They have firearms, and the Chinese are very skillful in military affairs.

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In 1358 the Ming army failed to take a city due to its garrisons' usage of cannon, however they themselves would use cannon, in the thousands, later on during the siege of Suzhou in 1366.

During the 1593 Siege of Pyongyang, 40,000 Ming troops deployed a variety of cannon against Japanese troops.

Chen Bingying argues there were no guns before 1259 while Dang Shoushan believes the Wuwei gun and other Western Xia era samples point to the appearance of guns by 1220, and Stephen Haw goes even further by stating that guns were developed as early as 1200.

References to cannon proliferated throughout China in the following centuries. In 1341 Xian Zhang wrote a poem called The Iron Cannon Affair describing a cannonball fired from an eruptor which could "pierce the heart or belly when striking a man or horse, and even transfix several persons at once." By the 1350s the cannon was used extensively in Chinese warfare.

Cannon vary in caliber, range, mobility, rate of fire, angle of fire, and firepower; different forms of cannon combine and balance these attributes in varying degrees, depending on their intended use on the battlefield.

The word cannon is derived from several languages, in which the original definition can usually be translated as tube, cane, or reed.

In the modern era, the term cannon has fallen into decline, replaced by "guns" or "artillery" if not a more specific term such as "gun", "mortar" or "howitzer", except for in the field of aerial warfare, where it is often used as shorthand for autocannon.

The earliest known depiction of cannon appeared in Song dynasty China as early as the 12th century, however solid archaeological and documentary evidence of cannon do not appear until the 13th century.

Cannons is more common in North America and Australia, while cannon as plural is more common in the United Kingdom.