The Carthaginians seem to have adopted the use of Elephants as instruments of war following exposure to Pyrrhus and his beasts in the 3rd Century BC. The Carthaginians seem to have phased out war chariots, and developed an Elephant corps to replace them (with mixed success!) However, Pyrrhus used Indian elephants, and with limited access to such beasts, it seems the Carthaginians used the smaller (and now extinct) North African Forest Elephant, with its distinctive ‘saddle back’.
If they did indeed adopt Elephants following Pyrrhus’ invasion of Sicily, then they would in all probability have been equipped with towers and a crew. However, coins from the period show Elephants with only a mahout (the driver) and untrained or inexperienced elephants may well have been used without the encumbrance of towers and crew. There are historians who believe the North African Forest Elephant was too small to carry a tower and crew. The sources also refer to mahouts being Indian, and certainly in India elephants were used without towers, so this knowledge and approach may have been transferred via the use of such Indian drivers.
This model represents just such a ‘naked’ war elephant, stomping his way through Legionaries with his mahout hurling down javelins on his foes. Supplied un-assembled and unpainted. Base not included. Please note the Mahout is a mail armoured rider in Montefortino helmet – not the unarmoured figure currently showing on the product splash image. The Elephant has a separate metal trunk and tusks, which can be replaced for the trunk crushing an unfortunate Roman! Contact me for any questions or queries while we update images.