View Full Version : Chinese Phalanx

26 Oct 07,, 20:09
It has been discovered that some soldiers in the terricotta army wield 20 foot spears that are similar to the Macedonian Sarissa. The main contention is how they were employed.

One position argues that such weapons suggest that part of the Qin army is employed in a similar manner to the Macedonian Phalanx.

The other position states that since the Qin army consists of soldiers with di-similar weapons systems, these spearmen fight as part of a combined arms team. They argued that their tactics is most similiar to the pike and shot tactics in Europe, substituting match lock with crossbow. The pikemen are there to protect the crossbow men.

What do you guys think?

Officer of Engineers
26 Oct 07,, 20:38
The terracotta clay soldiers are layed out in a phalanx manner.

04 Nov 07,, 18:15
The terracotta clay soldiers are layed out in a phalanx manner.

I am not familiar with Chinese history, but an elaboration on that might help.

05 Nov 07,, 21:09
I am not familiar with Chinese history, but an elaboration on that might help.

It seems that the Long spears (measuring between 4.3m to 6.7m (including the wooden shaft) were found in the Pits, near the chariot remains. They lead credence to the theory that they were used to protect the Chariots.

The chariots, according to the site.

Chariots were most efficient when used in wide-open, flat areas of the country. But by the Qin Dynasty, battles were often fought on rugged and uneven terrain, so chariots became less effective than saddle horses and mounted soldiers, especially when confronting foreign intruders along mountainous borders. In Pit No.2, however, chariot units and cavalry are almost the same in number. To some historians, this means that the First Emperor still valued the chariot, particularly as a symbol of superior military power.

Two of the 6 chariots in Pit No.1 carried drums and bells used to signal an advance or retreat.

Each of the chariots were pulled by a team of 4 horses, harnessed in a single row (side by side).

The chariots were square-shaped, about 1.5m wide and 1.2m long. and had railings on each side. A single shaft (137 cm long) ran between the two inner horses, with the 4 horses harnessed to a crossbar (1.2m long).

2 or 3 armoured warriors stood in the chariot, one being the charioteer and the others brought the weapons to bear from the deadly platform.

12 (3 rows of 4) armoured warriors stand in front of the chariots, holding bronze spears and other weapons. They were led by a warrior (possibly an infantry officer) carrying a bronze sword at his waist. Additional warriors in groups of 2 or 3 followed up at the rear.

The Terracotta soldiers were located in 3 pits, with one pit empty.

Pit 1
6,000 plus infantry of various types.

The Vanguard: 210 unarmoured bowmen and crossbowmen form the vanguard (the front ranks to the east), standing in 3 rows of 70 warriors. 3 armoured officers stand at both ends and the middle of the first row. The rest of the vanguard is unarmoured, wearing only course tunics girded with belts. Their footwear consisted of puttees and thonged square-toed sandals. The vanguard crossbowmen had a variety of hairstyles but their weapons had deteriorated long ago.

The Main Force: 36 columns of infantrymen and charioteers stand in tight formation behind the vanguard in 9 corridors. All 6,000 warriors in this body wear armour, though the armour varied by functions and ranks. They were supposed to hold spears and halberds in their hands, while wearing bronze swords in wooden scabbards at their waists. However, the wooden parts had since decayed. The 35 4-horse chariots were escorted by infantrymen to offer better protection for the horses.

The Outer Flanks: Occupying the extreme left (northern) and right (southern) corridors are two rows of unarmoured archers in each corridor, facing north and south respectively.

The Rear-guard (to the west) consists of 3 rows, 2 facing front (i.e. east) with the last row facing the rear (i.e. west)

Pit 2
1,000 soldiers, 500 horses, and 89 wooden chariots. This seems to be the cavalry arm of the army and may operate in conjunction with the soldiers in Pit 1 or independently. They consists of:

First Section: First group, 334 archers, is lined up in eight clusters. They are armed with crossbows. Some 160, clad in heavy protective armor, are in the front line kneeling position, and others stand behind to shoot over their heads.

Second Section: Second group, 64 chariots, is also in eight clusters. Each chariot is officered by an archer, supported by a soldier on either side, and reinforced by another infantryman in the flank. It is an improvement on chariot tactics.

Third Section: At the center of Pit No. 2, the third section has 19 war chariots and around 100 warriors. They are three clusters: the right, the left, and the rear. Each has chariots up at front. Messengers and archers hurry about on their business.

Fourth Section: There are three clusters, consisting of six chariots, 124 vaulting horses and men. Each chariot carries two: the charioteer and his scout. The cavalryman looks ferocious, and holds a bow in his hand. The wooden chariots have rotten away with age, but they leave clear unmistakable marks on the floor.

Pit 3 is the headquarters section and consists of 68 soldiers - the general and his staff