Fire lance


Fire lance

The fire lance (zh-tsp|t=火槍|s=火枪|p=huǒ qiāng) or fire spear is one of the first gunpowder weapons in the world.

Description

The earliest fire lances were spear-like weapons combining a tube containing gunpowder and projectiles tied to a Chinese spear. Upon firing, the charge ejected a small projectile or poison dart along with the flame. These fire lances had a range of only a few feet. Being a weapon that combines with a spear, it was initially used as a hand-to-hand weapon with the gunpowder shot designed to give the wielder an edge in close-quarter combat.

Inventors soon saw the merit in the gunpowder/tube design and fire lances then appeared independent of the spear.

Diagrams, illustrations and books from the 10th century show the fire lance being used in battle, but it saw the most prolific usage during early to mid Song Dynasty, when various northern peoples encroached on Chinese soil. These short-ranged, one-shot, disposable weapons were often held in racks on city walls and gave Chinese defenders a tremendous tactical and psychological advantage when fired in volleys. They were ideal for dealing with enemies trying to scale city walls, or for holding the enemy at bay behind a breached gate.

History

The first fire-lances were seen in China during the 10th century, but by about 1260 they had developed into a variety of forms and although normally associated with peasant rebels, regular Song troops also used them, their use by cavalry being described at the siege of Yangzhou in 1276. They were cheap and popular for several centuries sometimes being used in racks to defend cities and remained in use until well after the Ming period. The development of gunpowder in the fire lance to have enough force to hurl a killing projectile was a key step along the development of the first true guns.

This weapon paved the way for further improvements to gunpowder weapons and is the direct ancestor of the modern-day firearm and artillery.

See also

* Gunpowder warfare
* Technology of the Song Dynasty
* Jiao Yu
* Huolongjing

References

* Needham, Joseph (1986). "Science and Civilization in China: Volume 5, Part 7". Taipei: Caves Books, Ltd.

External links

* [http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_firelance.html Little Bit of Info on the Fire Lance]
* Medieval Chinese Armies, 1260-1520 (Men-at-arms S.) by Chris J. Peers. ISBN 1-85532-599-3
* [http://authors.history-forum.com/liang_jieming/chinesesiegewarfare Chinese Siege Warfare: Mechanical Artillery & Siege Weapons of Antiquity]


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Stink-fire lance — Lance Lance (l[a^]ns), n. [OE. lance, F. lance, fr. L. lancea; cf. Gr. lo gchh. Cf. {Launch}.] 1. A weapon of war, consisting of a long shaft or handle and a steel blade or head; a spear carried by horsemen, and often decorated with a small flag; …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Stink-fire lance — Stink Stink, n. [AS. stinc.] A strong, offensive smell; a disgusting odor; a stench. [1913 Webster] {Fire stink}. See under {Fire}. {Stink fire lance}. See under {Lance}. {Stink rat} (Zo[ o]l.), the musk turtle. [Local, U.S.] {Stink shad} (Zo[… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Lance — (l[a^]ns), n. [OE. lance, F. lance, fr. L. lancea; cf. Gr. lo gchh. Cf. {Launch}.] 1. A weapon of war, consisting of a long shaft or handle and a steel blade or head; a spear carried by horsemen, and often decorated with a small flag; also, a… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Lance bucket — Lance Lance (l[a^]ns), n. [OE. lance, F. lance, fr. L. lancea; cf. Gr. lo gchh. Cf. {Launch}.] 1. A weapon of war, consisting of a long shaft or handle and a steel blade or head; a spear carried by horsemen, and often decorated with a small flag; …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Lance corporal — Lance Lance (l[a^]ns), n. [OE. lance, F. lance, fr. L. lancea; cf. Gr. lo gchh. Cf. {Launch}.] 1. A weapon of war, consisting of a long shaft or handle and a steel blade or head; a spear carried by horsemen, and often decorated with a small flag; …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Lance knight — Lance Lance (l[a^]ns), n. [OE. lance, F. lance, fr. L. lancea; cf. Gr. lo gchh. Cf. {Launch}.] 1. A weapon of war, consisting of a long shaft or handle and a steel blade or head; a spear carried by horsemen, and often decorated with a small flag; …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Lance snake — Lance Lance (l[a^]ns), n. [OE. lance, F. lance, fr. L. lancea; cf. Gr. lo gchh. Cf. {Launch}.] 1. A weapon of war, consisting of a long shaft or handle and a steel blade or head; a spear carried by horsemen, and often decorated with a small flag; …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Fire stink — Stink Stink, n. [AS. stinc.] A strong, offensive smell; a disgusting odor; a stench. [1913 Webster] {Fire stink}. See under {Fire}. {Stink fire lance}. See under {Lance}. {Stink rat} (Zo[ o]l.), the musk turtle. [Local, U.S.] {Stink shad} (Zo[… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Fire Arrow — For the Plymouth automobile, see Plymouth Fire Arrow. Hwacha that launches singijeons, a variation of the fire arrow The Fire Arrow is a projectile weapon that uses black powder. The earliest reference to its use comes in the Collection of the… …   Wikipedia

  • Fire Department — Éditeur Focus Home Interactive Développeur Monte Cristo Multimédia …   Wikipédia en Français


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.