Yes yes, it's a Roman forum. You don't need to keep a closed mind. By this discussion, counter-arguments will only help us all learn about the Roman forces (and Han forces). Isn't it interesting to know about the state of the world outside Rome's borders? You gotta remember, Rome never conquored the world. Neither did China in any of her incarnations (well, 'cept Genghis Khan, he's Mongolian tho'. On that note, let's not drag in the Mongols here). Just knowing that Rome had an 'equal' and potential better is something that keeps hubris in check. I guess if you're here to give each other pats on the back on how awesome Rome was, that's cool. There's Chinese history forums I go to that do the same.
Hey, here's a neat picture of heavier Han armor. Made of steel
These are things from a previous argument of the same nature.
Han infantry had both heavily armed and lightly armed serviong for different purposes. Han did have big shields to prevent arrow assaults these shields are perhaps bigger and thicker than the scutoms and they're made of metal opposed to plywood scutoms. Although these are usually used to prevent crossbow archers from getting hit, while the heavy infantry certainlyh had large shields as well.
there are many battles that the Han dynasty fought which was based on pure cavalry Rome certainly had none of these examples.
Rome and the Macedonian close formation style is quite backward compared to the Eastern battles, close formation in the medditeraen only took such an important role because the missile weapons during that time has little effect against these tight formations. Yet there is no power bows in the west at that time, thus these formations continued to exist. The Han army faught in looser formation just against the arrow assaults, the major weapon of the Han army is the crossbow thats why the Han army depend far more on fire power than shock. The crossbow also had a great power in stopping cavalry charge of the time with the exception of sudden unexpected attacks by the cavalry a head on charge is not of great effect during this time. Close formation gives more close combat damage but is very vulnerable to missile since they are a packed target and slow too, but the medditeranean missiles at that time were not powerful enough to give heavy damage to these formation, on the contrast the Han army had power bows long before the Europeans used their crossbows and longbows in large scale.
The only reason that later battles in the central plains changed to close formation is because the rise of fully armed heavy cavalry due to stirrup which reduce the efficiency of the cavalry. None of these are used at this time in war thus there is few cavalry powerful enough to break through the crossbow barrage of the Han army. The cataphracts might do the job but their shock power is still not adequete compared to those with stirrups. While the only tactic that is effective at this time against these were rapid and unexpected lightning attacks done by the cavalry in hit and run style which is not some tactics that the Roman army is well known for.
Here is a quote from Needham's book on chinese missiles and siege. "At the conclusion of this section we shall have something to say about the comparison between Chinese and European military history. Military teoreticians have found it possible to make distinction between periods when the main emphasis is on the shock of troops in hand to hand, and other periods when the main emphasis is on throwing of a cloud of projectile weapons....In armoured or shock periods, reliance is placed on massed advance and hope of individual soldier is that their armour will protect him while his weapon will injure others. In unarmoured or projectileperiods dependence is placed on mobility and firepower, while hope of individual soldier is that the projectile he fires will hit others but that he will be avoid those fired by them....In china neither the heavily armed Greek hoplite nor the Roman legionary ever had any counterparts in Chinese armies....Chinese soldiers are primarily archers, and mounted more often than on foot.....It can hardly have been a coincidence that when a new propulsive forcewas discovered astonishingly more powerful than the bent spring of bows, it was China that it received all the most brilliant adaptations of youth, and there that it reached such maturity as to spread rapidly over the rest of the civilised world."
It indicate that China's missile is so far in advance that the western method of heavy armament and shock as dominant weapon over missiles never took place in chinese warfare because they are vulnerable to the powerful missiles. And the close formation and heavy armament would just be a hinderance against these.
And here is a comparison bewteen the ancient Chinese siege and artillery with that of the classical west in which it show clearly that the classical Greco Roman catapult and artillery was vastly inferior to that of the East Asian ones in both the ballista as well as the stone launcher. The Balistae of the Greek and Romans had a average range up to 410 yards while that of the central plains of the same period launch its arcuballista at over 500 yards. Not to mention the vastly simpler design of the eastern ballista that makes it the more efficient. While the sling and torsion catapults(onagers used mainly for sieges threw stones of roughly 50 pounds and maximum some 175 pounds on occasinal cases never more than 160 yards. The ancient eastern manned trebuchet was light years ahead sending missiles up to 275 pounds from 80-190 yards as max. while the fixed counterweight had a somewhat heavier missile and longer range on average but was merely a improvment on the normal trebuchet and has many set backs just like the arbalest is to the normal hand primed crossbows. All this is not including the other forms of field artillery in china not seen in the west. This include the Lien nu or multipul firing bolts, this is rarely seen on western fields and only in occasion which merely two bolts were delivered at once opposed to the vastly more numbers in the asian form that could deliver up to 10 at once. Second is the Zhuang zi nu which has a number of spring constant which could impart their stored energy to the same projectile giving far greater damage. This type was never used in the west.
Notice that the classical west used the torsion type of catapult while its the east that first introduced the swave type generating far more power.
Can they beat Rome? Maybe. My bias says "yes"
but even if you think "Rome will will" you've learned about the Han, and even if I think "Rome will lose" I learn more about the Romans. In defending Rome, you think, research, learn more about roman military history. You also get to learn about Han
As long as we keep our heads cool, without resorting to calling one another fanboys, idiots, blah blah and whatnot, it's good for everybody