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"War Elephants in Asian History" Topic

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325 hits since 6 Jul 2018
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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP06 Jul 2018 12:47 p.m. PST

"For thousands of years, kingdoms and empires across southern Asia from Persia to Vietnam have used war elephants. The largest land mammals, elephants are also incredibly intelligent and strong. Other animals, particularly horses and sometimes camels, have long been used as transportation for human warriors in battle, but the elephant is a weapon, and a combatant, as well as a steed.

War elephants are taken from the Asian species, rather than from either the African savannah or forest elephant species. Some scholars believe that Hannibal may have used African forest elephants to invade Europe, but it is impossible to definitively state his elephants' origins so long after the fact. Forest elephants tend to be quite shy, and would be difficult to train for battle. The largest type, African savannah elephants, do not allow humans to tame or ride them. Thus, it has generally fallen to the medium-height and shorter-tusked Asian elephant to go to war.

Of course, any reasonable elephant would turn and run from the noise and confusion of a battle. How were they trained to wade right in to the fray? First, since each elephant has a distinct personality, trainers selected the most aggressive and combative individuals as candidates. These were generally males, although not always. Less aggressive animals would be used to haul supplies or provide troop transport, but would be kept away from the front lines…."
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