths in Japan producing guns through the Edo Period.
It remained in use by some government officials and forces: guns, along with armies in general, disappeared because there were no wars to fight.

he Samurai disappeared in the Meiji period, because their weapons, skills, and tactics became obsolete.
This is wrong, a myth perpetuated by the movie Last Samurai. Samurai as a warrior class wielding swords and wearing armor had already became obselete during the Tokugawa shogunate. The Tokugawa worked very hard in converting the Samurai from a warrior class into a bureaucratic class and they had already lost their traditional role by the 1800s. The Meiji era Samurai revolts were revolts by Samurai outside the government against the ones who had jobs inside the government over issues such as the size of subsidies to samurais who didn't manage to get jobs in the government.
 
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, The Taiwanese are a different ethnic group, and culture, then the Han Chinese.
Not super relevant to the thread, but this isn't completely true.

There are 4 large groups on Taiwan:

1. The Taiwanese aborigines, a Polynesian people who have inhabited the island for the past 5,000 years or so.
2. The Hokkein, people from southeast China (right across the strait from Taiwan, funnily enough) who speak a Min dialect
3. Hakka, a people that migrated from northern China to southern China centuries ago, and thence across the strait to Taiwan
4. Bureaucrats and refugees, mostly from the north (Mandarin speakers)

2, 3, and 4 are all usually considered Han and constitute about 97.5% of the population. Because of the centuries of Han history on the island, almost everyone who predated the KMT had some aborigine blood. But are still mostly considered Han, by themselves and the government.
 

Ulyanovsk

Donor
The CCP projects the myth that China always had the current borders it has today, including Tibet, Taiwan, and Manchuria. Periods of civil conflict were fought for control of the Whole Empire. In fact whenever the central authority weakened the Empire broke up. Taiwan was only subdued in the middle 17th Century, and then control was always only tenuous, till Japan took it in 1995. Tibet was invaded in the late 18th Century. Manchuria was outside the Great Wall, and became part of China because the Manchus conquered China. The Government of mainland China has only ruled Taiwan for 4 years out of the last 125, The Taiwanese are a different ethnic group, and culture, then the Han Chinese.
Completely agree, I am not disputing this as it is correct - I am disputing the notion that the CCP teaches that China has always been united in terms of "lacking civil conflict" as the user I quoted seemingly stated, not the territorial extent of Zhongguo.

Until very recently (the past decade or so), the CCP banned any historical media, including of WWII, portraying China as being disunited. The CCP didn't take over in a civil war, they were the spearhead of a glorious revolution that spread all across of united China. There were no warlords, no Japanese puppet governments, just a united China under an unfortunately decadent and corrupt KMT.
Umm.... please, source? On it's head this proposition is completely absurd. Chinese historiography since the end of the Chinese Civil War has, in the scope of Party history, always focused largely on the character of Mao and the building of the CCP in a fractured China. How does one explain the Long March and the base in Ya'an (a HUGE focus in Chinese modern historical works since '49) in a nation united under the KMT?? How does the Japanese invasion and victimization of China, even though downplayed in favor of the "evil Nationalists", become completely ignored? Simple: It wasn't, and this claim is ridiculous.

What you are doing is confusing, and so combining, two seperate historiographical trends that are at odds with each other in China. Before Deng Xiaoping and the collapse of European Communism, the narrative largely focused on the warlord period and the pilfering of China by semi-feudal and corrupt rulers and landlords who paralyzed the nation before foreign Imperialism. The Japanese invasion was significant, but downplayed in favor of attacking the source of Chinese weakness to be the domestic enemies like Chiang Kai Shek and Wang Jing-wei. These were the enemies who just lost, but still remained peering across the Taiwanese Strait ready to pounce, so of course fear of them was emphasized in the minds of the public. Claiming they didn't exist in Chinese historiography because "they were banned" is... ridiculous. On the other hand, modern Chinese history, promoted by more nationalistic currents attached to Xi Jinping, rather focuses on the outsiders invading China and threatening it from all sides. This reflects the trends of a China seeking to expand on the global stage and unite it's citizens with patriotism, in addition to Taiwan no longer holding the boogeyman they held in the post Civil War period as the "class enemies and bourgeois stronghold of China." The history now downplays the fractious nature of China and instead emphasizes the foreign threat and crimes that outsiders committed against the Chinese people.

What you've done here is to somehow combine both historical trends into one giant tent narrative that China both ignores the invasions and ignores the warlords at the same time (and.. outright banned all references?) and solely focuses on how Mao dissolved the KMT in one fell swoop and apparently bloodless struggle since it wasn't a civil war?
 
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Chinese guns did not develop to the size and complexity of European guns because China faced no better armed rivals really until it was way too late.
 

Ulyanovsk

Donor
The punitive treaties happened under the Qing, not during the Chinese Civil War.
Yes, I didn't claim otherwise.. I was talking about the long view of Chinese history in which "weak and divided societies only in the primitive stages of Marxist development" (or so say Chinese historians), were abused by the Western powers. There was significant civil strife under the Qing in the period of the punitive treaties, such as the Boxer Rebellion, Taiping Rebellion, White Lotus Society, Nian and Dungan revolts, etc.
 
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