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The Battle of Gaugamela

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Angele Waldner

on 2 November 2012

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Transcript of The Battle of Gaugamela

By: Angele Waldner Battle of Gauagmela Introduction The Outcome October 1st, 331 BC Alexander the Great

30,000 heavy infantry

10,000 light infantry

7,000 cavalry Macedonians Darius III

4,000 heavy infantry

52,000 light infantry

35,000 cavalry

200 scythed chariots

15 war elephants Persians Location Alexander the Great Darius III VS Well Rested Fatigued Macedonians 5,500
or
12% Persians 40,000
or
44% Strategic Context In his quest to conquer the Persian Empire, Alexander the Great defeats Darius III in battle twice, at the River Granicus and Issus in 334 and 333 BC respectively. Alexander forces Darius to fight another battle, this time on the plain of Gaugamela which is specifically flattened by Darius for effective use of his scythed chariots. The night before battle, Darius keeps his army awake in expectation of a surprise night attack while Alexander gives his army much-needed rest. Not surprisingly, Alexander is able to march his army to the Persian left wing at dawn before Darius can respond. Macedonians
(Alexander the Great)
30,000 heavy infantry
10,000 light infantry
7,000 cavalry Persians
(Darius III)
4,000 heavy infantry
52,000 light infantry
35,000 cavalry
200 scythed chariots
15 war elephants Darius Bessus Mazaeus Parmenio Only now does Alexander receive word that his left wing is in serious danger so he delays the pursuit and turns the Companions around to hit the Persian right wing in its flank. Word of Darius’ flight rapidly spreads through the ranks, causing the Persian forces to flee. Darius’ Indian cavalry fail to free his family and are destroyed by Macedonian infantry reserves. Mazeus renews the attack against the Macedonian left wing which appears to be crumbling while the right wing holds its ground. As this occurs, Alexander’s strike force at his center exploits the wedge between the Persian center and left wing and smashes the forces arrayed directly in front of Darius. Darius panics, takes the reigns from his fatally wounded chariot driver and flees the battlefield, followed by many of his troops at his center who witness this. His last order is to his Indian cavalry to break into the Macedonian camp and rescue his family. With Alexander’s attention diverted to his right, Darius sends his cavalry wings in two massive sweeps against both Macedonian flanks. Alexander must commit infantry reserves to prevent his left wing from breaking while his right wing actually pushes the Persian cavalry back. Both wings break down into stalemate as the Macedonian center advances, led by Alexander himself. Darius uses his archers to soften up the Macedonian phalanx with a rain of arrows and then sends his scythed chariots forward to break it. Alexander’s light infantry screen allow the scythed chariots through to be destroyed by the phalanx which also opens its disciplined ranks to let some through to be destroyed in the rear. At the same time, Darius sends some cavalry from his left wing to hit the Macedonian right; Alexander responds by committing infantry units from his reserve to stiffen this front. Macedonians
(Alexander) Persians
(Darius) Alexander deploys his army in a hollow box to prevent it from being encircled. He places his infantry phalanx in the center, screened by light infantry and flanked by cavalry and light infantry at a 45-degree angle; this is backed by a second infantry line. Alexander’s right wing edges forward and is strengthened by archers and his elite Companion cavalry while his weaker left wing is refused. Darius deploys his massive cavalry forces in a line which overlaps the Macedonian line. Darius places his heavy infantry, archers and scythed chariots at his center, hiding his relatively untrained light infantry levy and war elephants behind the main line. The stars show the position of each commander.
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