By Richard Overy
Their very names--Gettysburg, Waterloo, Stalingrad--evoke photographs of serious triumph and both nice soreness, moments whilst historical past appeared to grasp within the stability. thought of on the subject of one another, such battles--and others of much less quick renown--offer perception into the altering nature of armed strive against, advances in expertise, shifts in approach and proposal, in addition to altered geopolitical landscapes. The most major army engagements in historical past outline the very nature of warfare. In his most modern publication, Richard Overy plumbs over 3,000 years of historical past, from the autumn of Troy in 1200 BC to th. Read more...
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Additional resources for A history of war in 100 battles
England became a Norman province, united under one monarch. It is easy to be sentimental about Harold’s defeat, but he, like William, was just one of a long line of warrior noblemen, with Norse blood in their veins, who fought to the death for land and wealth. What made William different was his sharp military mind, shown in his ability to ‘manage’ the battlefield in an age of primitive combat. Crude though the fighting was, William’s victory rested on solid military understanding and bold leadership.
Managing such a complex battlefield was difficult, as information could only be sent by messenger or trumpet, and thick dust was thrown up by the horses wheeling around on the sandy earth. Alexander’s strategy carried risks should any of the units misunderstand their orders or fail to hold fast. Darius had a simpler plan: to send forward his much larger bodies of cavalry, to decimate the Foot Companions with the scythed chariots, and to scare off the Greek cavalry with the elephants. Around mid-day, Alexander’s army moved onto the prepared battlefield in tight order.
Alexander crossed from Egypt to Syria, where he lingered for some weeks, waiting to hear if Darius was preparing his own army for combat. When news reached him in mid-July of the Persian emperor’s whereabouts, Alexander led his army towards the River Euphrates, intent on his showdown. On the opposite side there were 3,000 of Darius’s cavalry under the command of Mazaeus, but they withdrew southwards, scorching the earth as they went. This was to force Alexander to take the longer northern route past the Armenian mountains then down into the valley of the Tigris, where Darius was already preparing his battlefield near the village of Gaugamela.