Puslapio vaizdai

Shah's attention was fixed to his front, the horrifying news reached him that Jenghiz Khan with his mass of manoeuvre had appeared on his left rear, and was almost at the gates of Bokhara.

This army of 40,000 men, under Jenghiz Khan himself, had followed in the wake of Juji's and Jagatai's armies, crossed the Syr Daria at Otrar, and then-disappeared into the blue. Masked by the armies of the two princes, its arrival on the scene had passed almost unnoticed. Having crossed the Syr Daria, it vanished into the immense desert of Kizyl-kum. By this dramatic venture of 40,000 to 50,000 men, and even more horses, across a supposed impassable desert, Jenghiz Khan gained complete secrecy until the moment when, at the beginning of April, he debouched at the southern end of the desert, took Nuruta, and was almost on the top of Bokhara-in rear of the Shah's armies !

At one blow the Shah's whole line was turned, and his communications severed with his more distant westerly States, whose forces had still to arrive. Demoralised, the Shah fled and left the garrison of Bokhara to its fate. Rarely, if ever, in the history of war has the principle of surprise been so dramatically or completely fulfilled.

On the 11th of April, Jenghiz Khan arrived and captured Bokhara, and then turned east towards Samarkand. Mean

while, the armies of the princes had joined hands with Chépé, and were converging on Samarkand. The doomed last stronghold of the Karismian power was caught between the hammer of the princes and the anvil of Jenghiz himself, and soon fell.

In the brief space of five months Jenghiz Khan had wiped out an army of 200,000 men, overthrown the mighty Karismian Empire, and opened the gateway to the West, towards Russia and towards Europe.

Every move had been made in calculated and orderly sequence towards the gaining of the ultimate objective, these purposeful moves being finally crowned by the tremendous surprise appearance from the Kizyl-kum Desert in the Shah's rear. A glance at the distances covered reveals the exceptional mobility of the Mongol armies. The sustained and repeated succession of blows was increased by the co-operation between the three columns, each thrust reacting to the advantage of the other columns, so that the economy of force which was manifest in the original distribution was helped by each subsequent link in the chain of events. Thanks partly to the Shah's misguided dispersion of his force, but also to Jenghiz Khan's consummate strategy, the Mongols were able to concentrate in superior force to the enemy at each steppingstone in their path to final victory. Thus we see Chépé's

feint in the south attracting the Karismian attention and their forces, and we admire the strategic vision which realised that a threat at this point would most effectively pave the way for an unhindered debouchement from the Ak-kum trough. Again, the advance of Juji and Jagatai, and their wheel south when they reach the Syr Daria, skilfully masks the decisive manœuvre of Jenghiz Khan, and fixes the Shah's attention to his front along this river line.

Then Chépé, instead of pushing on unsupported towards Samarkand, wheels north to join the princes, to help in "mopping up" the Persian

"packets " along the river. When their rear is thus secure, the combined armies converge on Samarkand just as Jenghiz Khan advances on it from the rear, so that the two jaws of the Mongol Army close with overwhelming superiority of force on this final enemy position.

In these brilliantly conceived and harmoniously executed operations we see every one of the principles of war-the objective, mobility, offensive power, security, surprise, concentration, co-operation, and economy of force-woven into a Nemesis-like web in which are trapped the doomed armies of the Shah.

The enemy armies crushed, Jenghiz Khan despatched Subutai and Chépé westwards in pursuit of the Shah and to open up the path to further conquests. Jelaladdin still held out in the south for a time, and then crossed the Indus. Jenghiz followed him up, and in 1221 sent an expedition to Delhi, which took nominal possession of the country that his successors were to hold in reality.

Then Jenghiz devoted his remaining years until his death in consolidating his mighty empire, which stretched from Korea to the Persian Gulf. The administration was thoroughly organised, and perhaps the most striking feature of


this empire was the complete religious toleration. Among his councillors were to be found Christians, Pagans, Mahommedans, and Buddhists.

Their mission of pursuit accomplished, and the Shah's treasure captured, Subutai and Chépé asked permission for an advance towards the Kiptchak country-i.e., Southern Russia. The suggestion found instant favour with the Emperor, and in six months they had advanced as far as Tiflis, crushing the kingdom of Georgia. In the spring of 1221 they pressed on into South Russia as far as the basin of the Donetz. Everywhere they established a stable military and civil administration. Further, they organised

an elaborate system of information to discover the weak points and rivalries of Europe. In this they found the Venetians quite willing to sacrifice the interests of Christian Europe in order to gain an advantage over their great trading rivals, the Genoese. In return for Mongol help in ousting the Genoese trade-centres in the Crimea, the Venetians acted as part of the intelligence service of the Mongols.

In 1223, however, they were recalled by Jenghiz Khan, and returned by the northern end of the Caspian Sea.

The schemes of European conquest were suspended for a generation owing to the death of Jenghiz Khan in 1227.

Disputes over the succession, for which Jenghiz had designated his second surviving son Ogdai, retarded further expansion to the West. Jenghiz Khan had called to his aid, in the administration of the immense newly gained empire, Yeliu Chutsai, a statesman of the former Kin Empire. The natural result was to give a Chinese complexion to the policy of the Mongol Empire, and to discourage adventures in Europe. But eventually Subutai's scheme for the invasion of the West came to the front once more. The ground had already been prepared for it by his network of spies and propagandists. The Pope, hopeful of a triumph of mass conversion, a proportion of the Mongol armies being already Nestorian Christians, held aloof from any

attempt to proclaim a Holy War. But while Subutai knew his Europe, and pulled the wires on which danced the royal puppets of Western civilisation, the latter remained in stupid oblivion of the plans and methods of their Mongol invaders. To quote Professor Bury: "The Mongols embarked upon the enterprise with full knowledge of the political situation of Hungary and the condition of Polandthey had taken care to inform themselves by a well-organised system of spies; on the other hand, the Hungarian and Christian powers, like childish barbarians, knew hardly anything about their enemies," until in a dramatically swift and overwhelming campaign their armies were broken in pieces and their countries overrun. When, owing to events in distant Asia, the Mongols withdrew and the nightmare pall of terror was lifted from Central Europe, there was left just an incoherent sense of a fearful and irresistible tidal wave of yellow hordes. It was then that arose the fictitious excuse of overwhelming numbers, put forward by the medieval historian to save the reputation of European chivalry. Actually, it is probable that the invading force did not number more than 150,000 men, even when it set out, and that as a result of the losses in the preliminary campaigns and the detachments left to guard the communications with the East, little more than 100,000 took part in the

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An advance into Hungary, with the Poles and Germans ready to fall on his right flank, would be hazardous. It was necessary to crush these threats to his flank, and to ward off any premature intervention from Austria (the Empire) or Bohemia. The tremendous victories of Szydlow in Poland and Liegnitz in Silesia have caused some historians to imagine that the Mongol purpose was a general conquest of Europe. But Subutai was far too wise to advance into the hilly and wooded regions of Western Europe, where the Mongolian horsemen would be at a disadvantage, and their system of tactics unsuitable to the country. The plain of Hungary was his goal, and he kept to it unswervingly. It is an object - lesson for modern political strategists who frame their foreign and imperial policies without reference to their military means and limitations.

He divided his force into four armies, each roughly of three toumans. Three of these he assigned to the main operation, and the fourth he used to achieve his secondary or auxiliary objective-the removal of the danger on his right flank. This last, under the Prince Kaidu, moved first, as had Chépé's detachment into Fergana. At the beginning of March 1241 it crossed the Vistula at Sandomir, which it took by storm. Then on the 18th of March it fell upon the Polish

armies of Boleslas and Miecislas at Szydlow and crushed them, driving off the débris of the two armies in divergent directions. Kaidu swept on at hurricane speed, took Cracow, and then Breslau; on the 8th of April he met at Liegnitz the German forces under the Duke Henry of Silesia, together with the orders of the Templars and Hospitallers, and the remains of the Polish troops. A day's march to the south was the army of King Wenceslas of Bohemia. The Mongols, who were inferior in numbers to the troops of Duke Henry, struck on the 9th of April before the allied armies could effect a junction, and inflicted a terrible disaster. In less than a month the Mongols had covered some 400 miles, fought two decisive battles, taken four great cities, and conquered Poland and Silesia from the Vistula to the borders of Saxony.

When Wenceslas of Bohemia had news of the Liegnitz disaster, he fell back to Glatz to cover his own kingdom. His hope of entrapping the Mongols in the defiles of Glatz proved vain, for the latter's reconnaissance warned them of the trap. Instead, under cover of a mobile screen, they laid waste Moravia to create according to their method a desert which would guard their flank. Their purpose accomplished, they turned south to join Subutai, ready to fall upon the flank of the Austrian forces

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