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The Mongols Were Able To Maintain Their Military Superiority Due To An Ability To Learn New Techniques And Adapt To Different Situations

2025 words - 9 pages

The Mongolian army was unstoppable in the eyes of their enemies. They are swift and ferocious, yet at the same time are mobile and capable of wearing out armies that are greater in numbers than them. It is true that the Mongolian army was open-minded to new tactics on the battlefield as well as adaptive to different situations, but that alone does not account for their military superiority. Together with the superior quality of each of its individual soldiers in terms of discipline, weapons and combat skills, the Mongolian army was able to take on larger and more disciplined armies from larger civilizations.The Mongols are basically nomads, roaming the steppe-desert world and moving from ...view middle of the document...

One of them is the feigned retreat known as the mangudai (Trombetta).The mangudai was popularly used in war campaigns because it is able to lure enemy troops away from their base into the wild steppes into a pre-arranged location (Tromebetta). At the pre-arranged location, the light cavalry would change into fresh mounts while the enemies follow straight into an ambush of hidden cavalry archers. With fresh mounts, the light cavalry would encircle the flanks of the enemies who by this time, are tired and weary and far from supplies. At this moment, the heavy cavalry would charge in and disperse the formation of the enemy, cutting and swathing through a path of blood. Such tactics are effective partly because great generals like Subodai and Jebe exists and are able to plan and execute them at the right moments.The Mongols are also amazing at adapting to new environments. Perhaps it is due to their upbringing as nomads in the steppes that taught them the importance of adapting. Under such environments, only those who adapt and compromise with what they have are able to survive. Hunting in the steppes requires Mongolians hunters to quickly surround and shoot at herds of game. On the battlefield, the Mongolian armies adapted this technique into a battle tactic, the mangudai. Change also does not surprise them anymore since they are so used to traveling and looking at different environment as the seasons change.The great Mongolian leader Genghis Khan also understood the importance of having spies and informants in the courts of his enemies even though he grew up in the steppes. He recruited many through briberies with gold and this allowed him to have a better understanding of his enemies. This is similar to the technique of scouting used while hunting. Men would be dispatched to encircle a smaller and smaller area, taking care not to allow any hunted animals to break through the ring, until it was time for the final slaughter. The use of the spy in international relations and military operations, therefore, may represent the outgrowth of activities that were common in traditional Mongol society (Trombetta).In another example of Mongolians adapting to new environments and overcoming obstacles would be the invasion of China during the Song Dynasty. In the steppes, fighting is done usually with units of heavy and light cavalry, since naval or infantry units are ineffective in such a vast, dry desert. However, to invade China, the Mongolian army would have to cross the Yangtze River as well as many other bodies of water. Thus, cavalry alone was not effective in the invasion. Genghis Khan knew this and to adapt, he made use of naval and amphibious operations that are more effective on China's terrain.He also ordered the construction of great artilleries even though they were of no use in the steppes. However, the kibitka, a light catapult used for launching javelins or the trebuchet-like catapult that launch rocks, as well as the ballistae, which could...

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