Qi Ji Guang's Yuan Yang Zhen (鴛鴦陣) — part 4

Transfer to Northern Frontier
After the conclusion of the campaign against Wokou (倭寇, Japanese coastal pirates), Qi Ji Guang spent some time as the deputy general of Shen Ji Ying (神機營) in Peking, before being transferred to Ji garrison, taking charge of the training of the frontier troops from Ji, Changping and Baoding garrison. Despite having a much larger army under his command, all was not as well as it seemed — the command structure of the garrisons was chaotic and inefficient, military equipment and fortifications in disrepair, and the troops were undisciplined, unmotivated and lacked training.

Bu Ying (步營) and the new Mandarin Duck Formation
Qi Ji Guang realised that he was now commanding a completely new army, gained access to new equipment (while losing others) and most importantly, facing a completely new threat. Unlike the foot-slogging Wokou, the Mongols were a highly mobile mounted force, but had virtually no access to firearms. Qi Ji Guang modified the Mandarin Duck Formation accordingly, incorporating North China-specific equipment into the formation. Bu Ying (步營, foot regiment) formed the infantry branch of Qi Ji Guang's new army.
Northern Mandarin Duck Formation
Rendition of a five-man team forming one half of the new Mandarin Duck squad in close combat configuration. The fourth troop overturned his Kuai Qiang and used it as a quarterstaff. This image is cropped and doctored from the training manuals of 'Ji Xiao Xin Shu (《紀效新書》)'.
The new Mandarin Duck squad maintained similar structure as the old Mandarin Duck squad, but underwent some major changes. Most notably, javelins, Ai Pai (挨牌), and long spears were dropped, while Chang Dao (長刀)Kuai Qiang (快鎗) and iron armour were added. Qi Ji Guang retired the javelins because he considered this short ranged, inaccurate throwing weapon to be less effective against fast-moving Mongol horsemen, but removed the spears out of necessity, as long spear was uncommon among the predominantly mounted armies of Northern China. Qi Ji Guang also substituted rattan shields with wicker Tuan Pai (團牌, round shield), and bamboo Lang Xian (狼筅) with iron ones whenever possible, because both rattan and bamboo do not grow in North China. Chang Dao swordsmen replaced the rattan (or wicker) shieldmen as team leaders.

Dual role unit
As arquebus was relatively uncommon in North China, the frontier army under Qi Ji Guang's command did not have independent arquebusier unit (yet). Qi Ji Guang modified the Mandarin Duck squad to serve as dual role unit partly to compensate for this shortcoming, but mainly as an attempt to design a unit that could outshoot Mongol horse archers without sacrificing close combat capability.
New Mandarin Duck Squad
Rendition of a five-man team forming one half of the new Mandarin Duck squad in marching configuration, which also represented their shooting order. The archer was actually squad leader (leading entire Mandarin Duck squad, i.e. two five-man teams, plus one porter) and not part of the team. He would be joined by Kuai Qiang, now switched to bows and arrows, after they had shoot their handgonnes. This image is cropped and doctored from 'Shen Qi Pu (《神器譜》)', 'Wu Bei Zhi (《武備志》)' and  'Ji Xiao Xin Shu (《紀效新書》)'.
With the exception of rattan shieldmen and Lang Xian, everyone in the new Mandarin Duck squad was equipped with ranged weapon. The team leaders were armed as arquebusiers, Kuai Qiang as handgonners and archers, and Tang Pa (钂鈀) launched rockets.


Other blog posts in my Mandarin Duck Formation series:
Mi Zhan — the original Yuan Yang Zhen
Qi Ji Guang's Yuan Yang Zhen — part 1
Qi Ji Guang's Yuan Yang Zhen — part 2
Qi Ji Guang's Yuan Yang Zhen — part 3
Qi Ji Guang's Yuan Yang Zhen — part 4
Qi Ji Guang's Yuan Yang Zhen — part 5
Qi Ji Guang's Yuan Yang Zhen — part 6
Xu Guang Qi's Yuan Yang Wu

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