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Slaget ved Indus, 24. november 1221

Slaget ved Indus, 24. november 1221


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Slaget ved Indus, 24. november 1221

Slaget ved Indus, 24. november 1221, markerte mongolernes første opptreden i India, men slaget var den siste fasen av Djengis Khans krig mot Khwarazm, og etter seieren hans lot Djengis India være i fred.

Etter fallet av Samarkand utpekte Shah Muhammad fra Khwarazm sønnen Jalal al-Din som hans etterfølger, før han gjennomførte et langt kamptreff som bare endte med hans død på en isolert øy i 1221. Jalal al-Din var også i stand til å vinne noen suksesser mot mongolene, til og med beseiret en liten mongolsk hær nær Kabul, men disse kom mot andre sjefer. Da Djengis Khan dukket opp personlig ble Jalal al-Din tvunget til å trekke seg tilbake. Han bestemte seg for å prøve å rømme til Sultanatet i Delhi, og ledet hæren sin mot Indus.

Mongolene tok igjen Jalal al-Din akkurat da hæren hans forberedte seg på å krysse Indus. Jalal al-Din ble tvunget til å stå og kjempe, men hæren hans var omgitt på tre sider før slaget, og han led et tungt nederlag der generalen Amin Malik ble drept.

Jalal al-Din selv klarte å rømme ved å svømme hesten over Indus, men han klarte ikke å finne tilflukt i Delhi, der sultan Iltutmish ikke var villig til å risikere et møte med mongolene. Jalal al-Din brukte de neste ti årene på å kjempe mot en rimelig vellykket grensekrig mot mongolene, før han ble myrdet i 1231.

Til tross for Iltutmishs innsats var et sammenstøt mellom Delhi og mongolene uunngåelig. Det første store sammenstøtet kom tjue år etter slaget ved Indus, da en mongolsk styrke fanget og sparket Lahore (22. desember 1241).


5 kamper som forandret indisk historie for alltid

Indias historie er preget av en lang rekke kamper da innfødte og utenlandske makter ønsket å erobre og få tilgang til rikdommen til subkontinentet. Her har jeg bestemt meg for å kaste lys over de fem kampene som forandret indisk historie for alltid, med fokus på nyere kamper. De er som følger:

Panipat (1526)

Slaget ved Panipat fant sted i en by nordvest for Delhi i 1526 og førte til etableringen av Mughal Empire. Panipat var direkte på invasjonsveien til Delhi.

Grunnleggeren av Mughal Empire, Babur, er en bemerkelsesverdig skikkelse på grunn av eventyrene i ungdommen, som han brukte på å vandre rundt i Sentral -Asia, vinne og tape kongeriker. Han dokumenterte livet sitt i en livslang journal, og ga oss sjelden innsikt i en herskeres indre tanker. Babur ble hersker over Kabul i 1504. I 1526 ble store deler av Nord -India styrt av Ibrahim Lodi fra Delhi -sultanatet. Mange av Lodis adelsmenn var misfornøyde med ham og inviterte Babur til å herske over dem i stedet. Babur visste en avtale da han så en. Han skrev i journalen sin og bemerket "det fine aspektet ved Hindustan er at det er et stort land med mye gull og penger."

Babur invaderte straks. Styrken hans på rundt 15 000 mann var i undertall av 30 000–40 000 soldater under Lodi. I motsetning til Lodi hadde Babur imidlertid et hemmelig våpen - 24 stykker artilleri - og satte mennene sine bak vogner under slaget, slik at han kunne drepe Lodi og de fleste av Lodis styrker. Dermed ble Mughal Empire, Sør -Asias dominerende spiller de neste tre hundre årene, etablert.

Talikota (1565)

Det samme Delhi -sultanatet som Babur beseiret var i seg selv et sviktende imperium utsatt for utbryterstater og dårlige forhold til hinduer. På 1300 -tallet vaklet sultanatets forsøk på ekspansjon til Sør -India raskt, men ikke før det førte til fremveksten av det hinduistiske Vijayanagara -riket og utbryter Bahmani -sultanatet, som senere splittet seg i fem stridende deccan -sultanater.

Vijayanagara var den største, mest velorganiserte og mest militaristiske hinduistiske staten i Sør-India ennå, dannet som direkte svar på islamske angrep dypt inn i India. Eksistensen bevarte den politiske uavhengigheten i Sør -India i to hundre år. Likevel truet styrken sine nordlige naboer, de deckanske sultanatene og fikk en rekonquista til å virke sannsynlig. De normalt feiende Deccan -sultanatene gikk dermed i krig mot Vijayanagara. Selv om det virket som om Vijayanagara hadde en avgjørende fordel i antall, led det et ydmykende nederlag 26. januar 1565 i Talikota nær hovedstaden (også kalt Vijayanagara) på grunn av døden til den viktigste Vijayanagaran -generalen i løpet av slaget.

Nettoresultatet av slaget var at det svekket Sør -India og lot det gradvis integreres i Mughal Empire. Sør -Indias særskilte politiske og kulturelle autonomi tok slutt, og islamske stater ble politisk dominerende over det meste av Sør -Asia.

Karnal (1739)

Slaget ved Karnal svekket det mektige Mughal-imperiet dødelig. Både Mughal -riket og det nærliggende Safavid -imperiet i Persia gikk i tilbakegang på begynnelsen av 1700 -tallet av forskjellige grunner: konstante hinduistiske Maratha -raid og borgerkrig i Mughal -riket og et afghansk opprør for safavidene. Ut av dette kaoset oppsto en krigsherre som ble keiser, Nader Shah.

Nader Shah stabiliserte Persia og avsluttet kaoset som hadde omsluttet staten i to tiår. Imidlertid var hans dynasti nytt og trengte legitimitet og rikdom. I mellomtiden var Mughal -keiseren Muhammad Shah inhabil. Ved hjelp av et mindre påskudd invaderte Nader Shah Mughal -riket i 1738, grep dets vestlige territorier (Kabul, Peshawar, Lahore, etc.) og møtte Mughal -styrker i Karnal nær Delhi 24. februar 1739. Begge sider hadde våpen og artilleri, men Mughal -styrken var større. Den større indiske styrken led av uorganisering, mens den mindre invaderende styrken brukte taktikk mer effektivt for å vinne slaget.

Nader Shah tillot Muhammad Shah å beholde tronen og det meste av imperiet så lenge han betalte en stor sum - inkludert de fleste Mughal -kronjuvelene - og avsto landene vest for Indus -elven. Mughal-imperiet gikk i oppløsning gradvis etter dette, med mange regioner som brøt av under alt-men-uavhengige guvernører, og bare anerkjente keiseren i navn, og keiserne ble selv marionetter av Marathaene og deretter britene.

Plassey (1757)

Slaget ved Plassey er slaget som startet det britiske imperiet i India. Det resulterte i britisk styre over den rike provinsen Bengal - som ikke tidligere var planlagt - og den påfølgende spredningen av britisk styre over store deler av India. I 1757 hadde British East India Company (EIC) etablert en sterk tilstedeværelse i Bengal, hvor de hadde etablert et handelssted i Calcutta. Nawab i Bengal, Siraj ud-Daulah, var alliert med franskmennene, som kjempet mot britene over hele verden i løpet av syvårskrigen. Siraj ud-Daulah var misfornøyd med britene og rikdommen de tjente gjennom handel, og allierte seg dermed med franskmennene mot britene i 1756. Han invaderte Calcutta og flokket britiske fanger inn i et lite fengsel, "Black Hole of Calcutta."

Britene svarte med å sende Robert Clive med en styrke bestående av britiske soldater og indere (sepoys) som var en del av kompaniets hær. Britiske styrker var ikke mange, men de var bedre organisert og drillet, de var også bedre betalt enn indiske. I slaget ved Plassey i Bengal 23. juni 1757 beseiret britiske tropper Siraj ud-Daulahs hær, hjulpet av forræderi av den bengalske sjefen Mir Jafar. Mir Jafar ble deretter installert som Nawab av britene, men de begynte snart å styre Bengal direkte etter å ha fått en smak av fordelene.

Deretter ville britene bruke Indias rikdom og beliggenhet til å dominere mye av resten av Det indiske hav. Britiske kolonier i dette området ble styrt av britene fra India i stedet for London, finansiert av rikdom fra India, og bemannet av soldater fra India.

Kohima (1944)

Slaget ved Kohima ble ofte kalt "østens Stalingrad" og var et av keiserlige Japans største nederlag, da de forsøkte å overskride (britisk) India. Kohima ligger i den østlige indiske delstaten Nagaland, nær grensen til Burma, som under andre verdenskrig var blitt okkupert av japanerne. Britene så på India som ekstremt viktig for krigsinnsatsen på grunn av ressursene. Indiske uavhengighetsledere foretrakk også å ikke bli okkupert av japanerne, siden de fleste ønsket at et uavhengig India skulle dukke opp i en liberal demokratisk verden. Imidlertid gjorde mange indianere faktisk alliert med japanerne.

I mars 1944 begynte japanske styrker i Burma å gå videre til India for å sjekke britiske styrker, potensielt røre i India og kutte av forsyningsruter til Kina. Rundt 15 000 japanske styrker bestående av tre japanske divisjoner og en indisk nasjonal hærdivisjon (indiske styrker alliert med japanerne) kjempet mot de 2500 sterke garnisonen på Kohima som besto av stort sett indiske soldater under kommando av britiske offiserer. For å motvirke denne ulempen ble de britiske indiske styrkene holdt i en stram defensiv omkrets. Mellom 5. og 18. april så “Kohima noen av de bittereste kampene i nærkvarteret i krigen. I en sektor skilte bare bredden på byens tennisbane de to sidene. ” Forsterkninger fra andre steder i India kom innen 18. april og fordelen vendte seg mot japanerne.

Slaget forhindret deler av India i å falle i japanske hender og førte til et tilbakeslag av japanske styrker i Kina og Burma, og sannsynligvis forkortet krigen. Uavhengig Indias kurs ble påvirket av at det ble uavhengig under en sivil regjering som makten ble overført til i 1947, i stedet for å bli styrt av nasjonalistiske styrker alliert med Japan, slik tilfellet var i store deler av Sørøst -Asia.

Akhilesh Pillalamarri er assisterende redaktør i Nasjonal interesse. Du kan følge ham på Twitter:@AkhiPill.


Philip II forlot Alexander den store en heftig hær

Den makedonske falangen, en rektangulær infanteridannelse, ble utviklet av Filip II av Makedonien og brukt av sønnen Alexander den store til å erobre andre hærer.

Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group/Getty Image

Makedonerne var ikke alltid en styrke å regne med. De historiske sentrene for gresk makt var bystatene Athen, Sparta og Theben i sør, hvis ledere betraktet makedonerne som barbarer. Det var faren til Alexander, Philip, som på egen hånd forvandlet den makedonske hæren til en av de mest fryktede kampmaskinene i den antikke verden.

Philip omorganiserte hele det makedonske samfunnet rundt en profesjonell hær og reiste elitekampstyrker av infanteri, kavaleri, spydkastere og bueskyttere. Aristokratiske unge menn ville begynne sin militære opplæring som syv år gammel og uteksaminere seg til offiserer på 18. De høyeste stillingene var i Royal Companion Cavalry, kongens egen personlige skvadron, og i Royal Hypaspists, en elite 500 mann infanterienhet som omringet kongen i kamp.

Våpenvåpenet fikk også en oppgradering under Philip. Borte var det kortere 𠇍ory ” eller greske trespydet (7 fot langt), og i stedet var det mye lengre sarissa, et 18- til 22 fot jaktspyd med en jerntip som kunne punktere tung rustning og puste lading kavalerihester.

Støttet av sin skinnende nye hær, marsjerte Philip sørover i 338 f.Kr. og beseiret en all-star allianse av Athen og Thebe i slaget ved Chaeronea. Slaget fungerte som et kommende parti for 18 år gamle Alexander, som tappert ledet den makedonske kavaleriets anklagelse som brøt gjennom de athenske rekkene og sikret seieren til oppstartsriket.

Da det greske fastlandet var underlagt makedonsk styre, vendte Philip sin velsmurte hær østover mot det persiske riket, en langt større premie. Men like etter at han hadde krysset Hellespont til persisk territorium, ble Philip myrdet, noe som gjorde unge Alexander til den nye kongen og øverstkommanderende for de makedonske styrkene.

Så snart Alexander kom til tronen, uttalte han åpent at han ville fortsette farens planer, sier Graham Wrightson, historieprofessor ved South Dakota State University og forfatter av Kombinert våpenkrigføring i antikkens Hellas. Men før Alexander kunne presse seg inn i Persia, måtte han ta seg av virksomheten hjemme.

De greske bystatene Athen og Theben var ikke begeistret for å være under tommelen til �rbarian ” konger, spesielt siden det krenket deres demokratiske idealer. Umiddelbart etter at Alexander ble konge, reiste Theben seg for å utfordre sin autoritet og en stor feil. Ikke bare knuste den makedonske hæren lett det tebiske opprøret, sier Wrightson, men Alexander jevnet Theben til bakken og solgte hele byen til slaveri, bortsett fra ett hus eid av etterkommerne til hans favorittdigter. ”


Mareritt ved Chosin -reservoaret

I slutten av november 1950 så det ut til å være en avslutning på Koreakrigen. USA, Republikken Korea (ROK) og forskjellige FN -enheter hadde kommet langt inn i Nord -Korea i et forsøk på å ødelegge eventuelle gjenværende enheter i den nordkoreanske folkehæren (NKPA) og gjenforene Korea under en regjering. Noen enheter hadde til og med nådd Yalu -elven, som skilte Korea fra det kommunistiske Kina.

Men akkurat som FN -styrker satte i gang det som var håpet å være den siste offensiven, strømmet hundretusenvis av kommunistiske kinesiske soldater inn i Korea, og overveldet FN -troppene og forandret krigens karakter fullstendig. Amerikanerne og deres allierte kjempet i ekstrem kulde og i ulendt terreng og ble tvunget til å trekke seg tilbake sør sør på den koreanske halvøya og lide store tap underveis.

(U.S. Army Center of Military History)

For en amerikansk hærenhet resulterte intervensjonen fra kinesiske kommuniststyrker (CCF) i absolutt katastrofe. Det 31. regimentelle kamplaget, bedre kjent som Task Force MacLean (senere kjent som Task Force Faith), bestående av elementer fra den 7. infanteridivisjonen, ble praktisk talt utslettet øst for Chosin -reservoaret. Erfaringene til de amerikanske soldatene som kjempet og døde i den kalde kulden i Chosin -området, viste seg å være noen av de mest opprivende og tragiske i den amerikanske hærens historie.

I slutten av november 1950 var Task Force MacLean og resten av den 7. infanteridivisjonen en del av den amerikanske hærens X Corps, under kommando av MG Edward M. Almond. X Corps hadde jevnt framskritt oppover østsiden av den koreanske halvøya og presset seg videre mot Yalu.

24. november gikk den åttende hæren, under kommando av LTG Walton H. Walker, som hadde avansert nordover langs vestsiden av Korea, i offensiven. GEN Douglas MacArthur, sjef for alle FN -styrkene i Korea, håpet at denne offensiven endelig ville avslutte krigen, forhåpentligvis til jul. Likevel skulle MacArthur og mange i staben snart gjøre en av de verste militære etterretningsfeilene i den amerikanske hærens historie. MacArthur ignorerte rapporter om kontakt med CCF -tropper og beordret den åttende hæren og X -korpset til å presse videre til Yalu.

Natten til 25. november, en dag etter at åttende hær begynte sin offensiv, slo CCF til åttende hær med et stort antall tropper. Tusenvis av kinesiske soldater, bevæpnet med burp -kanoner og granater, med bugler som bråket, svermet de amerikanske posisjonene. Flere amerikanske enheter ble overkjørt og ødelagt. CCF -angrepet tok MacArthur og FNs styrker helt overraskende og forandret nesten øyeblikkelig krigets strøm. Snart var den åttende hæren i full hodelengs retrett sørover.

Til tross for CCF -angrepet, fortsatte X Corps -offensiven som var planlagt 27. november etter planen. Offensiven ba korpset slå til vest mot Mupyong, nordøst for Kunu bak CCF, kutte de kinesiske forsyningslinjene og muligens omslutte CCF foran åttende hær. Angrepet skulle stå i spissen for den første marinedivisjonen, under kommando av MG OP Smith, som ville gå oppover vestsiden av Chosin -reservoaret, med den 7. infanteridivisjonen (ledet av Task Force MacLean) langs østsiden av Chosin og 3. infanteridivisjon som vokter marinesoldatene.

Oberst Allan D. “Mac” MacLean og oberstløytnant Don C. Faith fra det 31. regimentelle kamplaget og#8220Task Force MacLean ”

Task Force MacLean, under kommando av COL Allan D. "Mac" MacLean, sjef for det 31. infanteriregimentet, hadde blitt dannet i midten av november for å avlaste elementer fra den første marinedivisjonen øst for Chosin-reservoaret. MacLean, en utdannet fra 1930 fra West Point, hadde tjent som stabsoffiser i European Theatre under andre verdenskrig. Etter krigen ledet han det 32. infanteriet i Japan. Senere tildelt åttende hærs G-3-seksjon, fungerte MacLean som Walkers personlige "øyne og ører" i de første dagene av Koreakrigen. I begynnelsen av november 1950 godtok han ivrig kommandoen over det 31. infanteriet, en enhet han hadde tjent med på Filippinene tidlig i karrieren.

Task Force MacLean besto av følgende enheter: 2. og 3. bataljon, 31. infanteri (2/31 og 3/31) 31. tankkompani 1. bataljon, 32. infanteri (1/32), under kommando av LTC Don C. Faith the 57th Field Artillery Battalion, utstyrt med 105mm haubitser og en skytter med åtte luftfartøyer (M19s med doble 40mm kanoner og M16 quad-.50 halftracks) fra D Battery, 15. Antiaircraft Artillery (Automatic Weapons) bataljon. Alt i alt utgjorde Task Force MacLean rundt 3200 mann, inkludert 700 ROK -soldater.

25. og 26. november avlastet hovedelementene i Task Force MacLean, Faiths 1/32 infanteri, de femte marinesoldatene, som ble omplassert for å slutte seg til resten av den første marinedivisjonen langs vestsiden av Chosin. På grunn av forsinkelser med resten av arbeidsstyrkens omplassering, stod imidlertid 1/32, som inntok de femte marinesoldatene lengst frem, alene uten artilleristøtte for en hel dag.

Don Faith, sjef for 1/32 infanteriet, ble ansett som en av de mest lovende offiserene i hæren. Sønnen til en pensjonert brigadegeneral, han hadde blitt plukket ut fra Officer Candidate School på Fort Benning av MG MG B. Ridgway for å tjene som hans medhjelper. Han tjenestegjorde med Ridgway i hele Europa og hoppet med 82nd Airborne Division på D-Day. I kamp ble Faith ansett som en virtuell klon av Ridgway: intens, fryktløs, aggressiv og utilgivelig for feil eller forsiktighet.

De fleste av de gjenværende enhetene som omfattet Task Force MacLean ankom østsiden av Chosin 27. november. MacLean var blant de første som ankom og jeeped umiddelbart for å konferere med Faith. Han bekreftet med Faith at innsatsstyrken ville angripe nord dagen etter med de styrkene som var tilgjengelig, og at 1/32 ville stå i spissen for angrepet.

MacLean posisjonerte styrker nord til sør i sin omtrentlige ankomstrekkefølge: 1/32 infanteri MacLeans fremre kommandopost (CP) the 31. Heavy Mortar Company 3/31 infanteri A og B batterier fra 57. FAB 57. FAB CP og åtte A /A kjøretøyer og til slutt, det 31. infanteriets hovedkvarter, som ligger i et skolehus i landsbyen Hudong, og de tjueto tankene til det 31. tankkompaniet. C Batteri, 57. FAB og 2/31 infanteri haltet etter og hadde ennå ikke forlatt Pungsan -området.

Sent på dagen beordret MacLean den 31. intelligens- og rekognoseringsplatoen til å speide fiendens stillinger. Plutonen ble liggende i bakhold i åsene rundt Chosin av CCF -tropper, og hver soldat ble enten drept eller tatt til fange.

Den kvelden la MacLean frem sine siste planer for angrepet neste dag med den 7. ID -assisterende divisjonssjefen, BG Hank Hodes. Deretter gikk han frem for å fullføre dem med Faith.

Mens MacLean og Faith forble trygge, sto Task Force MacLean allerede overfor alvorlige problemer. I tillegg til at I & amp Platoon forsvant, var kommunikasjonen mellom de spredte enhetene i beste fall dårlig. Det var ikke tid til å legge fasttelefoner og radiokommunikasjon var praktisk talt ikke -eksisterende. I tillegg var innsatsstyrken ikke i radiokontakt med det 7. ID HQ på Pungsan eller Marines i Hagaru-ri. De spredte enhetene til Task Force MacLean ble farlig isolert, ikke bare fra resten av den 7. ID og marinerne, men også fra hverandre.

Uten at det var kjent for Marines og Task Force MacLean, forberedte også et stort antall CCF -tropper seg på å angripe de spredte enhetene til X Corps natten til 27. Tre CCF-divisjoner (59., 79. og 89.) skulle treffe marinesoldatene ved Yudam-ni og Hagaru-ri, sammen med det 7. infanteriet, 3. infanteridivisjon og lenger sør. En divisjon (80.) ville angripe Task Force MacLean.

November begynte X Corps-offensiven med at 5. og 7. marinesoldat angrep fra Yudam-ni langs vestsiden av Chosin. I lys av det ulendte terrenget, bittert kaldt vær, logistiske problemer og situasjonen som står overfor åttende hær, er X Corps-offensiven, med ord fra en historiker, "rangert som den mest dårlig råd og uheldig operasjonen i Korea-krigen." Marinesoldatene, som var motvillige til å utføre angrepet i utgangspunktet, avanserte bare 1500 meter før de møtte stiv CCF -motstand og led store skader.

Senere etter mørkets frembrudd, i nullgradig vær, slo CCF-divisjonene til. To divisjoner traff 5. og 7. marinesoldat frontalt mens en tredje kuttet veien mellom Yudam-ni og Hagaru-ri. Elementer fra en annen divisjon traff også det syvende infanteriet. Situasjonen ble raskt desperat for de amerikanske styrkene rundt Chosin.

Øst for Chosin -reservoaret var situasjonen like kaotisk. I de tidlige kveldstimene omringet CCF 80. divisjon de intetanende enhetene til Task Force MacLean. Omkring 2200 angrep divisjonen ut av mørket, med CCF -soldater som blåste bugler og skrek vilt. De isolerte enhetene, avskåret fra hverandre, kjempet for livet.

Faiths 1/32 infanteri ble først rammet langs nordsiden av omkretsen. Marine CPT Edward P. Stamford, en luftfremfører som ble tildelt arbeidsgruppen, tok kommandoen over A Company etter at sjefen ble drept og også kalt inn marine luftangrep. Mens marinefly og troppene fra 1/32 påførte CCF -troppene store skader, led bataljonen over hundre tap.

Flere mil sør var situasjonen lik. CCF slo 3/31 infanteri og to batterier fra 57. FAB, og overskred store deler av omkretsen. De fleste av offiserene ble drept eller såret. Slaget herjet videre gjennom natten, og CCF trakk seg endelig tilbake ved daggry av frykt for amerikanske luftangrep. I likhet med 1/32 led 3/31 og 57. FAB store skader og et av A/A -kjøretøyene ble ødelagt. Videre ble 31. medisinsk selskap utslettet. Tilbake på 31. bakre CP i Hudong hørte BG Hodes kraftige skudd mot nord og oppdaget umiddelbart at noe var galt. Han beordret raskt CPT Robert E. Drake om å ta to skjeer av 31. Tank Company videre til 3/31 og 1/32 omkretsen. Drakes redningssøyle fikk imidlertid snart problemer. Noen tanker skled ut av kontroll på den isete veien, mens andre ble håpløst fast i gjørme. Kolonnen ble deretter angrepet av CCF -tropper med fangede amerikanske basookaer. To stridsvogner ble slått ut og det oppsto en vill kamp da kinesere svermet tankene og forsøkte å åpne lukene. Ytterligere to stridsvogner blir forvirret og måtte forlates. Drake beordret de resterende tolv tankene tilbake til Hudong. Når tankene kom tilbake, innså Hodes raskt at Task Force MacLean var i alvorlige problemer. Han lånte en av tankene og red til Hagaru-ri for å få hjelp.

Omtrent 1300 timer 28. november fløy MG Almond inn i 1/32 omkretsen for å konferere med MacLean og Faith. Tilsynelatende uvitende om krisen ved hånden, kunngjorde Almond at Task Force MacLean ville fortsette med angrepet og hevdet at kineserne som stod overfor dem ikke var noe mer enn restene av retrettende enheter. Deretter la han til: "Vi skal helt til Yalu. Ikke la en haug med kinesiske vaskeri stoppe deg. " MacLean gjorde ingen innvendinger mot Mandels ordre, til tross for at innsatsstyrken ikke var i stand til å angripe. Både Almond og MacLean ville senere bli kritisert for mangel på kommando øst for Chosin. Almond satte aldri helt pris på fiendens styrke, mens MacLean ikke klarte å gi Almond et klart bilde av situasjonen hans egen innsatsstyrke står overfor.

Rundt midnatt 29. november angrep CCF 80. divisjon Task Force MacLean nok en gang. Kampene var villige, ofte hånd i hånd. Omkring 0200 beordret MacLean, fortsatt i 1/32 omkretsen, bataljonen om å trekke seg sørover i mørket til 3/31 -omkretsen, ta alle våpen og sårede med seg. Trekket skulle være et midlertidig tiltak for å konsolidere styrker før de angrep, etter ordre fra Almond, dagen etter.

Etter å ha deaktivert og forlatt flere kjøretøyer og lastet de sårede inn i lastebiler, begynte MacLean, Faith og 1/32 å bevege seg sørover klokken 0500. Mørke og fallende snø gjorde manøvren vanskelig, men heldigvis angrep ikke CCF. Underveis samlet innsatsstyrken det 31. Heavy Mortar Company, som lå halvveis mellom 1/32 og 3/31 og hadde støttet de to bataljonene under CCF -angrepene.

Ved daggry nådde bataljonen 3/31 omkretsen, bare for å finne den under kraftig fiendtlig angrep. Uten kommunikasjon ville det være en ekstremt farlig operasjon å prøve å gå inn i omkretsen. Videre hadde kineserne laget en veisperring ved en bro på veien som gikk inn i omkretsen. Faith ledet en gruppe menn som med hell kjørte CCF av broen og ryddet blokken. MacLean kom deretter frem i jeepen. Han oppdaget en kolonne med tropper som han mente var hans forfalte 2/31. Troppene innenfor 3/31 omkretsen begynte imidlertid å skyte på kolonnen, til stor forferdelse for MacLean. Troppene var faktisk kinesere. MacLean, som fremdeles trodde de var amerikanere, løp mot dem og ropte: "Det er guttene mine." Han sprang ut på det frosne reservoaret mot omkretsen og forsøkte å stoppe det han trodde var vennlig ild. Plutselig gjemte CCF -tropper seg i nærheten av broen som ble skutt mot MacLean og slo ham flere ganger. MacLeans menn så forferdet på hvordan en fiendtlig soldat grep ham og dro ham inn i børsten.

Dessverre var det ikke tid til å prøve å redde MacLean. Faith måtte fokusere på å få mennene sine inn i 3/31 omkretsen. Mens mennene krysset den frosne bekken til fots og kjøretøyene med de sårede som kørte over broen, kom det meste av kolonnen inn i omkretsen.

Da han var inne, undersøkte Faith blodbadet. Hundrevis av amerikanske og CCF døde søppel på bakken. 3/31 hadde lidd over 300 havarerte og selskapets L -selskap hadde sluttet å eksistere. Da MacLean var borte, overtok Faith kommandoen og gjorde sitt beste for å styrke omkretsen. Marin luftkontrollør CPT Stamford ba også om marin nærluftstøtte og en lufteventil for desperat trengte forsyninger, spesielt ammunisjon på 40 mm og .50 kaliber. Faith sendte deretter ut søkepartier for å lete etter MacLean, uten hell. MacLean ble erklært savnet, men senere uttalte en amerikansk krigsfanger at MacLean døde av sår på sin fjerde dag i fangenskap og ble gravlagt av andre krigsfanger. Han var den andre og siste amerikanske regimentkommandanten som døde i Korea.

Om morgenen den 29. gjorde Drakes 31. tankkompani et nytt forsøk på å nå 3/31 omkretsen, bare for å bli kjørt tilbake til Hudong av CCF -tropper gravd inn på åsen 1221. For resten av dagen den nyutnevnte Task Force Faith forble i posisjon. Med nesten 500 sårede var styrken ikke i stand til å utføre angrepet bestilt av Almond. Likevel hadde Faith ingen myndighet til å be om tilbaketrekking. Situasjonen ble hjulpet noe av Marine nær luftstøtte og en mengde forsyninger, selv om fallet manglet 40 mm og .50 kaliber ammunisjon. Et marint helikopter fløy også ut noen av de mest alvorlige sårede. Task Force Faiths situasjon forble imidlertid desperat, spesielt siden den fremdeles ikke hadde etablert kommunikasjon med marinesoldatene eller det 7. ID -hovedkvarteret.

MG Dave Barr, sjef for 7. ID, fløy inn med helikopter for å bringe Faith flere dårlige nyheter. Alle enhetene til X Corps, inkludert Task Force Faith, nå under operativ kommando av marinerne, skulle trekke seg. Marinesoldatene ville gi Faith luftstøtte, men bortsett fra det ville mennene være alene. For å gjøre saken verre ble arbeidsgruppen belastet med sårede, noe som ville gjøre tilbaketrekningen enda vanskeligere. Videre hadde 31.s CP, 31. Tank Company og HQ Battery, 57th FAB, evakuert Hudong for Hagaru-ri, noe som ytterligere isolerte Task Force Faith.

Omtrent 2000 startet CCF et nytt angrep. Mens mange kinesere ble drept, led Task Force Faith ytterligere 100 havari. Faith konkluderte snart med at styrken hans ikke kunne overleve nok et større angrep. Han innkalte de gjenværende offiserene og fortalte dem å forberede seg på å flytte ut klokken 1200. Innsatsstyrken, etter å ha ødelagt artilleriet, morterene og annet utstyr, begynte å bevege seg sørover og bar 600 såret i tretti lastebiler.

Med et dobbelt 40 mm pistolbil som ledet veien, begynte kolonnen å bevege seg rundt 1300 timer. Det kom umiddelbart under ild. Stamford ringte inn marin luftstøtte, men lederflyets napalmbeholdere traff forsiden av kolonnen, slukte flere soldater og skapte panikk i hele arbeidsstyrken.

Situasjonen ble raskt verre. Kraftig brann fra flankene drepte mange av de sårede i lastebilene. Brannen ble mer intens da kolonnen nådde Hill 1221, som dominerte området rundt. På den nordlige delen av bakken hadde CCF sprengt en bro og tvunget en to-timers forsinkelse da det ledende A/A-kjøretøyet måtte vinsje de tretti lastebilene over en bekk. En veisperring holdt deretter opp arbeidsgruppen, mens CCF -troppene på åsen holdt opp den tunge brannen. Det var bare en måte å bryte gjennom: ta Hill 1221. Flere hundre menn siktet opp bakken, inkludert mange av de sårede, noen av dem sa at de foretrakk å dø ved angrepet enn mens de ventet i lastebilene. Til tross for store skader, kjørte mennene CCF av det meste av bakken. Mange fortsatte imidlertid ganske enkelt å gå over åsen og ned på den andre siden, og våget seg ut på det frosne reservoaret og gikk mot Hagaru-ri.

Innsatsstyrken løp deretter inn i en annen blokk ved en hårnålssving. Tro ledet et angrep som fjernet fienden fra den. Imidlertid ble han truffet av fiendens granatfragmenter og dødelig såret. Når Faith var tapt, styrte kommandostrukturen til Task Force Faith. Som 1/32s S-1, Robert Jones, beskrev det: "Da Faith ble truffet, opphørte arbeidsgruppen." Tro ville senere bli postum tildelt æresmedaljen.

Mens noen som Jones og Stamford prøvde å gi lederskap, falt Task Force Faith raskt fra hverandre. En annen veisperring, denne bestående av funksjonshemmede tanker fra 31. Tank Company og andre kjøretøyer, forsinket kolonnen ytterligere. At Twiggae, the CCF had blown another bridge, forcing the column to attempt a risky crossing of a railroad trestle. All the while, the vehicles were under fire. Many men left the trucks to hide or tried to escape over the reservoir. Many died from wounds and exposure, or were captured.

Just north of Hudong, the task force ran into yet another roadblock. This spelled the end for Task Force Faith. The CCF brought heavy fire to bear on the column. CCF troops lobbed grenades and fired rifles into the trucks, killing masses of wounded. Those who could escape ventured out onto the reservoir and began the arduous march to the Marine lines at Hagaru-ri.

During the night of 1-2 December, survivors straggled into the Marine lines. Many came through a sector held by the Marine 1st Motor Transport Battalion. LTC Olin L. Beall, commander of the battalion, led a rescue mission across the ice by jeep, picking up over 300 survivors, many suffering from wounds, frostbite, and shock. In all just over 1,000 survivors reached the Marine lines, and of those, only 385 could be considered able-bodied. The survivors, along with other 7th ID soldiers, were organized into a provisional battalion and attached to the 7th Marines. Known as the 31/7, the battalion participated in the 1st Marine Division’s breakout from Hagaru-ri to the coast beginning on 6 December.

For years afterward, the saga of Task Force MacLean/Faith had been largely ignored. Many believed that the collapse and panic that engulfed the task force had brought great shame to the Army. Upon closer examination, the task force’s role in the Chosin battle proved to be much more noteworthy. Many historians now agree that Task Force MacLean blocked the Chinese drive along the eastern side of Chosin for five days and allowed the Marines along the west side to withdraw into Hagaru-ri. Furthermore, the task force destroyed the CCF 80th Division. In recognition of their bravery, Task Force MacLean/Faith was awarded a Presidential Unit Citation in September 1999.

For additional information on Task Force MacLean/Faith, please read: Roy E. Appelman, East of Chosin: Entrapment and Breakout in Korea Clay Blair, The Forgotten War: America in Korea, 1950-1953 and Anthony Garrett, “Task Force Faith at the Chosin Reservoir,” in Infantry, (September-December 1999).


Now you can celebrate the coolest operations of the CIA every month

Posted On January 28, 2019 18:43:37

You might ask how someone could be so nerdy as to want a calendar of the CIA’s best operations, but let’s face it: Spies are cool. The American CIA has some of the best stories of the coolest secret operations ever — they just can’t talk about them.

Fortunately, the CIA headquarters in Virginia has an amazing series of paintings depicting the astonishing stories of the Agency’s operations. Unfortunately, you have to be able to get into the CIA’s headquarters in Virginia to see it.

“It dawned on me that the public will aldri see the dramatic artwork in person,” says publisher Erik Kirzinger. “As someone who lost a relative KIA as a contract pilot for the CIA, it was important to me that these stories will be told via historically accurate paintings by the best military and aviation artists in the world.”

Related: That time the CIA shot down a bomber with an AK-47

Each painting was commissioned directly from the artist and is unique to the walls of CIA headquarters. Private citizens and corporations commissioned the early artwork and donated the completed painting to the CIA for permanent display. For the first dozen and a half paintings, there was no cost to the taxpayers, making this collection unique among all other government art collections.

Kirzinger resolved to create this special series of calendars, further documenting the amazing operations from the CIA’s long history.

Secret Ops of the CIA calendars aren’t just calendars, they’re more like a mixture of history books and coffee-table readers. There’s a clear-cut, beautiful effort to preserve history here.

“I hate using the word ‘calendar’ because our layout is more like a small, coffee-table book,” Kirzinger says. “In fact, many of our customers don’t hang their calendars and instead display them on their coffee tables.”

Pictures in the 2018 calendar depict outstanding, real-world CIA missions that might just blow your mind. The paintings are done by world-famous military and aviation artists and are fueled by painstaking research. In some cases, the artist is an active CIA employee.

“These calendars are like gems,” says Allison Bishop, the book buyer for the International Spy Museum. “I love them because they’re not mass-produced. And the CIA is a group out there putting their lives on the line for the country and they aren’t always recognized positively for it.”

There are two different calendars: aviation operations for you A-12 enthusiasts and tradecraft ops for you cloak-and-dagger fans. The calendars are reviewed by the CIA’s Public Review Board, who gave the information a thumbs up. The historians at the Center for the Study of Intelligence also gave their approval. Most importantly, the stories are all declassified.

Mektig historie

Cartouche of Alexander the Great

This is a photo of a cartouche representing Alexander the Great in hieroglyphs, from Luxor temple, in Egypt.

Alexander the Great's empire extended to the Indus River in the East and to Egypt. His successors included his general Ptolemy who started the Ptolemaic Dynasty in Egypt. They built the famous library and museum at Alexandria. The final pharaoh of the dynasty of the Ptolemies was Cleopatra.


  1. The enigmatic lines have been discovered in Boha village in Rajasthan. The village is approximately 30 miles in area.
  2. Among the geoglyphs found the largest is named Boha 1. These are asymmetrical spiral lines that measure around 7.5 miles.
  3. The next multi-patterned geoglyph lying next to it is named Boha 2.
  4. As per the researchers, the lines and the drawings are unique from the world and are made up of many enigmatic signs.

Carlo [1] and Yohann Oetheimer found these in the year 2016 and conducted drone research on them to discover 2 geoglyphs. They also said the geoglyphs were so large that those who made them could never take a glimpse of them at once.

In a paper published in Science Direct in June 2021, father-son duo and independent researchers from France, Carlo Oetheimer and Yohann Oetheimer, discuss how they identified eight sites around Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, in the Thar Desert that depict linear figures that resemble geoglyphs. They did so using Google Earth images, drone observations and field visits. In particular, a drone survey was conducted in 2016, which found that while some ditches were dug in the area for tree plantation, “ground paintings unrelated to the tree planting were also confirmed”.

A close up of the lines (Source: Carlos, Yohann Oetheimer)

Bhoa’s Geoglyph Figures

The two researchers found a series of these linear figures in Boha, a small village located around 40 km from Jaisalmer.

“Two remarkable geometrical figures: a giant spiral adjacent to an atypical serpent-shaped drawing” are connected with a cluster of sinuous lines.

Source: Carlos, Yohann Oetheimer

This triad extends over 20.8 ha and totals more than half of the 48 km of lines observed.

“Three memorial stones positioned at key points, give evidence that planimetric knowledge has been used to create this elaborate design,” the paper states.

There are a total of nine stone structures in and around the lines the largest is a pillar just over 5 feet (1.6 m) tall. Three of the structures are rock cairns, four are carved memorial stones with inscriptions that are still being studied and three others are simple rectangular stones used for memorials or landmarks. The final stone is a sati stone, which was erected to memorialize a widow who threw herself on her husband’s funeral pyre after his death in battle.

The researchers say that these geoglyphs are the largest ones discovered worldwide, and the first of their kind in the Indian subcontinent.

A Hindu memorial stone, located near the geoglyphs, and thought to be part of the contemporaneous cultural context of the lines.

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Brigadier Sir Robert Eric Mortimer Wheeler CH, CIE, MC, FBA, FSA, was one of the best-known archaeologists of the twentieth century.

Born in Glasgow, Scotland, he was educated at Bradford Grammar School and the University of London where he achieved an MA degree in 1912. In 1913 he won the studentship for archaeology established jointly by the University of London and the Society of Antiquaries in Brigadier Sir Robert Eric Mortimer Wheeler CH, CIE, MC, FBA, FSA, was one of the best-known archaeologists of the twentieth century.

Born in Glasgow, Scotland, he was educated at Bradford Grammar School and the University of London where he achieved an MA degree in 1912. In 1913 he won the studentship for archaeology established jointly by the University of London and the Society of Antiquaries in memory of Augustus Wollaston Franks. Sir Arthur Evans doubled the amount of money that went with the studentship, paying out of his own pocket another £100. In late autumn 1913 he began to work for the Royal Commission on Historical Monuments (England).
At the beginning of World War I he was commissioned into the Royal Artillery (Territorial Force), at first remaining in London as an instructor in the University of London Officers' Training Corps. Then he was posted to several battery commands in Scotland and England until 1917. The last part of the war he fought in France, Passchendaele, the Western Front, near Bapaume, and finally marched into Germany, commanding 'A' Battery of 76th Brigade, RFA. During July 1919 he returned from the Rhineland to London and to civilian life.

The excavations at Maiden Castle, Dorset, in October 1937 were led by Mortimer Wheeler. Photograph by Major George Allen (1891–1940).
Between 1920 and 1926 he was Director of the National Museum of Wales, and from 1926 to 1944 Keeper of the London Museum. During his career he performed many major excavations within Britain, including that of Roman Verulamium (modern-day St Albans), the late Iron Age hill-fort of Maiden Castle, Dorset and Stanwick Iron Age Fortifications in Yorkshire. The excavation methods he used, for example the grid system (later developed further by Kathleen Kenyon and known as the Wheeler-Kenyon method), were significant advances in archaeological method, although later superseded. He was influenced greatly by the work of the archaeologist Lieutenant General Augustus Pitt Rivers (1827–1900). The two constant themes in his attempts to improve archaeological excavation were, first, to maintain strict stratigraphic control while excavating (for this purpose, the baulks between his trenches served to retain a record of the strata that had been dug through), and, second, to publish the excavation promptly and in a form that would tell the story of the site to the intelligent reader.
When World War II was imminent he returned from excavating a site in Normandy during August 1939 to join the Middlesex Territorial Association at Enfield. He stayed there until 1941 when his unit was transferred into the regular army forces as the 48th Light Anti-Aircraft Battery, which became a part of the 42nd Mobile Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment and went with the 8th Army to Northern Africa. There he served at the Second Battle of El Alamein. During September 1943 he commanded the 12th Anti-Aircraft Brigade during the landing of Allied Forces at Salerno, Italy, Operation Avalanche.
The next year, now 54 years old, he retired from the Army to become Director-General of the Archaeological Survey of India, exploring in detail the remains of the Indus Valley Civilization at Mohenjodaro. Soon after he returned during 1948, he was made a professor at the Institute of Archaeology, but spent part of the years 1949 and 1950 in Pakistan as Archaeological Adviser to the Government, helping to establish the Archaeological Department of Pakistan, and the National Museum of Pakistan at Karachi. He was knighted in 1952 for his services to archaeology.
In 1958 he opened the extension to the Gloucester City Museum & Art Gallery which doubled its available space.
He became known through his books and appearances on television and radio, helping to bring archaeology to a mass audience. Wheeler believed strongly that archaeology needed public support, and was assiduous in appearing on radio and television to promote it. In addition to this he collaborated with the . mer


Civilizations of the Indus Valley and Beyond

Brigadier Sir Robert Eric Mortimer Wheeler CH, CIE, MC, FBA, FSA, was one of the best-known archaeologists of the twentieth century.

Born in Glasgow, Scotland, he was educated at Bradford Grammar School and the University of London where he achieved an MA degree in 1912. In 1913 he won the studentship for archaeology established jointly by the University of London and the Society of Antiquaries in Brigadier Sir Robert Eric Mortimer Wheeler CH, CIE, MC, FBA, FSA, was one of the best-known archaeologists of the twentieth century.

Born in Glasgow, Scotland, he was educated at Bradford Grammar School and the University of London where he achieved an MA degree in 1912. In 1913 he won the studentship for archaeology established jointly by the University of London and the Society of Antiquaries in memory of Augustus Wollaston Franks. Sir Arthur Evans doubled the amount of money that went with the studentship, paying out of his own pocket another £100. In late autumn 1913 he began to work for the Royal Commission on Historical Monuments (England).
At the beginning of World War I he was commissioned into the Royal Artillery (Territorial Force), at first remaining in London as an instructor in the University of London Officers' Training Corps. Then he was posted to several battery commands in Scotland and England until 1917. The last part of the war he fought in France, Passchendaele, the Western Front, near Bapaume, and finally marched into Germany, commanding 'A' Battery of 76th Brigade, RFA. During July 1919 he returned from the Rhineland to London and to civilian life.

The excavations at Maiden Castle, Dorset, in October 1937 were led by Mortimer Wheeler. Photograph by Major George Allen (1891–1940).
Between 1920 and 1926 he was Director of the National Museum of Wales, and from 1926 to 1944 Keeper of the London Museum. During his career he performed many major excavations within Britain, including that of Roman Verulamium (modern-day St Albans), the late Iron Age hill-fort of Maiden Castle, Dorset and Stanwick Iron Age Fortifications in Yorkshire. The excavation methods he used, for example the grid system (later developed further by Kathleen Kenyon and known as the Wheeler-Kenyon method), were significant advances in archaeological method, although later superseded. He was influenced greatly by the work of the archaeologist Lieutenant General Augustus Pitt Rivers (1827–1900). The two constant themes in his attempts to improve archaeological excavation were, first, to maintain strict stratigraphic control while excavating (for this purpose, the baulks between his trenches served to retain a record of the strata that had been dug through), and, second, to publish the excavation promptly and in a form that would tell the story of the site to the intelligent reader.
When World War II was imminent he returned from excavating a site in Normandy during August 1939 to join the Middlesex Territorial Association at Enfield. He stayed there until 1941 when his unit was transferred into the regular army forces as the 48th Light Anti-Aircraft Battery, which became a part of the 42nd Mobile Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment and went with the 8th Army to Northern Africa. There he served at the Second Battle of El Alamein. During September 1943 he commanded the 12th Anti-Aircraft Brigade during the landing of Allied Forces at Salerno, Italy, Operation Avalanche.
The next year, now 54 years old, he retired from the Army to become Director-General of the Archaeological Survey of India, exploring in detail the remains of the Indus Valley Civilization at Mohenjodaro. Soon after he returned during 1948, he was made a professor at the Institute of Archaeology, but spent part of the years 1949 and 1950 in Pakistan as Archaeological Adviser to the Government, helping to establish the Archaeological Department of Pakistan, and the National Museum of Pakistan at Karachi. He was knighted in 1952 for his services to archaeology.
In 1958 he opened the extension to the Gloucester City Museum & Art Gallery which doubled its available space.
He became known through his books and appearances on television and radio, helping to bring archaeology to a mass audience. Wheeler believed strongly that archaeology needed public support, and was assiduous in appearing on radio and television to promote it. In addition to this he collaborated with the . mer


Facing the Wrath of the Khan

In 1218 Genghis Khan’s expanding Mongol empire came into direct contact with the Islamic world for the first time, specifically the central Asian kingdom of Khwarezm, which covered much of present-day Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, as well as parts of Iran and Afghanistan. It also controlled the wealthy Silk Road cities of Samarkand, Bukhara, Urgench, Khojend, Merv and Nishapur. Although the population was predominantly Muslim, the country was riven with tribal and ethnic tensions. Warfare was incessant, and the army, a large part of it foreign mercenaries of Turkish origin, oppressed and terrorized the indigenous people. The shah of Khwarezm, Ala al-din Mohammed, was a violent and unstable libertine who the Persian chronicler Juvaini described as “constantly satisfying his desires in the company of fair songstresses and in continual drinking of purple wine.” The incompetence, arrogance and brutality of Mohammed’s rule, and more particularly his disastrous diplomatic response to the emerging Mongol power on his eastern border, would have dire consequences not only for his own kingdom but also for the whole Islamic world.

Genghis Khan had already established an excellent intelligence network among the mainly Muslim merchants who traveled the Silk Road. He was no doubt aware of the political situation in Khwarezm, and his ultimate strategic goal may well have been to exploit that instability. Initially, however, his stated aim was to establish mutually beneficial trade relations between the two empires. Commerce with their city-dwelling neighbors was essential to the nomad Mongol economy. Most of their clothing, for example, was acquired from these sources, and large amounts of grain were also imported into Mongolia.

At that time, the Mongols were in the process of subduing the Jurchens. Originally a nomadic tribe from Manchuria, the Jurchens had conquered a large slice of northeastern China and established themselves there as the Jin dynasty a century before. Mohammed was aware of the Mongol invasion and had heard tales concerning the savagery of Mongol armies from his own ambassador, who had arrived in the Jin capital of Zhongdu around 1215, soon after it had fallen to the Mongols. According to his emissary’s reports, the city was still surrounded by mountains of human bones and lakes of human fat. He also reported that 60,000 young women had thrown themselves from the city walls rather than fall into the hands of the invaders. The stories were exaggerated, but Mohammed believed them. Suspicious of Genghis’ true motives, he rejected the offer of peaceful commerce.

Genghis sent another message to the shah insisting that he wanted trade, not war. According to one source, he referred to Mohammed as “the best-loved of my sons.” The message was carried by a large delegation of merchants, all of whom were Muslim. Their brief, after delivering the conciliatory (if somewhat condescending) words of the Great Khan, was to initiate commercial contact with the Islamic kingdoms. Genghis’ intentions were possibly no more sinister than he had stated. Still in the process of subduing the Jin, he was unlikely to have wanted to deliberately involve himself in another conflict at the opposite end of his already sprawling empire.

When the merchants arrived in the Khwarezmid border city of Otrar in 1218, however, the governor, a relative of Mohammed’s, accused them of spying and had them arrested. It seems unlikely that this course of action would have been taken without Mohammed’s complicity. In a last-ditch attempt to avoid war, Genghis dispatched three emissaries, one Muslim and two Mongols, to Mohammed’s court with a request that the governor be handed over for appropriate punishment. The Mongol emissaries merely suffered the humiliation of having their beards shaved off before being sent back to Genghis. The Muslim envoy, on the other hand, was put to death. Mohammed then compounded this already unforgivable violation of diplomatic custom by ordering the imprisoned trade delegation executed as well.

When word of those atrocities reached Genghis, he vowed to avenge the murder of his ambassadors. Leaving a holding force in China to contain the Jurchens, who had been driven south after the loss of Zhongdu but remained undefeated, he turned the rest of his army westward to attack Khwarezm. There are conflicting reports as to the size of this army, but it could have numbered at most 200,000 men, and possibly as few as 90,000. Mohammed had a significantly larger force at his disposal—possibly as many as 400,000 soldiers—but due to his unpopularity, he was disinclined to place it under a single command structure for fear it would be turned against him. In addition, his ambassador to China had advised him that while the Mongols were invincible in open battle, they sometimes experienced difficulties when attempting to invest walled cities. Those two factors encouraged Mohammed to divide his army and garrison the components in the major cities of the kingdom, a strategy that was to greatly benefit the invading Mongols.

The Mongol military machine that marched on Khwarezm was in many ways fundamentally different from the one that the young Mongol Temujin had forged in the process of becoming Genghis Khan less than two decades before. While retaining the speed and flexibility of nomad cavalry, the traditional strengths of the steppe peoples, the Mongols had been introduced to the art of siegecraft in the course of their campaigns in China. They now had access to the most sophisticated techniques available at that time. Equipment such as battering rams, four-wheeled mobile shields, fire tubes, trebuchets and siege bows had become standard inclusions in the army’s baggage train. This never-before-seen combination of nomadic mobility and military technology would prove devastating, as Shah Mohammed was about to discover.

Predictably, the first city to draw the Mongols’ attention was Otrar, where the governor whose actions had instigated the war remained in command. The army reached the town in the fall of 1219, and Genghis assumed personal control of the attack, issuing strict orders that the governor was to be taken alive. After five months of siege, one of the city’s senior military leaders tried to flee through a side gate. He was captured and promptly executed by the Mongols, who then immediately forced entry into the city through the same gate. Otrar was quickly captured, and the governor retreated to the town’s citadel along with several hundred followers.

The citadel held out for another month, during which time the defenders, realizing they were doomed, launched wave after wave of suicidal charges against their besiegers. Finally, with all their missiles spent and most of his men dead, the governor and his remaining bodyguards retreated to the top floor of the fortress, where they were reduced to pelting their enemies with bricks and tiles. Despite this desperate last stand, the governor was captured alive as per the Great Khan’s orders. One source states that he was executed by having molten silver poured into his eyes and ears. The surviving inhabitants were led away into slavery, and the city itself was demolished. The destruction was so complete that Otrar never recovered, and the site remains uninhabited to the present day.

While the siege of Otrar was still in progress, Genghis sent his eldest son, Jochi, north along the Syr-Darya River toward the large city of Urgench, south of the Aral Sea. A small contingent of 5,000 men was sent south to reduce the city of Banakat. Leaving two other sons, Chaghatai and Ogodei, to mop up in Otrar, Genghis and his youngest son, Tolui, led a third army toward the wealthy trade centers of Bukhara and Samarkand.

Genghis had already discovered the effectiveness of terror as a component of war. Slaughtering the populations of cities that opposed him sent a clear message to their neighbors that resistance would not be tolerated. This brutal strategy conversely often resulted in the avoidance of unnecessary bloodshed. When the Mongol soldiers reached the town of Zarnuk, 200 kilometers north of Samarkand, tales of their savagery preceded them, and the citizens opened their gates without a fight. Staying only long enough to destroy the town’s citadel and draft a contingent of young men into his army, Genghis continued his march west, capturing the town of Nur before arriving outside the great city of Bukhara around February 1220.

Bukhara, with a population of about 300,000 and a history stretching back 500 years, almost rivaled Baghdad as a seat of Islamic culture and learning. It had a library of 45,000 books, some of the finest architecture in the Muslim world and was described by one chronicler as the “focus of splendor, the shrine of empire, the meeting-place of the most unique intellects of the age.”

Genghis immediately laid siege to the city. After three days the city garrison tried to break through the Mongol lines, and although a few managed to fight their way clear to the Amu-Darya River and safety, the majority (about 20,000 men by one account) were annihilated. The citizens of Bukhara, abandoned by their defenders, opened the gates.

A few hundred soldiers still remained barricaded in the citadel outside the town with their families. Genghis brought up his assault engines—mangonels, catapults and huge siege bows that could fire projectiles the size of telegraph poles—and started to batter the fortress. A large contingent of townspeople was assembled and driven toward the walls. The defenders were forced to respond by pouring burning naphtha down on their friends and neighbors, and the moat was soon filled with their corpses. It was a brave and desperate fight against overwhelming odds, but after 12 days the citadel was pounded into submission. The few male survivors “taller than the butt of a whip” were executed.

What followed was typical of the treatment afforded those who had the temerity to resist the Mongols. The inhabitants of Bukhara were ordered to leave the city with only the clothes on their backs. Any who were foolish enough to try to hide in their houses were rounded up and killed. The surviving population was divided into three groups: Artisans were deported to Mongolia, where they would continue to practice their craft for the benefit of the conquerors men of fighting age were inducted into the army to be used as shock troops during subsequent battles and the rest were distributed among the Mongol army as slaves. Genghis then let his soldiers loose on the deserted city and its helpless population. Bukhara was stripped of its assets, and its young women were raped. To compound the disaster, a fire broke out within the walls and the city, which apart from the mosques and palaces was constructed largely from wood. Bukhara, the “dome of Islam in the east,” was left a smoldering, desolate ruin. One account tells of Genghis Khan gathering the wealthier citizens together and delivering the following pronouncement from the pulpit of Bukhara’s main mosque: “I am the punishment of God. If you had not committed great sins, God would not have sent a punishment like me upon you.”

In March 1220, Genghis marched on Mohammed’s capital, Samarkand. Described as “the most delectable paradise of this world,” Samarkand was more heavily fortified than Bukhara, and its defenses had been further strengthened when news of the Mongol invasion had arrived. It also possessed a much larger garrison than Bukhara—as many as 100,000 troops by some accounts, although the numbers vary wildly from source to source. This is doubtless the reason Genghis captured the western city of Bukhara first before doubling back to attack Samarkand. The fall of its nearest neighbor would have been a blow to the city’s morale as well as ensuring there would be no reinforcements from that source.

Samarkand lies on the Zarafshan River in modern-day Uzbekistan. The Mongols approached the city along both banks of the river and surrounded it. By then, Genghis’ sons Ogodei and Chaghatai had completed the subjugation of Otrar and joined their father, along with their troops. Genghis ordered the prisoners from Bukhara forward, carrying battle standards to make his army appear even larger than it was. Those same hapless captives were subsequently placed in the vanguard of the initial assaults against the city walls and used as cannon fodder to absorb the brunt of the defense.

On the third day of the siege, Samarkand’s garrison launched a sortie. Employing their well-practiced tactic of feigned retreat, the Mongols lured them farther and farther from the protection of their walls before turning on the overextended enemy force and wiping it out. About 50,000 Khwarezmid soldiers died in that one engagement. Shah Mohammed tried to relieve Samarkand twice with cavalry, but neither force was able to break through the Mongol lines. After a siege that lasted only five days, the great city surrendered. The surviving members of the Turkish garrison, with the exception of 2,000 diehards who remained defiantly barricaded in the citadel, offered to join the Mongol army in exchange for clemency. Genghis accepted this offer, but only honored his promise until the last pocket of resistance was eliminated. He then had the entire garrison—approximately 30,000 men— put to death.

Perhaps the last straw for Mohammed was a forged letter Genghis arranged to have fall into his possession, containing a list of generals who were purportedly on the verge of betraying him. This well-timed piece of deception, coming as it did on top of the recent string of military disasters, was apparently too much for the shah, who fled westward. When this news reached Genghis, he sent two of his top generals, Jebe and Subedai, in pursuit with orders to track down and kill Mohammed.

With Samarkand captured, Genghis turned his attention toward the prosperous city of Urgench, located approximately 750 kilometers northwest of Bukhara, where the marshy delta of the Amu Darya River feeds into the Aral Sea. It was an important trade center and the nexus of several caravan routes. A network of canals provided irrigation, and a series of dikes protected the town from flooding. Mohammed’s mother, Terken Khatun, controlled the city. Genghis, aware there was still a substantial army in that part of Khwarezm, sent envoys to negotiate a surrender, assuring Terken that it was not her but her son against whom Genghis was waging war. At about the same time the emissaries arrived, Terken received the news that her son had fled and decided it would be prudent for her to do likewise. With several members of her family, she escaped westward, taking refuge in Mazandaran. But that fortress was soon captured and the whole family was sent to Genghis. He had the men executed and divided the women among his commanders. Terken Khatun was sent back to Mongolia and spent the rest of her life in captivity.

Meanwhile Jebe and Subedai continued their pursuit of Mohammed. In April 1220, they followed him across the Amu-Darya River into the province of Khurasan but lost the trail around the city of Nishapur. Mohammed continued his flight, reaching the shore of the Caspian Sea with his few remaining retainers, including his son Jalal ad-Din, around December 1220. Following the advice of some local emirs, he procured a boat and rowed to a small island in the Bay of Astrabad, where he died soon after. Some sources cite pneumonia as the cause of his death, but other writers have attributed it to the shock and despair of having so quickly and comprehensively lost his once great and wealthy empire.

With most of the royal family dead or in captivity, one of Mohammed’s generals, Khumar Tegin, seized control in Urgench, assuming the title of sultan. Genghis sent his sons Ogodei and Chaghatai to attack the city from the southeast while their elder brother Jochi, who had been campaigning along the Syr-Darya River, approached from the northeast. During the closing days of 1220, the jaws of this massive pincer movement closed.

The siege of Urgench would prove the most difficult in the whole campaign. Not only was the town well defended, it was surrounded by marshes, and there were no large stones available for the Mongols’ catapults. They improvised by chopping mulberry trees into projectile-size chunks and hurling them at the city walls. Prisoners were driven forward to fill in the moat and sap the walls, and after only a few days the invaders forced their way into the town. The inhabitants continued to resist bravely, defending their city street by street and house by house. Mongol tactics did not lend themselves to urban warfare of this kind, and they suffered greater losses than usual.

To further complicate matters, Jochi, who had been promised the city once it was captured, was eager to seize his prize in as pristine condition as possible and stopped the fighting several times to try negotiating a surrender. Those delays angered his brother Chaghatai and resulted in a serious rift between the two. When Genghis heard of their dispute, he appointed Ogodei commander, and the siege was resumed without further delay.

Urgench fell in April 1221. As usual, the artisans were sent to Mongolia and the young women and children enslaved. As punishment for resisting, the rest of the population was massacred. According to Juvaini, this task was assigned to 50,000 Mongol soldiers who were given the responsibility of executing 24 prisoners each. If this calculation is correct, the civilian death toll would have reached 1.2 million. Whether by coincidence or intent, the dike holding back the Amu-Darya River broke, and a large portion of the city was flooded, drowning many lucky enough to have survived the massacre.

While the siege of Urgench was still in progress, Genghis sent his youngest son Tolui across the Amu-Darya River to subdue the western province of Khurasan. Juvaini reports that Tolui’s force numbered only 7,000 men, but those Mongols were probably augmented by Turkish troops who, seeing the direction the war was taking, had begun deserting the crumbling Khwarezmid army in large numbers.

Tolui reached the city of Merv in February 1221. Merv, locally known as the “Queen of Cities,” had existed since the 7th century BC and at the time of the Mongol invasion was one of the most important cultural centers in the eastern Muslim world. Its 10 libraries were said to contain 150,000 books, and it was in the tower of the city’s observatory that the great poet and astronomer Omar Khayyam compiled his renowned astronomical tables. Juvaini described Merv in the following terms: “In extent of territory it excelled among the lands of Khurasan, and the bird of peace and security flew over its confines. The number of its chief men rivaled the drops of April rain, and its earth contended with the heavens.”

Merv’s garrison comprised 12,000 men, and the city’s population, normally 70,000, had swollen to 10 times that number due to the influx of terrified refugees seeking protection from the Mongols. Tolui rode around the city for six days, becoming familiar with its outworks, walls and moats, then on the seventh day launched an assault against the town’s Shahristan Gate. The defenders responded with a sortie but were soon beaten back. The Mongols failed to break into the city, however, and took up positions in a series of rings around the beleaguered fortress.

The next day Merv’s governor, Mujir-al-Mulk, believing his position was untenable, offered to surrender the city on the proviso that the lives of its people were spared. Unfortunately for Merv, they were facing arguably the most bloodthirsty and vicious of Genghis Khan’s offspring. Tolui agreed to the terms to hasten the end of the siege, but went back on his word as soon as the city had been handed over. The entire population was herded into the plain outside the city walls. A small contingent of 400 artisans and some of the city’s younger children were marched away into slavery. The rest of the population was slaughtered.

Juvaini reported that every Mongol soldier “was allotted the execution of three or four hundred persons” and added, “So many had been killed by nightfall that the mountains became hillocks and the plain was soaked with the blood of the mighty.” A contemporary tally, conducted over a period of 13 days, arrived at a staggering figure of 1.3 million dead.

From Merv, Tolui continued his march west, reaching the large city of Nishapur in April 1221. In November of the previous year, Tolui’s brother-in-law Toquchar had been killed during an unsuccessful assault on the town, and Tolui was bent on revenge. When Nishapur fell after only three days, he ordered the entire population massacred. Even the cats and dogs were not spared. The city was so thoroughly dismantled that the ground where it had stood could not be plowed. Heart, the last settlement of any significance left in the area, wisely chose to surrender without a fight. Tolui returned to his father’s camp at Talaqan to report that he had successfully completed his mission the province of Khurasan with its well-defended cities and substantial armies had been completely subjugated in less than three months.

Shah Mohammed’s son, Jalal ad-Din, was still at large. He rallied the remnants of his father’s once great army and retreated south into present-day Afghanistan. In the spring of 1221, he engaged the force pursuing him near the town of Parwan, inflicting on it the first and only major defeat the Mongols suffered in the entire campaign. When the news of that battle’s outcome reached Genghis, he marched south with his own army and trapped Jalal on the banks of the Indus River. The Khwarezmids put up a brave defense but were overwhelmed. Jalal managed to escape across the Indus, but Genghis, recognizing that he no longer posed a threat, declined to pursue him. With Jalal ad-Din gone, all organized resistance to the Mongols ceased, and the greatest power in central Asia was absorbed into the Mongol empire.

Juvaini certainly exaggerated the level of destruction inflicted on Khwarezm during the Mongols’ two-year campaign. His figure of 2.5 million killed during and immediately after the sieges of Urgench and Merv alone seem impossible when contemporary estimates indicate that the entire population of the empire at that time was not much more than 3 million people. For example, it seems unlikely that Bukhara, after being subjected to the level of destruction that Juvaini reported, could be described only 40 years later as a flourishing and wealthy metropolis.

Nevertheless, the westward expansion of the Mongol empire was undoubtedly a catastrophe for the Islamic world in general, and Khwarezm in particular. The archaeological evidence confirms this. As Juvaini said, “With one stroke a world which billowed with fertility was laid desolate, and the regions thereof became a desert and the greater part of the living dead and their skins and bones crumbling dust and the mighty were humbled and immersed in the calamities of perdition.”

Kim Stubbs is an Australian freelance writer specializing in ancient and early medieval history. For further reading, he recommends: Genghis Khan: Conqueror of the World, by Leo de Hartog and Genghis khan, by Michel Hoang, translated by Ingrid Cranfield.

Originally published in the May 2006 issue of Military History. Klikk her for å abonnere.


Se videoen: Battle of Indus, 24 November 1221. Fall of Khwarazm. History of Mongol Empire (Juli 2022).


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