Song just before the conquest
As is often the case before the death of many countries, they were torn apart by various contradictions. In 1265, the emperor Li-Tsung died, he did not leave an heir, all the children from the concubines died in infancy, and the wives had no children. Under pressure from high officials, he adopted his nephew Zhao Qi (1240-1274), but he was of dubious origin, his mother was a concubine. Around him, a struggle between groups began - some supported the boy, others demanded his overthrow. Zaixiang (Chancellor), about whom we wrote in the previous article, Jia Sidao enjoyed full confidence and dictatorial powers under him. Despite opposition, Zhao Qi was crowned in 1264 and named Du Zong.
Brocade robe "pao". The era of the Song. China
He was not a bad ruler, but the numerous natural disasters that hit the country, exacerbated by corruption, exorbitant taxes and instability caused by the threat from the north, did not allow him to be considered a legitimate ruler. Since in the society of this period, legitimacy was rigidly tied to divine grace, which the ruler was obliged to have and to transfer it to the country and people. And his failures were especially obvious against the backdrop of the new empire Yuan created in the north and its God-chosen ruler.
Du Zong also died suddenly in the midst of the crisis and war in 1274, and the burden of power fell on Jia Sidao and Empress Xie Daoqing, who became regents with his young son.
Many historians believe that the Song government did not take advantage of the long period when no one threatened the state. Actually this is not true. Fortifications were constantly erected, the defense of cities was strengthened, local authorities were preparing food supplies. The fortress wall of the capital was rebuilt and fortified. Trees were planted in places of possible landings, along the banks of rivers. The pay for the military was increased, they were attracted by benefits. In the borderlands, local commanders tried to return the captured fortifications in order to provide more advantageous positions in the event of an invasion. And Khubilai, busy with the struggle for power, turned a blind eye to it.
Times of "official pacifism" of the XI century. played a negative role in stories empire, and the absence for a long time of powerful opponents did not contribute to the training of troops.
Calm and contemplation reigned in the works of Chinese artists on the eve of terrible upheavals. Artist Ma Lin. End of XII - beginning of XIII centuries "In peace I listen to the pines singing"
The predominance of an emphasis on defensive tactics in military theoretical treatises also did not contribute to victory, and Song did not have enough horses to carry out active operations. And not only them.
Based on today's understanding, we can say that huge defense funds, which, of course, were corrected by corruption, were used incorrectly. But at that time, the creation of powerful fortifications was considered the most adequate way of defense. Moreover, there was the experience of the next fight with the Jin empire. Again, the empire had great potential, but none of this helped it.
The most important reason was the discord in the empire associated with the feeling of general "injustice". In the end, the high payments to the soldiers did not help in any way. Why? More on this below.
The walls of Pingyao city (XIV century) of Shanxi province give an idea of the fortifications of the Sung period
What about Mongolia?
Returning to the Horde, on May 5, 1260, Khubilai in Kaiping proclaimed himself the Great Khan, and a four-year struggle for power began. The Mongol nomadic empire disintegrated, and Kublai inherited Mongolia and northern China. In 1271, Khubilai named his state, taking a phrase from the "Book of Changes" - Da Yuan - Great Yuan. First, in 1260, he moved the capital to Kaiping (Shandu), and in 1264 - to Yanjing (Beijing). The city was named Khanbalik or Dai-du.
The main foreign policy goal of Khubilai, who became Emperor Yuan Shizu, was the capture of Song.
At the same time, the creation of a "universal" empire attracted more and more Chinese, Khubilai, Jurchens, and others to the service of Kublai. They saw in him a symbol of the imperial legitimate power, drawing it from the history of China. His victories, against the backdrop of the calamities associated with the rule of the Sung emperors, only emphasized his chosen God in the eyes of the population of all the lands of China.
It is not for nothing that, as we have already written more than once, the armies that have conquered the Golden, and then the Southern Song since the 30s, in the overwhelming majority did not consist of Mongols.
So, Khubilai presented an invoice to the empire under the Treaty signed in 1259, but no one knew anything about it, and accordingly, they were not going to fulfill it. A pompous official posing as an outstanding commander, Jia Sidao tried not to let this information reach the emperor, and he himself did nothing, sat in his luxurious country palace with his concubines and arranged "battles" between crickets. What the whole capital knew about.
During the deadly threat, the chancellor of the state turned out to be a man who wanted to rule, destroying opponents by intrigue and force, but completely incapable of making decisions and being responsible for them: to rule does not mean to be able to govern.
Khubilai tried not to show violence against the Song subjects, with a few exceptions caused by the logic of war. And this policy played a role. Dissatisfied with the policy of the usurper Jia Sidao, and simply dissatisfied with the masses went over to the side of the Mongols, there were many soldiers among them. The Chinese, as specialists, were especially appreciated by the Mongols, therefore favorable conditions were created for defectors, and the Mongols specially made raids to capture soldiers in order to use them in a war against their own. In the end, the conquest of the Song became a war of some Chinese and other peoples of China, led by the Mongols, against other Chinese. This was especially important in the specific climatic conditions of China, which were difficult for the Mongols to endure.
In 1267, the multinational army of the Mongols began a campaign, according to sources - there were 30 tumens. The army was even allocated by the Golden Horde, which was already independent and its khans did not participate in the all-Mongol kurultays. Among the army were large units of Kipchaks, North Caucasian aces and even Russians.
Subedei's grandson, Aju raided the Hubei province and took 50 thousand prisoners and 5 thousand head of cattle. The Chinese army, pursuing Aju, did not recapture the full. At the same time, Liu Zheng, the “general” deserter from Song, proposed to Kublai a clear plan for conquering the Song Empire, which was accepted. The first target, as in the previous time, was the cities of Si-an-fu (Xiangyang) and Fan-cheng (Fancheng) in Hubei province. They were besieged by Aju and Liu Zheng.
And these powerful cities have repeatedly met invasions from the north. Perfectly prepared for a siege, having a lot of siege engines, receiving supplies by water, they became a real powerful obstacle in the path of the Mongol army. Moreover, they covered the passages to the Yangtze basin.
The Mongols completely blocked the cities, but there was enough food in them, in addition to everything, convoys with supplies periodically broke through the river. The besiegers were constantly in need of reinforcements. Khubilai even, according to Rashid ad-Din, urgently freed 20 thousand captured soldiers of the Golden Empire, appointed commanders from them and sent them to the front. It got to the point that Khubilai had to ask Khan Hulag to send his siege professionals.
These were the Muslims Ismail and Ala-ad-Din, who assessed the situation and installed stone throwers, which played an important role in the fall of Fancheng in 1273. The commander of the defense Fan Tien-shun hanged himself, and his assistant Niu Fu fought to the last and threw himself into the fire ... And Xianyang, who was under siege for almost five years, after a demonstration by Ismail and Ala ad-Din, surrendered to the mercy of the victors. The first part of the plan cost the Mongols tremendous effort, but was carried out, and in the Song there was no understanding of the impending mortal threat.
The road to the Yangtze Basin was clear, but from the end of 1274 to the beginning of 1275 there were fierce battles on the border. The troops under the command of Bayan, the son of Kokchu, moved from Ezhou (north of Anhui province) to the capital of the empire, Lin'an (Zhejiang province). The offensive went along the Yangtze River, and flotilla, on which the Chinese were sailors.
And the commander Bolohuang was supposed to advance in eastern China against Yangzhou.
Battle ship. The Song Empire. Encyclopedia "Wu Jing Zongyao". Later image
All that Jia Sidao could oppose was to send ambassadors to Bayan, but he rejected the negotiations. The lands on which the troops were marching passed into Yuan citizenship. On the territory of the modern province of Anhui, near the city of Wuhu, the battle of Dingjiazhou took place on March 17, 1275.
The Empire withdrew a fleet of 2500 battleships from Warlord Xia Gui. The field army consisted of 130 thousand soldiers, among whom were the best, selected units.
The vanguard of 70 thousand soldiers was commanded by Jia Sidao, and all other units were commanded by Sun Hucheng. In this battle, stone throwers were massively used, but Bayan's catapults were more effective. The first to falter and run were the soldiers of Xia Gui, dragging the entire army to flight, which the Mongols pursued and beat for 75 km. Chancellor Jia Sidao and Sun Hucheng fled in the front ranks, leaving the battlefield in a boat.
The enemy captured the entire fleet, many weapons, maps, seals of the Song state.
Demands for the execution of Jia Sidao were insistently sounded in the capital, but he was sent into exile, confiscating his estates and wealth. On the way to exile, the chancellor was killed, having smashed his head.
But suddenly a new miracle happened - the heat wore out the northern warriors and their main parts. The Mongols, leaving many of the conquered cities, went north. These were the cities of Yangzhou, Changzhou, present-day. Suzhou, southern Zhaozhou. Bayan went to Beijing for new instructions. But the Song government did not really take advantage of the situation. It issued contradictory decrees, on the one hand, declaring a general amnesty for defectors and deserters, on the other hand, decrees to punish deserters. And the troops and cities passed to the Mongols, now 15-year-olds and old people were drafted into the army.
And again about the Mongols: how could they?
I would like to highlight one important point. Many readers persistently ask how the small population of the united Mongolia could conquer the multimillion countries.
Without taking into account the most important factors in the development of society, the answer to this question will always be open, and the questioners will remain in the dark. The first factor is the different structures of society in relation to the army and the war. The Mongols of this time are an army-people in the transition stage, very conditionally, from a tribal organization to a territorial community. Such a society is characterized by expansion, especially if it has an organic military organization.
At the same time, all their opponents, agricultural or even more semi-agricultural, "nomadic" empires were at different stages, again very conditionally, of the territorial-neighboring community. And what was the structure of government, early or developed chiefdom, "world-system", did not really matter. It didn’t matter that many of them had a long history behind them. Having a glorious history does not negate military defeat in our time. The craft of war is not transmitted "genetically", but depends on the state of society at the moment.
Thus, in a nomadic society, everyone is at war, but in an agricultural society, at a specified stage of development, especially if the division of labor goes forward, only a certain part. The command apparatus in Song was larger than the entire Mongol army, about 400 thousand people.
By the beginning of the conquests, the Mongols had 150-200 thousand soldiers. Jin had an army significantly exceeding these forces, but as I wrote, these troops were dispersed, and the Mongols during the war with Jin alone increased their forces by ≈ 60 thousand soldiers at the expense of ethnic groups, enemies of the Jurchens. At the same time, the Uighur tribes (≈ 20 thousand) became their allies. The army recruited in Jin took part in the march to the west. It was the reluctance of Emperor Xi Xia to fulfill his promise - to be the right wing in the Mongol campaigns to the west, that infuriated Genghis Khan, whose forces he needed so much. The Mongols did the same in the west. Before the conquest of Central Asia, they attracted about 30-40 thousand soldiers to their side. At the same time, they continued to conquer Jin with the forces of 13 thousand Mongols and 60 thousand local contingents. When the Song was conquered, both the contingents of neighboring ethnic groups went over to the Mongol side, the mani fielded 10 thousand, and the Chinese themselves.
If at the beginning of the conquests Chinggis Khan had 150-200 thousand, then at the end of the century there were about 300-350 thousand soldiers.
And this is all without taking into account the hashar, consumable forces collected from prisoners and used as consumables in the forefront of the attack both in the field and during the siege of fortresses. [Kradin N.N., Skrynnikova T. D., Khrapachevsky R. P.]
With the ability of the Mongols to concentrate forces, their army pierced any obstacles.
At the same time, sedentary agricultural countries, often possessing large resources, including human resources, could not concentrate forces and mobilize resources. Possessing a more complex system of social management, they did not have such a managerial will and thirst for victory.
Do not forget that the Mongols have always and in any way achieved a numerical advantage over the enemy, which I wrote about more than once in previous articles on VO.
Over the Yangtze
And the Mongol troops went to the operational line, to the Yangtze River, crossing which opened the way to the richest regions and to the capital.
The new commander, who was supposed to oppose the Mongols, was appointed Zhang Shijie, who successfully fought against the nomads. He was faced with the task of holding the city of Yangzhou, which covered the access to the river. Yangtze. In 1275, he organized a barrier for the passage of enemy troops at Zaoshan, in the rear at Yangzhou. It consisted of ground forces and a navy on the Yangtze River, whose ships were tied in chains. The Sino-Mongol forces struck at Zhang Shizeng, small maneuverable ships entered the battle on the river, and the cavalry attacked the Chinese infantry. As a result, Song lost 60 thousand killed and as many captured, as 700 ships were taken as trophies, on which it was possible to move not only along rivers, but also along the sea. The road to Nanjing was clear, and Yangzhou, who remained in the rear, did not pose a significant threat. At this time, Wen Tiansang, a poet, scientist and commander, persuaded Empress Xie Daoqing with the little emperor to flee to the islands in order to have more maneuver, since at that time everything was reduced exclusively to the defense of the directions to the capital, where the emperor was located.
The Sung troops decided to organize the next line of defense in Pingjiangfu and in the area of Lake Taifu. The famous Wen Tiansang was appointed commander, who hired 10 thousand soldiers with his own money.
Khubilai, in consultation with Bayan, decided to walk in a straight line to the capital Sun, past the Great Chinese Canal. This canal, which connected the Yellow He and the Yangtze, still exists today, and its construction was carried out for many centuries and was completed in the XNUMXth century.
Bayan at this time took, after a long siege, Changzhou. In order to teach a lesson to the entire Song, the city's inhabitants were massacred. On the other hand, the commander Khasan, who participated in the assault on Tanzhou, stopped the bloodshed by saying that all the prisoners would be subjects of the khan, for which he received encouragement from Kublai.
At the same time, Wen Tiansang was recalled to Lingyang. And his army, left without a commander, surrendered all the lands south of Changzhou, around Lake Taifu.
Panic and flight began in the capital, prominent officials fled, and ministers Wang Yue and Chen Yizhong decided to negotiate with the Mongols in order to negotiate acceptable terms for the dynasty to surrender. The negotiations were entrusted to Wen Tiansan, who behaved extremely arrogantly with the Mongols. It was at the end of 1275. They were going on for a very long time, this bothered Bayan, who at the beginning of 1276 surrounded Lingyan. Finally, Chen Yizhong agreed to surrender. Wen Tiansang remained hostage to the nomads. While Bayan was coordinating the process of surrender with Khubilai, the empress fled from the capital with the little princes, the brothers of Emperor Song. In March 1276, Bayan solemnly entered Lingyan. The 30th garrison surrendered. The little emperor Zhao Xian, deposed before Ingo-gong, was sent to Beijing. With him was his own grandfather Zhao Yuzhuyu, whom Khubilai had appointed Yuan Minister of Agriculture and awarded the magnificent Chinese title that was used in the new empire. And when Zhao Xian was 12 years old, Khubilai gave him a huge amount of money and sent him to a monastery in Tibet, where he became the abbot of the monastery.
The Mongols took out the relatives of the imperial house, as well as the harem, many of whose inhabitants committed suicide on the way and in Beijing, and the palace eunuchs.
Meanwhile, in Fuzhou, on the shores of the Taiwan Strait, a new emperor, 8-year-old Zhao Shi, was elected. Wen Tiansang, who was not officially included in the government, also arrived here. The minister of the new government and the veteran commander Li Tingzhi, having collected 40 troops, even tried to repulse the little emperor Zhao Xian on his way to Beijing. Self-defense units were organized everywhere, and many cities were out of the control of the Mongols.
The new government appealed to the patriotic feelings of the population. In the summer of 1276, Wen Tiansang liberated the lands east and north of Fuzhou. Guangzhou, captured back in the 50s, was liberated. But at this time, after a year of resistance, Yangzhou fell, who remained in the rear of the Mongols, and Li Tingzhi, who was going to help the city, was defeated. While attempting suicide, he was captured and executed. The Chinese people honor his memory as a hero.
And the Mongols at the end of 1276 attacked Fuzhou, the little emperor and his retinue went to sea on ships. There was a bloody struggle for the city of Guangzhou, the city changed hands five times, but the forces of the defenders were undermined by diseases, and it fell. The field army was also destroyed by the Mongols. And the emperor was shipwrecked, caught a cold and died. His younger brother became the emperor.
Wen Tiansang continued to fight, but was defeated near Haifeng, was captured and taken to Beijing. They carried him bound on a ship and showed the disobedient, forcing them to surrender.
And in the spring of 1279 the Mongolian fleet approached the island of Yayshan, here it defeated the Song flotilla, the last seven-year-old emperor of the Song Empire of the Han drowned in the sea. So, under the hooves of the nomadic cavalry, the Song Han empire fell, resisting the conquest for 40 years, in its place the Mongols created their Yuan empire, but about it in the next article.
And the captive commander and poet Wen Tiansang wrote:
The beach will tell you about the fear
Bay - about misfortune
Everyone in this world dies
Leaving only blazing hearts to glow
Bay - about misfortune
Everyone in this world dies
Leaving only blazing hearts to glow
To be continued ...
Sources and literature:
Secret legend. Mongolian chronicle of 1240 titled Mongol-un niruca tobciyan. M., 1941.
Rashid ad-Din. Collection of chronicles. Volume I. Book 2. M., 1952.
"Hei da shi lue": a source on the history of the Mongols in the 2016th century. / otv. ed. A.Sh. Kadyrbaev M., 1993. History of the East. T. II. M., XNUMX.
Kradin N.N., Skrynnikova T. D. Empire of Chinggis Khan M., 2006.
Mongolica: to the 750th anniversary of the "Secret Tale". Ed. Anikeeva S.M. M., 1993.