Origins III/Chariot War Before The Time of Moses (illus)

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Origins III/Chariot War Before The Time of Moses (illus)

Postby JOHN THURSTON » Mon Nov 13, 2006 4:57 pm


Did you know that the French word for "Tank" is "Char".(Chariot)

Now you now I would really like to work up some response to these 'baseline threads" of the Forum.

I recommend reference to Origins II describing the Strategic setting for this, the first well documented battle of history;

A couple of notes:

The "Hyksos", a Semitic people, had dominated and occupied the Lower Kingdom had been able to establish their hold on Egypt by virtue of new weaponry and weapons technology.

Chariorts were both the Amored car and the Cavalry of the Army, as I believe that the horses available to the warriors were not of sufficient size to act as cavalry mounts, at least not yet.

The technology was copied happily by the Egyptians and the Hyskos were ejected from the Egyptian homeland, the last garrison of of Hyksos was ejected from Sharuhen by Ahmose I.

The fact that the Egyptians were a Hamitic people long occupied by a Semitic people is not mentioned in the Bible.

It is possible that remnants of the once powerful Hyksos remained in Egypt after what the Spanish might refer to as a "Reconquista".

After securing the homeland, Egypt, not atypically, had energy, lust for expanded power and the desire for maintenance of secured buffer states to prevent another catastrophic invasion.

Egyptian 'hegemony' extended through Palestine and into southern Syria.

The ruler of the City state of Kadesh instigated a rebellion skillfully and was able to lead a powerful coaltion force South. The "Asiatics' as they were apparently called, established stong positions on a line of low hills south of Megiddo itself.

However, like the barbarian Gauls and Germans facing Rome in the far distant future, each City States' army was drawn up along tribal patterns, the nobility and best armed in the front with the bulk of their force, decreasing in degree of quality in armament and training, to the rear.

The Egyptian Army was now extremly well organized:

"The basis ratio of chariots to infantry seems to have been at least one chariot to 50 Infantrymen" Gabriel and Boose, The Great Battles of Antiquity" pg 48.

A separate force of chariots consisting of 500 chariots was maintained and thus the striking power of the Arm was not dispersed as was French armor among the French Infantry in 1940.

"Egyptian infantry was organized into fifty man Platoons---------" "a Sa or company contained about 250 men-----" (ibid)

This is important, because the ability to command units down to this size level gave Egyptian commanders a great deal more tactical flexibility than their oppostion.

There was a unit of Regimental size but Gabriel and Boose note that the name of this size unit unit is not known.

The brigade sized unit was called a "Padjet" (Gabriel and Boose op cit)

Further, the army was subdivided along the line of the type or arms borne by the unit (or sub unit) "axemen, archers, clubmen and speamen---The latter carried shields and Six Foot long spears" (ibid).

"The officer corps was professionally trained and maintained (ibid)".

" Infantry was Egyptian Arm of Decision and fought in in formations five men deep and having a ten man Front" (op cit page 49).

They may say so, but, given the number and expense for chariots in the Army indicates that there was heavy expectations from the Chariot Arm.

I am going to pause for a bit to post a battle sketch.


You will note some comments pulled in with the sketch from "The Illustrated World History" Sir John Hamilton and Dr. Harry Elmer
Barnes---Wise 1936

Thutmose secured small hills and entered the valley in 'stealth mode' .

Although the hills in the area were low and sloping and "posed no obstacle to chariot manuever" (Gabriel and Boose p. 55) the defile of Kina brook shielded Thutmose' forces from direct observation.

Had he been caught in the midst of deploying, Gabriel and Boose theorize that his army would have been destroyed.

The Southernmost divison (memory serves it was the "Ra" division but I may have taken this name in error from a desription of a much lated battle at Kadesh) was in a postion to flank, enfilade and then rollup Kadesh's forces from the south while the remaining two divisions (Ptah and ??)stormed up the low hills while achieving total suprise.

The southern arm of the 'Asiatic' (Semitic?) force was overun as was the center. Only the Northern wing escaped destruction.

Mediggo itself was not taken by escalade in the rout which followed as Egyptian Troops took time to plunder the encampments of the enemy.

Thutmose raged over this, as it was not what he had expected from what he considered a thoroughly professional army, and he was forced into an eight month siege of Mediggo..

The whole political and military refinement of Egypt in 1479BC is astounding.

I know this is a great deal less interesting than discussing current events, but I wish also to vaguely follow the deveopment of Western Arms from its roots--and 1479 bc is the earliest date of descriptions that can be relied upon.

As points of reference (and not obtained from Wikipedia fwiw) the time of the Exodus can be traced to arounf 1280 BC following a 3-400 year stay by the Israelites in Egypt and the Kingdom of David to about 1000 bc. "Ancient Empires Milestones of History", Vol. One.)

More later.

"All Enlightenment Gratefully Accepted"
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Postby JOHN THURSTON » Sat Nov 18, 2006 10:30 pm


'Pharaoh Comes'

Chariots were much the rage in Asia Minor both before and after Alexander's time.

Darius's War Chariots would have had scythes capable of cutting a man in half, armor and all. Optional equipment also included hobnailed rims.

Chariots like Darius' were used extensively by "Mithridates the Great" King of Pontus in what is now nortwestern Turkey.

Mithridates Roman opponents included Sulla, Lucullus and Pompey---all great Generals.

Evrytime I hear the name Sulla, my skin crawls, but more on him later.

The Roman only used chariots for racing, unless some allied troops came packin' them.

There are at least two varying accounts of HOW Alexander dealt with them at Guagamela (Arbela)

The Egyptian army at Mediggo would have used chariots as "platforms" for archers, Javelin men and the dropping of a trooper or two.

Perhaps later they might have mounted scythes.
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