Warfare and Weapons
Before waging war, Genghis Khan closely studied the power and size of the army, its arms and weapons, people’s attitude and moral of the target state, pastureland and weather on the way to reach the destination. He also was a spiritual man and believed that he needed to meditate on Burkhan Khaldun mountain before engaging in war. For example, before going to Sartuul state (Khwarezm ), Genghis went up to the Burkhan Khaldun Mountain and prayed for the Heaven and God. This ritual raised moral of his army and people and made them believe the war was for a good reason. Genghis returned again and again to this mountain because it held a very special significance in his life.
The main troops of the army were cavaliers. All cavalrymen carried a sharpener, needle, thread and chisel along with arch and bow. Cavalrymen wore mail shirts and carried a sword and shield. These light and heavy cavaliers were the main force of the Mongol army. In siege battle, Mongols used catapults and arrows with fire. Genghis Khan always taught his soldiers how to take care of the carts and cart animals. In siege battle, he used captive slaves for labor. He captured skilled workers and artisans in order to develop and create siege machines. Moreover, some tricks were used by Mongols such diverting the flow of rivers in order to cause destruction.
The Mongols deployed three general weapons, bows, scimitars and lances. Of these the most important was the dreaded Mongol Bow. Arrows were of different “calibers” for tactical purposes, ranging from warheads capable of penetrating heavy armor, to an assortment of longer range, more specialized heads like “fire” arrows. Lances and scimitars were used for close range encounters within cities or against dispersed enemies in the field. The central weapon however was the bow, with a range of over 200 yards.