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Archers were the most feared and devastatingly powerful troops of the Qin army. Archer units formed the largest battle groups and equipped themselves with longbows and powerful crossbows that could reach targets at ranges as great as 200 meters.
The numerous archers collectively released volleys of arrows from several rows, each firing in turn. The collective firing rate of a well sized archery unit would exceed that of a modern machine gun.
Some battles were fought with limited physical engagement which was simply ‘cleaning up’ the battlefield of the few remaining survivors left after a sky darkening onslaught of hundreds of thousands of arrows.
In contrast, the American Revolutionary War began in 1775 AD, about 2,000 years later. Predominant military technology at the time was the use of the ‘flintlock musket’ which allowed a trained soldier to fire once every fifteen seconds. Accuracy was limited to about 75 yards. Had the Chinese army existed thousands of year later, it may have still dominated the battle field.
The figurine of the Qin archer is a representation of technological superiority, discipline, and raw power. The archers were the most highly revered part of the Qin army and were critical to its success.
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