Hannibal’s Tactical Defeat of The Roman Army at Cannae Essay

1226 Words5 Pages
The battle of Cannae, between the Carthaginian general Hannibal and the larger Roman army under the command of consuls Lucius Aemilius Paulus and Gaius Terentius Varro, in 216 B.C., still serves as one of the most influential tactical battles in history. Two enemy forces were to face off using very different tactics. The Roman Empire had succeeded in amassing a staggering 50,000 or greater number of infantry troops and a disputed 6,000 cavalry troops. The Roman army was to use its vast numbers to subdue the smaller numbered forces of the Carthaginian army using sheer force. Hannibal’s army, though lesser in quality and quantity as compared to the Roman army was a mix of seasoned fighters. Hannibal used the fighting techniques to the…show more content…
The center consisted of a massive infantry, formed in a tight formation. The Carthaginian army was facing north. It was a tactical advantage for Hannibal’s army. His forced his opponent to battle facing the heat of Italian sun and weighed down by the weight of their armor. The Carthaginian army formed a similar formation. According to (Cavazzi): Hannibal first masked his moves as he drew up his army, by placing his light slingers and spearmen at the front. Behind them, he positioned his Celtic and Spanish swordsmen in a crescent in the center. On his left wing, he stationed his Celtic and Spanish heavy cavalry; on the right, he stationed his light Numidia cavalry. Both sides engaged their infantry forces in skirmishes at the center. Hannibal, familiar with the Roman style of fight, knew the Roman elite would ride on the right. The Romans viewed their allies as not being noble, and would not ride together with their partner. This allowed Hannibal to place his heavy Celtic and Iberian cavalry on his left to face the Roman cavalry. Hannibal’s cavalry outnumbered the Romans and was able to annihilate them on the right side of their formation. The Roman infantry in the center continued to engage Hannibal’s forces. The repeated attacks on Hannibal’s infantry forced them from a convex to a concave formation. Roman leadership, anticipating breaking the Carthaginian line, continued to push troops into the center. Roman
Open Document