Tactics of using war elephants in ancient wars
War elephants were used until the New Age as heavy machinery, suggestive of fear only by sight. When ten and more elephants fled to the detachment, the soldiers of the enemy's army were doomed and scattered to the side. The detachment became vulnerable to the enemy, and their defeat did not keep themselves waiting. To stop such a weapon, you need a dozen soldiers, and if the elephant is in protective armor, then even fifty people could barely cope.
Animal and man
The elephant is a dangerous animal, not only for ancient times, but also at the present time. Now these beautiful individuals live in special reserves or not populated places because of their size and weight.
An elephant can easily crush a person completely if he comes or hits with his trunk. His skin is very thick, and it is extremely difficult to pierce it, which is why the ancient wars could not do without the participation of these fighting animals in them.
People learned to use them for their own purposes, not only as a means of transportation, as was originally.Over time, the elephanta replaced the horses at work on the ground, and even later the elephants became a real weapon in capable hands.
The advantage of war elephants
The main advantages of war elephants:
- awesome view;
- overcoming long distances;
- resistance to harsh climate;
- a large supply of meat during hunger;
- ability to break trees on the way;
- hard to hit;
- hard to get close to;
- effective for breaking through defenses.
The time of the use of elephants as a “ram” and “breakthrough” passed when the firearms and the first versions of the mortars appeared, allowing to send projectiles accurately and far. And in the future, the animal has been used exclusively as a transport.
This is due to the fact that firearms quickly hit the target due to the high speed of the projectile. The elephants, on the other hand, are big and not very agile at the same time; they were difficult to maneuver during the shelling.
Frightened animals became uncontrollable and swept away all obstacles in their path - no matter if it was an ally or an enemy.
Tactics of application
The battle tactics of war elephants were difficult and time consuming, it took more than one year to prepare a combat unit for breakthroughs.Only males were taken into battle, females were often avoided in the herd of fights, so they were used only for the transport of weapons and other luggage.
The main elephant manager, who is also the commander, was located on the top of his head and controlled the movement of the animal with the help of leashes that were attached to the tusks. Many between the tusks stretched thick wire so that the enemy did not get close to the eyes, and with a flick of the head a fighting animal could hit several people at once.
Most often, on the back of an elephant there was a small tent in which archers sat and hit ground targets. The commander could at the same time have an excellent overview of a long distance ahead and skillfully guide the detachment. The main task for which the war elephants were involved was to suppress the defenses and defended fortifications of the enemy.
Elephant punched wooden and metal fences in his path. It was very difficult to hit a large animal in the armor, thick skin and chain mail did not miss arrows and spears. The enemy could only hit the weak points: legs, lower abdomen and eyes, but it was extremely difficult to do so.
Effectively, elephants were used against cavalry, the horses of the enemy army were afraid of elephants and became unmanageable.
Only the roar of this gigantic living fortress instilled fear in both people and animals, and the skillful management of elephants replaced an entire infantry regiment. For a successful attack was enough a couple of dozen animals, and in the major battles, they participated in hundreds.
Despite the fact that for centuries people have used elephants for different purposes, modern people have little knowledge of interesting facts about these amazing animals.
If you want to learn more about this frightening war equipment of ancient times, we offer you to watch the following video: