Near Xianyang, Shaanxi today, Xianyang palace was once the heart of the Qin Empire. However, more than 2000 years later, Xianyang palace has become a pile of loess. The Qin army, once the most powerful army, contains too many puzzling mysteries. What kind of army is it? Where is the root of the Qin army’s strength? What did he do to build a historical miracle?
In 1974, a large number of weapons were found in the pit of the Terra Cotta Warriors of the first emperor of Qin. These weapons let people see the little-known side of the Qin army.
In Xiping County, Henan Province, archaeologists have found a large number of ancient iron making relics. More than 2000 years ago, this area was the iron smelting center of South Korea, and iron production had a certain scale at that time. It is puzzling that the Qin people in the same period did not seem to keep up with the times. Almost all the 40000 weapons unearthed in the Terra Cotta Warriors pit were cast in bronze. Is the Qin army a poorly equipped army?
Sima Qian recorded a famous murder in historical records. One year before Qin unified China, when the powerful Qin army was preparing to destroy Yan, an emissary named Jing Ke came to Qin with a map of Yan. It was false to surrender, but it was true to assassinate Qinshihuang. According to the historical records, the assassin Jing Ke held a dagger, and the first emperor of Qin, who ran around the column, tried to draw his sword and fight back. He drew his sword three times, but the sword didn’t come out.
Sima Qian explained that Qin Shihuang’s sword was too long to be pulled out in time. Bronze swords are usually short swords. The reason why they cannot be made long is that the bronze material is easy to break. During the spring and Autumn period and the Warring States period, the most famous Gou Jian sword of the Yue king was only 55.6cm long. Bronze swords are generally wide and short. 60cm seems to be the limit of bronze swords. A sword of this length can be pulled out easily. How could Qinshihuang not pull out the sword because it was too long? Historians have been puzzled by this explanation.
In 1974, archaeologists discovered a completely different bronze sword in the pit of the Terra Cotta Warriors. To the experts’ surprise, the length of the sword exceeded 91cm! It can be speculated that this kind of lengthened bronze sword was probably worn by Qinshihuang. It’s really not easy to pull out a nearly one meter long sword when the assassin is running.
Experts are puzzled: what is the purpose of the Qin people to lengthen their swords? Richardburton, a British scholar of ancient weapons in the 19th century, believed that in short weapon combat, stabbing was more advantageous than chopping because it was closer to the opponent. Qin Jian, about 30cm longer than the opponent’s sword, is obviously easier to stab the opponent in the fight, which is probably the main reason for the lengthening of Qin Jian. But this is a bronze sword after all. What method did the Qin people use to make the long sword not easy to break?
In the bronze age, the key to casting swords was how much tin was added to the copper during smelting. If there is less tin, the sword is too soft; With too much tin, the sword is hard but easy to break. The chemical quantitative analysis made by Qin Jian shows that its copper tin ratio combines the hardness and toughness of the bronze sword properly.
After the elimination of the six kingdoms in the Central Plains, how to deal with the fierce Hun cavalry was put in front of Qinshihuang.
When the Hun riders charged at high speed, it was difficult for the traditional infantry to resist. According to historical records, a long-range weapon called crossbow probably played a leading role in the battle at that time. In the Terra Cotta Warriors pit, the wooden part of the crossbow has been rotten because of the long time, but the complete remains can still restore the original Qin crossbow. Unlike bows, Qin crossbows can only be strung with the help of the power of the whole body. Experts estimate that this Qin crossbow should have a range of 300 meters and an effective killing distance of 150 meters.
Among the traces left by the decay of the crossbow, archaeologists found small machinery made of bronze. These small bronze components are the trigger used by the crossbow to launch. Its design is very exquisite. It is puzzling that why didn’t Qin people make it simpler?
Assuming the simplest scheme, the manufacturing cost can be greatly reduced. However, the shooter completely relies on the strength of his fingers to push the tightly tightened bow string out of the hook teeth. It takes a lot of force. At the moment of firing, the crossbow will surely shake. In today’s shooting training, even poor breathing adjustment at the moment of firing may affect the accuracy of shooting.
The crossbow of the Qin army was transmitted by a set of smart machinery, which made the hook tooth sink suddenly at the moment of releasing the arrow, and the trigger became extremely light. This is exactly one of the advantages of the crossbow against the bow. It takes a lot of force to pull the bow. The longer the time, the more difficult it is to control the stability of aiming.
In the Terra Cotta Warriors pit, the most bronze weapons unearthed are arrowheads, which are almost triangular. Why did the Qin army only choose this kind of three edged arrow? The three edged arrow has three sharp edges and corners. At the moment of hitting the target, the cutting force will be formed at the edge of the edge, and the arrow can penetrate the armor and directly reach the human body. The winged arrow has a vicious barb, but the wing surface is easily affected by the wind, making the arrow deviate from the target.
The Qin army’s three edged arrow cancels the wing surface, which should make the shooting more accurate. The experts carefully analyzed these arrows. When the test data were finally put on the table, the researchers really felt incredible. The results show that the three arc surfaces of the arrow are almost identical, which is a nearly perfect streamline arrow. The outline of the arrow is almost the same as the shape of the bullet. The shape of the bullet is to reduce the air resistance during flight. We have reason to speculate that the Qin people designed this triangular arrow for the same purpose. Qin people approached the law of modern aerodynamics by experience. This ancient arrow is the model of early aircraft, which comes down in one continuous line with today’s bullets.
The more than 40000 triangular arrows in the terracotta pit are made very neatly. Tens of thousands of arrows are cast according to the same standard?
The components of the crossbow machine used by the Qin army should be interchangeable due to its standard manufacture. On the battlefield, Qin soldiers can reassemble the damaged parts of the crossbow machine that are still intact. But experts speculate that the standardization of Qin people should have more important purposes. The Qin people are likely to fix the technical standards for the selected weapons, and the state will issue these technical standards to all Arsenal through decrees.
The weapons of the Qin army are very exquisite. There are three edges with a length of more than 90 cm on the bronze sword, which divides the slender body into eight sides. It is very difficult to finish such surface processing by hand. The arc part of Ge is machined very neatly, and the three streamline surfaces on the arrow are also completely symmetrical.
What puzzled the experts was that it was possible for some talented craftsmen to produce several such weapons, but the reality was that the tens of thousands of weapons in the Terra Cotta Warriors pit were almost of the same quality. How can we ensure the standard and mass production?
The researchers found that some characters were carved on the weapons. Most of them were people’s names, and the most frequently appeared one was “Xiang Bang Lu Buwei”. The spring and Autumn Annals of the Lu clan is the most important historical document of the Qin state, and its compiler is Lu Buwei. LV Buwei was the Prime Minister of Qin at that time, equivalent to today’s prime minister. According to the spring and Autumn Annals of the Lu family, Wule was the name of the worker. It means that the maker of the utensil should engrave his name on it.
For historians, these seemingly ordinary words reveal the Management Secrets of the Qin military industry. As the Prime Minister of the cabinet, LV Buwei is the highest supervisor of weapons production. Below him is the engineer, the factory director of each Arsenal. The factory director who supervised the production of this animal is Ji. Below the factory director is Cheng, a workshop director whose name is Yi. The craftsman who made the Ge himself is called Cheng. Experts infer that the military management system of the state of Qin is divided into four levels, from the minister, the engineer, the Cheng to the artisans, who are responsible at all levels. For any quality problem, the responsible person can be found through the name engraved on the weapon.
Many armories in the state of Qin can produce high-quality weapons in large quantities according to unified standards, and the pyramid like four-level management system is the fundamental guarantee. When most parts of the world were still surrounded by barbarism and ignorance, the Qin people created the most powerful weapon manufacturing industry in that era with their unique way of thinking and wisdom.