Wednesday, October 23, 2013


This is coolbert:

I am watching only recently on public broadcast television this documentary the topic which is the Khamba people of the high Tibetan plateau.

That Khamba an ancient people living in a manner much as must have been the Mongol during the time of Genghis Khan.

The Khamba nuclear family nomadic pastoralists herding yak and horses and living a rugged and harsh existence at an altitude beyond which normal human life is not possible.

The Khamba subsisting almost entirely on a diet of yak milk, tsampa [a grain mixed with water and pressed into a cake, and during the winter dining almost exclusively on cheese made from yak milk.

It it almost an amazement that the Khamba do not suffer from some sort of terrible diet deficiency.

Those Khamba also having a warrior tradition, light cavalry of some ability carrying and using with skill Mannlicher rifles and swords.

That Khamba one of the last three tribal groups on earth still in a habitual manner carrying swords as part of the daily dress. [those other two groups the Tuareg of the Sahara and the Dayak of Borneo]

The Dalai Lama in 1959 during his forced exodus accompanied by screening forces of Khamba warriors.

That Khamba too needing on a daily basis fuel for warmth [it can snow or sleet any day of the year on the high Tibetan plateau] and cooking [processing the yak milk into cheese].

Fuel as obtained on the treeless and barren high Tibetan plateau from yak dung [plops]. Plops as having to be processed on a daily basis before ready-to-be-burned. A task arduous but absolutely necessary for survival.

Plops when still in the warm and steaming stage, plastic, collected at 3 A.M. each morning.
Processed further by spreading [with the bare hands!] the dung into a fine sheet [the finer the sheet the better].

 Finely spread yak plops then drying  within the period of less than a half day. The intense sunlight at the high altitude and the dryness of the land removing all moisture from the plops, the end product after being broken into small segments with a special rake then burned that same evening in the family hearth.

Again, the Khamba living in much the same manner as I imagine did the Mongol horde of Genghis.

The Mongol too when on the march across the treeless Asiatic steppe land needing a source of fuel.
Fuel not only for warmth and cooking but also I might well imagine to fire the forge of the blacksmith.

That given birth name of Genghis [Temuchin] of course meaning "blacksmith".

That horde when on the march an massive assemblage of persons [warriors, women, children, old people] and animals [horses, sheep, camels, oxen. More than anything else the horde resembling a moving menagerie or livestock exhibition of enormous size!

Much has been made of the movement-to-battle ability of a Mongol tuman. That divisional sized unit [10,000 warriors] able to cross about 100 miles [160 kilometers] per day when riding to battle.

That horde while on the march however a much more slowly moving and ponderous, able to cover only about four to five miles per day. [6 1/2 to 8 kilometers per day]

That rather slow movement of the horde in large measure due to the need to collect and process on a daily basis fuel, the dung plops of the animals?

Dung of the camel most highly prized.

Those beasts of burden carrying the disassemble siege machines of the horde, broken down into segments for easy transport.

Dung of the camel burning with the hottest flame, the least amount of smoke, and leaving the small trace of ash.

I would also have to imagine the forges blacksmiths of the horde kept quite busy. The forge of the smith constantly burning even while on the move, weaponry kept in a high state of repair and horses shod. [the Mongol horde had four to five mounts period warrior. That is nearly a half million or so ponies in a herd. The Mongol pony was shod?]

Much as it was for the horde of Genghis so as it was too for the Third Army of Patton over seven hundred years later!

 Forward movement of a military force on the offensive obviously limited by the need for continual fuel replenishment? As it was for Patton so was it much earlier also for Genghis. Patton thought petrol, Genghis thought dung?

Lieutenants think tactics and general think logistics.


No comments: