Air War Desert Storm by Lou Drendel

By Lou Drendel

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Alexander the Great 21 positioning his army behind the Pidarus River that cut through a narrow plain between the Cilician hills and the coast. The Macedonians turned back and arrived at the position. Some officers were impressed that the Great King had constructed fortifications along some points of the river. This indicated to them that the Persians were afraid. Darius's army was far larger than Alexander's, which consisted of about 48,000 men, though by choosing such a confined battlefield he negated much of its superiority.

The Great King was found in a wagon, bound in gold chains and stabbed to death with javelins. Two dead slaves and one live pet dog were beside him. This was a severe blow to Alexander, to the degree that he craved legitimacy as well as power. Inheriting the empire from a pitifully murdered king was more an insult than a boon. Of course, that is exactly why the Great King—seen as a spent force and in any event a loser—was killed by his erstwhile loyalists. The nobles of Bactria and the East no longer desired to be tied to Darius's fortune; and if Alexander wished to keep marching, he would have to proceed against them, not the ill-fated Great King.

The Macedonian line had been flanked on both sides and cut through on its left. But suddenly his own guard began to cave in from an unexpected attack. Darius would fight if he could identify an enemy. Instead, he was suddenly surrounded by fallen or fleeing men. And a sudden onset of hoofbeats, clangs of metal, and shouts to his left informed him that Alexander was caving in his guard and heading straight for him. Arrian's statement that Darius was the first of the Persians to flee the battle can hardly be believed.

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