May 19

How did the Mongols lose to the Mamelukes?

They lost 4 times in Syria! Ain Jalut, horns, elbistan, maraj al saffar!!! They could defeat the worlds most formidable and powerful armies; the Chinese(Jin and Song), Kwarezmians, Hashshashins, The Teutonic Knights. Where was the tactical geniuses of the Mongol empire? The firearms from the Yuan? Ain Jalut would be like if America or Britain had an entire Army Division wiped out by the Viet Cong or Somali Pirates. Mongols had a superior force. They carved out an empire from the ashes of previous. What happened to them when they fought the Mamelukes?
How was Mameluke archery superior? Mongols had a special connection to their bows. Mongols have been shooting arrows since childbirth. Mamelukes just saw their bows as a long ranged weapon. The Mongols had a god for archery. They were dedicated in that form. Even if Mameluke armor was superior. I’m pretty sure it was the same as Teutonic or Knights Templar armor whom the mongol defeated.
obsolete militaries don’t use gunpowder weapons. Genghis Khan was indeed a military genius. The Ḥashshāshīns were very formidable as well as the Jin and song dynasties.
Mongol armor was a silk shirt and studded leather. Only heavy cavalry was reserved to have lamellar armor. Mongols were excellent horsemen. They learned to ride a horse before walking!!! They also had Yuan firearms and bombs. Mamelukes never had access to gunpowder bombs only hand cannons. That was as advance of weapons they got. If the mongols had more Chinese weapons deployed, the Mamelukes would’ve had a run for their money.
And besides, it was only won because mongols had a longer supply line. The Mamelukes had a shorter line to work with so they got supplies and men faster.
And besides, it was only won because mongols had a longer supply line. The Mamelukes had a shorter line to work with so they got supplies and men faster.
Didn’t the Mamelukes get defeated by the Timurids? Successors of the Mongol army?
It’s like saying the Romans had a mighty military only because they fought obsolete armies and once they came across Scythians and Highlanders, their invasions came to a halt.

A very important question indeed. You’ll find Western historians giving the primary reason for the Mongols’ defeat at that hands of the Mamelukes to the acclaimed vastly superior numbers of the Mamelukes. This claim is 99% false. Yes, at Ain Jalut (1260), the Mameluke army outnumbered the Mongol army, but at the First Battle of Homs (1261), only 1,400 Mamelukes annihalated a Mongol army of 6,000; with the Mamelukes losing only 1 knight! At the Second Battle of Homs (1281), the Mameluke army was 50,000 strong; against 80,000 Mongols. At Marj al-Suffar (1303), the Mameluke army of 35,000 defeated a Mongol army of 112,000 warriors! So how did this happen? First, it has to be understood that the Mamelukes inherited a militarism that combined the militarisms of the Seljuk Turks, Byzantines, Crusaders, Arabs, and Georgians. The Mongol militarism was composed mainly of Turkish and Chinese militarisms; along with Korean inventions. Believe it or not, the militarisms that were inherited by the Mamelukes were FAR more liberal and pragmatic than the relatively conservative militarisms that the Mongols inherited. Remember that even the Turkish militarism inherited by the Mongols were Kazakh, Khwarezmian, and Uyghur, and these were relatively old fashioned if compared to the Seljuk Turkish militarism. Do not forget that it was the Seljuk Turks who expanded westwards, defeating the Fatimids, Byzantines, and Frankish Crusaders. Where did the other Turks expand westwards to learn what the Seljuks experienced and learned?! Genghiz Khan was seen as an unparalleled genius due to his sweeping victories over obsolete militaries. His battle tactics usually depended upon weakening one of his wings in order to support his centre, which was to successfully overcome the enemy’s centre. The Mamelukes, following the military doctrine of Shirkuh (Saladin’s uncle), would let their centre be defeated in front of the enemy’s centre, while their two wings would overcome the enemy’s two wings, and thus the enemy’s centre would face the Mameluke centre in front of it, and the two Mameluke flanks at its rear and sides; thus total envelopement! Note that this tactic would totally destroy Genghiz Khan’s tactics; even though this tactic was developed around 1145, while Genghiz Khan’s tactics were developed around 1205! This is why Shirkuh’s great-grandson with only 1,400 Mamelukes, annihalated Genghiz Khan’s great-grandson who had 6,000 Mongol horsemen at Homs in 1261; with the Mamelukes losing only 1 warrior! Also Mameluke archery was superior, their armor was more impregnable, their swords far more better, and their lances were matchless; if compared to those of the Mongols. Ask yourself, where were the Mongol horsemen when the Seljuks were fighting the Byzntines and Fatimids? Where were the Mongol horsemen when the Zangids were fighting the Crusaders and the Byzantines? Where were the Mongol warriors when Saladin was fighting against the combined armies of Western Europe??? Genghiz Khan started his military reforms as late as the Fourth Crusade (1202-1204); if not later than that! The Mameluke victories over the Mongols were due to a superior military heritage, more liberal tactics, superior arms, better armor, and more experience…and not because the Mamelukes were ALWAYS numerically superior; as the malevolent Western historians claim. Believe it or not: The first Mongol defeat at the hands of the Mamelukes was before Ain Jalut; when 800 Mamelukes, under al-Asharf Musa, annihalated a Mongol force of 2,500! It was in early 1260. The Mamelukes were purely professional soldiers since boyhood. Their bows were more superbly crafted, and their infantrymen used longbows with much longer range than their shortbows. The Mongols relied on shortbows only; as they were all cavalrymen. A Mameluke was not considered an archer unless he was able to shoot "3 arrows in 1.5 seconds"! The Mongols usually didn’t have these qualities; although the Mongols were quite efficient in horse-archery. Some Mamelukes fired arrows from their short-bows as far as 953 yards! Mameluke armor was more impregnable than European armor. Even Mongol armor was more impregnable than European armor! But the Mamelukes used gambesons, chainmail, and lamellar armor of steel plates for armor. Mameluke armor was so impregnable that many of them duelled without the use of shileds. Mameluke armor was usually much heavier than Mongol and European armor. It was the Mamelukes at Ain Jalut (1260) who mainly used gunpowder; not the Mongols! The Hashashins went to battle without metal armor. The Chinese were good at plate lamellar armor, but they were not good in chainmail armor. The Mameluke defeat at the hands of Timur in 1399 was a completely different story: Timur commanded armies not less than 300,000 in Syria. The Mamelukes were then primarily Circassian, and depended upon lances and swords primarily.

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2 comments!!!

  1. Ash'ari Maturidi says:

    A very important question indeed. You’ll find Western historians giving the primary reason for the Mongols’ defeat at that hands of the Mamelukes to the acclaimed vastly superior numbers of the Mamelukes. This claim is 99% false. Yes, at Ain Jalut (1260), the Mameluke army outnumbered the Mongol army, but at the First Battle of Homs (1261), only 1,400 Mamelukes annihalated a Mongol army of 6,000; with the Mamelukes losing only 1 knight! At the Second Battle of Homs (1281), the Mameluke army was 50,000 strong; against 80,000 Mongols. At Marj al-Suffar (1303), the Mameluke army of 35,000 defeated a Mongol army of 112,000 warriors! So how did this happen? First, it has to be understood that the Mamelukes inherited a militarism that combined the militarisms of the Seljuk Turks, Byzantines, Crusaders, Arabs, and Georgians. The Mongol militarism was composed mainly of Turkish and Chinese militarisms; along with Korean inventions. Believe it or not, the militarisms that were inherited by the Mamelukes were FAR more liberal and pragmatic than the relatively conservative militarisms that the Mongols inherited. Remember that even the Turkish militarism inherited by the Mongols were Kazakh, Khwarezmian, and Uyghur, and these were relatively old fashioned if compared to the Seljuk Turkish militarism. Do not forget that it was the Seljuk Turks who expanded westwards, defeating the Fatimids, Byzantines, and Frankish Crusaders. Where did the other Turks expand westwards to learn what the Seljuks experienced and learned?! Genghiz Khan was seen as an unparalleled genius due to his sweeping victories over obsolete militaries. His battle tactics usually depended upon weakening one of his wings in order to support his centre, which was to successfully overcome the enemy’s centre. The Mamelukes, following the military doctrine of Shirkuh (Saladin’s uncle), would let their centre be defeated in front of the enemy’s centre, while their two wings would overcome the enemy’s two wings, and thus the enemy’s centre would face the Mameluke centre in front of it, and the two Mameluke flanks at its rear and sides; thus total envelopement! Note that this tactic would totally destroy Genghiz Khan’s tactics; even though this tactic was developed around 1145, while Genghiz Khan’s tactics were developed around 1205! This is why Shirkuh’s great-grandson with only 1,400 Mamelukes, annihalated Genghiz Khan’s great-grandson who had 6,000 Mongol horsemen at Homs in 1261; with the Mamelukes losing only 1 warrior! Also Mameluke archery was superior, their armor was more impregnable, their swords far more better, and their lances were matchless; if compared to those of the Mongols. Ask yourself, where were the Mongol horsemen when the Seljuks were fighting the Byzntines and Fatimids? Where were the Mongol horsemen when the Zangids were fighting the Crusaders and the Byzantines? Where were the Mongol warriors when Saladin was fighting against the combined armies of Western Europe??? Genghiz Khan started his military reforms as late as the Fourth Crusade (1202-1204); if not later than that! The Mameluke victories over the Mongols were due to a superior military heritage, more liberal tactics, superior arms, better armor, and more experience…and not because the Mamelukes were ALWAYS numerically superior; as the malevolent Western historians claim. Believe it or not: The first Mongol defeat at the hands of the Mamelukes was before Ain Jalut; when 800 Mamelukes, under al-Asharf Musa, annihalated a Mongol force of 2,500! It was in early 1260. The Mamelukes were purely professional soldiers since boyhood. Their bows were more superbly crafted, and their infantrymen used longbows with much longer range than their shortbows. The Mongols relied on shortbows only; as they were all cavalrymen. A Mameluke was not considered an archer unless he was able to shoot "3 arrows in 1.5 seconds"! The Mongols usually didn’t have these qualities; although the Mongols were quite efficient in horse-archery. Some Mamelukes fired arrows from their short-bows as far as 953 yards! Mameluke armor was more impregnable than European armor. Even Mongol armor was more impregnable than European armor! But the Mamelukes used gambesons, chainmail, and lamellar armor of steel plates for armor. Mameluke armor was so impregnable that many of them duelled without the use of shileds. Mameluke armor was usually much heavier than Mongol and European armor. It was the Mamelukes at Ain Jalut (1260) who mainly used gunpowder; not the Mongols! The Hashashins went to battle without metal armor. The Chinese were good at plate lamellar armor, but they were not good in chainmail armor. The Mameluke defeat at the hands of Timur in 1399 was a completely different story: Timur commanded armies not less than 300,000 in Syria. The Mamelukes were then primarily Circassian, and depended upon lances and swords primarily.
    References :
    If we compare the Mongol army in Modern History, it was like the Tsarist Russian Army; it was superior to the armies of the Ottoman Turks, the Persians, and the Central Asians, but it was no match for the Imperial German Army in World War I! Remember we are talking about the Middle Ages. At that time, gunpowder played a minor role in pitched battles. In the Modern Age (16th century), when gunpowder became dominant, the Mamelukes lost to the Ottoman Turks, who used arquebuses and superior cannons, and adopted newer tactics. The Mamelukes still wore BETTER armor than that of the Mongols. Silk and thick leather were known in Islamic armies since the 7th century! Nope! In 1236-1242, the invading Mongols defeated the Germans, Russians, and Hungarians on their own soil; although Mongol headquarters was in Karakorum. When the Mongols were crushed by the Mamelukes in Syria, the Mongol new headquarters was in Baghdad, Iraq. You do the geography!!! Sorry! No more space! Please email me!

  2. ammianus says:

    The Mameluke army at Ain Jalut was perhaps slightly larger than that of the Mongols,and as it too was composed almost entirely of cavalry,the usual Mongol tactic of using superior mobility to get around the flanks and rear of the enemy didn’t work.As the Mameluke cavalry was also armed with the bow (like the Mongols),keeping their distance and weakening and disorganizing the enemy through arrow barrages wasn’t going to work either.

    This meant a straight hand-to-hand fight,and as the Mamlukes were more heavily armed and armoured than the Mongols in terms of proportion of the 2 armies,this gave the Mamalukes the advantage in a melee situation.

    However,the decisive factor was that Bayburs,the Mameluke commander,was a far better general than any of the Mongol commanders he faced,particular the Mongol commandet Kitboga at Ain Jalut.
    References :

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