Yong Ying (Chinese: 勇營; pinyin: yǒng yíng; Wade–Giles: yung-ying, literally "brave camps") were a type of regional army that emerged in the 1800s in Qing dynasty army, which fought in most of China's wars after the Opium War and numerous rebellions exposed the ineffectiveness of the Manchu Eight Banners and Green Standard Army. The Yong ying were created from the earlier tuanlian militias.
Tuanlian (Chinese: 團練) is the Chinese term for localised village militias created in the Zhou Dynasty. In May 1645, Ming rebel leader Li Zicheng (Chinese: 李自成) was killed by a tuanlian of local landowners in Hubei province.
During the Jiaqing reign, with the corrupt and ineffective official military establishment of the Eight Banners and Green Standard Army incapable of curbing the White Lotus Rebellion, the Qing court began to order local gentry and landowners in all ten provinces to organise tuanlian for self-defense, with both funding and control in the hands of local gentry and landowners.
Yong (Chinese:勇), literally "Braves", was the official name for members of the militia, which was recruited from the local civilian population. These "braves" were grouped into units (ying), known as the "Yong Ying". Yong were not regarded as part of the official imperial army of Eight Banners or Green Standard, with their funding and logistics provided by civilian society, not the imperial governments.
The Xiang Army, a "Yung-ying" army in Qing Dynasty China, separate from the Manchu Eight Banners and Green Standard Army. They used modern weapons and the officers were never rotated, so relationships formed between officers and the troops, unlike Green Standard and Banner forces.
It was recorded that "Although rations came from public funds, the yung-ying troops were nevertheless grateful to the officers of the battalion for selecting them to be put on the rolls, as if they had received personal favours from the officers. Since in ordinary times there existed [between the officers and the troops] relations of kindness as well as mutual confidence, in battle it could be expected that they would see ach other through hardship and adversity".
Famous Yong Ying leaders
During 1845's Taiping Rebellion, tuanlian militia was expanded by Zeng Guofan into an army force of thirteen battalions consisted of 6500 men, a navy of ten battalions consisted of 5000 men, of a total of 17,000 men, was given the name of Xiang Army, with Zeng Guofan as the Commander-in-chief, accepting orders from Zeng alone. The new rule was termed "Soldiers followed the general, soldiers belonged to the general"(Chinese: 兵隨將轉，兵為將有), contrary to the old military rule before the Northern Song Dynasty's "Soldiers had no fixed commander, commander had no fixed soldiers" (Chinese:兵無常帥，帥無常兵). This new military rule was the direct cause of the Warlord era. These Tuanlian were turned into the Yong Ying Xiang Army.
List of Yong Ying Armies
- 谭伯牛. "In Chinese:团练之弊 谭伯牛". Book.sina.com.cn. Retrieved 2008-12-21.
- Kwang-ching Liu, Richard J. Smith, "The Military Challenge: The North-west and the Coast," in John King Fairbank, Kwang-Ching Liu, Denis Crispin Twitchett, ed. (1980). Late Ch'ing, 1800-1911. Volume 11, Part 2 of The Cambridge History of China Series (illustrated ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 202. ISBN 0-521-22029-7. Retrieved 2012-01-18.
By the end of the Nien War in 1868, a new kind of military force had emerged as the Ch'ing dynasty's chief bulwark of security. Often referred to by historians as regional armies, these forces were generally described at the time as yung-ying (lit. 'brave battalions'). In the 1860s, such forces throughout all the empire totalled more than 300,000 men, They included the remnants of the old Hunan Army (Hsiang-chün) founded by Tseng Kuo-fan, the resuscitated Hunan Army (usually called Ch'u-chün) under Tso Tsung-t'ang, and the Anhwei Army (Huai-chün) coordinated by Li Hung-chang. There were also smaller forces of a similar nature in Honan (Yü-chün), Shantung, (Tung-chün), Yunnan (Tien-chün) and Szechwan (Ch'uan-chün). These forces were distinguished generally by their greater use of Western weapons and they were more costly to maintain. More fundamentally they capitalized for military purposes on fthe particularistic loyalties of the traditional society. Both the strength and the weakness of the yung-ying were to be found in the close personal bonds that were formed between the higher and lower officers and between officers and men. In this respect they differed from the traditional Ch'ing imperial armies - both the banner forces and the Green Standard Army.
- John King Fairbank, Kwang-Ching Liu, Denis Crispin Twitchett, ed. (1980). Late Ch'ing, 1800-1911. Volume 11, Part 2 of The Cambridge History of China Series (illustrated ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 203. ISBN 0-521-22029-7. Retrieved 2012-01-18.
The merit of the yung-ying had lain in the close personal ties between officers and men. Army commanders (t'ung-ling) personally chose the commanders of the various battalions under them. Each battalion commander (ying-kuan) responsible for some 550 men would personally choose his company officers (shao-kuan) who would in turn choose their platoon officers (shih-chang). The 10 or so common soldiers who formed a platoon were usually chosen by the platoon officer himself. Tseng Kuo-fan in 1868 extolled this system of personal relationships throughout the organization: 'Although rations came from public funds, the yung-ying troops were nevertheless grateful to the officers of the battalion for selecting them to be put on the rolls, as if they had received personal favours from the officers. Since in ordinary times there existed [between the officers and the troops] relations of kindness as well as mutual confidence, in battle it could be expected that they would see ach other through hardship and adversity.'5 As long as the throne's authority over civil and military appointments was not diminished - including the control of high provincial positions and the granting of the coveted Green Standard titles and posts to the yung-ying.