Bad Weather Wasn't the Only Cause Of Mongol Defeat in Japan

With a lot of conquered territories, Kublai Khan’s Mongol forces demanded reverences and respect. The fifth Khagan leader ruled a vast empire stretching from Eastern Europe and extending as far as the Levant. During his term, China came under his rule, and the Yuan Dynasty was established. He commanded an army of swift mounted archers, renowned for their tactics and feigned retreats.

The Mongol hordes were both impressive, and frightening, all the same, being one of the most powerful military forces during that age. And during the 13th century, the Khan sets his sight on a new target. Across the sea, Korea became a vassal state of the Yuan Dynasty, and Japan was next.

But we knew what happened.

Even the mighty army of the Kublai Khan was no match to mother nature. The Yuan Dynasty’s attempts to conquer Japan always brings in mind this barely organized Samurai forces struggling to fight a well-guided Mongol army. They were on the brink of defeat, if not for a series of storms that wrecked the Mongol fleet. The gods seemed to favor the Samurai at that time.

Yet the Yuan Dynasty’s conquering forces faced more than mother nature in their stay in Japan. The Samurai forces already did a lot of damages even before the Divine Winds arrived.

Forces Compared
A depiction of a Mongol horse archer.
A depiction of a Mongol horse archer.

The Mongol conquest of Japan pitted some of the most well-known military powers in history. Going full offense was the Yuan Dynasty Mongol army. The famed mounted warriors of Kublai Khan were his inheritance from his grandfather Genghis Khan. It terrorized Eastern Europe and conquered almost all of Asia. Horse archery and unit formations were its core, supported by well-organized logistics. The command structure was flexible, enabling the army to execute quick maneuvers. Weapons included swords and various bladed implements, and their conquest of China gave them access to gunpowder. But their composite bows were their prime military assets.

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