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Post Mongol Russian

Posted: Thu May 14, 2020 8:37 pm
by Delphin
In the Post-Mongol Russian army list, the main part of army was represented by 1-2 Elite Cavalry and 4-8 Horse Bow. It's ok forthe 15th century but really strange for the 14th and especially 13th century.

Mass transition from spear to bow and saber is a part of orientalization, which occurred in the 15th century. Earlier russian warriors were closer to Europian knights, than to mongol archers. I think that most of army should be elite cavalry - dvor, druzhina, gorodovoy polk (городовой полк, verbatim "city regiment"), with some horse bows - svoi poganie (свои поганые, own pagans), christened tatars.

Then, as for gulay gorod it's a device which appeared later. It's not even the 15th, it's the 16th century. According to chronological range, it’s more correct to delete them.

Re: Post Mongol Russian

Posted: Fri May 15, 2020 12:03 pm
by David Kuijt
Delphin wrote:
Thu May 14, 2020 8:37 pm
In the Post-Mongol Russian army list, the main part of army was represented by 1-2 Elite Cavalry and 4-8 Horse Bow. It's ok forthe 15th century but really strange for the 14th and especially 13th century.

Mass transition from spear to bow and saber is a part of orientalization, which occurred in the 15th century. Earlier russian warriors were closer to Europian knights, than to mongol archers. I think that most of army should be elite cavalry - dvor, druzhina, gorodovoy polk (городовой полк, verbatim "city regiment"), with some horse bows - svoi poganie (свои поганые, own pagans), christened tatars.

Then, as for gulay gorod it's a device which appeared later. It's not even the 15th, it's the 16th century. According to chronological range, it’s more correct to delete them.
Happy to consider your suggestion. Can you cite sources to make it easier for us to check your research?

If I understand you correctly, it sounds like you are essentially saying that the transition from Early Russian (European-style mounted warriors) to Post Mongol Russian (cavalry fighting in the Mongol style) was a much longer process. That's true in almost every major army list transition, incidentally. The problem is documenting how long the transition took. 200 years (your suggestion) would be a very long transition period. Most such cases in represented in the army lists are over in a generation -- less than 20 years, not 200. Especially when the transition occurs as a result of external domination by a militarily dominant culture (the Mongols). Most of the Russian principalities became Mongol vassals in the 1240s, and stayed that way through our period of interest.

The underlying problem is one of bucketing. We use particular buckets (army lists) to classify the armies of a given culture. The armies of Russia fall into one bucket in the Viking period (Rus), another bucket in their European Medieval period (Early Russian), and a third bucket in their Mongol-dominated period (Post Mongol Russian). Those are three very very different lists. Bucketing, where you base an army list upon the information you have available, works fine if you step back from it and look at the whole picture. It looks kinda stupid if you focus on the transition points, though. In 1053 the Rus were an all-foot army with a tiny bit of crappy mounted troops. In 1055 the Early Russians were an army dominated by mounted in the Eastern European mold. That picture goes to 1245. Then in 1246 suddenly the spear-using Russian cavalry all magically picked up the bow and fought like the Mongols. If you look at the transitions, this will always look stupid.

In some cases of major army list change the transitions really were fast (a year or three). And in the vast majority of cultures, that sort of sea change in the military techniques begins and ends within a single generation or even less. Call it half a generation, 10 years.

And we don't want to make stuff up. So if you are advocating for a transitional army list representing the period between the onset of Mongol political domination and the end of the complete adoption of Mongol style fighting among the Russian principalities, that seems like a great idea. But that is in essence creating a new bucket. So if you could send citations from your sources, that would help us do that, if it is necessary.

I'd also like to point out that the somewhat arbitrary date of 1246 for the start of the Post Mongol Russian list is already a compromise. The Russians were stomped by the Mongols repeatedly, from the battle of the Kalka River in 1223 until their invasions 1237-1242 where they basically destroyed every military force of every Russian principality, and burned the capitals (and most of their cities) to the ground. In other words, by 1246 the Russians had already been dominated by the Mongols for half a generation (10 years) and had had the chance to see the writing on the wall from 1223 (a full generation earlier). Total military defeat often (even usually) causes massive change in military systems.

Re: Post Mongol Russian

Posted: Fri May 15, 2020 3:06 pm
by Delphin
Classical works on the military affairs of Russia belong to A. Kirpichnikov (А. Кирпичников). I think that this is his most helpful work: Kirpichnikov A. N. Military affairsin Russia in the 13th-15th centuries - Leningrad: Sience, 1976 (Кирпичников А. Н. Военное дело на Руси в XIII—XV вв. — Ленинград: Наука, 1976). I could not find English translation of this work, but I'm fairly certain that it is there somewhere. And I still can translate some quotes from Russian text:
In the second half of the 13th – 14th centuries, as far as can be judged from fragmentary examples, the European line of development of Russian weapons, inherited from the pre-Mongol period, is largely preserved, which resulted in the spread of plated mail (verbatim typesetting armor) that replaced chain mail, swords, shestopers (six-edged maces), bershdys, shields, spurs, crossbows and guns modern in their era. The Mongol invasion did not directly lead to the separation of the Russian and Western European military-technical culture. Objects such as heavy knob swords, large-sized spurs with a wheel, pavezes, crossbows with armor-piercing bolts, guns and handguns, single and multi-tower fortifications, reflected the pan-European ways of developing military affairs. When equipping European warfare tools rather than eastern ones, a historic victory is achieved on the Kulikovo field.
Во второй половине XIII—XIV в., насколько можно судить по отрывочным примерам, сохраняется во многом унаследованная от домонгольского периода общеевропейская линия развития русского вооружения, что выразилось в распространении наборного доспеха, заменившего кольчугу, современных своей эпохе мечей, шестоперов, бердышей, щитов, шпор, самострелов и пушек. Монгольское нашествие не привело непосредственно к разъединению русской и западноевропейской военно-технической культуры. Такие предметы, как мечи с тяжелым набалдашником, крупномерные шпоры с колесиком, павезы, самострелы с бронебойными болтами, пушки и пищали, одно- и многобашенные укрепления, отражали общеевропейские пути развития военного дела. При оснащении скорее европейскими орудиями войны, чем восточными, достигается историческая победа на Куликовом поле.
Only from the end of the 15th century a lot of eastern equipment was adopted in the Russian cavalry, which was reflected in the manner of saber combat and a high saddle. The influx of eastern elements into the army is associated with the ongoing struggle with the Crimean Khanate and the growing participation of Tatars living near the southern border in the Moscow army. The intensive manifestation of the eastern military features did not affect the infantry and, in comparison with the previous two centuries, was, one might say, belated in nature, since it occurred during the creation of a single state. We are talking about a new period in Russian military history, when the Mongol yoke was overthrown and, in contrast to the orientation of the cavalry, more and more massive use of firearms took place and the corresponding fortification was finally formed.
Лишь с конца XV в. в русской коннице было принято много восточного снаряжения, что нашло отражение в манере сабельного боя и высокой седловке. Приток в войско восточных элементов связан с начавшейся борьбой с Крымским ханством и растущим участием в московском войске живущих у южной границы татар. Интенсивное проявление восточных войсковых особенностей не коснулось пехоты и по сравнению с предшествующими двумя столетиями носило, можно сказать, запоздалый характер, так как происходило в период создания единого государства. Речь идет о новом периоде русской военной истории, когда было свергнуто монгольское иго и в контрасте с ориентализацией конницы происходило все более массовое использование огнестрельного оружия и окончательно сформировалась соответствовавшая ему фортификация.
Finally, (I hope you will not be confused by some pathos, typical for Soviet literature :) )
Russian military affairs of the mature Middle Ages took the hardest path in its history, marked by suffering, struggle and amazing vitality. This path can be divided into several parts.

1240–1350 were a period of healing and gathering strength. The territory of the country is reduced as much as possible, but in the north and southwest, a rebuff to the Mongol and other invaders is organized. Stopped Swedish, German and partially Hungarian-Polish aggression. The military system is adapting to innovations in commandment and siege. The revival of infantry, notable in European-wide, is coming. The army has wide access for citizens and smerds. Stone throwers, a bow and a crossbow significantly affect battle tactics. The patriotic upsurge of all social groups leads to the realization of imminent danger and the accelerated development of weapons. In military affairs, a versatile enriching relationship with neighbors remains, which impedes its orientation or enslavement by a stronger enemy at that moment. The construction and defense of fortifications rises to the level of visionary strategic objectives. Arsenals are being created in cities and military equipment, including long-range equipment, is accumulating, which compensates for the lack of manpower. In tactics and armament of the troops, the “Russian custom” is retained, while its effectiveness increases with the weakening of the main enemy - the Mongols.

1350-1400 characterized by a powerful flowering of military equipment and the transition from defense to offensive. This period practically coincides with the activity of Prince Dmitry Ivanovich Donskoy (1359—1389), when in Moscow “it was time to put the city of stone ... (in 1367, - A.K.) and Russian princes bring to their will ”. Deterrence of the State of Lithuania is added to the fight against the Golden Horde. The idea of ​​a single military leadership and regimental discipline is being strengthened, and all-Russian mobilization is being introduced into practice. Moscow creates a large all-Russian army, and fully armed with mainly European methods and military equipment, a great victory is achieved over the Tatars in the medieval general battle that took place on the Kulikovo field. The forces of the Mongols have not yet been broken, but the myth of their invincibility has been dispelled forever. Further temporary defeats no longer change either the general situation, or even less the all-Russian patriotic military ideology. In the army, as in previous times, democratic lower classes are participating. Infantry along with cavalry operates in field battles. Firearms are mastered in Moscow and other cities, as soon as it reaches Eastern Europe.
The Russian army uses the tactics of proactive field barriers on the Oka and raids deep into enemy territory against the Horde. Extraordinarily early and quickly, novelties of the field-wide military equipment of the pan-European class are adopted - tartsches, chichaks, cannons, and hand-guns. The transition to the construction of multi-tower fortifications is accompanied by the strengthening of all siege equipment. The need for widespread construction of stone fortifications is recognized. Regarding the methods and means of serf war, the Tatars hopelessly lag behind their Russian tributaries.

1400-1480 were years of accumulation of forces and a decisive blow, which culminated in the overthrow of the Mongol yoke: "And then our great Russian land freed itself from the yoke and subjugation of the Busurmansky and began to be renewed, as if from winter and in a quiet spring, they were laid out." The victorious “spring” coincided with a sharp breakdown of the traditional weapons system and battle tactics. With the creation of a single state, the principle of local manning of troops is strengthened and a semi-regular all-Russian officer corps is created. The place of princely squads and city militias is occupied by seasonal boyars and their servants. The sunset of feudally fragmented Russia is accompanied by a decisive advancement of firearms. Its influence spreads first in the system of fortress, and then in the field war. Instead of spearmen, saber cavalry operates, in the person of artillerymen and “fire archers” new formations for the Middle Ages are created. The liberation of the seized territories begins. An unprecedented variety of military tasks is dictated by the enormous length of the newly organized fronts, facing not only the eastern, but also the western enemy. The state seeks to bridge some technical gap that has arisen between the east and the west of Europe. The construction of the cannon manufactory and fortresses, fully adapted to the firearm, marks the military aspect of the implementation of this plan. Significant changes in the second half of the XV century. First of all, they covered the entire military engineering business. As for traditional cold weapons, the Moscow state inherited spears, bows, helmets, kuyaki, shells, shields, maces, knives, shestopers, sabers, bows and arrows with almost no noticeable changes. These funds are stored in the arsenal of the Moscow army for 50-200 years and will be used along with firearms.
Русское военное дело зрелого средневековья прошло тяжелейший в его истории путь, отмеченный страданиями, борьбой и поразительной жизнестойкостью. Этот путь можно разделить на несколько частей.
1240—1350 гг. были периодом залечивания ран и собирания сил. Максимально сокращается территория страны, но на севере и юго-западе организуется отпор монгольским и другим захватчикам. Остановлена шведская, немецкая и частично венгерско-польская агрессия. Военные порядки приспосабливаются к нововведениям в полковождении и осадном деле. Наступает примечательное в европейском масштабе оживление пехоты. В войско открыт широкий доступ горожан и смердов. Камнеметы, лук и самострел существенно влияют на тактику боя. Патриотический подъем всех общественных групп приводит к осознанию грозящей опасности и ускоренной выработке оружия. В военном деле сохраняется разносторонняя обогащающая связь с соседями, что препятствует его ориентализации или порабощению со стороны в тот момент более сильного противника. Строительство и защита укреплений поднимаются на уровень дальновидных стратегических задач. В городах создаются арсеналы и накапливается боевая, в том числе и дальнобойная техника, что компенсирует недостаток живой силы. В тактике и вооружении войска сохраняется «русский обычай», при этом действенность его возрастает по мере ослабления главного врага — монголов.
1350—1400 гг. характерны мощным расцветом военной техники и переходом от обороны к наступлению. Этот период практически совпадает с деятельностью князя Дмитрия Ивановича Донского (1359— 1389 гг.), когда в Москве «почали ставити город камен... (в 1367 г.,— А. К.) и князи русскьги начаша приводити в свою волю». К борьбе с Золотой Ордой добавляется сдерживание Литовского государства. Укрепляется представление о едином военном руководстве и полковой дисциплине, и в практику входят общерусские мобилизации. Москва создает крупную общерусскую армию, и во всеоружии преимущественно европейских приемов и боевых средств достигается великая победа над татарами в генеральной битве средневековья, происшедшей на Куликовом поле. Силы монголов еще не сломлены, но навсегда развеян миф о их непобедимости. Дальнейшие временные поражения уже не меняют ни общей обстановки, ни тем более общерусской патриотической воинской идеологии. В войске, как и в предшествующее время, участвуют демократические низы. Пехота наряду с конницей действует в полевых битвах. В Москве и других городах осваивают огнестрельное оружие, едва оно достигает Восточной Европы.
Русская рать использует против ордынцев тактику упреждающих полевых заслонов па Оке и рейды в глубь вражеской территории. Необычайно рано и быстро принимаются новинки полевой военной техники общеевропейского класса — щиты-тарчи, шишаки, пушки, ручницы. Переход к строительству многобашенных укреплений сопровождается усилением всей осадной техники. Осознается необходимость широкого строительства каменных укреплений. В отношении приемов и средств крепостной войны татары безнадежно отстают от своих русских данников.
1400—1480 гг. были годами накопления сил и нанесения решающего удара, что завершилось свержением монгольского ига: «И тогда великая наша Русская земля освободися от ярма и покорения бусурманского и начат обновлятися, яко от зимы и на тихую весну прелагатися». Победная «весна» совпала с крутой ломкой традиционной системы вооружения и тактики боя. С созданием единого государства укрепляется принцип поместного комплектования войска и создается полурегулярный общерусский офицерский корпус. Место княжеских дружин и городовых ополчений занимают несущие сезонную службу дети боярские и их слуги. Закат феодально раздробленной Руси сопровождается решительным выдвижением огнестрельного оружия. Его влияние распространяется сначала в системе крепостной, а затем и полевой войны. Вместо копейщиков действует сабельная кавалерия, в лице артиллеристов и «огненных стрельцов» создаются новые для средневековья формирования. Начинается освобождение отторгнутых территорий. Небывалое разнообразие военных задач диктуется громадной протяженностью новоорганизованных фронтов, обращенных не только против восточного, но и западного противника. Государство стремится сократить некоторый технический разрыв, возникший между востоком и западом Европы. Строительство пушечной мануфактуры и крепостей, полностью приспособленных к огнестрельному бою, отмечает военный аспект реализации этого плана. Существенные перемены второй половины XV в. в первую очередь охватили все военно-инженерное дело. Что касалось традиционного холодного вооружения, то Московская держава практически без заметных изменений унаследовала копья, рогатины, шлемы, куяки, панцири, щиты, булавы, кистени, шестоперы, сабли, луки и стрелы. Эти средства в течение 50— 200 лет сохраняются на вооружении московского войска и будут употребляться наряду с огнестрельным оружием.
Some modern researchers, such as Oleg Dvurechenskiy (Олег Двуреченский), Klim Zhukov (Клим Жуков) doubt the widespread use of infantry in field battles, so, infantry may be optional.

Link: ... III-XV.pdf

Re: Post Mongol Russian

Posted: Sat May 16, 2020 4:01 pm
by David Kuijt
Thank you, Delphin. That's exactly the sort of thing we need.

I'll look at it again in a week or so when I've finished grading for the semester. I've read through it once, and the material seems to encapsulate two of the main issues that create problems for those making army lists; one positive and one negative. On the positive side, research into arms, armor, and armies outside the Western European sphere has been a major development of the last generation, and it is only recently making its way into English translations. I've been reading articles recently about the arms and armor of Armenia under the Byzantines; research done by local historians in Turkey in the last ten years. This is all very good.

On the other hand, articles that come from a wide variety of sources in countries with authoritarian governments are often biased ("filtered") to give a particular impression, or to suppress or enhance a particular viewpoint. That makes it difficult to sift the grain from the chaff. Reading over your citations there are phrases like "patriotic upsurge of all social groups" and "all-Russian army" and "all-Russian patriotic military ideology" and "pan-European class", "democratic lower classes" and "methods and means of serf war" that are all examples of modern political concepts and phrases being imposed upon Medieval cultures and societies where they are irrelevant at best and misleading at worst. In particular, when an author says "Regarding the methods and means of serf war, the Tatars hopelessly lag behind their Russian tributaries", that does not sound like an historian taking an objective viewpoint -- it sounds like a politician sucking up to a more powerful politician. The Tatars didn't have the culture and population to adopt "serf war" (whatever that is) -- and frankly, neither did the various Russian principalities at the time. And the Golden Horde (in spite of Kulikovo) maintained their position as overlords of the various Russian principalities for another century using their "hopelessly lagged behind" system of mounted horse archery.

Further, there are a number of statements regarding the prevalence and capabilities of the adoption of handguns (gunpowder warfare) that are unrealistic. Modern viewpoints see that trend as an indication of power, wise governance, and military sophistication, and so chauvinistic (national-supporting) writing tends to overestimate the use, and bias the dates of adoption, of gunpowder warfare. That's also going on in the citations you supplied. For example:
  • (in the second half of the 13th-14th centuries) ... spread of guns; objects such as ... guns and handguns
  • (1350-1400) Firearms are mastered in Moscow and other cities, ... Extraordinarily early and quickly, novelties of the field-wide military equipment ... cannons and hand guns.
  • (1400-1480) "decisive advancement of firearms"
Current understanding of the advancement of gunpowder warfare in Italy, Spain, and Western Europe in general is such that I wouldn't use phrases that strongly worded even to talk about Milan (the center of development of military technology in the world at the time, if there was one) much less any Russian principality that was still fortifying its cities with wooden walls and towers (although admittedly very advanced wooden walls and towers). European armies have essentially no use of handgonnes before 1400 -- they are exceptional, rare, heavy, and expensive. As for cannons, they are largely immobile (useless in the field), and have a rate of fire only slightly better than having a group of serfs carry the cannonball by hand all the way to the target. It isn't until 1450 or so that Western European armies have anything gunpowder-wise that is useful for anything but sieges, and Italian Condotta armies are still using ballista (fixed giant crossbows) as field artillery equivalents in the 1430s (battle of Maclodio, 1427) -- showing that gunpowder weapons are still primarily the province of defending or attacking fixed emplacements. Even toward the end of the 15th century, as handgonnes (huge unwieldy things with difficult reload and pathetic rate of fire) start to become smaller, easier to handle, and more useful, their use in the field is still restricted to skirmishers, and the skirmishers are as likely to have crossbows as they are handguns. So the idea that any Russian principality had widespread guns and handguns in the 14th century; had mastered firearms in 1350-1400; were using cannons and handguns in large numbers 1350-1400 -- all seem very unlikely. Which doesn't mean impossible, but it does mean I'd like to see strong support (evidence) for that idea.

I'd really like to thank you for bringing this to my attention. If you find a complete English translation, I'd really appreciate it. If not, could you look for any evidence of the meat of the matter (as far as army-list construction is concerned) -- evidence against the use of the bow by mounted cavalry, or evidence of its prevalence, and any dates of transition (change).

Re: Post Mongol Russian

Posted: Sun May 17, 2020 4:55 pm
by Delphin
I understand your suspicions of bias, but I want to pay attention to the next moment. In Soviet literature, especially historical literature, an ideology must have been present - otherwise the work would not have been published. However, it often came down to the presence of “ritual phrases” and did not touch upon the actual material. Kirpichnikov is still considered a recognized researcher. You can find links to his work outside of Russian science, for example, in The Oxford Encyclopedia of Medieval Warfare and Military technology.

From the more recent I can recommend the work of O. Dvurechensky - an archaeologist who found the place of the Battle of Kulikovo.

The assumption of lance-charging tactics of warfare in the 13-14 centuries is based mainly on two facts taken from archeology:
1) Widespread heavy armor
2) Long wheeled spurs, developing simultaneously with Western European

I will explain. For the 13-14th centuries, armor assembled from individual plates (lammelar, kuyak, which are similar to brigandine) is characteristic. Even the modern Russian word “доспех”, which means armor, was originally used to designate that type of armor. Also, deep helmets with visors or masks (called "lichina" личина in Russian) were widely used at that time.

At the end of the 15th century, they were replaced by chain mail, padded armor and sometimes plated chainmail armor. Lighter helmets began to prevail and face protection, except for the nasal plate, disappeared.

Long spurs, according to experts, mean a deep saddle seat, important for the usage of the lance. Again, in later periods, the spurs almost disappear, and the saddles are placed high, allowing for effective firing.

The exact dating of the transition from the “western” to the “eastern” battle model, as well as its reasons, are still considered debatable. However, all the researchers I know agree that it happened somewhere during the 15th century. As a reference point, you can take the year 1480 - the date of The Great Stand on the Ugra River, since it completed the period of Mongolian citizenship of Russia.

Unfortunately, it’s hard for me to find any English-language sources :( You can try reading Russian-language using google translate. Its translation is quite correct, with the exception of some specific terms.

Re: Post Mongol Russian

Posted: Mon May 18, 2020 7:15 am
by Andreas Johansson
Not the most academic of sources, but in English; Gorelik's Montvert Warriors of Eurasia says that Russian equipment didn't absorb much Mongol influence in the 14th century.

Re: Post Mongol Russian

Posted: Mon May 18, 2020 12:15 pm
by David Kuijt
Sounds good, gentlemen. I'll take a look at this after the semester ends.