By Adrian Goldsworthy
On 2 August 216BC, Hannibal received his maximum victory within the undeniable north of the small, hilltop city of Cannae in southern Italy. by way of the top of the day his outnumbered mercenaries had enveloped and massacred the larger a part of the biggest military Rome had ever fielded, turning this into one of many bloodiest battles ever fought, rivalling even the industrialised slaughter of the 20 th century advert. For the Romans Cannae turned the yardstick wherein different defeats have been measured, by no means exceeded and just once or two times equalled within the subsequent six centuries. Cannae continues to be some of the most recognized battles ever fought, often alluded to in sleek army writing, and Hannibal's strategies are nonetheless taught within the army academies the place present day officials are informed. This quantity is a new examine the conflict, and explains in actual fact and concisely precisely the way it used to be that Hannibal completed his ancient victory.
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Extra resources for Cannae (Fields of Battle)
Each general had to develop a system of controlling and co-ordinating the movements of the diverse elements within his army, a process which took time. Hannibal 's army in the early years of the Italian expedition was the finest fighting force ever put into the field by the Carthaginian state. Its solid nucleus was provided by the men who had fought under Hamilcar, Hasdrubal and Hannibal's own command in Spain. These men were tough, experienced and highly disciplined. They knew and trusted their officers at all levels, and were personally loyal to the Barcid family who T HE RIVAL ARMIES had given them victories and rich rewards in former campaigns.
Our sources pay litt le atte ntio n to the allies, an d give th e imp ression th at an ala operated in mu ch th e same way as a legion . The normal forma tion for a cons ular army was with th e infantry of th e two legion s in the cen tre an d an ala on eithe r flan k, so th at th e latt er were usually known as th e 'Left' or 'Right' ala. The cavalry of th e two legions are usually depicted as statione d on the right wing, the place of hon our, whilst th e Latin and Italian horse formed on th e left, but, given that th ere were often three times as ma ny of the latter as th e former, this may be an oversimplification.
Hannibal's army had grown to 10,000 cavalr y and 28,000 infantry, and thirty or so elephants. The Romans mustered around 36,000-38,000 infantry, but only 4,000 cavalry, many of them demoralized by their recent defeat at the Ticinus. Hannibal had chosen the ground carefully, concealing 2,000 men in a drainage ditch behind the Roman line. The Carthaginian cavalry was divided equally between th e two wings, outnumbering their Roman counterparts by more than two to one. The flanks of his infantry line were reinforced by the elephants.
Cannae (Fields of Battle) by Adrian Goldsworthy