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Chinese Military Conduct against the Steppe Armies

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Panther View Drop Down
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    Posted: 24 Nov 2012 at 19:57
Special topic from the Archives. Originally posted on February 29, 2008 by Kurt

Originally posted by kurt kurt wrote:


Of all the civilizations which had to deal with steppe armies, the Chinese produced the most effective resistance. Only Persia and Russia had to deal with steppe armies as long and as frequently as China had, yet China was only subjugated to steppe warriors once, in two successive conquests, the first of which was conducted by Genghis Khan against the northen dynasties and the second by Kublai Khan against the southern dynasties.
 
So I'm wondering, why were the Chinese so effective against what are generally regarded as some of the fiercest warriors of their time? Persian and Russian history was almost cyclic with nomadic subjugation, and the Indians were conquered a fair few times, yet the Chinese fell only once, and almost nobody had to deal with the steppe warriors for as long as they did.
 
Although I'm aware diplomatic and other measures were a pretty big part, I'd particularly like to learn about how they fought them militarily.





Edited by Panther - 24 Nov 2012 at 20:06
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Po-Binnasaur View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Po-Binnasaur Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Nov 2012 at 02:24
I remember seeing from somewhere I think it was in the museum that sometimes the Chinese made other steppe fight each other rather then China having to deal with them. But also when some Chinese dynasties had enough resources they would launch periodic attacks on the steppe but other times when the dynasty was weak they wouldn't.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Lao Tse Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Nov 2012 at 07:28
I remember the old folk tales of Hua Mu Lan, and how the Northern enemies ( Rourans in the original texts, Mongols in the Ming Reformed version) would want steel and other goods, so they raided the Wei Nation (300s AD)( In Ming texts, it is referring to the Mongols raiding the Ming, which was almost impossible because of the wall until 1644), and tried several times to conquer them. However, this failed due to more advanced technology, and a just cause of defense.
在財富的害處,而是一件好事永遠不持續。我在和平中仅居住在新的風下。 Wei Jia Hong No harm in wealth, but a good thing doesn't last forever. I live only among peace under
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fusong Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Dec 2012 at 22:36
I had read the Tang Dynasty was most effective in dealing with the northern nomads, I recall that Taizong (I think) with some Turkish heritage was very effective in dealing with the Goaturks and managed to get the ruling heirs to fight against themselves like Binnasuar mentioned.  If I recall correctly the Tang Dynasty was much more aggressive than the others when concerning the north.  They were so good at it they abandoned the Great Wall.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sarmat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Dec 2012 at 10:01
As I also said in archives, the first post is very misleading. China was ruled mostly my steppan dynasties for a bigger part of the last millenium. It is very difficult to claim that it was very succesful in the struggle against the Steppe. Manchu were succesful indeed, but again they were also rather Steppans in their ways and their success against Mongols and Jungars is rather a skillful use of Steppan warfare combined with Chinese resources thant the triumph of the Chinese armour...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fusong Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Dec 2012 at 14:31
Originally posted by Sarmat Sarmat wrote:

As I also said in archives, the first post is very misleading. China was ruled mostly my steppan dynasties for a bigger part of the last millenium. It is very difficult to claim that it was very succesful in the struggle against the Steppe. Manchu were succesful indeed, but again they were also rather Steppans in their ways and their success against Mongols and Jungars is rather a skillful use of Steppan warfare combined with Chinese resources thant the triumph of the Chinese armour...


And this could be said of the Tang as well
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote toyomotor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Apr 2014 at 03:57
Afaik, the Chinese never mounted a large scale attack on the Mongols in the Steppe.
 
The Chinese, when attacked by the Mongols, relied on their fortifications and heavy weapons to repel them. Only this didn't work very well, because the Mongols had only to withdraw out of range and settle in and wait.
 
The Mongols understood the concept of Logistics. They had their herds and families follow them, and all that was needed on the trail was food for their livestock and water.
 
The Chinese were reliant on being able to work their fields to survive, and of course they couldn't with up to 100,000 mounted hostiles on their doorstep.
 
The Chinese were also hampered by their system of cities and internal rulers. In most cases they either surrendered and paid a levy to the Mongols, or were starved into submission and slaughtered.
 
Even the invention of gunpowder gave the Chinese only temporary respite, as the Mongols soon obtained it and the weapons to go with it.
 
 
 
 
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