Perhaps, you’ve already heard that elephants were equal to tanks on ancient battlefields. That’s true. An elephant making its way through a group of soldiers or horses could easily decimate their formation. And what about the sheer psychological impact of watching a terrible giant war beast with pointy tusks? It’s no wonder such a big animal could easily cause the opposing force to flee in great terror.
Elephants could easily smash fortifications, impale folks on their tusks, and even stomp them to death under their huge feet as well as enormous weight. Needless to say, in ancient times elephants towered over the battlefield.
Aside from their brutal strength as well as the inherent psychological impact on the enemy, these big animals turned to be extremely useful for logistics. Moreover, they’re very intelligent.
By the way, in 2004, the American Army classed elephants as pack animals, although also warned in its field manual distributed to Special Operations Forces that the giant herbivores shouldn’t be utilized by US military personnel because of their endangered status as well as the inherent danger in riding them.
Nevertheless, up to 2,300 years, since ancient times, armies of various countries have successfully employed elephants for combat purposes. Yes, the animals were used exactly for fighting. They hauled heavy equipment or worked on construction projects. Elephants boast a long and distinguished military career, ranging from ancient conquests to deployment into the modern era.
If there was one ancient general who appeared to be the most skilled in the spread of elephants as a weapon of war, it was certainly Alexander the Great.
The ancient king first came across elephants in the 2nd century BCE, during his conquest of Persia. Alexander managed to defeat the Persians as well as their elephants. Nevertheless, he was greatly mesmerized by those terrifying beasts. Alexander decided to take the survived Persian elephants to used them in his army.
Alexander was always on the march, respectively, he didn’t have enough time to train his elephants into an efficient combat force. Instead, Alexander utilized them mostly for their logistical prowess and for the enormous psychological impact they had on the foes.
However, it started to change as Alexander went to India, where he had an opportunity to clash with the elephant-equipped forces of King Porus of Paruava.
Perhaps, you’ve already heard that elephants were equal to tanks on ancient battlefields. That’s true. An elephant making its way through a group of soldiers or horses could easily decimate their formation.