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Alexander the Great and His Army

(Summary)

by Gerald L. Conroy

Alexander the Greek, son of the Macedonian ruler Philip II, wanted to outdo the legendary general Achilles from the Illiad. Alexander had gotten a well-rounded education from the greatest thinker of his age, Aristotle. He was one of Fortune's favorites as he was the son of a very successful soldier, politician and king. In 338 B.C. Alexander led the decisive calvary charge at the battle of Chaeronea and in 340 B.C. founded the city of Alexandropolis in eastern Macedonia. In 336 B.C. his father was assassinated and he became king. Alexander built upon Philip's achievements and made improvements in the military. The army became a standing army. Training became constant in the army and the phalanx, the cavalry, the hypastists, the bridge train, and the siege train. The cavalry was the main shock unit. Siege weapons were improved and catapults were added with the new uses of large arrows or stones or bags of stones. Tactics were improved in the maneuvering and disposing forces in combat. Alexander had used tactics proposed by Sun Tzu in being deceptive and fooling his enemies. In the battles against the Persian empire Alexander always seized the initiative and forced the Persians into abiding by his plan rather than using theirs. These battles included Granicus, Issus, and Gaugamela and the minor battle of Pelion. Alexander was addicted to battle and continued his fighting. He fought against guerillas in Baktria and Sogdiana and Ectbatana. Throughout his campaigns his troops were utterly loyal to him even when they got weary of fighting. It was only at the mutiny in the Indus river valley did their loyalty wane. Logistics of Alexander's campaigns aren't clear to us, but he was clearly careful in supplying and maintaining supplies.

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