Mongol empire--rise and fall?

Dec 2015
19
Singapore
#1
Greatest Empire ever deserves discussion. I know some facts, but not much. And I would like to know everything about Empire that affected the whole world. There was few nations whose destiny was not somehow related to them. They were superior to any other army. What do you think folks...
 

Bart Dale

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
7,095
#2
Greatest Empire ever deserves discussion. I know some facts, but not much. And I would like to know everything about Empire that affected the whole world. There was few nations whose destiny was not somehow related to them. They were superior to any other army. What do you think folks...
The Mongols were very, very good, but their reputation is still in some areas a little overrated. The Mongols exploited their reputation, and often succeeded by using it. The Mongols were able to conquer all of China, but it took them a couple generations to do it, and when they finally conquered China, their army was at much Chinese as Mongol. Chinese defectors to the Mongols helped greatly in their conquest. The Jin had previously conquered the Chinese in northern China, and both the Southern Song and the Mongols conspired together to defeat the Jin, the Mongols had help from the Song. Once the Mongols defeated the Jin, they had the resources of northern China, and others to use against the Song Chinese, and it still took decades.

Despite the brilliance of their generals, it would still have been difficult to conquer northern China, and virtually impossible to consolidate their hold without the collaboration of the Chinese, for the invaders were few in number and had no experience in either siegecraft or in ruling a sedentary society.”49 David Morgan notes that the Song cities in particular were so well-defended that no number of cavalry maneuvers could have reduced them. Chinese infantry was vital for reducing cities and holding them as garrison troops. The Mongol army, for all its strengths, could not have done it alone.50 From the beginnings of the campaign against the Jin, defections were common. Especially important to the Mongol war effort were the frequent defections of the hereditary lords of the Jin. They ruled over wide swaths of territory, provided large numbers of troops, and greatly aided the Mongols in overcoming their initial incompetence in siege warfare https://prism.ucalgary.ca/bitstream/handle/11023/232/ucalgary_2012_pow_lindsey.pdf?sequence=2

And once they conquered China, they did not hold it all that long, only around 100 years for all of China. The Manchu's did much better.

When you look at the land between Mongolia and the Europe, there were not a lot of states and people in between, so they could conquer a lot territory with not a lot of troops. The Tang Chinese also conquered quite a bit of territory, all the way to Tibet, the lands are pretty empty.

The Mongols did conquer Baghdad, but it is commonly claimed traitors helped them, sabotaging Baghdad's defenses. The Muslim world at the time was fragmented, but the Marmluks from Egypt manage to stop them, although the Mongols had been distracted at the time, and left only a small force behind.

From Transoxiana to the Seljuk Sultanate of Rum, the Mongols gradually were able to impose their will on much of the sedentary Islamic world. Since the resident populations, like Europeans, made use of fortresses and walled cities, it is worth examining why the Mongols encountered so much success in the region. ......
.
.
If one had in mind the complete failure of the Khwarazm Shah’s defensive strategy, then my thesis would appear to rest on shaky ground. However, I contend that the campaign in the early 1220s was in fact anomalous, and that the collapse of Ala al-Din Muhammad’s state was hastened by a number of conditions which worked together to bring about such a decisive defeat.

In the first moves of the campaign, we see a very serious problem facing the Khwarazm Shah’s state. He had hardly consolidated his rule over his territory, much of it only recently conquered from the Kara-Khitai, and this was a factor in reducing the effectiveness of his resistance. ....The ethnic divisions of the empire also worked hugely to the Mongols’ advantage when attacking cities. The Turkic warriors who were charged with defending the cities apparently felt no sense of loyalty to the citizens ..........No defensive walls could be of any use, I contend, when they were defended by groups who identified with the invaders rather than the people they were charged with defending. The mercenary character of the Central Asian armies constantly undermined the Khwarazmian war effort . ...........
.
.

.....Yet the tendency of cities to seek terms with the Mongols, in the face of all the evidence that such a policy was disastrous, continued to work to the Mongols’ advantage. This was partially the result of Chinggis Khan’s use of psychological warfare to exploit the social discord in the Khwarazmian state. Merchants, expecting to benefit from Mongol victory, often exhorted citizens to offer no resistance and they spread rumours intended to cause panic.118 Balkh surrendered without a fight. When Tolui arrived at Merv, the region’s chief city, and inspected its moat and walls, he concluded that it would be able to withstand any attacks. Fortunately for Tolui, the defenders surrendered the city after a mere eight days and a few feeble sorties. To the apparent surprise of the citizens, Tolui drove them into a wide plain and massacred almost everyone. .
.
.
From our perspective, it might seem painfully obvious that it was a bad idea to negotiate with the Mongols during an invasion. However, many times we observe the will to resist ebb away at the approach of their armies, even when the defenders were equipped with sufficiently strong fortifications. The sources suggest that the fall of Baghdad in 1258 was at least partially due to various parties in the city siding with Hülegü. Juzjani claims that a Shiite vizier plotted to undermine the defenders of the city in order to avenge some indignity the state’s Shiite minority had suffered.139 Whether or not the account is true, it certainly reflects religious and ethnic tensions which had worked to the Mongols’ advantage since their first appearance in the Middle East. .............The chronicle tells us that the vizier convinced the caliph to surrender to Hülegü in person. The Mongol commander then compelled the captive caliph to order the people to lay down arms. Having ended Baghdad’s resistance with this ruse, Hülegü then executed the city’s important leaders before ordering a general massacre of the populace.142 Hülegü’s success came about as much through military might as through the willingness of his opponents to surrender their defensive advantage. ...https://prism.ucalgary.ca/bitstream/handle/11023/232/ucalgary_2012_pow_lindsey.pdf?sequence=2

When there was determined resistance, and locals did not defect, the Mongols were often stopped. The Mongols were stopped in India, and also in Japan twice. and the Marmluks also defeated the Mongols. The Mongols often achieved their victory through crafty politics and exploiting internal divisions of their opponents as through force of arms.

And while the Mongols had success in Hungary, and Poland, they never were able to capture quite all of Hungary, and never occupied Poland. Eventually, the Mongols retreated from Hungary, having never achieved one of t heir major objectives, the capture of the Hungarian king.

Still, the Mongols were very impressive

1. They had unmatched mobility and ability to travel vast distances, being able to travel all the way from Mongolia to Europe and conduct successful campaigns. Much of their success was due to this mobility, being able to fight a battle in one location, then fight another battle just days later hundreds of miles away, which made their armies seem much larger than they were.

Their great mobility came from their endurance, and ability to spend long time in the saddle. They typically had 4 or 5 horses per horseman, and the Mongol horses had great endurance.

2. They very quick to adopt new weapons, and incorporate the expertise of conquered people . They quickly adopted and used gunpowder weapons, and incorporated and applied siege technology from their conquered subjects to aid in further conquest.

3. They did good intelligence and research work on their opponents before invading.

4. They excelled in psychological warfare, and in exploiting internal divisions of their enemies. This likely was because of the intelligence work they did before they attacked an opponent.

5. They were good at battlefield maneuvers, like feigned retreats, and deliberately leaving holes in their ranks to allow enemies to flee through, so these foes could be attacked and destroyed.


The fall of the Mongols came in part from their own tendency to disunity, a common problem among rather nomadic people. Even before the Chinese had driven out the Mongols, the Mongol empire had broken up. But their fall also came because their opponents learned how to fight the Mongols.
 
Last edited:
Likes: Todd Feinman

Bart Dale

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
7,095
#3
A strategy the Russians used to defeat and conquer the Golden Horde, the descendants of the Mongols

What about a long-term policy? Here, it’s instructive to look at how the Mongols were eventually defeated and conquered by the Russians. Their weapon was the ostrog, or small fortress. A defended military post would be established in Mongol territory, with a secure supply route back to the heartland (preferably by sea or river, so the Mongols couldn’t cut it). Of course the Mongols could lay siege to the fortress, but that would mean concentrating their army together in one place where your superior forces could attack and defeat them.

If they didn’t attack, then you would attack them. Beat them at their own game—send out raiding parties of light cavalry to ravage, pillage, and burn the Mongol lands and, most importantly, kill their horses. These cavalry raiding parties were the origin of the famous Cossacks. When the Mongols struck back, the Cossacks would retreat back to the safety of the fort and dare the Mongols to attack them. Slate’s Use of Your Data
The use of numerous and strong fortifications also was used against the Mongols. Numerous, strong, fortifications, if properly defended, tended to nullify the Mongol advantage of mobility. While the Mongols did acquire siege craft skills from their subject people, they didn't have the decisive edge in that as they did on a plain battlefield.
 

Similar History Discussions