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Cheying kouda hebian 車營扣答合編 "Combined Questions and Answers about Chariot Brigades"

The Cheying kouda hebian 車營扣答合編 "Combined questions and answers about chariot brigades" is a military treatise written by the late Ming period 明 (1368-1644) author Sun Chengzong 孫承宗 (1563-1638), an official employed in the Ministry of War (bingbu 兵部). It has also the titles Chezhen kouda hebian 車陣扣答合編 and Cheying baiba koudashuo hebian 車營百八扣答說合編. It is 4 juan "scrolls" long and consists of the parts Cheying baiba kou 車營百八扣, Cheying baiba da 車營百八答, Cheying baiba shuo 車營百八說, and Cheying tuzhi 車營圖制. The book is composed in a question-answer-and-explanation model in which 108 different problems of garrisons, encampment, battle and logistics are dealt with. It specializes on the use of firearms and the combination of different types of troops, like cavalry, infantry, chariots, in one corps. Chariots (che 車) are combined in groups of four (cheng 乘), four groups are combined to a unit (heng 衡), two units to one company (chong 衝), and four companies to one brigade (ying 營), with 6,000 troops and 128 chariots. Combined infantry-cavalry brigades are equipped with 352 pieces of firearms. During battle, the chariots are positioned in the front, while the infantry and cavalry units follow them. Among the latter, 800 special cavalry troops are selected to build the heart of this corps. The infantry troops are equipped with different types of muskets (niaoqiang 鳥槍, Folangjijqiang 佛朗機槍 "Portuguese muskets", sanyanchong 三眼銃, and huojian 火箭 "rockets"), the cavalry units with less muskets, but instead with cannons (huopao 火礟). The combination of different types of troop in one corps is very useful because they can mutually support each other and thus employ all their strengths, while being protected in their weak points. This method to fight is thoroughly new in Chinese warfare.
The book was not printed because it was rated as secret material during the Ming period. The first print was only published in 1868.

Source: Sun Deqi 孫德騏 (1989). "Cheying kouda hebian 車營扣答合編", in: Zhongguo da baike quanshu 中國大百科全書, Junshi 軍事, vol. 1, p. 85. Beijing/Shanghai: Zhongguo da baike quanshu chubanshe.

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January 15, 2011 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail