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Alexander's battles

 The infantry Macedonian
 Machines of war
 Battle of Granique
 Battle of Issos
 Battle of Arbeles or Gaugameles
 Battle of Hydaspes


The infantry Macedonian

The phalange

The word "phalange" in the sense that gives him the modern historians, often applies to the phalange Macedonian in particular.

This device shows significant differences with respect to the formations of combat employed before by the Greeks. the depth, 8 rows then 16 is not inspired by the model thebain: from now on the men will act more by their armament than by the push of their mass.

And absolutely new thing, the phalange Macedonian can operate. When the phalange Macedonian made movement in dispersed order, it was more mobile. The good execution of these operations required, for the first time in the history, a very thorough drive but also by a plethoric framing. Each file was led by a LOGACHOS (leader) while its second the OURAGOS (file closer) ordered the back. The HEMILOCHITES was responsible for a half slips by, the ENOMOTARQUE of a quarter of file. On the face of the unit the chain of command was established 2 files thus were led by a DILOCHITES, 4 by a TETRARQUE, 8 by a TAXIARQUE and 16 by the SYNTAGMARQUE. Five other people came then, behind the device in square: a Herald, a signalling equipment, a trumpet, a EXTRA-OURAGOS whose mission was of rameuter the carriages and an assistant of the commander. However, the formation presents a defect: all graded higher row, except two are in the forefront; their death in full combat, more particularly that of the chief of the syntagm, can generate a fatal disorder if its assistant, placed at the rear, cannot replace him quickly.

The syntagms can be formed in continuous line, refused levels, while growing in or V reversed... 


Insulated, the syntagm can, of itself, to be formed in practically insuperable hedgehog of spades and to defend themselves on the four faces of this square, essential difference with the "wall" of the Greek phalange. Its soldiers were armed with very long pikes which they held with two hands. This type of spade called "sarisse" must have given to the formation a larger offensive potential, because the curtain of points of lances exceeding the line of shields of the first rank was tighter. To the wire of time, the depth of the phalange Macedonian passed from eight to sixteen rows. According to all appearances, the formation Macedonian was as prepared to strike tuck with the spade as to push with the shield. As the two hands were necessary to handle the door sarisse, one can suppose that the soldier of the phalange had the shield suspended on the blow by a thin strap and that he operated it elbow or front armlever according to circumstances'.

The syntagm

The basic unit is the square syntagm of 256 men in 16 files (lochoi) of 16 men. It includes a framing many the men are protected by the armour from metal scales fixed on a kind of waistcoat, a helmet, leggings of leather and a round shield. In addition to a sword allowing the blow of size and that of tuck, their principal weapon is sarisse, later very long spade of 5 m. It can be handled only with two hands; the shield is thus suspended on the neck during its employment; in dispersed order, each man occupies 1,80 m of face and as much in-depth, this for the fold of the light infantry. To the shock against the adversary the tight order brings back these distances to half (0,9 m); the sarisses of the first 5 ranks, is 4 intervals (3,60 m) exceed the face of the syntagm, forming a kind of frightening "hedgehog" for the traditional Greek lances, of 3,50 m but that the handling of a hand obliges to hold almost with the medium (going beyond of 2 m) and more still against the Persian lance, of 2,10 m, in defensive situation the low concavity of the shield makes it possible to reduce the intervals at 0,5 m, (formation shoulders against shoulder, shield against shield): the sarisses of the first 8 ranks are then "active". This forest of spades erects a formidable obstacle against all forms of attack, traditional phalange, cavalry, and even elephantery; because an elephant which was wounded by a lance never does not forget the danger that it represents; it moves back, thus giving the bad example to his comrades neophytes.

Hypaspistes and soldiers of the phalange

Bodies of hypaspists or light infantry of line. Keeping like the hoplites a regular order, they were cleaner however with the fast operations and could use all the grounds. They formed the intermediate grade between the hoplites and the psilites. Alexander subdivided them in chiliarchies, 1024 men. He employed them in the offensive movements.

The hypaspists were used for the diversions, with the steps of night, fast forwardings...

Among them one noticed:L' agema, troop of elite, called more often than the others to start the combat. The bodyguards, extremely restricted of manpower, in which one received only tested men, of a recognized fidelity and a bravery... They fulfilled close to Alexander the functions of aide-de-camps, transmitted its orders and received sometimes a command in special cases.


Machines of wars

The first known "artillery" part, which represents an obvious progress on the machines of jet actuated by the muscular force, was invented in Syracuse around - 400 and launched an evolution having to carry out to machines of an unquestionable refinement.

The gastraphetes or primitive crossbow

With the origin, this machine is an arc of an extreme power, where the tension of the cord is ensured by a special mechanism. The three essential elements are the arc itself, a arbrier with pawls and a carriage provided with a mechanism of relaxation.

To bandage Gastraphetes, it is necessary to draw the carriage towards oneself and to urge the cord of the arc in a keyed trowel. The weapon is placed on a solid basis or the surface of the ground, then the user is pressed on the arbrier, takes the handles and employs his own weight to be made slip the carriage, a pawl at the same time, until the cord is well tightened. He then places a square in the groove dug on the carriage, aims, and draws by bringing towards him the bar from relaxation. This movement makes swivel the trowel keyed upwards and thus releases the cord. The use of the mechanical force allows D ' to employ a very powerful arc (where the force goes from 68 to 90 kg, whereas on the manual arc the maximum goes from 18 to 27 kg.




  Having pushed until the last limits the force of the composite arc, the military engineers have recourse to a new source of power, torsion. The most primitive machine of this type consists simply of two hanks of a cord made of tendon and tended on a rectangular framework.

A capacity of propulsion even higher is obtained by slightly twisting the two hanks, the two "springs" of tendons which, at the following stage are placed inside the framework. The cords are drawn on a special framework before their insertion, the tension and the final development being carried out by means of the "keys" placed at the top and the base.

The machines of this type carry nonthe credits of "Katapeltes", literally "drillers of shields because their projectiles penetrate the shield and the armour of a soldier to ranges exceeding the 400 meters.

These machines project rocks of a weight varying from 4,5 kg to 82 kg. All show an aspect similar, they different only in their dimensions, which are calculated according to a mathematical formula complexes founded on the diameter of the "spring". The largest machines brought to a range of approximately 170 0 meters can decoiffer a wall of its crenels.


Squares and features vary according to the size of the machine launcher. The projectiles carry or not an empennage. The most widespread "gauge" is at the neighbourhoods of 68 cm. The drawing of the points are also very variable. The rocks for triggerfishes are worked carefully to give them a spherical form, one gathers them in ammunition dumps of which several were updated. The soldiers use of one dispatch rather clever in the event of urgency: they wrap stones not cut in a bed of clay, rather malleable thus to take very quickly the silhouette most favorable to the ballistic point of view, without of course causing as many damage to the arrival a homogeneous projectile.




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