Tuesday, October 25, 2005

"Horde" Dreams

Aha! I found the source of my dream of trebuchets and hordes that Fmragtops so professionally analyzed. It was a premonition of SecDef Rumsfeld's visit to Mongolia.

Mongolian Defense Minister Tserenkhuu Sharavdorj presented Rumsfeld the brown horse with a black mane during the secretary's Oct. 22 visit to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia's capital city. The visit was the first by a U.S. defense secretary to this former communist country, home of the legendary 13th century warrior, Genghis Khan.

In Mongolia, where the horse is highly revered and legends of 13th-century Mongols galloping behind Genghis Khan onto the world stage still bolster national pride, the gift of a horse to Rumsfeld represented an ultimate symbol of friendship and cooperation.

Mongol hordes are best known for their amazing abilities to wage war from horseback. Kahn and his top general Subedei taught and trained the Mongol cavalry by staging hunts that resembled battles they would face with the enemy. Steven Den Beste's post The Mongol Horde describes the training exercises and how the discipline translated onto the real battlefield.

On the occasion that a castle or walled city refused to surrender right away, a siege would begin. Though he doesn't say if the trebuchet was employed, Den Beste says they used some kind of juggernaut.
During their campaign in some of the Arabian nations, they would approach a city and give it a chance to surrender. If it did, it would be accepted into the Mongol empire. If it refused and resisted, then the Mongols would lay siege (using siege engines built and operated by Chinese combat engineers who accompanied the Mongols in the campaign) and once the city fell the inhabitants would be completely slaughtered. Word of this spread and surrenders became the norm, as the Mongols intended.
Obviously, I've been using inferior catapults not made in China!

Also following Mongolian tradition, the secretary asked the horse's herder to watch over Montana until his next visit, and in return, presented a useful gift, in this case, a black-and-yellow flashlight. Rumsfeld also presented Sharavdorj a Civil War pistol.

Uh...a flashlight? I'm going to have to sleep on that one.