I heard the phrase “Unless you are the Mongols” many times watching history documentaries. What made Mongols so special and different?
The Mongols are an exception to almost every rule in their expansion, conquest, and management of their empire largely due to two aspects; the first being that they were originally a nomadic people and the second being the army organization. The Mongols are the only culture in history to successfully conquer Russia during the winter and did so primarily due to the fact that they were used to harsh winters and their army organization meant that their soldiers only needed what they could carry, which meant they could travel far faster and much further than other armies.
The Mongols were also an exception in their army logistics, as most armies of the time needed long and expensive supply lines. These supply lines meant that armies could only move as quickly as their slowest members. The Mongols, conversely, were originally a nomadic tribe and so they had no problems with travelling for months at a time with no need for a supply train.
In general the majority of the exceptions of the Mongols come from the fact that they were originally a nomadic group and so their attitudes and practices were different to those of the settled cultures of Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, which gave them considerable advantages in almost every aspect of warfare and governance.