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Nevertheless, the crucial factor in the fleet’s demise was the Japanese attacks which had forced the Mongol commanders to have their large and unwieldy ships lashed together using chains. It was this defensive measure which proved fatal, come the typhoon.

— Mark Cartwright, “The Mongol Invasions of Japan, 1274 & 1281 CE” (Article), Ancient History Encyclopedia, 02 July 2019.

This is the article that I've been reading but I do not understand the last sentence, especially the “come the typhoon” part.

What does this mean?

marked as duplicate by Andrew, ColleenV Aug 2 at 18:29

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  • @Ali Please can you add a source for the extract? – Bee Jul 9 at 9:55
  • thank you :) source link ancient.eu/article/1415/… – Ali Cemal Özer Jul 9 at 14:03
  • 2
    I answered, but just found a possible duplicate in Is “come September” a kind of inversion? which asks about the same construction. – choster Jul 10 at 18:14
  • As is stated in the article, the context is the Japanese term kamikaze (divine wind) which is based on this (or a similar) historical event. A providential typhoon (another Chinese/Japanese word, 台風, "big wind") destroyed an invading Mongol fleet anchored offshore. – Andrew Jul 17 at 18:47

This is an example of come as a preposition, as many dictionaries classify it, e.g. Collins:

preposition You can use come before a date, time, or event to mean when that date, time, or event arrives. For example, you can say come the spring to mean when the spring arrives.

Come the election on the 20th of May, we will have to decide.
He's going to be up there again come Sunday.

Other dictionaries, including the OED, classify this as a verb usage, but with the same meaning, indicating something occurring by the time some specified date or event takes place.

The same meaning could be maintained by rephrasing as something like

It was this defensive measure which proved fatal when the typhoon came.

It was this defensive measure which proved fatal upon the coming of the typhoon.

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