Tell me /his/,
What made the Mongol Empire so vast and powerful? and what lead them to their demise?
Because their environment made a stable source of wealth impossible. You can't really have large-scale agriculture to consistently sustain a large population on the steppes. Most wealth is tied to sheep and goat-herding, as well as horses but in smaller amounts, which need to be constantly on the move for fresh grazing grounds, which is vulnerable to the whims of weather. As a result, their economy was usually dependent on getting necessary and luxury goods by force or by trade with sedentary civilizations. The fact that familiarity with the horse and the bow gave them such a military edge and their harsh environments raising tough men fit for warriors compared to the sedentary farmer, made war a natural option even when trade was possible, and they were quite good at it.
The mongolian khanates declined due to disputes over succession, overextension which meant that the number of actual mongols in an army was increasingly small so they eventually just got integrated by the people they conquered, and as time went on warfare changed and due to the structure of their societies they were unable to adapt to it.
Good luck, a strong leader and sizable force that used tactics that many entrenched kingdoms and such have a hard time dealing with. Their demise was inevitable due to the way they functioned.
Most of Asia was in the shitter at the time.
>3 Way civil war in China
>Abbasid Caliphat falls in Middle East. Turkic Invasions. Crusades. Only Egypt stood strong.
>Kievan Rus declines and other Russian Republics/Principalities fill the power vacuum.
The mobile horse-archer army was able to move very quickly, didn't have to have much downtime, were vicious and generally more effective in combat, and were perfect for the open steppe areas that they conquered. Add to that their system allowed for the Silk Road to flourish again and subordinate states could do their own business if they gave tribute and you had a nice thing going on. At least in the Western endeavors. Out East the taking of China more or less meant a more sedentary existence as they somewhat eased into the native culture.
Probably the greatest cause of the decline of the mongol hordes was the invention of gunpowder - that and Russia wrecking them at every opportunity after the 1450's.
But gunpowder was hugely effective in making them and their horse-archer ways obsolete.
In addition: nobody took the Mongols seriously at the time. During their emergence in 900's, only thing most people knew about them was that they were divisive and the Turks, Jurchens, Khitans, and even the fucking Tibetans used them as either household or military slaves
>Probably the greatest cause of the decline of the mongol hordes was the invention of gunpowder
Wrong. Gunpowder was already around since the late 900's in China.
Mongs themselves used Gunpowder
>But gunpowder was hugely effective in making them and their horse-archer ways obsolete.
Absolute rubbish,if you think a Russian soldier of the time could shot as acurately and fast enough with a shitty slav musket to compete with a mounted nomad archer then you don't belong here
Not even. In the 1500's, in Eurasia, while there's an increasing use of Muskets, horse archery remained the primary means of fighting in the Steppes.
Russian & Chinese armies in the 1400's-1600's, when fighting Steppe Nomads, did so primarily with horse archers, while the infantry: who had a motley assortment of musket, cannon, and crossbows/bows, just hung back and provided safe zone/covering fire for their retreating horse archers as those guys rearmed, keeping nomads at bay.
Sure we can talk about pistols but those were slow and a hassle to reload on horseback on the fly, you have to carry like around 3 or 5 and then fall back to your lines to reload all pistols. They do not have the speed, ammunition, and staying power of a horse archer with 2 quivers of arrows.
The only time Russians & Chinese used firearms on horseback was during a charge. When Nomads were sure to break.
Horse archery was the mainstay in Russian & Chinese armies during the Siberian Expansion of Russia, Ming China's Yuan mop-up wars, Invasion of Inner Mongolia, and the Qing Dynasty's conquest of Mongolia and Dzungaria. There's a reason why horse archery lasted up to 1800's in Russian Service, which was only replaced when fast firing guns and self contained cartridges became a thing.
During the invasion of the Mongols, the Great Wall wasn't manned since the end of the Sui Dynasty (600's AD).
For much of Chinese History: only three dynasties ever relied on the great wall for defense: the first one of course: the Qin, the Sui, and Ming. The rest, like the T'ang Dynasty, relied on a system of Client Nomads & Steppe City States to keep other Nomads at bay.
The two exceptions being Han & Qing dynasties, which outright conquered the Steppes or at least ended the major empire that emerged there.
The reason why China got invaded by Mongs in the first place is because they were having a civil war when one of their erstwhile Client nomads united and invaded Northern China and set up a dynasty there (The Jurchen Dynasty of Northern Jin). Then there was a WWI scenario between Jurchen Northern Jin and Native Southern Song Dynasties. In addition to the Dali Revolt in the South and the Tangut Xi-Xia revolt in the Northwest.
The Great Wall as we knew it was built by the Ming Dynasty. Prior to that it was just a series of walls that walled off easy passes into China IN THE WEST (where most Nomads were at the early ages of China). The Ming's paranoia extended it to cover the NORTH, and also to wall off even the tops of mountains.
And that wall actually worked. To the Ming's credit, they relied on both a system of Client Nomads and the Wall so it was far from a passive defensive system. Also the wall was home to military bases from which Ming China can launch pre-emptive raids.
And that wall was never breached. In fact the Manchus got through because the Ming Dynasty collapsed and the recently Ex-Ming garrison commanders of the wall -led by Wu Sangui- were on the Chinese rebel's shit list and promptly defected to the Manchus.
>rebellious general opened the gate for them.
Wu Sangui isn't a rebellious general. More like his government collapsed and he was left to fend for himself.
Li Zicheng's rebels already sacked Beijing and the last Ming Emperor hung himself outside the Forbidden City. The rebels were out to eliminate the last Northern Elements of the dead Ming Dynasty's army so Wu Sangui cut a deal with the Manchurian Prince: Dorgon, in which he will let the Manchus through if they made him ruler of the South.
I'm not convinced when it comes to the penetration power of horse archery against heavy armour.
There are example of light cavalry based armies relying on horse archery being beaten by heavy cavalry, e.g. the Battle of Lechfeld, where a massive knightly army or heavy cavalry ended up superior to light cavalry.
Also, it should be considered that the Mongols usually employed heavy cavalry too, and by no means relied exclusively on horse archers. Not to mention that they picked their battles quite wisely and made use of the fractured political nature of their opponents.
First of all: we were talking of the 1400s-1700's
>I'm not convinced when it comes to the penetration power of horse archery against heavy armour.
The mass of nomadic armies are unarmoured/lightly armored light cavalrymen. Always was.
>There are example of light cavalry based armies relying on horse archery being beaten by heavy cavalry, e.g. the Battle of Lechfeld, where a massive knightly army or heavy cavalry ended up superior to light cavalry.
Irrelevant, this is Eurasia. Heavy cavalry isn't king there. Its too slow and the Steppes =/= Western Europe. European attritional tactics rarely worked there.
>It should be considered that the Mongols usually employed heavy cavalry too,
The last act in a Nomadic battle: the charge on a cornered enemy. Armored cavalry led this and this was their only chance to fight in battle. That or charging the infantry. But good luck trying not to be downed with infantry muskets. Also good luck countering Chinese & Russian heavy cavalry, which is better armored than the Nomad was
>and by no means relied exclusively on horse archers. Not to mention that they picked their battles quite wisely and made use of the fractured political nature of their opponents.
This is the 1500's-1600's. The Mongols were 1) not an empire anymore and 2) only had horse archers left to their shtick.
Furthermore Russia and China weren't fractured anymore in the 1400's-1700's.
>The Mongols could just hit-and-run them into oblivion
This was true of the first Mongol Invasion of China: the Invasion of Northern China.
The Invasion of Southern Song China however was a battle between two Chinese style armies. Since Kublai Khan and his Mongs have been in China for close to a century by then and had to learn Chinese tactics (particularly: engineering) to overcome Chinese cities.
Also Southern China is a mountainous forresty region complained to the Northern Plains
You vastly overestimate the early gunpowder weapons. They were largely not even around during the Mongol Khanates and the earliest rifles couldn't hit the broad side of a barn and had long reload times, not to mention couldn't be mass-produced at the time.
They fell apart because they were spread far too thin. The mongols began to adopt the cultures under their control, which alienated them from other mongol leaders; infighting began. This weakened their control and allowed for successful rebellions.