Battle of Gaugamela Part 1
After the defeat at the Battle of Essus in 333 BCE , half of the Iranian Empire was taken away. Alexander the Greek occupied present day Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine and Egypt . But the Iranian Achaemenid Empire still existed from Iraq to Balochistan. His emperor, Darius III, was sitting in Babylon preparing to fight Alexander. He had summoned troops from every corner of the empire. Even elephants and cavalry had arrived from India and Afghanistan.
The emperor also offered peace to Alexander the Great several times, but Alexander rejected each offer. In 331 BCE, Alexander the Great entered Iraq with his army through Syria. The Iranian emperor also came to know about this advance. He also advanced with his army. By the end of September, both armies had crossed the Tigris River near the present-day Iraqi city of Erbil. The Greek army numbered forty-seven thousand.
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While the number of Iranian army was from 53 thousand to 100,000. Both Darius the Iranian and Alexander the Greek knew that this was a decisive battle. The loser will have neither kingdom nor life. Therefore, both of them threw their full strength and all their war experience into this fight. The Iranian emperor learned many lessons from his defeat at the Battle of Isis. He realized that he had made some mistakes in the choice of the battlefield and the formation of the army.
They had decided that this time they would make no mistake but defeat the enemy on the battlefield of their choice with the weapons of their choice. How successful was this strategy? I’m Faisal Waraich and in the second episode of Generals and Battles series season three of Dekho Sano Jano we will show you all this on October 1, 331 BCE Iranian and Greek armies face off in the Goga Mela field near Erbil. She was standing. This battlefield was chosen by the Iranian emperor. It was an open field with small hills far to the left and right.
The few trees that were in this field were uprooted by the Iranians and the mounds were razed to the ground. Now their cavalry could advance here without hindrance. The second thing that the Iranian emperor did was to deploy cavalry troops everywhere in his right, left and center. The left-wing cavalry came from the Afghan region of Bactria, commanded by the Iranian governor of Basis. Iranian infantry was stationed behind the cavalry in the middle.
Fifteen Indian elephants were standing in front of these horsemen. Next to these elephants was a powerful and very special weapon of the Iranian emperor. This weapon was specially introduced to defeat the Greeks with long spears. The name of this weapon was Rath, which means horse-carriage. Iranian chariots were usually drawn by two or four horses. Archers and spear-carrying soldiers were posted on these chariots.
The wheels of the chariots were fitted with sharp blades on both sides which made it a formidable weapon. On the occasion of battle, these chariots would penetrate the ranks of the enemy, while the long blades on either side would tear through the ranks of the enemy. In this way, the attack of the chariot would create huge gaps in the ranks of the enemy, into which the cavalry or infantry could easily enter and wipe out the enemy.
The Iranians had two hundred such chariots and they trusted the Iranian emperor that these chariots would destroy the enemy’s shields. Thousands of reserve Iranians were also stationed at a considerable distance behind the emperor. So, friends, the Iranians had complete superiority over the Greek army in all three aspects of numbers, weapons and battlefield. that the battlefield and the weapons were all of their choice, their means, and you already know from the beginning that Alexander the Great’s army was less than theirs.
Will have to. So he decided to follow his every move with great skill like a ruthless commander. Like the Battle of Isis, the main point of their strategy was to somehow surround Emperor Darius III. If they were captured or killed, the Iranian army would flee as it had before in the battle of Isis. Against the Iranians, Alexander aligned his army by deploying cavalry on the left wing of his army. But instead of lining them up in a bow like you see on the map.
On the right side of this command, the infantry were stationed in the center of the army. The cavalry on the right flank along the center were also lined up in a bow formation. This right flank force was led by Alexander the Greek himself. Overall, the alignment was like a long iron rod with the ends curved inwards. Seven thousand soldiers were placed in reserve behind the center Greek infantry. When the alignment was complete, Alexander the Great made the first move according to his plan.
He stood in front of the enemy’s Afghan cavalry with his right wing cavalry and some foot soldiers. They started moving quickly to their right side as if they were going far away from their army. Bessus, the commander of the Afghans, saw this situation and thought that Iskandar Azam wanted to attack his army from the rear by making a long detour. So he also started advancing his army parallel to the Greek army on the same side.
This was the plan of Alexander the Great. One wing of the Iranian army was cut off from his army and a gap was created in the middle through which Alexander’s army could attack the Iranian emperor at any time. When Alexander the Great and a part of the Iranian army had gone far in the battlefield , then the Iranian emperor also made his move.
They advanced their most dangerous weapon i.e. chariots. Two hundred chariots, running in separate lines at some distance, advanced towards the infantry of the Greek army. It seemed that they would penetrate the ranks of the Greeks and destroy their army. But as they approached, the Greek forces made a surprise move that they had obviously planned in advance. That is, the chariots themselves started to be given way.