13

War Elephants in the west were a military fad that started with Alexander the Great's encounter with them at the battle of Gaugamella. They became popular for a while, but their ineffectiveness for Hannibal at Zama 113 years later spelled the beginning of the end for the fad. The extinction of the Syran and North African species iced it. By the beginning of ...


8

Elephants had gone extinct in Egypt by about 2600 B.C. or so, plus or minus a few centuries. So for a very long time there was no native elephants for Egyptians to use. It is theoretically possible that the Pharaohs might have imported some for military purposes, but I'm not really seeing any sign of this. Regardless, by the time Ptolemy I established ...


7

I'm looking at the list of battles involving war elephants The Battle of Ipsus wiki page, a conflict between some of the successor states of Alexander the great, has an interesting passage on elephant-cavalry interactions: "The ancient sources repeatedly emphasize the effect of elephants on horses, which are alarmed by the smell and noise of elephants and ...


4

Overall, I tend to concur with your estimate that the elephants usually proved to be more of a liability than an asset. However, they did have some successes. Two examples are: the Battle of Ipsus which was decided by a judicious deployment of an elephant reserve and the "Elephant Battle" in which Antiochus I routed the Galatians - I couldn't find a full-...


4

It's tempting to think of war elephants as some kind of super cavalry, but in reality they were far from that. War elephants were unpredictable and hard to control. At times they were as dangerous to your own troops as they were to the enemy. They were primarily a psychological weapon and used as such. You line them up and send them running at the enemy ...


3

In the Battle of Heraclea (280 BC), Pyrrhus of Epirus used elephants decisively against the Romans. The trick for him was to use them as reserve forces. This is from the Wiki article: Unable to make any significant gains in action, Pyrrhus deployed his war elephants, held in reserve until now. The Roman cavalry was threatening his flank too strongly. ...


2

War elephants were constantly used in south Asia for over 2000 years. The last use was by Thai and Vietnamese forces in the late 1800s. Use of elephants for logistics continued into the 20th century. Some rulers had thousands of war elephants. Either elephants made important contributions to victory for thousands of years or every southern Asian ruler ...


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