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Page history last edited by PBworks 13 years, 1 month ago

Burmese (III/9)


1. Add stockades and handguns

2. Add Indian ships


Author: Tim Montgomery


1. Add stockades and handguns





Stockades and ditch for camp - TF @1 AP 0-12

Stockades as fieldworks - TF @2 AP 0-24

Stakes to block river - Hidden Obstacle 0-12


Only after 1400:

Handgunners - Reg Ps (S) or Reg Sh (I) 0-6


Justification: stakes and stockades

Defensive stockades are often mentioned in accounts of Burmese warfare. For instance, in 1411 the Mon army laying siege to Prome built a stockade. The Burmese army of the Ava kingdom under Minyekyawswa arrives and engages the Mon forces:


"Minyekyawswa (Ava-Burmese) led his troops upstream to a narrow fordable part of the river and had them cross the river, and positioned them on the weak north side of the Mon stockade at Thalesi. Minhkaung positioned his forces on the other three sides of the stockade (UKII: 11; SL 113-114). Minyekyawswa then led an assault against the stockade from the north:

On the side of the defenders also discipline was maintained by the bared sword to keep the battlements well manned. Musket balls, bolts and arrows rained down on Burmese soldiery forcing their way across the moat and there were about one to two hundred casualties. The governor of Pahkan (Burmese) with a retinue of five hundred bearing shields, swords and three lances each escorting his war elephant crossed the moat and rammed the stockade walls making a breach of about seventy feet and bringing down the enemy manning the ramparts. As he charged in, he was met by Upakaung on his elephant and the result of this encounter was that Pahkan's elephant was felled and he had to flee, his elephant dying later. The charge was repulsed with the attackers sustaining two to three hundred killed in action (SL 113)."


Some of the stockades mentioned are town fortifications, which do not require explicit provision in a DBM or DBMM army list:


"Rajadhirat marched to Lagun Pyi. Arriving in the town, he filled a nearby elephant shed with dry weeds and hay and lit it on fire around noon and the wind carried the conflagration to the stockades of the town."


Others seem to be fortified camps:


"The main body of Ava troops were stockaded at nearby Hmawbi. The gates of the Ava stockade were opened as a challenge to Rajadhirat to enter the stockade. Taking the challenge, Rajadhirat led a charge into the stockade and overcame the Ava side."


"He consulted his generals who were divided as to whether to continue the siege or retreat. Byat Za and Deinmaniyut advised retreat, arguing that their defenses, consisting of wooden stockades surrounded by a ditch, were no match for the fortifications of Prome which consisted of “brick walls and a wide and deep moat.” Rajadhirat decided to continue the siege."


"Minkhaung was encamped with his troops nearby in a stockade at Byat Lan."


Yet others seem to be long lines of fieldworks:


"Rajadhirat erected a long stockade along the river at Pankyaw and positioned five to six thousand troops around the perimeter of the stockade. The invading Ava troops set fire to every village they passed through and slaughtered all the cattle (SL 95). When they reached the Mon stockade, the Ava side erected a stockade facing the Mon stockade from the east..."


"During all the fighting on the river, the stockade prevented the Ava land forces from engaging with the Pegu forces."


And there are even instances of what must be the DBMM Hidden Obstacle stratagem:


"Planning to overcome the numerically superior Myaungmya side with a strategem, Rajadhirat had stakes planted across the river from one side to the other with enough space that his warboats could pass through them leading Myaungmya boats in pursuit onto the stakes. A small group of light boats that could easily pass through the narrow channels of the river was sent with Lagunein to lure the Myaungmya boats into the trap. As the tide was rising Lagunein paddled upriver and drew the Myaungmya side downriver in pursuit. When they reached Daungpaung Lulin where the trap had been set, the pursuing boats saw the forces on land and thought that Lagunein’s men had abandoned their boats to flee by land and they paddled harder:

Lagunein’s men sped deftly through the staked area but the boats pursuing them were impaled on the stakes and those coming up later rammed into them turning that part of the river into a melee of sinking boats and men with those still afloat hopelessly snarled among the wreckage forcing their occupants to abandon them."


While one or two elements of stakes might be enough to block a river, in the following example the stakes seem to have been planted along the length of the river, in front of a riverbank position:


"Toungoo made defensive preparations by driving a double line of stakes into the river in front of their position. The first front-most line was concealed below the water; the second line in back was visible above the water, probably to lure the attackers onto the first line and their destruction. When the Salat warboats made an assault against the Toungoo position at dawn the next morning, these stakes punctured and ruptured the hulls of the attacking boats, sinking them (SL 131-132)."


(All quotes from Fernquist 20006.)


Justification: handguns

There is also a reference in 1411 to musket balls being fired from the Mon stockade. Book III/23 does not have any Shot or Ps(S) in the list, whereas other SE Asian armies do (for example, Siamese) and Dai Viet should.


There are references to firearms among the China-Burma border peoples from the early Ming. For example in the 1380s the Ming fought against the Luquan Shan, who used Burmese elephants against the Chinese, and Chinese firearms against the Burmese (Hucker p.32). This implies that firearms were not yet available, at least in significant numbers, in Burma. Grabowksy quotes from the Ming shi a Ming official complaining in 1444 about smuggling "weapons" into foreign countries including Ava/Burma. The Mon use of guns in 1411 suggests the trade may have started somewhen between 1385 and 1410: 1400 is a suitable approximate date.



J Fernquist, "Rajadhirat's Mask of Command: Military Leadership in Burma (c. 1348-1421)", SOAS Bulletin of Burma Research issue 4.1 (Spring 2006) - online at http://web.soas.ac.uk/burma/4.1files/4.1fernquest.pdf


V Grabowsky, "The Northern Tai Polity of Lan Na (Babai-Dadian) Between the Late 13th to Mid-16th Centuries: Internal Dynamics and Relations with Her Neighbours", Asia Research Institute Working Paper No. 17, National University of Singapore (2004). online at http://www.ari.nus.edu.sg/showfile.asp?pubid=539&type=2


C O Hucker, The Ming Dynasty: Its Origins and Evolving Institutions (Michigan papers in Chinese Studies 34, 1978)



2. Add Indian ships





Only for Bassein in 1388:


Indian ships – Irr Shp (O) @ 3AP 0-4

Marines – Irr Bw (I) or Irr Bw (O) 1 per Shp





Fernquist's paper on Rajadhirat (page 8) mentions what may be Muslim Indian ships shooting at land troops attacking the coastal city of Bassein, though there is no mention of what weapons were used:


Rajadhirat's assault on Bassein is said to have been repelled by "sailing ships manned by foreigners who fired their weapons at them causing much casualties." Since this was before the arrival of the Portuguese in the Bay of Bengal around 1509, this has been interpreted to mean Muslims from India were present in Bassein.


The published DBM Later Muslim Indian list (IV/36) has no ships. The Hindu Indian list (III/10) has Irr Shp (O) (though only for the Palas of Bengal), and the Tamil list (II/42) also has Shp (O).


Four elements would represent between 8 and 20 ships, enough to allow 'much casualties'.

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