How good was Alexander the Great as a general?

Sep 2017
119
Pennsylvania
#41
In no particular order

Alexander was the head of the army but it was Philip's generals who trained the men, maintained discipline, determined battle plans, and executed them. At the start of the campaign Alexander played very little part in determining battle tactics; he simply agreed with what Philip's far more experienced generals suggested. As time went on he took a greater role.
I agree.

Who trained the "Companions?" Philip and the Old Guard.

Who devised the Macedonian Phalanx? Philip and the Old Guard.

Who trained Alexander? Philip and the Old Guard.

Who made sure that the newly modernized Macedonian military survived to become seasoned veterans? Philip and the Old Guard.

Who devised the battle plans for the reclamation of the Ionian Cities? Philip and the Old Guard.

Who organized and effected the mobilization of half the army to Persia to reclaim the Ionian Cities? Parmenion and the Old Guard.

Alexander had a general staff, his Companions. He was the general.

Alexander conquered the Middle East and Egypt, no other Western power has come close to that achievement. He even made them his willing allies, something that neither the British Empire at its height, nor the USA with all its wealth could do.
Arguing that Alexander conquered the Middle East is somewhat valid. He certainly stole everything that wasn't nailed down and killed anyone who contested his right to do so.

Arguing that he made the Middle East his "willing allies" is a pretty big reach. There was certainly a split between groups who realized "taxes paid is equal to freedom so who cares if they go to Darius or Alexander" and "I'm not paying taxes to a thieving conquistador." Alexander faced multiple rebellions, which undermines the argument that he left a bunch of willing allies in his wake.

In any event as soon as Alexander died the Diadochi carved up his territory and established their own dynasties along pre-existing culturally cohesive lines, so whatever willingness to follow Alexander was probably informed by a desire to advance at the expense of neighbors in my own opinion.

The Diadochi were generals of Alexanders own age, and his Companions. The older Parmenion was the exception, and a major reason Philip was initially successful. While Parmenion was instrumental in some of Alexanders early successes, especially in holding the left flank at Issus, after his assassination, Alexanders victories still continued.
It would be equally valid to say that "after Alexander's untimely death the Diadochi's victories still continued."

Or that "prior to Alexander's premature ascension to the Hegemony the victories of the Old Guard built a throne to rule it from..."
 

macon

Ad Honorem
Aug 2015
4,019
Slovenia, EU
#42
Pre

Precisely the answer I was looking for. Thank you.
However, dont you think that Alexander's 3 victories against the Persians were all won usong the same tactic i.e. engaging the enemy with his infantry and then just charging at the weak section of the Persian line with his cavalry. Didnt Napoleon advise against teaching your enemy all your art of war the way Alexander did?
All three battles were having different terrains and especially Persian setups but you are somehow right, he was always flanking and nailing Persians with companions. What makes him greater are other battles out of the book: sieges as Tyre, routing of nomads and Indian battle, all very different in their nature and full of Alexander's battlefield creativity.
 
Sep 2016
1,215
Georgia
#43
Who trained the "Companions?" Philip and the Old Guard.

Who devised the Macedonian Phalanx? Philip and the Old Guard.

Who trained Alexander? Philip and the Old Guard.

Who made sure that the newly modernized Macedonian military survived to become seasoned veterans? Philip and the Old Guard.

Who devised the battle plans for the reclamation of the Ionian Cities? Philip and the Old Guard.

Who organized and effected the mobilization of half the army to Persia to reclaim the Ionian Cities? Parmenion and the Old Guard.
What plan are you talking about ? Philip sent 10 000 force to Minor Asia, before he got killed. Head of that force was Pamenion. Macedonian started to gain ground in Minor Asia, taking few cities. They were there to prepare the ground for main invasion. However, Parmenion was also defeated and pushed back by Memnon. Only handful of points at the coast were left in their hands.

While at that time, Alexander had to deal with problems at home. After that, Alexander organized new invasion. Invasion happened 2 years after Alexander's ascension to the throne.

Parmenion and Antipater advised Alexander to not proceed with invasion, by the way. They told him to wait for some time, have wife ad some kids at first.

Army of Alexander also wasn't jut Macedonian army. It was Coalition forces. Alexander had Thessalians, Thracians, Illyrians, Cretan archers and mainland Greek allies. Even though, backbone were Macedonian forces. Later, Alexander added mercenaries as well. Mercenary forces play prominent role in Battle of Gaugamela, for example. After that, Alexander started incorporating eastern contingents into his army. He even had horse archers by the time of Indian campaign. Alexander used horse archers successfully at Hydaspes, for example. Many historians also believe, that Alexander re equipped Prodromoi. They were usually equipped with javelins. However, during Persian campaign the Prodromoi are sometimes referred to as sarissophoroi, "pikemen" or "lancers", which leads to the conclusion of many experts, that they got armed with an uncommonly long xyston.

Philip himself was educated an influenced by Epaminondas and Thebes, while he was there as a captive. You can also see in Alexander's battles various things that Epaminondas tried. Epaminondas mixed his cavalry with infantry during Battle of Mantinea. Using that, he was ale to rout cavalry of his enemy. Alexander mixed cavalry with infantry units during Gaugamela as well.

Parmenion also wanted to attack Persian fleet during Siege of Miletus. He advised Alexander to attack Persian fleet with their inferior Greek one, but king refused. Parmenion didn't want to continue campaign after Tyre and Gaza.

The throne built for Alexander was not solid either. As soon as Philip died, Greeks started preparing to gain their independence. Tribes in Illyria and Thracia were also happy with his death. Alexander had to act quickly and went to Greece with his army. He solidified Macedonian positions there. After that, he had to deal with problems in Thracia and Illyria. However, crisis again started in Greece while he was waging war on other front. Alexander had to deal with it and tried to install fear by destroying Thebes. Let's also not forget that Attalus planned to overthrow Alexander from the throne. Alexander and Olympias killed some other relatives as well.

However, there was still danger of Greece rebelling while King of Macedon was in Asia. That danger was real when Persian fleet started their operations in Aegean sea. King Agis III of Sparta went to war with Macedon and had battle against them in 331 BC. Antipater dealt with it, by defeating Agis at Megalopolis.

During conquest of Asia, he faced several rebellions as well. Even after returning from India, Alexander had to execute several Satraps. Some of them even assembled their own armies. Harpalus ( Alexander's friend ) also had to run for his life, since he abused his position.

Not to mention all the problems, conflicts, conspiracies and mutinies that occurred amongst Macedonians.
 
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Likes: macon
Sep 2016
1,215
Georgia
#44
However, dont you think that Alexander's 3 victories against the Persians were all won usong the same tactic i.e. engaging the enemy with his infantry and then just charging at the weak section of the Persian line with his cavalry. Didnt Napoleon advise against teaching your enemy all your art of war the way Alexander did?
There were still some differences between those battles. At Granicus he first engaged with his cavalry. Actually, Alexander sent ahead sort of a vanguard. Arrian writes :
For the Persians were waiting till the Macedonians should step into the water, with the intention of attacking them as they emerged. Alexander leaped upon his steed, ordering those about him to follow, and exhorting them to show themselves valiant men. He then commanded Amyntas, son of Arrhabaeus, to make the first rush into the river at the head of the skirmishing cavalry, the Paeonians, and one regiment of infantry; and in front of these he had placed Ptolemy, son of Philip, in command of the squadron of Socrates, which body of men indeed on that day happened to have the lead of all the cavalry force. He himself led the right wing with sounding of trumpets, and the men raising the war-cry to Enyalius. He entered the ford, keeping his line always extended obliquely in the direction in which the stream flowed, in order that the Persians might not fall upon him on the flank as he was emerging from the water.
The Persians began the contest by hurling missiles from above in the direction where the men of Amyntas and Socrates were the first to reach the bank; some of them casting javelins into the river from their commanding position on the bank, and others stepping down along the flatter parts of it to the very edge of the water. Then ensued a violent struggle on the part of the cavalry, on the one side to emerge from the river, and on the other to prevent the landing. Prom the Persians there was a terrible discharge of darts; but the Macedonians fought with spears. The Macedonians, being far inferior in number, suffered severely at the first onset, because they were obliged to defend themselves in the river, where their footing was unsteady, and where they were below the level of their assailants; whereas the Persians were fighting from the top of the bank, which gave them an advantage, especially as the best of the Persian horse had been posted there. Memnon himself, as well as his sons, were running every risk with these; and the Macedonians who first came into conflict with the Persians, though they showed great valour, were cut down, except those who retreated to Alexander, who was now approaching. For the king was already near, leading with him the right wing. He made his first assault upon the Persians at the place where the whole mass of their horse and the leaders themselves were posted; and around him a desperate conflict raged, during which one rank of the Macedonians after another easily kept on crossing the river.
Alexander used his skirmishing cavalry and infantry to protect himself from massive missile attacks of Persian forces, that would start as soon as he approached them. Thanks to that, he was able to make his assault.

Battle of Gaugamela posed challenge that was different to all others that he previously faced. It some major differences to Battle of Issus and Alexander had to adapt. Main one was terrain. At Issus, flanks of Alexander were protected by natural obstacles. But it was open plain at Gaugamela. Darius had superior numbers, most importantly in cavalry. He would be outflanked, no matter what. Alexander knew that. Well, Alexander came up with battle disposition that would be able to counter it.
He also posted a second array, so that his phalanx might be a double one. Directions had been given to the commanders of these men posted in reserve, to wheel round and receive the attack of the foreigners, if they should see their own comrades surrounded by the Persian army. Next to the royal squadron on the right wing, half of the Agrianians, under the command of Attalus, in conjunction with the Macedonian archers under Briso's command, were posted angular-wise (i.e. in such a way that the wings were thrown forward at an angle with the centre, so as to take the enemy in flank) in case they should be seized anyhow by the necessity of folding back the phalanx or of closing it up (i.e. of deepening it by countermarching from front to rear). Next to the archers were the men called the veteran mercenaries, whose commander was Cleander. In front of the Agrianians and archers were posted the light cavalry used for skirmishing, and the Paeonians, under the command of Aretes and Aristo. In front of all had been posted the Grecian mercenary cavalry under the direction of Menidas; and in front of the royal squadron of cavalry and the other Companions had been posted half of the Agrianians and archers, and the javelin-men of Balacrus who had been ranged opposite the scythe-bearing chariots. Instructions had been given to Menidas and the troops under him to wheel round and attack the enemy in flank, if they should ride round their wing. Thus had Alexander arranged matters on the right wing. On the left the Thracians under the command of Sitalces had been posted angular-wise, and near them the cavalry of the Grecian allies, under the direction of Coeranus. Next stood the Odrysian cavalry, under the command of Agatho, son of Tyrimmas. In this part, in front of all, were posted the auxiliary cavalry of the Grecian mercenaries, under the direction of Andromachus, son of Hiero. Near the baggage the infantry from Thrace were posted as a guard.
During the battle, Alexander was waiting for the right moment to strike with his Companions. To contain Persian attempts at outflanking him, Alexander used units of his right-flank guard. He also sent them one by one, reinforcing the fighting with new reserves. While at the same time not engaging in the fighting himself.
Then Darius, fearing that his chariots would become useless, if the Macedonians advanced into uneven ground, ordered the front ranks of his left wing to ride round the right wing of the Macedonians, where Alexander was commanding, to prevent him from marching his wing any further. This being done, Alexander ordered the cavalry of the Grecian mercenaries under the command of Menidas to attack them. But the Scythian cavalry and the Bactrians, who had been drawn up with them sallied forth against them, and being much more numerous they put the small body of Greeks to rout. Alexander then ordered Aristo at the head of the Paeonians and Grecian auxiliaries to attack the Scythians; and the barbarians gave way. But the rest of the Bactrians drawing near to the Paeonians and Grecian auxiliaries, caused their own comrades who were already in flight to turn and renew the battle; and thus they brought about a general cavalry engagement, in which many of Alexander's men fell, not only being overwhelmed by the multitude of the barbarians, but also because the Scythians themselves and their horses were much more completely protected with armour for guarding their bodies. Notwithstanding this, the Macedonians sustained their assaults, and assailing them violently squadron by squadron, they succeeded in pushing them out of rank. Meantime the foreigners launched their scythe-bearing chariots against Alexander himself, for the purpose of throwing his phalanx into confusion; but in this they were grievously deceived. For as soon as some of them approached, the Agrianians and the javelin-men with Balacrus, who had been posted in front of the Companion cavalry, hurled their javelins at them; others they seized by the reins and pulled the drivers off, and standing round the horses killed them. Yet some rolled right through the ranks; for the men stood apart and opened their ranks, as they had been instructed, in the places where the chariots assaulted them. In this way it generally happened that the chariots passed through safely, and the men by whom they were driven were uninjured. But these also were afterwards overpowered by the grooms of Alexander's army and by the royal shield-bearing guards.
Macedonians also neutralized scythed chariots as you can see.
As soon as Darius began to set his whole phalanx in motion, Alexander ordered Aretes to attack those who were riding completely round his right wing; and up to that time he was himself leading his men in column. But when the Persians had made a break in the front line of their army, in consequence of the cavalry sallying forth to assist those who were surrounding the right wing, Alexander wheeled round towards the gap, and forming a wedge as it were of the Companion cavalry and of the part of the phalanx which was posted here, he led them with a quick charge and loud battle-cry straight towards Darius himself.
There are a lot of different engagements, where Alexander used various tactics. For example, during Thracian campaign, against Scythians, in Indian campaign and at Hydaspes.
 
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Sep 2016
1,215
Georgia
#45
Continuing my previous post, here some of his engagements in Thracia :
He ordered the archers and slingers to run forward and discharge arrows and stones at the barbarians, hoping to provoke them by this to come out of the woody glen into the ground unencumbered with trees. When they were within reach of the missiles, and were struck by them, they rushed out against the archers, who were undefended by shields, with the purpose of fighting them hand-tohand. But when Alexander had drawn them thus out of the woody glen, he ordered Philotas to take the cavalry which came from upper Macedonia, and to charge their right wing, where they had advanced furthest in their sally. He also commanded Heraclides and Sopolis to lead on the cavalry which came from Bottiaea and Amphipolis against the left wing; while he himself extended the phalanx of infantry and the rest of the horse in front of the phalanx and led them against the enemy's centre. And indeed as long as there was only skirmishing on both sides, the Triballians did not get the worst of it; but as soon as the phalanx in dense array attacked them with vigour, and the cavalry fell upon them in various quarters, no longer merely striking them with the javelin, bat pushing them with their very horses, then at length they turned and fled through the woody glen to the river.
They crossed over by night to a spot where the corn stood high; and in this way they reached the bank more secretly. At the approach of dawn Alexander led his men through the field of standing corn, ordering the infantry to lean upon the corn with their pikes held transversely, and thus to advance into the untilled ground. As long as the phalanx was advancing through the standing corn, the cavalry followed; but when they marched out of the tilled land, Alexander himself led the horse round to the right wing, and commanded Nicanor to lead the phalanx in a square. The Getae did not even sustain the first charge of the cavalry; for Alexander's audacity seemed incredible to them, in having thus easily crossed the Ister, the largest of rivers, in a single night, withoat throwing a bridge over the stream. Terrible to them also was the closely-looked order of the phalanx, and violent the charge of the cavalry. At first they fled for refuge into their city, which was distant about a parasang from the Ister; but when they saw that Alexander was leading his phalanx carefully along the river, to prevent his infantry being anywhere surrounded by the Getae lying in ambush; whereas he was leading his cavalry straight on, they again abandoned the city, because it was badly fortified. They carried off as many of their women and children as their horses could carry, and betook themselves into the steppes, in a direction which led as far as possible from the river. Alexander took the city and all the booty which the Getae left behind.
But Clitus and Glaucias still imagined that they had caught Alexander in a disadvantageous position; for they were occupying the mountains, which commanded the plain by their height, with a large body of cavalry, javelin-throwers, and slingers, besides a considerable number of heavy armed infantry. Moreover, the men who had been beleaguered in the city were expected to pursue the Macedonians closely if they made a retreat. The ground also through which Alexander had to march was evidently narrow and covered with wood; on one side it was hemmed in by a river, and on the other there was a very lofty and craggy mountain, so that there would not be room for the army to pass, even if only four shieldbearers marched abreast.
Then Alexander drew up his army in such a way that the depth of the phalanx was 120 men; and stationing 200 cavalry on each wing, he ordered them to preserve silence, in order to receive the word of command quickly. Accordingly he gave the signal to the heavy-armed infantry in the first place to hold their spears erect, and then to couch them at the concerted sign; at one time to incline their spears to the right, closely locked together, and at another time towards the left. He then set the phalanx itself into quick motion forward, and marched it towards the wings, now to the right, and then to the left. After thus arranging and re-arranging his army many times very rapidly, he at last formed his phalanx into a sort of wedge, and led it towards the left against the enemy, who had long been in a state of amazement at seeing both the order and the rapidity of his evolutions. Consequently they did not sustain Alexander's attack, but quitted the first ridges of the mountain. Upon this, Alexander ordered the Macedonians to raise the battle cry and make a clatter with their spears upon their shields; and the Taulantians, being still more alarmed at the noise, led their army back to the city with all speed.
Here is how Arrian describes the battle against Scythians at Jaxartes :
When the skins had been prepared for the passage, and the army, fully equipped, had been posted near the river, the military engines, at the signal preconcerted, began to shoot at the Scythians riding along the river's bank. Some of them were wounded by the missiles, and one was struck right through the wicker-shield and breastplate and fell from his horse. The others, being alarmed at the discharge of missiles from so great a distance, and at the death of their champion, retreated a little from the bank. But Alexander, seeing them thrown into confusion by the effect of his missiles, began to cross the river with trumpets sounding, himself leading the way; and the rest of the army followed him. Having firgt got the archers and slingers across, he ordered them to sling and shoot at the Scythians, to prevent them approaching the phalanx of infantry stepping out of the water, until all his cavalry had passed over. When they were upon the bank in dense mass, he first of all launched against the Scythians one regiment of the Grecian auxiliary cavalry and four squadrons of pike-men. These the Scythians received, a;nd in great numbers riding round them in circles, wounded them, as they were few in number, themselves escaping with ease. But Alexander mixed the archers, the Agrianians, and other light troops under the command of Balacrus, with the cavalry, and then led them against the enemy. As soon as they came to close quarters, he ordered three regiments of the cavalry Companions and all the horse-lancers to charge them. The rest of the cavalry he himself led, and made a rapid attack with his squadrons in column. Accordingly the enemy were no longer able as before to wheel their cavalry force round in circles, for at one and the same time the cavalry and the light-armed infantry mixed with the horsemen pressed upon them, and did not permit them to wheel about in safety. Then the flight of the Scythians was already apparent. 1,000 of them fell, including Satraces, one of their chiefs; and 150 were captured
 
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Sep 2016
1,215
Georgia
#46
Here is how Alexander planned his campaign against Mallians and surprised them :
He himself made an inroad into the territories of the barbarians who would not yield to him, and after preventing them from succouring the Mallians, he again formed a junction with the naval armament. Hephaestion, Craterus, and Philip had already united their forces here. Alexander then transported the elephants, the brigade of Polysperchon, the horse-archersarchers, and Philip with his army, across the river Hydaspes, and instructed Craterus to lead them. He sent Nearchus with the fleet with orders to set sail three days before the army started. He divided the rest of his army into three parts, and ordered Hephaestion to go five days in advance, so that if any should flee before the men under his own command and go rapidly forward they might fall in with Hephaestion's brigade and thus be captured. He also gave a part of the army to Ptolemy, son of Lagus, with orders to follow him after the lapse of three days, so that all those who fled from him and turned, back again might fall in with Ptolemy's brigade. He ordered those in advance to wait, when they arrived at the confluence of the rivers Acesines and Hydraotes, until he himself came up; and he instructed Craterus and Ptolemy also to form a junction with him at the same place.
He then took the shield-bearing guards, the bowmen, the Agrianians, Peithon's brigade of men, who were called foot Companions, all the horse bowmen and half the cavalry Companions, and marched through a tract of country destitute of water against the Mallians, a tribe of the independent Indians. On the first day he encamped near a small piece of water which was about 100 stades distant from the river Acesines. Having dined there and caused his army to rest a short time, he ordered every man to fill whatever vessel he had with water. After travelling the remaining part of that day and all the ensuing night a distance of about 400 stades, he at daybreak reached the city into which many of the Mallians had fled for refuge. Most of them were outside the city and unarmed, supposing that Alexander would never come against them through the waterless country. It was evident that he led his army by this route for this very reason, because it was difficult to lead an army this way, and consequently it appeared incredible to the enemy that he would lead his forces in this direction. He therefore fell upon them unexpectedly, and killed most of them without their even turning to defend themselves, since they were unarmed. He cooped the rest up in the city, and posted his cavalry all round the wall, because the phalanx of infantry had not yet come up with him. He thus made use of his cavalry in place of a stockade. As soon as the infantry arrived, he sent Perdiccas with his own cavalry regiment and that of Clitus, as well as the Agrianians, against another city of the Mallians, whither many of the Indians of that region had fled for refuge. He ordered Perdiccas to blockade the men in the city, but not to commence the action until he himself should arrive, so that none might escape from this city and carry news to the rest of the barbarians that Alexander was already approaching.
 
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Sep 2016
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#47
Battle at the walls of Massaga :
In the first place Alexander led his forces against Massaga, the largest of the cities in that district; and when he was approaching the walls, the barbarians being emboldened by the mercenaries whom they had obtained from the more distant Indians to the number of 7,000, when they saw the Macedonians pitching their camp, advanced against them with a run. Alexander, seeing that the battle was about to be fought near the city, was anxious to draw them further away from their walls, so that if they were put to rout, as he knew they would be, they might not be able easily to preserve themselves by fleeing for refuge into the city close at hand. When therefore he saw the barbarians running out, he ordered the Macedonians to turn round and retreat to a certain hill distant something about seven stades from the place where he had resolved to encamp. The enemy being emboldened, as if the Macedonians had already given way, rushed upon them with a run and with no kind of order. But when the arrows began to reach them, Alexander at once wheeled round at the appointed signal, and led his plalanx against them with a run. His horse-lancers, Agrianians, and archers first ran forward and engaged with the barbarians, while he himself led the phalanx in regular order. The Indians were alarmed at this unexpected manoeuvre, and as soon as the battle became a hand-to-hand conflict, they gave way and fled into the city. About 200 of them were killed, and the rest were shut up within the walls.
Battle of Arigaeum against Aspasians and how Alexander fooled them :
He then advanced to the place where he heard that most of the barbarians of the district had fled for refuge; and coming to a certain mountain, he encamped at the foot of it. Meantime Ptolemy, son of Lagus, being sent out by Alexander on a foraging expedition, and advancing a considerable distance with a few men to reconnoitre, brought back word to the king that he had observed many more fires in the camp of the barbarians than there were in Alexander's. But the latter did not believe in the multitude of the enemy's fires. Discovering, however, that the barbarians of the district had joined their forces into one body, he left a part of his army there near the mountain, encamped as they were, and taking as many men as seemed sufficient, according to the reports he had received, as soon as they could descry the fires near at hand, he divided his army into three parts. Over one part he placed Leonnatus, the confidential body-guard, joining the brigades of Attains and Balacrus with his own; the second division he put under the lead of Ptolemy, son of Lagus, including the third part of the royal shield-bearing guards, the brigades of Philip and Philotas, two regiments of horse-archers, the Agrianians, and half of the cavalry. The third division he himself led towards the place where most of the barbarians were visible.
When the enemy who were occupying the commanding heights perceived the Macedonians approaching, they descended into the plain, being emboldened by their superiority in number and despising the Macedonians, because they were seen to be few. A sharp contest ensued; but Alexander won the victory with ease. Ptolemy's men did not range themselves on the level ground, for the barbarians were occupying a hill. Wherefore Ptolemy, forming his battalions into column, led them to the point where the hill seemed most easily assailable, not surrounding it entirely, but leaving room for the barbarians to flee if they were inclined to do so. A sharp contest also ensued with these men, both from the difficult nature of the ground, and because the Indians are not like the other barbarians of this district. but are far stronger than their neighbours. These men also were driven away from the mountain by the Macedonians. In the same way did Leonnatus with the third division of the army; for his men also defeated those opposed to them.
Battle of Sangala :
Giving his army a rest the next day, he advanced on the third day to Sangala, where the Oathaeans and the other neighbouring tribes had assembled and marshalled themselves in front of the city upon a hill which was not precipitous on all sides. They had posted their waggons all round this hill and were encamping within them in such, a way that they were surrounded by a triple palisade of waggons. When Alexander perceived the great number of the barbarians and the nature of their position, he drew up his forces in the order which seemed to him especially adapted to his present circumstances, and sent his horse-archers at once without any delay against them, ordering them to ride along and shoot at them from a distance; so that the Indians might not be able to make any sortie, before his army was in proper array, and that even before the battle commenced they might be wounded within their stronghold. Upon the right wing he posted the guard of cavalry and the cavalry regiment of Clitus; next to these the shield-bearing guards, and then the Agrianians. Towards the left he had stationed Perdiccas with his own regiment of cavalry, and the battalions of foot Companions. The archers he divided into two parts and placed them on each wing. While he was marshalling his army, the infantry and cavalry of the rear-guard came up. Of these, he divided the cavalry into two parts and led them to the wings, and with the infantry which came up he made the ranks of the phalanx more dense and compact. He then took the cavalry which had been drawn up on the right, and led it towards the waggons on the left wing of the Indians; for here their position seemed to him more easy to assail, and the waggons had not been placed together so densely.
As the Indians did not run out from behind the waggons against the advancing cavalry, but mounted upon them and began to shoot from the top of them, Alexander, perceiving that it was not the work for cavalry, leaped down from his horse, and on foot led the phalanx of infantry against them. The Macedonians without difficulty forced the Indians from the first row of waggons; but then the Indians, taking their stand in front of the second row, more easily repulsed the attack, because they were posted in denser array in a smaller circle. Moreover the Macedonians were attacking them likewise in a confined space, while the Indians were secretly creeping under the front row of waggons, and without regard to discipline were assaulting their enemy through the gaps left between the waggons as each man found a chance. But nevertheless even from these the Indians were forcibly driven by the phalanx of infantry. They no longer made a stand at the third row, but fled as fast as possible into the city and shut themselves up in it.
 
Sep 2016
1,215
Georgia
#48
How Alexander took 5 cities in 2 days :
Meantime the barbarians dwelling near the river seized upon the Macedonian soldiers who were garrisoning their cities and killed them; after which they began to strengthen the cities for their greater security.
When Alexander was informed of this, he gave instructions to the infantry, company by company, to prepare the ladders which were assigned to each company. He then started from the camp and advanced to the nearest city, the name of which was Gaza; for the barbarians of the land were said to have fled for refuge into seven cities. He sent Craterus to the one called Cyropolis, the largest of them all, into which most of the barbarians had gathered. The orders of Craterus were to encamp near the city, to dig a trench round it, to surround it with a stockade, and to fix together the military engines which were required for use, so that the men in this city, having had their attention drawn to his forces, might be unable to render aid to the other cities. As soon as Alexander arrived at Gaza, without any delay he gave the signal to his men to place the ladders against the wall all round and to take it by assault at once, as it was made merely of earth and was not at all high. Simultaneously with the assault of the infantry, his slingers, archers, and javelin-throwers assailed the defenders on the wall, and missiles were hurled from the military engines, so that the wall was quickly cleared of its defenders by the multitude of the missiles. Then the fixing of the ladders against the wall and the mounting of the Macedonians were matters soon effected. They killed all the men, according to Alexander's injunctions; but the women, the children, and the rest of the booty they carried off as plunder. Thence he immediately marched to the city situated next to that one; and this he took in the same way and on the same day, treating the captives in the same manner. Then he marched ao-ainst the third city, and took it on the next day at the first assault. While he was thus occupied by these matters with the infantry, he sent out his cavalry to the two neighbouring cities, with orders to guard the men within them closely, so that when they heard of the capture of the neighbouring cities, and at the same time of his own near approach, they should not betake themselves to flight and render it impossible for him to pursue them. It turned out just as he had conjectured; and his despatch of the cavalry was made just at the nick of time. For when the barbarians who occupied the two cities still uncaptured, saw the smoke rising from the city in front of them which was then on fire, (and some men, escaping even from the midst of the calamity itself, became the reporters of the capture which they had themselves witnessed,) they began to flee in crowds out of the cities as fast as each man could; but falling in with the dense body of cavalry drawn up in array of battle, most of them were cut to pieces.
Having thus captured the five cities and reduced them to slavery in two days, he went to Cyropolis, the largest city in the country. It was fortified with a wall higher than those of the others, as it had been founded by Cyrus. The majority of the barbarians of this district, and at the same time the most warlike of them, had fled for refuge thither, and consequently it was not possible for the Macedonians to capture it so easily at the first assault. Wherefore Alexander brought his military engines up to the wall with the determination of battering it down in this way, and of making assaults wherever breaches might be made in it. When he observed that the channel of the river, which flows through the city when it is swollen by the winter rains, was at that time nearly dry and did not reach up to the wall, and would thus afford his soldiers a passage by which to penetrate into the city, he took the body-guards, the shield-bearing guards, the, archers, and Agrianians, and made his way secretly into the city along the channel, at first with a few men, while the barbarians had turned their attention towards the military engines and those who were assailing them in that quarter. Having from within broken open the gates which were opposite this position, he gave an easy admittance to the rest of his soldiers.
 
Sep 2016
1,215
Georgia
#49
How Alexander divided his army into several expeditionary corps and neutralized Spitamenes :
He therefore crossed the river with a part of his army and entered Sogdiana, leaving Polysperchon, Attalus, Gorgias, and Meleager there among the Bactrians, with instructions to guard the land, to prevent the barbarians of that region from making any revolutionary change, and to reduce those who had already rebelled. He divided the army which he had with him into five parts; the first of which he put under the command of Hephaestion, the second under that of Ptolemy, son of Lagus, the confidential body-guard; over the third he put Perdiccas; Ooenus and Artabazus commanded the fourth brigade for him, while he himself took the fifth division and penetrated into the land towards Maracanda. The others also advanced as each found it practicable, reducing by force some of those who had fled for refuge into the strongholds, and capturing others who surrendered to them on terms of capitulation. When all his forces reached Maracanda, after traversing the greater part of the land of the Sogdianians, he sent Hephaestion away to plant colonies in the cities of Sogdiana. He also sent Coenus and Artabazus into Scythia, because he was informed that Spitamenes had fled for refuge thither; but he himself with the rest of his army traversed Sogdiana and easily reduced all the places still held by the rebels.
Coenus was left with his own brigade and that of Meleager, 400 of the Companion cavalry, and all the horsearchers, besides the Bactrians, Sogdianians and others who were under the command of Amyntas. They were all under strict injunctions to obey Coenus and to winter there in Sogdiana, in order to protect the country and to arrest Spitamenes, if anyhow they might be able to draw him into an ambush, as he was wandering about during the winter. But when Spitamenes saw that every place was occupied by the Macedonians for a garrison, and that there would soon be no way of flight left open to him, he turned round against Coenus and the army with him, thinking that he would be better able to fight in this way. Coming to Bagae, a fortified place in Sogdiana, situated on the confines of the countries of the Sogdianians and the Massagetian Scythians, he easily persuaded 3,000 Scythian horsemen to join him in an invasion of Sogdiana. It is an easy matter to induce these Scythians to engage in one war after another, because they are pinched by poverty, and at the same time have no cities or settled abodes, to give them cause for anxiety about what is most dear to them. When Coenus ascertained that Spitamenes was advancing with his cavalry, he went to meet him with his army. A sharp contest ensued, in which the Macedonians were victorious, so that of the barbarian cavalry over 800 fell in the battle, while Coenus lost 25 horsemen and twelve foot-soldiers. The consequence was, that the Sogdianians who were still left with Spitamenes, as well as most of the Bactrians, deserted him in the flight, and came to Coenus to surrender. The Massagetian Scythians having met with ill-success in the battle, plundered the baggage of the Bactrians and Sogdianians who were serving in the same army as themselves, and then fled into the desert in company with Spitamenes. But when they were informed that Alexander was already on the start to march into the desert, they cut off the head of Spitamenes and sent it to him, with the hope by this deed of diverting him from pursuing them.
 
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