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Old October 9th, 2010, 05:59 PM   #41
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Re: Would the Mongols have conquered western Europe?

Originally Posted by Celticguy View Post
The common answer to this would have been yes. That the west european powers were fragmented and would not have been able to cope with the superior tactics of the mongols.

However, I would not be so sure about the outcome of a possible mongol invasion into the Holy Roman Empire and France in 1241.

If we look at the mongol invasion and destruction in Hungary in 1241 they annihilated the hungarian army and ravaged the hungarian countryside.The hungarian army was appallingly unprepared and tactically naive against the mongol. However, over 80 fortified positions in the Hungarian Kingdom did hold out against the mongols, this despite the mongols employing chinese artilary and sieging techniques.

In a following Mongol invasion/raid in the 1270s we can see that it was easily beaten as the hungarians had built hundreds more fortifications and employed a larger ratio of heavy knights.

With this in mind, I think that the mongols in 1241 if they launched an invasion of the holy roman empire would be up against a massive array for castles and other fortifications which in combination with heavy knights of which the west europeans had in abundance would have surely frustrated the mongol invasion considerably. They would have been very vunerable to ambushed from behind and from the flank of recently conquered territory if they are unable to secure enough fortifications ( castles, towns etc)

In addition it is claimed that western europe was ill prepared and disjointed. However a similar situation was present with the Magyar raids into the Holy Roman Empire centuries previous. But once the threat become clear the germans princes united behind their emperor Otto and defeated the Magyars.

In my opinion the mongols would be forced to withdraw in a similar manner in which Atila the hun and this army had to do when they were defeated in France in 411. I could see the mongol army overreaching itself and being worn down in western Europe. They would be lucky to escape if they advanced too far, they could face annihilation if the French King Louis ix mustered his army in sufficient force.

Excellent post

Sorry for digging up year old post, great subject.. Been researching mongol empire for some time.
the Tactics the Mongol's had were superb, most or somewhat copied from the Huns is some respect.

The Mongol's had not just great Horse archers, but good foot troops as well.
But they had the best mounted archers EVER, and with there tactics, made them the better in the open dry fields.

Most enemies they faced were defeated.
mostly though to under-trained or untrained enemies
What spoils it is mongol empire worshipers who think they never lost or are unbeatable .. they lost many battles, maybe not much so in the open fields with a huge army, but they lost many small and large siege battles to good trained foes, sometimes giving up and just turning the raids to another front.

But to even think of taking All of Western Europe is insane..
England? would they be bale to cross the channel, with the great navy the Brits had? The Tatars would never have made it that far, unless they just bypassed everyone, and ran for it.

The mongols look good on paper, defeating a sparse Western Asian continent of mostly helpless villages. and sparse populated East Europe.

They did however invade large populated cities, but most of the population was untrained and under equipped. Kiev etc etc.

the battles of Eastern Europe are the only clues to the "what if" we have to go with.. the Mongol victories over King Henry II of Poland
where maybe 5 or 6 Templar and Teuton knights out of a army of 20,000-25,000 mainly medium to untrained fighters.. vs 10,000-20,000 (some say 100,000)highly trained Tatar mongol warriors.
A easy victory for the mongols

This does not tell us much... The mongols NEVER EVER faced a enemy that would be large and skilled at the same time, except maybe Egyptian Mamluks where the mongols DID LOSE battles, along with Bohemian Calvary, who also defeated the mongols.

The sparse populated land of eastern Europe, wooden castles, open range, are not even close to the wet muddy wooded area of highly populated Western Europe with many many many large Stone castles, vast amounts of highly trained seasoned knights, and expert bowmen that could put an arrow into a moving mounted mongols eyeball socket at 150 yards with no problem.

The Holy Roman Empire of Germany, and France had most of the troops and the best trained, the old Teutonic knights sent to upper Poland area to convert people to Christians, would probably never put up much a fight vs the mongols, but the real clash of the titans never happened

A Mongol leader did send a message to the leader of German Roman Empire to more or less surrender at one point (before the mongols even envaded Poland I believe)

So the mongol leader pulling out of Europe after Khan Ogedei had died. was said to have saved Europe from modern day cheerleaders of the great mongol empire.
But in actual the other leaders (generals etc) of the mongols stayed in eastern Europe never to win Western Europe.. Never making the promise to take over Germay, thus a loss in some respect. the big powers of Germany/France never clashed with the Mongols, avoiding each other.. and even somewhat allied to one another vs Egypt and also both losing.

The Templar and Teutonic knights along with the great mongol cavalry are all great warriors, but none of them are super powers and none of them are undefeated.

the Harsh wet thick wooded areas of western Europe would have made fast moving cavalry slow and easy targets..

in the open 1 vs 1 a heavy knight may defeat a Mongol horseman, but 100 vs 100 or 10,000 vs 10,000 out in the open the monols speed and archery skills prevail..
So the highly trained Western knights would never have be able to push the mongols into the open ranges of Eastern Europe and Asia.

The trick the mongols used vs Poland would have been well known if mongols tried to capture west Europe.. the Expert bowmen supporting the knights would pic off the moving horses of the light armored mongols if the
they got close enough and been slow foot archers only-- prey for the
knights and bowmen.
if France would have gotten involved and helped the Germans.. Game over real quick!

the European villagers would have to be in fear though... head for the woods and hills and live in areas of cover or fortified cities until the the mongols were defeated or most more realistically driven back east after heavy mongol losses.

good post
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Old October 9th, 2010, 06:53 PM   #42

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Re: Would the Mongols have conquered western Europe?

Welcome aboard ScottyD, and a great introductory post.
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Old October 9th, 2010, 08:14 PM   #43

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Re: Would the Mongols have conquered western Europe?

Originally Posted by DIVUS IVLIVS View Post
I must agree with the view that European Castles would not cause the Mongols too much grief. They overcame fortifications and defences that make anything Europe at the time had to offer look puny by comparison.

And I disagree with those who say that Mongolian Conquest would have taken us back to the Stone Age. Quite the opposite - it would have advanced us considerably.

Sure, the Mongols were very, very, very destructive when they're coming to conquer you. That's called scare tactics, and it worked very, very, very well in conquering an Empire. But once the stage of conquest is over and you're under direct rule of the Mongols, then life becomes much, much better than it was before. A great system of laws, trade all over the Empire, meritocracy, freedom of religion, and best of all, security. It was said that a virgin could walk from one end of the Mongol Empire to the other with a pot of gold on her head and she would not be bothered. Obviously this is an exageration, but still, it makes a very strong point. All of these things I think would have done feudal Europe a lot of good.

And the Mongols were anything but illiterate savages. Even under Genghis Khan there were a number of Mongols who cared deeply about writings and history. But the Mongols can really claim to be a cultural force under the leadership of Kublai Khan, the greatest Mongol after Genghis (his grandfather).

Russia has been cited as an example of the negative effects of Mongol rule. I'd point out that Russia never really came under direct rule of the Mongols - it was more of a vassal state. To get a better idea of what having the Mongols in charge would be like, far better to look at China, the general Far Eastern area, Mongolia itself. In these places Mongol rule was the stimulus for signifigant advances in technology, cultural leaps, better trade, life, etc, etc.

Mongols all the way!
It is true that Russia was more of a vassal state, but the Russian princes knew that they could never welcome the mongols. Especially when the princes were forced to go to Mongolia to take care of business for the first few years. The princes just needed to realize that their foreign enemies were greater threats than their own brothers, uncles, cousins and other family members / enemies.

Do I think Western Europe could have been entirely conquered by the Mongols? Yes.

Do I think it could have been held and maintained from Mongolia? No.

There comes a point in the ancient world where you can't control any more land. They could have ravaged and raided a lot of Western Europe that was reachable by horseback but to keep that land would be another story. It is hard to maintain fear when your army is in France and your vassals are uprising in Anatolia, Kiev and Italy. Europe was fragmented but there were unifiers capable of rallying a force to combat the Mongols and if need be, win eventually. You would need a hell of a lot of manpower to maintain something from Mongolia to Great Britain, Constantinople to Berlin... ect.
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Old October 9th, 2010, 10:46 PM   #44

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Re: Would the Mongols have conquered western Europe?

Yes they would have. Simple reason being none of the european powers at that time could equal the military and technological powers of either china or kwarezham both of which the mongols conquered. If they could conquer china who had better weapons, better tactics and a lot more soldiers then any of the European nations then they could conquer Europe. Yes the Europeans had castles but so did china and they had the great wall neither of which stopped the mongols. And after taking china they incorporated siege weapons into their armies.
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Old October 9th, 2010, 10:51 PM   #45
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Re: Would the Mongols have conquered western Europe?

Originally Posted by Celticguy View Post
The common answer to this would have been yes.
And such common answer would still have been absolutely right; there could hardly be any doubt about it.

By 1242, no fortification had ever been anything more than a delay for the Mongol conquest; maybe even a couple years delay, but nothing more than that.
In fact, fixed positions were regularly simply ignored by the Mongols until their enemy field armies were literally and quickly exterminated, often to the last man.

Now, the issue if the Mongol administration would have effectively lasted for long in Western Europe after its eventual conquest is more intriguing; IMHO it would have depended mostly on the potential incentives for the Mongols.

They certainly perceived such incentives in Eastern Asia, as far to the south as Anam.
On the other hand, as it happened the Golden Horde of the west was utterly uncomfortable out of their traditional steppes.
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Old October 10th, 2010, 05:54 PM   #46
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Re: Would the Mongols have conquered western Europe?

Originally Posted by daftone View Post
Yes they would have. Simple reason being none of the european powers at that time could equal the military and technological powers of either china or kwarezhm both of which the mongols conquered. If they could conquer china who had better weapons, better tactics and a lot more soldiers then any of the European nations then they could conquer Europe. Yes the Europeans had castles but so did china and they had the great wall neither of which stopped the mongols. And after taking china they incorporated siege weapons into their armies.
Good post
Thanks for the reply--

The same would have been said of the Persian Empire, as they conquered all who opposed them...
if not for Greece, the Persians would probably marched through Europe and be considered the invincible army by today's historians..

except Europe didn't just lay down and play easy!! Greece, Athenians, Spartans etc all the sudden the dream of an easy take over or Europe was like a BB from a Red Ryder BB gun hitting the Front armor of a Tiger E tank..

Europe somehow always finds a way to win or survive
and the Persians are not defeated as a whole, but lose the battle for Europe..

What technological advantage did China have??????.. you give the impression it is European 140 fps longbows vs 300 fps Compound bows that China had..what gives here? Sorry there, but had to say it..
Really, I do not see a technological advantage of anything China had, except Black powder... and they never knew how to use them as any kind of effective weapons except smoke.
Swords made of steel???.. I'm not sure if China had something better... hummm Titanium Swords!!! lol , but I see no technological advantage.. again.

Did not the Mongols Defeat some fortified cities in China but fail to take them all... a Loss in my book.. whatever you want to call it.. the mongols as good as they where, was not invincible.

a quote
"In an offense against the Song Dynasty , Mongol armies captured Siyang-yang, the Yangtze and Sichuan , however they couldn’t deliver the final blow. The Song generals were able to recapture Siyang-yang from the Mongols in 1239. " unquote

Grumms clear throat, mongols LOST battles, good troops but not uber

They looked good going up against untrained and mostly unarmed people.

The French and German knights were all but untrained, fighting and training was all and everything in there lives. also bowmen..
The Tactics the great Mongols used in the open area of Asia and the East of Europe.. would have been almost useless in western Europe

imagine a company of 10,000 mongols going down a road with thick trees on each side facing up the 20 ft wide road are similar numbers of well trained Archers and knights waiting for them..
The Horse Archers have no room to maneuver around to avoid arrows and close battle with the heavy armored knights will happen.
Gave over for the mongols my friend..

if they are lucky to survice then

Also Europe was not new to Siege warfare. Don't think the Mongols would just dance in and take an easy victory. sure if 50,000 Mongols attacks a single casle of 2000 Germans, they would eventually win, but they would lose 1/3 of there army ding it. too many Castles in Western Europe.. not just thin walled cities of China. but strong castles.

The point of the conquering the great wall of China really proves no point in any topic, but a desperate attempt to try and win points for the favored army of the time.. any army could get by that wall, just built some ladders or large walk boards and ride horses over it... it was more or less undefended.

Not to put China down, but they was nothing to England, France or Germany as far as military technology, tactics or training.. except maybe black powder for smoke. more people yes, more highly trained troops, no.

Western Europe was just much more populated, and the nations have been fighting for 100's and 100's of years, that's is all they knew, they trained ALL the time. many many many skills archers, 100'sand 100's of superbly trained knights. and again I'm not downgrading a specific race or country, but it's well know aisans are in GENERAL smaller boned people maybe avg 130-150 lbs.. a muscle bound 200 lb knight is going to be ale to swing a bigger sword much faster and harder than a smaller foe..
equal skills, the larger one wins on avg. if it goes 1 vs 1 or 20,000 vs 20,000 in close range
Like I said no one is just going to walk and and take over just like that, this isn't the big populated poverty ridden cities of untrained victims the mongols are used to attacking and defeating out east.

When Mongols attacked highly TRAINED troops of Chinese citties, the mongols lost, when mongols attacked TRAINED troops of the Mamluks in Egypt... they (mongols) lost.
the trained West Europe knights would have just slaughtered the mongols
in Western terrain.

in the open area of east Europe and Aisa, I think the mongols would prevail over the highly trained knights of western Europe, as the horse archer advantage would be a factor with maneuvering and slashing attacks..
but in the thick wooded areas in Western Europe..with maneuverability of the horse archer to save them--- GONE... the Archers and knights of Germany along would have cut down the mongols with EASE!

The EXCUSE of the mongols backing out of attacking Germany (Holy Roman Empire) because they had to head home after death of leader doesn't cut it for an excuse.. The mongols still stayed in the area, only 2 of the leaders and a small army needed to head back... could have still ordered attack.. deep down they knew better!
the Golden Horde mongols, and IL.kahate mongols did keep attacking eastern European states, but the mongols knew better than to go into the Holy Roman Empire... something the mongols did threaten to the leader of the HRE, and never backed it up. Again, they knew better!

There "What if" even on my part are all our own opinions, including researchers or authors alike "speculation"..

just like WWII what if's (like what if Germany had hidden fuel supplies or changed enigma codes. made Type XXI uboat sooner, used better winter tactics for Russia, made more Panthers, less Panzers, Me262's for defense only not for bombing etc etc)
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Old January 3rd, 2011, 03:01 PM   #47
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Originally Posted by Celticguy View Post
The common answer to this would have been yes. That the west european powers were fragmented and would not have been able to cope with the superior tactics of the mongols.
Not necessarily. Unlike Siberia, Central Asia, and Eastern Europe, Europe is heavily forested, not endless plains. If the Mongols could have conquered West Europe (never could have happened), they would have had to reinvent their tactics.
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Old May 12th, 2011, 02:20 AM   #48

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Frederick’s pride in his mastery of the art is illustrated by the story that, when he was ordered to become a subject of the Great Khan (Batu) and receive an office at the Khan’s court, he remarked that he would make a good falconer, for he understood birds very well.[20] He maintained up to fifty falconers at a time in his court, and in his letters he requested Arctic gyrfalcons from Lübeck and even from Greenland. One of the two existing versions was modified by his son Manfred, also a keen falconer.

Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Looks like being a falconer in Khan Batu court was way too significant being just a Holy Roman Emperor. What I'm suggesting: Mongols had conquered western Europe without any invasion.
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Old May 12th, 2011, 02:57 AM   #49
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Originally Posted by Qymaen View Post
Not necessarily. Unlike Siberia, Central Asia, and Eastern Europe, Europe is heavily forested, not endless plains. If the Mongols could have conquered West Europe (never could have happened), they would have had to reinvent their tactics.
You must be kidding; period.

The Mongols eventually conquered even the then selvatic Anam; they were constantly "reinventing" their tactics.

Click the image to open in full size.
Mongol campaign in Đại Việt & Champa (modern Vietnam), circa 1285.

And amazing as it may sound, the Eurasian (nowadays mostly Russian, i.e. Siberian) Taiga was timely conquered by the Mongols from the very beginning, in spite of being far more heavily forested than any area of Western Europe have ever been in historical times.
Click the image to open in full size.

Not to mention the evident fact that horse nomadic warriors had been raiding Europe for centuries, even previous to Attila.

Besides, it's easy to verify that the Mongol Empire eventually comprised all kind of bioma:
Click the image to open in full size.

In conclusion, there's no reason to believe that ecology would have represented any major problem for the armies of Subutai & Batu; the western Europeans were simply incredibly lucky for the timely death of Ogedei Khan.

Last edited by sylla1; May 12th, 2011 at 03:22 AM.
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Old May 12th, 2011, 10:34 AM   #50
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Originally Posted by sturm View Post
Mongolians didnt care for education, or books, history etc.
How many library did they burn, how many books did they destroyed? How many monuments did they sack, looted, or burned?
Thats why i said they would have get us bad in the stone age
Don't be such ignorant. Please read some books and research bit more before open your mouth. Why are some people so ignorant? Especially some people from the west. History is not just about west or east. It's all about us as a global.

Have you heard how Europe was so under developed during the medieval ages? But meantime Middle East and Far East were more advanced than Europe. Anyway it's not just about development or who is rich or powerful.
We can be rich and powerful when you are young but it's not gonna be always like that. You will get old and weak. You will be more dependant on others. Same thing will apply to nations and states. Everything has good bad and up down. So after a couples of decades thing can be different when you get old. Especially being ignorant is first sign of it.

You think Mongolians didn't care about history, books, arts and etc?
Oh boy, you are far from the truth. Maybe Genghis Khan and Mongols didn't know well about other civilizations. But they were keen to know about them and eager to learn from them all the time. Please read and learn bit more about Genghis Khan and his descendants in Yuan dynasty, Ilkhanate, Golden Horde, Timurid and Mogul.

If someone ask me about the biggest achievement of Mongol Empire in history, I would say they were bridge between east and west. They've binded East and West together firmly. Before Mongol Empire, east and west had minimal contact with each other. They were not great communication and trade like how it was during the Mongol Empire. Mongols opened this great opportunities for East and West to exchange ideas and knowledge.

Mongols were carriers between two sides and they accomplished their mission and it was their destiny. The mission was accomplished and Mongols went back to their homeland for their quite life and a long sleep in history. Who knows they might wake up one day again. Everyone in this world, we have our own destinies to accomplish something.
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