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Military value of the Great Wall of China
Introduction of Military value of the Great Wall of China
Judging from the standpoint of modern warfare, the Great Wall can not be said to be a defence network of any great military value. Nevertheless when man's chief military weapons were the sword, arrows, bows, ge (hook weapon)and mao (spear), the situation was quite different. The Great Wall offers excellent defence since it had been built in strategic places. It played an important role then. Many were instances in ancient times when it took a very long time to take a city or mountain pass. There were even cases when those who launched the attack had to retreat without a fight, when they saw the strong defence work of the city. In the Central Plain of China such firm and high defence work proved to be very useful to foil the attacks of mobile cavalry, which roamed from one place to another.
As a result of continuous construction and making improvement by the Ming Dynasty the Great Wall became a perfect defence network, whereby the central Chinese authority could, by means of various administrative and military levels of organization, reach the basic or grass root military unit, down to each soldier guarding the Great Wall. The Ming Dynasty overthrew the Yuan, obtaining ruling power throughout the nation. The original rulers, however, only retreated to their former positions. They were not destroyed. This made it possible for them to make a come-back. Under these circumstances, the Great Wall became a major security issue for the Ming Dynasty.
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