The War Elephant Through History
The Advantages of Using War Elephants
The Disadvantages of Using War Elephants
Alexander the GreatAlexander the Great came up against war elephants in 326 BCE at the Battle of the Hydaspes (depicted above) when he fought against the forces of Porus in the Indus Valley region. Porus had around three hundred of the beasts at his disposal however, this did not help him gain victory against the Macedonian forces. The Greek archers were able to kill many of the drivers and wound the animals which caused mayhem in the ranks of the Indian army as the elephants ran wild.
Most historians agree that Porus was four cubits [the distance between the elbow and the tip of the middle finger] and a span [half a cubit] high and that the size and majesty of his body made his elephant seem as fitting a mount for him as a horse for the horseman.
And yet his elephant was of the largest size and it showed remarkable intelligence and solicitude for the king, bravely defending him and beating back his assailants while he was still in full vigour, and when it perceived that its master was worn out with a multitude of missiles and wounds, fearing he should fall off, it knelt softly on the ground, and with its proboscis gently took each spear and drew it out of his body.
Hannibal of Carthage
Timur Khan – Leader of the Mongol Hoards
The End of the Use of Elephants in War
War Elephant Quote
Elephants, when tamed, are employed in war, and carry into the ranks of the enemy towers filled with armed men.
And on them, in a very great measure, depends the ultimate result of the battles that are fought in the East.
They tread under foot whole companies, and crush the men in their armour.
~ Pliny the Elder (77 CE) ~