Helaman on the Western Front

Helaman and Antipus’ Envelopment Tactic

Alma 56:30–31

In an attempt to fool and ambush the Lamanites, Antipus orders Helaman and his Ammonite army to march outbound past the Lamanite-held Antiparah, in the direction of the City by the Sea.

Now when we saw that the Lamanites began to grow uneasy on this wise, we were desirous to bring a stratagem into effect upon them; therefore Antipus ordered that I should march forth with my little sons to a neighboring city, as if we were carrying provisions to a neighboring city. And we were to march near the city of Antiparah, as if we were going to the city beyond, in the borders by the seashore.

Alma 56:32–34

Helaman and his army depart, and when they pass Antiparah, Antipus and his men (minus a few left behind to guard Judea) begin marching some distance behind.

And it came to pass that we did march forth, as if with our provisions, to go to that city. And it came to pass that Antipus did march forth with a part of his army, leaving the remainder to maintain the city. But he did not march forth until I had gone forth with my little army, and came near the city Antiparah. And now, in the city Antiparah were stationed the strongest army of the Lamanites; yea, the most numerous.

Alma 56:35–37

The Lamanites begin to chase Helaman and his army past Antiparah and northward up the west coast; the Lamanites, now realizing that Antipus and his army are in their rear, continue moving forward, hoping to kill Helaman’s army before Antipus’ army overtakes them.

And it came to pass that when they had been informed by their spies, they came forth with their army and marched against us. And it came to pass that we did flee before them, northward. And thus we did lead away the most powerful army of the Lamanites;

Yea, even to a considerable distance, insomuch that when they saw the army of Antipus pursuing them, with their might, they did not turn to the right nor to the left, but pursued their march in a straight course after us; and, as we suppose, it was their intent to slay us before Antipus should overtake them, and this that they might not be surrounded by our people.

Alma 56:38

Seeing that the Lamanites would soon overtake Helaman’s army, Antipus increases his speed, but night suddenly falls, so the armies make camp.

And now Antipus, beholding our danger, did speed the march of his army. But behold, it was night; therefore they did not overtake us, neither did Antipus overtake them; therefore we did camp for the night.

Alma 56:39–40

Before the break of dawn, the Lamanite army begins pursuing Helaman again; Helaman stays ahead, and they chase continues throughout the entire day until nightfall.

And it came to pass that before the dawn of the morning, behold, the Lamanites were pursuing us. Now we were not sufficiently strong to contend with them; yea, I would not suffer that my little sons should fall into their hands; therefore we did continue our march, and we took our march into the wilderness. Now they durst not turn to the right nor to the left lest they should be surrounded; neither would I turn to the right nor to the left lest they should overtake me, and we could not stand against them, but be slain, and they would make their escape; and thus we did flee all that day into the wilderness, even until it was dark.

Alma 56:41–44

The next morning, Helaman sees that the Lamanites had caught up to him and gets his army moving again; The Lamanites continue their chase, then stop abruptly. Helaman rallies his army in preparation for a strike.

And it came to pass that again, when the light of the morning came we saw the Lamanites upon us, and we did flee before them. But it came to pass that they did not pursue us far before they halted; and it was in the morning of the third day of the seventh month. And now, whether they were overtaken by Antipus we knew not, but I said unto my men:

“Behold, we know not but they have halted for the purpose that we should come against them, that they might catch us in their snare; Therefore what say ye, my sons, will ye go against them to battle?”

Alma 56:45–46

Worried that the Lamanites had turned around to attack Antipus’ army, The Ammonite soldiers courageously accept the challenge to attack, boldly expressing their faith in God.

And now I say unto you, my beloved brother Moroni, that never had I seen so great courage, nay, not amongst all the Nephites. For as I had ever called them my sons (for they were all of them very young) even so they said unto me:

“Father, behold our God is with us, and he will not suffer that we should fall; then let us go forth; we would not slay our brethren if they would let us alone; therefore let us go, lest they should overpower the army of Antipus.”

Alma 56:47–48

The Ammonites had no military experience, yet had been taught by their mothers to trust in God.

Now they never had fought, yet they did not fear death; and they did think more upon the liberty of their fathers than they did upon their lives; yea, they had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them. And they rehearsed unto me the words of their mothers, saying:

“We do not doubt; our mothers knew it.”

Alma 56:49–51

Helaman and his army double back, and find the Lamanites and Antipus engaged in a tremendous battle; Antipus had died, and the tired soldiers were about to lose the battle.

And it came to pass that I did return with my two thousand against these Lamanites who had pursued us. And now behold, the armies of Antipus had overtaken them, and a terrible battle had commenced. The army of Antipus being weary, because of their long march in so short a space of time, were about to fall into the hands of the Lamanites; and had I not returned with my two thousand they would have obtained their purpose.

For Antipus had fallen by the sword, and many of his leaders, because of their weariness, which was occasioned by the speed of their march—therefore the men of Antipus, being confused because of the fall of their leaders, began to give way before the Lamanites.

Alma 56:52–53

Helaman’s army joins the battle; the Lamanites suffer severe casualties and turn around to focus all their attention on Helaman’s army as Antipus’ army regroups and attacks from the rear.

And it came to pass that the Lamanites took courage, and began to pursue them; and thus were the Lamanites pursuing them with great vigor when Helaman came upon their rear with his two thousand, and began to slay them exceedingly, insomuch that the whole army of the Lamanites halted and turned upon Helaman. Now when the people of Antipus saw that the Lamanites had turned them about, they gathered together their men and came again upon the rear of the Lamanites.

Alma 56:54

The Lamanites become surrounded, suffer heavy losses, and eventually are forced to surrender.

And now it came to pass that we, the people of Nephi, the people of Antipus, and I with my two thousand, did surround the Lamanites, and did slay them; yea, insomuch that they were compelled to deliver up their weapons of war and also themselves as prisoners of war.

Alma 56:55–56

Helaman counts his soldiers, and is amazed to see that miraculously, all of them are still alive.

And now it came to pass that when they had surrendered themselves up unto us, behold, I numbered those young men who had fought with me, fearing lest there were many of them slain. But behold, to my great joy, there had not one soul of them fallen to the earth; yea, and they had fought as if with the strength of God; yea, never were men known to have fought with such miraculous strength; and with such mighty power did they fall upon the Lamanites, that they did frighten them; and for this cause did the Lamanites deliver themselves up as prisoners of war.

Alma 56:57

The surviving men from Antipus’ army escort some of the surrendered Lamanites as POW’s to Zarahemla, and the remainder are taken to Judea with Helaman and his army.

And as we had no place for our prisoners, that we could guard them to keep them from the armies of the Lamanites, therefore we sent them to the land of Zarahemla, and a part of those men who were not slain of Antipus, with them; and the remainder I took and joined them to my stripling Ammonites, and took our march back to the city of Judea.