Rome vs Han China

Discussion in 'Military History' started by IDonT, Aug 29, 2005.

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  1. magantosh
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    magantosh Just Hatched
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    xiongnu? of coz it is not the powerful "empire", since they did't have country.

    they were nomad, always got some conflict on border
     
  2. KYli
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    KYli Junior Member

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    Xiongnu did recorgize leadership under Modu, he might have only limited influence except his own tribes and land. But after all they are nomads, you are not expecting they will built cities and wall around borders. As long as they have significant control over their land and have one ultimate leadership, I will make the arguement they are a country.
     
  3. Gaginang
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    Gaginang New Member

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    military of Rome vs military of Han, i have no doubt dat Han would destroy the Roman with one eye closed. chinese processed the technological advance over the Roman, such as Crossbow, Steel, city siege technology and etc.
     
  4. Red-Star
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    Red-Star New Member

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    Crossbow was created in Qin Dynesty in around 200bc. I read that chinese also have created the 1st rocket.
     
  5. vincelee
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    vincelee Junior Member

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    not for military purposes, however.

    as for "courage under fire", do we really have to bring up the Parthians again?
     
  6. mindreader
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    mindreader New Member

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    There really is no need to speculate on "superior Roman training" and how they will react under Chinese crossbow. If one starts to use the above as an excuse to justify how they will withstand Chinese power, we already know that the person has run out of arguments.

    For all this talk about professional armies and training, I think little fact that people here tend to forget, which is that China had a professional army before Rome even existed, and several hundred years before the Romans had one. So the argument of the Romans being better trained is flimsy at best. That they would stand in line against a foe with far superior numbers, firepower and equal, if not outright better training is at best optimistic, if not outright crazy.
     
  7. Ender's Shadow
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    Ender's Shadow New Member

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    Problem with your arguement. Anyone who knows about Alexander knows he used small armies that lived off the land. You act as if he had big giant armies with huge supply lines. Wrong. Macedonian Cavalry, if used properly, was probably some of the best in the ancient world. It could have easily trashed supposed Chinese Cavalry.

    I honestly don't know of any situation a chinese army used before 1940 where they cut off another armies supply lines. Causing Alexander to slow down? He already has a fast moving army. Okay, the only way to BEAT Alexander is with an army with highly superior numbers.

    Such an army would move slowly. No amount of light cavalry could slow Alexander (With an army of say, 40,000.) to the point he slowed for an army large enough to beat him, (400,000ish) to catch him. He has his entire army together still, because you have nothing to harass. (He has no supplies lines in the first place.)

    If you "destroy the land's sources" you'll hurt your own people because eventually he'd decide to loot a city for food. Alexander might avoid that if he could, but if you did that to him, he'd strike back by doing that.

    Alexander would have fought them probably between 321-315 BC. I'd like to point out Alexander had a reputation of being a a genius general. This would have hurt Chinese morale if they knew. You can't have a million man standing army when it comes to the Chinese, because they have a lot of people to feed! They, like Rome, had an agricultural based society.

    They couldn't afford to have giant standing armies because they would have to be able to feed them and pay them as well as have enough food production to feed the people. So, their army was mainly conscripts. Conscripts are inexperienced and wouldn't stand well to Alexander's battle hardened troops, especially if he used his Phalanx's effectively and incorporated his Javelin/Phalanx combo. He had other kinds of infantry, although his army was mostly phalanx infantry. (He had mercenaries and recruited Thracians.)

    They didn't have the cross bow, so they can't even use that against Alexander. Alexander would have cleaned house against the Chinese. Chinese cavalry isn't as great as everyone thinks. I'd also like to point out that the Chinese couldn't have had steel until around 300 BC at the earliest, so they don't have that. Steel is expensive and time consuming to make anyway, so it would be rather hard to equip a large army with steel weaponry.

    The chinese relied more on leather armor and iron/bronze weapons. (They did have Bronze and iron armor though.) So, throw in the fact the Chinese didn't have the cross bow then, didn't have steel, and they were mostly conscripted. Alexander's army was professional. Now, I'm gonna drop one more bomb. An average Chinese general wouldn't have the brains to know to do all of what you said. You're saying it from the view point of about 2300 years later.

    Some, a summary of my points. The Chinese army was probably mostly inexperienced men. They didn't have the crossbow to hand to conscripts, so they would have had to teach them how to fight as infantry. Alexander had better Cavalry than the Chinese. He had other kinds of infantry. (Thracian Hypaspists, Foot Companions, and allied Greek infantrymen all of which were sword and shield users.) The Macedonian army was experienced, and lived off the land. THEY had a battle cry that would have disturbed the Chinese. "Psychological warfare" my foot, Alexander would have been on the giving end, not the recieving.

    Alexander's cavalry used a wedge attack style, so they would have broken any Chinese infantry. The Chinese didn't even have the Phalanx or any Legion style of troops. They would have broken. (Again, conscripts.) Alexander had archers as well as Javelin throwers. I don't believe the Chinese ever fought a Phalanx, and on their first battle a Chinese general would probably throw tons of soldiers at the Phalanx, treating it like normal infantry. This would have slaughtered lots of Chinese infantry. Eventually one of them might have gotten the clever idea of attacking the rear or the flanks, and they'd be met with a lot of Cavalry. After the first battle Chinese morale would be horrible.
    Oh, and you make it sound like all the kingdowns would unite against Alexander. Not likely. They'd probably take advantage of each other.

    Anyway I'll respond with more later.

    EDIT: Alexander would have also fought the Chinese during the Warring States period, not the Qin Dynasty.

    Chinese military was conscript based actually. It's impossible to have a gigantic standing army and have such a large population to feed, as well as the army. (And paying them.) Their cavalry was in fact, not similar to Hunnish cavalry, but basically WAS Hunnish cavalry. (They got Cavalry in the Warring States Period from the North.) Yes, they probably had a small professional standing army, but not a gigantic one. Romans were in fact, better trained. I mean, if the Chinese were so disciplined, it would have been easy cake to conquer outside of china, but aside from conquering present day Mongolia, they never did much.

    By the way, saying that because an army has been around longer means it's better trained is wrong. In fact, it's more likely it's worse trained if it doesn't innovate regularly, and unlike the Romans, the Chinese only fought themselves, so war was basically the same thing. They didn't innovate as much, because they rarely fought anything new. The Romans fought a variety of cultures, so their army probably was more flexible than the Chinese.
    Time doesn't mean discipline will be higher, or skill of training. In fact, in most cases that's the opposite. (The French had a standing army longer than the US and our military is probably "more disciplined and better trained". In some cases, anyway.)
     
  8. crobato
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    crobato Colonel
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    Yup and about the same time the Art of War was being formulated.

    The crossbow started appearing around the latter half of the Warring States period. As for cutting off supply lines. maybe you need to read a bit more what they do, yes, in the Art of War. Even in this period, there is already the use of what Liddel Hart would call "Grand Strategy", in which there is the total concept of war that involves State, Economy, People as a collective entity; about the use of politics and high level strategems; psychological warfare; the concept of morale; the concept of logistics___especially logistics---to boost your own and cutting off your opponent.

    In addition the Chinese already do have the numbers. Some of the Warring States are able to field armies as much as 500,000 men. Some of the States like the Wu Kingdom (subject of the Art of War), has well developed navies, and was practicing the concept of amphibious assault.

    At the start of the Warring States, the northern states like the Chou, essentially followed a Middle Eastern style of warfare---chariots and all---indicating perhaps some influence from Middle Eastern empires. The Chinese pronounciation for "car" is the same as the one they used for chariot and other wheel drawn carriages, and yet sounds similiar indeed to the first syllable of the word "chariot". At the end of the period, when the Qin has conquered everything, Chinese warfare is much more closer to the European medieval style of warfare. In fact, all the warfare technologies attributed to the Qin---which never last for two generations---and the Han, was born from the Warring States period. At the end of the period, there were professional standing armies with infantry wearing chain, linked or scaled armor, much like medieval Europeans. This sort of armor gives much more flexibility, strength for lightness, comfort and body ventilation than the plated armor used by the Romans.

    It would be a surprise for Alexander to meet someone like Sun Tzu or whatever his real name was. Might be too late for Alexander to meet someone like Qin Shi Huang Di aka Zheng, as Zheng was just a generation apart.

    So was Alexander's empire and every empire on Earth at that time. Mind you, the Chinese was probably well ahead in terms of social and agricultural engineering too (e.g. artificial irrigation).

    Alexander faced what was basically a conscript army in India and eventually he lost. Much of Alexander's battle hardened troops have been attritioned. Morale gets lower and lower the farther they are longer from Greece. Battle hardened? More like Battle fatigued. More and more he was relying on Persians, Babylonians, and other indigenous peoples among his ranks.

    During the Warring States period, the Chinese---which don't formally exist then---had been extremely battle hardened on their own after the long wars. This is not a civil war because the various peoples within China lacked a national identity and consciousness then. They viewed each other much like Europeans do within their continent---your English, French, Germans, Italians and Spanish, are much like the Yen, Zhao, Shu, Qin, Wu, Han, Song, etc,. They even have seperated languages, writings and customs, which were only formalized and rationalized under a single system under the unity of the Qin rule.

    Phalanx is worthless on irregular ground, as the Romans later discovered. And Alexander was abandoning the Phalanx the more he got deeper into Asia. Turns out that light infantry could go inside the gaps in irregular ground, and with small short, and straight double edged swords, do much better infighting than the soldiers within the Phalanx holding their spears.

    But this is exactly the kind of troops the Warring States of Wu, Shu, Qin, and Yuet happen to have. In addition to that, the use of light shock troops would play havoc on anyone's supply lines, logisitics and morale---tactics documented in the Art of War and historically in the Warring States period. Call it proto-guerilla warfare.

    Furthermore, the Chinese already had the concept of squads by that time period.

    From Ralph D. Sawyer, a historian on this topic from his book Nature of Warfare in China.

    ----

    Not true. Crossbows was developed in the Warring States period.

    Not true. Hunnish style cavalry only appeared in the Han Dynasty. The Northern States were also using chariots, and their cavalry is closer to the Middle Eastern style. The warring States to the South were mainly infantry.

    To be honest with you, I don't think Alexander would win against King Zheng of the Qin, aka Qin Shin Huang Di. Alexander for all his military genius, does not have the total society-war concept of Zheng and the latter's ability to perform radical social engineering to transform his entire kingdom into a total war machine, and then applied similar concepts to all his conquered territories. He was the first totalitarian ruler in history, when the concept of totalitarianism never appeared until the 20th Century. The result of this revolutionary social engineering, eventually became the unified country of China. The Qin army would be something like the original Spartans, with much greater numbers and with superior technology. Conscript army? Hardly, his army was like a well oiled military machine, highly disciplined and ruthless, and for that reason, he kicked literal butt with everything he came acorss.

    Complete nonsense. Not only was the Chinese not unified among themselves and lacked true national identity; they also fought proto Mongolic, proto-Turkic, proto-Tibetan, proto-Tungusic/Korean, proto-Viet/Khmer/Thai/Malay. not to mention Caucasoid peoples like the ancestors of Tocharians. That is an awesome variety of opponents ranging from steepe northern horsemen to jungle warfare and even fanatic holy wars and their style of brutal, total warfare. And yes, there was quite a number of Caucasian peoples within China who would eventually mix with the population but still leave their genetic heritage embedded with every Chinese's DNA.

    The Qin succeeded in something any single European ruler never managed---to conquer everyone in their path. then exercise a grand social experiment that literally united all these diverse peoples into a single national consciousness.
     
    #278 crobato, Apr 16, 2006
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2006
  9. KYli
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    KYli Junior Member

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    You don't know what you are talking about. Read some chinese history before you talk. Do you know how many WAR Chinese had fought? Do you know Chinese cross bow was invented warring time period? Do you know what is total war in warring period mean?
     
  10. InsertName
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    InsertName New Member
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    I'd like to add that, to the best of my knowledge (althought his may've been introduced after the Qin Dynasty unified China), every man in China was subject to one month of pure military training every single year, so that should they have to be 'conscripted' they would already be well trained troops. As I said, though, this may've been introduced in the Qin or even the Han dynasties. Regardless, it'd still have been around the time of the Romans which is more on subject than China vs Alexander the Great.

    I'll add more later when I get my new computer. This one is all laggy, so it's really a pain to write.
     
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