Mongolian armor of the Mongol warriors and their war tactics played important role in their vast conquests during 1206 to 1405 that stretched between the Yellow Sea and the Eastern Europe.
This would not have been possible without their specialized horses, bows and arrows, and swords. They conquered numerous neighboring territories, which eventually led to history’s largest continuous land-based empire.
The Mongolian Empire utilized the swiftness and strength of the horses to their advantage. Despite being only 12 to 13 hands high, the Mongols respected these small animals.
At a young age, boys trained with the horses by hunting and herding with them. Eventually they became experienced riders, which prepared them for the military life that awaited them when they turned fifteen years old. Once these boys become soldiers, four to seven horses were given to them to alternate between.
This large number of horses ensured that some were always rested and ready to fight. Because of this, a soldier had little excuse to fall behind in his tasks.
Overall, the Mongol Society adored these animals because of their gentleness and loyalty to its master. Anyone who abused or neglected to feed these horses properly was subjected to punishment by the government.
The Mongol Empire considered horses as an important factor to its success and tailored other weapons to them. The bow and arrow was created to be light enough to attack enemies while on horseback.
The Mongols used composite bows made from birch, sinew and the horns of sheep. This made sturdy but light bows. Three types of arrows were created for different purposes. The most common arrow used for warfare was the pointed iron head, which could travel as far as 200 meters.
If a soldier wanted to slice the flesh of the opposing member, the v-shaped point was used. In times of war, soldiers would shoot the third form of arrow with holes, used for signaling. By listening to the whistling sounds that were produced by this type of arrow, soldiers were able to march in a required direction.
Mongol soldiers primarily used horses and the bow and arrow in times of war, but the military took extra precautions. They prepared for any close range combat by supplying the soldiers with swords, axes, spears, and forks.
Halberds, a pole with a two sided blade, were given to those of wealth and the remaining members of the military carried clubs or maces. Along with these necessities, the military provided their soldiers with leather sacks and files.
The leather sacks were used to carry and keep items such as weapons dry also they could be inflated and used as floats during river crossings, while the files were for sharpening the arrows.
If any soldier was found missing his weapons, he would be punished. Some punishment would be getting whipped, doing very hard physical activities, or possibly having to leave the army.
Mongolian armor was available only to the wealthier and Mongol soldiers. These individuals wore iron chains or scales, protected their arms and legs with leather strips, wore iron helmets, and used iron shields.
The horses of the more well to do were also protected to their knees with iron armor and a head plate. Unfortunately, majority of the soldiers in the Mongol Empire were poor. Therefore, many walked into battle with minimal protection of Mongolian armor in comparison to the lucky few although all of the soldiers had very little armor compared to the knights in armor of Europe.
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