Qing officials analyze the Opium War: low rate of artillery hits

The first Opium War was a major event in the modern history of China. With this event as a sign, China began to enter a semi-colonial and semi-feudal society. The causes, processes and results of this are already familiar to everyone, and it goes without saying. As for the reasons for its failure, it was mainly due to the corruption and incompetence of the Qing government, and visionary heroes like Lin Zexu were unable to return to the sky. At the same time, it had a lot to do with the guns of Western powers. deficit.

However, in addition to grasping the history of the distant past, it is necessary to understand in detail the details, especially the parties' memoirs and notes, which can technically reveal the reasons for the victory or defeat of this war. For example, Liang Zhangye, who was in charge of the defense of Guangxi at that time, conducted a military technical discussion on why the Qing Army failed. Let's take a look at his first-hand information.

Active Defensive: Deploy and build artillery for the enemy

Liang Zhangyi is far less famous in modern history than Lin Zexu. However, he is also a well-known hero who is both knowledgeable and pragmatic, and has made great contributions to China's progress.

Just like Lin Zexu, Liang Zhangxuan was from Fujian and was born in Fuzhou. He is a top student, 15 years old, a talent, 20 years old, a junior, 28 years old, and entered the military aircraft department at the age of 44. In the examination room, he went all the way, without suffering, he solved the problem of fame at a young age. If you can solve the problem earlier, you can get out of the book exam and do the actual work.

Although the official career was smooth, Liang Zhangxun was not complacent, nor was he immersed in his personal achievements. Like Lin Zexu, he was very worried about the opium influx in Britain at that time, so he wrote the letter almost when Lin Zexu banned smoking Made the same request. When Lin Zexu banned opium in Guangzhou, Liang Zhangxu also caught tobacco dealers and eradicated poppy cultivation areas in Wuzhou, Guangxi. Because of his fierce popularity, the smoking ban measures have been quite effective. Although its popularity is not as big as Lin Zexu's Humen , it is also beneficial to the nation.

Portrait of Liang Zhangyi

Britain started the war because of opium. At that time, Liang Zhangye was in charge of defense in Wuzhou, Guangxi. Therefore, he can be regarded as the party and witness of the first Opium War. In 1841, when the British Navy launched an offensive along the coast of Guangdong, Liang Zhangyu in Guangxi quickly transported forty cannons to support the defense of Guangzhou. According to an article entitled Artillery Theory in his memoir "Guo Tian Sui Ji", these records The specifications of the cannons are between 800 and 3,000 bars. The cannons are selected and transported back and forth, ranging from 3,000 to 800 bars. Forty seats are released to Guangzhou Xieji.

When sending these cannons, Liang Zhangyu also played to the court, and after the battle was over, the guns would still be shipped back to Guangxi.

However, unfortunately, after the First World War in Guangzhou, all these artillery were missing. It is said that they were either destroyed by the British or sunk into the sea. This made Liang Zhangxuan very heartbroken, and he rebuked Qi Shan, who was in charge of defense, as an open door robber.

In the same year, Liang Zhangye was transferred to the governor of Jiangsu, and in Shanghai, he joined the Jiangnan Governor Chen Huacheng to strengthen the fortifications. They inspected the deployment of artillery around Wusong Coast. At that time, there were hundreds of artillery pieces. At the same time, he ordered the construction of dozens of new guns in Shanghai, and preparations were still adequate. Therefore, when he and Chen Huacheng were in charge of the defense work, the British fleet did not dare to offend and once bypassed.

I just didn't expect that after Liang Zhangye left office, Governor Liang Jiang Niu Jian was afraid of death, escaped and lost Zhenjiang. Another fact made Liang Zhangxuan heartbroken . All the new guns that had been deployed and manufactured were lost. The following year, Yingyi drove straight in , leaving all guns inside and outside the city.

The defeat of several battles made many people in the Qing court fear British artillery. They believed that the damage and range of Chinese artillery was inferior to that of British artillery. Liang Zhangyi said no, he thinks it is not because the weapon is not good, but for another reason.

Anti-British technical group: The Qing defeat is because the artillery hit rate is too low

As the personal commander of the Anti-British War, Liang Zhangxuan dismissed the weapon theory. He believes that the fear of English theory is unreasonable and does not talk about its roots. Of course, Liang Zhangyi said this not because he was arrogant, but also refuted from a technical perspective. He believes that the success of the British gunboats lies in their artillery. In the article on artillery, Liang Zhangyi cited examples. He believed that the most scary artillery on the British gunboat was the flying gun at the top of the mast. When this kind of artillery fired, it shot fiercely, one by two, and looked very scary. Xiamen and Baoshan The fall was caused by the artillery. In fact, this kind of artillery was more than bluffing people, not enough to destroy the enemy, not enough to attack the enemy, and more than enough to scare the enemy, but the Governor of the Two Rivers Niu Jian was scared away by the British artillery. As soon as the commander heard the sound of the flying artillery, he could not hold it as soon as he saw the momentum of the flying artillery. He was scared to run first, which naturally affected the entire army and led to defeat. Liang Zhangyi believes that a large part of the reason for the defeat is that the commander was frightened by the artillery.

So why is the Qing ’s artillery less than the British ’s artillery? Liang Zhangyi first listed the loss of artillery in the war. He made a statistic. During the first Opium War, there were more than 2,000 artillery guns in various provinces. Seats are not small. However, after the fall of Humen, Xiamen, Dinghai, Zhenhai, Baoshan, and Zhenjiang, more than 400 artillery pieces were lost in each of the provinces to which they belonged, of which 1,560 or 600 were captured by British warships, and 80% were looted. Already. In fact, the British were willing to take away the artillery, indicating that these artillery still worked. So why failed?

Liang Zhangyi made a calm analysis: it was not the lack of power, but the hit rate was too low. For example, during the First World War in Xiamen, the Qing army fired more than 200 rounds. Only one shot hit a British warship, which happened to hit the gunpowder compartment. Driven and sunk, the British retreated. Hitting only one shot can repel the enemy. If the hit rate is a little higher, the result is more optimistic.

Qing artillery

He gave an example of the battle of the sea. On September 26, 1841, the British attacked the Zhoushan Islands, and then the general soldier Ge Yunfei and others presided over the defense. The Qing army fired hundreds of rounds, and only one hit the enemy ship, hitting the head of the steamer, causing the British warship to tilt and retreat. The prestige of one cannon is so, but unfortunately he failed to show power continuously, and Liang Zhangyi lamented: Hundreds of cannons had only one shot.

Therefore, Liang Zhangyi said, but if the cannon fires, the artillery will be broken. He also listed the equipment of the British army: there are not more than dozens of barges and steamships, no more than dozens of small and large boards, and not many ships. If there are ten hits within hundreds of guns, you can. Destroy dozens of its ships, each destroying dozens of enemies. The damage done to the enemy forces is considerable, and it can even reverse the war and repel the invaders. Unfortunately, there is no assumption. Liang Zhangyi said: Humen's artillery was bought from abroad. More than 200 seats, with a size of nine thousand dendrobium, did not hurt an enemy's ship. Why is one ship unharmed? sigh. Of course, the soldiers who guarded Humen fought in disregard for their lives and many heroic sacrifices. Specific defeat factors can also be studied.

Some people also refuted Liang Zhangye. The low rate of artillery hits is not technically impossible, but the fixed gun position on the land, and the enemy's ship is only roaming. Following this statement, and personally inspecting the location of Baoshan Fort, it was found that the turret here did not protrude from the water to become the enemy's live target, nor would it fall into the enemy's siege, suitable for defense, and difficult to overcome. He and the anti-British general Chen Huacheng also lamented that the design of the turret was reasonable and overwhelming. As a result, during the Battle of Baoshan, the British army's flying gun rang, the Qing army commander frightened his courage, the whole army collapsed, and a well-designed turret was virtually useless.

During the First Opium War, were there any technical gaps between the Qing and British artillery? This is a serious scientific question, and this article does not draw any conclusions. However, as a witness, Liang Zhangyi's experience should be worth learning.

Artillery Success Story

Seng Gelinqin retreated from British and French fleet with artillery

There are also successful cases in the history of the battle of the Qing dynasty fortresses against the Great Fleet, such as the battle of Dagukou in 1859 is typical. That year, the British and French envoys in China took the so-called replacement fleet from Shanghai along the waterway north. This fleet was much stronger than the British fleet in the First Opium War, including a cruiser and 13 gunboats, traveling to Dagukou. At that time, ignoring the sovereignty, the monk Grinqin, who was in charge of the defense of Dagukou, ordered shelling of the British and French fleets. As a result, three British warships were destroyed, with more than 460 casualties in the British navy. The commander of the British navy, Hebu, was also seriously injured.

This is the first great victory of Chinese modern invasion. It is estimated that the Qing army ’s hit rate in this campaign has been greatly improved, and the combat effectiveness has been greatly improved. At that time, Liang Zhangye had died.

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