THE BATTLE OF GAUGAMELA 331 B.C. By Alexandra Bowers-Mason and Christina Main From Putaruru College TIMELINE OF EVENTS Advanced on Egypt and is welcomed as a liberator
333 BC 332 BC Darius learns that Alexander is returning from Egypt 331 BC
Battle of Issus Revolt of Agis defeated 330 BC Sack of Perseplis Alexander wins the Siege of Tyre September 30th
The Battle of Gaugamela 329 BC MAP http://www.utexas.edu/ BUILD-UP In the two years following the battle of Issus, Darius built up a gigantic force of almost 100,000 men (although some modern
Scholars believe it was no bigger than 50,000 men). Alexander, who had in that time been occupying Egypt and the Mediterranean coast, marched straight into The Persian empire. Darius chose the battlefield a flat plane to eliminate any advantages Alexander might have because of inequalities in the terrain. Alexanders army was about a fifth of the size of Darius (Darius planned to confound Alexander by sheer enormous numbers).
According to the historians, Parmenios advice to Alexander was to attack the Persians during the night, but Alexander discarded this option, and instead rested his soldiers whilst the Persians were standing all night, expecting an attack. Persian force Macedonian force Alexander camped several miles away from the
battlefield and observed Darius army from a ridge overlooking the plane. According to the sources, the Persian force outnumbered Alexanders 5 to 1 (it must be taken into account that Arrian and other such sources are notorious for exaggerating the size of the enemy forces to make Alexander look good similarly to the way in
which Parmenio is made to looks like a fool and coward in the sources to Aerial recreation of the initial battle formation accentuate Alexanders genius). Stakes and Disadvantages/advantages ALEXANDER A Persian victory would stop the Macedonian advance and seriously deplete Alexanders troop moral.
Alexander was hugely outnumbered. Alexanders troops had spent a night in rest before the battle. Alexander surveyed the enemy before making plans for the formation of his line, whereas Darius first saw Alexanders troops immediately before they attacked. DARIUS A Macedonian victory would be a huge step towards Alexanders conquest of Persia, and Darius would lose a lot of favour in the eyes of the empire after such a laughable defeat. Darius army were fatigued from a night of standing to attention,
waiting for a Macedonian attack in the dark that never happened. A flat open plain meant that Darius scythed chariots were at their best advantage. Darius line was too vast to initially be outflanked by Alexanders. Darius initial formation Direction of advance Alexanders initial formation Direction of advance
THE BATTLE BEGINS Darius vs Alexander Alexander arranges his line at an oblique angle to the Persian line. Alexander sends his infantry into the centre of the Persian line, in Phalanx formation (to attack the Persian infantry). Darius attacks Parmenio on the Macedonian left with a good deal of his cavalry and some of his infantry. Alexander orders his cavalry (led by himself) to ride away from the Macedonian right and parallel to the Persian line. Darius fears being outflanked by this move, and sends his cavalry in pursuit of Alexander.
Alexanders plan in doing this was to create a gap in the Persian line, which he could use to his advantage. Meanwhile, Darius unleashes his chariots, which are essentially thwarted by Alexanders javelin throwers and mousetrap tactic (infantry creates an open-end box into which the chariot horses run and are killed before rider or scythes can do any damage). CLIMAX Alexander turns his cavalry force at an angle of 180 degrees and rides straight for the gap in the Persian line. He is
followed by the guards brigade and any phalanxes that can be spared. As the Macedonian cavalry moves away, they revealed the peltasts (light infantry) who have been running behind the cavalry, out of sight of the Persians. The peltasts take the Persian cavalry by surprise and bombard them with a shower of light javelins, arrows and rocks thrown from slings. This prevents the Persians from following Alexander back to the Persian centre. Alexanders phalanxes which are still attacking the Persian infantry prevent said infantry from countering Alexanders
charge. The Persian left is cut off from Darius and those under Bessus command begin to withdraw. Darius sees the army begin to break up and flees with what forces he can (this version of Darius flight is told by Arrian, but records in Babylon from the time state that the Persian army was completely broken before Darius fled). THE BATTLE CONCLUDES Alexander makes a hot pursuit of Darius, with the intent of killing him. Whilst pursuing, Alexander receives a call for urgent help from
the Macedonian left Parmenios troops are suffering heavy casualties. Alexander chooses to save his army from further casualties and leaves his pursuit of Darius to aid his left flank. END RESULT Alexander wins the battle of Gaugamela. Casualties: Macedonians 5,500 killed (12%) Persians 40,000 killed (40%) Many Persian nobles were killed in this battle. Alexander captured Darius war elephants.
AFTERMATH Darius hoped to rally more troops, but the satrapies (nobles and generals) were of the opinion that they should surrender to Alexander. Bessus, one of the Persian generals, murdered Darius. Alexander would later have Bessus executed for regicide. The death of Darius marked the end of the Persian empire as it had been, and Alexanders conquest of Asia began in earnest. THE END
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