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#1 Fireice

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Posted 23 November 2007 - 10:04 PM

The beiyang army was trained using foreign methods and they purchased weapons from the foreign powers. It was said to be the strongest army that existed in Qing at that time.

So how did the technology of beiyang army fare against the western powers? Considering the power of the beiyang army, if they were send to fight against the 8 alled nations in 1900, how will they fare against the foreign power?

#2 General_Zhaoyun

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Posted 25 November 2007 - 11:39 PM

The beiyang army was trained using foreign methods and they purchased weapons from the foreign powers. It was said to be the strongest army that existed in Qing at that time.

So how did the technology of beiyang army fare against the western powers? Considering the power of the beiyang army, if they were send to fight against the 8 alled nations in 1900, how will they fare against the foreign power?


The Beiyang army, although had the foreign 'appearance' and hardware installation, just didn't have the modernized software to be a fully good fighting force. The Qing army only modernized the equipment, but did not had a full modernize command system to utilize it.

The best historical lesson was the defeat of the Beiyang navy by the Japanese during the Sino-Japanese war of 1894, whereby the command system did not prompt the chinese to attack the Japanese. Ci'xi also utilized the huge budget to run the navy to repair her palace. That explained the inherent weakness of the Beiyang army.
Posted ImagePosted Image

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#3 Fireice

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Posted 26 November 2007 - 02:09 AM

The Beiyang army, although had the foreign 'appearance' and hardware installation, just didn't have the modernized software to be a fully good fighting force. The Qing army only modernized the equipment, but did not had a full modernize command system to utilize it.

The best historical lesson was the defeat of the Beiyang navy by the Japanese during the Sino-Japanese war of 1894, whereby the command system did not prompt the chinese to attack the Japanese. Ci'xi also utilized the huge budget to run the navy to repair her palace. That explained the inherent weakness of the Beiyang army.


What modernised software and modernised command system?

#4 General_Zhaoyun

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Posted 26 November 2007 - 08:55 PM

When I say 'software', it means human and military command system.
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#5 Rong Qin Wang

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Posted 27 November 2007 - 05:49 AM

What modernised software and modernised command system?


Zunjing de Fireice,

I think General_Zhaoyun was applying computer terms such as software, command system to describe the situation of the Beiyang army in order to provide an analogy, which would supposedly assist one in seeing the actual picture. However, this might backfire and make people more confused due to the rather strange usage of relatively unfamiliar technical terms.

#6 Ashura

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Posted 27 November 2007 - 08:44 AM

The Beiyang army, although had the foreign 'appearance' and hardware installation, just didn't have the modernized software to be a fully good fighting force. The Qing army only modernized the equipment, but did not had a full modernize command system to utilize it.

The best historical lesson was the defeat of the Beiyang navy by the Japanese during the Sino-Japanese war of 1894, whereby the command system did not prompt the chinese to attack the Japanese. Ci'xi also utilized the huge budget to run the navy to repair her palace. That explained the inherent weakness of the Beiyang army.

Note that he/she was talking about the Beiyang Army, not the navy. Since the question was about the 8-Powers Invasion in 1900, he/she was, i suppose, talking about the New Army, or Yaun Shi Kai's Xiaozhan army in particular.

Why was the defeat of Beiyang Fleet a reflection to the Beiyang Army? They were not connected in military sense. First, one was army and other was navy, and second, the command systems were totally different, as it was called the "New Land Force" after all. Yuan's army was established only at 1895 after the defeat of Sino-Japanese War. It was small and inexperience by the time of the invasion, and basically it shouldn't even be considered as a force since Yuan didn't have the chance to enlarge it until 1901. At the the time of the Invasion, the Xiaozhan New Army was reorg'd into Imperial Right-Guard. Beiyang Army or the Beiyang Standing Force had not come into existence yet.

Let's take a stab at 1894-95 Sino-Japanese War. Why do you assume that attacking the Japan Navy was a good thing, when the Beiyang fleet was unable to gain initiative due to lack of mobility vis-a-vis the Imperial Fleet?

As for the original question, the simple answer is: we don't know. The Imperial Right-Guard wasn't sent into heavy fighting during the invasion, and even if it did it wouldn't play a big role as it was too small.

Edited by Ashura, 27 November 2007 - 08:57 AM.

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#7 Iovah

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Posted 28 November 2007 - 12:41 AM

I am no expert on the Beiyang Army in specifics, but I do recall reading material on its formation as it tied into the Tianjing and Shanghai Arsenals. From the little I have read, I think it's a little more complex than a poor command structure. The tactics in the late 19th century were not all so hard to grasp and command structures in the West hadn't changed drastically with the advent of breech-loader guns (more so with wireless communications did it change). I don't think it was difficult for Chinese commanders to deal with a small army of modern-equiped Chinese soldiers. The problem, I beleive from my limited knowledge, was based on logistics and equipment production. Anyone who studied the First World War knows that even in the West, a major limiting factor in an offensive or maintaining a defense, was munitions. It's one thing to produce enough guns for every able-bodied man. It's another to maintain and keep the guns in every able-bodied mans hands firing. Firing a rifle expends a bullet faster than a new bullet can be produced and shipped to the front line. In China, the same problem was even worse.

If anyone had read into the experience at Chinese arsenals, the production of munitons was extremely low, and they could only produce a couple thousand artillary shells a year (Most had to be bought from abroad). This meant an offensive or defensive position could not be maintained for long, if not quickly successful, the army would be destroyed as they'd have nothing to shoot. Therefore, in any conflict, the Beiyang Army preferred to conserve its elite force for key/strategic battles. I know for a fact in my research that during a cabinet meeting in November 1914, when the Japanese were on the march to take the Jiaozhou lease hold, Yuan Shikai called a cabinet meeting. According to the meeting transcripts, Yuan Shikai originally thought it best to militarily resist the Japanese march across across the Shandong peninsula (the Japanese when in invading Jiaozhou landed at Longkou and marched across the peninsula impressing Chinese civilians on the way). However, Chinese Minister of War, Duan Qirui, and his logistics officers claimed, "the [Beiyang] army can only maintain the confrontation for 24 hours to 48 hours, afterwards we will run out of munitions and be obliterated." Throughout the meeting, Minister Duan stressed the lack of munitions and logistical support. I am aware of Duan's reputation as a Japanese-camp supporter, but I beleive this to be more so nationalist Chinese painting a warlord as a traitor merely because he purchased weapons from the Japanese. I beleive Duan is correct in his assesment of munitions stocks. Chinese did not have the munitions to maintain a conflict.

The other issue is logistics. Chinese logistical planning was terrible and the transportation network backward. Even had the Chinese army had munitions, the other problem is to keep a constant flow of bullets, replacement parts, food and medical supplies to the front lines. Especially if the battle is being fought far from the production source. The Chinese rail system was poor, slow, and unreliable at best for equipment transport. For much of the Beiyang history there wasn't even a railway. Even when the railway became available on the east coast, it only bridged major cities, but did not necisarily go to where battles were fought meaning at a certain point it would have to be transported several days by horse/mule cart. It may take weeks for equipment to arrive where needed. By then, the battle may be somewhere esle. There was a poor communication and transportation link. This is also important, because the modern soldier is made more efficient by railways not only because the equipment could be transported, but also because the soldiers could be gathered quickly at key points then returned. Before any major battle offensive, everyone knows to pull in by rail every soldiers from far away where there is not a strong need, and group them where the action is. Yet China was completely without the communication and transportation network required to do so.

This is how I see the main problems of the Beiyang army. I beleive that command structure was also a problem, but I do not beleive it was the main problem. I beleive it was maintaining and equiping a continued conflict was near impossible for the Beiyang army, and therefore, Chinese commanders preferred to conserve their use except in dire times (the problem is that a dire time may arise unexpectedly leaving no time to react).

Edited by Iovah, 28 November 2007 - 02:31 AM.

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#8 light

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Posted 04 December 2007 - 01:46 AM

I am no expert on the Beiyang Army in specifics, but I do recall reading material on its formation as it tied into the Tianjing and Shanghai Arsenals. From the little I have read, I think it's a little more complex than a poor command structure. The tactics in the late 19th century were not all so hard to grasp and command structures in the West hadn't changed drastically with the advent of breech-loader guns (more so with wireless communications did it change). I don't think it was difficult for Chinese commanders to deal with a small army of modern-equiped Chinese soldiers. The problem, I beleive from my limited knowledge, was based on logistics and equipment production. Anyone who studied the First World War knows that even in the West, a major limiting factor in an offensive or maintaining a defense, was munitions. It's one thing to produce enough guns for every able-bodied man. It's another to maintain and keep the guns in every able-bodied mans hands firing. Firing a rifle expends a bullet faster than a new bullet can be produced and shipped to the front line. In China, the same problem was even worse.

If anyone had read into the experience at Chinese arsenals, the production of munitons was extremely low, and they could only produce a couple thousand artillary shells a year (Most had to be bought from abroad). This meant an offensive or defensive position could not be maintained for long, if not quickly successful, the army would be destroyed as they'd have nothing to shoot. Therefore, in any conflict, the Beiyang Army preferred to conserve its elite force for key/strategic battles. I know for a fact in my research that during a cabinet meeting in November 1914, when the Japanese were on the march to take the Jiaozhou lease hold, Yuan Shikai called a cabinet meeting. According to the meeting transcripts, Yuan Shikai originally thought it best to militarily resist the Japanese march across across the Shandong peninsula (the Japanese when in invading Jiaozhou landed at Longkou and marched across the peninsula impressing Chinese civilians on the way). However, Chinese Minister of War, Duan Qirui, and his logistics officers claimed, "the [Beiyang] army can only maintain the confrontation for 24 hours to 48 hours, afterwards we will run out of munitions and be obliterated." Throughout the meeting, Minister Duan stressed the lack of munitions and logistical support. I am aware of Duan's reputation as a Japanese-camp supporter, but I beleive this to be more so nationalist Chinese painting a warlord as a traitor merely because he purchased weapons from the Japanese. I beleive Duan is correct in his assesment of munitions stocks. Chinese did not have the munitions to maintain a conflict.

The other issue is logistics. Chinese logistical planning was terrible and the transportation network backward. Even had the Chinese army had munitions, the other problem is to keep a constant flow of bullets, replacement parts, food and medical supplies to the front lines. Especially if the battle is being fought far from the production source. The Chinese rail system was poor, slow, and unreliable at best for equipment transport. For much of the Beiyang history there wasn't even a railway. Even when the railway became available on the east coast, it only bridged major cities, but did not necisarily go to where battles were fought meaning at a certain point it would have to be transported several days by horse/mule cart. It may take weeks for equipment to arrive where needed. By then, the battle may be somewhere esle. There was a poor communication and transportation link. This is also important, because the modern soldier is made more efficient by railways not only because the equipment could be transported, but also because the soldiers could be gathered quickly at key points then returned. Before any major battle offensive, everyone knows to pull in by rail every soldiers from far away where there is not a strong need, and group them where the action is. Yet China was completely without the communication and transportation network required to do so.

This is how I see the main problems of the Beiyang army. I beleive that command structure was also a problem, but I do not beleive it was the main problem. I beleive it was maintaining and equiping a continued conflict was near impossible for the Beiyang army, and therefore, Chinese commanders preferred to conserve their use except in dire times (the problem is that a dire time may arise unexpectedly leaving no time to react).


Your this saying makes me wonder..if it is difficult for the Qing government to obtain guns and ammunication than how did taiping tian guo and sun yat sen troops get guns and bullets to fight against the Qing dynasty..

#9 Iovah

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Posted 04 December 2007 - 04:34 AM

Your this saying makes me wonder..if it is difficult for the Qing government to obtain guns and ammunication than how did taiping tian guo and sun yat sen troops get guns and bullets to fight against the Qing dynasty..


The Taipings didn't have a large arsenal of guns. The spear was the weapon of choice. The guns they did use, small in number, were muskets, too sensitive to the weather to used frequently, and a few units using rifles with minne balls. Either type of gun, it was easy to make the bullets, just melt lead into a round mold. An individual could make their own bullets in a few minutes if they just had a fire, a few simple tools, and a small amount of lead. This was before we had casing bullets.

When you say Sun Yatsen's troops, I'm not sure which army you're referring to, but I suppose it's the Guangdong Militia in the 1920's. This army was not well supplied, but had a good elite corps of well supplied well trained units. It was mostly comprised of mercenaries from Guangxi and the Whampoa trained units that were financed by the Soviet Union, where they got most of their supplied. I would like to state, however, When Jiang Jieshi took over, he was a brilliant general when it came to logistics.
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#10 light

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Posted 04 December 2007 - 04:44 AM

When you say Sun Yatsen's troops, I'm not sure which army you're referring to, but I suppose it's the Guangdong Militia in the 1920's. This army was not well supplied, but had a good elite corps of well supplied well trained units. It was mostly comprised of mercenaries from Guangxi and the Whampoa trained units that were financed by the Soviet Union, where they got most of their supplied. I would like to state, however, When Jiang Jieshi took over, he was a brilliant general when it came to logistics.


I am refering to Sun Yatsen army between the period of 1895 to 1912 at the time when they were still trying to overthrow the Qing. I wonder where did they get the large amount of guns and canons to fight the Qing dynasty

#11 Mike Blake

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Posted 19 February 2009 - 09:15 AM

'Iovah's post about logistics is very interesting, and raises some important points - especially powerful when he quotes Chinese army command meetings.

Taking a rather different tack, however, I would like to play devil's advocate and say that the Imperial Chinese armies of the time were actually much better than they have been painted! I would like to give 2 examples to support my, controversial, statement: Taku (Dagu, but my sources tend to be old style and it is easier to stick with it, sorry) Forts and 1st (Seymour) Relief Expedition, both in the Boxer Uprising & 8 Powers War (BU). (I could add the Siege of Tientsin, but will save that to support my arguement later.)

Taku - Enemy fire did not locate and silence the Chinese guns, nor had they made any appreciable impression on the forts themselves. When entered it was clear to the Allies that the forts were largely intact, as recorded, for example, by Capt McCalla and Admiral Kampff and shown in the photographs taken by Commander Corvisart. What is clear is that there was no lack of courage on the part of the Chinese defenders up to the time of the second internal explosion. Allied witnesses described with admiration the way in which new gunners replaced those killed or wounded at their posts. The accuracy of their fire is borne out by the fact that all the attacking vessels were hit numerous times, seriously disabling 4 of the 6 which took part in the initial action. All this was achieved despite the difficulty of doing so on tidal waters, against ships able to manoeuvre close in under the walls of the forts. The Chinese gunners must have made use of their knowledge of the tides; they also used flares and searchlights to assist them in their defence.

There does seem to have been the perennial problem of the quality of the ammunition fired by the Chinese. Many shells struck their targets but failed to explode. Whether this was a problem with the shells themselves, as was the case elsewhere, or whether it was faulty priming and fusing by the gunners, cannot now be determined.

So why did the forts fall? It is clear that it was the combination of the 2 internal explosions which led to the fall of the forts, rather than the naval bombardment itself. It was these unlucky events which negatively impacted on Chinese morale and nullified their ability to continue to man their guns.

It is puzzling to see why so many western accounts of this battle find it so difficult to acknowledge that the Chinese fought well. They had engaged a fleet of modern warships from the best navies in the world in a firefight and inflicted significant damage on them, in a battle which lasted 6-7 hours. The Chinese forts had only around 33 guns which were able to bear on the vessels on the river. Over 1,500 shells were fired at the forts from one Allied ship, Algerine, alone, together with some 1,300 .45 cal machinegun, 6,800 .303 cal rifle and 2,800 Webley pistol bullets. If the roles had been reversed, this would have been hailed as a ‘Glorious 17th of June’!

Chinese losses are difficult to ascertain, as both injured and dead were removed judging by the few dead bodies found. Estimates were 600-800 men, with about 35 prisoners. Lo Zhunguan, Commandant of the Taku garrison, committed suicide.

Accounts by those who took part provide evidence of 11 Allied ships being hit and damaged. The Guilak/Gilyak suffered most, 10 men killed, and 2 officers and 47 men wounded. She was disabled by a shot which severed one of her steam-pipes, and most of her casualties were caused by a shell which penetrated one of her smaller magazines and exploded some charges in it. The ship’s newly installed and very up-to-date searchlight helped other sips with their aim but drew a heavy fire from Chinese riflemen in the mud huts of Taku village, and had to be turned off. which was virtually sunk. Russian losses, almost all from the Gilyak and Koreets, were 20 killed, including Lts Dedenev and Burakov, and about 70 injured. Among the infantry, 2 men were injured, 1 killed. Iltis lost 7 men killed, while her captain and about 30 men were wounded. Lyon had one man killed. Koreytz/Koreetz had 2 officers and several men killed and wounded. Bobr had no casualties. British casualties were 1 man killed and 2 officers and 13 men wounded.

1st Relief Expedition - it failed! Over the course of 13 days the Allied landing force under Seymour had tried to fight its way through to Peking. Combined Imperial Chinese troops and Boxers militia forces stopped it. Whilst the Chinese’ overwhelming numeral superiority must have been a major factor in negating the superiority of the high-quality Allied troops, this achievement does contradict the usually and widely held view that the Chinese army were comic opera soldiers. The clear evidence is that they fought hard and well, in defence and attack, throughout. This is further reinforced by the 15% losses amongst the Allies and the 1,000 Chinese killed and wounded. Such casualties only come about from fierce fighting.

I await outraged responses with interest.

Mike

Edited by Mike Blake, 19 February 2009 - 09:17 AM.


#12 ahxiang

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Posted 19 February 2009 - 10:36 PM

'Iovah's post about logistics is very interesting, and raises some important points - especially powerful when he quotes Chinese army command meetings.

Taking a rather different tack, however, I would like to play devil's advocate and say that the Imperial Chinese armies of the time were actually much better than they have been painted! I would like to give 2 examples to support my, controversial, statement: Taku (Dagu, but my sources tend to be old style and it is easier to stick with it, sorry) Forts and 1st (Seymour) Relief Expedition, both in the Boxer Uprising & 8 Powers War (BU). (I could add the Siege of Tientsin, but will save that to support my arguement later.)

Taku - Enemy fire did not locate and silence the Chinese guns, nor had they made any appreciable impression on the forts themselves. When entered it was clear to the Allies that the forts were largely intact, as recorded, for example, by Capt McCalla and Admiral Kampff and shown in the photographs taken by Commander Corvisart. What is clear is that there was no lack of courage on the part of the Chinese defenders up to the time of the second internal explosion. Allied witnesses described with admiration the way in which new gunners replaced those killed or wounded at their posts. The accuracy of their fire is borne out by the fact that all the attacking vessels were hit numerous times, seriously disabling 4 of the 6 which took part in the initial action. All this was achieved despite the difficulty of doing so on tidal waters, against ships able to manoeuvre close in under the walls of the forts. The Chinese gunners must have made use of their knowledge of the tides; they also used flares and searchlights to assist them in their defence.

There does seem to have been the perennial problem of the quality of the ammunition fired by the Chinese. Many shells struck their targets but failed to explode. Whether this was a problem with the shells themselves, as was the case elsewhere, or whether it was faulty priming and fusing by the gunners, cannot now be determined.

So why did the forts fall? It is clear that it was the combination of the 2 internal explosions which led to the fall of the forts, rather than the naval bombardment itself. It was these unlucky events which negatively impacted on Chinese morale and nullified their ability to continue to man their guns.

It is puzzling to see why so many western accounts of this battle find it so difficult to acknowledge that the Chinese fought well. They had engaged a fleet of modern warships from the best navies in the world in a firefight and inflicted significant damage on them, in a battle which lasted 6-7 hours. The Chinese forts had only around 33 guns which were able to bear on the vessels on the river. Over 1,500 shells were fired at the forts from one Allied ship, Algerine, alone, together with some 1,300 .45 cal machinegun, 6,800 .303 cal rifle and 2,800 Webley pistol bullets. If the roles had been reversed, this would have been hailed as a ‘Glorious 17th of June’!

Chinese losses are difficult to ascertain, as both injured and dead were removed judging by the few dead bodies found. Estimates were 600-800 men, with about 35 prisoners. Lo Zhunguan, Commandant of the Taku garrison, committed suicide.

Accounts by those who took part provide evidence of 11 Allied ships being hit and damaged. The Guilak/Gilyak suffered most, 10 men killed, and 2 officers and 47 men wounded. She was disabled by a shot which severed one of her steam-pipes, and most of her casualties were caused by a shell which penetrated one of her smaller magazines and exploded some charges in it. The ship’s newly installed and very up-to-date searchlight helped other sips with their aim but drew a heavy fire from Chinese riflemen in the mud huts of Taku village, and had to be turned off. which was virtually sunk. Russian losses, almost all from the Gilyak and Koreets, were 20 killed, including Lts Dedenev and Burakov, and about 70 injured. Among the infantry, 2 men were injured, 1 killed. Iltis lost 7 men killed, while her captain and about 30 men were wounded. Lyon had one man killed. Koreytz/Koreetz had 2 officers and several men killed and wounded. Bobr had no casualties. British casualties were 1 man killed and 2 officers and 13 men wounded.

1st Relief Expedition - it failed! Over the course of 13 days the Allied landing force under Seymour had tried to fight its way through to Peking. Combined Imperial Chinese troops and Boxers militia forces stopped it. Whilst the Chinese’ overwhelming numeral superiority must have been a major factor in negating the superiority of the high-quality Allied troops, this achievement does contradict the usually and widely held view that the Chinese army were comic opera soldiers. The clear evidence is that they fought hard and well, in defence and attack, throughout. This is further reinforced by the 15% losses amongst the Allies and the 1,000 Chinese killed and wounded. Such casualties only come about from fierce fighting.

I await outraged responses with interest.

Mike



Manchu China sent officers to Europe for studies, the same way as Japan did.

There was a school that trained Manchu China officers, where lecturers from Europe, Japan and America were hired.

Officers that resisted the eight allied powers were definitely up to par. The soldiers probably not.

The equipment was modern as of the time. There was an episode of boxers touting the Manchu soldiers to get rid of the 'equipment' bought from foreign countries, including hats for rainy weather.

Nie Shicheng, with a few thousand soldiers, had been able to resist eight allied powers for months. It showed the fighting capabilities of Chinese generals and soldiers. Nie was killed by "precision" artillery shelling after he was distraught over rebukes from superiors concerning his crackdown on the boxers.

There were five "capital" garrison "camps" [brigade equivalent] of Manchu army. Only Yuan Shikai's army survived the war intact. Dong Fuxiang's army probably lost over half. On basis of the intact army, Yuan Shikai was able to build the New Army.

#13 Mike Blake

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Posted 20 February 2009 - 05:45 AM

Agreed. My research suggests that often the soldiers themselves were equal to the invaders too, ie the 2 examples I gave and the Siege of Tientsin. But as another poster has put it, the 'software' was a problem - the internal mechanisms which make the military machine work were not yet embedded.

What was even more remarkable about the defeat of the 1st (Seymour) Relief Expedition was that the ICA were also involved in trying to contain the Boxers for much of the time, because of the Court's vacilating policy towards them. That makes defeating it an even greater achievement, in my view.

What I really wish for is access to some primary, ie first hand, accounts of the activities of the ICA; reports, diaries etc - do you know of any that have been translated into English, please?

Mike




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