The Hordes of Genghis Khan engaged in battle enroute to conquering the world and becoming the largest empire ever known to man.
Genghis Khan organized his army using the decimal system. The word hordu meant army corps or field army. It is from the Mongolian word hordu that the word "Horde" came from. New soldiers to the armies of Genghis Khan were put into units separate form their traditional tribal units breaking the traditional bond of tribes and unifying his soldiers to a loyalty beyond the tribal structure. Merit was what earned soldier promotions.
Mobility, the Key to the Success of the Mongol Hordes
Each soldier had three horses which he could ride in rotation enabling the army to travel at high rates of speed...up to 100 miles a day...a pace unheard of in those times. The Mongol soldiers of Genghis Khan made effective use of arrows often inflicting such devastating losses on an opposing force that the horse mounted lancers were only needed for mopping up the stragglers. The Mongolian forces trained in the practice of unit tactics, horsemanship and archery. Their training was constant and disciplined...and loyalty was total. The Mongolians, both men and horses, were very good at living off the land.
High Ranking Officers Could Make Independent Decisions
The higher ranking officers in the Mongol forces were free to make independent decisions, which when combined with their mobility, proved to be formidable combination. The majority of the cavalry were horse mounted archers. The Mongol armor consisted of boiled leather studded with beads and sometimes backed with metal or horn plates and even chain mail when available. They would wear silk shirts whose tough threads were hard to break, to help protect against enemy arrows. The Mongolians used double curved bows laminated with layers of boiled horn and sinew reinforcing the wood. Those bows could shoot and arrow a half kilometer in distance...and with great accuracy. Since their saddles had stirrups they could stand and shoot in all directions including backwards. They even timed their releases to coincide with the second the horse had all four feet in the air insuring a steady platform for aiming.
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