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2 hours ago, Fall Bass said:

It's not clear that the Mongol force in Hungary actually knew that Ogedai was dead when they withdrew. There were plenty of other reasons for withdrawal - increasingly difficult terrain (the Eurasian steppe ends in Hungary), bad weather, a bunch of increasingly difficult sieges, etc. 

I doubt they ever would have made it to Paris or Rome, except maybe as a short raid. The terrain was relatively unfavorable, High Middle Ages Europe was covered in hundreds of stone castles* that required sieges to take down, and even the political disunity of Europe was an advantage (there was no capital or bureaucratic machinery that the Mongols could seize to take over Europe in the way they could China). Case in point, the Mongols actually came back again in 1285 and failed utterly, because the Hungarians were ready for this with a ton of stone castles and fortified towns that the Mongols would have had to siege and take individually. 

* We tend not to think about this, but High Middle Ages Europe was pretty advanced and capable in terms of building stone fortifications (see the Crusader castles like Krak de Chevaliers).

Hm... this bears an interesting discussion.

I think we should consider the other side of the equation as well, namely the fact that Mongolian power waned considerably by 1285 compared to "golden days" under Genghis and Ogodei. Before, they were unified under a single leadership and single purpose, while later they already split into 4 different states, each of them getting weaker with each generation. Hungary may have gotten stronger in 40 years, indeed, but there's little doubt that Mongols become much weaker, as well.

The thesis above is not exclusive to Mongols' wars vs European countries in any way. One can, for example, compare Mongols' first invasion of Middle East (when they were basically unstoppable) against their attempts few decades later, when they were defeated in the first major battle (IIRC, called Battle of Ain Jalut) - and see the clear difference.

I'd like to discuss this idea - that Mongols would have been impeded or stopped while encountering countries of central and western Europe, because almost everything I know about them suggests quite a different scenario, Mongols established an empire of unthinkable power, overshadowed by size only by British colonial empire of 20the century, and even so only by a small margin. They conquered China (medieval China was in no way, shape or form weaker than any of the European then-countries) in quite a quick period. They had no problems winning against powerful enemies such as Khawarezmian Empire, who could muster hundreds of thousands of soldiers. They defeated and subjugated first major European enemy - Russian states and princedoms - pretty easily. Next European countries which tried to stop them - Hungary and Poland - failed pretty spectacularly: battle of River Sajo ended up very badly for Hungarian side. They fought over large number of terrains and climates, against enemies great and small - and always ended up on the winning side. What makes you think e.g. HRE or France would fare any differently?

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9 hours ago, Knight Of Winter said:

Hm... this bears an interesting discussion.

The force sent in 1285 was of comparable size to the force that invaded Hungary in 1241 (between 30,000 to 70,000, with a heavy mounted archer component), and used similar tactics in the invasion. The only difference was that this time the Hungarians responded differently (but did not have significantly higher numbers of soldiers), had much more and better stone fortifications and castles, and the like - and instead of a devastating success, the Mongol invasion was an utter failure that cost the Mongols heavily in lives. 

 

9 hours ago, Knight Of Winter said:

What makes you think e.g. HRE or France would fare any differently?

For the reasons I listed, and the reasons they actually did fail to successfully defeat Hungary in the fashion that they did in 1241. 13th century Europeans were excellent at building stone fortifications and castles (arguably the best in the world at the time - see how long they held off numerically superior forces trying to destroy the Outremer Kingdom because of excellent castles), and their predominant mode of war was sieges and raids. They were politically disunited, which meant that an outside invading force couldn't conquer the capital and insert themselves atop the hierarchy and bureaucracy in the way that the Mongols did in China (nor did it mean they could implode an empire by destroying said capital and defeating its army in the open). And the terrain west of Hungary was heavily forested and very poorly suited for the horse-heavy warfare mode of the Mongols - it's questionable where there was  enough pasture even in Hungary to support the multiple horses per warrior they needed, never mind west of that. It's the same type of reason why the Mongols struggled west of the fertile crescent, and failed more than once to get further southwest than Syria (Ain Jalut was not the only time they were beaten back in that area - it was just one of the later ones). 

All of that means the Mongols would have had to abandon their most effective method of fighting on the steppe and elsewhere, carry out dozens or even hundreds of sieges of stone castles simultaneously each of which required logistical support and sapped their strength through attrition (while getting raided by Europeans sallying forth from other castles and the ones they were sieging), and all of that over and over again because there was no possibility of a decisive blow that would bring them victory. As what happened in real life, when they had to try and do that in 1285 even with a numerically similar force to what they had in 1241, it proved disastrous for them - they lost hard and basically never came back aside from small-scale raiding, even though the Golden Horde didn't really go into rapid decline until at least a decade or two into the 14th century. 

 

Edited by Fall Bass

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4 hours ago, Fall Bass said:

The force sent in 1285 was of comparable size to the force that invaded Hungary in 1241 (between 30,000 to 70,000, with a heavy mounted archer component), and used similar tactics in the invasion. The only difference was that this time the Hungarians responded differently (but did not have significantly higher numbers of soldiers), had much more and better stone fortifications and castles, and the like - and instead of a devastating success, the Mongol invasion was an utter failure that cost the Mongols heavily in lives. 

But could Mongols dedicate their "full time" to Hungary invasion or were they busy fighting other enemies and each other (Mongol infighting began around 1260 and only got worse with time. E.g. few attempts of the Ilkhanate to invade Levant failed due to raids from Golden Horde) ? Did they have access to siege engineers? How able were their generals - did Mongols in 1285 have anyone comparable to Subotai, leader of 1241 invasion? How prepared were Hungarians in 1241 compared to 40 years later; how familiar were they with Mongols' warfare?

Mass-fortification program led by Bela IV certainly helped a lot, but I think we can't discard a number of other factors as well.

4 hours ago, Fall Bass said:

For the reasons I listed, and the reasons they actually did fail to successfully defeat Hungary in the fashion that they did in 1241. 13th century Europeans were excellent at building stone fortifications and castles (arguably the best in the world at the time - see how long they held off numerically superior forces trying to destroy the Outremer Kingdom because of excellent castles), and their predominant mode of war was sieges and raids. They were politically disunited, which meant that an outside invading force couldn't conquer the capital and insert themselves atop the hierarchy and bureaucracy in the way that the Mongols did in China (nor did it mean they could implode an empire by destroying said capital and defeating its army in the open). And the terrain west of Hungary was heavily forested and very poorly suited for the horse-heavy warfare mode of the Mongols - it's questionable where there was  enough pasture even in Hungary to support the multiple horses per warrior they needed, never mind west of that. It's the same type of reason why the Mongols struggled west of the fertile crescent, and failed more than once to get further southwest than Syria (Ain Jalut was not the only time they were beaten back in that area - it was just one of the later ones). 

I understand your argument; but were these reasons decisive? Central Europe was indeed quite forested, but was in the only forested region among millions of square kilometers that Mongols conquered? I doubt so. Europeans built formidable and impressive castles, no doubt about that, but have Mongols conquered and sacked other fortified cities (Chinese, for example) - very much so (and, btw, Europeans maintaing their position in Outremer for so long has much to do with many other factors, like Arab political disunity and infighting and their inability to create stable lasting states) . European cities had stone walls, and population and soldiers ready to defend them - but were any of them more populous or better manned than Baghdad, the most important city in then-islamic world, which was brutally conquered and sacked in just a half a month? I think not.

Argument that European division into several countries would impede Mongol progress I don't understand. While it would make it harder and longer to conquer Europe in one swoop, it would, OTOH, make picking them up one by one much easier. If, e.g. Mongols decided to attack HRE, they would fight German armies and German armies alone; and not allied forces from Spain, Denmark or Bulgaria (for example) as well. Having many small enemies is always better than having one big.

As for Ain Jalut, I couldn't find any record of Mongols being defeated in that area earlier than that - closest were two repelled raids from 1237. and 1245.

 

4 hours ago, Fall Bass said:

All of that means the Mongols would have had to abandon their most effective method of fighting on the steppe and elsewhere, carry out dozens or even hundreds of sieges of stone castles simultaneously each of which required logistical support and sapped their strength through attrition (while getting raided by Europeans sallying forth from other castles and the ones they were sieging), and all of that over and over again because there was no possibility of a decisive blow that would bring them victory. As what happened in real life, when they had to try and do that in 1285 even with a numerically similar force to what they had in 1241, it proved disastrous for them - they lost hard and basically never came back aside from small-scale raiding, even though the Golden Horde didn't really go into rapid decline until at least a decade or two into the 14th century. 

I agree that this is certainly a possibility. however, it's IMO far from certainty.

Edited by Knight Of Winter
typos

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On 31/01/2018 at 8:03 PM, Fall Bass said:

I'd recommend Mary Beard's SPQR. It's engaging as well, and Beard is better at putting it all into context and not simply writing Great-Man-narrative-history. She's also really good at pointing out where we have gaps in our knowledge, or where the typical narrative is dominated by stuff we would call propaganda (especially when it comes to Augustus Caesar).

...

Which reminds me that ages ago I read a book exploring the propaganda behind the myths and stories of early Rome that have survived. Shame I can't remember which one it was. 

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17 hours ago, Fall Bass said:

It's not clear that the Mongol force in Hungary actually knew that Ogedai was dead when they withdrew. There were plenty of other reasons for withdrawal - increasingly difficult terrain (the Eurasian steppe ends in Hungary), bad weather, a bunch of increasingly difficult sieges, etc. 

I doubt they ever would have made it to Paris or Rome, except maybe as a short raid. The terrain was relatively unfavorable, High Middle Ages Europe was covered in hundreds of stone castles* that required sieges to take down, and even the political disunity of Europe was an advantage (there was no capital or bureaucratic machinery that the Mongols could seize to take over Europe in the way they could China). Case in point, the Mongols actually came back again in 1285 and failed utterly, because the Hungarians were ready for this with a ton of stone castles and fortified towns that the Mongols would have had to siege and take individually. 

* We tend not to think about this, but High Middle Ages Europe was pretty advanced and capable in terms of building stone fortifications (see the Crusader castles like Krak de Chevaliers). 

 

 

Well the Mongols were very experienced with sieges, they conquered very well protected Arab and Chinese cities. They devastated the surrounding countryside and starved people out, or they used the most advanced siege weaponry, which they got from the Chinese and Arabs.

It's hard to see the Mongols actually ruling Western Europe, as they did China, but not to see them overrunning it. Political disunity may make long term rule harder, but it makes short term defeat easier. There are countless examples in history of sides already in conflict allying with new invaders to get an advantage, only to be taken over as well. Not least in the other Mongol conquests. People argue that Baghdad never recovered from Mongol destruction, it's chilling to think of great Western cities facing the same treatment.

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An issue with Mongols conquering Europe is the 'why would they' factor. It is not like there was much to get there at that point in time.

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15 hours ago, Fall Bass said:

All of that means the Mongols would have had to abandon their most effective method of fighting on the steppe and elsewhere, carry out dozens or even hundreds of sieges of stone castles simultaneously each of which required logistical support and sapped their strength through attrition (while getting raided by Europeans sallying forth from other castles and the ones they were sieging), and all of that over and over again because there was no possibility of a decisive blow that would bring them victory. As what happened in real life, when they had to try and do that in 1285 even with a numerically similar force to what they had in 1241, it proved disastrous for them - they lost hard and basically never came back aside from small-scale raiding, even though the Golden Horde didn't really go into rapid decline until at least a decade or two into the 14th century. 

This also coincides with later outbreaks of plague. It would be hard enough getting horses over the Ural Mountains as it is; when the Mongols did make pushes against Europe, it wasn't until the 14th century and by then bubonic plague was cutting them to pieces before it even reached Europe.

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19 hours ago, mankytoes said:

Well the Mongols were very experienced with sieges, they conquered very well protected Arab and Chinese cities. They devastated the surrounding countryside and starved people out, or they used the most advanced siege weaponry, which they got from the Chinese and Arabs.

As I said, it's the sheer number of sieges that would have bogged them down, in addition to their difficulty - as it did IRL in 1285. And European warfare in that area centered around sieges and raids. No decisive victory. 

I never said they couldn't carry out a fast raid, but that's probably about all they would be able to do. And as I said in my earlier comment, it's not even clear that they knew Ogedai had died when they started returning from the 1241-42 invasion. 

18 hours ago, Seli said:

An issue with Mongols conquering Europe is the 'why would they' factor. It is not like there was much to get there at that point in time.

There's that too. Combine the difficulty of taking Europe in that period and the prospect of better targets elsewhere, and it's not hard to see why the Mongols never came back in serious force into Hungary after the disastrous invasion of 1285. 

20 hours ago, Knight Of Winter said:

But could Mongols dedicate their "full time" to Hungary invasion or were they busy fighting other enemies and each other (Mongol infighting began around 1260 and only got worse with time.

As I said, same size force estimated by historians, same type of tactics (and they were up against a Hungarian force that was similar in numbers to what they had in 1241). There's no evidence that the 1285 invasion was hindered by Mongol disunity (it actually might have been at a period where civil conflict in the Mongol Empire was at a low ebb), and no evidence that they were worse equipped or prepared than they had been in 1241. What had changed were the Hungarians' tactics, and that consisted of building stone fortifications and castles and forcing the Mongols to try and take them all while occasionally raiding them from the security of those castles. 

 

20 hours ago, Knight Of Winter said:

Central Europe was indeed quite forested, but was in the only forested region among millions of square kilometers that Mongols conquered? I doubt so.

North China was and is a plain very close to the Eurasian steppe, which helped the Mongols conquer it first (plus of course the whole "take control of power in an empire and insert yourself at the top of a hierarchy" aspect of it that wasn't available in any large polity of Europe). South China was different, but by the time the Mongols were moving in on south China they'd been ruling in northern China for decades and had those available for them. 

There's a good essay on Quora on the Mongols' chances at invading and conquering Europe if you want to read more. It's a big part of where I'm drawing this from. 

Edited by Fall Bass

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22 minutes ago, Yukle said:

This also coincides with later outbreaks of plague. It would be hard enough getting horses over the Ural Mountains as it is; when the Mongols did make pushes against Europe, it wasn't until the 14th century and by then bubonic plague was cutting them to pieces before it even reached Europe.

The major pushes in the 13th century were before the Plague. They'd already sharply drawn back in the type of warfare they'd be doing against Europe even before that, but the Plague just sealed their fate. 

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On ‎1‎/‎31‎/‎2018 at 7:03 PM, Fall Bass said:

I'd recommend Mary Beard's SPQR. It's engaging as well, and Beard is better at putting it all into context and not simply writing Great-Man-narrative-history. She's also really good at pointing out where we have gaps in our knowledge, or where the typical narrative is dominated by stuff we would call propaganda (especially when it comes to Augustus Caesar).

EDIT: I've changed my mind on Sulla. I don't think he was the Point of No Return, because he was just representative of processes that were all converging to undermine the Roman Republic at the same time - the rise of de facto professional soldiers dependent on their commanders for pay, the extreme inequality from war and profiteering in the provinces, the intense oligarchical competition spilling over into street violence, etc. If it hadn't been Sulla, it would have been someone else.

Augustus was the Point of No Return. It's entirely possible that a different strongman would have failed to make such a thorough change stick on Rome (including the taming of the Senate and the end of any meaningful power in republican institutions), or that the empire of the Roman Republic could have splintered and fallen apart. But Augustus thoroughly stamped upon the Roman Empire the transition to the Principate in his long life, and it stuck through succeeding emperors until the Principate shredded itself in the Crisis of the Third Century.

Rubicon by Tom Holland is a very good narrative history, detailing the downfall of the Roman Republic

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On ‎2‎/‎3‎/‎2018 at 8:25 PM, Knight Of Winter said:

Hm... this bears an interesting discussion.

I think we should consider the other side of the equation as well, namely the fact that Mongolian power waned considerably by 1285 compared to "golden days" under Genghis and Ogodei. Before, they were unified under a single leadership and single purpose, while later they already split into 4 different states, each of them getting weaker with each generation. Hungary may have gotten stronger in 40 years, indeed, but there's little doubt that Mongols become much weaker, as well.

The thesis above is not exclusive to Mongols' wars vs European countries in any way. One can, for example, compare Mongols' first invasion of Middle East (when they were basically unstoppable) against their attempts few decades later, when they were defeated in the first major battle (IIRC, called Battle of Ain Jalut) - and see the clear difference.

I'd like to discuss this idea - that Mongols would have been impeded or stopped while encountering countries of central and western Europe, because almost everything I know about them suggests quite a different scenario, Mongols established an empire of unthinkable power, overshadowed by size only by British colonial empire of 20the century, and even so only by a small margin. They conquered China (medieval China was in no way, shape or form weaker than any of the European then-countries) in quite a quick period. They had no problems winning against powerful enemies such as Khawarezmian Empire, who could muster hundreds of thousands of soldiers. They defeated and subjugated first major European enemy - Russian states and princedoms - pretty easily. Next European countries which tried to stop them - Hungary and Poland - failed pretty spectacularly: battle of River Sajo ended up very badly for Hungarian side. They fought over large number of terrains and climates, against enemies great and small - and always ended up on the winning side. What makes you think e.g. HRE or France would fare any differently?

If Subedei had pressed Westwards in 1242 (and he certainly wanted to) I'm sure he'd have got a long way, although I don't know whether it would have amounted to any form of permanent conquest.

China actually took a long time to fall.  The conquest of Northern China took about 20 years, and the conquest of Southern China even longer.  Khawarazem fell easily because it's ruler was hated, and its leaders were divided among themselves.

 

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4 hours ago, SeanF said:

If Subedei had pressed Westwards in 1242 (and he certainly wanted to) I'm sure he'd have got a long way, although I don't know whether it would have amounted to any form of permanent conquest.

China actually took a long time to fall.  The conquest of Northern China took about 20 years, and the conquest of Southern China even longer.  Khawarazem fell easily because it's ruler was hated, and its leaders were divided among themselves.

 

Recall also the Mamluks, against which wall both European forces and Mongolian forces constantly broke, including even the unsuccessful attempts of the Mongols and the Europeans to ally.  The Mongols never did get past their furthest western victories in Syria, from which they always needed to withdraw within a few months.  They made a lot of invasions, not a solitary one, however, over that long period until the Mongolian empire crumbled in the 1360's.  During that roughly century-long period, not only were they pushed back against by Rum (which is how what we now call Byzantium), but by Egypt and a constant roiling of the Turkmen tribes in Anatolia (who would soon become known as the Ottomans) via the leaders of the previous powers that made up the Seljuk Kingdom of Rum, against the Mongolian Ilkhanate kingdom -- and during that period the Mongols -- at least in Syra - Persia and Anatolia, pretty much converted to Islam.

What is truly fascinating about this vast geopolitical matter is that trade continued, and even increased -- the Mamluks were an enormous part of it because they controlled the maritime routes from the west to the east and vice versa.

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4 minutes ago, Zorral said:

Recall also the Mamluks, against which wall both European forces and Mongolian forces constantly broke, including even the unsuccessful attempts of the Mongols and the Europeans to ally.  The Mongols never did get past their furthest western victories in Syria, from which they always needed to withdraw within a few months.  They made a lot of invasions, not a solitary one, however, over that long period until the Mongolian empire crumbled in the 1360's.  During that roughly century-long period, not only were they pushed back against by Rum (which is how what we now call Byzantium), but by Egypt and a constant roiling of the Turkmen tribes in Anatolia (who would soon become known as the Ottomans) via the leaders of the previous powers that made up the Seljuk Kingdom of Rum, against the Mongolian Ilkhanate kingdom -- and during that period the Mongols -- at least in Syra - Persia and Anatolia, pretty much converted to Islam.

What is truly fascinating about this vast geopolitical matter is that trade continued, and even increased -- the Mamluks were an enormous part of it because they controlled the maritime routes from the west to the east and vice versa.

What gets me about the Mongols is how often their enemies fell for their favourite tactic, the feigned retreat.  You can understand people falling into the trap a couple of times, but repeatedly?

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On 2/4/2018 at 4:19 AM, Knight Of Winter said:

Argument that European division into several countries would impede Mongol progress I don't understand. While it would make it harder and longer to conquer Europe in one swoop, it would, OTOH, make picking them up one by one much easier. If, e.g. Mongols decided to attack HRE, they would fight German armies and German armies alone; and not allied forces from Spain, Denmark or Bulgaria (for example) as well. Having many small enemies is always better than having one big.

No, they would have had to face allied armies, as the Catholic Church would have made a general call to arms, if the Mongol threat kept increasing. Even during the invasions of Poland and Hungary, some assistance was sent by the pope.

See Battle of Legnica. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Legnica

That being said, the Mongols clearly had superior tactics at the time to most European peoples, whose primary tactics involved letting your knights loose on the enemy, and coming in with the infantry for support.

So I would say that the Mongols had a very good chance at driving into Europe further, but I don't know how good they were at keeping their supply lines intact. Fall Bass's argument is that the European peoples didn't have much in the way of centralized governments, so while the Mongols could potentially defeat any army sent against them, it would be challenging to keep their supply lines safe from feudal lords who were capable to raise their own forces, even if the king's head is on a pike.

I think the combination of heavier terrain, stretching of supply lines, and the Europeans really needing just one major victory would have spelled the end of a Mongol campaign.

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19 minutes ago, SeanF said:

What gets me about the Mongols is how often their enemies fell for their favourite tactic, the feigned retreat.  You can understand people falling into the trap a couple of times, but repeatedly?

I think it can happen mainly when you're dealing with arrogant assholes (European knights) and poor means of communications between your groups, which is really where the Mongols excelled.

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13 minutes ago, Corvinus said:

I think it can happen mainly when you're dealing with arrogant assholes (European knights) and poor means of communications between your groups, which is really where the Mongols excelled.

The arrogant assholes  included Cumans, Chinese, His Hsia, Khawrazemians, Arabs, as well as European knights.  You'd have thought somebody would have thought it worth studying Mongol tactics.

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10 minutes ago, SeanF said:

The arrogant assholes  included Cumans, Chinese, His Hsia, Khawrazemians, Arabs, as well as European knights.  You'd have thought somebody would have thought it worth studying Mongol tactics.

That's where the poor communication comes in. No one who saw the Mongols fight went ahead and warned the others. Hey there's these dudes coming your way, they're shifty bastards, keep feigning retreats. Don't be morons like we were. :P 

Edited by Corvinus

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2 hours ago, Corvinus said:

That's where the poor communication comes in. No one who saw the Mongols fight went ahead and warned the others. Hey there's these dudes coming your way, they're shifty bastards, keep feigning retreats. Don't be morons like we were. :P 

Maybe ... because they were all dead or enslaved?

Again, however, the real damages by the Mongolians were accomplished long before the Horde(s) appeared.  Years and even decades targeted regions were subjected to lightning strikes and retreats, major influencers within targeted regions and tribes and kingdoms were bribed massively to spy and turn on their own, as well as coerced by kidnapping of beloved family members.  Trade and manufacture were disrupted as much as possible.

So with years of hit and run on the borders, peripheries and sometimes even into the heartland, how were the targets instantly to know that this time it was different?  (And besides, they'd been very much softened up by the years' long previous tactics mentioned above.)

The Seljuks, at least among the Anatolian kingdoms and tribes, appeared to know this, as these are the same tactics they used to invaded these regions some centuries earlier.

 

Edited by Zorral

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It takes a disciplined army to resist getting drawn into charging forward and getting encircled, especially back when "attack the enemy army as they break out into retreat and flight" was often how the winners inflicted the greatest casualties and took prisoners, and overall army coordination was limited compared to what we have now. Obviously it has been done - the Mongols were not the first steppe people to wield mounted archers, not by a long shot. 

6 hours ago, Corvinus said:

Fall Bass's argument is that the European peoples didn't have much in the way of centralized governments, so while the Mongols could potentially defeat any army sent against them, it would be challenging to keep their supply lines safe from feudal lords who were capable to raise their own forces, even if the king's head is on a pike.

Pretty much that. There was little way for them to decisively seize power with a victory in the field or the capture and sacking of a capital city. Even if they had seized a king, there was little in the way of bureaucracy that could be used to take over the regime in that era - governance in central Europe was pretty decentralized in the 13th century even if there was a Holy Roman Emperor. 

 

12 hours ago, SeanF said:

China actually took a long time to fall.  The conquest of Northern China took about 20 years, and the conquest of Southern China even longer. 

Yep, and northern China is a plain right on the Manchurian plain, which itself was repeatedly the first stop of Eurasian steppe invaders on the way to invading northern China. When the Mongols toppled the Jin Dynasty, they were toppling a northern Chinese regime that was itself a result of an invasion from the steppe back in the 12th century. This was well-trod ground, and it still took them a long time to pull it off. 

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The above has the right of it. The importance of discipline cannot be overstated in warfare, particularly during the time of the Mongols when there was no power in Europe with the institutional memory required to deploy armies capable of maintaining integrity on the field against a more mobile force.

The only force in Europe that could have withstood Kahn in the field would have been the Romans but somewhat fortuitously (or perhaps due to) the ransacking of Constantinople left a series of sickly impostors clinging to the remains of the Empire while the last of Roman bureaucracy fought to reassert dominion over Greece.

If ever I would see a war, it would have been Caesar against Genghis Khan and his horde.

Now there was a General capable of the most incredible logistics maneuvering and the staff to adapt to the 'advanced' (not new) tactics when engaging the enemy.

 

For a reference, that one almost-exciting scene in the dogpoop show where all the Dothraki swept down on the Lannister baggage train?

Imagine the horde like that except way more coordinated and Jaime's army keeps moving every day literally building a fortress before going to bed EVERY DAY. They would sit inside that fort until the Horde couldn't sustain itself and when it inevitably began to diffuse in search of fodder for the war effort Caesar would set about to forcing a targeted segment of the tribes in a direction that favored his mechanisms of engagement.

It would be fucking beautiful! A seductive dance of death that would devastate swathes of Europe as the Romans continuously bit at the heels of the invaders. And the stakes. One misstep by either. A poorly deployed legion, an internal power struggle. And the fate of the world hanging in the balance.

But anyway, that dragon looked cool I guess.

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