Battle of Hydaspes

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The Battle of Hydaspes was fought in May, 326 B.C. between the forces of Alexander the Great and Porus, a leader in India. By this point in his career, Alexander had already conquered the Persian Empire and was pleased to have a chance to see India. Alexander surprised the Indians by crossing the river 16 miles upstream that the Indians had been guarding. By dawn he was completely across the river. Porus drew up his army, including 100 elephants which he knew Alexander's horses would not charge. Alexander arrived with a force of 6,000 cavalry and 5,000 infantry. He sent his general Coenus with half his cavalry to do a wide encirclement. Alexander used his light infantry to harass the elephants, many of the maddened beasts turning back into their own ranks. As the Indian right wing was advancing to envelop the open Macedonian flank, they were struck in the rear by Coenus who swept through the entire Indian line. Under Alexander's charge they were now being assailed from the front, flank, and rear. They fought bravely for a time, but then had no choice but to give way. Porus was wounded and was captured by Alexander.

Although he didn't know it at the time, Alexander would not be able to move into north-central India as he planned. His homesick men mutinied. They wanted to go home to their families which were now far, far away. The battle of hydaspes would prove to be Alexander's last great military confrontation.

Sources

  • Encyclopedia of Military History, Dupuy & Dupuy, 1979