War elephants were a form of cavalry used by the Carthiginians, and by various Indian empires. The former, when used by Hannibal, struck fear in to the Romans who had never heard of War Elephants and did not know how to defeat this menance. Alexander the Great faced 100 war elephants earlier in 326 B.C. when he was crossing the Hydaspes river in India, but unlike the later Romans generals, his military genius improvised how to handle them and sent many of the maddened creatures rushing back through the defenders' lines.
In recent years they have been used in several fantasy movies, including 300 and the film adaptation of Lord of the Rings.
- Dupuy & Dupuy, The Encyclopedia of Military History, 1977, Pg. 51-52.