collection of hauma hamiddha's scattered posts

“1337 A.D.

Mahomed Toghlaq had heard about the great wealth of China and decided
to possess that for himself, so says Ferishta. The saner of his
courtiers warned him against doing so. They told him that such a
daunting task was beyond his capability. Mahomed Toghlaq instead
decided to listen to sycophants. He put together a great force that
comprised of 1,00,000 horses and made his nephew, Khoosrow Mullik its
commander. He ordered that forts and camps be built all the way
across the Himalayas. That task accomplished, the army made its foray
into China. The Chinese awaited them in strength. They were far
numerous, better equipped, familiar with the mountain terrain and
physically superior. Mahomed’s army was attacked with a fury they had
not even imagined before – and routed. As they made a retreat, the
Chinese, who had the advantage of attacking from a higher altitude,
chased them mercilessly. To make the matters worse, rains and floods
cut off the escape routes of Mahomed’s army. The Chinese massacred
them within 7 days and just a handful returned to tell the story.
Once the enemy was humiliated, the Chinese returned, not even
bothering about the territory that was theirs for the asking.”

To be precise this massive defeat that was handed to Mohamed bin Tughlaq in
1337 was by the armies of Toghan Timur,
the Mongol Kha’Khan who was then ruling over China. The army was comprised of
light Tibetan cavalry divisions and a few
heavily armored Mongol squadrons. Ironically this was one of the weaker Mongol
armies at time when the Mongol empire
in China was already only a pale reminder of the fierce force that it was under
Kublai, the ancestor of Toghan. This was
also one of the rare occassions when a Buddhist army gave the Moslems a much
needed punch in the face. The Tibetan
Buddhists, unlike the Indian BUddhist maintained a large force of horse borne
archers. Tughlaq’s men while having good
horses were simply out of touch with involved archery shootouts after their easy
conquests in India. This battle is a very
important data point to show how the Turkic armies had degenerated since the
days of Alla-ad-din due to the neglect of
archery.

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