The use of such a tactical method of combat, as an ambush, has been known since ancient times. The Chinese military theorist Sun Tzu wrote on the question of interest to us: “The commander should sacrifice something that the enemy wanted to have at home. ... Offering him a bait [hereinafter referred to as highlighted by us. - AK], he encourages the enemy to move on, and at the same time with a detachment of well-chosen people, he lies in wait for him in ambush. ” In favor of our point of view about the origin of ambushes from hunting skills and their further use in combat practice, says that Sun-tzu uses such concepts as to offer "bait" and "trap him in ambush." These considerations, in our opinion, convincingly testify precisely to the model of the behavior of the hunter who, through a special bait, watches his victim. Indeed, sources from the era of the Mongol conquests fully confirm the very wide use of tactical retreat to lure the enemy into an ambush.
The Mongolian army in 1209 approached the fortified Imen Tangut outpost, which defended the approaches to the capital Xi Xia, in which the 50-thousandth Tangut army defended. For two months, both sides did not take any active steps. Then the mobile Mongol cavalry attacked the Tanguts, who, having easily repelled the attack, began to pursue the enemy. During the chase, the Tangut army was unexpectedly ambushed and completely destroyed. In the autumn of 1212, Mongolian troops surrounded the western capital of the Jin Empire. The Jurchen command sent an army led by commander-in-chief Aotun-shan to the rescue of the city. Then Genghis Khan "sent an army that lured [retreat] to Migoukou (" fortress-outpost in the Great Wall of China "), but, turning to meet, attacked them and completely destroyed them." Thus, the Jurchen army fell into a special ambush by the Mongols and was defeated. In the military practice of the Mongolian armies such cases can be a lot. At the same time, it is clear from this example that the Mongolian command staff in the planning of military operations significantly outplayed its adversary in operational and tactical terms. At the same time, it can be said that the tactical retreat of a small part of the troops (advanced, guard) to engage the enemy in an ambush was one of the most important elements in the overall military strategy of the Mongols during the invasion of their troops into the enemy country.
The Mongolian terminological equivalent of an ambush as an element of combat is not entirely clear. In Turkic languages, the concept of "ambush" was transmitted by the word "bead" (from the ancient Turkic pusuγ - ambush) - letters. "Hiding, hidden, sitting in ambush", or "lurk, hiding." Ambushes were used both in carrying out separate military operations, and as the main method of warfare as a whole by the commanders of nomads from ancient times. So, on the eve of the battle with the Mongols, the Naiman Tayan Khan offered his son Kuchluk the following plan of military operations: “It is known that the horses of the Mongols are skinny. Let us do this: we will send our people to the other side of Altai, and ourselves, pulling ourselves up and moving lightly, will advance the troops from left to right and lure them into an ambush. So, engaging them in minor skirmishes, we will reach the heights of the southern slope of Altai. During this time, our herds will be fed up. Then we, having exhausted the Mongols in this way and having exhausted their horses even more, then we will strike them right in the face! ” Such a course of struggle was planned by the Naiman leader, apparently proceeding from the lack of confidence in the preparedness of his own troops for war. The main emphasis here was placed on the fact that in the process of pursuit, deliberately diverging into the deep rear of the Naiman troops, the Mongols and their horses would not endure a grueling march, and thereby exhaust their natural resource, i.e. more precisely, the physiological capabilities of war horses will be weakened. But such a program of hostilities was rejected by the Naiman warlords.
John de Plano Carpini, quite well acquainted with the Mongolian military techniques, especially emphasized the intentional desire (inclination) of the Mongols to engage the enemy in a place favorable to them, based primarily on the superiority of the enemy in manpower. “You need to know that every time they envy enemies, they go against them, and each throws three or four arrows at their opponents; and if they see that they cannot defeat them, they retreat back to their own; and they do this for the sake of deception, so that the enemies pursue them to the places where they ambushed; and if their enemies pursue them until the aforementioned ambush, they surround them and thus injure and kill. Similarly, if they see that there is a large army against them, they sometimes move away from it for one or two days' journey and secretly attack another part of the earth and plunder it; they kill people and destroy and devastate the earth. And if they see that they cannot do this, they retreat back ten or twelve days. ” In the latter case, the Mongols tried with their devastating predatory raids to force the enemy army to move in the direction they needed, where a prepared army was waiting for them, secretly preparing for a massive attack. Therefore, the urgent military recommendations of the Plano Carpini intended for the command leadership of medieval Western European armies boiled down to the following: 1) “if the Tatars make a feigned flight, then you don’t have to go far behind them, if you can’t accidentally look around so that the enemies aren’t carried away into the prepared an ambush, as they usually do, and another detachment must be ready to help that detachment in case of need ”; 2) "the units must beware of not running far behind them because of ambushes, which they usually arrange, because they are more fighting with cunning than with courage"; 3) "if the Tatars retreat, ours still should not withdraw or separate mutually, since they do it feignedly to separate the troops and after that freely enter the land and ruin it all." The indicated tactical instructions of the papal ambassador were not useless and reflected those historical realities. Thus, the "cunning" and "cunning" of the Mongols, in his opinion, consisted in a skillful and tactically competent arrangement of troops, the best (shock) of which was in ambush.
In the famous battle on the river. Sind (Indus), which is considered the last major battle between Jalal ad-Din and Genghis Khan, is indicative of the use by the Mongolian commanders of the hidden military units that were in ambush. The Mongols won the victory largely due to tactical tricks with the timely use of a selective ambush regiment. At the beginning of the battle, Jalal ad-Din managed to break the center of the Mongol formation, literally, as an-Nasavi figuratively remarks, “breaking through the roads through it”. Even Genghis Khan himself was forced to take flight, imitating a retreat. “However, before the battle, the damned ambushed ten thousand horsemen from among selected warriors who had the title of bahadurs. They came to the right flank of Jalal ad-Din, where Amin-Malik was, and broke it, throwing it to the center. As a result, the order of battle [Jalal ad-Din] was upset and its resilience was shaken. ” This led to the final defeat of the remaining troops of the brave Khorezm sultan. The Mongols, like other Central Asian nomads, were masters in organizing tactical surprises and at the same time were afraid to be ambushed. According to a well-informed Chinese author, “their [black Tatars] moving army all the time fears a sudden strike from an ambush.” Interestingly, the military experience of that time shows that if the opponents of the Mongols in the fight against them introduced tactical techniques using ambushes, then they could successfully resist them in open battles. We give some typical examples. One day, a certain Tatar emir, Koke Bejkem, “the leader of a thousand horsemen,” joined the sultan of Jalal ad-Din, who committed some serious offense and was forced to flee from the Mongols. This warlord “advised the sultan to leave the prey in the way of the Tatars, and to hide himself in ambush while they were engaged in [this] bait, and drink their hands of revenge to drink them from the cup of death. His advice was sound, and the Sultan equipped Utur Khan — and he always distinguished him and brought him closer, believing that his loyalty and bravery did not require testing and did not need proof, was led by four thousand horsemen as an avant-garde. He ordered Utur Khan to drag the Tatars after him when they approached, so that they would reach for the death den and come to the place of repentance. ” But because of the cowardice of this military leader, this tactical version of the battle was not implemented.
When the expeditionary corps of Jabe-Noyon and Subedei-bakhadur returned from the far western raid in 1223 – 1224. their path passed through the lands of the Volga Bulgars. The locals “ambushed them in several places, ... met them and, luring them until they stopped at the ambush site, attacked them from the rear, so that they (the Tatars) remained in the middle; he squeezed their sword from all sides, many were slain, and only a few of them survived. It is said that there were up to 4 000 people. ”
The Jin commander, Xu-Din, intending to block the Mongolian troops’s way across the Yellow River (Huang He), called in troops from five districts: Jiang-chjeu, Xu-chjeu, Shih-cheu, Ji-cheu and Myn-cheu - and put them in such position so that they could attack from the front and from the rear. When the Mongols crossed over from Xi Jing, in San-mine, to the north and approached the city of Phin-yang, Xu-Din entered into a battle with them. Mongolian troops were defeated and left. ”
In the famous battle of Ain-i Dzhalut, which, according to some historians, dispelled the frightening myth about the invincibility of the Mongols, the commander of the Mamluk army, Sultan Kutuz, specially set part of the army in an ambush. "And he himself, sitting [on a horse], stood up with a small number of [warriors]." The Mongol army rapidly attacked the Mamluks, continuously shooting from their bows. "And Kuduz dodged and hit the road." The Mongols “set off after them, and killed many of the misirs. When they reached the ambush site, the misrts from three sides rushed from the ambush and rushed to the Mongol army. From early morning until noon they fought hand to hand. The Mongolian army resisted becoming unbearable, and in the end it turned to flight. ”
Very effectively, the Mongols used the ambush during the assault on the heavily fortified fortresses of the enemy. Having precipitated the capital of Khorezm, the city of Urgench (Gurganj), “a small number of horsemen of the Mongolian army rushed to the gate [of the capital] and rushed to steal cattle. Several short-sighted people imagined [to themselves] that [all] the Mongol army is this small number of people. A detachment of horse and foot went on these riders; the Mongols rushed from them [in fear], like wild game from Silk, until they reached the outskirts of Bag-i Khurram, located in one farsang of the city. There the fighting [Mongolian] cavalry flew out from an ambush behind a wall and surrounded this squad. They killed about a thousand people and followed the fugitives into the city through the gate of Kabilan [Catilan?] And penetrated to a place called Tiura. ”
A separate expeditionary corps, led by Subedei-Bahadur and Jebe-Noyon, purposefully moved westward and reached Georgia (Gurdzhistan). “The Georgians gathered in large numbers and went to war. Jebe sent Subadei with an army against them, while he himself, with five thousand bakhadurovs, was ambushed. Subedai deliberately fled, and the Georgians set off to pursue him. [Then] Jebe came out of the ambush, coming from the flank, and destroyed all. The usual reception of their [Mongols] in most battles was as follows, ”states Rashid ad-Din20. This story with the defeat of Georgians in Rashid ad-Din is repeated twice: “When they got along with each other, Jebe with five thousand people went [in ambush] to one hidden place [Gushe-i-pan-Khan], and Subedai with the army went ahead . At the very beginning of the battle, the Mongols fled: the Gurgia began to pursue them. Jebe left the ambush: they were captured in the middle [of both Mongolian units: retreating and attacking from the ambush]. ” The battle was so bloody that thirty thousand of the ninety-thousand Georgian troops died, according to Rashid al-Din. Georgian and Armenian sources give similar information about this battle. As follows from these data, the Mongols, knowing about the numerical superiority of the enemy, decided to lure the Georgians into a convenient area for themselves and hit them from two sides, thereby taking them to the environment. Thus, the connection to the battle of the tactical reserve detachment of the Mongols was a complete surprise to the Georgians. It should be especially emphasized, following Rashid ad-Din, that the battle using the ambush squad was a typical tactical device not only of the Mongols, but of all the nomadic peoples of the Great Steppe.
In the Black Sea steppes, the Mongol detachments in May 1223 met with the allied Russian-Polovtsian army. “When the Mongols saw their superiority, they began to retreat. The Kipchaks and the Uruses, believing that they retreated in fear, pursued the Mongols at a distance of twelve days of travel. Suddenly, the Mongol army turned back and hit them, and before they got together, managed to smash [a multitude] of people. They fought for one week, and finally the Kipchaks and the Uruses fled. ” It is clearly noticeable here that the Mongols accepted the plan for a tactical retreat of their troops, in view of the obvious overwhelming superiority of the enemy, and placed their stakes on a temporary tactical retreat with the task of luring them into an ambush trap.
Abu-l-Ghazi, describing the seven-year campaign (1236 – 1242) of the Mongolian troops, described in his essay an interesting story about an ambush arranged by Shiban - the hero of the western march. "Shiban Khan told his brother Sain Khan:" Give me six thousand people in addition to the soldiers who are with me; at night, I will be ambushed in the rear of the enemy; the next day, along with the dawn, you will attack him from the front, and I will attack him from the rear. ” The next day they did. When the battle broke out, Shiban Khan, rising from an ambush, rushed with cavalry to the shaft and, hurrying, went over the shaft. Inside the shaft, the camp was cordoned off from all sides with carts tied with iron chains: the chains were cut, the carts were broken, and everyone, acting with spears and sabers, the footmen attacked the enemy: Sain-khan in front, Shiban-khan from the rear. At this place they beat seventy thousand people. ” A simultaneous attack from two sides (frontal and rear) on the enemy fortified camp seemed to disorient the enemy and allowed the Mongolian assault ambush units to seize the defensive shaft, surround and complete the rout of the enemy. At the same time, the frontal attack of the Mongols diverted the attention of the besieged from the rear (decisive) attack from an ambush.
To be continued