Monday, 13 January 2014
Some Background Material
I thought it might be an idea that instead of just giving you pictures and some notes on heraldry, it might be a good idea for a brief synopsis of the Mongol campaign in Poland in 1241.
Once the campaign in the Russian Principalities had drawn to a successful conclusion the Mongols turned their eyes towards the main object of the campaign which was the conquest of Europe. While a large proportion of the army was to cross the Carpathian Mountains from a number of different directions and invade Hungary, a smaller force of two tümet was to head northwest, alongside the mountains, and into Poland to stop the various Polish armies from interfering with the main Mongol invasion force.
Note: I have used the more Anglicised spelling of the various names for the sake of convenience.
Three royal princes, namely Kadan, Baidar and Orda and grandsons of Chinggis Khan, were chosen to perform this task. They rode through Red Ruthenia and into the southeast of the country via Lesser Poland burning and pillaging as they went to draw attention to themselves. Poland, which at the time was divided into a number of duchies, all ruled by members of the same Piast family, was slow to respond, Lublin was taken and the province of Sandomir was mostly ravaged before any real resistance could be begun. The Mongols then split their forces to try and to create as much trouble as they could, Kadan riding north towards Warsaw and Masovia while the other two headed south westwards in the direction of Krakow and Silesia.
There was a battle at Chmielnik in Sandomir on 18th March between Baidar and Orda and a local force which resulted in an overwhelming Mongol victory. From there the two headed for Krakow. They destroyed most of that city before moving onto Wroclaw where they had agreed to meet with Kadan. He had not long defeated a Polish army at Tarczak on 19th March when he received a message from the others saying that a Polish army was forming at Liegnitz and that another, reputed to be 50,000 strong, was marching to join it. Kadan set off and the two Mongol tümen were reunited at Wroclaw on 1st April.
Unaware that the reinforcing army was not too far away, Duke Henry II of Silesia with his army rode out of Liegnitz and rode to a plain southeast of the town where he was utterly destroyed by the Mongols.
Their work complete, with no remaining force in Poland capable of disrupting the plans, the three returned to the main army.