No announcement yet.

T1, R1, Prng 10: Chinese Paddle Ships vs Chinese/Mongol War Junks

This topic is closed.
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • T1, R1, Prng 10: Chinese Paddle Ships vs Chinese/Mongol War Junks

    In your opinion, which of these two warship types was most significant, influential and/or effective?
    Feel free to apply those criteria as you please, along with any others you think appropriate.
    Note: Suggestions for some additional criteria are at the foot of this post.

    According to the criteria as you see and apply them, please vote for your preferred candidate in the attached poll.
    If your chosen criteria are significantly different from those suggested, telling us what they are and why you used them would be helpful.

    18. Chinese Paddle Ships, 8th - 14th Centuries

    The variant of paddleship shown below was at the smaller end of the range. It was not designed for ocean use, being employed on rivers, lakes etc.
    This type had narrow paddle wheels, housed and protected within the outer walls of the superstructure, which overhung the hull a little on each side.
    The paddles were powered by crew members stepping on treadmills. Written accounts seem to suggest that these vessels were very maneuverable and capable of quite decent speeds.
    The superstructure side panels were able to be opened for closer engagements.
    Some of the panels opened at the top, allowing crossbows and other weapons to be used from these positions with the lower portion of panel still providing some cover.
    A few of the panels were hinged at the bottom and could be swung down for use as boarding platforms if needed in a very close fight.
    There is also a small raised weapons platform at the bow, which has additional side doors below that can be opened for use if required.
    This particular picture illustrates a battle in the year 1161, between the Song and the Jin, on the Yangtze river. China as we know it today, was not a united country at this time.

    A closer view of the side panels. They have ferocious lion faces painted on them.

    Our other example is of a much larger Chinese paddleship and dates from the year 1272 when they were fighting a Mongol invasion.
    The Chinese ship (at centre) is part of a 100-strong flotilla of mixed vessel types, engaged to break a blockade.
    This large paddleship has become separated in the process and is being attacked by smaller, oar-powered Mongol vessels.
    The main means of propulsion was a single large, wide paddle wheel at the rear of the ship.
    Steering and some additional propulsion was provided by smaller side paddlewheels. Again, motive power is by treadmills.

    21. Chinese/Mongol War Junks 12th - 17th Centuries

    Junks were used in trade and commerce for many centuries and they evolved over that period. The basic type is still in use today.
    The better developed versions were the most seaworthy Asian vessels in the age of sail;
    the Chinese using them for trade and exploration as far afield as India, North-East Africa and parts of the Middle East.
    The main reason for their seaworthiness, apart from very sound hull design, was the combination of sail structure and general arrangement which offered more flexibility in relation to the wind.
    In addition, junks were not used only by the Chinese and Mongols.
    Other Asian nations adopted them and they became arguably the most important type of sailing vessel - both for commercial and military use - in that part of the World.
    A range of variants has seen employment in warfare. Many of them were conversions of commercial junks but some were built as warships.
    This slightly fuzzy but still very nice drawing shows a typical medium-sized commercial junk.
    However, the range of sizes was considerable so vessels both much smaller and much larger than this existed.

    Below, a well constructed and finished model of a Pirate junk.
    The variant it depicts is towards the smaller end of the size range.

    Here, we see a medium-sized Mongol Chinese (Yuan Dynasty) war junk in the year 1288.
    It has become isolated and trapped during the battle of Bach Dang and is under attack from Cham war canoes.
    The Chams are hurling naptha bombs at the Chinese, while archers aboard the junk are furiously trying to fight them off.
    Prior to the engagement, the Chams placed beds of iron-spiked stakes under the water, to be exposed when the tide was lower; and arranged well-timed ambushes.
    The result was a decisive Cham victory.
    However, this is probably not a good example to illustrate the attributes of the War Junk!
    That type of warship, in this time bracket and in the majority of other circumstances would be more than a match for war canoes; and most other warship types.

    Well then, my friends ... what say you?
    Which of these will you favour with your vote?

    Suggested additional criteria you might wish to consider, along with any others you deem appropriate.
    (Note: Some of these could be considered already covered by Significant, Influential and Effective)

    Which warship type ...
    • was the best?
    • was the greatest?
    • was the most widely used?
    • had the greatest longevity in service?
    • was the most versatile?
    • represented the best value for the cost/effort invested ("bang for the buck" in today's language)?
    • was the easiest to operate?

    Any other criteria you have applied (please tell us what they were).
    18. Chinese Paddle Ships 8th - 14th Centuries AD
    21. Chinese/Mongol War Junks 12th - 17th Centuries

    The poll is expired.

    Last edited by panther3485; 19 Aug 17, 03:40.
    "Chatfield, there seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today!"
    Vice Admiral Beatty to Flag Captain Chatfield; Battle of Jutland, 31 May - 1 June, 1916.

  • #2
    The later war junks had comparable armament to contemporary European ships this gave them the ability to take on Western navies - on one occasion defeating a Portuguese fleet. However by this time China faced no strong maritime nations amongst her neighbors and mothballed most of the deep water navy - concentrating on coastal and riverine craft. What deep water capacity remained was not developed . As a result when Western maritime powers such as Britain began to threaten she had insufficient numbers and inadequate technology with which to resist.
    Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
    Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)


    • #3
      War Junk.

      Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

      Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

      by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"


      • #4
        I went for the Junk as well.
        IMO, it was probably more effective - compared to paddle types in general - in a wider range of environments.
        I think it was also more generally useful in the longer term.
        Last edited by panther3485; 27 Aug 17, 00:56.
        "Chatfield, there seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today!"
        Vice Admiral Beatty to Flag Captain Chatfield; Battle of Jutland, 31 May - 1 June, 1916.


        Latest Topics