Mongol Influence on Combined Arms Tactics (Need Sources)

Discussion in 'Military History' started by Mohsin77, Mar 11, 2019.

  1. Mohsin77
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    Mohsin77 Junior Member
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    A while ago I listened to Dan Carlin's podcast on the Mongols (Wrath of the Khans), and he provided a lot of good historical info on how modern maneuver warfare, developed during WWII, was actually inspired by the Mongols.

    I read a US Army paper on this a while back as well. However, I have not gone into the primary sources (e.g. Liddell Hart, J.F.C Fuller and the Russian and German military theorists) which focused on the development of these tactics in the inter-war period. Also, as far as I've heard, Guderian, Rommel and Patton studied Mongolian tactics as well, and tried to apply them.

    If anyone knows any books that detail this, please let me know.

    As far as I've heard, basically they took Mongolian Tactics and subbed as follows:

    Cavalry Archer >> Tank
    Lancer >> Mech Infantry
    Catapults >> Artillery/Aircraft

    And all of this was tied together by radio, which allowed breaking up large formations into smaller ones, which allowed for coordination of independent operations.
     
    #1 Mohsin77, Mar 11, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2019
  2. gelgoog
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    gelgoog Senior Member
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    I do not know about that. There are some similarities in that the Mongols typically used hit and run tactics and tried to encircle their opponents. They typically avoided direct confrontations. They would siege a city and wait for it to starve to death instead of directly attacking it. At least until they got Chinese siege engines. Also, I don't know about catapults. I mean I know the Mongols and Tatars used them but IIRC the Mongols also used cannon which they got from China. In fact that's likely how cannon got into Europe. With Mongol influence. The Chinese crossbow also reached Europe around the same time. The Romans had the ballista but it isn't the same thing.

    There are also European, or at least Mediterranean, traditions with cavalry warfare. For example the Egyptian Battle of Kadesh is studied quite a lot.
    The thing is while most large empires in the classical period had cavalry not that many made it the backbone of their armed forces.

    You could say only in the Byzantine and late Roman period did Europe see more cavalry armies in order to patrol what was now a larger empire with a smaller force. However I have never heard much about these so I guess a lot of knowledge about that era was lost.
     
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  3. Mohsin77
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    Mohsin77 Junior Member
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    Yes, they got many technologies from the Chinese. Catapults and Siege weapons, gun powder/cannons etc. If it weren't for Chinese technology, their siege capability would have been insufficient to continue expanding into Eurasia.

    Apparently the most important aspect the inter-war Euro theorists got from the Mongols, was breaking up large formations into smaller ones, and being able to coordinate over large areas, which allowed for rapid maneuverability of elements in a coordinated way. This required meritocracy in the chain of command and responsibility given to lower ranking officers to operate independently. This is what allowed the Mongols to encircle their opponents etc. A purely mounted force proved the importance of manoeuvrability as well, which is what led to the emphasis on mounted infantry and tank formations, and also the air forces, hence combined arms.
     
  4. taxiya
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    taxiya Major
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    All nomadic people in east Asia use the tactic as the Mongols, and Mongols are NOT the first, nor the unique. The land that is called Mongolia today has seen many such people. First the Xiongnu around 300s BC, then Xianbei (up to 300AD), Tujue (to 500AD), Khitan and Jurchen (up to 1100AD) then came the Mongols. They all heavily rely on cavalry, and hit and run. The Chinese dynasties are familiar with the tactic and actively employing it.

    Basically in this part of world, it is nothing unique, and everybody was doing it since 300s BC so long as one could feed enough horses.

    What makes Mongol tactic a big name outside of east and central Asia is rather because, for the first time Europe and neighbouring ME countries were devastated by a foreign power, and MOST importantly, it is the first time that Europeans and Arabs were facing the tactic they have never seen before.
     
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  5. Mohsin77
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    Mohsin77 Junior Member
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    My Islamic civilization was hit very hard by the Mongols as well, but there is definitely something we have to learn from them.

    A lot of steppe nomads have always attacked civilized empires throughout history, but no one was as successful as the Horde. They even defeated all other cavalry based armies like the Khwarizmian Empire, which also had its roots in the Steppe. The Mongols perfected the art of war, I think. They basically fought all the strongest empires in the world, kingdoms much greater in strength, and won decisively. So I would definitely consider them unique.
     
  6. siegecrossbow
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    siegecrossbow Brigadier
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    Nomadic cavalry don't have the logistics problems that most agrarian civilizations had. Livestocks and tents are mobile whereas farms and houses are not. You can't station a large military force to anticipate nomadic attacks without a long supply line.
     
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  7. gelgoog
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    gelgoog Senior Member
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    Europe also had incidents with cavalry before. For example the Scythians, the Parthian Empire (one of Rome's traditional enemies), or the Huns.

    The thing with the Mongols is that they had the organization to make that vast empire and the will to expand.
     
  8. james smith esq
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    james smith esq Junior Member
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    I would think that this individual:
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gustavus_Adolphus_of_Sweden#Military_innovator
    had more influence on the Western theory and practice of Combined Arms than did the Mongols.

    Your observation about meritocracy in the chain of command, while significant, is one that Western practice does NOT emulate. The Mongol inclination towards meritocracy probably derived from their Shamanistic tradition whereas the Western prefernce for rigid vertical heirarchies probably derives from their priestly tradition.
     
    #8 james smith esq, Mar 13, 2019
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  9. Mohsin77
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    Mohsin77 Junior Member
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    That seems disputed. In the wiki article you quoted, it states:

    "However, recent historians have challenged his reputation. B. H. Liddell Hart says it is an exaggeration to credit him with a uniquely disciplined conscript army, or call his the first military state to fight a protracted war on the continent. He argues that he improved existing techniques and used them brilliantly. Richard Brzezinski says his legendary status was based on inaccurate myths created by later historians. Many of his innovations were developed by his senior staff."
    Citation: Jorgensen (2001) p 229

    The stuff mentioned in the article which is credited to Gustavus was all used by the Mongols against Europe centuries before this guy came along. So the title of "innovator" can't be applied to him. And Hart is one of the historian-military theorists I mentioned in the OP.

    Not by WWII. The German Officer Corps (it started with the Prussians under Moltke) had already instituted a meritocratic system in the leadership, and the rest of Europe followed suit, as far as I know.

    The arguments I've heard from Carlin, were that it was in the inter-war period, after WWI, where Mongol influence took hold in Europe. This was due in-part to the events of WWI itself, where manoeuvrability was completely taken away by the obsolescence of cavalry (due to the machine gun.) So as the experts thought about how to regain maneuverability, they eventually rediscovered the Mongol Army's achievements, which is hard to believe that it took them this long... since it was no doubt the most successful army ever (even today.)

    I suspect Mongolian contributions have been ignored by everyone mostly because they are politically incorrect... No one likes the Mongols (in the East or the West). Of course they were horrible and genocidal, but their actual military accomplishments are undeniable. I mean, it's shocking how so far ahead of their time they really were, when you study their campaigns across Eurasia. Everyone hears about the armies of Alexander, and Rome etc. But what the Mongols accomplished militarily, nothing even comes close.

    p.s. I highly recommend that podcast series that details all of this.
     
    #9 Mohsin77, Mar 14, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2019
  10. james smith esq
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    james smith esq Junior Member
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    Well, first of all, your premise of inter-war influence is contingent upon the historiography of Mongol tactics up til that point. Do you have that bibliography; a bibliography of the historiography of Mongol tactics, written up to ~1936.

    Did I actually quote that article? No, I didn't!

    Much history is disputed, this comes with the discipline. The points in the article that are disputed directly have less to do with G A's influence upon the evolution of combined arms tactics and more to do with other historical precedents; this is stated, explicitly! Citations of primary sources (and not historians interpretations thereof) would either support or undermine the assertion that he may have taken credit for contributions of his subordinates, but these are not presented. And, Hart and other historians are NOT, as you suggest, primary sources; they are researchers and interpreters thereof! Additionally, Hart was as much military-myth reproducer as he was military historian!

    From the article: [...] "His innovative tactical integration of infantry, cavalry, logistics and particularly his use of artillery, earned him the title of the "Father of Modern Warfare"." [...] Really, the Mongols integrated infantry into their tactics during their European campaigns? Please provide a bibliography of the historiography of Mongol infantry tactics during the invasions of Europe.

    Perhaps! However, I would argue that Western meritocracy is a "qualified" meritocracy!

    What sources did he cite?

    99% agreement, 1% disagreement! They were not ahead of their time; they were right on time! The concept of anachronism is based on the notion of simultaneity which is wholly imagined and technically erroneous.

    While maybe good food for thought, an inspiration to spark inquiry, I don't seek historical data from media in which neither sources are provided nor direct interrogation is possible!
     
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