Tang and Five Dynasties Chinese

Historical Overview Section

The Tang Empire was at its height of power up until the middle of the 8th century when the An Shi Rebellion (755-763) destroyed the prosperity of the empire. An Lushan was a half-Sogdian, half-Turk Tang commander and had had experience fighting the Liao Khitans of Manchuria yet most of his campaigns against the Liao Khitans were unsuccessful. He was given great responsibility in Hebei, which allowed him to rebel with an army of more than one hundred thousand troops. Despite early victories scored by Tang General Guo Ziyi (697-781), the newly recruited troops of the army at the capital were no match for An Lushan's die-hard frontier veterans, so the court fled and called upon the help of the Later Horse Nomad Uyghur Turks in 756. The Later Horse Nomad Uighurs helped recapture the Tang capital from the rebels, but they refused to leave until the Tang paid them an enormous sum of tribute in silk. Even Abbasid Arabs assisted the Tang in putting down An Lushan's rebellion. The Tibetans also spotted an opportunity and raided many areas under Chinese control, and even after the Tibetan Empire had fallen apart in 842 (and the Uyghurs soon after) the Tang were in no position to reconquer Central Asia after 763, although they slowly rebuilt their shattered economy and state structures.

The last great ambitious ruler of the Tang Dynasty was Emperor Xianzong of Tang (r. 805-820). He also had an effective well trained imperial army stationed at the capital led by his court eunuchs; this was the Army of Divine Strategy, numbering 240,000 in strength as recorded in 798. Between the years 806 and 819, Emperor Xianzong conducted seven major military campaigns to quell the rebellious provinces that had claimed autonomy from central authority, managing to subdue all but two of them. But this couldn't last and the empire received another body blow when a series of natural calamities and the Huang Chao Rebellion (874-884) resulted in the sacking of both Chang'an and Luoyang and took an entire decade to suppress. Although the rebellion was defeated by the Tang, it never recovered from that crucial blow weakening it for the future military powers to take over. There were also large groups of bandits, in the size of small armies, that ravaged the countryside in the last years of the Tang, who smuggled illicit salt, ambushed merchants and convoys, and even besieged several walled cities.

In 907, after almost 300 years in power, the dynasty was ended when one of the increasingly autonomous military governors Zhu Wen (known soon after as Taizu of Later Liang) deposed the last emperor of Tang, Emperor Ai of Tang, and took the throne for himself. He established his Later Liang Dynasty, which thereby inaugurated the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period but was himself deposed by Li Cunxu who declared himself emperor in 923. The new Later Tang Dynasty had a few years of relative calm, followed by unrest and in 936, Shi Jingtang, a Shatuo Turk was aided by the Manchurian Liao Khitan Empire in a rebellion against the dynasty. Not long after the Jin Dynasty's founding, the Khitan Liao relegated the role of Emperor to that of a proxy for their own control and in 943 declared war and within three years seized the capital, Kaifengâ”thus marking the end of Later Jin Dynasty. But, although they had conquered vast regions of China, they were unable or unwilling to control those regions and retreated from them early in the next year.

There were a load of other dynasties up north in this time, propped up or undermined by the Liao and other Later Horse Nomad regimes. In the south it was less messy, with 10 Kingdoms all holding separate geographical areas. Although more stable than northern China as a whole, southern China was also torn apart by warfare. Wu quarrelled with its neighbours, a trend that continued as Wu was replaced with Southern Tang. In the 940s Min and Chu underwent internal crises which Southern Tang handily took advantage of, destroying Min in 945 and Chu in 951. Remnants of Min and Chu, however, survived in the form of Qingyuan Jiedushi and Wuping Jiedushi for many years after. With this, Southern Tang became the undisputedly most powerful regime in southern China. However, it was unable to defeat incursions by the Later Zhou Dynasty between 956 and 958, and ceded all of its land north of the Yangtze River. The Northern Song Chinese Dynasty, established in 960, was determined to reunify China. Jingnan and Wuping were swept away in 963, Later Shu in 965, Southern Han in 971, and Southern Tang in 975. Finally, Wuyue and Qingyuan gave up their land to Northern Song Chinese in 978, bringing all of southern China under the control of the central government.

Using the army in ADLG

  • A very flexible list with good mounted and solid foot options, plus a host of allies
  • Pinning the enemt with a core of Heavy Foot 2HW seems a popular choice as then the rest of the army can work the wings, and the foot themselves are able to win against many things on their own anyway
  • The Tibetan ally with a Heavy Cavalry version gives a few more Impact HC of good quality, as does the Khitan ally
  • Getting distracted by too many toys like the Elephants, or medium foot may be a mistake, in the same way as other highly flexible lists like the Seleukids can tempt you in the same way

User-contributed links about this army. Add links in this format:

as an example

  • Tang Chinese Army usage statistics from the ADLG ranking site

Army Lists

Sample army lists for this army
Lists from the Madaxeman Podcast Lockdown VI Episode:
Tamsin's list:

Command 1: Ordinary commander*
3 x Turkish LC Bow Elite
3 x Noble HC Bow
Command 2: Competent commander
1 x Tribal auxiliary LMI Javelinmen
2 x Tribal auxiliary MSw or MSw Impetuous
1 x LMI Bowmen
3 x LC Bow
Command 3: Brilliant commander*
4 x HSp
4 x Hsw2HW
2 x LMI Bowmen
2 x LI Bow

  • or have both as competent

Dave's List
Command 1 : Competent
2 guard halbediers heavy swordsmen 2HW elite
3 halbediers heavy swordsmen 2HW ------
2 light foot bow light infantry bow ------
1 javelinmen javelinmen ------
Command 2: Brilliant
2 nobles heavy cavalry bow elite
3 other horsemen heavy cavalry bow ------
2 turkish horsemen light cavalry bow Elite
1 bowmen bowmen ------
1 bowmen bowmen mediocre
Command 3 : Ordinary
1 elephant Elephant
2 tribl auxiliaries medium swordsmen impetuous
2 crossbowmen crossbowmen

Tim's List
Command 1 : Ordinary
1 elephant Elephant
2 tribal auxiliaries medium swordsmen impetuous
2 LF Bow
Command 2 : Brilliant
2 HI Swordsmen 2HW
1 Javelinman
2 HC Bow Elite
1 Scout LH Bow Elite
2 HC Bow
1 Guard Spear HI 2HW Elite
2 Heavy Spearmen
Command 3 : Tibetan Ally Competent Included Ally
2 Elite Cataphracts
2 Ordinary Cataphracts
1 Nomad Scout LH Bow

Simon's list
Brilliant Commander
2 Nobles Elite HC Bow
2 Nobles HC Bow
2 LH Bow
1 Bowman
Competent Commander
3 Spearman Infantry HI 2HW
2 Bowmen
1 Elephant
1 LF Bow
3 Auxiliaries Med Sword Impetuous
2 Revolted Peasants Levy Impetuous
Ordfinary Included Tibetan Ally
2 Tibetan Guard HC Impact Elite
2 Tibetan HC Impact
2 Nomad Scouts

Peter's List
(on it's way...)

Andy's List
Brilliant Commander
1 Lh Bow
2 Nobles HC Bow
3 Spearmen HI 2HW
2 Spearman HI Spear
1 Bowman Mediocre
1 Crossbowman
1 Javelinman
2 Medium Swordsmen
1 Bowman
1 LF Bow
Competent Khitan Ally
2 HC Bow
2 HC Impact Elite
1 LH Bow
3 Mixed Chinese Medium foot, 1/3 Sw, 1/2 Crossbow

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