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Great Battles #1 -jhelum/hydaspes 326bc

Discussion in 'Military History' started by Austerlitz, Oct 24, 2016.

  1. Joe Shearer

    Joe Shearer VETERAN MILITARY STRATEGIST

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    Sir,

    My very personal opinion is that a command at sea is radically different from commands in the Army or the Air Force. There is this complete isolation from all other parallel influences, and that cannot be understood by the other two. At sea, the Captain is supreme; that is rarely so in a battalion, or an AFB. Therefore there are compensating influences and experiences in a naval career that simply cannot be emulated in a military or an air force career, and it is this that gives the Navy the confidence to build flag ranks without quite so much the book learning that the others need as substitutes for experience - a poor substitute.
     
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  2. vstol jockey

    vstol jockey Colonel MILITARY STRATEGIST

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    Sir, I fully agree with you. Mistake of one person onboard a ship can result in death of ship's company and sinking of ship. We all sail together in that tincan and we have no other option but to do our duty as demanded. I topped western naval command as a Midshipman on INS Sindhudurg and also sailed during Brasstacks for 18 days on that ship just outside Karachi as a bait to start the war. We were expandables. Our fresh water supply was conserved and in our toilets we got sea water to clean our back side. Trust me I had to struggle to prevent my balls from getting rusted. Imagine what wud have happened to my married life?
     
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  3. Joe Shearer

    Joe Shearer VETERAN MILITARY STRATEGIST

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    Thank you, @Austerlitz , wherever you're hiding and whatever you might have done to your shoulder to be able to report sick. Your posts created a nano-war and nearly led to the deployment of tactical nuclear weapons; you should feel excited and fulfilled that your industriousness and earnestness have yielded such excellent results.

    Clearly this was not Alexander's greatest success.

    It did not have the amazing cheek of the zig-zag at Gaugamela, forcing the enemy off balance and galloping to defend a threatened flank attack, creating a big gaping hole in the centre, and then turning sharp left and lunging for that opening gap.

    It was not the Issus, where Darius beat Alexander before the battle, with his decisive right hook through the mountains to emerge on the coastline to block Alexander's lines of communications, and where Alexander beat Darius in the battle. A battle marked by a frontal infantry attack, opening a space, followed by a ferocious cavalry charge, both led by Alexander personally, which shattered the centre, allowed the hard pressed Macedonian left wing to be relieved, and led to a rout and subsequent cavalry pursuit of a rabble in retreat, when the greatest slaughter took place. Not as classy as Gaugamela, but good enough for one of the unbeaten, showing his presence of mind on the battlefield, allowing him to punch a hole with the phalanx into the enemy's ranks, and then ripping open the gap with his cavalry.

    It was not the Granicus, probably the hardest fought of the three before Hydaspes, where a cavalry charge on the lightly armoured Persian infantry centre made enough space for the cavalry to pivot left and take in flank the Persian cavalry engaged with his own left wing cavalry. That left space for the phalanx to sweep forward and smash the already staggered Persian centre.

    It was his hardest fought set-piece battle; he had worse, more dangerous encounters in siege warfare, but this was the toughest on level ground. (to be continued).
     
  4. Austerlitz

    Austerlitz Extraordinary Historian THINKER

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    Indeed it was well acknowledged by greek historians as well on this being being most difficult battle.Though at granicus the persian infantry played no role.Only greek mercenaries who were engaged after the persian cavalry had been routed.Anyway i think granicus was the most tactically uninspiring,followed by issus.Gaugamela was the best,followed by jaxartes and third hydaspes.
     
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  5. vstol jockey

    vstol jockey Colonel MILITARY STRATEGIST

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    Alexander did the mistake of forcing Porus army elephants into its Phalanx and Porus committed suicide by leaving the river front exposed by calling in his army to join the battle. Even a small force cud have defended the river front and prevented remainder of Alexander's army from joining the battle. It was this part of Alexander's army which joined the battle around fifth hour which completely altered the ratio of forces in favour of Alexander. Till the fifth hour the ratio between Alexander and Porus was nearly equal with a very marginal plus for Alexander.
     
  6. Joe Shearer

    Joe Shearer VETERAN MILITARY STRATEGIST

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    I never in my life looked at #Jaxartes; always counted A's major battles as four!

    Reading it up was fascinating. How and where did you spot this?
     
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  7. Austerlitz

    Austerlitz Extraordinary Historian THINKER

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    I knew about the outlines of the battle while reading wars of alexander the great - an osprey publishing book.The details of the battle are best given in liddell hart's 'generalship of alexander the great' which written analytically by a famous military theorist is an impressive book.
     
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  8. Joe Shearer

    Joe Shearer VETERAN MILITARY STRATEGIST

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    You realise that it is almost unique in the annals of warfare? There is a record of Darius having handled the Scythians very well during his reign, but very few details. This is the other; unless we count the Lechfeld and Chalons. And those were central Asian horsemen taking on western Europeans in a set piece battle, so not comparable.
     
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  9. Austerlitz

    Austerlitz Extraordinary Historian THINKER

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    Yes it is one of the reasons alexander is held in such regard as a tactician.Darius actually failed to defeat the scythians and their harassment of his supply lines led to his campaign being a costly embarassment by and large.Cyrus was killed it is said by the Massagetae -a scythian tribe under their queen tomyramis.Alexander is said to be the first to defeat the scythians on steppe terrain.Also interesting is the use of catapults as battle artillery so early...Subutai used the same tactic at mohi in 1241 to clear a bridge of defenders using stone throwers against the hungarians.
     
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  10. HELLBENT

    HELLBENT FULL MEMBER

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    Marshal Gregory Zhukov, the legendary Russian commander, said the Macedonians had suffered a catastrophic defeat in India. In the final part of this analysis, fact and fiction are separated.

    After defeating Persia in the year 334 BCE, Alexander of Macedon was irresistibly drawn towards the great Indian landmass. However, the Persians warned him the country was no easy target; that several famous conquerors had fallen at the gates of India.

    The Persians told him how their greatest king, Cyrus, who had conquered much of the civilised world, had been killed in a battle with Indian soldiers exactly two centuries before Alexander.

    And in an earlier antiquity, the Assyrian queen Semiramis, who had crossed the Indus with 400,000 highly trained troops, escaped with just 20 troops, the rest being slaughtered by the Indians.

    In his book, Foreign Influence on Ancient India, Krishna Chandra Sagar says 150 years before Alexander, Indian archers and cavalry formed a significant component of the Persian army and played a key role in subduing Thebes in central Greece.

    Alexander, however, knew no fear. More than anything else, he wanted to invade India. It would prove to be a strategic blunder.

    Zhukov’s take

    “Following Alexander’s failure to gain a position in India and the defeat of his successor Seleucus Nikator, relationships between the Indians and the Greeks and the Romans later, was mainly through trade and diplomacy. Also the Greeks and other ancient peoples did not see themselves as in any way superior, only different.”

    This statement by Russia’s Marshal Gregory Zhukov on the Macedonian invasion of India in 326 BCE is significant because unlike the prejudiced colonial and Western historians, the Greeks and later Romans viewed Indians differently. For instance, Arrian writes in Alexander Anabasis that the Indians were the noblest among all Asians.

    In fact, Arrian and other Greeks say the Indians were relentless in their attacks on the invaders. They say if the people of Punjab and Sindh were fierce, then in the eastern part of India “the men were superior in stature and courage”.

    All this is glossed over by Western historians, in whose view the one victory over king Porus amounted to the “conquest of India”. But the Greeks made no such claim.

    Battle of Hydaspes – Hardest ever

    Greek contemporary writers describe the Battle of Hydaspes (Jhelum) as the hardest fought of all Alexander’s battles. Frank Lee Holt, a professor of ancient history at the University of Houston, writes in his book, Alexander the Great and the Mystery of the Elephant Medallions: “The only reference in Arrian's history to a victory celebration by Alexander's army was after the battle with Porus.”

    Alexander’s army did not indulge in celebrations after the Battle of Gaugamela where they defeated 200,000 Persians. No wild festivities were announced after the Battle of Issus where they defeated a mixed force of Persian cavalry and Greek mercenaries.

    The fact they celebrated after the Battle of Hydaspes suggests they considered themselves extremely lucky to survive after the clash with the Hindu army, with its elephant corps.

    If Porus lost, why reward him?

    According to the Greeks, Alexander was apparently so impressed by Porus he gave back his kingdom plus the territories of king Ambhi of Taxila who had fought alongside the Macedonians.

    This is counterintuitive. Ambhi had become Alexander’s ally on the condition he would be given Porus’ kingdom. So why reward the enemy, whose army had just mauled the Macedonians?

    The only possible answer is at the Battle of Hydaspes, the Macedonians realised they were dealing with an enemy of uncommon valour. Sensing defeat they called for a truce, which Porus accepted. The Indian king struck a bargain – in return for Ambhi’s territories, which would secure his frontiers, Porus would assist the Macedonians in leaving India safely.

    Alexander’s post-Hydaspes charitable behaviour, as per Greek accounts, is uncharacteristic and unlikely. For, in battles before and after, he massacred everyone in the cities he subdued.

    Why pay off a vassal?

    Before the battle, Alexander gave king Ambhi 1000 talents (25,000 kilos) of gold for fighting alongside the Macedonians. The only explanation is Ambhi was driving a hard bargain. He knew the rattled Macedonian army was seeking to quickly exit India. He thought he could use the Macedonians to remove his rival Porus. However, Porus’ decision to offer Alexander combat checkmated those plans.

    Tired of fighting: Lame excuse

    Greek sources say Alexander retreated from India because his soldiers were weary, homesick and close to mutiny. Imagine if German soldiers had told Hitler they were tired of fighting? They would have been summarily shot. In Alexander’s time, the punishment was crucifixion.

    The Macedonian army had a system of rotation where large batches of veteran soldiers were released to return home (with sufficient gold and slaves). In their place, fresh troops eager poured in from Europe.

    If they were weary of constant warring, it is inexplicable why these soldiers chose to fight their way through obstinately hostile Indian territories. The homesick soldiers would have preferred the garrisoned northwestern route they took while coming in. Why would a brilliant commander subject himself and his troops to further violence when all they wanted was a peaceful passage home?

    Clearly, the Macedonians were in a mess and not thinking straight. Not the sign of a victorious army.

    Need for glory

    David J. Lonsdale, a lecturer in Strategic Studies at the University of Hull, writes: “Alexander’s invasion of India and Napoleon’s invasion of Russia in 1812 both appear reckless and unnecessary from a strategic perspective. Therefore, perhaps they can both be explained by the sheer naked ambition of the two commanders.”

    Alexander’s tragedy was he was in a Catch-22 situation. The Macedonians and Greeks welcomed the wealth from the conquered lands, but the man who ensured this flow was persona non grata.

    In Greek eyes a Macedonian was hardly an equal. The Greeks hated Alexander for sacking their cities and enslaving their people. In his own country, he was an outsider for being half-Albanian, from his mother’s side. The common people suspected him of murdering his father.

    So in order to retain the loyalty of his troops, Alexander had to wage constant war while also taking great personal risks in battle. For, he could not be seen as weak, let alone beaten.

    A few years before the Indian campaign, a large part of the Macedonian army was massacred by the Scythians (Hindu Shakas, the Buddha’s clansmen) at Polytimetus, present day Tajikistan. Alexander warned his surviving troops not to discuss the massacre with other soldiers.

    Strabo, the Greek historian wrote: “Generally speaking, the men who have written on the affairs of India were a set of liars…Of this we became the more convinced whilst writing the history of Alexander.”

    source:https://in.rbth.com/blogs/2013/06/03/alexander_vs_porus_beyond_the_fog_of_war_25749
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2017
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  11. vstol jockey

    vstol jockey Colonel MILITARY STRATEGIST

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    There was a thread about this war here and when I wrote something similar, many people thought I was shooting from the hip.
     
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  12. HELLBENT

    HELLBENT FULL MEMBER

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    our history has always been sabotaged by Anglos and the self defeatist indian MoFo historians(sickularist , leftists, Liberals).

    its time we realized it and start telling the truth to the masses at the grass roots levels specially the childrens.

     
  13. Inactive

    Inactive Guest


    What is the truth?

    What you say and use one source, or what majority say and give plenty of sources?

    I would rather take a third view ... ignore
     
  14. HELLBENT

    HELLBENT FULL MEMBER

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    everybody shares the same privilege 'to ignore'

    believe it or leave it ur/every individuals call ,

    i dont see the point of u posting to inform me of ur decision, its wasted on me actually

    cheers
     
  15. Inactive

    Inactive Guest

    It is to underscore that your premise is based on a single source who was thoroughly indoctrinated to debunk the remaining sources.

    Also, history in majority of cases is suspect. I was allowing you the pleasure of posting your views and defending them with more sources/studies.

    As @vstol jockey has pointed out, he has covered these points in an earlier thread. and hence this will be tagged to that thread ....

    hence you have also wasted my time posting this and increased my load
     

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