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Lianbing shiji 練兵實紀

Jan 15, 2011 © Ulrich Theobald

Lianbing shiji 練兵實紀 "Practical arrangement of military training" is a miliary treatise from the Ming period 明 (1368-1644) written by Qi Jiguang 戚繼光 xxx. It has a length of 9 juan, plus a supplement of 6 juan. The book was finished in 1571.

"Cannon of the general of no enemies" (wu di da jiangjun 無敵大將軍, i.e. thus fierce that no one dares to become his enemy), apparently a breach-loading model, with a weight of 1,500 jin 斤 (c. 750 kg). The inserted part (copied from the next page) shows the cannon mounted on a vehicle. From Lianbing shiji 練兵實紀 5 (Siku quanshu 四庫全書 edition).
"Fowling musket" (niaochong 鳥銃), right complete, and left single parts like lock, stock, rammer and barrel. The matchlock musket had a weight of 6 jin (3 kg) and was to be equipped with fuses with a standard length of 2.5 zhang 丈.
Watchtowers (ditai 敵臺) like those visible at the Great Wall. Lianbing shiji 6.

In the first part of the book, the training of troops is described. Except of training the physical stamina of the troops, their mind had to be prepared so that a military unit would consist of one single will and mind. The text describes how many firearms particular types of unit had. A chariot brigade, for instance, disposed of 128 chariots and 256 cannons, as well as of a high number of muskets and rockets. Infantry and cavalry units must be trained in a different way from musketeers and gunners. Nevertheless, during battle it was important that each type of troops cooperated with the others so that each unit could profit from the other's strength. Apart from the troops, the most important person were high officers, which had to be carefully selected and trained in the art of war, especially in the way of correctly and effectually use the troops, and how to nourish, train and encourage them. For the higher officer ranks, military academies (wuxiang 武庠) had to be established.

The language of the Lianbing shiji is relatively simple which made it easy to read and memorize by officers.

There are many prints from the Ming and Qing 清 (1644-1911) periods, and also quite a few manuscripts were in circulation. The Lianbing shiji is included in many series, for example, the Mohai jinhu 墨還金壺.

Sources:
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