Military Defense System

As a famous historical site today, the Great Wall was initially built for military purpose. Military Defense System is also a hot topic in research of the Wall, and it will be introduced by the guide during your Great Wall travel.

Military Significance of the Great Wall 

The Great Wall is the greatest military defense project in the world. It is not a simple and isolated frontier wall. The military defense thought embodied in the Great Wall has an important position in the history of military development. The emergence and development of the Great Wall and the entire military development in ancient China went forward simultaneously, which is of great significance to the study of the formation and development of ancient military thought. In Qin and Han Dynasties, including the early Ming Dynasty, Emperors built the Great Wall when he took the initiative and gained an overwhelming military advantage. This shows that the construction of the Great Wall is not only an active defense, but also a strategy to accumulate strength and keep forging ahead. The construction of the Great Wall is a positive measure taken against military situation in the northwest. It is also a move of manner from passive to active in defense.
Read More

The Latest Battles Fought at the Great Wall of China

The Defense of the Great Wall (January 1 – May 31, 1933) was a campaign between the armies of Republic of China and Empire of Japan, which took place before the Second Sino-Japanese War officially commenced in 1937.  During this campaign, Japan successfully captured the Inner Mongolian province of Rehe from the Chinese warlord Zhang Xueliang, and incorporated it into the newly created state of Manchukuo, whose southern frontier was thus extended to the Great Wall of China.

  • Battle of Shanhai Pass: The Battle of Shanhai Pass , fought in Shanhaiguan, China in 1644, was the decisive battle leading to the formation of the Qing Dynasty in China. Qing leader Dorgon, along with former general Wu Sangui, defeated rebel Li Zicheng’s forces, allowing Dorgon and the Qing to rapidly conquer Beijing and replace the Ming Dynasty.
  • Battle of Rehe: The Campaign first broke out in January 1933 in a large-scale battle in Yuguan. Zhang Xueliang retreated to Shanhaiguan to actively seek resistance on the grounds of preserving his strength. The Japanese troops were stationed outside the Great Wall and occupied Rehe to take Peiping. However, on the whole, Japan wanted to use the attack on Peiping in exchange for the recognition of Manchukuo by the Chinese national government.

Great Wall Fortifications

The Great Wall served as the natural barrier for the safety of inner china in ancient times. It tramps over hills and dales. Its unique architectural style is a great wonder in the world. the defensive system included garrisons and beacon towers inside the wall, and watchtowers outside at regular intervals.

Great Wall Passes

Passes are the most massive defense beachheads on the wall, often located in places of military importance which are favorable for defense. They are often composed of square walls, gates, gate towers, and moats. The most notable ones are Shanhaiguan, Huangyaguan, Juyongguan, Zijingguan, Daomaguan, Pingxingguan, Yanmenguan, Pianguan And Jiayuguan Passes.  Near to some big passes, the small passes can be found.

Read more about Passes of The Great Wall of China

Great Wall Beacon Towers

A Beacon Tower was building used to deliver military information by producing smoke or by lighting a fire. The fuel that was often used to make the smoke was Wolf Dung (feces), which when dried produced an especially thick visible smoke. Soldiers were organized in order to collect the dung. Due to the whole process involved the Beacon Towers were also known as Wolf-Smoke Towers. There is a story themed on this –Tricking the Marquess with Beacon Fires.

Read More about Beacon Towers of China Great Wall


Walls are the main part of the construction, averaging about 26.6 feet tall. They serve as the important link connecting the passes, beacon towers, watch towers and other military structures together. It was built very firmly at some vital passes.

Keep Reading