I have a lack of understanding of how the early Qing army was... so was it mostly just a horse archer army? what was the difference between them and the Mongols ? (i'm talking about before they entered Beijing and the green camp army) Nurhaci died by artillery wounds by the Ming, so did the Qing deployed little to no gundpower at this point?
I think one thing to bare in mind during the Qing period is that firearms and cannons have become standard weapons to European military including Russia and Japan would later fully embrace modernization of their military with the use of firearms. The firearms as years goes by are getting better and better the Qing failed to capitalised on. This is not to say that the Qing did not have firearms and cannons, which they did have them but they did not utilised them to their full potential nor did they expand it.
I remember in Xiamen at one of the coastal forts there is this huge cannon dated during the Qing period and is consider the most powerful cannon with the longest range in the world. It is like the guns of Navarrone of WWII Germany, unfortunately it was useless because the Qing failed to use it to their advantage for whatever reason it did not stop foreign warships from attacking.
In some degree I think the Qing had the technology and science advantage over the Europeans but the military or Imperial bureacracy hampered any attempt to apply those technology to use.
On the other hand, during the Mongol era firearms and cannons were not that sophisticated or powerful. The firearm bullets of those early years have weaker penetration and slow reloading allowing Mongols archer-cavalry to easily route any firearms infantry this continue maybe up to the mid 1700s. After 1750s onwards firearms technology has improve dramatically that included better reloading time, range, accuracy and penetration and this include cannons and artillery.
I am guessing that is why the Qing opted to retain the use of crossbows and archers as their main weapon because of archers and crossbow quicker firing compare to the slow reloading of the early firearms plus the cost to acquire more sophisticated firearms.
Before the Qing conquered China, I believe that the Manchus army comprised mainly of horse cavalry-archers maybe share similar concept with Mongols. Horsemanship and archery was consider a Manchu military tradition. High ranking officers are suppossed to be excellent horseman-anchers.
Edited by Wan Ren aka Danny, 01 September 2008 - 11:45 PM.