The Fentian Army was named after the home province of its leader Zhang Zuolin, which was Fengtian (奉天), called Liaoning (辽宁) today.
The army of Zhang Zuolin was one of the most modern of the Chinese warlord armies, employing technology that many Chinese warlords did not have. This technology included the Renault FT tank and even a large airforce of around 100 aircraft including Breguet 14 light Bombers and Breguet Type 15 fighters. The Airforce of the Fengtian Clique were commanded by Zhang Zuolin's son, Zhang Xueliang who had, while in Japan, taken a great interest in Military Aviation. Along with these more modern units, Zhang Zuolins army was not too different with other Warlord armies of the time including 'Dare to Die' units which were virtual suicide squads, one unit of Zhang's army lost 5,000 men in one attack. Alongside these Chinese troops, the Fengtian army employed many White Russian volunteers in its army, one unit of White Russians in the Fengtian Army was the Mukden Lancers. Zhang made good use of White Russian officers, the Soviet documentary film 'Modern Warfare in China in 1924-1925' showed these White Russians, they are named as General Nechaev, Brigadier-General Chekhov and his second-in-command Colonel Makarenko.