Mongol Warfare

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					Mongol Warfare
Asia Before Genghis Khan
  Genghis Khan / Chinggis Khaan
    (birthname Temujin) (1162-1227)
created Mongol confederation and empire

                      Chingghis and his sons Jochi (1185–
                       1226), Chagatai (1187—1241), Ögedei
                       (1189—1241), and Tolui (1190–1232).
Conquests of Genghis Kahn
   From Nicholas Hooper and Matthew Bennett, Cambridge Illustrated Atlas of Warfare: The Middle Ages 768-1487
                 Horsemen and grasslands

   Mongolian horses: 12-14 hands (cf
    thoroughbreds: 15-17 hands).

    The Mongolian-Manchurian grassland covers
    an area of 887,300 square kilometers
    (342,600 square miles).
                                                         Mongol Armies
   All males between the ages of 15 to
    around 60 who were capable of
    bearing arms were eligible for military
    service. Mongol armies were based
    around a core group of light and heavy
    cavalry organised on the decimal
    system. The largest tactical formation
    was the ‘tuman’ consisting of 10,000
    warriors. Three tumans usually
    constituted a Mongol army. The tuman
    was made up of ten regiments
    (‘minghans’) of 1,000 men. Each
    regiment contained ten squadrons
    ‘jagun’. The jagun was subdivided into
    ten troops called arbans. … The
    typical Mongol army was largely
    cavalry based, consisting of about 60
    percent light cavalry and 40 percent
    heavy cavalry. Both units were crucial
    to Mongol strategy. Mongol light
    cavalry performed reconnaissance
    roles and acted as a screen for the
    heavy cavalry. These light horseman
    were armed with two composite bows,
    (one for long distance, the other for
    short), two or three javelins and a
    lasso. The heavy cavalry were
    equipped with a 12ft lance along with
    sabre for hand to hand combat.
Mongol Horsemen
                                     Mongol Battle Tactics
   The Mongol army was a people's army, that is,
    all Mongol adult males were enlisted. … The
    majority of Mongol troops were armed with
    mediocre, homemade weapons, and most carried
    only bows and arrows, along with axes and
    clubs. Because of this lack of weapons
    appropriate for hand-to-hand combat and their
    inferior training, the Mongols were hesitant to
    engage in frontal attacks, preferring instead to
    depend on their archery and mobility. The
    Mongols ... sent unit after unit galloping at the
    enemy as fast as could be with each man
    shooting one heavy arrow from as close as
    possible; each unit would then turn away and out
    of the path and line of fire of the next unit, which
    could follow almost on its heels. Thus the enemy
    would be repeatedly pounded by the Mongols'
    best shots, delivered by a quick and confusing
    succession of attacking units, each concealing
    the next until the last moment. The aim of such
    tactics, together with efforts at outflanking, was
    to wear down the enemy. If the Mongols faced
    cavalry, it was hoped that they could provoke a
    pursuit, with the Mongols shooting to the rear as
    they rode off. This would lead to the exhaustion
    of the opponents' horses. At some point, the
    Mongols, either on fresh horses or reinforced by
    additional troops, would turn against their
    pursuers, dealing them a crushing blow or
    harassing them as they withdrew. In general, the
    Mongols tried to avoid hand to-hand combat,
    because of their lack of personal arms and

   Reuven Amitai-Preiss
                  Mongol archers and recursive composite bow

   Materials: birch wood frame; layers of birch
    bark, horn (facing archer), sinew (on back),
    attached with fish glue; animal hide string.
   Arrows: 80-100 cm
   Draw weight: 166 pounds
   Range: 80-100 m (aimed), 300-350 m
                       Mongol armor and weapons

   Like the seventh-century Arabs, the
    Mongol elite adopted the weapons and
    armor of the peoples they conquered.
    Most Mongolian armor was of scale
    and lamellar variety. Most armor was
    made of hardened leather and iron,
    lanced together onto a fabric backing,
    sometimes silk. Mail armor was also
    sometimes used, but was rare,
    probably due to its weight and
    difficulty to repair. Mongol archers
    demanded the armor to be light
    enough so that when riding, it did not
    interfere with their mobility.
   The composite bow was the favored
    weapon of the Mongols, but troops
    also carried a single-handed, curved
    blade of Turkic origin, a mace, and
    helmets. Mongols adopted weapons of
    peoples they conquered
Mongols besiege a city
Mongol Terror
 Hulagu Khan (1217-1265), grandson of Genghis, founder of the
Ilkhanate of Persia. Besieged and destroyed Baghdad in 1258 (on
  right), invaded Syria in 1259, destroying power of the Ayyubid
                       sultanate of Damascus
                 Mongol Invasion of Europe: 1241-1242

Battle of Legnica/Leignitz (9 April). Mongol
army consisting of two tumen (about 15,000)
defeated an army of Poles and Germans (2000-
25,000) under Duke Henry II the Pious

Mohi (11 April). The Hungarians led by King Bela
IV were defeated by the main Mongol force
(approx. 30,000) under the command of Batu
Khan and his general Subutai

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