Genghis Khan And His Styles Of Warfare
In Genghis Kahn and the Making of the Modern World, by Jack Weatherford, an important idea expressed is that Genghis Kahn and his successors were able to adopt different styles of warfare for each battle which significantly shifted the tides of war towards their favor. Combining new ideas of the people he conquered, he was able to change his strategies for each individual battle the Mongols fought. He and the leaders preceding him combined the knowledge of the civilizations he conquered with new weapons and adapted his army’s strategy depending upon the situation.
One of these battles was Genghis Khan’s second conquest against the people called Tartars. The first battle the Mongols fought against the Tartars they looted the camps at the beginning of the battle instead of chasing after the fleeing soldiers which allowed the Tartar soldiers the opportunity to return and attack again (Weatherford 50). The second battle, the Tartars was a period of advancement where Genghis Khan adapted his strategy and allowed for a more orderly system by only allowing his soldiers to loot after his army defeated the soldiers (Weatherford 50). He used knowledge gained in the first battle against the Tartars and adapted his battle strategy based on the counterattacks that happened. His ability to adapt to situations allowed the Mongols to triumph over this civilization again. While other civilizations used the same battle strategy for every battle, the Mongols had the upper hand when surprising the enemy with a completely new strategy, which ended in their victory.
A further display of how Genghis Kahn used the combined knowledge of conquered peoples to adapt the military strategy of the Mongols was during his conquest of the Jurched dynasty. He combined knowledge from several conquered civilizations during this campaign including the Tangut where he gained this knowledge because the conquered people supplied it to the Mongol nation. He used engineers and other specialized workers to his advantage in order to adopt strategies and new weapons for war. The Chinese engineers now apart of the Mongol nation provided Genghis Kahn with the knowledge of how to build siege weapons to use against the Jurched such as the catapult and the ballista; which was a weapon that could shoot giant arrows at the enemy (Weatherford 94). He also came across the knowledge of how to build the fire lance while fighting the Jurched which the Mongols adopted into their arsenal as well. These weapons were new to the Mongols and because of his appreciation “ Genghis Khan made engineering units a permanent part of the Mongol army, and with each new battle and each conquest, his war machinery grew in complexity and efficiency, ” leading to continuous victories over their enemies (Weatherford 94). The consistent adaptation of weapons gave the Mongol army an advantage over their enemies when merged with their consistently changing battle strategies.
Time and time again the Mongols were able to conquer their enemies using the knowledge gained from several different civilizations. Even after Genghis Kahn died, his son Ogodei was able to use this knowledge just like his grandfather did and adapt his strategies in warfare for each battle. In 1238 the Mongol army went to ware with the Russian city of Raizan and their victorious strategy was to build a wall and surrounded the city with a blockade (Weatherford 147). The inhabitants of the city were trapped within their city and cut off from any outside help. The Mongols once again successful, made use of the available knowledge and resources at their disposal to adapt their battle strategy in favor of their victory. Incorporating new ideas into their army was a major strength that the Mongols had throughout their conquest of Asia. While other civilizations stuck to their usual battle strategies, the Mongols used the knowledge they gained to adapt their strategies to ensure their victory in each battle.
- Weatherford, Jack.Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World. New York, Crown Publishing, 2004
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