When people talk about why Mongol Empire didn’t conquer more, they give different reasons, such as infighting between the successors of Chinggis khan, they fought one type of warfare, Western Europe was heavily fortified etc. But the explanation is actually quite simple. Chinggis Khan above all was a nomad and he knew how to look after his livestock. A typical campaign wouldn’t start unless the horses were rested.
A horse would need around 8 kgs of grass and 40 litres of water per day. An average tumen (10,000 soldiers) would have approximately 40,000 horses.
40,000 horses would need around 6 km2 of grassland per day. That’s around 1,800 km2 per month. Now, this calculation takes into account the most fertile pastures of Mongolia, in Europe, due to humidity and rain the amount of grass per hectare would be much larger thus needing a smaller area. Also, in summer you would need much less pasture area as the grass would regrow.
Based on the above information, spies would travel in the direction soon to be conquered and calculate the area that would be suitable for horses to rest. Is the area enough to house 40,000 horses? Does it have enough water, such as, rivers and water wells to quench the thirst of our steeds? Are there enough pastures for horses to roam? These were the questions that stopped most of the conquests, not the other way around.
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