mongol art gallery berlin germany'ZURAG' film original  in German 2010 Berlin

'ZURAG' film in the Mongolian national television, 2011 Ulan Bator
(Original record from the MNB broadcast)
The Secret History of the Mongols
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Deutsch - Zweites Kapitel: Tschingis Chaans Jugend
English - 
Second Chapter: Genghis Khan's Youth


Mongol military tactics and organization

The Mongol military tactics and organization helped the Mongol Empire to conquer nearly all of continental Asia, the Middle East and parts of eastern Europe. In many ways, it can be regarded as the first "modern" military system.
The original foundation of that system was an extension of the nomadic lifestyle of the Mongols. Other elements were invented by Genghis Khan, his generals, and his successors. Technologies useful to attack fortifications were adapted from other cultures, and foreign technical experts integrated into the command structures.
For the larger part of the 13th century, the Mongols lost only a few battles using that system, but always returned to turn the result around in their favor. In many cases, they won against significantly larger opponent armies. Their first real defeat came in the Battle of Ain Jalut in 1260, against the first army which had been specifically trained to use their own tactics against them. That battle ended the western expansion of the Mongol Empire, and within the next 20 years, the Mongols also suffered defeats in attempted invasions of Vietnam and Japan. But while the empire became divided around the same time, its combined size and influence remained largely intact for more than another hundred years.

Organization and characteristics: Decimal system
Genghis Khan organized the Mongol soldiers into groups based on the decimal system. Units were recursively built from groups of 10 (Arav), 100 (Zuut), 1,000 (Minghan), and 10,000 (Tumen), each with a leader reporting to the next higher level. Tumens, and sometimes Minghans, were commanded by a Noyan, who was often given the task to administer specific conquered territories. From two to five Tumens would then form a hordu meaning army corps or field army, from which the word "Horde" is derived, under the command of the Khans or their generals (boyan).
The leaders on each level had significant license to execute their orders in the way they considered best. This command structure proved to be highly flexible and allowed the Mongol army to attack en masse, divide into somewhat smaller groups to encircle and lead enemies into an ambush, or divide into small groups of 10 to mop up a fleeing and broken army.

Breaking tribal connections
Before Genghis, many tribes and confederations, including the Naimans, Merkits, Uyghurs, Tatars, Mongols, and Keraits, often raided and battled each other, and maintained centuries-old blood feuds. In addition, many families and individuals had been ostracized from tribes for various reasons and were living outside of tribal protection. These latter groups were welcomed by Genghis into his armies.
When integrating new soldiers into the army, Genghis divided the soldiers under different leaders to break up the social and tribal connections, so there was no division based on heritage of tribal alliances. Thus, he helped to unite several disparate peoples and gave them new loyalties to each other.
Promotion was mainly based on merit. Each unit leader was responsible for the preparedness of his soldiers at any time and would be replaced if this was found lacking.
Promotions were granted on the basis of ability, not birth, with the possible exception of Genghis Khan's relatives, who were given the highest levels of command. A good example would be Subutai, the son of a blacksmith (a very honorable profession, but not normally predestined for leadership). In the Russian and East European campaigns for example, nominal command went to Batu Khan, the grandson of Genghis. Two other princes of the Blood commanded wings of that army. But all three Princes were under the operational control of Subutai. Upon receiving word of the death of Ögedei Khan (son and successor Genghis) in 1243, it was Subutai who reluctantly reminded his three princes of their dynastic duties and ordered the Tumens to ride back home, sparing Europe from further devastating blows.

Each Mongol soldier typically maintained between 3 or 4 horses. Changing horses often allowed them to travel at high speed for days without stopping or wearing out the animals. Their ability to live off the land, and in extreme situations off their animals (mare's milk especially), made their armies far less dependent on the traditional logistical apparatus of western agrarian armies. In some cases, as during invasion of Hungary on early 1241, they covered up to 100 miles per day, which was unheard of by other armies of the time.
The mobility of individual soldiers made it possible to send them on successful scouting missions, gathering intelligence about routes and searching for terrain suited to the preferred combat tactics of the Mongols.
During the invasion of Russia, the Mongols used frozen rivers as highways, and winter, the time of year usually off-limits for any major activity due to the intense cold, became the Mongols' preferred time to strike.
To avoid the deadly hail of missiles, enemies would frequently spread out, or seek cover, breaking up their formations and making them more vulnerable to the lancers' charges. Likewise, when they packed themselves together, into dense square or phalanx style formations, they would become more vulnerable to the arrows.
Once the enemy was deemed sufficiently weakened, the noyans would give the order. The drums would beat and the signal flags wave, telling the lancers to begin their charge. Often, the devastation of the arrows was enough to rout an enemy, so the lancers were only needed to help pursue and mop up the remnants.
When facing European armies, whose emphasis was in formations of heavy cavalry, the Mongols would avoid direct confrontation, and would instead use their bows to destroy enemy cavalry at long distances. In the few cases where armor actually withstood their arrows, the Mongols simply killed the knights' horses, leaving a heavily armored man on foot, unable to go any distance or move quickly.
At the Battle of Mohi, the Mongols left open a gap in their ranks, luring the Hungarians into retreating through it. This resulted in the Hungarians being strung out over all the countryside and easy pickings for mounted archers who simply galloped along and picked them off, while the lancers skewered them as they fled. At Legnica, the few Teutonic, Templar and Hospitaller knights were able to make a stand dismounted, and inflicted unusually heavy casualties on the Mongols, though they lost the overall battle.

Training and discipline
Most European armies consisted of a few professional men at arms, and knights, and large levies of peasants or militia. Only the knights and the few professional fighting men trained regularly, and their training emphasized individual combat, such as jousting, rather than group combat tactics. The Mongol armies, by contrast, constantly practiced horsemanship, archery, and unit tactics, formations and rotations. This training was maintained by a hard, but not overly harsh or unreasonable, discipline.
Officers and troopers alike were usually given a wide leeway by their superiors in carrying out their orders, so long as the larger objectives of the plan were well served and the orders promptly obeyed. The Mongols thus avoided the pitfalls of overly rigid discipline and micromanagement which have proven a hobgoblin to armed forces throughout history. However, all members had to be unconditionally loyal to each other and to their superiors, and especially to the Khan. If one soldier ran from danger in battle, then he and his nine comrades from the same arban would face the death penalty together.
One unique training method that the Mongols used were huge hunting excursions organized annually on the steppe. The Mongol horsemen would make a great circle, and drive all manner of animals in towards the center. Practicing the dynamic maneuvers also to be used on a battlefield, the Mongols would trap all the animals of various types in their encirclement, and on the order of their commander, begin the slaughter. If any hunter killed any creature before the appointed time, or if one allowed an animal to escape from the ring, they would be punished. Thus the Mongols were able to train, enjoy the recreation of hunting, and gather food for massive feasts all at once.

Text from Wikipedia