Alexandrius Contra Porus: Battle of the Hydaspses

Discussion in 'Defence & Strategic Issues' started by Rage, Feb 22, 2011.

  1. Rage

    Rage DFI TEAM Stars and Ambassadors

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    After the defeat of Darius III at Guagamela and his subsequent assassination by his own officers near Ecbatana, Alexander declared himself High King of Persia. As High King he had despotic power and slowly developed into a despotic and tyrannical person. He realized that he could not keep such an enormous empire together if he did not have a good relationship with its inhabitants. He started to dress and act more and more like a Persian in the hope of establishing this relationship but the result was that he alienated himself from the Greeks and Macedonians.

    Alexander marched his troops through Parthia in eastern Mesopotamia and, in relatively minor skirmishes, subdued those cities that resisted him. Alexander entered India in 327 BC, encountering some of the toughest fighting of his career in the crossing. None of the Greeks had ever encountered anything to prepare them for India. The terrain , the monsoons, the fierce tribes and clans, all combined with the long years of campaigning had taken some of the heart out of the Macedonians. In the spring of 326 BC, Alexander crossed the river Cofen and entered the region of the Taxila. King Taxiles equipped him with troops in return for aid against his rival, Porus, who ruled the lands between the Hydaspes and the Acesines rivers in India.

    In June 326 BC Alexander fought his last great battle on the left bank of the Hydaspes against Porus, one of the most powerful Indian kings. Porus was powerful both as a man and as a king. He stood at above six feet tall, a widely feared ruler and warrior. He fielded an army that was a match for the Greeks, but Porus army had an additional advantage: war elephants.

    This marked the first real encounter with elephants in battle, and it terrified the Greeks. Worse yet, Alexander met Porus during the monsoon season and faced him across a river in flood. Alexanders army crossed the heavily defended river Hydaspes in dramatic fashion during a violent thunderstorm to meet Poruss forces. Porus set up 200 war elephants, 100 feet apart and in the space between the elephants, but a little behind them, he placed his infantry. The elephants were key because the horses in Alexanders cavalry were afraid of them. Alexander realized that he had to attack some area other than the elephants so he decided to go after the enemys cavalry and ordered his phalanx not to attack until his cavalry had sent Porus army into disarray. The enemys cavalry was surrounded and fled behind the elephants. Alexanders phalanx now advanced and were charged by the elephants which stopped the phalanx in its tracks. Eventually Alexanders light infantry gained the upper hand, as the elephants were stripped of their mahouts or hamstrung by axes. The Greek phalanx in lock shield formation advanced slowly in a solid wall of pikes causing the elephants to stampede the Indian infantry.

    The Indian army broke and routed. Some 80 elephants were captured and many Indians were killed in the pursuit. The battle had raged for eight hours and the Macedonians suffered many casualties themselves, more than in any other campaign. Alexander captured Porus, who had been wounded in the battle, and, like the other rulers he had defeated allowed him to continue governing his territory as his vassal. He even subdued an independent province and granted it to Porus as a gift. In this battle Alexanders horse, Bucephalus, was wounded and died. Alexander had ridden Bucephalus in everyone of his battles in Greece and Asia, so when it died, he was grief stricken and founded a city in India in his horses name.

    Having secured the upper Indus River valley, Alexander began to push into the interior of India where the kingdoms and cities were formidable and appeared to be endless. At last his men refused to go any further and Alexander gave the order to return to Persia.


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    Given:


    - Alexander wins the Battle of the Hydapses, but is confronted by a confederate of <previously, rivalling> Indian kings and is defeated.

    - Porus fought brilliantly, but was outdone by joint tactics of deception and superieur maneuverability. His War elephants, chariots and Infantry stood no chance in the face of crumbling terrain and delayed deployment.

    -What arises, is the importance of two, or even more, degrees of deception. Alexander kept part of his forces on the western bank of the Hydapses, his first degree of deception, but then: not only marched the rest up north, but divided them into two wayward positions, his second degree of deception; and having lost the element of surprise in the travesty of his crossing, spanned out his hordes of Scythian horse archers to deflect the enemy into thinking that he had far more soldiers than he had brought, his third degree of deception. Having performed both, he was able to pincer his enemy into position, regardless of their suspicions, if even they had borne suspicion, the first time around. And when they mobilized, to confront them with an army, far more solid thru reinforcement, at the first engagement.

    - Even more importantly, is Alexander's Trompe de l'oeil, his trick of the eye as Bonaparte called it, where he was able to simultaneously issue orders and engage in the big scene, while maneuvering his own contingent below. His ability to simultaneously perform multiple-tasks is, truly, what distinguished him from other commanders.​


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  3. Rage

    Rage DFI TEAM Stars and Ambassadors

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  4. The Messiah

    The Messiah Bow Before Me! Elite Member

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    I like how "The Great" is added to his name. When western warlord invades and goes on a rampage he is regarded as "the great" while when eastern warlord goes on a rampage in europe is regarded as a murdering barbarian.
     

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