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Turtleflipper
August 12th, 2007, 03:20 AM
The greatest fighting force the world had ever known (300 lied people) until the adoption of widespread rifling.
So what was the reason for the utter military dominance of these nomadic horsemen? What allowed them to sweep through the West and obliterate our greatest armies of the time?
I think the answer is mobility and range. They outranged our best archers, and could outrun our heavy cavalry. They existed in a niche and dominated it.

So the question becomes, assuming you are someone other then the Egyptians (who were the ones to finally stop them with the Malmuks), maybe England, France, Prussia, how would you stop this barbarian horde?

(I would like an answer as I'm fighitng them currently in Total War :grin: )

FruitandNut
August 12th, 2007, 04:18 AM
The English/Welsh longbow was harder hitting and could reload quicker. So it would come down to numbers, terrain, and just who was attacking who and the quality of the leadership. The French made the mistake of attacking the English at Agincourt (they prefer to refer to it as 'the Picardy affair'), and had to face many thousands of arrows per minute - including AP bodkin tips. The very best and strongest archers could take out an armoured knight at up to 200yds distance.

Arrows fired from a longbow could easily win the day in battles, at 400 yards it could severely wound, kill at 200 yards and penetrate armour at 100 yards.

The true potential in battle of the longbow was finally unleashed with deadly effect on an unsuspecting enemy during the Hundred years war. At the battle of Crecy in 1346, an English army which was mainly composed of English and Welsh bowmen under King Edward III inflicted a terrible defeat on a French host that greatly outnumbered them. The consequences of this military debut was that it elevated England to the rank of being a major power and elevated the role of the foot soldier above the knights.

The lessons of Crecy were forgotten by the French it seems : At the battle of Agincourt in 1415 their forces suffered a further crushing defeat due to the English use of the longbow. Again a small but proficient English army inflicted a drastically high casualty rate on a French army that greatly outnumbered them, to the extent that there was hardly a French noble family that did not suffer a death , and countless French family lines were brought to an end due to the death of all their male relations.

Herstmonceux - Participants Info - Re Enactors - Archery - English Longbow (http://www.mgel.com/medieval/participants-info/re-enactors/archery/english-longbow.html)

Most English and Welsh archers engaged in battle on foot, so their marksmanship would be better at longer ranges than guys whacking along on ponies. Their volley fire would also be more effective.

Turtleflipper
August 12th, 2007, 04:40 AM
They wear down my sword infantry with longer range bows, then charge my longbowmen with Lancers.

What do I do fruity!?!

Bf55
August 12th, 2007, 04:51 AM
try reasoning with them lol

catch22
August 12th, 2007, 05:25 AM
dude, be Spain. You totally avoid both the Mongol and the Timurid invasion. Makes it a lot easier.

FruitandNut
August 12th, 2007, 05:25 AM
Stand behind lightweight wicker work (quick assembly) pallisades The longbowmen can fire lethal salvos while still getting protection. Infantry should be positioned 50yds of so further back, and not tightly packed while arrows are incoming. Your mounted knights could be used for flanking attacks and harassing the baggage train.

Turtleflipper
August 12th, 2007, 05:29 AM
dude, be Spain. You totally avoid both the Mongol and the Timurid invasion. Makes it a lot easier.

Spain sucks ass. Ma english forces conquered all the way to Russia, and are being driven back at the forefront by mongollian cavalry armies.
<center><br><br><font color="red">_________________________________ <sub> Post Merged </sub>_________________________________</font><br><br></center>

Stand behind lightweight wicker work (quick assembly) pallisades The longbowmen can fire lethal salvos while still getting protection. Infantry should be positioned 50yds of so further back, and not tightly packed while arrows are incoming. Your mounted knights could be used for flanking attacks and harassing the baggage train.

Alright, I will try it

FruitandNut
August 12th, 2007, 05:38 AM
Remember that the terrain is also important. Knights doing a pop-up flanking attack from behind cover can catch the enemy to great disadvantage, if timed right. Attack in an inverted V formation > towards the enemy, when right, and be vicious in the melee and rout. Most casualties are caused to an army once it is in flight. Keep your formations disciplined, and keep closing up as casualties cause gaps. Remember ponies that have been racing about the battlefield for some time cannot outrun fresh heavy mounts. Charge from the higher ground whenever possible. Avoid long uphill charges.

Get the archers to fire at the Mongols' ponies - it will panic their mounts, and they will be a lot less effective on foot and scattered about, and at the mercy of your knights and foot soldiers. At Agincourt, even the archers rushed forward after the enemy were down, to finish them off with swords and daggers. Meet brutality with even greater brutality on a medieval battlefield. Time for diplomacy, perhaps later.

catch22
August 12th, 2007, 07:17 AM
Spain sucks ass. Ma english forces conquered all the way to Russia, and are being driven back at the forefront by mongollian cavalry armies.


Which is why you start with Spain. Their heavy infantry kicks major a** and they have very good cavalry as well. The biggest plus is that by the time you get to Northern Europe where the Mongols are, the main invasion has stopped and you can just take the Mongol cities one by one.

I beat the game with Spain, butI've never been able to do it with England.

manise
August 12th, 2007, 05:56 PM
The greatest fighting force the world had ever known (300 lied people) until the adoption of widespread rifling.
So what was the reason for the utter military dominance of these nomadic horsemen? What allowed them to sweep through the West and obliterate our greatest armies of the time?
I think the answer is mobility and range. They outranged our best archers, and could outrun our heavy cavalry. They existed in a niche and dominated it.

So the question becomes, assuming you are someone other then the Egyptians (who were the ones to finally stop them with the Malmuks), maybe England, France, Prussia, how would you stop this barbarian horde?

(I would like an answer as I'm fighitng them currently in Total War :grin: )In addition to mobility and range, the Mongol exploited terror to great advantage.

Here's what one European observer said about Mongol methods:

"They razed cities to the ground, burnt woods, pulled down castles, tore up the vine trees, destroyed gardens, and massacred the citizens and husbandmen; if by chance they did spare any who begged their lives, they compelled them, as slaves of the lowest condition, to fight in front of them against their own kindred."--Matthew Paris recounting the devastation of Poland and Hungary in 1240

A new book out by the historian Timothy May, The Mongol Art of War, has climbed the New York Times bestseller list this summer. I haven't read it yet, but it looks good.

Amazon.com: The Mongol Art of War: Books: Timothy May (http://www.amazon.com/Mongol-Art-War-Timothy-May/dp/1594160465)

Turtleflipper
August 12th, 2007, 07:07 PM
Which is why you start with Spain. Their heavy infantry kicks major a** and they have very good cavalry as well. The biggest plus is that by the time you get to Northern Europe where the Mongols are, the main invasion has stopped and you can just take the Mongol cities one by one.

I beat the game with Spain, butI've never been able to do it with England.

Heavy cavalry + longbowmen + wooden stakes = wtfomgpwnage

Ivan
August 12th, 2007, 11:26 PM
They wear down my sword infantry with longer range bows, then charge my longbowmen with Lancers.

Do what any good liberal would do. Negotiate a surrender.


If you wish to win, on the other hand, you must be an inspiring leader to your troops. Feed them well. Let the them ravage the women. And most importantly, be as vicious as they are. ALL OR NOTHING!

FruitandNut
August 13th, 2007, 12:08 AM
Ivan - Ravishing the women would be expected by the losers, if you really want to shake them up, follow the example of Cromwell in this urban myth/joke:

There's an old story about Oliver Cromwell. After he had taken the town of Drogheda the citizens were brought to the main square. Cromwell announced to his Lieutenants: "Right! Kill all the women and rape all the men." One of his aides said: "Excuse me General. Isn't it the other way around?" A voice from the crowd called out: "Mr. Cromwell knows what he's doing!" :coolsmiley: :afro:

Ivan
August 13th, 2007, 12:27 AM
Ivan - Ravishing the women would be expected by the losers, if you really want to shake them up, follow the example of Cromwell in this urban myth/joke:

There's an old story about Oliver Cromwell. After he had taken the town of Drogheda the citizens were brought to the main square. Cromwell announced to his Lieutenants: "Right! Kill all the women and rape all the men." One of his aides said: "Excuse me General. Isn't it the other way around?" A voice from the crowd called out: "Mr. Cromwell knows what he's doing!" :coolsmiley: :afro:


Very funny!


Ravishing the women-isn't that what Kahn would have done? I understood him to be brutal. A shock and awe kinda guy.

Squatch347
August 13th, 2007, 06:23 PM
Its about terrain. Phalanx infantry murders cavalry in closed spaces. Cavalry murders phalanxes in open ground. Alexander's macedon's had a good balance, his sarisa infantry could murder cavalry that his heavy cav funnelled into death traps.

Also, remember, the mongols were fighting disorganized infantry, the roman legions had broken down and made the mistake of fighting cavalry archers on open terrain.

Turtleflipper
August 19th, 2007, 06:08 PM
Solution-
Missile infantry. These little dudes can weild massive bows, and a properly trained English longbowmen can (en masse) hit farther then a Mongol light cavalry bow. So I just pummel them with masses of arrows until they charge, which nets them right on my wooden stakes. They skirt along the edge, and boom, face full of spearmen.
The problem is for every 1 bowmen they've got dozens of horse archers.

But at the least, I can beat them smartely on a level playing field

FruitandNut
August 20th, 2007, 12:13 AM
Flip - As I posted up earlier, the longbowmen should first concentrate on the bigger targets and take the Mongol archer and his mount as being one target. Once the guy has been dismounted he is less of a problem. Hit them with your fresh heavy armoured cavalry after the other guys are exhausted and their formations in disarray. If your cavalry make a flank attack, this also allows your archers to fire at groups and individuals of enemy until your mounted guys are almost on them.

Your longbowmen do not have to take on all the enemy bowmen, the main job is to concerntrate fire and break up massed formations.

Squatch347
August 20th, 2007, 04:19 PM
Solution-
Missile infantry. These little dudes can weild massive bows, and a properly trained English longbowmen can (en masse) hit farther then a Mongol light cavalry bow. So I just pummel them with masses of arrows until they charge, which nets them right on my wooden stakes. They skirt along the edge, and boom, face full of spearmen.
The problem is for every 1 bowmen they've got dozens of horse archers.

But at the least, I can beat them smartely on a level playing field
Not exactly Turtle, terrain is the key here again. A wise cavalry commander would flank your spearman and hit them from the side. Phalanx type infantry has a hard time redirecting its attack.
The best army is one that implements various types of soldiers. Alexander's army or the WWII germans are great examples. Combined arms and the principles of war,

manise
August 20th, 2007, 08:18 PM
In the English vs Mongol matchup, I'd still go with the Mongols, even with their weaker crossbow. Joan of Arc in the 1440s demonstrated the vulnerability of English longbows to surprise attacks and relentless charges. Eventually the Mongols would have also figured out ways to neutralize even the deadly longbows. The Mongols, if nothing else, were incredibly patient and inventive warriors (centuries of painful experience against the technologically superior Chinese armies was a good teacher). The Chinese helped the Mongols develop gunpowder and other weapons, and many Mongol armies had their own cadres of Chinese technical advisers. I think the Mongols would have answered early defeats to the English on English battlefields with adapted tactics. They would most certainly would have tried to capture English weapons and technical experts as they did in China and elsewhere on the Asian steppe. As they learned more about their adversaries, the Mongols would have consolidated their gains and probed for ways to attack farms and food supplies for the English armies. Using terror and clemency in equal measure, the Mongols could let psychological warfare do its number on civilian populations.

However, the Mongols would have had to solve a major logistical problem--the long communication lines with Asian steppe commanders. One of the reasons that Western Europe was spared a Mongol offensive was the timely death of a Khan, which required the presence of all royal family members throughout Asia and eastern Europe at the funeral. The subsequent Mongol power struggles prevented a renewed offensive in Europe (aided also by the spread of the Black Plague during those later years).

Yet, if the Mongols could solve those logistical and political issues, I wouldn't bet against them in Europe. At the very least, they would have acquitted themselves well on the battlefield as they adapted to it. The Mongols were first and foremost students of war and absorbers of cultural intelligence. Their extensive experience with multiple cultures and ideas were a plus, not a minus, in warfare.

FruitandNut
August 21st, 2007, 01:32 AM
If we are talking long term attrition and learning processes, surely it is also possible for BOTH SIDES to assess and adapt.

As you mention, the Mongol Army was far from home, and logistics problems would need to be overcome. It is interesting to note that even in WWII, logistics were often a limiting factor. My father was a small part of the 'Benghazi Handicap' in North Africa - reference to the 'to and frow' of the logistics dictated and constrained earlier battles.

manise
August 21st, 2007, 02:38 PM
If we are talking long term attrition and learning processes, surely it is also possible for BOTH SIDES to assess and adapt.I would agree in principle. But the Mongols, unlike the Britons, had far more experience adapting to and assessing a variety of cultures and terrains compared with the British forces of the day. I would give the advantage to the Mongols on this issue.


As you mention, the Mongol Army was far from home, and logistics problems would need to be overcome. It is interesting to note that even in WWII, logistics were often a limiting factor. My father was a small part of the 'Benghazi Handicap' in North Africa - reference to the 'to and frow' of the logistics dictated and constrained earlier battles.Yes, I agree. But if the Mongols found a way to ameliorate those logistical and political problems posed by distance, they would present a formidable challenge to any would-be adversary in Europe. And it's not as if the Mongols didn't try hard to solve those very problems. They perfected the world's best postal system---a multiple thousand mile network of horse couriers, similar in design but vastly superior to the American "Pony Express." They also created a flexible system of decentralized command and control under the leadership of Khans and sub-leaders that worked well for a very long time. The Mongols never had a formal, permanent "capital" city like most world empires. Could the Mongols have adapted those strategies to a long-term siege of Western Europe? We'll never know because they never seriously entertained that daunting plan.

But, in a way, the Mongols did get their pound of flesh in Western Europe, courtesy of the Black Plague. Most historians of the period trace the beginnings of that catastrophic pandemic to Mongol-controlled ports in Crimea and trade cities on the steppe. Unfortunately for the Mongols, when Western Europe finally recovered, the stage was set for the Renaissance while the Mongol Empire disintegrated into warring factions.

eliotitus
August 21st, 2007, 03:38 PM
invent the machine gun

chadn737
August 21st, 2007, 03:48 PM
Turtle, its been a while since I played that game, so its rather difficult for me to remember exactly how I handled them. Typically, when I fought the Mongols I was either playing as the Russians or the Byzantines.

I believe what I found to be the key was to have a few good medium calvary units.

If I recall correctly in Medieval Total War, horse archers have to stop in order to fire. Whats more, enemy horse archers are nearly always skirmish unless you press them into a corner.

So I made sure I had some good medium calvary and would use them to keep the horse archers on the run. As long as my calvary was chasing them they couldnt fire. This tactic required a lot of effort though as it took quite a bit of attention to make sure your calvary didnt get trapped in some manner.

While my calvary was keeping the horse archers off my back I would use my infantry to quickly close in on the Mongol infantry and wipe them out as they are pretty week. Once that was finished I would use my infantry and calvary to force the horse archers into a corner and make them fight hand to hand. Against more heavily armed calvary and infantry they didnt last long.

The one thing to watch out for is the Mongolian heavy infantry, those guys are some tough bastards, fortunately they're a bit slow.

The nice thing about the Russians and Byzantines when it comes to the Mongolians is that they have units of similar tactics. With the Russians you have horse archers and you have other heavy calvary that also the ability to shoot arrows. With the Byzantines you have some of the heaviest frickin calvary in the whole game, you have the Byzantine calvary which is a medium weight calvary that shoots arrows and you have some heavy duty infantrymen.

When the Mongols first appear, they just have too many men to fight head on. I typically played around with them. Playing as the Russians I knew I would have to face them. So I would devise a long term strategy of splitting up their forces. I would develop some fortifications in my eastern provinces and leave a minimal number of troops. When the Mongols first attack I retreat only a couple of units to the fortifications and give up the province. The Mongols are less likely to keep attacking if they are occupying provinces that have enemy troops sitting in the castle. Eventually the mongols attack the castle, in which case they loose significant numbers in fighting against walls. I would then turn the eastern provinces into a perpetual war zone, a buffer, kind of like in WWI they attack, I would run. When they attacked a different province I would send troops into the previously conquered province and destroy the few units that they left behind.

In this manner I basically stalled the Mongols and slowly wore down their troop numbers until I destroyed them completely. If you can defeat the Mongols playing as the Russians then you can easily defeat them with any other fraction.

FruitandNut
August 21st, 2007, 09:55 PM
invent the machine gun

'Whatever happens we have got the Maxim gun, and they have not.' - Hilaire Belloc The Modern Traveller.

Actually the Romans had a machine gun of sorts that could fire bolts with effect to about 200yds. Even further if they were mounted defensively on castle ramparts.

Squatch347
August 23rd, 2007, 10:15 AM
The mongols would have been decimated (and thier ancestors actually were) by Alexander's army. Heavy, well trained infantry, good archers (not as good as the english longbowman sadly), and heavy, well trained cavalry. Add to that a clever commander, and Khan would have been stopped cold. Remember that Khan attacked a world falling apart. People fought in mobs, not trained armies, even the Romans were little more than a mob at that point. The mongol horses would never have successfully charged a Sarrissa phalanx and couldn't flank the companion cavalry.

Turtleflipper
August 23rd, 2007, 10:33 AM
The mongols would have been decimated (and thier ancestors actually were) by Alexander's army. Heavy, well trained infantry, good archers (not as good as the english longbowman sadly), and heavy, well trained cavalry. Add to that a clever commander, and Khan would have been stopped cold. Remember that Khan attacked a world falling apart. People fought in mobs, not trained armies, even the Romans were little more than a mob at that point. The mongol horses would never have successfully charged a Sarrissa phalanx and couldn't flank the companion cavalry.

Light mongol archers don't charge spearmen and can outrun anything powerful enough to catch them. At sufficent range, mongol bows firing special arrows could pierce all armor of the time period.
Mongols would often operate in the field for months, and utilized intellegence to a degree that would make the US's mouth water.

The greatest mongolian general Subutai send spies into Poland an entire YEAR before he even set his army to marching. Coupled with the fact they were willing to obliterate entire popluation centres, were almost entirely self-sufficent, and hardy enough to campaign even in the winter (apparently that was the prefered time for attack), Alexander I do not believe would've gotten very far.
However Eliot had the right idea IMO.
The light archer would be rendered obsolete by the rifled musket!

:grin:

Snoop
August 23rd, 2007, 10:44 AM
So the question becomes, assuming you are someone other then the Egyptians (who were the ones to finally stop them with the Malmuks), maybe England, France, Prussia, how would you stop this barbarian horde?

(I would like an answer as I'm fighitng them currently in Total War :grin: )If they relied on horses and archery - I would get rid of their horses with horse born Bovine Disease and I would get rid of their source of wood for arrows by setting forest fires. Another good defense against horses are pot holes.

FruitandNut
August 23rd, 2007, 11:02 AM
-Snoop, and calthrops. Also camoflaged pits lined with sharpened stakes.

Both were used to lethal effect by the Scots (Robert the Bruce) against the English cavalry at the Battle of Bannockburn.

chadn737
August 23rd, 2007, 11:13 AM
I think this has been mentioned already, but terrain is all important. The Mongolian military was one born on the vast plains and grasslands of central Asia. Now stick an army of horse archers in the forests of Germany and I wonder exactly how effective those guys would have been.

Squatch347
August 23rd, 2007, 11:28 AM
Light mongol archers don't charge spearmen and can outrun anything powerful enough to catch them. Companion Cavalry rode Macedonian mounts, the fastest next to Arabian (which didn't exist yet) in the world. And you are assuming Alexander would follow them, I think he showed himself clever enough not too.

At sufficent range, mongol bows firing special arrows could pierce all armor of the time period. Armor but not shields, a 4 inch thick oak covered in bronze is stopping anything until the bodkin is invented.


Mongols would often operate in the field for months, and utilized intellegence to a degree that would make the US's mouth water. Alexander operated in the field for nearly a decade, and Subutai learned from Alexander. Alexander borrowed it from the persians who were the first and best to use field intelligence and informers. Alexander sent spies and hired local spies from every town he was crossing, his level of intelligence was unprecedented. But then most armies did that, the mongols were hardly unique there.

Coupled with the fact they were willing to obliterate entire popluation centres, were almost entirely self-sufficent, and hardy enough to campaign even in the winter (apparently that was the prefered time for attack), Alexander I do not believe would've gotten very far. You need to follow up on Alexander's subjugation of afghanistan, he depopulated the country by 2/3s how is that for attacking population centers. He marched into the hindu kush in december, a feat even the mongols failed at when they tried it later.



I think this has been mentioned already, but terrain is all important. Ahem [subtle cough]


The Mongolian military was one born on the vast plains and grasslands of central Asia. Now stick an army of horse archers in the forests of Germany and I wonder exactly how effective those guys would have been. Ask the romans.

manise
August 23rd, 2007, 12:51 PM
The mongols would have been decimated (and thier ancestors actually were) by Alexander's army. Heavy, well trained infantry, good archers (not as good as the english longbowman sadly), and heavy, well trained cavalry. Add to that a clever commander, and Khan would have been stopped cold. Remember that Khan attacked a world falling apart. People fought in mobs, not trained armies, even the Romans were little more than a mob at that point. The mongol horses would never have successfully charged a Sarrissa phalanx and couldn't flank the companion cavalry.The Mongol armies were highly trained and adaptable to the warfare of their era. They knew all about Alexander and the great armies of early history, including the Romans and the Chinese. What they lacked in specialists (like Japanese Samurai or European knights) they more than made up for in well-trained, fit, and dependable "average" soldiers. Their commanders, the various khans (not just one Khan), were no slouches in battlefield strategy either. They always avenged their (rare) losses and learned from them.

I also would not bet on Alexander's army against a Mongol adversary in the long run. Alexander did defeat steppe armies of his day, but they were nothing compared to the experienced Mongol units centuries later--armies that had the benefit of Chinese military technology (ie gunpowder) and expertise along with first class Mongol calvary and archery skills. I'm not saying the Mongols would have definitely defeated Alexander--we'll never know. But I would never use an absolute term like "decimate" against the Mongols. You're not showing them much respect, and the Mongols had many opportunities in their long history to deal with overconfident enemies. Their empire lasted far longer, and held a greater territory, than Alexander's did.
BTW, Alexander had his own share of good luck against disunified enemies. The great commanders, Macaedonian or Mongol, knew how best to exploit those opportunities.


You need to follow up on Alexander's subjugation of afghanistan, he depopulated the country by 2/3s how is that for attacking population centers. He marched into the hindu kush in december, a feat even the mongols failed at when they tried it later.The Mongols, however, destroyed the Hindu Kush and the rest of the Khwarazm Empire. Their "failure" to endure a suicidal December march into the Hindu Kush didn't stop their advance at all. Even the mountains couldn't deter the inevitable--not bad for "steppe nomads!" Some argue that Alexander went to India but not the Mongols. But so what? What was Alexander's fate in India besides rebellions among his own soldiers and eventual retreat? Perhaps the Mongols knew something Alex didn't---don't mess with the Indians! After all, it was the Aryan tribes of the Asian steppe who conquered India and their descendants who eventually sent Alexander the Great back home to the Meditteranean.

<center><br><br><font color="red">_________________________________ <sub> Post Merged </sub>_________________________________</font><br><br></center>

I think this has been mentioned already, but terrain is all important. The Mongolian military was one born on the vast plains and grasslands of central Asia. Now stick an army of horse archers in the forests of Germany and I wonder exactly how effective those guys would have been.The Mongols were no strangers to forests (or deserts, or mountain ranges, or cities, or tropical jungles in Southeast Asia, or even naval battles on the high seas--although, they weren't the best mariners in the world, as evidenced by the disastrous campaigns against Japan). Genghis Khan's first military victories came at the expense of southern Siberian forest settlements just north of Mongolia. The Mongols also encountered forests in western Russia, Poland, and Hungary.

The question is this: would the Mongols have defeated the German tribes in their forest environment? The Romans tried, and failed, as Squatch rightly said. But just because overconfident imperial Roman forces lost those battles doesn't mean the Mongols could not have eventually overcome that challenge too. For example, one of the strategies used by the Mongols was preparation and patience. They didn't prefer frontal attacks against healthy and well-motivated and entrenched enemies. Instead they sought ways to wear down their foes. They destroyed cropland; razed under-defended villages and cities; forged alliances with enemies to divide and conquer; etc, etc. As noted above, the Mongols even employed specialists for unique missions--like the Korean boat captains and crews hired to invade Japan. The strategy failed that time, but succeeded in Afghanistan with local tribal guides, in Siberia with local forest scouts, and on the vast plains of Asia with captured prisoners walking point into every battle. How would the Mongols approach Western Europe? In the same way, I suppose; carefully and methodically. We know the Mongols DID have plans to invade western Europe, but for a variety of reasons they stopped in eastern Europe.

The Mongols were motivated and relentless warriors who fought on many terrains against a wide variety of peoples. I've never understood why some western military historians disrespect Mongol warfare expertise, especially their ability to adapt without the inefficient political/military bureaucracies of similar empires.

Squatch347
August 23rd, 2007, 01:24 PM
The Mongol armies were highly trained and adaptable to the warfare of their era. They knew all about Alexander and the great armies of early history, including the Romans and the Chinese. What they lacked in specialists (like Japanese Samurai or European knights) they more than made up for in well-trained, fit, and dependable "average" soldiers. Their commanders, the various khans (not just one Khan), were no slouches in battlefield strategy either. They always avenged their (rare) losses and learned from them. But a large army made up of average, but unspecialized soldiers does not beat an army made up of highly trained combined arms specialists. There is a reason that that kind of fighting died out in the middle ages, same reason we specialize in industry. five people, each doing one task extremely well, when coordinated, always beat five people who each do a bunch of jobs kinda well.


I also would not bet on Alexander's army against a Mongol adversary in the long run. Alexander did defeat steppe armies of his day, but they were nothing compared to the experienced Mongol units centuries later--armies that had the benefit of Chinese military technology (ie gunpowder) and expertise along with first class Mongol calvary and archery skills. Actually the mongol army was extremely similar to the steppe armies of alexander's period, they used the same weapons, except that their bow was stronger due to new materials..

I'm not saying the Mongols would have definitely defeated Alexander--we'll never know. But I would never use an absolute term like "decimate" against the Mongols. Sorry, I meant the roman decimate, 1/10 casualties. ;-) jk, but you are right, in war the enemy always gets a vote.

You're not showing them much respect, and the Mongols had many opportunities in their long history to deal with overconfident enemies. Their empire lasted far longer, and held a greater territory, than Alexander's did. Believe me, I have great respect for Mongols, and its a great credit to the Khans (the royal line) that they had a long line of talented rulers


The Mongols, however, destroyed the Hindu Kush and the rest of the Khwarazm Empire. They most certainly did, I'm not downplaying thier amazing conquests at all, just trying to keep them in context.

Their "failure" to endure a suicidal December march into the Hindu Kush didn't stop their advance at all. Nope, they wisely went around ;-)

After all, it was the Aryan tribes of the Asian steppe who conquered India and their descendants who eventually sent Alexander the Great back home to the Meditteranean. Ok, I was gonna keep quiet till here. The indians did not send alexander packing in any sense. He crushed thier greatest armies, but faced an army that had gone too far, a lesson for the best of us.

manise
August 23rd, 2007, 02:32 PM
But a large army made up of average, but unspecialized soldiers does not beat an army made up of highly trained combined arms specialists. There is a reason that that kind of fighting died out in the middle ages, same reason we specialize in industry. five people, each doing one task extremely well, when coordinated, always beat five people who each do a bunch of jobs kinda well. First off, let's try to keep within the same century or two. Armies have learned much since the Mongol days. But if the Mongols had gone after Western Europe during the Middle Ages, the topic we originally pursued, I think the Mongols would have done very well, if not win outright. At that time no European army had a trained and capable corps of "average" troops like those available to the Mongol khans. Sure, the Japanese had their samurai and the Europeans had their knights and other specialists like longbowmen, but they were in the minority within their respective armies. At the Battle of Liegnitz, a small force of "average" Mongol units with some heavy armor specialists defeated larger German and Polish armies with all kinds of specialists. It was very doable at the time---but if you try to fast-forward into post-Enlightenment eras, then clearly the Mongols have a technological and knowledge disadvantage.


Actually the mongol army was extremely similar to the steppe armies of alexander's period, they used the same weapons, except that their bow was stronger due to new materials..Actually, they Mongol armies were different in many important ways that go beyond bow and arrow technology. First and foremost was command and control by the khan families. Alexander never faced the combined might of those forces. He fought against disunited steppe tribes. Second, gunpowder and Chinese knowledge and experience greatly aided Mongol sieges, transport, and other key military areas. Third, the Mongols all knew about Alexander the Great, unlike the poor steppe nomads who met him for the first and last time. Books and teachers and the like were actively sought after by the Khans, each of whom kept a cadre of foreign specialists in his council.


They most certainly did, I'm not downplaying thier amazing conquests at all, just trying to keep them in context.The only context I see on this thread is anti-Mongol. I'm not saying the Mongols had no weaknesses, but the dismissal of Mongol prospects in Western Europe despite all we know of Mongol warfare in a variety of terrains, cultures, and climates doesn't match the facts as I know them.


Nope, they wisely went around ;-)Actually they traversed plenty of Hindu Kush mountains, but in the proper season. By doing so, the Mongols save lives and resources, like their precious horses and livestock. Alexander pushed his men hard and lost quite a few. Such exertions would come at a cost later on when the Macedonian army in India began to tire of warfare the Alexander way.


Ok, I was gonna keep quiet till here. The indians did not send alexander packing in any sense. He crushed thier greatest armies, but faced an army that had gone too far, a lesson for the best of us.Yes, the Indian armies never defeated Alexander. They didn't have to. Alexander's army defeated itself, mentally, emotionally, and in terms of resources. The Mongols rarely made such mistakes, like invading India, and when they did, they too paid a high price (ie Japan, Burma). Alexander won his Indian battles, but lost his Indian empire. So who won in the end?

Squatch347
August 23rd, 2007, 03:23 PM
First off, let's try to keep within the same century or two. Armies have learned much since the Mongol days. Right, but I'm not talking about modern armies, just citing them. Combined arms armies have been the best since the very beggining. Also I kind of had this idea that this was about comparing them to any single army in history, my bad, I must have wandered off topic again ;-)


I think the Mongols would have done very well, if not win outright. I don't think they would have completely conquered Europe, and I highly doubt they could have hold it, but you are right they would have done very, very well.


The only context I see on this thread is anti-Mongol. I am certainly not anti-mongol, though I realize that I might come off that way. The Mongols were amazing cavalry archers and had incredible endurance. They could travel amazing distances. I do think that there is a tendancy to exagerate their exploits as (atleast in Europe) they faced only disorganized clan forces, nothing like a trained corps like the romans at their height.


Alexander won his Indian battles, but lost his Indian empire. So who won in the end? I don't think it was ever about empire for alexander, it was about conquest, plus he died at 33 so its unclear what would have happened. However, and this was in large part to his actions, he shared Helenic culture and learning throughout his conquests and brought on golden ages for many of the citizens.

FruitandNut
August 23rd, 2007, 10:45 PM
I think this has been mentioned already, but terrain is all important. The Mongolian military was one born on the vast plains and grasslands of central Asia. Now stick an army of horse archers in the forests of Germany and I wonder exactly how effective those guys would have been.

The Teutoburger forests did for the Roman Legions. It breaks up formations, stops cavalry charges, and makes encounters up close and personal hand to hand stuff.

'HERMANN'S MONUMENT
Hermann's Monument near Dettmold is both a symbol of a free order and a unified nation and a reminder of the famous battle of the Teutoburg Forest in the year 9 A.D., in which Arminius (Hermann), a prince of the Cherusci, defeated and drove out the Romans. Erected in 1875 by Ernst von Bandels atop the 386 metre-high Grothenburg, the monument to Hermann has a total height of 53 metres. The seven-metre sword alone weighs 1100 kg.'


I see that the holes punched into the statue by a passing Spitfire testing it's guns circa late WWII, have been patched up now. They were still in evidence when I visited the denkmal/monument way back in 1960-1.

manise
August 24th, 2007, 09:32 AM
The Teutoburger forests did for the Roman Legions. It breaks up formations, stops cavalry charges, and makes encounters up close and personal hand to hand stuff.The German tribes, not the Teutoburger forests, defeated three Roman legions. Prior to those climatic battles, the Romans had scored many victories over German tribes. They wanted a knock out punch and foolishly marched three legions into a narrow bottleneck where the Germans lie in wait. The Romans didn't have to engage their enemies on that difficult terrain and I would seriously doubt any Mongol commander would have grouped his forces for such a risky attack. The important rivers and cities belonged to the Romans at that point. They could have starved the mountain settlements with some patience.

But the Romans prided themselves on courage and the memory of soundly whupping those German tribes at every previous encounter. Like Custer at the Last Stand, Varus charged ahead without battlefield intelligence. The Germans learned much from the Roman legions, and the Roman mindset, and improved their arms and tactics accordingly. Score one for Farfegneugen (German ingenuity).
<center><br><br><font color="red">_________________________________ <sub> Post Merged </sub>_________________________________</font><br><br></center>

Combined arms armies have been the best since the very beggining.The Mongols were more versatile than you give them credit for. Besides first rate cavalry, archers, and fitness, they employed and used a variety of military specialists (many were prisoners of war). They decisively defeated larger European armies with combined specialists at the Battle of Liegnitz. And if the terrain didn't favor an attack, the Mongols wouldn't attack. They would wait, much like the Germans waited on 3 Roman legions in a narrow forest ravine. Remember, the Mongols had centuries of experience fighting Chinese battle formations, including heavily armored cavalry and bowmen and other specialists. They would have relished a crack at the vaunted Roman Army.


I don't think it was ever about empire for alexander, it was about conquest, plus he died at 33 so its unclear what would have happened.However, for the Mongols it was about conquest. Alexander could afford to push his men hard in the Hindu Kush and India proper. The Mongols had to seize and hold the territory they conquered without the luxury and expense of huge military stockades. They gave their opponents two choices--work for the Mongol Empire or die horrible deaths. Most chose the former. It was a crude but effective form of order and it paid huge economic dividends in trade. The Mongols, after all, maintained and policed the Silk Roads for generations. Mongol escorts kept Marco Polo safe from highway robbers--for a fee of course.

FruitandNut
August 24th, 2007, 10:49 AM
manise - It was a combination of dense forests, booby traps, the determination and sheer brute hand to hand, and local knowledge of the German tribes. Out in the open they would have been defeated by the Legions and cavalry charges.

Rule of Reason
August 24th, 2007, 11:14 AM
(I would like an answer as I'm fighitng them currently in Total War :grin: )

The Mongol invasion is a laughing matter compared to the Timurids...

I managed to stop the Mongols at Thorn. Wasn't too hard, I just gave Poland every bit of money I could miss to hold back the hordes and when they finally arrived at Thorn I had cannon towers. On the open field, take the fight to them. They have strong archers but they won't last in close combat. It's bloody business, but a shootout will be far more costly.

Same is not true for Timurids...when you see those huge cannons and elephants and heavy cavalry your fire at that, only to find out their real strength is that deadly infantry. Imperial Knights and Zweihanders had a hard time holding the walls against missile militia...

Your safest guess is, as always, divide et impera: get as many factions drawn into the war as you can and wait till the carnage is over. Then seize whatever remains. A good way to do that with a catholic faction is to get a crusade called against a Mongol/Timurid settlement. You can also send spies to watch for smaller armies that split up from the main force and chase those into enemy territory.

manise
August 24th, 2007, 04:42 PM
manise - It was a combination of dense forests, booby traps, the determination and sheer brute hand to hand, and local knowledge of the German tribes. Out in the open they would have been defeated by the Legions and cavalry charges.I agree. The Romans underestimated an improved enemy on his own terrain--bad move. But the Romans didn't have to fight that battle. They controlled most of the economic arteries in the area and could have, over time, made life for the isolated mountain tribes more difficult by choking off supply routes. I doubt the Mongols would have made the same mistake, especially grouping all their forces into such a confined space. It was a perfect (and avoidable) ambush.

Squatch347
August 27th, 2007, 08:06 PM
The Mongols were more versatile than you give them credit for. Besides first rate cavalry, archers, and fitness, they employed and used a variety of military specialists (many were prisoners of war). They decisively defeated larger European armies with combined specialists at the Battle of Liegnitz. And if the terrain didn't favor an attack, the Mongols wouldn't attack. They would wait, much like the Germans waited on 3 Roman legions in a narrow forest ravine. Remember, the Mongols had centuries of experience fighting Chinese battle formations, including heavily armored cavalry and bowmen and other specialists. They would have relished a crack at the vaunted Roman Army. I'm not sure about the not attacking part, cavalry is notorious for being an attack only force. Horses become skiddish when not moving. The European Armies and 'vaunted' Roman legions were hollow impersonations of what they were or were about to become. When Genghis marched into Europe, roman armies were neither roman nor armies, they were, just as those they tried to defeat, barbarian hordes. Khan's crack cavalry decimated the losely trained medium infantry of the day, no great surprise. What he never did encounter (that I can remember) is highly trained heavy infantry with cavalry and archers, ie a highly trained combined arms force.


However, for the Mongols it was about conquest. Alexander could afford to push his men hard in the Hindu Kush and India proper. The Mongols had to seize and hold the territory they conquered without the luxury and expense of huge military stockades. They gave their opponents two choices--work for the Mongol Empire or die horrible deaths. Most chose the former. It was a crude but effective form of order and it paid huge economic dividends in trade. The Mongols, after all, maintained and policed the Silk Roads for generations. Mongol escorts kept Marco Polo safe from highway robbers--for a fee of course.
Thats not exactly true, for the mongols it was more about tribute, most of the areas they conquered they neither administered, nor controlled, they simply demanded tribute. Which eventually disappeared as those nations realized the mongols weren't around too much.

manise
August 27th, 2007, 08:31 PM
I'm not sure about the not attacking part, cavalry is notorious for being an attack only force. Horses become skiddish when not moving.It's quite possible to move horses without launching frontal attacks. Pastoral nomads like the Mongols had to move their horses and cattle and sheep and goats to new pastures and sheltered valleys during stormy seasons. Horses and skilled horsemen are very compatible with patience and caution.


The European Armies and 'vaunted' Roman legions were hollow impersonations of what they were or were about to become. When Genghis marched into Europe, roman armies were neither roman nor armies, they were, just as those they tried to defeat, barbarian hordes. Khan's crack cavalry decimated the losely trained medium infantry of the day, no great surprise. What he never did encounter (that I can remember) is highly trained heavy infantry with cavalry and archers, ie a highly trained combined arms force.As I stated previously, the Mongols decisively defeated a larger, heavily armored, and multi-skilled German and Polish force at the Battle of Liegnitz. I don't know how that army compared with the Roman Legion in its heyday, but two things are certain--the equipment used in the battle surpassed anything available to the Romans centuries earlier and the commanders knew (or could have known) about Roman battle tactics and training from oral and/or written accounts and legends.


Thats not exactly true, for the mongols it was more about tribute, most of the areas they conquered they neither administered, nor controlled, they simply demanded tribute. Which eventually disappeared as those nations realized the mongols weren't around too much.All empires disappear eventually--even the Mongol Empire. But it took a while. The Mongols didn't need strong garrisons and fixed settlements. When they defeated an enemy, it was done in one of two ways: total capitulation or total annihilation. The Mongols took no prisoners and enslaved few. Survivors paid tribute in exchange for their lives and livelihoods. The Mongols allowed the Silk Road communities to flourish, as they did during much of the Mongol period. Commerce and terror kept the empire together for a very long time and over a very large area--most of Asia and eastern Europe.

Squatch347
August 27th, 2007, 09:29 PM
It's quite possible to move horses without launching frontal attacks. Pastoral nomads like the Mongols had to move their horses and cattle and sheep and goats to new pastures and sheltered valleys during stormy seasons. Horses and skilled horsemen are very compatible with patience and caution. However, it is virtually impossible to move lots of horses in a non-frontal manner, and keep a cohesive line. If you are talking about strategic patience then I agree, I thought you were talking about a tactical situation.


As I stated previously, the Mongols decisively defeated a larger, heavily armored, and multi-skilled German and Polish force at the Battle of Liegnitz. I don't know how that army compared with the Roman Legion in its heyday, but two things are certain--the equipment used in the battle surpassed anything available to the Romans centuries earlier and the commanders knew (or could have known) about Roman battle tactics and training from oral and/or written accounts and legends. The force at liegnitz was a horde, not an army. It was made up of individuals as was every army Genghis faced except the asian ones. When I'm talking about combined arms, I'm talking about men who have trained exclusively and as a team, not in the hero mentality of early western europe. I want phalanxes not shield walls. The equipment actually was relatively similar. The roman army he faced was made up of barbarians under a roman standard, it was not a legion and did not employ legionary tactics. And you are overestimating the commander's learning at that point. They were not proficient historians as the romans were and followed barbarian oral tradition, not written latin history. I doubt they knew much at all of Roman tactics.


empires disappear eventually--even the Mongol Empire. But it took a while. The Mongols didn't need strong garrisons and fixed settlements. When they defeated an enemy, it was done in one of two ways: total capitulation or total annihilation. The Mongols took no prisoners and enslaved few. Survivors paid tribute in exchange for their lives and livelihoods. The Mongols allowed the Silk Road communities to flourish, as they did during much of the Mongol period. Commerce and terror kept the empire together for a very long time and over a very large area--most of Asia and eastern Europe. But a vast, vast swath of what is usually termed the 'mongol empire' wasn't really an empire, they never really administered it, and never imposed thier culture on it, they simply came, conquered demanded tribute and left. Remarkably similar to Alexander in fact, except that he atleast put some Macedonians in charge to administer the places and brought hellenic culture with him.

FruitandNut
September 1st, 2007, 04:04 AM
I've just been watching an episode of BBC's Time Team, in which they reconstructed Anglo-Saxon battle shields and evaluated them.

It seems that they were designed to absorb the energy of enemy weapons (including most arrows - bodkins at close quarters from longbows excepted), and crucially to 'grip' embedded spears, swords, and even battle axes. This then allowed the defender to sweep that weapon out of hand and/or wrongfoot the attacker; leaving the assailant open to either a thrust from the defender's own sword or spear, or a crushing smash in the face or shoulder from the metal shield boss. The boss of the shield could also break the leg of any close passing Mongol archer or pony. For a spear to be effective it had to be thrown with some beef behind it, at close quarters, be heavy (say 5lbs or so), and have a narrow and not a broad point.