Analysis Of The Battle Of Thermopylae

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The Battle of Thermopylae was one of the most significant battles in all off ancient history. It occurred in 480 BC between the invading Persian army, led by the self-proclaimed god-King Xerxes, and the Greek city-states, led by King Leonidas. Analysis of the battle of Thermopylae presents a classic case study highlighting how proper training; pre-battle planning and preparation; superior implementation of observation and fields of fire, avenues of approach, key terrain, obstacles, and cover and concealment (OAKOC); and cultural differences allowed a smaller military force to withstand a much larger opposing military force. This paper will apply the United States Army’s Four Steps of Battle Analysis to evaluate the key factors that…show more content…
In 480 BC, when the Persian horde, estimated by some historians to range from 300,000 to 1.7 million soldiers, landed on the shores of Thermopylae, the Persian King Xerxes sent emissaries to the leaders of the Greek city-states demanding their surrender and patronage to the Persian Empire (Frye, 2006). Despite the massive threat that was encamped on the shores off the Gulf of Maliakos in small town known as Trachis, the Greeks refused. Sparta, known for their superior military might, were chosen by the Greek leaders to lead a coalition of Greek warriors to defend their homeland from the invading Persian army (Frye, 2006). King Leonidas, a superior tactician, accurately assessed the Persian army’s motivations and capabilities and decided to use the natural terrain to his advantage. Assuming that the Persians would challenge the Greek forces from their staging point, derived from pervious knowledge during the Battle of Marathon and the Persians encampment location, King Leonidas had chosen to eventually maneuver his forces into the Pass of Thermopylae, also known as Hellespont; saddled between a mountain range and the Gulf of Maliakos (Frye, 2006). Hellespont would provide the Spartans some significant tactical advantages, where within the pass, at its narrowest portion which was only 50 feet wide; countering the Persian greatest strength of archery and mounted horsemen (Frye, 2006). Figure 1: This map depicts the location and troop movements during the Battle

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