Elephant Sanctuary Retirement Park in Chiang Mai (Thailand)
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The elephant in War

Elephant Retirement Park (Chiang Mai, Thailand)

The elephant in War

The following is from Hindu Manner, Customs and Ceremonies. Written at the beginning of the nine – tenth century by the Abbe J,A. Dubois. Though it id about war elephants in ancient India, most of it would apply to Thailand as well. “In the first line [of attack] came the elephants. It is certain that these animals carried castles or howdahs on their backs, containing several men armed with javelins. But I think it would be wrong to suppose that these castles or howdahs were of any great size, as might be imagined from certain illustrations. Like those which may still be found in the present day amongst the armies of some Eastern princes, these towers or howdahs resembled large bed, placed crosswise on the back of the elephants , and capable of holding six or seven archers when sitting in Oriental fashion Though an elephant is very strong, so as to be able to carry two small cannons and their carriages, there is nevertheless a limit to its power; and naturally a much larger erection, with a still larger number of men in it, would be a burden, under which even an elephant would succumb. And there is another point, namely, the difficulty of fixing a lofty structure with any degree of security on an elephant’s back, a difficulty which would be rendered practically insurmountable by the brusque movements and rolling gait of the animal. Be this as it may, elephants in days gone by were formidable adversaries amongst these half – disciplined nations. They broke the ranks, frightened the horses, trampled the soldiers underfoot; and at the same time it was very difficult to wound them, on account of their hard and horny epidermis.”

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