Quality of Feudal Arms

Nov 2013
676
Texas
#31
The Mongols forces were defeated by Wenceslas I of Bohemia at Klodzko,

I'd like to see a cite for that (other than Wikipedia).

Furthermore, I'd like to see what Mongol general was in command of that battle (Kaidan, Batu, or Subodei etc.)

This seems to be one of those arguments that claimed that the Mongols were defeated on the basis of what they didn't do (mercilessly plunder Bohemia.) If there was no decisive victory in terms of battle or even Fabian strategies, then your argument that King Wesenclas (decisively??) defeated the Mongols is disputable.' Ah, I see Hackeneyed scribe already covered this, and the Mongols plundered and sacked towns in Bohemia lol.

I agree that feudal armies were small; even slightly outnumbered by the Mongols in the context of the discussion (moreso on a strategic or operational level than a tactical one though). Feudal arms, in my opinion, relied on quality (provided via barracks, leadership, defensive advantage, tradition, or something rather), not quantity.
 
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Nov 2013
676
Texas
#32
Medieval armies were not very big because central administrations were tiny or non-existent so the logistics of feeding the armies that previous states were able to assemble was simply impossible as well the tax collection to pay for such preparations. Still in times of dire threat European kingdoms could assemble many thousands and when multiple kingdoms worked together such as during the Crusades it seems armies that marched separately were in the same span of time over 100,000 so if leadership and money were available perhaps medieval Christian kingdoms could muster forces nearly proportional to their population as previous ancient states but definitely could not do so in regular circumstances.

The question of how good medieval is quite difficult to answer is how do we measure that? VS the enemies they faced off against? Then by most accounts, they were average as they had some victories and some defeats and rarely under a good leader who had decent opportunities there were spectacular successes. There are only two main enemies medieval European armies faced that also faced multiple other armies around the world- Ottomans and Mongols.

In the case of the initial Mongol invasions the Europeans were completely overrun but once mustered significant forces they did better but still lost most of the larger battles they fought vs Mongols but so did almost everyone the Mongols fought so in that sense again European armies were average.

Facing Seljuk, Ayyubid, Abbasids, and finally the Ottomans the Europeans were mostly on the defensive until very late in the medieval era when states began to re-assemble the powers the ancient stats had in levying taxes and having strong central authority while most of their Muslim and Tatar opponents were going in the opposite direction becoming more politically fractured and divided so again I would say European medieval armies were mostly average with no single army lasting long enough and fighting enough opponents of similar strength to really show exemplary ability until after the Renaissance and more into the early modern era.
Crusaders fought well in the 4th Crusade......

The Crusades lasted over 2 centuries in the levant and twice sacked Iconium. About the only excuse that can be made for the Seljuk Turks is that their empire was divided after Alp Arslan; and it was the Mongols, not the Crusaders who put them out of business

Crusaders fought well against the Mameluks in the 10th Crusade.

The Norman conquest of Sicily and subsequent incursions in to Tunisia..

The Spanish army must have been fine if it (arguably?) fell Andalusia by as early as 1248

The Portuguese army must have been fine it was able to fell the Al

I am not claiming the above victories are evidence feudal armies were world class (they weren't; too small or even slow for that), but they did fight curiously well at times
 
Feb 2018
186
US
#33
I'd like to see a cite for that (other than Wikipedia).

Furthermore, I'd like to see what Mongol general was in command of that battle (Kaidan, Batu, or Subodei etc.)

This seems to be one of those arguments that claimed that the Mongols were defeated on the basis of what they didn't do (mercilessly plunder Bohemia.) If there was no decisive victory in terms of battle or even Fabian strategies, then your argument that King Wesenclas (decisively??) defeated the Mongols is disputable.' Ah, I see Hackeneyed scribe already covered this, and the Mongols plundered and sacked towns in Bohemia lol.

I agree that feudal armies were small; even slightly outnumbered by the Mongols in the context of the discussion (moreso on a strategic or operational level than a tactical one though). Feudal arms, in my opinion, relied on quality (provided via barracks, leadership, defensive advantage, tradition, or something rather), not quantity.

Made up battle. Hilariously. an article was published on this area very recently.

Forging the past: facts and Myths behind the Mongol invasion of Moravia in 1241

Wikipedia can never be trusted on the Mongols (or a lot of history stuff). It seems to be consistently written by nutty nationalists. I wish it was against forum rules to use it.

Also I made a mistake in a previous post. I said that the size of Baldwin II's army that was defeated by the Mongols in Thrace during 1242 was unknown, but based on diplomatic correspondence it has been estimated at 30,000 infantry, 700 French knights, and an unknown number of Cuman horse archers.
 
Nov 2010
7,332
Cornwall
#34
The Spanish army must have been fine if it (arguably?) fell Andalusia by as early as 1248
Not at all. Firstly there was no Spanish army but the armies of Castille and Aragon (and Portugal) did very nicely thank you during and after the collapse of the Almohad Empire. There were no defensive forces much to speak of in Muslim Taifas (Al Andalus not Andalucia went along with the Almohads).

The Christian armies did not need to be particularly strong at this time. Ichon is right.
 
Aug 2014
3,811
Australia
#35
Charles Martel's repulsion of the Muslim army at Tours-Poitiers in 732 is worth examining. 15-20,000 Christians against 20-25,000 Muslims. Approx 1,000 Christian losses. Approx. 12,000 Muslim losses.
 
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Nov 2010
7,332
Cornwall
#36
Charles Martel's repulsion of the Muslim army at Tours-Poitiers in 732 is worth examining. 15-20,000 Christians against 20-25,000 Muslims. Approx 1,000 Christian losses. Approx. 12,000 Muslim losses.
Well we don't really know too much about it. But you have to question the strategy of Al Gafiki - plan to raid as far as possible, get as much loot, until over-extended and defeated by someone with a brain. Great.

One thing that is for sure those figures above are hopeful at best, far too large for the context. It was likely a cavalry raiding force and also likely the Franks were far superior in numbers and in a chosen position. Threatening all that loot causes chaos, let's just say!!
 
Nov 2013
676
Texas
#37
Charles Martel's repulsion of the Muslim army at Tours-Poitiers in 732 is worth examining. 15-20,000 Christians against 20-25,000 Muslims. Approx 1,000 Christian losses. Approx. 12,000 Muslim losses.
John is IMO right to downplay Tours; but the Franks did not need superior numbers to win this battle (and IMO the numbers are unknown or perhaps even) . The leadership advantage (Charles Martel and Odo) or even the defensive advantage was basically what it came down to. Yes, the west fought cuiously well against the "Muslims", but Tours is not the best example.

Lopsided losses happen (and even then it ought to be pointed out that Charles Martel did not pursue the retreat and your stastics may be off to to unreliable data).

Although western armies fought curiously well against the "Muslims" from the period of 721-801; most of these victories are downplayable (Pepin the short won a border dispute beceause the Arabs were busy fighting Berber revolts; even so, the south of France remained something of a grey area until, pissibly, William of Provence captured the naval base of Fraxinet.)

IMO Louis the Pious conquest of Barcelona in 801 was more notable than Tours; Tours was basically a glorified defensive advantage.
--------------------
Other notable western/Catholic/feudal victories were:

The Portuguese conquest of the Algarve (1249)

Battle of Rio Salado (1340)

The Portuguese conquest of Ceuta in 1415 (although it ought to be noted that this colony may have been a money sink; and perhaps the real cultural capitals of Morrocco were Fez, Marrakesh, and Tangiers).
 
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Bart Dale

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
7,095
#38
I'd like to see a cite for that (other than Wikipedia).
You can find the Mongol army defeat reference in "Ghengis Khan: Conqueror of the World" by Leo de Hartog page 173. At the time Klodzko name was Glatz.

In the invasion by the Mongols, any Mongol defeats are ignored of treated as minor, while consistently unrealistically high numbers are given for European forces.

Furthermore, I'd like to see what Mongol general was in command of that battle (Kaidan, Batu, or Subodei etc.)
Orda and Baidar per the same source I gave above (Ghengis Khan: Conquerors of the World).

This seems to be one of those arguments that claimed that the Mongols were defeated on the basis of what they didn't do (mercilessly plunder Bohemia.) If there was no decisive victory in terms of battle or even Fabian strategies, then your argument that King Wesenclas (decisively??) defeated the Mongols is disputable.' Ah, I see Hackeneyed scribe already covered this, and the Mongols plundered and sacked towns in Bohemia lol.
The seems to be an industry of over exaggerating the numbers of Europeans, and minimizing the number of Mongols in recent years. The 80,000 Hungarians given at the Battle of Mohi is almost as big an exaggeration as the 400,000 Mongol sources claim (Rashdid Al Din). Defeats of the Mongols are either ignored or always treated as minor.

The Duke.of Austria claimed he scored a major victory of the Mongols, but his victorynis always treated a victory over a minor raiding party, but what evidence do we havs that it wasn't a big victory as the Duke claimed?

And all the sources I read said that Bohemia wasn't raided, but Moravia was. Not clear what HackneyScribe was basing his claim that Bohemia was raided as you said. Can you provide me HackneyScribes source?

I agree that feudal armies were small; even slightly outnumbered by the Mongols in the context of the discussion (moreso on a strategic or operational level than a tactical one though). Feudal arms, in my opinion, relied on quality (provided via barracks, leadership, defensive advantage, tradition, or something rather), not quantity.
I think the small size of the European armies was why it is claims the Mongols armies were small. Tactically, the Mongols likely outnumbered their foes in many battles, because they were more more mobile and could move more swiftly to concentrate their army. (Europeans likely over estimated the size of the Mongol army because of the number of horses the Mongols had, around 4 or 5 horses per rider. So a Mongol army of 40,000 would seem like an army of 200,000 cavalry based on the horses. )

I
 

Bart Dale

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
7,095
#39
Made up battle. Hilariously. an article was published on this area very recently.

Forging the past: facts and Myths behind the Mongol invasion of Moravia in 1241

Wikipedia can never be trusted on the Mongols (or a lot of history stuff). It seems to be consistently written by nutty nationalists. I wish it was against forum rules to use it.
Except I didn't get the reference from Wikipedia but from a book. See .y previous post. A lot what is said about the Mongols can't be trusted, including the small size claimed for the Mongol army and the exaggerated size of armies of their opponents.


Also I made a mistake in a previous post. I said that the size of Baldwin II's army that was defeated by the Mongols in Thrace during 1242 was unknown, but based on diplomatic correspondence it has been estimated at 30,000 infantry, 700 French knights, and an unknown number of Cuman horse archers.
The size seems very unrealistic, 30,000 infantry but only 700 knights? Given the importance of cavalry at the time, those numbers don't match what we know of the composition of medieval armies at the time. 30,000 seems way too high period, it is double the number of infantry at the Battle of Hattin, which represented the bulk of the Crusader forces
Can you provide the diplomatic correpsondance you refer to?
 

Bart Dale

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
7,095
#40
Duke Frederick of Austria's report is from the Diplomatic history of Frederick II (the HRE Emperor), not Matthew Paris. I do not believe there is an english translation unfortunately (it is in Latin). Its important to remember that this was in 1241, not 1242, so it was rather soon after Mohi while Mongol armies were busy ravaging Hungary and Transylvania.

Peter Jackson:

"It is unlikely, in fact, that any German prince encountered the Mongols. In his concern to magnify the Emperor’s role as defender of Christendom against the pagan, Matthew Paris claims that he liberated Hungary, and recounts various other improbable triumphs for which Frederick might ultimately take the credit. One was a victory by Conrad and his half-brother Enzio near an otherwise unknown river named the ‘Delpheos’ (the Dnieper?). Another is mentioned in a letter (the text of which is found only in the Chronica majora) from a certain Ivo of Narbonne, who speaks of the relief of Wiener-Neustadt by a force under the king of Bohemia, the patriarch of Aquileia, the dukes of Austria and Carinthia and the margrave of Baden. If any of the victories over the Mongols which are reported by the annalists are authentic, they would have been minor affairs, won over only small raiding parties. Such, we must assume, was the victory of Duke Otto of Bavaria, which is mentioned in more than one source. Significantly, Duke Frederick, when writing of the Mongol force which attacked Austria in the spring of 1241, gives figures of only 300 and 700 for their casualties and sets his own dead at a mere 100. But the idea that the Mongols had suffered a major check was remarkably widespread. Rumours of a setback in Germany reached both the Near East and Armenia, and around the turn of the century two crusading treatises would refer to their defeat on the Danube at the hands of the duke of Austria."

"Historians have also pointed to the losses the Mongols had sustained in the course of the campaigns in Eastern Europe. The problem with this line of argument is that it can all too easily become the vehicle of modern nationalistic fervour: thus we read of the Mongols being so badly mauled by the Rus′ that they were unable to sustain a longer campaign further west or of them harbouring a healthy respect for German military strength and hence deciding to postpone their encounter with it. The evidence does suggest, nevertheless, that the invaders’ losses had been serious: one commander had been killed in the attack on Sandomir, and a prince of the blood had allegedly fallen in Hungary. The Mongols were also confronted in their rear with continued unrest among the Cumans, which had to be suppressed by Batu’s brother Shingqur. Our Latin sources must admittedly be deployed with caution. The claims of Carpini that the Mongols would have beaten a retreat had the Hungarians resisted manfully, and of the author of the ‘Tartar Relation’ that they were on the point of flight when the Poles turned tail at Liegnitz, belong, as we shall see (p. 92), to a deliberate effort to inspire Western resistance in the event of a future invasion. Yet they are echoed in sources emanating from within the Mongol empire. Juwayni, the ‘Secret History’ and Sübeïetei’s biography in the Yüan shih show that the Hungarians and their neighbours were viewed as redoubtable opponents. "

"There can be little doubt that the friars were seeking to stiffen the resistance of their fellow Latins."

From Panos Sophoulis, on Croatia specifically:

"To be sure, if any of the victories over Qadan’s army which are reported by the Hungarian charters or the Muslim authors are authentic, they would have been minor affairs, won over small reconnaissance or raiding parties. Qadan’s decision to withdraw from Dalmatia was clearly not a response to military defeat at the hands of Béla’s forces."

I don't have an exact quote on hand from Strakosch-Grassmann, but in my rough notes I have - 'Duke Frederick of Austria blatantly attempted to exploit Hungary's misfortune instead of assisting it, with his holding King Bela hostage, the forced cessation of 3 Hungarian provinces and jewels for Bela's release, and his treacherous conduct prior to Mohi. In response, Pope Gregory threatened the Duke with ecclesiastical punishment, though the Pope died soon after. [/ Quote]

Your quotes show the clear bias of many modern scholars, asserting without any real fact that any defeats suffered by the Mongols must have been minor affairs. The lack of raids on far richer lands than they had raided strongly suggest some set back suffered by the Mongols that convinced to conduct such raids would not be successful.

[Quote.=]
Duke Frederick's claim of 300 or 700 men killed is also highly suspect. On June 13th, he first wrote to Conrad [the son of HRE Emperor Frederick II] that he killed 300 men, and then on June 22 he wrote to the Bishop of Constance claiming he killed 700 without inferring that there were extra battles. There is evidence the Duke exaggerated on multiple occasions.
There is nothing to suggest such dxaggsration as you claim. The additional deaths inflicted can easily be explained as such the destruction of small raiding parties rather than one big battle. We know that Mongol forces could split up into small parties, and that could leave them vulnerable to being destroyed by larger forces.

Two Austrian annals note that the Mongols turned around without suffering casualties. Ivo of Narbonne's account also supports this, while adding extra details about a few captures and an english translator. However, Ivo's account is suspect and embellished at the very least.
This indicate as the Mongols forces were mostly raiding parties, and when confronted by armed forces, they naturally rode away, there being no profit in fighting if it wasn't certain you could beat your enemy.


Altogether, these sources make it clear that the Austrian, German, and Bohemian forces had no desire to actually attack the Mongols in Hungary, and must have been very wary at the very least. The Duke gained fame for his 'victory,' but it seems to have been unearned, though a distorted rumor of them spread even to later Armenian sources.'
It suggest no such thing. What it does suggest is that the Mongol forces were scatterd and interested in plunder, and when confronted by armed forces that might give them hard time, it was more prudent just to ride away. The Mongol raiding parties were probably too small to risk fighting, and if you are interested in just plunder, then it makes more sense to ride away than to fight when confronted. No doubt it gave the impression to the Austrian the Mongols were cowards, but the Mongol tactics make sense if you are just raiding. Like how a robber will run when he sees cop.

The numbers the Duke cites does indicate that either the Mongol forces engaged were small, or that they were quick to retreat when it does not look like they would prevail. What happens to a feigned retreat when the enemy doesn't follow you? Do you try re-engaging, or does it became a real retreat? I haven't heard about Mongols coming back after a feigned retreat that did not work, and where the enemy did not fall for the bait. Could it be that if the feigned retreat doesn't work, the Mongols just ride away to fight another day? That because the Austrians didn't foolishly chase after the Mongols, the Austrians didn't suffer a major defeat like at Liegnitz? If the Poles hadn't chased after the Mongols at Liegnitz, and the Mongols just rode off, then both sides would have suffered minor losses, with the Mongols having suffered a bit more perhaps, exactly the kind of thing the Duke of Austria reported.

The difference may be that the Austrian army was more professional and .aybe more disciplined. I don't hear about peasant leavies, miners and the like associated with the Austrian army. If the Austrians were mostly knights or
men-at-arms, they would be less likely to fall for Mongol ruses.

Keep in mind, that most of the big victories of the Mongols came.through rusez their foes fell for. Tricking their enemy with a fake retreat, then annihilating theie opponents when they fell for the trick. Once the endmy army was defeatd, the Mongols were free to plunder and occupy the country as they chose, but if the enemy army was not destroyed, then Mongol ability to raid was more restricted.
 

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