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More Genghis Khan / Mongol History Articles

Progress Of The Quarrel

Pastoral Life In Asia

Death Of The Sultan

Victorious Campaigns

Rupture With Vang Khan

Dominions Of Genghis Khan

Conquests In China

Grand Celebrations

The First Battle

The Sultan Mohammed

The Death Of Yemuka

Yezonkai Khan

Temujin In Exile

Vang Khan

Adventures Of Prince Kushluk

The Fall Of Bokhara

Establishment Of The Empire

Idikut

The Monguls

Battles And Sieges


The War With The Sultan





1217-1218

Marshaling of the army.--Arms and armor.--Provision for
contingencies.--The army commences its march.--Jughi's
division.--Preparations of the sultan.--His army.--His plan.--The
sultan meets Jughi.--Opinion of the generals.--Jughi's decision.--The
battle commenced.--Neither party victorious.--Jughi withdraws.--His
reception by his father.--The Monguls victorious.--The sultan's
plans.--Flying squadron.--Genghis Khan.


Genghis Khan made his preparations for a war on an immense scale. He
sent messengers in every direction to all the princes, khans,
governors, and other chieftains throughout his empire, with letters
explaining to them the cause of the war, and ordering them to repair
to the places of rendezvous which he appointed, with all the troops
that they could raise.

He gave particular directions in respect to the manner in which the
men were to be armed and equipped. The arms required were the sabre,
the bow, with a quiver full of arrows, and the battle-axe. Each
soldier was also to carry a rope, ropes and cordage being continually
in demand among people living on horseback and in tents.

The officers were to wear armor as well as to carry arms. Those who
could afford it were to provide themselves with a complete coat of
mail. The rest were to wear helmets and breast-plates only. The
horses were also to be protected as far as possible by breast-plates,
either of iron, or of leather thick and tough enough to prevent an
arrow from penetrating.

When the troops thus called for appeared at the place of rendezvous
appointed for them, Genghis Khan found, as is said, that he had an
army of seven hundred thousand men!

The army being thus assembled, Genghis Khan caused certain rules and
regulations, or articles of war, as they might be called, to be drawn
up and promulgated to the troops. One of the rules was that no body of
troops were ever to retreat without first fighting, whatever the
imminence of the danger might be. He also ordered that where a body of
men were engaged, if any subordinate division of them, as one company
in a regiment, or one regiment in a battalion, should break ranks and
fly before the order for a retreat should have been given by the
proper authority, the rest were to leave fighting the enemy, and
attack the portion flying, and kill them all upon the spot.

The emperor also made formal provision for the event of his dying in
the course of the campaign. In this case a grand assembly of all the
khans and chieftains of the empire was to be convened, and then, in
the presence of these khans and of his sons, the constitution and
laws of the empire, as he had established them, were to be read, and
after the reading the assembly were to proceed to the election of a
new khan, according to the forms which the constitution had provided.

After all these affairs had been arranged, Genghis Khan put his army
in motion. He was obliged, of course, to separate it into several
grand divisions, and to send the several divisions forward by
different roads, and through different sections of the country. So
large a body can never be kept together on a long march, on account of
the immense quantity of food that is required, both for the horses and
the men, and which must be supplied in the main by the country itself
which they traverse, since neither horses nor men can carry food with
them for more than a very few days.

Genghis Khan put one of the largest divisions under the command of his
son Jughi, the prince who distinguished himself so much in the
conflicts by which his father raised himself to the supreme power.

Jughi was ordered to advance with his division through Turkestan, the
country where the Prince Kushluk had sought refuge, and which still
remained, in some degree, disaffected toward Genghis Khan. Genghis
Khan himself, with the main body of the army, took a more southerly
route directly toward the dominions of the sultan.

In the mean time the sultan himself had not been idle. He collected
together all the forces that he could command. When they were
mustered, the number of men was found to be four hundred thousand.
This was a large army, though much smaller than that of Genghis Khan.

The sultan set out upon his march with his troops to meet the
invaders. After advancing for some distance, he learned that the army
of Jughi, which had passed through Turkestan, was at the northward of
his position, and he found that by turning in that direction he might
hope to meet and conquer that part of the Mongul force before it could
have time to join the main body. He determined at once to adopt this
plan.

He accordingly turned his course, and marched forward into the part of
the country where he supposed Jughi to be. At length he came to a
place where his scouts found, near a river, a great many dead bodies
lying on the ground. Among the others who had fallen there was one man
who was wounded, but was not dead. This wounded man told the scouts
that the bodies were those of persons who had been slain by the army
of Jughi, which had just passed that way. The sultan accordingly
pressed forward and soon overtook them. Jughi was hastening on in
order to join his father.

Jughi consulted his generals in respect to what it was best to do.
They advised him to avoid a battle.

"We are not strong enough," said they, "to encounter alone the whole
of the sultan's army. It is better that we should retreat, which we
can do in an orderly manner, and thus join the main body before we
give the enemy battle. Or, if the sultan should attempt to pursue us,
he can not keep his army together in doing so. They will necessarily
become divided into detachments on the road, and then we can turn and
destroy them in detail, which will be a much surer mode of proceeding
than for us to attack them in the mass."

Jughi was not willing to follow this advice.

"What will my father and my brothers think," said he, "when they see
us coming to them, flying from the enemy, without having fought them,
contrary to his express commands? No. We must stand our ground,
trusting to our valor, and do our best. If we are to die at all, we
had better be slain in battle than in flight. You have done your duty
in admonishing me of the danger we are in, and now it remains for me
to do mine in trying to bring you out of it with honor."

So he ordered the army to halt, and to be drawn up in order of battle.

The battle was soon commenced, and it was continued throughout the
day. The Monguls, though fewer in numbers, were superior to their
enemies in discipline and in courage, and the advantage was obviously
on their side, though they did not gain a decisive victory. Toward
night, however, the sultan's troops evinced every where a disposition
to give way, and it was with great difficulty that the officers could
induce them to maintain their ground until the darkness came on and
put an end to the conflict. When at length the combatants could no
longer see to distinguish friend from foe, the two armies withdrew to
their respective camps, and built their fires for the night.

Jughi thought that by fighting during this day he had done all that
his father required of him to vindicate the honor of the army, and
that now it would be most prudent to retreat, without risking another
battle on the morrow. So he caused fresh supplies of fuel to be put
upon the camp-fires in order to deceive the enemy, and then marched
out of his camp in the night with all his men. The next morning, by
the time that the sultan's troops were again under arms, he had
advanced far on his march to join his father, and was beyond their
reach.

He soon rejoined his father, and was received by him with great joy.
Genghis Khan was extremely pleased with the course which his son had
pursued, and bestowed upon him many public honors and rewards.

After this other great battles were fought between the two armies. At
one of them, a great trumpet fifteen feet long is mentioned among the
other martial instruments that were used to excite the men to ardor in
making the charge.

In these battles the Monguls were victorious. The sultan, however,
still continued to make head as well as he could against the invaders,
until at length he found that he had lost one hundred and sixty
thousand of his men. This was almost half of his army, and the loss
enfeebled him so much that he was convinced that it was useless for
him any longer to resist the Monguls in the open field; so he sent off
his army in detachments to the different towns and fortresses of his
kingdom, ordering the several divisions to shut themselves up and
defend themselves as well as they could, in the places assigned to
them, until better times should return.

The sultan, however, did not seek shelter in this way for himself. He
selected from his troops a certain portion of those who were most
active and alert and were best mounted, and formed of them a sort of
flying squadron with which he could move rapidly from place to place
through the country, wherever his aid might be most required.

Genghis Khan, of course, now prepared to attack the cities where the
several divisions of the sultan's army had intrenched themselves. He
wished first to get possession of Otrar, which was the place where the
embassadors and the merchants had been massacred. But the city was not
very large, and so, instead of marching toward it himself, he gave the
charge of capturing it to two of his younger sons, whom he sent off
for the purpose at the head of a suitable detachment.

He himself, with the main body, set off upon a march toward the cities
of Samarcand and Bokhara, which were the great central cities of the
sultan's dominions.





Next: The Fall Of Bokhara

Previous: The Sultan Mohammed



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