Peking Field Force

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Peking Field Force
Traditional Chinese 神機營
Simplified Chinese 神机营

The Peking Field Force is a modern-armed military unit that defended the Chinese imperial capital Beijing in the last decades of the Qing dynasty (1644–1912).

The Force was founded in 1862, two years after the humiliating capture of Beijing and the sack of the Qing emperor's Summer Palace in 1860 by foreign powers at the end of the Second Opium War.[1] After that war, high Qing officials like Zeng Guofan, Li Hongzhang, and Wenxiang (the latter a Manchu) tried to acquire advanced western weapons and to copy western military organization.[2] Founded by Wenxiang and manned by mostly Manchu Bannermen, the soldiers most loyal to the dynasty, the Force was armed with Russian rifles and French cannon and drilled by British officers.[3]

The "First Historical Archives of China" (中国第一历史档案馆) in Beijing hold a collection of primary documents on the Peking Field Force.[4]

Name[edit]

The Chinese name of the battalions is Shenji ying, in which shenji means "divine mechanism" and ying either "military camp", "battalion", or "regiment". The Qing force had the same name as the Shenjiying, a Ming-era (1368–1644) military corps that specialized in training with firearms.[5] The Ming division has been variously referred to as "Divine Mechanism Battalions",[6] "Firearms Division",[5] "Artillery Camp",[7] "Shen-chi Camp",[8] and "Firearm Brigade".[9]

The Qing army corps also named "Shenji ying" is sometimes called the "Metropolitan Field Force",[10] but is mostly known as the "Peking Field Force",[11] the name by which foreigners referred to it in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.[12]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Liu 1980, p. 204; Horowitz 2002, p. 156.
  2. ^ Liu 1980, p. 202–4; Horowitz 2002, p. 156.
  3. ^ Horowitz 2002, p. 157.
  4. ^ Crossley 1990, p. 264, note 77.
  5. ^ a b Hucker 1985, p. 417 (entry 5145).
  6. ^ Powell 1955, p. 93.
  7. ^ Chan 1988, p. 248.
  8. ^ Dreyer 1982, p. 193.
  9. ^ Chan 1976, p. 890.
  10. ^ Wright 1957, p. 103.
  11. ^ Fang 1943, p. 382; Purcell 1963, p. 70; Liu 1980, p. 204; Crossley 1990, p. 141; Horowitz 1992, p. 91; Rhoads 2000, p. 27; Horowitz 2002, p. 157.
  12. ^ Brunnert & Hagelstrom 1911, p. 331 (entry 740).

Works cited[edit]

  • Brunnert, H. S.; Hagelstrom, V. V. (1911). Present Day Political Organization of China. New York: Paragon. 
  • Chan, Hok-lam (1976). "Li Ying". Dictionary of Ming Biography, 1368–1644, Volume I. Stanford University: Stanford University Press. pp. 887–892. ISBN 0231038011. 
  • Chan, Hok-lam (1988). "The Chien-wen, Yung-lo, Hung-hsi, and Hsüan-te reigns, 1399–1435". Cambridge History of China, Volume 7, The Ming Dynasty, 1368–1644, Part 1. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 182–304. ISBN 0521243327. 
  • Crossley, Pamela Kyle (1990). Orphan Warriors: Three Manchu Generations and the End of the Qing World. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. ISBN 0691055831. 
  • Dreyer, Edward L. (1982). Early Ming China: A Political History, 1355–1435. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. ISBN 0804711054. 
  • Fang, Chao-ying (1943). "I-hsin". In Arthur W. Hummel. Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period. Washington: United States Government Printing Office. pp. 380–384. 
  • Horowitz, Richard S. (1992). "Bannermen and Soldiers: Wenxiang and the Creation of the Peking Field Force (Shenji Ying), 1860–1866". Papers on Chinese History 1 (1): 91–105. 
  • Horowitz, Richard S. (2002). "Beyond the Marble Boat: The Transformation of the Chinese Military, 1850–1911". In David A. Graff and Robin Higham (eds). A Military History of China. Boulder, Colorado, and Oxford, England: Westview Press. pp. 153–74. ISBN 0813337364.  (hardcover), ISBN 0813339901 (paperback).
  • Hucker, Charles O. (1985). A Dictionary of Official Titles in Imperial China. Stanford: Stanford University Press. ISBN 0804711933. .
  • Liu, Kwang-ching; Richard J. Smith (1980). "The Military Challenge: The North-west and the Coast". In John King Fairbank, Kwang-Ching Liu, and Denis Crispin Twitchett (eds). Cambridge History of China, Volume 11, Late Ch'ing, 1800–1911, Part 2. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521220297. 
  • Powell, Ralph L. (1955). The Rise of Chinese Military Power, 1895–1912. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. .
  • Purcell, Victor (1963), The Boxer Uprising: A Background Study, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ISBN 9780521060066  (hardback). ISBN 9780521148122 (paperback).
  • Rhoads, Edward (2000). Manchus & Han: Ethnic Relations and Political Power in Late Qing and Early Republican China, 1861–1928. Seattle and London: University of Washington press. ISBN 0295979380. 
  • Wright, Mary C. (1957). The Last Stand of Chinese Conservatism: The T'ung-Chih Restoration, 1862–1874. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.