Kagemusha

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 10th grade December 2001

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Genghis Kahn was a great leader of the Mongols, that single handedly lead a tremendous crusade, conquering many villages and clans on his path to take power of a large portion of southeastern Asia. His ruthless and commanding approach, led to his very successful campaign. He was considered the "David" in many "David and Goliath" battles he fought and won.

The great Kahn received his leadership position after a rival clan named the Tartars poisoned his father, Yisugei, when he was thirteen. He was taught to ride horses at a very early age. He was an expert bow man and had great strength. His father was the chieftain of a tribe known as the Yakka Mongols.2 When his father passed away the clan started to deteriorate and some wanted revenge on the deceased chieftain's family. So Genghis and his family were constantly on the run trying to avoid being killed.

When the young warrior was seventeen he started to reform his fathers clan that was diminished down to just himself and another comrade he had found while he was struggling to stay alive. In 1206 Kahn was chosen as the leader of his clan.

Genghis was one of the first leaders, to give his commanders a group of troops, in which they were responsible for their soldier's families and well-being. "When he set up units of a thousand, he appointed leaders of the thousand, of each hundred and each ten."3 The structure he set up is very similar to what is used today in our militaries. He was very strict and made sure his clan was well disciplined. "Officers had to inspect the weapons and equipment of their men before battle and to supply all deficiencies on pain of punishment after Kahn's inspection."4 This was successful because the men looked after each other. He chose his leaders by what they achieved and not who their father was. This eliminated weak spoiled princes, and put rugged peasants in leadership positions. Also if a soldier of any sort failed to follow orders he was given, the punishment was usually death. So the soldier would do whatever he was told, or die trying. His soldiers had a great sense of loyalty for him because they knew he was stern, but fair.

One of the conqueror's greatest works was The Yasa. The Yasa was a code of laws that he made to give the Mongols strength and stability. One of the laws in The Yasa, is as follows, " Nobody shall leave the unit of a thousand, a hundred or ten to which he is assigned. Other wise he himself, and the leader of the unit has accepted him, shall be executed."4 Also he made it clear that he disliked theft and adultery, which was punished by death. Even though the Mongols were a barbaric, nomadic tribe this helped to keep them united, and work as one to defeat the enemy. The Yasa also was just as helpful in creating a better moral background for his army. "An adulterer is to be put to death without any regard as to whether he is married or not"¦Whoever is guilty of sodomy is also to be put to death."4 And he made no exceptions for anyone who broke the rules. The code was beneficial to all, not just the rich and the nobles like other establishments in Asia. If a prince committed a crime, he received the same punishment as a homeless peasent would, which waas unheard of back then. From The Yasa he earned a lof of respect from his followers. His people were so loyal that, some of his foolowers that did break The Yasa would present themselves to him, to be punished.

Genghis was also known for his excellent use of the sources he was dealt. The Mongols were almost like scavengers, when they raided a village they took everything they could possibly use, and forced the villagers to surrender and join the Mongol army, or be executed. His army grew very rapidly as he conquered more and more establishments. He integrated soldiers from different tribes into one powerful fighting force. This was a brilliant idea. Not only could he have diversity and people who specialize in certain aspects of warfare, but it also inspired loyalty to the Mongolian army as a whole rather than to a specific group of people. Most of his men wore light armor that consisted of a light leather coat which was not very protective, but made them highly mobile on the battle field.