The battle of marathon 490 b c
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Nav Sci 421. The Battle of Marathon 490 B.C. Capt T. B. Pochop Marine Officer Instructor. Learning Objectives. Understand the battle of Marathon as it pertains to the Levels of War (Policy, Strategy, Operational, and Tactical).

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The Battle of Marathon 490 B.C.

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The battle of marathon 490 b c

Nav Sci 421

The Battle of Marathon490 B.C.

Capt T. B. Pochop

Marine Officer Instructor


Learning objectives

Learning Objectives

  • Understand the battle of Marathon as it pertains to the Levels of War (Policy, Strategy, Operational, and Tactical).

  • Understand the 4 types of amphibious operations and how they relate to the battle of Marathon.

  • Comprehend the conduct of the amphibious operation by the Persians, particularly the choice to land at Marathon.

  • Relate the conduct and success/failure of the battle to the 9 Principles of War and key terms of MCDP-1 Warfighting .


General significance

General Significance

  • Classic examples of:

    • Land power vs. sea power.

    • Heavy infantry shock system vs. light cavalry missile power.

    • Policy, Strategy, Operational Levels of War.

    • 9 Principles of War.

    • 4 types of Amphibious Operations.


Ancient map orientation

Ancient Map Orientation


Detailed map orientation

Detailed Map Orientation

Marathon


Greek hoplite

Greek Hoplite

Hoplon 32-40” diam.

Hoplite

Falcata

Leaf blade ~2’


Persian armament

Persian Armament


Orientation

Athenians

Led by Miltiades & Callimachus

10,000 troops

Phalanx formations

Heavy Infantry

Shock Action/No firepower

No cavalry

Unbreakable front, vulnerable flanks.

Persians

Led by Darius

Datis - Army Cmdr

Artaphernes - Navy Cmdr

600 galleys

10-15,000 troops

Light force

Primarily cavalry

Missile power, no shock.

Orientation


Why invade the athenians

Why invade the Athenians?

  • Punish Athenians for supporting the Ionian revolt in 499 B.C.

  • Secure west flank of Aegean Sea for Sea Lines of Communication (SLOC).

  • To secure south flank for attack on Scythians.

  • To build the Persian Empire.

POLICY


How to get to the fight darius has 2 options

By land, supported logistically by the navy.

Persian strength - Army

Not limited on the number of troops

Long, difficult, time consuming route.

By sea, with an amphibious landing.

Direct route

Persia is not a naval power.

Size of invasion force limited by transport capacity.

How to get to the fight? Darius has 2 options:

STRATEGIC


Let s invade take 1

Let’s Invade - Take 1

  • 492 B.C. - Darius attacks by land, supported logistically by the Navy.

    • Movement halted when the navy is destroyed in a storm off of Mt Athos.

STRATEGIC


Let s invade take 2

Let’s Invade - Take 2

  • 490 B.C. - Darius decides to conduct an amphibious operation.

Sack Eretria first. (Amphib Raid)

STRATEGIC


Why land marathon

Why land Marathon?

  • Why land at Marathon, far from Athens? Why not land at Athens?

    • Intel from Hippias.

    • Unopposed Landing site.

    • Draw the garrison army out of Athens.

    • Conduct an amphibious envelopment on an unprotected Athens.

    • Marathon supposedly has good terrain for cavalry.

Force the enemy to react to you.

Amphib Operations as a form of envelopment.

The influence of terrain and geography.

OPERATIONAL


What happened

What happened?

Landing is rarely the key problem

  • Persians land unopposed at Marathon.

    • Stay on beach and bivouac.

    • Beach is not suitable for cavalry.

  • Athenians arrive from the inland route and observe Persians encamped on the beach.

    • Wait for Spartans to reinforce (~2 weeks),

      OR

    • Attack now, before Persian plans develop further.

Seize the Initiative


Conduct of the battle

Conduct of the Battle

  • Athenians attack Persians on the beach.

    • They extend the phalanx, reinforce the flanks and thin their center.

    • They anchor the flanks along terrain obstacles.

    • Persians push through the weakened Greek center.

    • The strong Greek flanks destroy the lightly armed Persian flanks, and collapse on the Persian center (double envelopment).

    • Hand-to-hand combat = decisive victory for Athenians.

Maneuver – put the enemy at a disadvantage.

TACTICAL


Conduct of the battle1

Conduct of the Battle

Persians – Frontal Attack

Athenians – Double Envelopment

TACTICAL


What happened next

What happened next?

  • Persian forces still attempted an amphibious envelopment on Athens.

  • Successful Athenians returned to the city via inland, direct route

  • Spartan reinforcements arrived

  • Political intrigue did not manifest in fall of Athens

  • End result: Persians unable to land and conduct decisive battle


Conclusions

Conclusions

  • Interesting attempt by Persians to use amphibious operations to draw the army out of Athens and then conduct and amphibious envelopment on Athens.

  • Darius had one land and one navy commander (Split Command).

  • Persian’s failure to move off the beach allowed the Athenians to seize the initiative, block exits, and choose the battlefield.


Conclusions cont

Conclusions (cont.)

  • Athenians tactical control of the battle and initiative negated the strengths of the Persian army.

    • KIA:192 Greeks to 6,400 Persians

  • Persians forced to conduct a difficult amphibious withdrawal.


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