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Alexander the Great and the Logistics of the Macedonian Army New Ed Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
You're Alexander the Great, setting out on campaign with your mighty army. Glory and profit await you if you succeed, and as you know from history, the real Alexander did succeed. His army was renowned for its efficiency, speed and lethality; his expedition through Asia was the longest military campaign ever undertaken; he fascinates military historians to this day.
But when you put yourself in his place, ask yourself what was required of Alexander to realize his achievment. Was his fame won through superior force of men and arms alone? Could he take his army anywhere he desired, at any time? Had he merely to set his stern, clear gaze upon a point on the horizon and say: "There we shall go"--or was there more to it?
Start with a mundane consideration: how do you feed your men? It's not as clear-cut as it might seem. Suppose you have an army of 10,000 men. Suppose, further, that each man's consumption rate is 3 pounds of grain per day's march. Now realize that this must mean just what the numbers tell you: each man of your 10,000 needs 3 pounds of grain daily, 3 times 10,000 is 30,000--so you need an incredible 30,000 pounds of food, each and every day. If you don't get this food, your men will weaken and die. There's no way around it.
A quarter million pounds of food over the course of a week's march isn't easy to come by, especially in Alexander's day, is it? After all, you can't have the food airlifted to you. You have no motorized vehicles to speed you along, either, bear in mind. Your own feet must take you, slowly and over rough terrain in hot weather, to your destination.Read more ›
this is not an introductory book on alexander's campaigns, however. the author assumes you have good knowledge of what the pervailing theories are of the routes that he took, and doesn't waste time explaining details that might not be known to someone who hasn't already read and studied this time period.
Don't be put off by the implied technical details above. This is a very readable book, a story, even. It's one of my favourite reads. Engel's conjectures are thought provoking, but always backed up by hard evidence. Anyone studying warfare in any time prior to the modern period (where trains and the internal combustion engine changed everything) needs to read this book to understand how things worked.
A great book to read along with J.F.C. Fuller's 'The Generalship of Alexander the Great'.
The book contains some important lessons for all commanders today on the critical importance of logistics to sustain an army and ensure that it is well supplied and that troops remain motivated. The book shows how Alexander's intimate knowledge and understanding of terrain, geography, weather, seasons, sources of provisions and accessibility of routes enabled him to expertly solve the various logistical challenges thus ensuring his decisive victories. The immensity of the calculations that he had to make, the numerous permutations that had to be taken into account with respect to factors such as speed of troop movement, water and food requirements for people and animals as well as the weapons and ammunition shows really how capable Alexander and his staff were.
The book thus authoritatively highlights the fact that Alexander's genius for effective logistical system played an essential part in complementing his brilliant tactical skills and leadership acumen. After reading this book, you can make sense of why Alexander made certain decisions as supply and logistics severely restricts where an army can go, its speed, rest periods, how long it can stay at any given place, the number of soldiers that can be accommodated as well as methods of transport and supply, among other things.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a really cool book. Granted we are talking about logistics in the ancient world.. But you can still learn a lot!!! Read morePublished 16 months ago by Dezfast
This book will make you like, perhaps even love, logistics. For those of us who are simply fanatical about Alexander and not crazed Ph.D. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Frederick B. Gallaher