Fire-lances

 Effect
 -1 attack penalty for enemy in first round like terror, to any enemy in front of the fire lance armed unit

Cost
5 points when used on field of battle but 10 if used by upgraded defenders in a siege game when there are unlimited numbers of fire-lances available.

 Limitations to Upgrade
 In normal battles: the number of fire lance upgrades to half the spear units in the army for Sung dynasty forces but only 25% for other dynasties/peoples as the Sung seem to have made the most use of this weapon. One off use – 5 pts

In defence in a siege.
Limit the number of fire-lance upgrades to half the spear units in the army for Sung dynasty forces but only 25% for other dynasties/peoples as the Sung seem to have made the most use of this weapon. Multiple use for those units allowed to be upgraded – 10 points.

The weapons history

Sometime during the late 11th cent. - early 12th cent. – although these dates are disputed - the Sung Chinese developed the fire-lance, they were used by the Chinese until the early Ming, mid 14th cent. They are also recorded as used by the Annamese, the Champanese and in 1233 by the Mongols. (Other weapons that were developed by 1233 were fire-rockets & fire-arrows).

The Sung used this weapon in very large numbers, the other peoples less so. While there is mention that they were used on the battlefield they would seem to mainly be used in sieges. Fire-lances were mainly an infantry weapon, although there is mention of there use by cavalry.

The fire-lance was one of the first weapons in the world to utilize a low energy mix of what was thought to be gunpowder, but in really could well be considered a pyrotechnic device, a flamethrower!

The first fire lances were spear-like weapons with a tube containing gunpowder and tied to a Chinese spear. (One can find Chinese books that describe the first fire-lances in 1132 with them as spears with a gunpowder tube also described as a bamboo tube with gunpowder inside. Illustrations show them tied to spear & halberds.)

Upon being fired, with the range only a few feet at the most, this combined with the fact that it was a spear-type weapon, its obvious that fire-lances were mainly used in hand-to-hand combat.

By 1259 it fired a small projectile (clay or metal balls) with still only a range of a few feet that was called the fire-shooting lance. Whilst cheap & cheerful the original fire-lance was still in use, although normally associated with peasant rebels regular Sung troops also used them, and continued in use for a couple more centuries.  The continual development of gunpowder in the fire-lance which finally had enough force to hurl a killing projectile was a key step along the development of the first true guns.

Original Chinese information

“It was bound with cords to the to the end of the lance. Each soldier carried with him hanging from down (from his belt) a small iron box (of glowing timber). At the appropriate time during combat, (he lit) the fuse, and the flame shot forth from the lance head more than a dozen feet.”

“A pear-flower tube is bound tightly to the end of a long spear, and ignited when face to face with the enemy. As it burns (flames) shoot forth as far as several dozen feet. Anyone that gets in the way is inevitably burnt to death; and after the fire has ended, you can still use the spear point to pierce the enemy through. It is the best of all fire weapons.”