- May 25, 2013
KALKA RIVER 1223 - MONGOL STORM
RISE OF GENGHIS KHAN :
The Mongol tribes - Naimans, Keraits, Uirats, Merkits and Jalair -inhabited both slopes of the Altai mountains, northwards to Lake Baikal and south-eastwards into Manchuria living a harsh nomadic lifestyle.There were no towns, the steppe Mongols lived in huge, circular-tent encampments.Ruling clans and military elite existed, the tribes were very fragmented being held together by bonds of kinship and personal charisma of a leader.The chinese particularly took care to maintain a balance of power between chiefs in the steppes,as if any got too powerful he would inevitably turn to raids against propsperous north china.
Timujin,son of a chieftain of the Borijigin tribe(One of the major mongol tribes) had a rough upbringing.His father was killed by the Tatars when he was 12,and his followers dispersed and joined the Taichyut(other main mongol tribe) leaving the family to fight for survival.Growing up he slowly gathered a loyal band of followers around him by charisma and leadership skills.Timujin established a client-patron relationship with Toghril,the powerful chief of the Kereits who was blood brother to his father and sought his assistance against the Merkits who had abducted his wife.Timujin and Jamuqa,another client of Toghril and blood brother to timujin joined forces to crush the merkits.When they went their sperate ways owing to tension,several of jamuqas men had joined timujin due to charisma and his practice of equal treatment,promotion on merit and intense loyalty to them.With his growing prestige most of his fathers followers returned to serve him and in 1185 at just 20 or so years old he was elected Khan of the Borjigids.
(The Pre-Mongol World -Expand image)
It was still a learning phase for timujin and in 1187 tensions with Jamuqa led to conflict.Timujin was defeated and had to flee.But Jamuqa's brutal policy of vengeance against those who had left him for timujin,alienated many of his own followers who were often related by kinship.Timujin regrouped his forces,the growing power of the tatars alarmed the Chinese Jin empire as well as his overlord Toghril.The Mongol-Kerait -Jin alliance succeeded in destroying tatar power and timujin avenged his father.Timujin's power continued to grow and he established himself as the undisputed leader of the mongols by defeating the Taichyuts.The Taichyut remnants and other tribes formed a confederation against toghril and temujin led by jamuqa.However Jamuqa was defeated in battle forced to submit again to toghril,while Timujin assimilated the Taichyuts into the Borigijin tribe after executing their leaders.Following this success he made a final attack against the Tatar remnants in 1202 and finished them off.Temüjin ordered the destruction of the Tatar aristocracy, while the commoners were assimilated into the Mongols and distributed among the various clans to ensure that they would not prove troublesome.He was now master of Eastern Mongolia.
His rapid growth in power alarmed his formal overlord Toghril who was again supported by Jamuqa.A failed ambush to kill Temujin in 1203 led to a battle,the outnumbered army of Temujin initially suffered a defeat,he managed to rally his forces and made a surprise attack on the Kereit camp as they celebrated their victory routing the Kereit forces.Toghril fled and was killed in exile.Temüjin’s power and prestige increased tremendously, he now dominated both Central and Eastern Mongolia.He absorbed the Kereit Aristocracy into the mongol structure by treating them well and establishing matrimonial relations with them,rather than destroy them for many of these men were well-known to Temüjin and there was no true animosity between the Kereit and the Mongols,till recently allies.
The final opposition to Timujin came from the Naiman confederacy of South-western Mongolia.They were joined by temujin's surviving enemies and the forces of Jamuqa.While the Naimans began the war,Timujin attacked first and fast.Outnumbered upon arriving in Naiman territory, Temüjin ordered every man to light a campfire at night to conceal the relative smallness of their numbers. The ruse worked and delayed the Naiman from attacking. The resultant confusion regarding the Mongols’ true strength caused dissension among the Naiman leaders.The disciplined mongol army and temujin's generalship saw a decisive mongol victory in the Battle of Chakirmaut.In its aftermath Jamuqa was betrayed by his own men,Temujin executed the traitors and wished to pardon jamuqa(his blood brother) but he chose death.With his Unification of Mongolian steppe complete,in 1206 in a Quriltai(Congress) ,Timujin was proclaimed Genghis Khan - Universal Ruler.An event of little significance at that moment for the many peoples of eurasia who weren't even aware of their existence.
(United Mongolia-And its former divisions)
''It is not sufficient that i succeed,all others must fail'' -Genghis Khan
GENGHIS KHAN'S ACHIEVEMENT :
Genghis Khan didn't simply unify Mongolia,he also altered the political and social structure of the society.Previously Khans existed for the convenience of those they ruled. Chiefs were proclaimed when they were needed as war leaders or to settle serious disputes. Most came from aristocratic families, as did Genghis himself an unsuccessful chief would simply not be obeyed. This 'political' freedom was in marked contrast to the iron discipline within the later Post-Genghis Mongol armies once an effective leader had been accepted.In time of peace, however, the people merely agreed not to go against their khan's interests, but would equally resist interference in their own everyday lives. Genghis Khan's achievement was to create a government that not only governed but was wholly accepted by the ruled.Absolute loyalty to the Khan became a tenet of mongol theory of kingship.Genghis laid down several rules and also took novel steps to unify his empire.
The first new laws forbade the kidnapping of women within his empire.
>He forbade the abduction and enslavement of any Mongols
>He declared all children legitimate, whether born to a wife or a concubine
>The penalty for thief or not returning an animal or a good to the appropriate supervisor is death
>He forbidden hunting of animals between March and October during the breeding time.
>Himself an animist(Tengri),he decreed complete and total religious freedom for everyone.
>Instituted the novel practice of granting diplomatic immunity for all ambassadors and envoys .
>Exempted religious leader and their property from taxation and from all types of public service.
Later extended the same tax exemption to professionals who provided essential public service, including undertakers, doctors, lawyers, teachers and scholars.
>According to his law, the Khan must always be elected by a Khuriltai.
>He ordered the adoption of a writing system.
>Temujin had produced a new type of steppe army based on greater variety of tactic and most important, close cooperation among the men and complete obedience to their commanders. Temujin used a set of maneuvers that each man had to know and to which each responded precisely and without hesitation.
>In the long history of steppe warfare, a defeated tribe was looted, some members taken prisoner, and the rest left again to their own devices. Defeated groups regularly reorganized and counterattacked or broke away and joined rival tribes. Temujin followed a radical new policy that revealed his ambitions to fundamentally alter the cycle of attack and counterattack. The members who choose to join his followers would not be taken as slaves but Temujin took them as members of the tribe and all others would be executed.To those who followed Temujin faithfully, there would be rewards and good treatment. To those who chose to attack him, he would show no mercy.
>He demanded that each commander of the units of one thousand and ten thousand send their own son and their son's best friends to him personally to make his own unit of ten thousand.This ensured their loyalty as well as served as a model officer corps under his supervision.
>Genghis promoted on basis of merit.
>Genghis realized that the rush to loot the camp of the defeated served as an impediment to more complete victory. This system allowed many defeated warriors to escape and eventually return for a counterattack.
He would order that all looting would wait until after a complete victory had been won over the enemy.
>He distributed the goods along the same lines by which the hunting men of the forest traditionally distributed the kill at the end of a group hunt. In an other innovation, he ordered that a soldier's share be allocated to each widow and each orphan of every soldier killed in the raid. This policy not only ensured him the support of the poorest people in the tribe, but it also inspired loyalty among his soldier who knew that even if they died, he would take care of their surviving families.
>Set up the famed mongol postal service that was the artery of the empire and reason behind large co-ordinated strategic successes over vast areas.(later detailed)
>Genghis organized his warriors into squads of ten who were to be brothers to one another. No matter what their kin group of their tribal origin, they were ordered to live and fight together as brothers. No one of them could ever leave the other behind in battle as a captive.
THE MONGOL ASSAULT ON THE WORLD :
By the its very nature,the new mongol state had to expand or implode.Genghis began by subduing his immediate neighbours the Siberian forest tribes to the north,the kyrghyz to the west and the Uyghurs to the south all of which submitted without serious fighting.
''Heaven is weary of the pride and luxury of china'' - Genghis to the chinese emperor.
Invasion of China -
Next the mongols penetrated into the western chinese Xi-xia kingdom in 1209 which had sheltered his rivals.Unable to stop the mobile mongol hordes the xia xia submitted and became a client state.
The accesion of a new ruler on the throne of the principal chinese empire-the Jin brought with it the traditional demand for a token of submission.With Genghis this meant war .He spit the ground and unleashed the mongol war machine on Northern china.Although the Mongols devastated much of the Jin Empire, they withdrew in 1212 unable to capture the walled cities and retained only a small portion of Jin territory, primarily to control the mountain passes back into the steppes. They also compelled the Jin to pay a handsome amount in tribute.Autumn of 1212, Genghis Khan once again invaded the Jin Empire in a two-pronged attack, the second army being led by Tolui, Genghis Khan’s youngest son. Both forces took siege engineers with them. The Mongols withdrew in 1214, once again having been paid a sizeable tribute and taken a considerable amount of plunder. Perhaps more importantly, the Mongols had demonstrated that the Jin forces could not defeat them in open combat; nor could they rely on their fortifications to protect them, as the Mongols took numerous cities slowly blockading the capital of Zhongdu (near modern Beijing). As before, the Mongols maintained a presence in strategic passes after their withdrawal, thereby preventing the Jin from launching attack an into Mongolia.Another mongol invasion in 1214 saw the downfall of the Jin capital and the slow disintegration of the empire.By 1218 most of the Empire was in Mongol hands, and more and more Jin generals,were changing sides.The Empire was on the verge of collapse until events in the west staved off defeat for another decade.
Invasion of Central Asia & Middle East -
The raids of the surviving naimans who had fled to kara khitai and the qanlu or Eastern Kipchak turks were of concern to genghis.The kara -khitai turkish khanate thus became the next targets of mongol expansion.Jebe's assault brought the Kara-khitai to a quick end ,while subutai and jebe led another expedition into the eastern kipchak lands to crush the remaining rival fugitives to genghis.The conquest of the kara-khitai however brought he mongol borders in contact with the other great power of the region -The Islamic Khwarezm Sultanate of muhammad Shah.Khan at that time had no intention of invading the Khwarezmid Empire,the Shah very suspicious of Genghis' desire for a trade agreement, and messages from the shah's ambassador at Zhongdu(Beijing) in China described the savagery of the Mongols when they assaulted the city.Underestimating mongol strength,and thinking it occupied in china the shah executed mongol trade caravans and then mongol envoys - a direct affront to the prestige of genghis which he couldn't ignore.In response Genghis left behind a holding detatchment in china and turned the Mongol Hordes west.
After compiling information from many intelligence sources, primarily from spies along the Silk Road,Genghis Khan carefully prepared his army,While still relying on the traditional advantages of his mobile nomadic cavalry, Genghis incorporated many aspects of warfare from China, particularly chinese siege engineers. His baggage train included such siege equipment as battering rams,gunpowder,trebuchets and enormous siege bows capable of throwing 20-foot arrows into siege works.The Mongol army was perhaps 150,000 strong - perhaps only 2/3rd of its mongols.(rest auxillaries from conquered areas).Shah Muhammad had an enormous 400,000 men army but it was partly dissipated -by his fear of united commanders intriguing against him,need to pacify newly conquered areas and his belief that mongol raiders would be unable to siege cities like typical steppe nomads.The shah concentrated his forces in a cordon of fortresses on the Syr Darya riverline.
The mongol invasion was carried out by 4 seperate columns working in concert in an astonishing display of strategic co-ordination and skill over hudnreds of miles.The initial phase began with a 2- prong attack. Genghis with the main army moved on the city of Utrar,North on the Syr Darya riverline which fell after 5 months of siege.This was the same city that the Mongolian convoy was put to death. To send a message, the Mongols poured molten silver in the eyes and ears of the governor.Simultaneously a southernmost mongol army(25-30,000) under Jochi(son of genghis)burst forth from the Tien Shan mountains and advanced from South khorasan(bottom most arrow in map).The shah sent his troops to contain jochi and more north along the syr darya riverbank to meet any mongols coming southwards from Utrar.A mongol attack from further west was held impossible due to the Kizil Kum desert.
Genghis split his main army at Utrar into 2 sections.His sons Ogedei and Chagatai led a column south along the west bank of the syr Darya towards the khorasan capital samarkand from Utrar.He himself and his son Toulai led 50,000 men (which was joined a second column ) and moved west skirting round the desert , traversed the seemingly impassable Kizil Kum desert by hopping through the various oases, guided most of the way by captured local nomads.(Mongol intelligence had identified some of them before the invasion and had taken it into account).They completely outflanked the Shah's defensive line and appeared suddenly to the Shah's rear before the city of Bukhara -effectively cutting off his escape route and throwing a tightening noose around the Khwarezm forces from 3 directions.The shock generated by his sudden appearance was immense.The Bukharan garrison attempting to break out, of perhaps 20,000 men, was annihilated in open battle. The city fell, artisans and craftsmen were sent back to Mongolia, young men who had not fought were drafted into the Mongolian army and the rest of the population was sent into slavery. The city was razed to the ground and here before the assembled populace Genghis made his infamous proclamation -
''I am the Punishment of God,had you not committed great sins god would not have sent a punishment like me upon you''- Genghis Khan
Even as Genghis had appeared on the rear,Ogedei and Chagatai were descending from the north ,a final Mongol force under Jebe and Subutai crossed the Syr Darya and head directly for Samarqand from the frontal direction.Meanwhile Jochi's Southern Column swung upwards and moved on samarkand from the south.Surrounded by Mongol armies converging on him from every direction the shah was in deseperation.
After the fall of Bukhara, Genghis headed to the Khwarezmi capital of Samarkand and arrived in March 1220. Samarkand possessed significantly better fortifications and as many as 100,000 men defending it. As Genghis began his siege, his sons Ogedei and Chagatai joined him and the joint Mongol forces launched an assault on the city. The Mongols attacked using prisoners as body shields. On the third day of fighting, the Samarkand garrison launched a counterattack. Feigning retreat, Genghis drew a garrison force of 50,000 outside the fortifications of Samarkand and slaughtered them in open combat. Shah Muhammad attempted to relieve the city twice, but was driven back. Genghis reneged on his surrender terms and executed every soldier that had taken arms against him at Samarkand. The people of Samarkand were ordered to evacuate and assemble in a plain outside the city, where they were killed and pyramids of severed heads raised as the symbol of Mongol victory.The shah fled in desperation westwards.Khan sent his trusted generals Jebe and Sübedei in pursuit while he prosecuted the war. Muhammad eventually escaped to an island in the Caspian Sea, where he died in 1221.
MONGOL ONSLAUGHT : JEBE AND SUBUTAI'S GREAT RAID
1>Jochi destroys the khwarzem city of Urgench and attacks the Eastern Kipchkas(cuman) turks.Assault on Urgench proved to be the most difficult battle of the Mongol invasion. The city was built along the river Amu Darya in a marshy delta area. The soft ground did not lend itself to siege warfare, and there was a lack of large stones for the catapults. The Mongols attacked regardless, and the city fell only after the defenders put up a stout defense, fighting block for block. Mongolian casualties were higher than normal.The sack of Urgench one of the bloodiest massacres in history with hundreds of thousands killed.(Dec 1220)
2>Genghis pursues Jalal-ud-din,son of the shah ,enroute he destroys Balkh(1221) and Ghazni(1222) in afghanisthan,butchering all inhabitants.
3>Jalal-ud-din defeats a mongol army at Parwan ,but is defeated subsequently at the indus against the main mongol army under Genghis.He escapes across the Indus.
4>Genghis returns to Samarqand,having finished off Khwrezmid resistance.
5>Toulai's Khorasan Campaign.The garrison at Merv was only about 12,000 men, and the city was inundated with refugees.On the 8th day after heavy fighting, the city's governor surrendered the city on Tolui's promise that the lives of the citizens would be spared. As soon as the city was handed over, however, Tolui slaughtered almost every person who surrendered, in a massacre possibly on a greater scale than that at Urgench. After finishing off Merv, Tolui headed westwards, attacking the cities of Nishapur and Herat. Nishapur fell after only three days; here, Tokuchar, a son-in-law of Genghis was killed in battle, and Tolui put to the sword every living thing in city, including the cats and dogs.After Nishapur's fall, Herat surrendered without a fight and was spared. Bamian was another scene of carnage . By spring 1221, the province of Khurasan was under complete Mongol rule. Leaving garrison forces behind him, Tolui headed back east to rejoin his father.
6-8>Shah Mohammad flees ,closely pursued by Mongol army under Jebe and Subutai.He dies on Astara island on the caspian sea.
9>Subutai and Jebe sack Qazvin and Rayy enroute.(early 1221)Hamadan submits.Jebe on hearing of Muhammad's death,asks Genghis for a year or two to continue his conquests before returning to Mongolia via the Caucasus.
10>Mongols raid Georgia.Georgian army sent to oppose them is defeated.(Feb 1221)
11>Azerbaijani Ruler of Tabriz saves himself by bribing the mongols with money,clothing and horses.
12>Mongols invade Georgia in force.Georgian army is annihilated in battle.Subutai feigns retreat and jebe ambushes them.Mongols go on to devastate Georgia.(late 1221)
13>Mongols go into winter quarters on the Azeri steppe.Jebe & Subutai recieves orders from Genghis to cross the caucasus next season and attack the western Kipchaks or Cumans while Jochi attacks the Eastern Cummans from the other side of the caspian sea and then return to Mongolia.
14-15>After making it through the Caucasus(1222), the Mongols were met by an alliance consisting of the Lezygians,Alans,Cherkassy tribes who were living north of the Caucasus,joined by the Cumans who had mustered an army of over 50,000 men.In the narrow passes facing a similar steppe army and outnumbered the mongols are unable to break through.
16>The Mongols resort to treachery.They persuade the Cuman to abandon the alliance by reminding them of the Turkic-Mongol friendship and promising them a share of the booty gained from the Caucasian tribes.With the alliance weakened,the Mongols attacked the alliance's army and routed it.
17>The Mongols then proceeded to attack the Cumans, who had split into two separate groups as they were returning home, destroying both armies and executing all the prisoners before sacking Astrakhan.The Mongols began pursuing the Cumans as they fled in a north-westerly direction
18>Mongols spend winterquarters(1222) in Don steppe.
19>Surviving Cumans flee to the russian principalities.Khan Koten fled to the court of his son-in-law,Mstislav the bold and warned him "Today the Mongols have taken our land and tomorrow they will take yours".However, the Cumans were ignored for almost a year as the Rus had suffered from Cumans raids for decades. But when news reached Kiev that the Mongols were marching along the Dneister River, the Rus responded.Mstislav gathered an alliance of the Kievan Rus Princes including Mstislav of Kiev and Yuri of Vladimir-Suzdal who promised support. The Rus princes then began mustering their armies and going towards the rendezvous point.