Military Review

The myth of the inefficiency of war elephants in the Hellenistic era and its origin

You have done so much work that ... take the next step - write about all this in more detail? It's great that you all analyzed and laid out so!

Greetings dear visitors of the site "IN". Immediately and honestly I confess that initially there was not the slightest desire to respond to the "requests of workers", but as it turned out that even on such a respected site as, there is a significant gap in this issue, and I consider myself forced to do so.

I apologize in advance for the fact that part of the article will be a repetition of my comments on the article by the distinguished Vyacheslav Shpakovsky "Weapon India: elephants and ... armor! (Part of 2) ".

I also thank the discussion participant for the nickname abrakadabre, since it was his overall very reasonable, but, unfortunately, comments not supported by the actual material and caused the appearance of this article.

In the majority of battle descriptions where elephants were involved, they showed low efficiency, and this “almost ...” is constantly encountered. The main part of victories is the first collision, when the enemy simply never saw the elephant at all.

Unfortunately for the then military, despite the incredible strength and potential, the elephants did not become super-weapons. And more often, those turned into panic crushed their own ranks than the enemy.

Let's take and count, in how many battles of the Hellenistic era, elephants achieved victory, and in how many "crushed their own ranks." So, in order: 1) the battle of Hydaspus - although the battle of Porom is lost, but it was the elephants who caused the greatest damage to the Macedonian. After the battle, the victorious army began to demand from him to stop the march; 2) The battle of Ipsa is one of the greatest battles of antiquity and a complete triumph of the elephants of Seleucus 3-4) of the battle of Herakleia and Auskul. The role of elephants in the defeat of the Romans themselves, the Roman authors did not hide, rather, on the contrary, emphasized; 5) "Battle of the elephants" - so called because the place where it occurred, remains unknown. It is only known that a large galatian army turned the whole 16 elephants of Antiochus I to flight. With one of their kind, the elephants so terrified the barbarians that they fled in disarray. The chariots and cavalry of the Galatians were overthrown by their own infantry. Then the troops of Antioch went on the offensive and won a complete victory (addition, which was not in the commentary - according to the sources that reached us, the army of Galatians was not numerically inferior to the hordes of Cimbrians and Teutons who invaded at the end of 2. BC. Republic. The consequences of this invasion, I think, are known to everyone in the subject); 6) The battle of Pydna - it was the attack of the elephants on the left flank of the army of Perseus that was the turning point of the battle.

So, in six major battles of antiquity, elephants brought victory to their masters.

I wrote this in the comments. It is possible that there was another big battle in which the elephants played a decisive role - this is the Battle of Couroupedia. There is no coherent narration about this battle, but, given that Seleucus Nikator had the most numerous and well-trained elephant in the ancient world, it is impossible to exclude her participation in the destruction of the "great kingdom" of Lysimachus.

Now we will try to count how many battles the elephants "crushed their own ranks": 1) the battle of Gavgamela / Arbel - the battle of Darius III was lost, but not at all because of the elephants, but because of the low combat capability of his troops in general; 2) the battle of Benevento is the first example when the enemy (the Romans) managed to scare the elephants, and they trod down the ranks of their troops. But since there is no coherent description of this battle, it remains unknown how many of the soldiers of Pyrrhos were crushed by his own elephants; 3) Battle of Rafia - the elephants took part on both sides, they did not achieve much success on either side, but it’s also impossible to say that they crushed their own ranks; 4) Battle of Zama - the second example, when the Romans managed to scare the elephants and they fled from the battlefield. But the infantry of Hannibal continued to attack, and the position of the legions was extremely difficult. Only the blow of the Roman Numidian cavalry to the rear of the troops of Hannibal brought victory to the Romans and Massinissa. So the elephants are clearly to blame for the defeat of Hannibal, but rather he himself; 5) Battle of Magnesia. Now it is difficult to say whether the Romans and the Pergamians managed to scare the elephants, or the drivers themselves drove them to the rear for fear - the fact remains: it was not the elephants who ran first, but the people, but about “crushed by elephants” we can say the following: both Tit Livy and Appian writes that the losses of the royal army amounted to 50 thousand people. But almost as many Romans lost in the Battle of Cannes, in which elephants were NOT used! And such a result is characteristic of the overwhelming majority of the battles of antiquity: the losing side suffered heavy losses during the flight, regardless of whether there were elephants in the army or not. But to assess the effectiveness of war elephants of antiquity, the battle of Magnesia itself is not so important for us as its consequence, namely the Apamey Peace Treaty of 188 BC. er One of the clauses of this treaty forbade the Seleucids to have war elephants! It is significant that in relation to heavily armed cavalry and chariots with braids there were no restrictions! Doesn't this remind you of anything? In 1919, the German point of Versailles was forbidden to have submarines in Germany. The latter seem to regard no one as an ineffective means of armed struggle. Draw your own conclusions. And finally, the third in a row, a battle in which the elephants did not manifest themselves - this is the battle of Tapsa. But this is already the era of civil wars, and it is not necessary to blame only elephants for the defeat of Pompeyans. The general battle of Farsala, for example, they valiantly lost without elephants. The same can be said about the battle of Philippi.

Bottom line: on 6 (+ one question) of the battles of antiquity, in which the elephants achieved success, there are only three, in which they can be conditionally “accused” of “pressing their own ranks”. Only here the number of "crushed" is unknown, but it seems that it is not so great.

So, the situation with the elephants more or less clear. But everything is known in comparison. Therefore, we will try to compare elephantiary with other branches of the ancient forces, since there are few of them. We, a priori, exclude infantry precisely as a branch of service, since it was she 90% of the total number of troops of the Mediterranean and Europe. That is, the outcome of each battle of antiquity can be considered both plus and minus to the infantry, this is depending on the specific battle, nationality and commander. Therefore, we will try to compare the war elephants of antiquity with the ancient cavalry.

Horses in this sense are more obedient and controllable.

I apologize, but I am not a livestock breeder, I honestly admit that this question is incompetent and I don’t even have the moral right to say: who is more obedient and manageable there: horse, donkey, bull, buffalo, goat, ram or rabbit? For me as a loving person history Hellenistic time, more importantly: was the cavalry of antiquity, of course, if not the "god of war", then at least his right hand? Next, analyze the record of the ancient cavalry. Outwardly, he looks very impressive: at least not less than that of elephants: Heronea, Granicke, Iss, Gavgamela / Arbela, Tytsin, Zama. However (let M. Leontiev forgive me for plagiarism), after a careful analysis it turns out that more than half of the victories (if not 3 / 4) of the ancient cavalry are associated with the name of only one person! Namely Alexander the Great / III Argead. It is possible that Alexander really had a gift that is called from God, because, according to ancient legends, only he managed to tame the indomitable Bucephalus and the proud Ajax (by the way, the latter is an elephant).

But further in the ancient history we no longer find such impressive cavalry victories. It’s not clear from the well-known descriptions of Titus Livia of the Battle of Cannes that at the final stage of the battle the horsemen of Hasdrubal / Magarbala fought on horseback or on foot? Therefore, to put unequivocally + cavalry in this battle, I would not.

Next in order: the battle of Zama. Yes, the outcome of the battle decided to strike the rear of the Carthaginian troops of the Roman Numidian cavalry under the command of Massinissa. But in this lies the answer to the question: are elephants or cavalry more effective? It was not a separate branch of the military itself that decided the outcome of that war, but the success of Roman diplomacy, which managed to win the Numidians to their side.

I explain my thought: if (oh, this is a damned “if”!) Numidians fought for Carthage just as they did for themselves, the Romans would not have won (at least, the way it happened, though, to be honest I do not like "alternative").

And finally, we come to the climax of the Hellenistic era - the battles of Rafia and Magnesia. And both of these battles are inextricably linked with the fate of one of the characters of the Hellenistic history - Antiochus the Great. It was not a mediocre person. Of all the Hellenistic dynasties, only he was given the title of Great in his lifetime. That is, contemporaries understood very well why! By the way, Alexander III Argead himself was given the title of Great posthumously. But what Antiochus the Great could not compare with Alexander the Great was in the command of the cavalry. Both under Raffia and Magnesia, he was overly fascinated by the pursuit of enemy detachments opposing him personally, losing control over the general course of the battle. As a result, the enemy crushed the left flank of his troops, and then surrounded and finished off the center.

And it is the course and outcome of the battle at Magnesia that allows me to argue with respectable esteemed abrakadabre: yes, perhaps, individually, a horse and a more obedient and controlled animal than an elephant, but only horses and elephants do not fight among themselves! And people, no matter how you treat them. And, as the experience of antiquity testifies, it turned out to be extremely difficult to command the cavalry units. And the elephant, I apologize to both the abrakadabre and the site administration, but to write that the elephant is smarter than a horse is PERFECTLY EXCESSABLE. This is even the horse itself is understandable! I apologize for such a small digression. The battle of Magnesia was not just one of the battles of the Hellenistic era, it became a disgrace to cavalry. The entire left flank of the tsarist army, which included chariots, armored horsemen, and horsemen on camels, was swept away by someone who did not understand it.

And finally, the battle of Pydna. Alas, but in the description of Titus Libya his part relating to the first phase of the battle was not preserved. But in military matters, Plutarch is so incompetent and chaotic that one should be extremely careful in relying on his testimony. Therefore, the moment remains unknown, when did the valiant Macedonian cavalry take to flight? Whether seeing an attack of elephants on the left flank of the Macedonian army, or even earlier?

And the last battle of the Hellenistic era, in which the cavalry covered itself with indelible shame, was the battle of Tigranokert. In the context of this article, it doesn’t matter how many troops Tigran had: 250 thousand or 80 thousand. What matters is its outcome. And when you read about this battle, for some reason you immediately recall the words from V. S. Vysotsky: "If it is true, well, at least a third, one thing remains - just lie down-die." It does not even matter how many cataphracts the legionnaires of Lucull beat, it is important that only two legions beat a much larger number of cataphracts.

So, the facts tell us that the war elephants of the Hellenistic era cannot be considered ineffective. None of the ancient authors wrote mockingly about elephants. But about cavalry such writings of ancient authors are.

So where was the myth about the inefficiency of war elephants of antiquity born? I answer: in Prussia of the XIX century. Everyone knows that Engels is a classic of Marxism. But the fact that he was an officer of the Prussian cavalry, few remember. And when the American encyclopedia asked him to write a series of articles on military affairs, Mr. Friedrich Engels, naturally, accepted him. But he only wrote his articles the way he wanted, which, incidentally, was also natural. Therefore, he made the “battles of Gaugamelah / Arbelah and Cannes” with the “classics” of ancient warfare. Although what these battles are more “classic” than the battles of Issus, Ipsa, Raffia, Kinoskefalah, Pydna and the same notorious Magnesia, remains incomprehensible. That is, F. Engels has done everything possible in order to maximally promote his kind of troops, and defame all, real and imaginary competitors.

And the second, very well-known German, who made a considerable "contribution" to the creation of the myth of the ineffectiveness of war elephants of antiquity. This is Hans Delbrück. Personality is extremely ambiguous, but I now focus only on issues related to the topic of the article. Even Wikipedia tells us that “Delbrück was more interested in general trends and didn’t always penetrate in particular. The researcher himself was aware of this and recognized it.” Therefore, his conclusion "In no reliable description of the battle, we find nothing substantial, accomplished by elephants, on the contrary, the side that had more elephants at its disposal, suffered in most cases defeat ... There is not a single example where elephants break through the closed front infantry "or obviously evil, or simply ignorant, or both, together.

As was shown above, the elephants performed no less feats than the horsemen. But it's not only that. I suggest grateful readers to focus their attention on the phrase: "There is not a single example where elephants would break through the front of the closed infantry." I apologize for the plagiarism, but a respected discussion participant, nickname Riv, definitely noted: “In fact, no one ever threw elephants onto infantry”. It remains only to guess at the coffee grounds what logic Hans Delbrück was guided by when writing his “pearl”. For according to this very logic, the microscope is absolutely useless, because it is inconvenient for them to hammer in nails, and the hammer is just as useless, because it is unsuitable for studying microorganisms. The tank is absolutely useless, since it cannot carry out underwater attacks, and the submarine is no less useless, because it is not suitable for the occupation of land territories. Funny Well, maybe on 15 minutes you can be like horses and neighing! And then what? And then you still have to "take up your head" and follow in the footsteps of the Roman Senate, in which non-idiots sat. And to prevent the enemy, even if only probable, from having such effective weapons, similar to the war elephants of the Hellenistic era.

PS If the article will be positively received by the audience "IN", I will try to write more articles about the myths about the Macedonian phalanx and the "commander-in-chief art" of Hannibal.
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  1. Glot
    Glot 24 November 2015 06: 51 New
    Good article, good topic. A plus.
    But with regards to two battles.
    1) the battle of Gidasp - although the battle of Pore was lost, it was the elephants who caused the greatest damage to the Macedonian. After the battle, the victorious army began to demand that he end the campaign;

    All the same, not the elephants forced the army of A.M. turn around. Elephants were only part of this decision in my opinion.
    The army was literally exhausted. They went to the "End of the Earth", but the edge was not there and never was. Some of the conquered tribes, kings and peoples were followed by others, others ... After the battle with Por, it became finally clear that this "edge" would not exist, and that the next such battle the army could no longer withstand. But of course the elephants influenced this decision too.
    1. The lead
      The lead 24 November 2015 07: 57 New
      Quote: Glot
      it is finally clear that this "edge" will not exist,
      As far as I know, the Indian Rajas against Alexander formed a coalition and gathered a large army, which, as it turned out, had, unlike the Persian army, a high morale, all of which forced the Macedonians to turn back.
      1. Glot
        Glot 24 November 2015 09: 01 New
        As far as I know, the Indian Rajas against Alexander formed a coalition and gathered a large army, which, as it turned out, had, unlike the Persian army, a high morale, all of which forced the Macedonians to turn back.

        It is clear that they have united but there is a good saying that a donkey loaded with gold will take any fortress. So, coalitions can be destroyed not only by purely army methods. The same Indian kings served the Greco-Macedonians. Not all but served. Pore ​​among them.
        The army was exhausted, on the banks of Lahore they simply refused to go further. They already had neither the strength, nor the desire, nor, most importantly, faith in their king, faith in the fact that he is a god. Ken, one of the military leaders, told him about this that he was not a god, and not a "new Hercules" but just a man.
        And if a little earlier, one could pay for such words with life (like Cleitus near Samarkand), now Alexander himself began to understand that he should not pretend to be a god, and that the army no longer believes him as he did at the beginning of the campaign.
        That was the turning point in my opinion, not the elephants or the coalition actions of the Indians.
        The army exhausted itself, Alexander also exhausted himself, both physically and mentally. Then authority will rise, and especially after death, but until they have reached the Ganges ...
        By the way, a little later, the phalanges of the other Greco-Macedonian king still reach there, to the Ganges. But it will already be a different king, and a different story. )))
        1. The lead
          The lead 24 November 2015 09: 43 New
          There are many non-dockings in this discussion. See:
          Quote: Glot
          a donkey loaded with gold will take any fortress
          It was said, like Alexander, when it was necessary to overcome a well-protected pass. However, to bribe the Indian Raj is a very bold statement, the possibility of splitting the coalition is also very doubtful. That is why the Macedonians turned, and not because they were suddenly tired, why to believe in myths ? Passed all of Persia far and wide and were not tired, but here they suddenly became exhausted laughing No, the reason is that the soldiers, officers and Alexander himself realized that the time of easy victories over the weak spirit of the enemy was over, and we just know how things are like excuses like frost and bad roads.
          1. Glot
            Glot 24 November 2015 10: 31 New
            It was said, like Alexander, when it was necessary to overcome a well-protected pass. However, to bribe the Indian Raj is a very bold statement, the possibility of splitting the coalition is also very doubtful. That is why the Macedonians turned, and not because they were suddenly tired, why to believe in myths ? We went all over Persia, far and wide, and weren’t tired, but here we suddenly got tired laughing No, the reason is that the soldiers, officers and Alexander himself realized that the time of easy victories over the weak spirit of the enemy was over, and excuses like frost and bad roads, we in the know as it happens.

            I don’t know, maybe these words belonged to Alexander, and maybe (even most likely) they didn’t.
            But they did not turn because of a coalition of Indians.
            I repeat, the same Por became an ally. This coalition was not so strong if it had been struck.
            Simply, the army that reached India was already not the same as that which had come out of Macedonia years ago, and that was standing under the Gaugamels. And the king was no longer the same.
            Two years later, in Susa there will be confirmation of this when the army rebels.
            Yes, they passed Persia, passed the Eastern satrapies, and they are tired. They were exhausted, so many were ill. And once again I repeat, their faith in Alexander was greatly shaken. After all that he did, after adopting Asian customs, replacing the Macedonians with local immigrants.
            No, it was not the coalition or the "general heat" who deployed the army.
            1. The lead
              The lead 24 November 2015 11: 59 New
              Quote: Glot
              I repeat, the same Por became an ally.
              Pore ​​suffered a military defeat, so this is not an argument.
              Quote: Glot
              No, not the coalition and not the "general heat" deployed the army
              Ok, I expressed my point of view, you are yours.
      2. The lead
        The lead 24 November 2015 09: 11 New
        The issue of the effectiveness of fighting elephants in the ancient era is largely similar to the debate about the effectiveness of tanks at the present time. A fighting elephant is a means of warfare with its own strengths and weaknesses, so it all depends on the commander. The question most likely lies in the plane not in the effectiveness of elephants per se. and the effectiveness of using elephants in real combat. There were a lot of examples of tactically illiterate use of tanks in the Second World War, but no one questioned their role and importance in battle. We can say the same about a fighting elephant, it is a formidable weapon that, when used correctly, was very effective . An elephant, like a tank, on the battlefield is not the only and sufficient means of warfare, but it is an important element of the military machine. I would like to see on this site an article about the Greek phalanx and its juxtaposition with the battle constructions of other ancient armies, as well as the later constructions of pikemen and squares. It seems to me that there are many negative myths about the Greek phalanx that Roman historians had a hand in and modern historians do not follow them critically, so I would like to get acquainted with a balanced position on this issue.
  2. Glot
    Glot 24 November 2015 06: 52 New
    6) The Battle of Pidna - it was the attack of the elephants on the left flank of the Perseus army that became turning points in the course of the battle.

    I wrote in the last topic. Turn to Titus Libya:
    On his right wing, where the battle at the river began, Emilius Paul launched elephants and equestrian detachments of the allies; hence the flight of the Macedonians began. For, since in general human inventions are often only good in words, and if you try them in practice, where you need to apply them, rather than discuss their application, they do not live up to expectations; so it happened that time with the “elephant-wrestlers" - it turned out that this was only an empty word. Following the elephants, an onslaught was made by the Latin allies, who crushed the left wing of the Macedonians. And in the middle of the phalanx crumbled under the blow of the second legion. The main reason for the victory was obvious - the battle was scattered: they fought everywhere, but separately, and the phalanx hesitated, and then crumbled, because its irresistible force is a dense and bristling spear system, and if you attack here and there, forcing the soldiers to turn their spears - long and heavy , and therefore sedentary, then confusion begins in it, and if the phalanx is greatly disturbed from the sides or from the rear, then everything falls apart, as was the case this time, when the phalanx, already torn, had to go against the enemy, who attacked here too there.

    And here is Plutarch. Emilie Paul.
    But since the terrain was uneven, and the battle line was very long, the formation could not remain evenly closed, and numerous tears and gaps appeared in the Macedonian phalanx, which usually happens with a large army during difficult movements of the fighting, when some units are pushed back and others are advanced forward; noticing this, Emilius hurriedly moved closer and, having separated the cohorts, ordered his men to infiltrate the empty spaces of the enemy system and fight not against the whole phalanx as a whole, but in many places, against its individual parts.

    In Paul’s operation against the Macedonian king Perseus, the latter directed his double phalanx to the center, surrounded it with lightly armed men, and placed cavalry on both flanks. Paul gave wedges in triple order, between which he gradually led the Velites. Seeing that in this way it would not be possible to break through the front, he began to retreat, in order to lure the enemy into impassable places, which he had previously found. But here, the phalanx, having suspected cunning on the part of the retreating, advanced, without violating the system. Then Pavel ordered the riders from the left flank to gallop along the edge of the phalanx in such a way that, holding the weapon overweight, repel the tip of the enemy weapon with the pressure itself; thus disarmed the Macedonians disordered their ranks and turned the rear.

    As you can see, everything is not so clear.
    That is, elephants, then no. Different interpretations.
    It was the phalanx that was taken from different directions, putting as much as possible in an uncomfortable position. And managed to wedge not only from the left flank.
    But I am not at all pleading for the role of elephants in the battles of antiquity. We can safely say that these were "tanks of ancient wars".
    1. Predator
      Predator 24 November 2015 09: 34 New
      Frontin pours something. You can imagine the cavalry marching along the line of part of the phalanx, i.e. in contact with the phalanx, only the extreme row of riders, and the first and second rows of the phalanx look at it stupidly? Do you imagine a sewing machine? This is how the first and second row of the phalanx (and any infantry from the radar station, to the Russian wall) work in contact with the enemy. Spears of the first row were fired at a meter and were pulled back, while the second row was beating, etc. These clever men on horses would have been crushed in seconds.
      Yes, and as the history of the war shows, the united front of the infantry can penetrate only the same infantry, and no one else can. Neither the elephant nor the conic will go to steel points, even trained ones, instinct however.
      1. Glot
        Glot 24 November 2015 09: 54 New
        Something Frontin floods.

        I do not argue. Many poured. But I brought him only with regards to elephants.

        And as the history of the war shows, a united front of infantry, only the same infantry can penetrate ...

        Again I do not argue. And again we turn to Plutarch:
        ..... Emilius hurriedly moved closer and, having separated the cohorts, ordered his men to infiltrate the empty spaces of the enemy system and fight not against the whole phalanx as a whole, but in many places, against its individual parts.

        That's how they tore it up.
        1. Predator
          Predator 24 November 2015 11: 39 New
          I won’t argue here. At that time, the tactics of the Roman legions were the most effective. Legions (two, three or more) could organize a united system, if necessary, but during the battle they could also break up into smaller units — the legion, cohort, and manipula. but this is not given.
          1. Ka-52
            Ka-52 24 November 2015 17: 58 New
            Rather, the question here is not so much about the superiority of the legion over the phalanx, but the tactics of using these structures in battle. The Romans used more flexible tactics and turned out to be trickier and more successful, while the Macedonians tried to take with their bare strength and power of their system without any frills.
      2. The comment was deleted.
  3. Urfin
    Urfin 24 November 2015 06: 54 New
    Very interesting. He didn’t know much.
    Question to the author: why did the elephants cease to be used in battle, despite their effectiveness?
  4. bionik
    bionik 24 November 2015 07: 21 New
    Japanese troops carry goods on elephants during the fighting in Burma.
  5. bionik
    bionik 24 November 2015 07: 24 New
    War elephants. Ethiopia, World War I.
  6. bionik
    bionik 24 November 2015 07: 32 New
    Elephant Lin Wang ("King of the Forest") helped the Japanese in the Burmese jungle until 1943. After the defeat of the unit where he worked, until the end of the war he fought against Japan as part of the Chinese army. After the war, he lived in a Taiwan zoo. A real veteran.
  7. kalibr
    kalibr 24 November 2015 08: 39 New
    Why apologize? What is well written is good! Write on!
  8. Nikolaevich I
    Nikolaevich I 24 November 2015 08: 42 New
    Please, please! The Macedonian phalanx and the military leadership talent of Hannibal are the questions that “torment” me since “childhood!” But the story of war elephants is also excellent! Moreover, in the history of military art since ancient times, the "combat use" of elephants is narrated fragmentarily, not in detail. I always had questions ... you answered them ... if there were any ... anyway, not up to them now .... these elephants. yes
  9. Bashibuzuk
    Bashibuzuk 24 November 2015 08: 42 New
    I would have liked it more if the author had a wider coverage of the activities of Hans Delbrück.
    With the supply of traditional material and materials of G. Delbrück. By comparing them.
    Not just a single quote about elephants.
  10. Heimdall48
    Heimdall48 24 November 2015 08: 45 New
    The article is good. Surprised a little -
    I will try to write more articles about the myths about the Macedonian phalanx and Hannibal's "military leadership"

    Is there really any doubt about Hannibal’s abilities? belay And then we will debunk Napoleon?
  11. Oprychnik
    Oprychnik 24 November 2015 09: 17 New
    Gee-gee ... All your reasoning on the basis of these sources can be combined into one topic:
    "The role of war elephants in the strategic plans of the military leaders of antiquity to conquer air supremacy."))) Not serious ...
  12. V.ic
    V.ic 24 November 2015 09: 22 New
    Hannibal did not seem to be able to use elephants in battles with the Romans on the territory of the Apennine Peninsula. If you believe the channel "Discovery", then three things remained after crossing the Alps. And if there were more of them, then probably the Romans "would have become sour."
  13. Severomor
    Severomor 24 November 2015 09: 37 New
    Elephants - useful animals (c)
    And I'm all about the rear and wagons)))

    Elephants living in the wild, move a lot. In search of the amount of food that is enough for good health, mammals daily travel over considerable distances. In the zoo, animals do not have the opportunity to move so actively, and as a result they have problems with digestion. Elephants are fed five to six times a day, sometimes fruits and vegetables are cut and, mixed with hay, scattered over the aviary. This is done in order to take the trunk of the search for tasty pieces and thus, firstly, to reduce the rate of absorption of food, and secondly, to entertain.
    A daily adult animal consumes approximately 250 kilograms of food and 100-150 liters of liquid.
    (From the Internet)
    1. cth; fyn
      cth; fyn 25 November 2015 12: 48 New
      A horse 1-2 buckets of water, 3-4 kg of oats and grass.
  14. Scraptor
    Scraptor 24 November 2015 12: 14 New
    Elephants were scary during a sudden attack in the jungle or in half-closed spaces, or on open against the infantry lacking Greek fire, large peaks and spears.
    and they’re afraid of mice ... lol
  15. RPG_
    RPG_ 24 November 2015 13: 22 New
    The article is definitely a plus. I look forward to continuing, I was especially intrigued about Ganibal and always considered him a talented commander.
  16. Archon
    Archon 24 November 2015 13: 42 New
    My addition: elephants grow and breed for a long time, horses grow and breed faster. So it is better to use horses than elephants, and the rest is the business of strategists and commanders.
  17. Megatron
    Megatron 24 November 2015 13: 43 New
    I would also like to read about the phalanx with pleasure.
  18. Dagger75
    Dagger75 24 November 2015 14: 05 New
    We wait. The article is a plus, and the trends have always been and will be. Each defends his point of view, fitting the facts under it.
  19. Free wind
    Free wind 24 November 2015 14: 08 New
    In the army of Ganibal, African elephants were used. Currently, they are considered untameable. Now only Indian elephants are tamed. Perhaps earlier there was another kind of elephants, now extinct, or the ancients knew some secrets, but like that.
  20. chelovektapok
    chelovektapok 24 November 2015 15: 20 New
    An elephant in maintenance requires twig feed, hay, fruits, vegetables, fresh leaves and grass. A lot and every day. Whimsical to temperature and climatic conditions. We walk little in swampy and rough terrain. Fertilizers give a lot - the only plus. As a psychological weapon, it can and will work. Fire, tincture of pepper in the form of watering, elementary firecrackers under the feet and in the eyes are not high-tech products. If the elephant is properly scared, then it is not known who will be worse. Yours or someone else's. The main tasks of the medieval (and even the present) war - "Either catch up or run away" (c). The elephant is unlikely to fulfill. Horses are handier. By the way, the legend about the "fighting stallions" is just a legend. Either mares or geldings were used. Stallions, having gathered more than two, start biting and kicking, figuring out who is more important. Unsuitable for battle formation. Yes, and in the "hiding" will begin to laugh, smelling the mare, in spite of the fact that the patrol of the enemy and must be quiet.
  21. Denimax
    Denimax 24 November 2015 19: 35 New
    The running herd of elephants, covered with armor, is a very powerful weapon. Not everyone has enough exposure, but if they panic, then the mustache is gone. Given the dense construction of the troops, then, with mass exodus, thousands of victims may occur. And this is not from the enemy’s weapons, but they will trample themselves, remember the last event in Mecca, 750 victims and this is without an external threat.
    The commanders understood this, so discipline was important and keep order.
  22. Reptiloid
    Reptiloid 24 November 2015 20: 50 New
    Dear author, I really liked your article. Thank you for the story. The same comments as the article. I’ll re-read everything.
  23. Above_name
    Above_name 24 November 2015 23: 42 New
    Quote: Predator
    ..Yes, and as the history of wars shows, a united front of infantry can penetrate only the same infantry, and no one else can. Neither an elephant nor a conic will go to steel points, even trained ones, instinct however ...

    .. NEVER do not send cavalry to properly trained and armed infantry in DEN - she will cut it or shoot it (Roman legions, English archers, Swiss, square of times of the Napoleonic wars ..)
    1. Ykrofashist
      Ykrofashist 25 November 2015 15: 56 New
      They forgot the Rusichs (special Svyatoslav, and in extreme cases, infantry with axes, for example Monomakhov against the Czechs, or Polovtsy
  24. Suhow
    Suhow 8 October 2016 14: 42 New
    Thanks to the author, I was interested in reading the article. I want to express my opinion on the basis of the majority of losses in the armies where they were used, maybe the war elephants had too high hopes? How later did the Germans put their wunderwaffes on ???