Alexander's War Tactics at the Battle of Issus
Life of Alexander the Great
Alexander the Great was a great man and soldier. He came from royal blood and had great teachers to help him learn everything he had to know to be a great soldier and leader. Here is some information on Alexander the Great:
The great philosopher Aristotle, Alexander's personal teacher, taught Alexander many things, such as:
Battle of Issus
The battle of Issus was considered a great victory by Alexander. He was considerably outnumbered and his men were very tired. Alexander won the battle, but it was not a decisive victory for him. Here is some information on the Battle of Issus:
Both Alexander and Darius had allies from other lands at the Battle of Issus, they were:
Beginning of battle
The beginning of the battle is the opening manuevers, before any actual fighting takes place. The Battle of Issus began as follows:
Darius entered Issus in late October or early November, 333 BCE. Alexander had taken his men on a forced march to Myriandrus, thinking this was where Darius was going (Fuller 154). Alexander had left all of his sick and wounded at Issus. When Darius got to Issus, he killed all of Alexander's hospital cases. Darius learned of Alexander's position and took his troops to the Pinarus and took a defensive position on the northern bank, right along Alexander's line of communication (Green 224-226). Once Alexander learned of Darius' position, he gave a rousing speech to his men and positioned his men for battle. Alexander put his cavalry, the Thessalians, allies of the Macedonians, and his Macedonians on the right, and other allies on the left. Darius stationed 30,000 Greek mercenaries against the Macedonian phalanx and on either side 60,000 Kardakes, who were allies of the Persians, he also put 20,000 men on the ridge to face Alexander's right (Arrian 147-155). Darius was in the center of his army behind the Royal Bodyguard. Darius moved all of his best troops against Alexander's left, so Alexander moved the Thessalians to the left as reinforcements. Both armies deployed, but the Macedonian army stopped when thy got to within arrow shot of the Persians, hoping they would attack, but Darius had a good defensive position, and was not leaving it (Green 228-230).
Middle of battle
This is where the actual fighting starts. The middle is where the Macedonians and the Persians jockey for position, before the battle is decided.
Alexander had thrown out his right wing in advance at the Persian left-center, right where Darius was stationed (Montross 26). The Persian left gave way very quickly, a quick victory for the Macedonians (Arrian 161). The Macedonian phalanx had lost its solidarity while crossing the Pinarus (Montross 26). A gap opened in the right flank of the Macedonian phalanx and the Greek mercenaries took advantage, driving a deep wedge into the Macedonian line. Alexander swung his cavalry around against the rear files of the mercenaries (Green 231).
End of battle
The jockeying for position has taken place and Alexander is about to come out on top.
Alexander's battalions went to help out in the center. The Persian cavalry would not give way, but attacked the Thessalian squadrons, during this time, Darius took flight and the Persian army soon gave way without its leader (Arrian 163-165). Only the Greek mercenaries stood their ground, dying as they were attacked from all sides (Montross 26). The Persians suffered their heaviest loses in retreat (Arrian 165). The Macedonian army and Alexander took off after Darius, but couldn't catch him, he had a half-mile head start (Green 233).
After the battle
The battle is over, the Macedonians have won. However, the story isn't quite over.
Once Alexander had gotten to the Persian camp, he and his soldiers proceeded to loot it, Alexander getting the best things, things from Darius' tent. While there, Alexander found Darius' mother, wife, and children mourning for Darius because they had found Darius' armor, which he had thrown off in flight, and thought him dead. Alexander sent someone to clear up the misunderstanding and treated them with the respect deserving of a royal family (Green 233). Finally, they had a funeral for the Macedonian dead (Arrian 168). Darius and the Persians suffered heavy losses at the Battle of Issus: 100,000 infantry and 10,000 cavalry were killed (Fuller 162). Alexander and the Macedonians lost only 450 infantrymen, but had 4500 wounded (Green 162).
Victories during battle
During every battle there are always minor victories in different parts of the battlefield that influence the overall outcome, these are the minor victories during the Battle of Issus:
The Battle of Issus was a great battle between Alexander and Darius. However, it wasn't the last. But, Alexander won, and changed the face of modern-day war.
"Alexander the Great: First Meeting with Darius." 14 Dec 1998. Online. 14 Oct 1999 Http://www.pothos.co.uk/alexander.asp?Paral D=7.
Arrian. Arrian: History of Alexander and Indica 1. Trans. E. Iliff Robson. Cambridge: Harvard, 1967.
Fuller, John Frederick Charles. Generalship of Alexander the Great. Rahway, New Jersey: Quinn & Boden, 1960.
Green, Peter. Alexander of Macedon, 356-323 B. C. : A Historical Biography. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991.
Hammond, Nicholas G. J. Alexander the Great: King, Commander, and Statesman. New Jersey: Noyes, 1980.
Keegan, John. A History of Warfare. New York: Knopf, 1993.
Montross, Lynn. War through the Ages. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1960.
Other Alexander the Great Links
Alexander "The Great" by Plutarch http://www.e-classics.com/ALEXANDER.htm
Beyond Renault: Alexander the Great in Fiction, WWI-Present http://www.personal.psu.edu/users /j/r/jrz3/beyondrenault.html
Alexander the Great Project http://www.1stmuse.com/frames/projeect.html
Alexander the Great History Project http://www.entergroupltd.com/alex_web/
Alexander of Macedon Temple http://sangha.net/messengers/alex.htm
Great Page of Alexander http://wso.williams.edu/~junterek
Alexanderama http://www- personal.umich.edu/~spalding/
Some great none Alexander links
Rich East web site http://www.richeast.org/htwm/index.html
My 4th Amendment web site http://members.rotfl.com/accox
Rich East High School * Park Forest, IL 60466
This page was created by A.C. Last revised 5/11/2000.