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

With a lot of conquered territories, Kublai Khan’s Mongol forces demanded reverence 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.

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

But we know what happened.

Even the mighty army of the Kublai Khan was no match for Mother Nature. The Yuan Dynasty’s attempts to conquer Japan always brings to mind 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 damage even before the divine winds arrived.

A depiction of a Mongol horse archer.

Forces Compared
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 bow