Wuxiaworld > The World Online > Chapter 510- Blowing a Massive Hole

Chapter 510- Blowing a Massive Hole

Chapter 510- Blowing a Massive Hole

Translator: ryangohsf
Editor: Nora

In history, Yang Xiuqing had taken control of Taiping Country matters. If he did not grow overly ambitious and greedy, trying to replace Hong Xiuquan, his achievements would not have ended there.

As a result, the Hong Xiuquan in the wilderness was extremely wary of Yang Xiuqing. From the start, he had placed the latter in the military and totally did not want him to play a part in national matters.

Hong Xiuquan was decent In terms of building his religion, forming the organization, and using his powers. However, when talking about running a country, he was a true and true outsider.

Hence, the three prefectures of land under Taiping Country were not doing so well economically. Only Hong Xiuquan’s personal prestige allowed them to maintain their rule.

The people under their rule were all living miserable lives.

Even though times change, one’s personality did not.

Although Hong Xiuquan was not as extravagant as in the past, he still enjoyed life at suitable moments.

In this life, Hong Xiuquan was a person who held onto his power.

……

Turning back to the battlefield, Yang Xiuqing led his troops to launch the third attack on Mulan Stronghold.

On the battlefield, smoke bellowed.

Hong Long!

The continuous blows of the cannon placed Mulan Stronghold under a strenuous test.

The south troops of Taiping Country did not fear death. The soldiers carried their iron shields, not afraid of dying, as they valiantly defended the four cannons, determined to blow a massive hole in Mulan Stronghold.

How powerful was the Ming Dynasty cannon?

The great bombardment eventually blew a huge hole in a corner of the east city wall.

"Aim at that hole and burst it open!"

The cannon commanding officer looked excited, as he saw the light of victory.

The four cannons shot to collective, one after another the ‘thunderclap bullets’ pummelled the city wall, enlarging the hole.

Due to the deficiencies of the Ming Dynasty cannon itself, it was quite terrible in terms of accuracy. Out of the four cannonballs could hit it, it would be considered really lucky.

During the Ming Dynasty, guns or cannons were both used on a large scale. However, why didn’t they completely replace cold weapons like the west?

There were four main reasons.

Firstly, cannons needed to be able to fire ‘blooming cannonballs’—cannonballs that would explode.

Why? Only an exploding cannonball could turn the cannon from a siege weapon into a ground war weapon and cause large scale damage. If they only shot iron cannonballs, the damage would be naturally limited.

Meanwhile, an exploding cannonball would release numerous fragments and cause a wide area of effect damage.

The cannon barrel of the ‘Toxic Fire Feibo’ created during the Ming Dynasty was crafted from wrought iron, and it used over 10 types of gunpowder. The cannonballs themselves were made of cast iron and contained sulphur poison. After being shot, it would fly three hundred meters and explode, injuring people.

Unfortunately, this technique did not mature during the Ming Dynasty, so it did not see large scale use.

Later, during the Qing Dynasty, not only did the technique fail to improve, it actually went backward. They started to use iron as its core and even stone to replace cannonballs.

Before the self-strengthening movement, the power of the Ming Dynasty cannons naturally only reached the power of toys.

During the 19th century seventies, Zuo Zongtang went out to sea and found the ‘blooming cannonballs’ at Shanxi Fengxiang. He was filled with emotion, “Such a lethal weapon was in China three hundred years ago, causing someone to pay attention to this. How did the island race people conquer the seas, while we were stuck being arrogant for more than tens of years?"

During the opium war, the conservativeness of the Qing Dynasty in terms of weapons had caused them to pay a hefty price. Before the self-strengthening movement, in two hundred years of the Qing Dynasty, their thermal weapons were even weaker than that of the Ming Dynasty. Compared to the progressiveness of the Ming Dynasty, one could see the flaws of the Qing Dynasty ruler.

Secondly, the cannon was not flexible.

The cannons were not flexible, so they were not suitable for gathering together. The Ming Dynasty cannons, be it the short barrelled mortar Folang Jichong or the Hongyi Cannon later, none of them were flexible.

Although the short barrelled mortar was not that big, it still needed to be nailed to the ground prior to firing. The Hongyi cannon was originally a ship cannon from the Portuguese, weighing hundreds of kilograms. As such, it was cumbersome and only suitable for defending.

On the contrary, the westerners had cannons that were light, and they could use horses to form cannon formations in a short time. The Ming army also had cannon carriages, but the power of the mounted cannon was too small.

Just like the five cannons Taiping Country had transported from Tianjing. They had already expended so much time and effort to get these weapons to Mulan Stronghold. If not, there would be ten or even more cannons on the current battlefield.

Thirdly, they needed a sufficient number of gunner troops.

Even if an arquebus had a greater advantage than bows, not to mention the flintlock gun that could fire four to five bullets per minute. During the battle of Japan, Oda Nobunaga's three section gunner hit was famous for an era.

Regretfully, the Ming Dynasty never had a meaningful gunner force.

Those big and small handguns were standardized. Some even needed people to use it, which was highly inconvenient.

Fourthly, cannons needed the ability to control fire.

Fire control meant gun regulation, such as gun length and gunpowder loading techniques. Without these controls, the hit rate would just be a massive joke.

An elite gunner had to estimate the distance from the enemy before taking a shot. Although one could estimate through the use of a telescope, the method of moment could allow for more accurate guesses of distance.

At the start of Chongzhen's rule, the Ming army had already started to mass produce the Hongyi cannons. However, unlike the westerners who used instruments to raise their accuracy, the Ming army lacked such tools, which always remained the weakness of the many gunners of the Ming army.

After Hong Xiuquan acquired the Ming Dynasty Firearm Making Technical Manual, he naturally lacked the ability to improve the cannons. To produce them was already highly difficult.

Hence, the four cannons of the south army were merely average in terms of accuracy.

The four of them successively aimed and shot for a morning, but only eight cannonballs struck the hole—the others all missed.

This scene caused Yang Xiuqing’s face to turn totally black but there was nothing he could do about it.

During the entire morning, the south army lost another six thousand men. All things considered, they had already lost thirty thousand men with no progress.

Thinking about Hong Xiuquan’s letter that asked him to go all out, Yang Xiuqing's expression grew worse and worse. He ordered the troops to hold on, and they would not retreat until they destroyed the wall.

……

On the city walls of Mulan Stronghold, Baiqi's expression was unprecedentedly serious.

Although the enemy cannons had not succeeded, they still greatly shocked Baiqi.

As a general born during the Warring States Period, he was a complete stranger to firearms. Seeing the enemy push out such a monster that could blow through their thick walls, how could he not feel shocked?

Baiqi noted that the appearance of cannons would revolutionize the future battles.

As a god general, he would not be content with his current standards, and he would desire to continuously improve. After this war, it was time for him to increase his knowledge of firearms.

It seems like it was just a matter of time before the enemy destroyed the wall.

Baiqi immediately ordered the soldiers to move ten Knife Blockage Chariots near the area of the city wall that was under attack.

Knife Blockage Chariots were defence weapons used to block and jam up the city gate. There were twenty steel knives at the front, and the chariot could be pushed toward the hole. It could kill enemies, while blocking all their arrows and stones. This made it difficult for enemies to climb.

Hence, the Knife Blockage Chariots were the best weapon for when an enemy breached the city wall.

Mulan Stronghold had a complicated city gate design. Not only did they construct two consecutive Wengchengs, they also used huge stones to block up the main city gate, and one must use machinery to pull up the stones.

This machinery was modified after the Mohists moved in.

Hence, to the south army of Taiping Country, it would be easier for them to directly destroy the wall than to break through the gates.

Mulan Stronghold’s only weakness was its lack of a city protection river.

Now that the enemy wanted to destroy the city wall, Baiqi could only move the Knife Blockage Chariots to increase the defence.

Apart from that, Baiqi also summoned Er'Lai, asking him to lead the two heavy armored mountain barbarian infantry regiments of the 3rd division to wait at the north city wall, which was currently under attack.

The moment the enemy broke through, a bloodbath would ensue.

To block the enemy's attack and defend the hole would be the key to this battle. At this moment, Baiqi naturally had to move the elite troops of the army to join in the defence.

In the entire army, there was no group more suitable.

With everything planned out, Baiqi heaved a sigh of relief, as he had already planned for the worst.

……

At 2 PM, the biggest change in the battlefield finally happened.

Hong Long!

As one iron cannonball accurately struck the gaping hole, the enemy finally broke apart the wall at the east.

Instantly, the Taiping Country south troops let out deafening cheers; it was like they though they had already won.

Yang Xiuqing's expression also changed for the better. He knew that the current morale was good, and he did not need to continue the attack tomorrow. He immediately ordered the troops to launch their most vicious attacks through the huge hole in the wall.

They needed to win with this fight.

The ones at the front were the troops led by Li Xiucheng.

"Kill!"

The young General Li Xiucheng led the vanguard troops, which were the most elite infantry under him. They charged toward the hole; their eyes blood red. They did not care about death.

And the moment that the city wall was broken, the Shanhai City soldiers quickly cleared out the rocks and stuck two Knife Blockage Chariots into the hole.

The mountain barbarian heavy armored regiments led by Er'Lai waited behind the chariots. Luosha, who Er'Lai had mounted, roared; it was eager to just rush into battle.

The most difficult part of this siege and defence battle would occur at this relatively narrow hole.