Puslapio vaizdai
PDF
„ePub“

should the Emperor move to final phase of their mission of the aid of Hungary. But while security, Subutai had wiped they had been fulfilling this out the Hungarian army.

VII.

While Subutai had taken the main army against interference foregoing measures to ensure from Austria, until on the 17th flank security, his grasp of war of March it joined Subutai near and its unforeseen happenings Gran. had led him not to rely exclu- Meanwhile the left column sively on it. He advanced into had executed a circular sweep Hungary in three columns, of to the south-east through Tranwhich the two flank columns sylvania until it also retraversed the circumference of joined Subutai, on the 3rd of an elongated circle, while he April. himself with the control mass The central mass-the last started later and went through to move,

strengthened as usual the diameter. Thus he set up by the Guard, forced the pass his forces in a close-linked and of Ruska on the 12th of March, secure system with true econ- and advanced by the valley of omy of force, as was later the the Theiss to the Danube near Napoleonic method. The dates Gran. Rarely, if ever, in history of departure and the routes has the speed of its advance were evidently so arranged that been approached. Subutai's the three columns should con- advanced-guard arrived at the verge and join hands on the Danube on the 15th, and SuDanube near the Hungarian butai himself with the main capital, where the main enemy body came up on the 17th of forces were likely to be met. April. The plan was carried out like In three days the advancedclockwork. The right column guard had covered 180 miles moved westwards to the north through a hostile country deep of the Carpathians, its exposed in snow! By the 4th of April, flank covered directly by the Subutai, his three armies asVistula and indirectly by sembled, faced across the Kaidu's flank detachment, then Danube Bela of Hungary, who crossed the mountains by the had an army of 100,000 men. pass of Jablonika and neigh- At this moment, however, bouring passes, and in two Kaidu's detachment had yet bodies turned south-west down to fight the battle of Liegnitz, the banks of the March and and Subutai would be uncerVag rivers. Sweeping round in tain of the situation as regards a long curving advance, it the other allied armies. Moreguarded the right flank of the over, it would have been difficult for him to force the cross- prise blow. In the night he ings of the river under the eyes crosses the Sajo, and a dayof the enemy, nor would it have break on the 10th of April he been wise to fight a decisive strikes. By midday the Hunbattle with the Danube at his garian army has ceased to exist, back. Bold as he is in execu- Bela is in flight, and more than tion-the very embodiment of 70,000 of his men are left dead the principles of mobility and on the battlefield. the offensive,-his every move Be it noted that it is the is guided by the principle of morrow of Liegnitz, away in security. We see him execut- distant Silesia. We are ignoing a true strategic retreat to- rant of the Mongol means of wards his base at Munkacz, intercommunication, but such luring on his enemy away from synchronisation as is seen here, the protection of the Danube as also in the junction of the and the chance of reinforce- three columns on the Danube, ment. The retirement is car- and in the coincidence of Suried out slowly, taking six days butai's own departure with the to reach the Sajo river, half first successes of Kaidu's dethe distance. Then suddenly tachment in Poland, can hardly he delivers his crushing sur- be matters of chance.

VIII.

For this battle we have ac- are worn down by the arrows, counts sufficiently reliable to do they come to close quarters." grasp the Mongol tactics. Con- It is the first time in military temporary observers are im- history that "fire" is empressed, above all, by two fea- ployed systematically to pave tures: first, the speed, silence, the way for the assault. and mechanical perfection of In this battle, while the their evolutions carried out by Prince Batu, the nominal comsignals with the black-and-white mander, delivers a frontal atflags of the squadrons ; second, tack, Subutai crosses the river the deadliness of their fire. lower down, and falls on the Their opponents, in the words flank and rear of the enemy. of a chronicler, “fell to the He had, the day before, reconright and left like the leaves noitred and found a ford. Beof winter.” The armies of the fore dawn, Batu seizes the Middle Ages, until the English bridge over the river to his archers in the next century, front, and covers the passage relied almost entirely on shock of his troops by the fire of tactics. But the Mongols, as his catapults and archers. Then Duplan Carpin says, "wounded the attack is launched, the and killed men and horses, and enemy are fixed, when sudonly when the men and horses denly Subutai's surprise blow takes the Hungarians in rear. to pieces; the Knights TemMagyars, Germans, Croats, and plars die fighting to the last French volunteers all are cut man.

IX.

After this holocaust, Hun- steppes. From China to the gary was occupied without fur. Danube “he had conquered ther fighting. An organised thirty-two nations and won administration was set up, and sixty-five pitched battles.” the land settled down under its What is the value of this new conquerors. There was fragment of history to us, and no attempt to push farther what are its practical lessons ? into Europe, apart from one In the first place, it dissipates reconnaissance into Austria, the illusion that Europe alone which, strangely enough, was is the home of military genius. carried out under an English The Japanese have reminded Knight Templar who held com- us that courageous and dismand in the Mongol Army. ciplined fighting troops can

But at the end of the year come from the Orient, but the Ogdai died at Karakorum, and Mongol campaigns reveal to us the princes were all eager to that Asia has also produced compete for the succession. On consummate military leaders this account the Mongol armies who in strategical ability may and their leaders decided to vie with any in history. What return East. The evacuation she has done in the past, it is of Hungary was carried out possible for her to do again. systematically and without in- Again, as very perfect exterference. As a final gesture emplars of the principles of to show their contempt for the war in practice, the Mongol Holy Roman Empire, and to campaigns are of great value dispel any idea that they were in helping students of war to being forced to retire, the understand what these prinMongols sent an expedition to ciples actually mean when transravage Eastern Austria before lated into definite operations, leaving.

which is a very different matter Nor did this evacuation mean from being able merely to reany diminution of their influ- cite them like a catechism. ence, for Ogdai's successor re- Next, we come to the feaceived the homage and em- tures of the Mongol tactics and bassies of the world. The great organisation. Their continuous commander himself, Subutai, run of victories, usually over when he felt old age creeping superior numbers, were achieved on, took his leave of the Mongol in defiance of most of the canons court, and retired to die alone, on which European armies, of in his tent, on the northern the present equally with the past, have based their systems. arm alike of Alexander and Nor can these successes be dis- Hannibal, it formed merely the counted in the way that is mobile wings hinged on common when discussing vic- essentially protective infantry tories over Asiatic troops, who centre, which was the pivot on are regarded as lacking the which it manæuvred. The staying power, discipline, and prime feature of the Mongol equipment of European soldiers. military system was therefore Subutai's warriors proved them- its simplicity, due to the use selves more than a match for of a single arm, in contrast to the finest men - at - arms of the inevitably complex organimediæval Europe, who had sation of a combination of superiority both of numbers and several arms which has always armour. The Mongol tactics characterised European armies. were never to close with the In this way the Mongols solved adversary until he was weak. the ever-difficult problem of coened and disorganised by fire. operation between arms which If charged by the heavy Euro- have radically different qualipean cavalry, they never let ties and limitations. The single themselves be drawn into a arm they used was that which clash, but dispersed on a signal, possessed the highest degree of rallied by signal at a distance, mobility, and in this lay the and again assailed the enemy secret of their unbroken run of with fire, repeating the process victory. At such local points until the phase of

was where greater loco-mobility was complete, and the way paved needed than mounted troops for a decisive charge. Thus could achieve, a proportion of they proved that mobility is the troops were temporarily the king-pin of tactics, as of dismounted and fought on foot. strategy; that lightly armed Is there not a lesson here for troops can beat more heavily the armies of to-day! Mobility armed ones if their mobility was the weakest point in the is sufficiently superior, demon- Great War. The armies of strating that the weight” of Europe were relatively as ima force is its weapon - power mobile as those of the Shah multiplied by its mobility, and of Karismia and mediæval that this mobility is a far better Christendom, because they protection than armour or any based their organisation on a such form of negative defence. multiplicity of arms, and tied In naval parlance, the battle their mobile arms to the sercruiser is superior to the battle- vice of the less mobile. The ship.

development of mechanical fireAnother canon that they tore power has negatived the hitting up was that mobile troops, such power of cavalry against a as cavalry, must needs rest on properly equipped enemy. But a stable infantry base. Al on land the armoured caterthough cavalry was the decisive pillar car or light tank appears

[ocr errors]

usure

the natural heir of the Mongol methods and the secrets of horseman, for the “caterpillars” their success may at least serve are essentially mechanical cavo to clear our minds of longalry. Reflection suggests that inherited prejudices, and reveal we might well regain the Mon- the unsoundness of conventional gol mobility and offensive power objections to a new and mobile by reverting to the simplicity arm which are based on its of a single highly mobile arm, minor limitations for movement employing the crews to act on in certain localities and over foot as land marines wherever occasional types of ground. the special loco-mobility of in- The deduction from the Mongol fantry is needed.

campaigns would surely seem Further, aeroplanes would to be that superior general seem to have the same qualities mobility when allied with hitin even higher degree, and it ting power is both a more may be that in the future they powerful and a more secure will prove the successors of the tool than the mere loco-mobility Mongol horsemen.

and defensive power of an army A study of the Mongol founded on infantry.

VOL. CCXV.-NO, MCCCIII.

2 C

« AnkstesnisTęsti »