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Genghis Khan and His Methods of Operations: Relevance for Present Day

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1. Eight hundred years ago, a man, named Genghis Khan, almost conquered the half of the known world. People living in felt tents in the steppes of Mongolia were divided in tribes to fight against each other. Total disorder, anarchy, killing and might is right was the order of the day. So the Mongols were defeated and subjugated by other tribes and external powers. Genghis Khan himself had to witness the killing of his father when he was just a boy. Under such prevailing social order Genghis emerged as the great unifier and the most influencing leader of the Mongols.

2. Genghis Khan was born as the son of the chief of Yakka Mongols in 1162 , with the name Temujin. With a very inauspicious beginning Timujin rose to become the most powerful man in the world. In 1206 Temujin was elected as the leader of all the Mongol tribes. He was titled as Genghis Khan-"Oceanic Khan". At the inaugural ceremony his designation meant "Khan of all who live in felt tents". He inspired human kind with a fear that lasted for generation. In the course of his life he was given many names- the Mighty Manslayer, the Scourge of God, the Perfect Warrior, and the Master of Throne and Crown. We better know him as Genghis Khan. Unlike most rulers of men, he deserved all his titles. Because Genghis khan is a conqueror of more gigantic stature than the well-known actors of the European stage e.g Alexander the Great, Caesars, Napoleon. Indeed it's difficult to measure him by ordinary standards. During his lifetime, by extraordinary speed of expansion of empire he alarmed mighty emperors of the then world. They identified him as cause of disaster and destruction. If this devastation is the whole of his story Genghis Khan wouldn't have been remembered by mankind. He was also a perfect warrior and master of Thrones and Crowns. And here we are face to face with a mystery that surrounds Genghis Khan. A nomad, a hunter and herder of beasts, out general the powers of three empires; a barbarian, who had never seen a city and did not know how to write, drew up a code of law for peoples.

3. The staggering scale and rapidity of their conquests place the Mongols in a unique position, and their system of war repays study . In the early days of expansion it was the combination of rapid, harassing advances, swirling cavalry envelopments and, when necessary, equally rapid and elusive retreats, that made the Mongol armies so difficult to face. The atrocities they committed against combatant and non-combatant alike bred hopeless apathy and terrible fear in their opponents. The question therefore usually asked about the Mongols is: Were they merely pillagers and killers? Not in Mongolian eyes. To Mongolia, Genghis was George Washington , first ruler of united Mongolia. Also to their credit, the Mongols were more tolerant of other religions than many regimes today.

4. Studying Genghis Khan and his methods of warfare is an oceanic task too. His personal qualities, intelligence, pulsating intuition, his fresh and invigorating life force, his intensely ambitious yet selfless nature, his endless capacity for devotion secured his ascendancy. Any study on Genghis Khan without an analysis on his leadership qualities would remain incomplete. On the other hand, the Mongols long ago mastered tactical, operational and strategic concepts of pressing contemporary significance; the Mongols specialized in fast, mobile operations; they fought battles for operational ends and planned and fought campaigns with an eye for achievement of strategic objectives; they employed deception on an immense scale; they enforced an unusually rigid tactical doctrine in order to guarantee strategic flexibility; they subordinated an entire society for military ends and they drew enormous strength from programmes of social indoctrination. This paper therefore at first takes a closer look on Genghis Khan himself to understand this great leader. In the second part of this paper the Mongol Campaign for capture of Trans-Oxiana is briefly discussed as a case study to understand his methods of war fighting. Finally an analysis is attempted to find the relevance of his methods for today.


Leadership Approach

5. Genghis Khan was a naturally born leader. If one considers the environment and the background from which he rose, all will agree that it is his extraordinary personality and influence that made him the King of Mongols. As already mentioned, he was born in a king's family. He had no leadership training, no institutional education but natural qualities that he inherited from his forefathers. His fellow countrymen considered him as the divinely inspired son of heaven. He had a soaring political ambition and almost supernatural ability to plan ahead. Genghis Khan was no ignorant barbarian (as some views him) but an inspired ruler of boundless wisdom, who loved his people, whose vision and ability to attract followers made it possible to create the greatest land empire the earth ever saw. The Mongol empire was his brainchild; he had a life long uncanny genius for winning peoples' hearts and attracting followers that was evident from his early boyhood. It was said of Genghis Khan since his early childhood that he had a remarkable Ð''fire' in his eyes. Ð''Fire in his eyes' a Mongolian term used for emotional depth and kindness. It was also said about him already when he was a boy that the rivaling tribes hated him because he had wisdom. He created a feeling of shared purpose with everyone he came across. Being a genuine humanitarian with a grand purpose he energized his Mongolian people to join him to do what he intended to do. Genghis Khan understood the concept of eternity, his spirit was never confined to the present, because his mind penetrated the mist of the moment, and forever he saw clearly the eternal horizon that others could not fathom. Having said all this we can conclude that Genghis Khan followed a traits approach leadership.

Professional Competence

6. Although he did not have any institutional training he excelled in his profession by dint of his merit and natural qualities. As a leader he displayed extraordinary qualities, which are already discussed. As a warrior he lost in none of the battles he fought. He evolved the concept of manoeuvre warfare with packed horses. He outwitted all his opponents by superior tactics, exploiting indigenous means and by making unpredictable moves. He was good organizer and a trainer as well. He organized an army of



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