Passing the Disadvantageous Terrain and Containing Towns by Towns: Mongolian Strategy to Break Through Song’s Mountainous Defense System



After Mongolian troops entered Sichuan Area in the Ogedei Period, although they caused serious damages to the areas of Chongqing-Sichuan in the years 1236-1241, they could not reach a substantial occupation of Sichuan due to the fault of simplex attacking-and-raiding strategy.  In such a case, Southern Song troops were able to apply the policy of consolidating Sichuan.Song troops in Sichuan led by Yu Jie gradually regained lost territories and constructed a mountainous town defense system (MTDS) centering on Chonqing which has advantageous terrain of mountains. In the Mongka Period, in view of faults of military tactics in the Ogedei Period, Mianzhou Town and Lizhou Town were restored successively outside Sichuan to facilitate access to Sichuan from the north.  In the years from 1258 to 1259, while the main force of Mongolian troops led by Mongka was attacking Sichuan, some soldiers were quartered to guard the occupied Song towns. Although the death of Mengge made the Song-Mongolia War come to an end temporarily, the Mongolian troops still substantially occupied certain areas of Sichuan in the Mongka Period.  To the Kublai Period, on the one hand, civil strives broke out due to the fight for the title of Khan; on the other hand, strategic focus of attacking was transferred to the area of Lianghuai after the civil strives were put down. Under this circumstance, in order to contain the Song troops with partial force, the Mongolia troops in Sichuan battlefield inherited and developed the tactics of conducting military activities relying on military towns derived from the Mongka Period. Numerous military towns were restored and built against the mountainous defense system and the consolidation of occupied territories from the Mongka Period was thus completed.


Song-Mongolia War; military towns; Sichuan; mountainous towns of the Song troops

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