Why didn't steppe military tradition produce best-known classics like The Art of War?

Aug 2013
613
Pomerium
Steppe militaries' tactics and strategies were (allegedly) superior to their sedentary adversaries' for centuries; among so many generations of steppe military geniuses there must be some theoreticians, and they must have penned something, and some must have been preserved or discovered - then why aren't they as well-known as the works of Sun Tzu and Clausewitz?
 

pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
9,759
Steppe militaries' tactics and strategies were (allegedly) superior to their sedentary adversaries' for centuries; among so many generations of steppe military geniuses there must be some theoreticians, and they must have penned something, and some must have been preserved or discovered - then why aren't they as well-known as the works of Sun Tzu and Clausewitz?
well i just deny the premise. generations of steppe military geniuses. cough cough. simply fantasy.
 

Lord Oda Nobunaga

Ad Honorem
Jan 2015
5,648
Ontario, Canada
Cause they couldn't read or write?

Anyway their military traditions were mostly the result of culture and skilled individuals who were good at command. It wasn't a case of written military doctrines.
 
Aug 2013
613
Pomerium
They were literate enough to compose their Secret History ... how could they fail to theorize their military tactics and strategies?
 

Mrbsct

Ad Honorem
Jul 2013
2,646
USA
Steppe tactics aren't really superior. Steppe tribes throughout history got continually mauled by armies that can field more men, more horses, and better quality weapons. It is only when they adopted tactics of developed nations like advanced siege equipment and infantry they started to do something.


Horse archer/Steppe tactics is overrated. One thing you need know is that agriculture in this area was not the best so it could not field as much men or horses per square km than a developed nation. A huge reason why the Han were simply to overwhelm the Xiongnu even in cavalry numbers. Second of all, horse nations had no fortifications, enemy heavy cavalry doesn't need to destroy your horse archers, they can simply go for your camps, kill your livestock and civilians. Third of all, there are barely any trees in the steppes, making arrows very expensive. The "Rome Total War horse archer spam" won't last long when your run out of arrows in a single battle. Only developed nations could afford the logistics of having thousands of arrow trains like the Parthian Empire only because they were able to hold sections of Iran and Babylon and get the resources.


The Mongols were able to pull of a miracle since they played wisely first by allying with the Song Dynasty and getting very good at siege tactics via Chinese tactics(advanced catapults, gunpowder) along with having a great infantry force(battle of Badger Mouth), then they used the Jin resources to conquer Persia, and then back against the Song.
 

Duke Valentino

Ad Honorem
Jul 2017
2,332
Australia
It was also because the Mongols had superb organisation, discipline and logistics for a horse archer 'horde'.
 

Duke Valentino

Ad Honorem
Jul 2017
2,332
Australia
By logistics I mean more along the lines of strategic capability.

But don't quote me too hard - I've still to properly study the Mongol campaigns.
 
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