Chapter 43: Archery Battle
“Will it also happen to Persia?” Asistes curiously asked.
“What about Greece?” Marigi immediately looked back and asked, not willing to be outdone.
Davos looked at them and said it somewhat serious, “If you live long enough, then you might be able to see it in 50 years.”
“Is this an oracle?” Asistes asked excitedly.
Marigi obviously didn’t believe it.
Davos smiled and did not reply. If the flap of his butterfly wing is weak enough to not change the course of history, decades later (he can’t remember the exact time), Alexander of Macedonia will conquer Greece and destroy Persia. And since the Greeks does not consider the Macedonian in the north as one of them. Therefore, in a sense, he conquered the 2 most powerful forces in the Mediterranean at that time.
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For the next 2 days, the Greek mercenary continued to march at ease.
Tissaphernes army finally appeared on the third day.
Currently, Davos had basically use the light cavalry unit of 50 Greeks as scouts and sent them out. After all, the Persian cavalry are stronger individually, and the Greek cavalry is no match against them when fighting one-on-one. So they, in a group of 5, did not dare leave the main force too far, and only moved within 2~3 miles around the formation. When they saw the Persian army from afar, they immediately returned.
“The Persians are coming, prepare to defend!”
“Cheirisophus ordered for the defense to be ready!”
The heralds quickly conveyed the order around the huge formation.
The Greek mercenary used a large hollow square formation to protect the supply unit. Therefore, it was impossible to change position before they meet the enemy. They just made the supply unit gather in the center, the soldiers were armed with shield and spears, and raise their vigilance, while they slow down the marching speed and keep the formation intact.
Soon, the Persians appeared in the rear of the troops. From the army flag that is fluttering, the soldiers realized that Tissaphernes had come. The Greek mercenary had easily defeated him in the Battle of Cunaxa, so they did not take him too seriously.
Then, on the left wing of Tissaphernes, another troops appeared and as the formation advance, the Greeks’ heart tighten, it was another army of more than 10,000 people! Everyone was familiar on the emblem on the army flag, the Satrap of Armenia, Orontes, had arrive, which the leaders had already expected.
Then, on the right wing of Tissaphernes, another large army appeared, with no less than 10,000 people, the flag held high is familiar to everyone.
“Oh, I remember! That is the army we met on our way, which is said to be led by the brother of the Persian king!” Asistes shouted.
“The army that was supposed to march in the opposite direction of ours is here! I’m afraid that they have been quietly following us! Tissaphernes had evil intention to us for a long time!” said Philesius.
Davos nodded a little stiff, with his hands clutching the reins.
Tissaphernes army also contained the remnants of Cyrus the Younger led by Ariaeus. The 4 army came together magnificently and spread out in a geese shape formation, as they slowly approach the Greek mercenary.
This seemingly endless, dense crowd was the most the Greek mercenary had seen since the Battle of Cunaxa. Last time, they had Cyrus the Younger to rely on and the mercenary was only responsible for the right wing, but they now need to face the Persian army and everyone was inevitably nervous.
Despite the tension, the Greeks realized that their only way to live is through a bloody battle. Cleanor watched the distance of the marching enemy, and as they were about to enter the range of the slingers, he immediately gave an order, “Slingers, get ready!”
The slingers in the entire rearguard immediately started swinging their slings. More than 300 meters away, the accuracy and strength of the flying stones will be worse, but there are so many Persians, it was so dense that almost every stone that fell evoke a scream. There was chaos in the middle of the Persian army, and their pace of advance almost stopped.
“Lord Satrap, the attack of the enemy is too fierce! Should we retreat temporarily and let the troops on both wings go forward first?” An adjutant beside Tissaphernes suggested it to him.
Tissaphernes’ face was equally unsightly, but he did not hesitate to refuse. Although the king appointed him as the commander of the plan to expel the Greeks, Orontes only came to assist him, while the king’s brother, Siste, only help due to their friendship. One of them is the same as him, a Satrap, but he is the king’s son-in-law, while the other one is the king’s brother. How could he expect them to help him if he doesn’t do his best? Moreover, they have a close relationship with the king, and if they want back to privately tell Artaxerxes about his performance, then the good impression that he had built in the heart of the Persian king will be destroyed.
Tissaphernes fiercely glanced at his adjutant and immediately ordered, “Speed up and continue to move forward!” This time, he amassed nearly 50,000 troops. He have plenty of people! Since the Greeks want to compete with him with long-range firepower, then he wants to see who shoots better! Look at who can last! Anyway, he wasn’t ready for a frontal clash with the Greeks. after the Battle of Cunaxa, the scene where the Greek hoplite’s charge had unexpectedly defeated the left wing of the Persian army so easily, had happened beside him and left him a great impact.
The Persians screamed and ran all the way, Tissaphernes even sent the imperial guards to supervise the war and cut down the deserters one by one to warn the whole army. Under such circumstances, both wings of the Persian army quickly surrounded the mercenaries, and because the Persians had too many troops and the mercenaries were in a square formation, so the Persian army had to stretched out its front and almost all the mercenaries were surrounded.
Davos had already dismounted, and the horse was led to the supply unit in the center of the square formation. He was not as nervous when facing the approaching enemy, as he was at the start, “Shield Wall!”
Asistes and the other 2 heralds conveyed the order of Davos throughout the troops in the left wing.
4 hoplite units began to move closer, with their round shields overlapping with each other and soon, a long copper wall was erected. The shield of the Greek hoplite is unique among the infantry of the Mediterranean countries, the round shield is 1 meter in diameter, the core of the wood is covered with copper. It wasn’t held by hand, but instead has 2 grips that the arm can pass through in the back of the shield, which save them some efforts and it is also not easy to slip, and because it is big and hard enough, the arrow have a difficult time penetrating it.
The archers that strayed behind the hoplite had quickly went near the shield wall, so that they can reduce the damage of the other side’s arrows.
Because of the previous total annihilation of Artaozus’ 6,000 people, not only did the mercenary replaced the bows of the Cretan archers with the Persian’s composite bow, they also selected soldiers who are good with bows from the hoplites and peltast unit and had them joined the ranks of archers. The number of the archers in the mercenary reached 500, and they were scattered in the rearguard and in the left and right wings.
When the Persian army approached within a hundred meters, both sides almost simultaneously fired their arrows.
“Bang! Bang! Bang!…” A series of bows and strings rang, and countless arrows flew to the air, like a huge dark cloud covering the blue sky and the scorching sun. The denseness of the arrows had even caused numerous arrows to collide in the air, when most of the “dark clouds” fell on the mercenaries, there was a clear “Clang! Clang! Clang!…” that sounded, and sometimes there was a scream or two; And when a small part of the “dark cloud” fell on the side of the Persian army, there were a lot of screams…
Arrows and arrows came and went between the two sides.
The Persians even pushed their frontline within 50 meters away and stop moving, no longer taking a single step. Because the Persians are clear that further ahead will have the Greek peltast go into battle.
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The archery battle lasted for some time.
Apart from the clean land beneath the long square shield wall, the mercenaries were surrounded by densely packed arrows, which made the Greek archers with empty arrows no longer worry about it, they simply just plucked an “arrow grass” from the ground and return fire.
Davos got used to the sound of arrows hitting the shield, but what he was more worried about was the muffled groan that came into his ears from time to time, which meant that there was someone that got hit by an arrow. His left arm was somewhat numb, but he remained in the same position without moving, and he did not dare leave the shield. Now both sides tenaciously fighting to see who can last till the end.