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Mongol invasion of the Caucasus[1]
Part of Mongol Invasion of Europe[2]
HedwigManuscriptLiegnitz a.jpg
Mongol under Subotai clash with christian knights
DateSeptember 1222 [3]
LocationCaucasus, Kingdom of Georgia[4]
40°40′31″N 42°44′32″E / 40.67528°N 42.74222°E / 40.67528; 42.74222
Result Decisive Mongol victory[5]
Belligerents
Golden Horde flag 1339.svg Mongol Empire Flag of Georgia.svg Kingdom of Georgia
Commanders and leaders
Golden Horde flag 1339.svg Subotai[6] Flag of Georgia.svg King George IV of Georgia[7][8]
Units involved
Light Cavalry[9] knights[10]
Strength
20,000 light cavalry [11] 30,000 Knights
40,000 additional cavalry
70,000 in total[12]
Casualties and losses
minimal[13] tens of thousands killed[14]


King George IV of Georgia possessed one of the best armies in eastern Europe. At the time, they had the largest contingent of knights and horse cavalry ever assembled (30,000 knights and 40,000 light cavalry). Even the Holy Roman Empire never produced such numbers of knights. Each member of the army was a veteran of repelling great Muslim armies in the Middle East and protecting their borders. One of the most important knights fought in the Crusades prior to the Mongol invasion.[15]

Subotai's reconnaissance

Subotai received orders to head north from Iran to find Muhammad II of Khwarezm. When he received news that the Shah died, he headed north to receive more intelligence from the Kingdom of Georgia. He landed at the foot of the Caucasus Mountains to prepare for battle against the Kingdom of Georgia. King George IV of Georgia heard the news that the Mongols had landed on his Kingdom, immediately assembling all of his heavily armoured knights and adding more mounted troops to face the hordes.[16]

Battle

King George IV of Georgia led an all out war and charged straight into the Mongols. Subotai, a skilled strategist and possibly the best of his time, maneuvered his cavalry with Armour piercing arrows. The Georgians showed great heart and possessed great courage to face the Mongols, but it did not bring significant change on the battlefield. Subotai finished the battle off with a feigned retreat and eliminated tens of thousands of knights in King George IV of Georgia's disposal. A good exercise by the Mongols to prepare similar challenges they would face on European soil, which will be one of Subotai's most lasting fame until the death of Ogedei, that halted the Mongol advance further to the lands of the Holy Roman Empire[17]

Aftermath

King George IV of Georgia went back to Tiflis to prepare for another Mongol attack, but it never came. This victory was one of Subotai's first great achievements as a commander, and he would achieve much more as he went further west into the heart of Europe. Many great European knights tried and failed to take Subotai down on European soil. In forested areas, he proved to be much more tactical in using dense forest as an advantage against European Knights for concealment and maneuvering mass troops to surprise European forces. His logistics and ability to make strategic decisions to expand his troops all over the European map in mere days was unmatched until the blitzkrieg in WWII. However, Subotai would not attack Europe until Ogedei was elected khan, and it was also his death that stopped Subotai from starting the invasion of western Europe.[18]

References

Footnotes

  1. "Genghis Khan: his conquest, his empire, his legacy"by Frank Lynn
  2. "Genghis Khan: his conquest, his empire, his legacy"by Frank Lynn
  3. "Early Ukraine: A Military and Social History to the Mid-19th Century" By Alexander Basilevsky
  4. "Genghis Khan: his conquest, his empire, his legacy"by Frank Lynn
  5. 'How wars are won:the 13 rules of war from ancient greece to the war on terror P/117'by Alexander, Bevin
  6. "Genghis Khan: his conquest, his empire, his legacy"by Frank Lynn
  7. "Genghis Khan: his conquest, his empire, his legacy"by Frank Lynn
  8. "The Mongols Proper and the Kalmuks p.150"by Howorth, Henry H.
  9. "Genghis Khan: his conquest, his empire, his legacy"by Frank Lynn
  10. "Genghis Khan: his conquest, his empire, his legacy"by Frank Lynn
  11. "Early Ukraine: A Military and Social History to the Mid-19th Century" By Alexander Basilevsky
  12. "Genghis Khan: his conquest, his empire, his legacy"by Frank Lynn
  13. "Genghis Khan: his conquest, his empire, his legacy"by Frank Lynn
  14. "Genghis Khan: his conquest, his empire, his legacy"by Frank Lynn
  15. "The Rise and Fall of the Second Largest Empire in History: How Genghis Khan almost conquered the world"by Thomas J. Craughwell
  16. "The Rise and Fall of the Second Largest Empire in History: How Genghis Khan almost conquered the world"by Thomas J. Craughwell
  17. "The Rise and Fall of the Second Largest Empire in History: How Genghis Khan almost conquered the world"by Thomas J. Craughwell
  18. "The Rise and Fall of the Second Largest Empire in History: How Genghis Khan almost conquered the world"by Thomas J. Craughwell

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