Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Well before Batu’s invasion of Central Europe with its castles ( purportedly impregnable stone-walled “ area deniers”) Mongols easily captured half of China and Central Asia their with stone-walled major cities. Siege engines could have been easily built on the spot in any heavily wooded area. Topography played little role : during the original raid by Subedai and Jebe Mongols went through the Caucasus ( to which Hungarian hills could not hold a candle) like hot knife through butter.
Yes, their supply lines were extended, but with the speed of their messengers they could have contacted their base within in a month at the latest and get reinforcements.
And here is the rub.
In 1241, when Batu was already washing his horses in the Adriatic Sea, the Great Kagan Ogedei died and the clans went into a fratricidal war. Batu had to drop everything and go back to Karakorum to safeguard his patrimony of Ulus Juchi.
That was not a face-saving gesture but a life-saving one.
But the splitting of the Mongol Empire was a geopolitical earthquake. Never again were they able to threaten Europe again. Even their 300 year long control of Russia was a fiction: they relied not on their force but on cowardice and collaboration of Russian princes and on dull submissiveness of the populace. Russia eventually became nominally free of the Mongol yoke not by virtue of heroic resistance but rather as a result of the internal rot and final disintegration of the formerly great Empire.
Had Ogedei lived and ruled another 3-5 years the Europeans would have been by now drinking Kumis instead of Bordeaux.