The Mongolian warrior Genghis Khan (1162-1227), also known as Jenghiz Khan was said to have conquered over two-thirds of the known world in his lifetime. He was renowned as a brilliant strategist, employing methods of warfare that were decades before his time. He had a mobile cavalry, coordinated fighting style, and respect for his subordinates, the Mongolian horde. Temu-jin of Mongolia, best known by others as Genghis Khan, meaning "Universal ruler" or "emperor of all emperors" is said to have created one of the greatest empires spanning from China to the Adriatic Sea.
Temu-jin was the son of Kiyat- Borijiad chieftan who was assassinated when Temu-jin was a young man. Most of the followers of Genghis Khans father felt he was to young of a boy to protect them, so the tribe went and sought a more powerful lord leaving Genghis Khan and his family to fend for themselves. For about ten years they lived off the land eating roots, berries and small animals such as mice. During these years it taught Genghis Khan to not be foolishly adventurous and brave giving him the shrewd, steady and practical personality that will be reflected in his return to unite the Mongols in his conquests.
Years later in 1206 he would accept the rule of leader of the Kiyat tribes in an attempt to reunite his people. The many hardships he endured in his youth would embolden him and give him courage to face the battles that lay ahead. Starting from nowhere Genghis Khan he had to improve his station in life, he sought the help of a friend of his fathers Togrul- Khan of the Keraits. Genghis Khan used a coat of black sable as a gift to Togrul-Khan in exchange for his promise of reuniting his Fathers" followers.
"As a descendent of royal blood, he considered himself an aristocrat of the Steppes, he was the father of three valiant warriors, Kasar, belaulei and jelme but he wanted more"(Janic). The year of the sheep 1187, he made several military successes and various aristocrats of the numerous tribes and their families joined him (Temu-jin). They offered their allegiance to him after realizing he was an ideal Steppe Warrior. " While still in his twenties they elected him Khan and gave him the name Jenghiz, expecting him to lead them to conquer rich pastures, capture beautiful women and acquire good horses and hunting grounds" (Janic).
At the beginning still unstable he knew he had to protect himself from sudden raids, so he set up a guard of warriors, 80 night guards (kabtaut) and 70-day guards (Tunghaut) providing protection of the herds of horses thus beginnings of his army. Their rigorous life style provided them with the ability to hunt skillfully and handle whatever came their way. Genghis Khan realized these hordes of horsemen were not an army they needed discipline and organization to make an effective fighting force. Genghis Khan made up routines for his army to practice their skills and obedience.
One such stimulated battle was he had them all set up in a circle with their weapons blazing with eyes on the prey and were not allowed to fire until he gave the command. These types of exercises made the armies united and act as one a whole. While also showing their obedience to the commander. " In tight formation they wheeled and retreated by turns, shooting over the back of the horses, turning again to attack still maintaining tight Well- ordered formations" (Macpherson). The keys to his victorious army was the strong discipline and tight organization. The Mongols now formed one united army under the nine tailed white banner and set forth to conquer territory and mold it into an empire.
His unity of the tribe laid the foundations to build the empire. " armies of today still use the military tactics of softening up the enemy by artillery fire, pioneered by the Mongols, the difference being the Mongols used arrows, and stones and other missiles fired from siege engines instead of heavy artillery cannons" (Lamb). The Mongol army was divided using the decimal system. " A troop of ten called arban was the smallest unit." " A squadron of 100, made up of 10 arbans was called a jaqun". " A regiment of 1,000 made up of ten jaguns was called a minghan" " a division of 10,000, made up of ten minghans". " A division of 10,000 made up of ten minghans were called a Tumen". (Lamb).
Officers only gave orders to ten men and they were only responsible to that officer. " the army was divided into three parts the Jun-gar was the army of the left wing or east, the Bargan- gar was the army of the right wing or west and the Khol was the army of the center" (Mcpherson) Mongols used mobility and their surroundings as strengths of conquering their empire. The Mongols where able to pick up and move in about a minute, everything they had was movable. Each man carried flasks to hold milk, a pot for cooking, qumiz, millet and dried meat. Along with these they needle, thread, bows, 60 arrows and 4 to 5 horses.
Their housing called a "Ger" was a tent that was easily set up and taken down. These warriors where used to their harsh surroundings which made them extremely tough that they could ride for about ten days without fire or food, by living of horse blood. They would slit open open a vein of a horse they brought drink the blood and then bound up the wound. The flocks and herds were very mobile they had only those things that could move with them. They used flesh and milk from the goats and sheep, also the hides for clothing, for arrows and armor.
In addition to the men Khan gave the women responsibilities and their social standings were better then that of most of the world. They drove the carts, milked the cows, if a princesses they had political powers and made sure the war equipment was ready. With the men and the women took care of the the goats and sheep while taking turns milking them. He kept the duties equal, they each had things to be done to keep the tribe running smoothly. Without the women sharing in the work duties they would be less Equipped to be fast, the women learned so that they could be quick=k enough to move on any given notice.
In 1227 Genghis died at the height of his power, opening up four trade routes that had been closed because of previous wars: the Silk Road, an alternative route from lower Udag to west China, sea route from China to Persian Gulf and a Siberian route. Not only did he create a well-organized empire, but also a victorious army. " He laid the ground- work for the administrative structure and had given them a rigid code of laws"(Lamb). Genghis Khans empire would not have grown without the aide and assistance of " his trusted companions, andsas who had worked just as hard as he had to build up his Empire" (Mcpherson). He kept the empire together during his lifetime but upon his death it only lasted another thirty years.
- Christianson, eric. "The Mongols".06-02.05-03.
- Janic, Jules "medieval history" feb 2002. 05-03.http:// citilink,net tocoons?history.html.>
- Lamb, Harry "Lectures 12-13".2002. 05-03
- Medieval military history. "The Mongols".Jan 19,2003. 05-03.
- Macpherson, Catriona. "Compleat anachronist #52". the Mongols. 2002.05-03. http://history/mongols/military.html>
- Mcpherson, anna.2003.05-03." Mongol life"