Battle of Han River
|Battle of Han River|
Date: 15th November 335 BC
Location: River Han, south China
As reaction against Alexander army victorious campaign in Asia (Fall of Persian Empire, conquer of Sogdian castle, destroying Parvus Kingdom, capturing Caucasia ... ), the Japanese Empire started a massive invasion to China, to take strategic resources (iron, gold, agricultural areas, slaves ... ). During the first parts of campaign, JIA conquered and destroyed the whole of Korea. All peoples were enslaved and sent to Japan to build important infrastructure, military areas and workshops. After fall of Korea, Japanese army used "Warring state" era in China and attacked against divided Chinese states. One by one, these states were captured and destroyed or enslaved by Japanese armies.
Chinese resistance was very weak because of weakness of their armies and their disputes. So, Chinese started uniting and sent hundreds thousands troops to south, because they knew about Alexander army. Meanwhile, Alexander established alliance with Vietnamese and other South Asian nations and also reinforced his army by Indian troops.
Alexander, encouraged by myths about his invincible army, agreed with cooperation and defend of China. Alexander builded first FOB (Forward Operation Base) in south China and SOB (Strategic Operation Base) on China-Vietnamese border area. In this bases he gathered his elite units, best troops and experienced army commanders.
Meanwhile, situation in occupied China became critical for Japanese armies. Farmers started resistance activities and fights against supply lines, however, this activities were not enough strong to eliminate JIA threat in area and weaken JIA before fight with Alexander units.
Order of Battle
Macedonians and allies
66 infantry phalanxes / 33 bilanxes (double-phalanx)
350 cavalry companions (Macedonians and Mongols)
265 cavalry mercenary companions (Spartans)
41 heavy weapons batteries
17 war-elephant units
25 infantry lines (line per 12 thousand troops)
Japanese Imperial Army
41 infantry lines (same as Chinese lines)
650 cavalry squads (one per 307 cavalryman)
Two divisions of Elite Guard Corps (12,500 per division)
125 artillery batteries
Unknown, chaotic commanding system ...
15th November, prince Akimata sent emissar with message for Alexander and invite Alexander to battle north from Han River, one of important and large Chinese rivers. Alexander accepted, underestimating power of Japanese artillery forces. At noon, Japanese army with Chinese collaborant units gathered on hills and plains. Alexander army moved to direct attack and Alexander divided his forces in to three parts.
Left-wing under Perdikkus commanding and reinforced by Perdikkus elite cavalry. Center under Stratégos Parmenion commanding reinforced by all elite infantry units. Right-wing under Alexander, Roxana and Dioderen commanding, reinforced by Dioderen strong mercenaries cavalry, but composite by weak infantry.
In first phase, Alexander heavy weapons started long-range attacks against Japanese infantry lines. Heavy weapons under Antipater commanding did heavy casualties for Japanese infantry lines and decimated Chinese collaborants. However, Akimata urgent respond by massive artillery fire of 500 cannons which soon start ruining Chinese volunteers forces.
In second phase, Chinese volunteers infantry lines started massive attack on Japanese infantry lines, because Japanese artillery batteries decimated Chinese volunteers and fight man-against-man was only way to stop artillery attack against Chinese volunteers, because there will be high danger of friendly-fire for artillery units. So, artillery units changed target and start bombing Alexander phalanxes and bilanxes. Alexander recognised his failure, especially when artillery killed Parmenion and Center of Alexander army begin collapsing under enemy artillery fire.
In third, last and very important phase, Alexander decided to do extremely risk action. He took all his, Roxana and Dioderen cavalry, moved around eastern hills and attack on Japanese rear. Attack with "Fire Bottles" against gunpowder supplies and fierocious raid on Japanese Commanding Center led to destroy large parts of gunpowder materials and supplies and killing many hundreds experienced and talented Japanese officers who was shocked by this action and did not expect something like that. Alexander ordered complete retreat but it was too late for many his units.
Dioderen and his mercenaries self sacrifice to cover Alexander retreat and fall in fight with Japanese cavalry and archers. Pardikkus left-wing of army was encircled and destroyed. General died during fight. Center was ruined and start wild retreat to FOB. Alexander, Mongolians archer-cavalry, Roxana and his elite guard unit and few thousands Vietnamese, Indians and Macedonians were last remnants of Alexander original army.
Macedonians and allies
For Macedonians, battle was big failure and their army was crippled. Two elite commanders died, many veteran warriors died and also many allies. Alexander political position and reputation as invincible warlord was crushed. However, because of his intern, economical, social and cultural policy, he stand through this crisis, got support from Highest State Council and also from Empire Congress of Nations. Important factor for Macedonians was start of rearmament with gunpowder-based weapons (cannons, rifles ... ) and start building large workshops and manufactures because of quick rearmament.
Fail of Alexander army led to collapse of last Chinese struggle forces, however Chinese resistance movement grew up because of Alexander success with killing important officers. Chinese collaborants ceased exist, because all of them were killed by other Chinese.
Reputation of Japanese Imperial Army quickly grew up! They were first army which crushed Alexander army. For many Japanese man, now became soldier of Imperial Army will mean prestige in society. But victory was mainly only because of technological successes with gunpowder and Alexander tactical mistakes. JIA got half-millions new recruits, but paradox was, this growth up led to crippling their own armed forces because of bad training and non-experienced recruits. And also death or wounding of eight elite army generals and killing 400 other army officers led to weaken of Japanese Army Commanding morale level.