In 327 B.C. Alexander the Great
entered India with his army. He was well received by many Indian princes who became his allies. However he faced serious resistance in the form of Porus
. In 326 B.C. Alexander engaged Porus on the banks of the Hydaspes in Punjab
The armies were seperated by the swollen river and Alexander puzzled over how to cross since his horses would panic when they faced Porus's elephants. Alexander marched his men up and down the river stretching the Indian army out and creating false alarms to lull Porus into a sense of security. Then at night Alexander led a select band of his men upriver where they crossed it on skins stuffed with hay.
When Porus heard about the crossing he sent his son to intercept Alexander with a force comprised of chariots and cavalry. Alexander's cavalry routed this force and Porus now faced a dilemma, should he face Alexander and allow the majority of the Greek army to cross, or allow Alexander to flank him. He chose to face Alexander.
Porus deployed his infantry and elephants in the centre with his cavalry and chariots on the wings. Alexander's cavalry attacked the Indian cavalry forcing them to take refuge in the infantry causing disruption. The greek infantry then advanced in a phalanx but were stopped by a charge from the elephants. The Greeks across the river then succeeded in crossing to attack the Indian rear guard. The infantry fighting the elephants began to get the upper hand using spears to force the elephants back over the Indian infantry. The Indian army was all but surrounded and suffered massive losses, while Porus was wounded and captured.
When he confronted Porus after the battle Alexander asked him how he wished to be treated, Porus responded "like a king" Alexander was impressed and not only made him his vassal in charge of the land he had held as king before but also gave him more territory. This was the first real encounter for the Greeks with war elephants and this battle was harder than any other in Alexander's campaign. The casualties suffered in this battle were the highest ever suffered by the Greeks, a personal tragedy struck Alexander when his horse Bucephalus, which he had broken in himself and ridden in every battle, died. Alexander built two cities, one on either side of the Hydaspes one he named Nicaea or victory and the other he named Bucephala in honour of his horse. In many historians minds the Hydaspes was the last of Alexander's great battles.