Mongols conquered Europe

This scenario is in the first What If book.

The reason why Europe was spared was because of the death of the Great Khan (genghis son). Batu Kahn withdraw his forces to participate in figuring out the next khan. This title went to his causin Kublai Khan. Batu never went back to Europe.

If he never got the message of his father's death and Europe did get conquered and sack, what would have happened?
 
DonKent said:
This scenario is in the first What If book.

The reason why Europe was spared was because of the death of the Great Khan (genghis son). Batu Kahn withdraw his forces to participate in figuring out the next khan. This title went to his causin Kublai Khan. Batu never went back to Europe.

If he never got the message of his father's death and Europe did get conquered and sack, what would have happened?
Whilst I've never been one to underestimate teh Mongols I'm not sure that the complete conquest of Europe would necessarily result from a continuation of their offensive. Once they move into Germany/Italy they're entering terrain not really suitable to mass cavalry armies on the Mongol scale, and where fortress warfare would have become much more important. Whilst the Mongols could probably have adapted to these conditions their progress would have been slowed, the idea presented in the What If? book that they could simply have destroyed all of Europe in a single whirlwind campaign is, IMHO, somewhat unrealistic.

Moreover, by this point the Mongol Empire is vast, with a lot to intrigue and fight over within its borders, inhibiting expansion, especially in a relatively remote and less than enticing Western Europe.

The best they could plausibly have done might be to devastate Italy and Germany, imposing Russia-like conditions there with an independent Khanate emerging on the Danube in place of Hungary.

France will survive, and consolidate control of Western Europe, The kingdom of Sicily looks likely to survive as well, and to continue claiming the title of HRE.

If Rome fell the centralised structure of the church would fall apart. The French might install a puppet Pope at Avignon whilst the Hohenstauffen who (I think?) are still in charge of Sicily at this point might simply claim the authority of the Papacy for themselves whilst, in time, the Mongols might prop up a Pope of their own to enforce the loyalty of the Christian vassals.

In the long run Ottoman expansion into Europe will be somewhat easier, we can forget any chance of a Renaissance, although that probably makes less difference than fifteenth century Italians would have us believe, and there's a good chance that a more centralised, and thus presumably more conservative, Europe would emerge from the collapse of teh Mongol rule, with France recreating the Empire of Charlemange whilst Italy falls under an absolute autocracy, although this depends on whether Venice managed to hold out in the 1240s.
 
Matthew Craw said:
Whilst I've never been one to underestimate teh Mongols I'm not sure that the complete conquest of Europe would necessarily result from a continuation of their offensive. Once they move into Germany/Italy they're entering terrain not really suitable to mass cavalry armies on the Mongol scale, and where fortress warfare would have become much more important. Whilst the Mongols could probably have adapted to these conditions their progress would have been slowed, the idea presented in the What If? book that they could simply have destroyed all of Europe in a single whirlwind campaign is, IMHO, somewhat unrealistic.

Moreover, by this point the Mongol Empire is vast, with a lot to intrigue and fight over within its borders, inhibiting expansion, especially in a relatively remote and less than enticing Western Europe.

The best they could plausibly have done might be to devastate Italy and Germany, imposing Russia-like conditions there with an independent Khanate emerging on the Danube in place of Hungary.

France will survive, and consolidate control of Western Europe, The kingdom of Sicily looks likely to survive as well, and to continue claiming the title of HRE.

If Rome fell the centralised structure of the church would fall apart. The French might install a puppet Pope at Avignon whilst the Hohenstauffen who (I think?) are still in charge of Sicily at this point might simply claim the authority of the Papacy for themselves whilst, in time, the Mongols might prop up a Pope of their own to enforce the loyalty of the Christian vassals.

In the long run Ottoman expansion into Europe will be somewhat easier, we can forget any chance of a Renaissance, although that probably makes less difference than fifteenth century Italians would have us believe, and there's a good chance that a more centralised, and thus presumably more conservative, Europe would emerge from the collapse of teh Mongol rule, with France recreating the Empire of Charlemange whilst Italy falls under an absolute autocracy, although this depends on whether Venice managed to hold out in the 1240s.

You seem to forget that the mongols at this stage are now masters of seige craft. They would have no doubt either Chinese or Persian engineers in hand to break the castle walls. While part of their forces are beseiging cities, others will conduct raids along the country side to further isolate the cities.

Also, the Mongols have excellent reconaissance and would have figure out which parts of europe have the greatest loot and would proved to be the center of resistance. I beleive that France will fall too. The only one I can confidently know will survive is Great Britain.
 
And Scandinavia ('cept Denmark). Maybe some regions which are too difficult to access, but after the Mongols will have burned all the big cities, the population will be too terrified to resist. Though, maybe, in Switzerland...
 
I suspect that the Mongols could have subdued most of Europe in another year or two, either by direct defeat or by getting more distant kingdoms to pay some tribute to avoid invasion. They were able to do it in Russia, not just in the steppe areas but in the forested areas as well, so I suspect that forests weren't going to stop or seriously impede their conquests. If they had to capture each castle and each walled city it would take much longer, but the example of what happened to the defenders of those castles and cities that held out (ie, everyone being brutally killed or enslaved) would encourage others to surrender - the Mongols relied on this effect in most of their campaigns.

My guess is that if they hadn't turned back, the Mongol forces would have continued through Germany into France, besieging towns and castles along the way. I remember reading that the King of France at the time was beginning to raise an army to meet these fearsome invaders by the time the Hungarians were defeated. In that case, the French army would probably have been shattered too, and the Mongols moved into France. In Italy, a smaller Mongol force might have taken and destroyed 1 or 2 major towns that refused to submit, which would have encouraged others to surrender. The Pope probably wouldn't have submitted, so Rome would have been viciously sacked and the pope killed. At this point, areas that had not been invaded - England, Scandinavia, Sicily, northern Spain - would probably have agreed to pay tribute rather than risk facing these apparently unstoppable invaders. I suspect that many of the more practically minded, commercial towns in Italy and the Low Countries (Venice, Genoa, Bruges, Ghent) could have saved themselves by submitting to the Mongols just in time to avoid getting sacked. The Venetians could offer the use of their fleet in the Mediterranean if the Mongols wanted to invade any place in that region.
 
The Mongols were certainly formadible, but there was nothing magical about them and it is far from certain that they would have overrun all of Europe.

They were certainly skilled at siege warfare and able to operate in adverse terrain, but they weren't better at these forms of warfare than as cavalry and would still move more slowly through Italy and germany than they did in Russia and Eastern Europe.

At the same time, whilst they were significantly more militarily effective than contemporary European forces they were not invincible, and the French did possess the necessary tools to hold their own, though whether they could have done so in practise is a different question.

The key point though, is that the Mongol withdrawl in OTL was not merely a lucky fluke but a reflection of the nature of Mongol society. Campaigns so far from their homeland which were both more difficult and less rewarding than those waged elsewhere would eventually have faded away, the question is how far would they get before their own internal problems and contradictions caused them to loose steam.

I don't doubt that the mongols could have overrun maoinland Europe had they continued to make major efforts there for several years, what I doubt is that the western tip of Eurasia could ever have held their attention for that long, although I also seem to have a higher opinion of Europe's ability to resist than many others.
 
Matthew Craw said:
The Mongols were certainly formadible, but there was nothing magical about them and it is far from certain that they would have overrun all of Europe.

They were certainly skilled at siege warfare and able to operate in adverse terrain, but they weren't better at these forms of warfare than as cavalry and would still move more slowly through Italy and germany than they did in Russia and Eastern Europe.

At the same time, whilst they were significantly more militarily effective than contemporary European forces they were not invincible, and the French did possess the necessary tools to hold their own, though whether they could have done so in practise is a different question.

The key point though, is that the Mongol withdrawl in OTL was not merely a lucky fluke but a reflection of the nature of Mongol society. Campaigns so far from their homeland which were both more difficult and less rewarding than those waged elsewhere would eventually have faded away, the question is how far would they get before their own internal problems and contradictions caused them to loose steam.

I don't doubt that the mongols could have overrun maoinland Europe had they continued to make major efforts there for several years, what I doubt is that the western tip of Eurasia could ever have held their attention for that long, although I also seem to have a higher opinion of Europe's ability to resist than many others.
The terrain in China (mountains, rivers, hills) didn't stop them, neither did the 5 million men Chinese infantery army, so why on earth would France stop them? And remember, at his point, they were master of siege, there had probably never before been a civilization that mastered that art so succefully. The heavy cavalary wouldn't stop them either, 20-25% of the MONGOL army was heavy cavalary. And remember, the Mongol tactics was way more advanced then Europe, and the quality of the individual Mongol commander and soldier were the greatest in the world. Bye, bye Europe.
 
Peter said:
The terrain in China (mountains, rivers, hills) didn't stop them, neither did the 5 million men Chinese infantery army, so why on earth would France stop them? And remember, at his point, they were master of siege, there had probably never before been a civilization that mastered that art so succefully. The heavy cavalary wouldn't stop them either, 20-25% of the MONGOL army was heavy cavalary. And remember, the Mongol tactics was way more advanced then Europe, and the quality of the individual Mongol commander and soldier were the greatest in the world. Bye, bye Europe.
but they didn't whip through China in a year or two, it took a series of protracted campaigns. Europe would be easier, but not so easy that total conquest is certain before centrifugal forces and other distractions disipate the Mongol effort.
 
I think that the initial Mongol invasion of Europe would have been pretty successful, although not without difficulties. Feudal Europe was very divided and I think that a lot of the elites - from kings to counts to the ruling councils of cities - would have seen the military power of the Mongols and decided to submit rather than risk destruction.

Keeping power in the long term would be more difficult. If the Mongols turn their attention elsewhere, those who submitted to them will have second thoughts and consider rebelling. Western and Central Europe would be further from the Mongols' original homeland than any other part of their empire. Unlike Russia, these lands don't border directly on the steppe anywhere. The plains of Hungary would probably be the Mongols' base, but even these grasslands probably aren't extensive enough to support a full nomadic nation in its traditional lifestyle - that's why steppe peoples like the Huns, Avars, and Magyars turned toward raiding and tribute-gathering as the basis for their way of life rather than strict nomad pastoralism once they reached Hungary. Also unlike in Russia, there are a lot of mountains and seas in Europe that could act as barriers. My guess is that western Europe could easily be rid of Mongol domination by the late 13th century unless the Mongols make a strong, concerted effort to keep control there. Would they do this, though, when there were other areas like the Middle East and southern China and possibly even India that offered richer rewards?
 
I remember a topic on this AGES ago. I think it was said that the west European armies would be much better at fighting the mongols then others.
One thing I remember was that the mongols made their bows using some kind of animal fat and fell apart if used in wet conditions.
 
Don't forget that the Mongols whomped the Teutonic Knights at Leignitz, some of the best heavy cavalry in all of Europe. I agree with the others on here in that the Mongols could have overrun and raided through Europe pretty much as they pleased, but holding onto Europe for long wouldn't be likely... I don't see Europe becoming free so much by rebellion as by Mongol lack of interest....
 
Leej,

The Mongols used composite bows held together by some sort of natural glue...once they got into the wetter, more forested country, their bows would fall apart.

Here's a thought...

The English have the longbow during this period (perhaps a bit later on, but they definitely do); perhaps the English allow the Mongols to ravage French France before using their longbows to do a Crecy somewhere in English France. This'll be the Mongols' Ein Jalut in Europe, plus it guarantees English supremacy in France for quite awhile if Paris is sacked and the Dauphin killed.
 
Matt Quinn said:
Leej,

The Mongols used composite bows held together by some sort of natural glue...once they got into the wetter, more forested country, their bows would fall apart.

Here's a thought...

The English have the longbow during this period (perhaps a bit later on, but they definitely do); perhaps the English allow the Mongols to ravage French France before using their longbows to do a Crecy somewhere in English France. This'll be the Mongols' Ein Jalut in Europe, plus it guarantees English supremacy in France for quite awhile if Paris is sacked and the Dauphin killed.
English armies of this period did not perform dramatically better than French, and I don't believe that Longbows played a major role this early.

More importantly, this sort of machiavellian cynicism seems wildly out of character for henry III, a deeply pious, chivalrous and perhaps even somewhat stupid man. If he got involved at all it would likely be as a subordinate of St. Louis.
 
In my opinion, the mongols would lose

because: terrain ill suited to cavalry, especially large amounts of cavalry. So they need to grab Hungary first, the only area in Europe suitable for horses.
And the Magyar wouldn´t like it a bit, I think

Europe is littered with little castles, walled villages etc, they can´t lay siege every little place. So they are in a hell of a hostile environment.
Consider the church: I see the priests urging the peasants to fight off the heathens.

The feudal system makes conquest more difficult as there are no real centers to decapitate. It will take time, and that´s exactly what they don´t have,

Look at the terrain. If they raid a area the devastation will surely kill many peasants, but the place won´t be suitable for the mongols to pass the next year, as they can´t live of the land.
Especially, if everything valuable and eadible is brought into safe hamlets.

So: they won´t be able to replace the horses.
After one raiding season, they won´t find much to eat

Having to maintain a siege, or simply the terrain, makes it impropable for them to retreat or feign a retreat. So they have to stand in a certain position against the onslought of knights- heavy cavalry.

Religious aspect: Christianity threatened by heathens considered dangerously devilish even by the muslims :D :D would force Pope and Emperor to commit their ressources to fight the barbaric plague off.

My conclusion: The Mogols could raid Middle of Europe, but it would have been more than they could handle.
 
"And the Magyar wouldn´t like it a bit, I think"

I think the Magyars had long since lost their old skill at being tough-as-nails horsemen from the steppes. The Mongols grazed their horses in Hungary before heading off for their last European campaigns without much trouble.
 
Steffen said:
In my opinion, the mongols would lose

because: terrain ill suited to cavalry, especially large amounts of cavalry. So they need to grab Hungary first, the only area in Europe suitable for horses.
And the Magyar wouldn´t like it a bit, I think

Europe is littered with little castles, walled villages etc, they can´t lay siege every little place. So they are in a hell of a hostile environment.
Consider the church: I see the priests urging the peasants to fight off the heathens.

The feudal system makes conquest more difficult as there are no real centers to decapitate. It will take time, and that´s exactly what they don´t have,

Look at the terrain. If they raid a area the devastation will surely kill many peasants, but the place won´t be suitable for the mongols to pass the next year, as they can´t live of the land.
Especially, if everything valuable and eadible is brought into safe hamlets.

So: they won´t be able to replace the horses.
After one raiding season, they won´t find much to eat

Having to maintain a siege, or simply the terrain, makes it impropable for them to retreat or feign a retreat. So they have to stand in a certain position against the onslought of knights- heavy cavalry.

Religious aspect: Christianity threatened by heathens considered dangerously devilish even by the muslims :D :D would force Pope and Emperor to commit their ressources to fight the barbaric plague off.

My conclusion: The Mogols could raid Middle of Europe, but it would have been more than they could handle.
I disagree.
The mongols have conquered their empire by not laying seige to every enemy stronghold. They only lay seige to those who resisted and killed every single one of them. Those who surrendered are left alone. After the fall of a couple of strongholds, most of these walled towns or cities would surrender in fear of retribution.

The mongols do not live off the land. They live off their horses. They prefer mares over stallions due to their rich milk that they could drink. In most cases they would bleed some of their horses to drink their blood.

The mongols are the first army to used manuever warfare. The germans and the US have used manuever warfare in Europe with tanks, the mongols can do it in their horses.

In almost all the victories the Mongols fought, they were always outnumbered. They won due to their discipline,organization, and merit based leadership system. I'll take them over undiscipline knights who break formation to charge their enemy and are lead by some lord due to his birth right.
 
Pish posh.

Peter said:
The terrain in China (mountains, rivers, hills) didn't stop them, neither did the 5 million men Chinese infantery army, so why on earth would France stop them? And remember, at his point, they were master of siege, there had probably never before been a civilization that mastered that art so succefully. The heavy cavalary wouldn't stop them either, 20-25% of the MONGOL army was heavy cavalary. And remember, the Mongol tactics was way more advanced then Europe, and the quality of the individual Mongol commander and soldier were the greatest in the world. Bye, bye Europe.
The existing Chinese Dynasty was crumbling. The Mongols didn't militarily conquer all of China, they marched in and replaced the Dynasty. China was also lacking in the horrendous profusion of castles and fortified positions one would find in Europe. While I agree that the Mongols were quite capable of seige warfare, they used it to capture rich Chinese and Mid Eastern cities full of loot. The prospect of having to reduce every walled castle or town in order to conquer Europe would quickly wear them down, and would provide them with no real material benefit.

Add to that the climate and terrain, which are horrendously unsuited to large cavalry armies, and the Mongols are toast. Hungary was as far West as they could go as a base of operations, and if not for the Khan's death, I would say Germany would have big problems until the Khan finally DID die, which he would have to do sooner or later.

There is no prosect whatsoever of a conquest of Italy. Every Mongol warrior brought with him 10 horses; they were rotated in battle to maintain mobility, and were expended as food as a campaign progressed. When they ran out of horses, the army went home to get more. How many troops would be required to conquer Italy? 30,000? So, you have 300,000 horsies crossing one of the highest mountain ranges in the world without food. Ooops. You may remember a little problem the Romans had named Attilla the Hun, AKA the Sourge of God. He invaded Italy - remember that? A horror of burned cities, massacred populations and utter devasastation of... oh, wait, I forgot, his whole army died trying to cross the Alps.

And the Italian passes can most certainly be successfully defended by European troops of the period. The Mongols were more or less invincible in the open, but in the mountains I would rather a have a European army of any size than a Mongol army.

Furthermore, there is the issue of reinforcements. Where do they come from? The amswer is "Inner Mongolia", which is all the way over on the opposite side of the planet. When Khan X is running low on troops, what does he do? He has to send for help 8,000 miles away.

The Mongols were fearsome, organized, and had an advanced tactical system, coupled with a good strategic sense. They were not magical. Europeans are also not idiots, and would have adapted to the threat, just as France did to the English, and Europe did to the Ottomans, and it might be noted that Ottoman power was far more solid than Mongol, which was based only upon military power, and was nearly devoid of an administrative structure in most of the Mongol domain.

In conclusion, a Mongol invasion of Western Europe would have failed. Miserably. Note they didn't even try it.
 
Mongols recruited peasants for armies.

The Mongols got lots of local peasants as recruits because they levied less taxes than the local landlords, who they killed and replaced. It would have been local European peasants besieging those castles.
I wonder what diseases the Europe had that China didn't. China had black plague, and that killed off a third of the population of Europe after the Mongols opened the silk road. What diseases went East?
 
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