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Hydaspes Order of Battle
by Jeff Jonas

Alexander’s forces at the Hydaspes:

Alexander’s army had grown to huge proportions by the time he invaded India. It is estimated that his national army was still about 15,000 Macedonians and other European troops but they were now augmented by up to 60,000 "native" troops. Many of these native contingents were probably absorbed by garrison duties and guarding lines of communications through Alexander’s hard won conquests back to the Persian frontier. As usual, whenever the Macedonian army was faced with a determined foe, Alexander mostly relied on his European troops. However at the Hydaspes, Alexander fielded a number of units of useful eastern light cavalry and horse archers. Various contigents of allied Indian troops were available, including a small amount of elephants, but they didnt see action with Alexander’s main forces.

Alexander had divided his forces into three task forces. The Assault force containing mostly Macedonians. A screening force which threatened various crossing points, and then later reinforced the main assault force. And a holding force under the command of Craterus that included some Macedonians, other allied troops, Taxiles Indian contigent, and the 20 odd war elephants available. Craterus was ordered to cover the main crossing point with his forces, and then if Porus marched away to engage Alexander’s river crossing, then his force was to cross the river and threaten the Indian army from the rear.

Alexander’s Assault forces:
    Companion cavalry:

The Agema squadron :            300
Hephaestion’s Hipparchy:     500
Perdiccas’ Hipparchy:           500
Coenus’ Hipparchy:                500
Demetrius’ Hipparchy:         500

Allied cavalry:

Dahae horse archers          1,000 (Nomad horse archers)

Heavy Infantry:

The Hypaspists (Seleucus) 3,000 (organised in the usual 3 chiliarchies)
Antigenes 'Phalanx Taxeis 1,500
Cleitus' Phalanx Taxeis        1,500

Light troops (Commanded by Tauron)

                The Agrianians                       1,000 (all the light troops may have been armed with axes)
                Cretans                                 1,000
                "Macedonian" archers        1,000
                Thracians                         1,000

Screening forces, and reserves that joined the assault force as reinforcements:


Bactrian Cavalry :          500 (javelin horsemen)
Sogdian Cavalry :                  1,000 (javelin horsemen)
Scythian Cavalry:                 1,000 (horse archers)

Heavy Infantry:

Meleager’s Phalanx Taxeis 1,500
Attalus’ Phalanx Taxeis 1,500
Gorgias’ Phalanx Taxeis 1,500

Mercenary Infantry: (these are not described as joining the battle)

Greek Mercenary Hoplites 2,000?
Greek Mercenary Peltasts 1,200?

Craterus’ Holding force:

Companion cavalry:

Craterus’ Hipparchy:         500

Allied Cavalry:

                Arachosian Cavalry                1,000 (javelin horsemen)
                Parapamisidae Cavalry        1,000 (javelin horsemen)
                Taxiles Indian cavalr             500

Heavy Infantry:

Alcetas’ Phalanx Taxeis 1,500
Polyperchon’s Phalanx     1,500
Taxiles footmen                 2,500 (possibly half archers, and half spear/javelinmen).

Light Infantry:

                Taxiles Indian skirmishers    1,000
                Greek Mercenary Peltasts 1,000
                Asiatic light troops                 1,000

20 elephants

Total cavalry:8800, Total Heavy Infantry: 18,000 Total Light Infantry/Peltasts: 8200. Grand Total 35,000.


Porus’s Indian army:

Of course Porus’ army composition is less well documented but it is variously regarded to have totalled about 36-38,000 combatants including up to 200 war elephants, and 400+ chariots. At this time Indian armies apparently had a mix of spear and shield men, and foot archers. The performance of Porus' infantry was negligible, and it is most likely that the great majority were "Militia". Two bodies of "good troops" flanked the main battleline. Small groups of light infantry supported the elephants and chariots. It is unknown whether any of Porus’s cavalry would be armored, I assume that a small percentage could have been.

Some of these troops (including some elephants) , would have been needed to screen Craterus' force. Also, 120 chariots and about 800 cavalry were wiped out by Alexander's advanced forces before the final battle.

Porus’ army:
Cavalry: 4,000-6,000
    Armored cavalry                     1,000
    Unarmored cavalry              5,000

Infantry: 30,000
    Archers                             4,000
    Spear and shield men              4,000
    Militia (archers/shieldmen)   16,000
    Light infantry                          6,000

Chariots: 420   
    210 2 horse chariots (3 crew) (630 crew)
    210 4 horse chariots (4 crew, 2 escorts) (1260 crew)

Elephants: 120-200
    Elephants (3 crew) 200 (600 crew)

Total: 38,490 or


Created by Jeff Jonas 10/99

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