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Forum LockedChinese 'foot' archers?

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Balaam View Drop Down
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    Posted: 02-Jan-2008 at 13:54
In the movie 'Hero' there is a scene of the Qin army attacking a Zhao city and in the Qin army there are these archers that all moved up into position, sat down, put their feet in the air and put their bows underneath their feet and drew the bow string with both hands while someone else would load an arrow, then they would fire.
 
Did archers like this really exist?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote IDonT Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02-Jan-2008 at 15:15
I don't think the Qin army of Hero was an accurate representation of the actual Qin army.  We already have an accurate representation of a Qin army in the form of the Terracotta soldiers. 

If the terracotta soldiers are a typical military unit of the Qin, then we can infer several things.

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 archers and 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.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Omnipotence Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02-Jan-2008 at 15:17
Kind of. Hero wasn't exactly accurate when portraying them. I don't these these type of Archers existed during the Qin, but according to Han murals, they existed during the Han. The archers would sit and use their legs to draw a crossbow. However, they would still stand up to shoot the crossbow. The movie shows them shooting in a sitting position, as well as taking two people to reload. This is inaccurate.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sun Tzu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07-Jan-2008 at 14:04
It would be a good idea because your legs could probably allow more tension on a bow.
Sun Tzu

All warfare is based on deception - Sun Tzu
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Omnipotence Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Jan-2008 at 02:48
It does. With the legs the power of the crossbow can easily go up to more than 6 dan(360 pounds), while with only the arms to draw it would be only 2 or 3 dan(120-180 pounds).
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Xu Hua Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30-Mar-2008 at 09:33
In Chinese that kind of bows are called "NU".
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Julius Augustus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Apr-2008 at 15:10
as accurate as the fight scenes of jet li. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote RollingWave Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04-Jul-2008 at 04:13

Nu = crossbows.

The Terracotta soliders may not have been the most accurate description either though, as it was probably based more on ideals than reality, though it was at the very least an ideal BASED on reality.

 

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