Adonis Diaries

Wild Goose Chase into the Old World (fiction)

Posted on: November 17, 2008

Wild Goose Chase into the Old World (fiction, continue 4)

Toying with skirmishes

Since nothing is impossible to Alexander, then Alex took up the challenge: He was getting bored of inaction; and he was not meant to stay and watch Alexandria being built. He had a whole army becoming lax and drunk.  On the way back, Alexander opted for the route leading through Jerusalem to the Golan Heights.

The Persian king Artax was convinced that he could vanquish Alexander in one big battle, but he found it a good opportunity to test his war techniques.  Artax wanted to toy with Alex: the harder the loss the greater the friendship!

Artax military strategy was new for the period. It consisted of semi guerrillas’ warfare and carried at stages leading to the final frontal attack.

One of his war techniques, in direct confrontations, was to engage the enemy army with an army a third its size for most of the day, then to launch another fresh army of the same size as the first army after 3 p.m. and harass the enemy all night long.

Artax was to make use of flares to illuminate the enemy’s positions for night raids, if necessary. He once used these flares as an experiment because they were expensive, not very reliable, trafficked from China and needed improvements.

At dawn, Artax would finish up the battle with a major offensive when the enemy is completely exhausted and disoriented. Artax reflected that this technique might still save thousands of his soldiers from the slaughter-hood.

Most of the time, he would harass the enemy for two consecutive days, morning, noon, and evening with well focused raids on one main body of the army. For example, to focus on the right or left wings of the cavalry or on the foot soldiers in the center, then engaging the real attack when the enemy is about to have lunch.

The details during the maneuvering exercises consisted to leaving the left and right ails of the cavalry fifteen minutes far from the main body.  The rationale was that the enemy would be forced to leave a substantial reserve in the rear for emergencies in case of encirclement.

The main body, the size of a third of the enemy’s army, would have thousands of archers.  The foot soldiers and cavalry’s task was to protect the archers for retreating in order ,150 meters behind the trenches and set up another line of battle then to retreat behind the archers.  The logic of the exercise was to absorb the enemy’s initial fugue and let him cool off so that the battle would resume in a more rational process until fresh troops replace the initial army.

Artax learned that the favorite strategy of Alex was to attack directly the Kings’ positions from the onset of a battle. So, he offered him a double as a target in the first engagement; the double was presented with the same pomp as a monarch.

Unfortunately, Alex did not buy this trick because the Persian Monarch’s personal guards numbered three times as much.  The other factor was that the maneuvering exercises didn’t coincide with a real battle situation.

The Persian small army was to engage the battle around 10 a.m. so that they would fight till 3 p.m. before fresh reinforcements arrive. The Macedonian cavalry took the initiative from the onset and advanced for miles to meet the Persian army and then swooped down en mass on both sides without engaging but in an encirclement maneuver.

The Persian army was caught unprepared for this kind of exercises and the Macedonian infantry was quick and ferocious.  Alex’s army engaged with such zeal that the first army of Artax was demolished in less than three hour and barely any escaped surrender.

Alex sent a forward company to locate the other divisions of the Persian army but they were no where to be found.  The battle had ended before noon while the Persian army had still two more hours to rest before marching to battle.

In the meantime, the Macedonians had lunch break and then half an hour of resting period before they spent up their energy slaughtering this heavy burden on their arms, the thousands of war prisoners.

Alex called the day off for further intelligence and for burning the corps. 

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adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

November 2008
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