|Who was Genghis
Genghis Khan’s Campaign
Almost half of Khan’s army was made of heavy cavalry soldiers, wielding lance and sword and armored with coifs and breastplates. Light cavalry bowmen, which were armored with little more than leather helmets, filled the remaining ranks. All soldiers of the Mongol army were mounted, and the cavalrymen led spare horses that carried essential equipment and supplies needed for the campaign. These innovations created an extremely mobile army far superior to any other of the thirteenth century. Furthur more, Genghis Khan employed an extensive group of spies and scouts who reported enemy weaknesses and location(s). When reconnaissance detected a weakness, Khan would mass his forces up to 250,000 soldiers and execute an assault with the heavy cavalry in the front lines and the bowmen supporting from the rear.
The Mongol army, however, did not remain static, rather, it constantly evolved as the situation demanded. When Khan faced fortified cities in northern China, he added siege weapons that his men could disassemble into sections and carry on horses. When in need of engineering and medical skills that were not available within his own ranks, he captured and employed experts from other countries.
After the unification of the Mongols, Genghis Khan advanced into China. In soldiers, the Mongols were outnumbered two to one. They had to learn a new kind of warfare, against defensive cities, including cutting supply lines and diverting rivers. Genghis Khan and his army succeeded, and in 1210, Khan had won the Tangut (rulers of farmers and herders in northwestern China) recognition as overlord.
Also in 1210, the Jin, who ruled the northern lands of China including Beijing, sent a delegation to Genghis Khan demanding Mongol submission as vassals. The Jin controlled the flow of goods along the Silk Road, and defying them meant a lack of those goods. Genghis Khan and the Mongols discussed the matter and chose war. In 1211, Genghis Khan attacked. The Jin had an enormous and effective army, but they were hard pressed by the Mongol army and by a battle with the Tangut (the Southern Song wished to take advantage of the battle between the Mongols and Jin to liberate northern China), but the Jin forced the Chinese army into surrendering. The Mongols had benefited from the defeat of China during the previous century to make itself a strong military power. They benefited too from the Jin victory over China. Genghis Khan used divide and conquer tactics, using benevolence with those who sided with them and bloodshed against those who did not. They used conscripted labor in attacking cities and in operating their newly acquired Chinese siege weapons. Genghis Khan and his army overran Beijing and pushed into the center of northern China. The Jin emperor recognized Mongol authority and agreed to pay tribute.
After six years of fighting, Genghis Khan returned to Mongolia, leaving one of his best generals in charge of Mongol positions in China. Returning with Genghis Khan and his Mongols were captive engineers, musicians, translators, docters and scribes who had become a permanent part of their army.
The Mongols were happy to return back to Mongolia; their homeland was higher in elevation, less humid and cooler.
But they liked what was gained in the conquest of northern China, and in Mongolia there was change. The continuing flow of goods had to be transported and properly distributed and buildings had to be built to store those goods. Success in war was changing the Mongols-as it had with the Arabs and Romans. Genghis Khan wanted to trade goods, including weapons, for his nation. A Mongol caravan of several hundred merchants approached a recently formed empire between Persia and central Asia. The Khwarazm Shah claimed that there were spies in the caravan. Genghis Khan sent envoys, and the Khwarazm Shah had the chief of the envoys executedand the beards of the others burned. Then he sent them back to Genghis Khan. It was time for the Golden Horde to ride westward.
The war against the Khwarazm had begun. The Shah’s army was about twice the size of Khan’s. So Khan decided to divide his soldiers into four corps and attacked the Khwarazm on four fronts simultaneously. That would make the enemy believe that the Mongol army were much larger than they were.
The second corps, led by Ogatai, laid siege to to the city of Utrar and captured it it after six months of heavy fighting. In revenge for the execution of the Mongol merchant caravan, the Mongol forces destroyed Utrar and slaughtered almost all of its inhabitants. The third corps of Khan’s army was led by a general named Jebei, while the fourth was led by Jochi. These two corps moved south together and then split to attack various cities.
In the meantime, the first corps, led by Khan and his senior general, Subedei, headed for Bukhara. But instead of moving directly west, they followed a secret route across the desert, emerged several hundred miles behind the enemy lines, and attacked Bukhara by coming east. After killing all of its defenders, the Mongols plundered the city.
From Bukhara, Khan and Subedei headed for Samarkand, driving their prisoners before them as a human shield against enemy attacks. Samarkand, the shah’s capital, was heavily fortified, and the Mongols expected a long siege. To their delighted surprise, the city’s merchants and Muslim clergy offered to surrender Samarkand in return for their lives and protection. Five days later, the Mongols entered the city. They put its defending warriors to death and deported most of its remaining inhabitants to Khan’s court in Mongolia.
Genghis Khan had attained an enormous empire by the time they conquered Khwarazm. But instead of enjoying his wealth in peace, Khan rallied his troops and returned to war. He wanted revenge against the Tanguts of Xi-Xia for their failure to send troops and aid them in the war against the Khwarazm.
As usual, the Mongols employed some clever techniques. They flooded cities by damming rivers and then releasing the water all at once. During a battle on the frozen Yellow River, they tied pieces of felt underneath their horses’ hooves so the animals could not slide around on the ice.
The Mongol military success were marred, however, when Khan was thrown from his horse during a hunt. He suffered from severe injuries, and both his doctors and generals suggested that he break off the campaign and return home to heal. Genghis Khan refused. He would remain with his warriors.
The campaign continued. By the spring of 1227, the Mongols had conquered the Xi-Xia’s capital and were determined to advance into northern China. Then Khan, still not fully healed from his injuries came down with either malaria or typhus. After several months of sickness, the Great Khan died. He was about sixty years old.
The Mongols placed the body Genghis Khan in a cart and headed back home to Mongolia. Legend has it that Genghis Khan was buried on the side of Mount Burkhan Kaldun, near the place that he had spent much of his youth.