Mongol raid on Meissen

Mongols raid on Kingdom of Bohemia
Part of Mongol Invasion of Europe

Mongol raid on Germany[1]
DateApril 1241[1]
Result Mongols burned most of the city
Mongol Empire Thuringia
Commanders and leaders
Orda Khan[2] Wenceslaus I of Bohemia
Henry Raspe, Landgrave of Thuringia[2]
Units involved
light reconnaissance [2] Infantry
less than a 100[2]
Casualties and losses
no casualties most of the city is burned[2]

Mongols first invasion of Germany located in the Great European Plain, part of the Kingdom of Bohemia and the farthest west they had successfully launched a raid in the Mongol advance of Europe. The united Polish and German Forces were annihilated in the battle of Legnica by a Mongol reconnaissance party led by Orda Khan. Orda Khan was solely responsible for the complete destruction of the Kingdom of Poland, preventing Wenceslaus I of Bohemia from using its army to form a large coalition with Henry II the Pious. Orda Khan spread absolute fear and destruction in Central and Eastern Europe, to further divide and conquer European forces.[3][4][1]


The Mongols had decisively won the battle of Legnica. Almost all of the combined Polish and German forces in Legnica had been annihilated. Wenceslaus I of Bohemia with a standard army of 50,000 strong heads for Legnica to meet with Henry II the Pious. When he heard that the Mongols had won the Battle of Legnica and killed Henry II the Pious, The Mongols raid to his Kingdom in Saxony, Wenceslaus I of Bohemia pull back its forces to make haste against the Mongol raid of his kingdom.[1]


One of the Mongol light reconnaissance had pillage through Meissen, Germany and destroyed most of the town before the army of Wenceslaus I of Bohemia came for its relief. Later it is revealed the attack of Meissen and parts of Bohemia is part of Orda Khan plan to trick Wenceslaus I of Bohemia to avoid facing its large army, and to accomplished his mission to meet with the main Mongol force. The destruction of Meissen had forced Henry Raspe, Landgrave of Thuringia to write a letter to his father-in-law Henry II, Duke of Brabant describing the raid of the Mongols.

"For a cruel and countless horde of people lawless and wild is now invading and taking possessions of the territories adjoining ours and has now roving through many other countries and exterminating their inhabitants extended their incursions as far as the polish territory of these matters we our fully informed by our own messengers as well as by the letters of our own beloved cousin the king of Bohemia and have been called to prepare ourselves with all the haste to proceed to his assistance and the defense of all Christians for we our truly and fully informed by our messengers that this said race of people the tartars is will cruelly and impetuously invade the Bohemian territory about the octaves of Easter and if seasonable assistance is not given to the bohemians an unheard slaughter will take place and as our house adjoining our own is already on fire and as the neighboring country is open to devastation while some countries are now being ravaged we on behalf of the church universal anxiously invoke and beg assistance and advice from God and our neighboring brother princes and as delay as pregnant with danger we beg of you with all possible deligence to take arms and to hasten our aid for the sake of our freedom as well as for that of your own and to use strenuous endeavors to prepare a powerful force by arousing the powerful and brave nobles with people subject to them to hold them ready and prepared until we again send it our messengers to you."[4][5][1][6]


Wenceslaus I of Bohemia was horrified by the raid, sought reinforcements in Thuringia and Saxony that he hid its forces in the mountains of Bohemia paralyzed by fear (A most common reaction to a Mongol threat). By the end of April 1241, Orda Khan entered Moravia and successfully pillaged the wealthy villages of the Kingdom of Bohemia easily without an army on sight. A cunning victory for the Mongols before combining forces with the main Mongol army in Hungary. A large European force are virtually non-existent to deal with a small Mongol attack that depopulated Troppau, Mahrisch-Neustadt, Freudenthal, and among other towns in Moravia to Slovakia.[6]

The main Mongol army won the Battle of Mohi and forced Europe in a vulnerable position. The ravaging of Saxony, Moravia, Bohemia and Mongol offensive in the suburbs around Vienna. Only the death of Ögedei Khan stopped the Mongol advance further west.[1]


  1. Muldoon, James. Travellers, Intellectuals, and the World Beyond Medieval Europe.
  2. Frank Lynn, Genghis Khan: his conquest, his empire, his legacy
  3. Craughwell, Thomas, The Rise and Fall of the Second Largest Empire in History: How Genghis Khan almost conquered the world pp. 270–277
  4. Powell, James M. Crusade and Christendom Annotated Documents in translation from Innocent III to the fall of Acre, 1187–1291 p. 312
  5. Rogers, Clifford. The Oxford Encyclopedia of Medieval Warfare and Military Technology. Vol. 1. Page 30. "Esztergom, Siege of".
  6. Jackson, Peter. The Mongols and the West: 1221–1410.

Further reading

  • Peter F. Sugar, Péter Hanák, Tibor Frank—A History of Hungary
  • Stephen Pow, Lindsay—Deep Ditches and Well-built walls
  • Alexander, Bevin. How wars are won: the 13 rules of war from ancient Greece to the war on terror P/117. Three River Press. ISBN 1-4000-4948-2.
  • Howorth, Henry H. The Mongols Proper and the Kalmuks p.150. Cosimo Classics. ISBN 978-1-60520-133-7.
  • McLynn, Frank. Genghis Khan: His conquest, his Empire, his legacy. Da Capo Press. ISBN 978-0-306-82396-1.
  • Craughwell, Thomas J. The Rise and Fall of the Second Largest Empire in History: How Genghis Khan almost conquered the world. Fair Winds. ISBN 9781616738518.
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