Could the Mongols have conquered Western Europe in the 1240's?

MAGolding

Ad Honorem
Aug 2015
2,894
Chalfont, Pennsylvania
#15
It seems to me that the only possible form of answer to a question like this is:

1) Yes, a Mongol invasion of western Europe might possibly have resulted a Mongol conquest of part or all of Western Europe, depending on many circumstances.

and:

2)

Yes, a Mongol invasion of western Europe might possibly have resulted a partial or full Mongol defeat and the successful defense of part or all of Western Europe, depending on many circumstances.
 

Ichon

Ad Honorem
Mar 2013
3,656
#17
Funny, it applies even to Mongols invasions of Europe: a chronicle on the second invasion in Europe said Talabuga returned back home with only one wife and three horses left from his army.
It appears the later Mongols paid far less attention to logistical matters as numerous times they suffered more losses due to the terrain and climate (rather like most armies of the era) than enemy actions. Also the fortification of Hungry does seem to have made a difference where the Golden Horde couldn't do what it willed all over the country as numerous local forces holed up in castles could launch surprise attacks whenever they wanted.
 

deaf tuner

Ad Honoris
Oct 2013
14,533
Europix
#18
It appears the later Mongols paid far less attention to logistical matters as numerous times they suffered more losses due to the terrain and climate (rather like most armies of the era) than enemy actions. Also the fortification of Hungry does seem to have made a difference where the Golden Horde couldn't do what it willed all over the country as numerous local forces holed up in castles could launch surprise attacks whenever they wanted.
Yes.

With insight, I would say that the first Mongol Invasion was definitely a failure, as they failed to capture King Bela (although they really did everything to get him): Bela reformed profoundly the organisation of Hungary and fortified it extensively.

The logistical problems that occurred from the very beginning of the second invasion were provoked by the scorched land tactics and the continuous skirmishes that weakened to "the bone" the Mongol army. The pitched battles were accepted by Hungarians only in the late faze, fighting a weakened Mongol army.

Although we have little contemporary sources, it's still clear that it was a disastrous campaign for the Mongols.

In the following (third) invasion of Poland, Polish applied the same tactics, that worked out also for Polish and inflicting heavy losses to the Mongol army again, as in the Hungarian case.

The two failed invasions weakened the Golden Horde, which wasn't able of any further significant military actions in Europe. It resumed to small scale pilaging raids.

Hungary even invaded Golden Horde's teritory, creating a mark (that later became Moldova).

I think the answer the OP is looking for is in these two invasions: at the moment of the first invasion, Poland and Hungary were lagging military and in terms of fortifications. But not the Italian/Austrian/German teritory. At the time, those were already at the level Hungarian and Polish had a couple of decades later, when successfully repelled Mongols.

____
dammit, I have the impression I already talked about this once already... two times ... or was it three times ?!? :injured:
 
Likes: pugsville
Feb 2018
227
US
#19
This discussion is pointless without a thorough grounding in both European warfare and Mongol campaigns in China/Afghanistan/Georgia. As a result, you have same old facepalm claims as usual, yet weirdly enough they never state the best pro-Europe argument.

If you are serious about learning about this OP, I recommend you look at Trevor Dupuy's Evolution of Weapons and Warfare to understand the the strategic context and the weaknesses of the European defensive system compared to the Byzantine/Chinese methods. His Mongol analysis has to be taken with a grain of salt since he is an earlier writer who subscribes to the 'mongols are military supermen' theory. Stephen Morillo has some good macro-analyses here as well on the origins and methods of European strategy, particularly his Vegetian article whose name escapes me. For the Mongols you'll want to start with Stephen Haw's 'The Death of Two Khaghans' for an analysis on the Mongol operations and retreats in 1241/1259. Peter Jackson's 'The Mongols and the West' gives a good overview of the campaign by one of the best scholars in the field. Giessauf's 'A Programme of Terror and Cruelty' gives an interesting psychological analysis. For their Georgia campaigns, you'll want to look at Timothy May's dissertation on Chormaqan and on the Mongol conquest strategy, which you can find on academia.edu. His other articles there on Mongol strategy/tactics, and 'The Mongol Art of War' is a useful book for their general operations. For Mongol campaigns in China, you can look at Carl Sverdrup's 'Mongol Conquests' for the 1226-7 Tangut campaign and the Mongol operations in Shaanxi and Henan from 1228-1234, Christopher Atwood's 'Pu'a's boast and Doqolqu's Death' provides additional context. The Cambridge Histories of China (Alien Regimes and Border States) and Inner Asia provide useful looks as well. Francesca Fiaschetti's 'Mongol Imperialism in the Southeast: Uriyangqadai and Aju' is very helpful in understanding the obstacles faced in their successful Southeast Asian campaigns.
 
Likes: Spartan JKM

Ichon

Ad Honorem
Mar 2013
3,656
#20
The logistical problems that occurred from the very beginning of the second invasion were provoked by the scorched land tactics and the continuous skirmishes that weakened to "the bone" the Mongol army. The pitched battles were accepted by Hungarians only in the late faze, fighting a weakened Mongol army.

Although we have little contemporary sources, it's still clear that it was a disastrous campaign for the Mongols.

In the following (third) invasion of Poland, Polish applied the same tactics, that worked out also for Polish and inflicting heavy losses to the Mongol army again, as in the Hungarian case.
____
dammit, I have the impression I already talked about this once already... two times ... or was it three times ?!? :injured:
The 2nd and 3rd campaigns both started out much worse before even getting into Polish or Hungry with attrition and desertions in the Golden Horde invasion armies so while the fortifications and scorched earth definitely made a difference the Golden Horde seems to have been less logistically prepared than the earlier Mongols probably as a consequence of the Golden Horde armies being half or more warriors from vassals who weren't prepared to travel and fight fully like steppe armies.

Yes- this subject comes up fairly frequently on here. As well as Romans vs Germans, Byzantines vs Turks, Longbowmen vs plate armour, cavalry vs infantry, Napoleon vs Wellington, WWII endlessly circling the same things, etc. It is more rare for something new to surface than something already discussed.