Anthony Stevenson (tonys@CS.Berkeley.EDU)
Fri, 23 Sep 1994 12:55:38 -0700
in regards to ancient "actual" battles... in general it was very difficult
to organize troops that had been fighting all day into effective pursuers
against fleeing opponants. Also there was danger of ambush, and the classic
maneuver of faking retreat to draw the enemy forward. also since most
battles were fought in the day, it was night time by the time any pursuit
could be contemplated. Therefore in almost every case i can think of, the
defeated general could make good his escape if it was his desire to do so.
Further, many generals forbade looting by soldiers on the field
because it exposed them to potential counterattack while disorganized.
so putting it all together, it seems enemy troops were captured
during the battle itself, not in the retreats. further many of these
captured troops were often convinced or bribed to join the victorius
army. In terms of loot, a large percentage would probably be lost, unless
the enemies' camp or castle or city was taken. That is why many ancient
battles hinged on attempts to take the enemy camp. Pursuit of fleeing
enemies was rare, requiring fresh troops, cavalry, and the like.