The Battle of Gaugamela – 331 BC – Iraq / Kurdistan
When Darius heard of the Greek threat to his Kingdom he sent word out to at all four corners to gather every able-bodied man to assemble and drive them off.
Alexander “the foolhardy” meanwhile had had success after success against the Persians to date and knew his foes weaknesses. However his generals had given council to be cautious as they were vastly outnumbered. Alexander believed the quality of his men would win through, especially if he could double double time his heavies into Darius’s centre and maybe supported by his Companion cavalry win a decisive victory.
The two battle lines drew up. Darius in the centre of his Persians and Alexander on the right of his Greeks. The Persian lines extended beyond both the left and right of the Greeks.
Some manoeuvring and missile firing from both sides.
Then the Perisan heavy troop started to come forward. Greek missiles weakened some heavy chariots and killed a unit of Elephants in the Centre round one to the Greeks.
The Persians then charged.
A co-ordinated killing machine of Elephants, Heavy cavalry and Chariots crashing into the Greek lines, punching through and causing carnage. Alexander leapt forward with his Companion cavalry, but the expectant Persian struck first breaking the charge. Alexander continued though to work his way down the line causing destruction as he went but he was alone in standing up to the Persian onslaught.
The Persian heavies advanced some more. Elephants now in amongst the Hoplites and the Greeks just couldn’t stop the Elephants. Meanwhile the cavalry in the centre, both Persian heavy and Greek Companion, continued to reap havoc to both sides until they were driven back.
The Elephants still trampled though. Everything the Greeks tried just caused them to rampage some more. Alexander was running out of men. His centre was devastated, and his right gone with only a handful of light troops being shot at, charged by or generally eroded by the Persians.
As the last of the Greeks on the right fled the field the battle paused.
Alexander then began to assemble what he had left. Parmenio held the extreme left of the line with some light cavalry, Greek heavies slowly formed up with them and Alexander on the right. (What had been the Greek Centre.) Whilst nothing but Greek corpses and Persian cavalry remained on the far right.
Alexander was determined to press on.
The Greeks came forward. The sky was darkened with Persian arrows.
The Greeks came forward. Persian archers destroyed a Greek heavy infantry and shot Parmenio from his horse.
The Greeks came forward. The Persian double time advanced meeting the Greeks before they had time to charge.
More Greeks died but the line (albeit a very small thin line) held. The Greeks could now finally strike the blow they had been seeking the whole battle. Heavy Infantry, Companion Cavalry and the generals Alexander and Craterus all combined into smashing the Persian infantry, but the Persian Infantry held. How they held we don’t know.
The Persians now struck back and the Greek army broke, the day was Darius’s
Persians 12 vs Greek 7.
How did this happen. This was not how Alexander (or anyone) had imagined it would go.
Alexander fell from grace within the Greek empire,. All those who had foreseen greatness were proven wrong. One battle. One disastrous battle and the world was changed.
Darius the Great returned victorious. His military genius proven and his mantra that quantity will always defeat quality would go on to be taught at Military colleges for many years to come.
This battle had been fought twice.
The first time going very much as expected to a 12 vs 6 Greek victory. With the Greek heavies twice double timing into the Persian centre – killing just about everything and forcing Darius to flee the field after his counterattack was seen off by a first strike.
The second went as described above to the horror of the Greek players. With the Persian army always appearing one step ahead and having the right cards at the right time. It was something to behold and probably never repeatable all for the amusement of the card Gods.