Another long author's note here, so bear with me once again.
This story and those following it will be one-shots of battles based on the Total War franchise of Videogames. Some of these battles I've played myself, others are battles I've thought off on the top of my head. Everything from the Era of bronze to the American Civil war is fair game for this collection of one-shots.
Some of these battles will be from the perspective of soldiers on the field, others from the generals, and still others are simply narrated in their entirety.
I hope you enjoy this collection of Total War battles, you will see land battles, sea battles, assassinations, ambushes,revolutions, sieges, battles fought in every environment and every season, victories will be won, defeats will be suffered, and empires will rise and fall.
But war... war never changes
For this first one shot we have a Dahae tribe fighting an army of India in the summer 328 BC. Let battle commence.
They knew India was a land of gold, fertile ground, and great riches. It was a perfect spot to carve out an Empire, and Alexander the Great's army had survived contact with the native inhabitants. They also knew for some reason his Macedonian army was marching back to its own lands.
So naturally a confederation of barbarian tribes decided to avoid the returning army by going the one place they wouldn't; The Dahae tribe was marching to India.
A Dahae commander now led his tribe into the land of India, hoping to avoid the Macedonian troops. His army was over 1,400 men strong, all gathered from across the known world, and they were the fiercest warriors ever to claim the name Dahae.
Spearmen, swordsmen, and men armed with large two-handed sickles marched in the front of the invading horde, and 600 men armed with simple cloth slings marched behind them. About 100 mounted archers plodded alongside the flanks of the army, defending the chief himself, who marched in the middle of the army along with one other group of mounted spearmen.
The army marched each day, only stopping for brief moments to forage supplies or sleep at nightfall. The barbarians were motivated by the promise of the treasure, wine, and rich lands and so they took this punishment and the forced marches without complaint. The Macedonians had defeated the natives of India and walked away, so what could stop them from defeating the Indians and claiming a new Empire for themselves?
With those thoughts bolstering their courage, they crossed over the borders of Alexander the Great's empire, and marched into India.
As they came over into India, the men marveled at the soil beneath their feet. It was wet, unlike the dry soil or sand back home. They stared at all around them, impressed by these new lands, lands that would soon be theirs, once they conquered it.
The Dahae commander quickly sent out scouts, determined to find the nearest village and loot it, not only for the riches, but also showing the natives who their new masters were.
The scouts quickly reported back, but the light of conquest wasn't what was shining in their eyes, it was a light of fear. An army was marching towards them, a very big one.
The Dahae quickly moved into battle formation, spears were on the flanks and the swordsmen and sicklemen were placed in the middle. The slingers spread out and stood in front of the melee troops and the horse archers divided themselves in two groups, placing themselves on the flanks. Lastly the cavalry and the commander himself stood behind the infantry.
Then the waiting commenced.
It wasn't long before the Indian army came into view, and the commander's blood ran cold.
He'd heard the horror stories from deserters and prisoners, he'd been warned by Macedonian exiles that now served in his army, and he'd known that they were a possibility the second he'd set foot in India.
Six Elephants moved at the forefront of the Indian army.
The Dahae trembled a bit, but a bark from their commander silenced them. They were Barbarians, they were some of the best warriors in their world, and they had fought dozens of armies and won… these Elephants were just another challenge they would beat.
Plus the famed army of Alexander the Great had been forced to turn back because of the elephants, and if the Dahae could kill one… it would surely strike fear into all who were thinking of opposing them.
With those words the Commander whipped his troops back into shape, simultaneously crushing his own fear. The Barbarians reformed and stood ready as the Indian army came into view.
The Indians were armed with javelins and bows, and melee troops marched in front of them armed with spears. Behind them marched the feared elephants, along with three chariots hauled by horses.
Each elephant was carrying two men, both with bows and javelins, and the chariots had an archer standing alongside the driver.
The Dahae commander smiled. The Natives were marching in a long line, and they could be outflanked by his horse archers. The Cavalry was the main advantage his warriors had against the native force.
On his order the horse archers galloped to the right and left of the Indian army, bows strung as ready as they guided their mounts with their knees. The rest of the barbarians clashed their weapons on their shields and screamed war-cries, hoping to scare their opponents.
The horse archers circled around the native army and fired one volley at the backs of the archers and javelin men.
Twangs of bowstrings and screams of pain echoed over the once quiet battlefield as the first engagement of the battle began.
The Indian archers spun around and fired their bows in a hopeless volley as the horse archers rushed out of range.
The elephants charged forward towards the horses, three on each flank, and the horses whinnied and reared in fear, throwing their riders into the dusty ground. A shower of javelins arced down from the Howdahs and the remaining horse archers were scattered.
Then the Indian chariots charged towards the undefended right flank of the Dahae, rumbling and bouncing over the terrain, their scythed wheels glinting in the sun.
The Spearmen braced against the oncoming chariots, letting fired arrows bounce off their shields, and then the chariots smashed into the shieldwall.
Brute force stood against an earthshattering charge, as the chariots veered into one another. Spears were shoved into the horses as the barbarians surrounded them, slaying the drivers and archers.
The Barbarian slingers rushed forward in front of the melee troops and whirled their weapons over their heads, the Indian archers strung their bows and aimed as the javelin men rushed forward. The archers fired, and arrows fell among the ranks of the slingers.
The slingers ducked the storm of arrows, and those that could hurled their stones at the javelin men.
Screams of pain echoed from the Indians and the barbarians gave a hearty cheer as the javelin men staggered from the hail of missiles. Their cry was cut short however, when the Indians retaliated.
Javelins and arrows arced through the air, cutting down the lightly armed slingers in droves. Under the cover of their missile troops the Indian spearmen began to advance. Another rain of missiles pounded the lightly armored slingers, and they turned to flee, running back behind their lines.
The remaining slingers rushed to safety, which to them meant abandoning the battlefield, as the Barbarian melee troops braced themselves for action. Arrows and javelins bounced off shields as the Indian spearmen charged forward.
The Dahae chief smiled, his men were the best in melee combat and soon the savages would learn that the hard way. Under ordinary circumstances he have hunted the slingers down and slain them all for desertion and cowardice, but the oncoming Indian charge held his attention.
The Spearmen crashed into the Barbarian melee lines, and the battle was truly joined.
The left flank of the Dahae was assaulted by eighty spearmen, each Indian spearman was armed with a long flat bladed spear and a small shield, but their barbarian counterparts had a larger shield than they did.
Spears were knocked aside, buried into shields and broken, and stabbed into bloody flesh as the two sides clashed. The battle ebbed and flowed as men from both sides fell. Corpses littered the ground as men grabbed spears from the hands of the dead and used them to attack the living.
The battle for the middle was no contest, as the barbarian sickle and swordsmen carved bloody paths through the ranks of their attackers. The Indian spear charge faltered in the face of mighty two handed sickle blows and the powerful swings of swords, and soon the momentum fell apart and the Indians began to scatter.
The Dahae chief smiled and roared a warcry, which was echoed by those nearest him. He saw that the battle on the right flank was approaching a similar outcome and the native spearmen were beginning to break and scatter. He turned towards the left flank and motioned his mount forward, ready to smash into the Indians with a cavalry charge.
His mount didn't move. None of them did.
Horror filled the commander's stomach as he released the reason why: Elephants were charging towards the left flank.
The barbarians on the left pushed forward, becoming more confident as their enemies fell beneath powerful thrusts. The Indians finally broke and turned to flee, and they were cut down as they ran. The victorious barbarians whooped and hollered in triumph until loud thumps shook the ground.
The spearmen turned to see three elephants charging towards them. They screamed as their formation shattered, and men were either crushed outright, hurled aside by a swinging trunk, or skewered by a javelin tossed by the riders on their backs. The remaining spearmen simply gave into terror and began to flee the field.
The left flank disintegrated as the Elephants rampaged through it and the Dahae chief barked threats at the rest of his men, urging them to stay in position.
The slingers were dead and wounded, the left flank was gone, and three elephants charged towards the Dahae lines.
A hail of arrows and Javelins crashed into the barbarian lines as the Indian archers attacked again and men screamed as the missiles ravaged their flanks. More barbarians fell to the blood soaked ground as the elephants smashed into the middle of the Dahae forces.
The swords carved red lines across the gray skin of the elephants, but these strikes were nothing more than bee stings to the great animals, and the legs of the elephants stomped up and down, smashing into the swordsmen.
Two handed sickle swings hacked into the legs, almost as if they were great trees that could be felled through brute strength. Yet the massive trunks swung and swatted the warriors aside, shattering armor, metal, and bone. The survivors turned in panic, screaming and abandoning weapons as they fled the field.
The Dahae chief, along with the light cavalry, were the only forces who remained on the battlefield. The Archers and Javelin men they could slay, the spearmen had suffered heavy losses and were no threat, but these elephants were far too powerful.
Their horses remained frozen in fear, and the only movement they made was tossing their heads from side to side, as if they too wanted to refuse to believe what they were seeing.
The elephants smashed into the horses, who reared with fear and threw their riders into the dirt, before the survivors finally came to their senses and running far away from the attackers.
The Indians on the elephants hurled javelins at the stunned barbarians who could do little more than stand there and die. The Dahae chief attempted to stand, but found himself pinned down under the body of his horse. He scrabbled in the dirt for his lance and seized it just as an elephant made a move to step on him.
He raised his lance and shoved it upwards as the massive foot came down onto him. The Elephant roared in pain as the lance splintered causing blood to rush out of the wound. Still the beast stepped down, crushing the hapless chieftain into the dirt.
If any barbarian troops remained on the battlefield, if any troops attempted to rally in defense of their chief, if any Dahae had dreams about crushing his fear and shame and turning to face the enemy… The act of seeing their chief crushed beneath an elephant cause those thoughts to wither and die.
The entire barbarian army was either dead or fleeing the Indians, who picked them off with well-aimed arrows. The dream of having their own land, the dream of conquering these natives… it had all turned into a nightmare.
The survivors of the battle knew one thing though, they'd never attempt to conquer India again.
Once the battle ended, the barbarian corpses were piled up and burnt as the Indians watched in reverence.
Their own dead were carried off to be buried according to their customs, and as the Indians left the battlefield they looked back at it. The blood soaked ground, covered in the ash and broken weapons of the forgiven invaders… it was all a warning to others.
India and its riches were best left alone.
I actually fought this battle myself in Rome total war: Alexander as the Dahae. I did pretty well until those darn elephants destroyed my left flank and crushed my general, then everyone just ran for it.
If you liked this story and want to see more please leave a review, I'm taking requests for battles so if you want two armies to clash in a certain way (land, sea, a siege) please leave a review and let me know!
As always please leave a review, feel free to check out my other works, and have a wonderful day! :D