In memory of the Mongolian warriors of the Ain-Jalut battle (1260.9.3)
By B. Nominchimed
Just 750 years ago, in 3rd day of September 1260, on the place of Ain-Jalut, at the south-western part of Nazareth city of Israel near to Palestinian border a small Mongolian army was defeated by the united Muslim army and several thousand Mongolian warriors, including a legendary warlord from Naiman tribe Het Bukha were fell down forever on this battlefield.
This is a historical event, when the Great Khar Suld or war flag of Mongolian warriors was bent down first time in the whole Era and steppe warriors, who never lost any battle, were experienced a defeat shame. Many historians have been argued that this battle was a first victory against the Mongolian conquerors and warfare with the historical importance for savage of Muslim and Arabian world.
It’s wrong some historians wrote that defeat of Mongolian cavalry of thirty thousand men under command of Shikhikhutug in Bamayan region of Afghanistan by Jelal Ad-Din, during Chinggis khaan’s warfare against Khwarezm was a “first Mongolian defeat”, because this defeat hadn’t important consequence to the warfare against Khwarezm and Bamayan battle was only one part of the general strategy to conquer Khwarezm and Iran. By lost of Bamayan battle, Mongolian army attack wasn’t interrupted and Chinggis Khaan strengthened his army’s attack force to win historical battle at Ind River, tracking Jelal Ad-Din.
For contrast, it may be consider that after defeat of Mongolian cavalry at Ain-Jalut, were saved whole Arabian world and Egypt from Mongolian invasion to begin turn the wheel of history around. After this battle, not only changed direction of the Mongolian warfare, but Mongolian empire lost Syria and Palestine and pushed back to left bank of Ephrata River.
Different historical sources have mentioned different number of two hostile armies, which have met on Ain-Jalut battlefield. Arabian and Persian historians have argued that confront sides have approximately same forces or 15-20 thousand warriors from each side. By Wikipedia and other historical sources, each of two sides have been ten thousand warriors. Some source argued that Mongolian side had 20 thousand men, mamluks and turkeys were 250 thousand men.
At all, majority of historians have unanimously agreed that Het Bukh’s cavalry had 10-15 thousand warriors and professor Ruven Amitai from Hebrew University in Jerusalem, who had researched this historical event, said Het Bukha had 12 thousand cavalries.
I think this number is very objective one, because Hulagu khan, when he returns from Syria, had left ten thousand cavalries under command of Het Bukha, then strengthened his cavalry with one thousand Syrian and Ayubidian soldiers, plus small forces of princes Musa and Hasan.
He notes that Mamluk sultan Qutuz with 12 thousand soldiers departed from Cairo to meet Mongolian army. His argument, obviously, based on the fact that battle force of Ayubid, Cairo’s sultan, wasn’t exceeded been 12 thousand men, but there are other factors, which might be took in attention. In 1259, when Mongolians have seized Baghdad and captured three Syrian sultanates, tens of thousands muslim warriors, who haven’t recognized right of Mongolians, fled to Egypt, hoping it a last stronghold of the Muslim World. Particularly, a significant force of bachries under leadership of kipchak warlord Baibars had united with Qutuz’s army in the first months of 1260. Thus, there’s serious reason to doubt that Qutuz has 12 thousand soldiers, when he departed from Cairo. Apart from this force, a rest force of AN-Nasir Yusuf, Aleppo sultan, was reinforced Qutuz’s army, when Qutuz marshes from Cairo to Salikha. If consider that sultans in Syria have been substantial force to fight against Hulagu khan, they force haven’t been limited by two or three ten hundreds battle men. Thus, Qutuz had more warriors at least in 2-3 times than Het Bukh.
Western historians such as Gumilyoff and Salikh noted incomparable rate of two hostile sides; they suppose Mongolian army had about 15 thousand warriors and Arabian Unite had 60-65 thousands of battle men. Ibn- al—Davadari, Arabian historian, has recognized great advantage in number of mamluks and turkeys (Arabian united army) and J. Bor, Mongolian historian, suggests Mongolian cavalry had fought against force ten times more than it.
So, about ten thousand Mongolian warriors under the war flag of legendary hero Het Bukh and small number of allies have fought with great numbered and decisive to fight for life or death warriors, leaded by Qutuz and Baibars, Arabian warlords of turkey blood at Ain-Jalut, in 6000 km outside from mother Mongolian land.
Thunder cloud above the Muslim World
In February 13, 1258 Baghdad fell down before Hulagu khan’s warriors. Hulagu khan has used to tease Caliphate of Baghdad by ordering to shut him in the treasury chamber and feed him with gold and silver. Crush of Baghdad, which called unconquerable bastion for five hundred years, became the thunder in the sky above the Muslim World and the auspice sun of protection for Christian World. Armenian historian Kirakos wrote about Baghdad “This city didn’t know saturate like rapacious spider to swallow whole world for several centuries. This time Baghdad experienced punishment by the Heaven for its bloodshed, aggression and unlimited sins”. Christian World applauds, expecting a day, when Hulagu khan will freed its hole land–several centuries dream of Christians. Before smashing Baghdad Hulagu khan defeat “Old Man of Mountain”- a nightmare for Muslim World.
Soon Hulagu khan with his great army crossed Euphrates and early 1260 seized Aleppo and all strongholds, fortresses one after another. But he turns back in connection to the immediate reasons: death of Monkh khan, emperor of Great Mongolian Empire caused delicate problem about successor of the empire throne, beginning of civil war between Khubilai and Arigbokh–brothers of Monkh khan for throne, Hulagu khan’s cousin Berkh khan, emperor of Golden Ord and Muslim believer, got furious with crushing of Baghdad and oppression of muslims and tension on the north border of Mongolian empire, caused by quarrel for Caucasian region. Hulagu khan left an army of ten thousand cavalries under command of his main warlord Het Bukha and ordered him to invade Syria and Egypt.
As soon as possible, Het Bukh moves to south and seized several cities and strongholds such as Homs and Baalbek and comes close to Damask. During this time, Aleppo’s sultan An-Nasir Yusuf, who has permanent shelter in Damask, fled from Mongolian army with his small army and Damask was captured. Het Bukha’s warriors chased Nasir to Gaza and captured him. So, Syria and Palestine seized by Het Bukh and cities along the sea such as Sidon, Tur, Akra and lands around Tripoli existed under control of crusaders.
Therefore, in the middle of 1260 whole Muslim world become close to crush. Their last hope was mamluks and turkeys from Egypt.
Ain-Jalut battle was held in such critical moment.
Trustless traitors turned the Wheel of history to wrong direction
Het Bukha’s army deployed at Baalbek, located in left part of contemporary Israel. Christ believing kings and templar barons of the Middle East and East Asia become Mongolians allies independence of their willingness, because the Muslin world is their enemy. Crusaders can’t liberate their holy land, although they have been made four Crusades against Muslims by whole Europium force. Hulagu khan’s attack gave them new hope. Arabians have been mobilized all their efforts to hit crusaders strongholds on the left bank of Mediterranean Sea around Tripoli.
Image of Het Bukh, I suppose, was extreme proud and majestic. Armenian king Getum with ancient autocracy and Antioch king Behomend YI were His followers, while He enters in triumphal entrance of Damask. Mighty and giant Het Bukha, setting in huge cool tent, which built by local Christian barons, squeezing down sultan An-Nasir Yusuf, grandson of legendary Saladin… But KHet Bukha is one of many commanders of tumt or ten thousand warriors of Hulagu khan and Hulagu khan is king of left part of the Great Mongolian Empire. Therefore, power of the Mongolian Empire of this era was compared only to great ocean or borderless sky and confront against Mongolians supposed as same as mouse, jerking cat tail. This time is pick time of the Great Mongolian Empire.
For any of historical turnover, a very small event or action might be become main moving force to turn the wheel of history to contrariwise. This time, Sidon was governed by a frank baron called “long legged Julien”. He was one of voluntary and violent European barons.
After entering of Mongolians in Syria and Palestine was established new order to limit and eliminate all voluntary and violent actions of such barons as all places of Mongolian occupation.
One morning Het Bukh received an unbelievable news. His allied barons killed horsemen and seized reserved horses. Mongolians didn’t know such cruel act of allies before, while enemy is in near distance. Only scoundrel traitor can act in such form, but not allies. At this time, for allied barons, treachery was like death. Mamluks never pardoned be them. Het Bukha sent his grandson with 200 cavalries to Sidon to return horses and note to Julien it’s his crucial mistake. But Julien didn’t said “Pardon, I don’t know it’s Mongolians horses”, because thief steals to steals, but not to pardoned be.
“Long legged” Julien killed Het Bukha’s grandson (some sources said a son) with his men and chased steeled horses along sea to Akra to sell for high price to… mamluks–his enemis. Barons from Akra and Turkey were involved in this plot against Mongolians.
For Mongolians, it was outraged treachery. Thus, furious Het Bukha attacks Sidon. Julien fled Cyprus by vessel, taking close relatives. Mongolians captured Sidon and set on fire and destroyed to ashe.
Ashe of Sidon, which was of biggest strongholds of the Middle East, wasn’t liked barons of Akra and Tur.
Last resolute decision of mamluks and turkeys
This time Egypt was in great trouble after receiving of Hulagu khan’s ultimatum with resolute and proud words. Hulagu khan wrote “We, Mongolians, are coming here by the willingness of the Universe Heaven. We’ll smash all of them, who confronts with as. So, you’ve only one of two choices: capitulate or die, confronting with as. No way to escape, because Heaven declared it”. Also, he pointed out that sultan Qutuz is a mamluk slave, who killed his lord to reach to throne and ordered him to repent his sin before new lord as a slave.
Warlords of Qutuz have discussed an issue about capitulate or fight against for whole sever days. Qutuz, who considered himself as successor of Khwarezm’s Shakh, defeated by Chinggis Khaan, and Baibars, once before defeated by and served for Mongolians, then sold to Lebanon as slave to overcome too many difficulties, persisted to die in the battlefield. At last they unanimously decided to die in the battlefield, with sword in hand, remembering tragic end of some cities of Syria, which have repressed even after surrender.
Also, messengers from Akra have been influenced decision to fight against Mongolians. These messengers said Qutuz “We, faithful slaves of Christ are ready to fight together you”, because their barons dislike Mongolian rule and order and hatred for defeat of Julien and destroy of Sidon. This is alike wolf and jackal, attacking towards tiger together, when they have been fought with one another.
Majority of mamluks were warriors of kipchak and turkey origins with hot blood and decisive. By some sources, among them were fugitives and deserters of Mongolian origin.
Qutuz moves towards Mongolian army from Cairo. Qutuz’s army, reinforced with fugitives from Syria and Palestine, crossed Sinai desert and at Gaza defeated front force of Het Bukh’s army headed by Baidar. This time, Het Bukh, deployed in Baalbek, receiving message from Baidar about mamluk and turkeys marsh trough Sinai desert to Gaza, moves from Baalbek to Nazaret and choose Ain-Jalut where good pasture and clear springs for horses to meet enemy army.
Ain-Jalud is very suitable place for Mongolian cavalry, because there is possibility to feed and rest horses, suitable to deploy divisions, from left side protected by mountains be and small hills on right and central parts are suitable to perform variety of tactical maneuvers–planned Het Bukha.
But during this time knits and barons from Akra connected with Qutuz and welcomed him in Akra to host and rest. Furthermore, Julien sold thousands of reserve horses, steeled from Het Bukh’s army for high price. Also, they agreed if Qutuz win forthcoming battle, after successful end of war against Mongolians Akra barons will bay horses again for much lower price.
So, for Mongolians events unexpectedly turned to worst direction. Het Bukha, who barely aware knits and barons can steal and rob horses of ally, didn’t suppose that they can plot with their enemy to stab to back of ally only for benefit. Worst consequence of such outrage treachery was decisive influence in the historical event–wrote L. Gumiloff.
When reinforced and rested mamluks come in Ain-Jalut with quite fresh horses, Het Bukha meet them bored in long way from Baalbeck and without reserve horses.
Battle of death
The historical battle was began at dawn of September 3, 1260.
By some historical sources, Qutuz attacked Mongolian army and eventually hit by Mongolian warriors to flee back to place, where Baibars’s army hided behind hills. Then all their forces took in siege Mongolian cavalry. This is a original Mongolian tactic, which many time successfully used been by Mongolian cavalries in Asia and Europe, including in 1217 Zev against Fergand and Khwarezm Shakh, in 1221 Zev and Subeedei against Georgian knits at Kura river, in 1223 at Kalka river against united army of Russian kings, in 1241 Baidar and Khadaan against European united force at Lignite, Subeedei and Batkhaan against Bela II, Hungarian king at Shizo river etc. There’s first time in history mamluks and turkeys have used successfully used this traditional tactic of Mongolians against them.
Undoubtedly, this tactic, which used by Mongolian warlords in many wars for sixty years, sufficiently analyzed by their enemies and a talented commander Baibars, who served in Mongolian army, might be learned thoroughly.
Ryuvan Amitai, Israelian historian, said Baibars first attacked Mongolians attain-Jalut. At all, although number of men of two sides was differs at least from two to ten times, Mongolian warriors, who haven’t any presume about what is lost or defeat and never defeated in battlefield, excessively believe in their victory. For Het Bukha and his warriors advantage in number of enemies was problem, because in the history of warfare of Chinggiskhaan and his successors Mongolians always won enemies.
Thus, when Mongolians immediately start their crazy attack, Baibars almost captured. Warriors of right flank of Het Bukh hit back left flank of mamluks to flee them. Qutuz and Baibars again put their soldiers in order to counter attack, but brave and powerful Mongolian warriors several time hit enemies attack and for mamluks were near to lose battle. But horses of Mongolian warriors grew weak after cover off long marsh and boring battle for long time, while mamluks and turkeys on the back of fresh horses can come in order again. Qutuz cries for help “Oh, Allah! Oh, Muslim!” and “Let us die with honor!” to courage his soldiers.
For Mongolians, situation turns to worst. At this critical moment Syrian sultan Musa, who fought in left flank of Mongolian army, fled with his soldiers in substantial number to turn fate of battle. Baibars took in siege left flank by his best force…….
Continued in next issue of Mongolia Today magazine (# 19, September, 2011)