Hannibal the Conqueror: The Alps 218 B.C (Hannibal the Conqueror I)
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The double envelopment he employed at Cannae was used at the battle of Marathon a century before. Most of his success came from facing arrogant Roman statesmen rather than seasoned generals. Once Hannibal faced a skilled roman general his army was soundly defeated at Zama. Scipio learned from Hannibal. Remember his own men turned on him and he was tired, never lost a battle for 11 years on Italian soil.
Had scipio fought him head on in the peak of his stay in Italy ,scipio would have been anialated. And one on one Hannibal was a freak swordsman and warrior. Hannibal never taught Scipio how to make elephants useless. He went 14 years fighting like 4 major battles—no wait, those battles were all fought between and he went 11 of those years without any major victories.
Because history has taught us that they are what all the other raciest admire. We will never known how much history the Europe man lied and hid. But what we do know is that the brown man is closest to God like. All others lie and cheat their way to glory.
Hannibal's crossing of the Alps
Going head to head is not their thing. But hiding and sneak attack is their thing. You have essentially posted nothing but conjecture and unsubstantiated non-sense; If there are only Latino and AA fighters, then you must be blind: Scipio was the vastly superior general to Hannibal: Hannibal was essentially useless without a cavalry advantage as Zama clearly illustrated. ChrisL, Having the same initials I very nearly thought I sleep-typed your response. Marathon, Zama, Livy and polybious are the exact points i would have made. Carthage at the time was in such a poor state that it lacked a navy able to transport his army; instead, Hamilcar had to march his forces across Numidia towards the Pillars of Hercules and then cross the Strait of Gibraltar.
According to Polybius , Hannibal much later said that when he came upon his father and begged to go with him, Hamilcar agreed and demanded that he swear that as long as he lived he would never be a friend of Rome. There is even an account of him at a very young age 9 years old begging his father to take him to an overseas war.
In the story, Hannibal's father took him up and brought him to a sacrificial chamber. Hamilcar held Hannibal over the fire roaring in the chamber and made him swear that he would never be a friend of Rome. Other sources report that Hannibal told his father, "I swear so soon as age will permit I will use fire and steel to arrest the destiny of Rome. Hannibal's father went about the conquest of Hispania. When his father drowned  in battle, Hannibal's brother-in-law Hasdrubal the Fair succeeded to his command of the army with Hannibal then 18 years old serving as an officer under him.
Hasdrubal pursued a policy of consolidation of Carthage's Iberian interests, even signing a treaty with Rome whereby Carthage would not expand north of the Ebro so long as Rome did not expand south of it. The Roman scholar Livy gives a depiction of the young Carthaginian: Never was one and the same spirit more skillful to meet opposition, to obey, or to command[.
Livy also records that Hannibal married a woman of Castulo , a powerful Spanish city closely allied with Carthage. After he assumed command, Hannibal spent two years consolidating his holdings and completing the conquest of Hispania, south of the Ebro. His following campaign in BC was against the Vaccaei to the west, where he stormed the Vaccaen strongholds of Helmantice and Arbucala. On his return home, laden with many spoils, a coalition of Spanish tribes, led by the Carpetani , attacked, and Hannibal won his first major battlefield success and showed off his tactical skills at the battle of the River Tagus.
Hannibal not only perceived this as a breach of the treaty signed with Hasdrubal, but as he was already planning an attack on Rome, this was his way to start the war. So he laid siege to the city, which fell after eight months. Hannibal sent the booty from Saguntum to Carthage, a shrewd move which gained him much support from the government; Livy records that only Hanno II the Great spoke against him.
The Carthaginian Senate responded with legal arguments observing the lack of ratification by either government for the treaty alleged to have been violated. The Celts were amassing forces to invade farther south in Italy, presumably with Carthaginian backing. It seems that the Romans lulled themselves into a false sense of security, having dealt with the threat of a Gallo-Carthaginian invasion, and perhaps knowing that the original Carthaginian commander had been killed. He left a detachment of 20, troops to garrison the newly conquered region. At the Pyrenees, he released 11, Iberian troops who showed reluctance to leave their homeland.
Hannibal in the Alps - Livius
Hannibal reportedly entered Gaul with 40,foot soldiers and 12, horsemen. Hannibal recognized that he still needed to cross the Pyrenees, the Alps, and many significant rivers. Hannibal's army numbered 38, infantry, 8, cavalry, and 38 elephants, almost none of which would survive the harsh conditions of the Alps. His exact route over the Alps has been the source of scholarly dispute ever since Polybius, the surviving ancient account closest in time to Hannibal's campaign, reports that the route was already debated. By Livy's account, the crossing was accomplished in the face of huge difficulties.
The fired rockfall event is mentioned only by Livy; Polybius is mute on the subject and there is no evidence  of carbonized rock at the only two-tier rockfall in the Western Alps, located below the Col de la Traversette Mahaney, Historians such as Serge Lancell have questioned the reliability of the figures for the number of troops that he had when he left Hispania.
Hannibal's vision of military affairs was derived partly from the teaching of his Greek tutors and partly from experience gained alongside his father, and it stretched over most of the Hellenistic World of his time. Indeed, the breadth of his vision gave rise to his grand strategy of conquering Rome by opening a northern front and subduing allied city-states on the peninsula, rather than by attacking Rome directly.
Historical events which led to the defeat of Carthage during the First Punic War when his father commanded the Carthaginian Army also led Hannibal to plan the invasion of Italy by land across the Alps.
The task was daunting, to say the least. It involved the mobilization of between 60, and , troops and the training of a war-elephant corps, all of which had to be provisioned along the way. Hannibal's perilous march brought him into the Roman territory and frustrated the attempts of the enemy to fight out the main issue on foreign ground. His sudden appearance among the Gauls of the Po Valley, moreover, enabled him to detach those tribes from their new allegiance to the Romans before the Romans could take steps to check the rebellion.
Publius Cornelius Scipio was the consul who commanded the Roman force sent to intercept Hannibal he was also Scipio Africanus' father. He had not expected Hannibal to make an attempt to cross the Alps, since the Romans were prepared to fight the war in the Iberian Peninsula. With a small detachment still positioned in Gaul, Scipio made an attempt to intercept Hannibal. He succeeded, through prompt decision and speedy movement, in transporting his army to Italy by sea in time to meet Hannibal.
Hannibal's forces moved through the Po Valley and were engaged in the Battle of Ticinus. Here, Hannibal forced the Romans to evacuate the plain of Lombardy , by virtue of his superior cavalry. Scipio was severely injured, his life only saved by the bravery of his son who rode back onto the field to rescue his fallen father. Scipio retreated across the Trebia to camp at Placentia with his army mostly intact.
The other Roman consular army was rushed to the Po Valley. Even before news of the defeat at Ticinus had reached Rome, the Senate had ordered Consul Tiberius Sempronius Longus to bring his army back from Sicily to meet Scipio and face Hannibal. Hannibal, by skillful maneuvers, was in position to head him off, for he lay on the direct road between Placentia and Arminum, by which Sempronius would have to march to reinforce Scipio.
He then captured Clastidium, from which he drew large amounts of supplies for his men. But this gain was not without loss, as Sempronius avoided Hannibal's watchfulness, slipped around his flank, and joined his colleague in his camp near the Trebia River near Placentia. There Hannibal had an opportunity to show his masterful military skill at the Trebia in December of the same year, after wearing down the superior Roman infantry , when he cut it to pieces with a surprise attack and ambush from the flanks.
Hannibal quartered his troops for the winter with the Gauls, whose support for him had abated. Gnaeus Servilius and Gaius Flaminius the new consuls of Rome were expecting Hannibal to advance on Rome, and they took their armies to block the eastern and western routes that Hannibal could use. The only alternative route to central Italy lay at the mouth of the Arno.
This area was practically one huge marsh, and happened to be overflowing more than usual during this particular season. Hannibal knew that this route was full of difficulties, but it remained the surest and certainly the quickest way to central Italy. Polybius claims that Hannibal's men marched for four days and three nights, "through a land that was under water", suffering terribly from fatigue and enforced want of sleep. He crossed without opposition over both the Apennines during which he lost his right eye  because of conjunctivitis and the seemingly impassable Arno, but he lost a large part of his force in the marshy lowlands of the Arno.
As Polybius recounts, "he [Hannibal] calculated that, if he passed the camp and made a descent into the district beyond, Flaminius partly for fear of popular reproach and partly of personal irritation would be unable to endure watching passively the devastation of the country but would spontaneously follow him Despite this, Flaminius remained passively encamped at Arretium.
Hannibal’s Early Life and Attack on Saguntum
Hannibal marched boldly around Flaminius' left flank, unable to draw him into battle by mere devastation, and effectively cut him off from Rome thus executing the first recorded turning movement in military history. He then advanced through the uplands of Etruria , provoking Flaminius into a hasty pursuit and catching him in a defile on the shore of Lake Trasimenus.
There Hannibal destroyed Flaminius' army in the waters or on the adjoining slopes, killing Flaminius as well see Battle of Lake Trasimene. This was the most costly ambush that the Romans ever sustained until the Battle of Carrhae against the Parthian Empire. Hannibal had now disposed of the only field force that could check his advance upon Rome, but he realized that, without siege engines , he could not hope to take the capital. He preferred to exploit his victory by entering into central and southern Italy and encouraging a general revolt against the sovereign power.
Departing from Roman military traditions, Fabius adopted the strategy named after him , avoiding open battle while placing several Roman armies in Hannibal's vicinity in order to watch and limit his movements. Hannibal ravaged Apulia but was unable to bring Fabius to battle, so he decided to march through Samnium to Campania , one of the richest and most fertile provinces of Italy, hoping that the devastation would draw Fabius into battle.
Fabius closely followed Hannibal's path of destruction, yet still refused to let himself be drawn out of the defensive. This strategy was unpopular with many Romans, who believed that it was a form of cowardice. Hannibal decided that it would be unwise to winter in the already devastated lowlands of Campania, but Fabius had ensured that all the passes were blocked out of Campania.
To avoid this, Hannibal deceived the Romans into thinking that the Carthaginian army was going to escape through the woods. As the Romans moved off towards the woods, Hannibal's army occupied the pass, and then made their way through the pass unopposed. Fabius was within striking distance but in this case his caution worked against him. Smelling a stratagem rightly , he stayed put. For the winter, Hannibal found comfortable quarters in the Apulian plain. What Hannibal achieved in extricating his army was, as Adrian Goldsworthy puts it, "a classic of ancient generalship, finding its way into nearly every historical narrative of the war and being used by later military manuals".
By capturing Cannae, Hannibal had placed himself between the Romans and their crucial sources of supply. In the meantime, the Romans hoped to gain success through sheer strength and weight of numbers, and they raised a new army of unprecedented size, estimated by some to be as large as , men, but more likely around 50—80, The Romans and allied legions resolved to confront Hannibal and marched southward to Apulia. They eventually found him on the left bank of the Aufidus River, and encamped six miles 9. On this occasion, the two armies were combined into one, the consuls having to alternate their command on a daily basis.
Varro was in command on the first day, a man of reckless and hubristic nature according to Livy and determined to defeat Hannibal.
Top 10 facts about Hannibal Barca
This eliminated the Roman numerical advantage by shrinking the combat area. Hannibal drew up his least reliable infantry in a semicircle in the center with the wings composed of the Gallic and Numidian horse. The onslaught of Hannibal's cavalry was irresistible. Hannibal's chief cavalry commander Maharbal led the mobile Numidian cavalry on the right, and they shattered the Roman cavalry opposing them. Hannibal's Iberian and Gallic heavy cavalry, led by Hanno on the left, defeated the Roman heavy cavalry, and then both the Carthaginian heavy cavalry and the Numidians attacked the legions from behind.
As a result, the Roman army was hemmed in with no means of escape. Due to these brilliant tactics, Hannibal managed to surround and destroy all but a small remnant of his enemy, despite his own inferior numbers. Depending upon the source, it is estimated that 50,—70, Romans were killed or captured. This makes the battle one of the most catastrophic defeats in the history of Ancient Rome , and one of the bloodiest battles in all of human history in terms of the number of lives lost within a single day.
After Cannae, the Romans were very hesitant to confront Hannibal in pitched battle, preferring instead to weaken him by attrition, relying on their advantages of interior lines, supply, and manpower. As a result, Hannibal fought no more major battles in Italy for the rest of the war. Whatever the reason, the choice prompted Maharbal to say, "Hannibal, you know how to gain a victory, but not how to use one.
As a result of this victory, many parts of Italy joined Hannibal's cause. Hannibal also secured an alliance with newly appointed tyrant Hieronymus of Syracuse. It is often argued that, if Hannibal had received proper material reinforcements from Carthage, he might have succeeded with a direct attack upon Rome. However, only a few of the Italian city-states defected to him that he had expected to gain as allies. The war in Italy settled into a strategic stalemate. The Romans used the attritional strategy that Fabius had taught them, and which, they finally realized, was the only feasible means of defeating Hannibal.
His immediate objectives were reduced to minor operations centered mainly round the cities of Campania. The forces detached to his lieutenants were generally unable to hold their own, and neither his home government nor his new ally Philip V of Macedon helped to make up his losses. His position in southern Italy, therefore, became increasingly difficult and his chance of ultimately conquering Rome grew ever more remote. Hannibal still won a number of notable victories: However, Hannibal slowly began losing ground—inadequately supported by his Italian allies, abandoned by his government either because of jealousy or simply because Carthage was overstretched , and unable to match Rome's resources.
Hannibal took advantage of the pre-existing hatred the Celts on the right west bank had for the Romans, and persuaded them to aid him in his crossing of this formidable obstacle. Awaiting the Carthaginian army on the left bank of the Rhone was a tribe of Gauls called the Cavares. Hannibal formulated his plan according to this model as indeed it is held up as a cookie cutter way to cross rivers, even to cadets at military institutions to this day ordered one of his lieutenants; Hanno, Son of Bomilcar to make a northern circuit,    to cross the Rhone at a location that he deemed to be suitable for the purpose, and then by forced marches, march south and to take the Barbarian army in flank while he was crossing the river.
Esprit there was an island that divided the Rhone into two small streams. During this time, Hannibal had been completing his preparations to cross the Rhone. His preparations were designed to draw their attention away from their northern flank and focus their attention on his own preparations. The crossing itself was carefully designed to be as smooth as possible. Every detail was well thought out. The heavy horsemen were put across furthest upstream, and in the largest boats, so that the boats that Hannibal had less confidence in could be rowed to the left eastern bank in the lee of the larger and more sturdy craft.
Seeing that the Carthaginians were finally crossing, the Cavares rose from their entrenchments and prepared their army on the shore near the Carthaginian landing point. Often in antiquity, to intimidate their enemy, armies would be ordered to pound their shields with their weapons and raise loud cries at exactly the same moment to create the greatest amount of noise.
It was at precisely this moment, while the Carthaginian army was in the middle of the stream jeering at the enemy from the boats and the Cavares were challenging them to come on from the left bank,  that Hanno's corp revealed itself and charged down on the rear and flanks of the Cavares. There was barely even a semblance of resistance;  surrounded as they were, pandemonium took control of their ranks, and each man looked to his own safety as they retreated pell-mell away from the carefully arrayed Carthaginian phalanx.
While the actual conflict only took a matter of minutes, Hannibal had spent five days preparing this dangerous and risky operation from every angle, ensuring that it was ready at all points and as little as possible was left to chance. Hannibal needed to reach the Alps quickly in order to beat the onset of winter.
He knew that if he waited until springtime on the far side of the mountains, the Romans would have time to raise another army. He had intelligence that the consular army was camped at the mouth of the Rhone. He sent Numidian cavalry down the eastern bank of the river to acquire better information concerning the forces massed to oppose him. This force encountered mounted Romans who had been sent up the river for the same purpose. The Numidians were defeated with of their number killed in this exchange between scouting parties; in addition to Roman losses.
The Numidians were followed back to the Carthaginian camp, which was almost assembled excepting the elephants, which required more time getting across. Upon seeing Hannibal had not crossed with the whole of his force, the scouts raced back to the coast to alert the consul. Upon receiving this information, the consul dispatched his army up the river in boats, but arrived too late. In the face of winter and hostile tribes, the consul decided to return to Italy and await the arrival of Hannibal as he descended from the Alps. However, in accordance with the Senate's orders, the consul ordered his brother, Gnaeus Scipio to take a majority of the army to Spain.
Despite their established tactical system formations and troop evolutions, etc. They did not know how to force an enemy to battle by cutting off their communications, they were not aware of which flank was the strategic flank of an enemy in a battle. In addition, they were negligent about their order of march,  and early Roman history is littered with massacres of consular armies by other nations because of their lack of proper precaution against these evils.
On getting the whole of his army on the left bank of the Rhone, Hannibal introduced his army to Magilus,  and some other less notable Gallic chiefs of the Po valley. Speaking through an interpreter,  Magilus spoke of the support that the recently conquered Padane Gauls had for the Carthaginians and their mission of destroying Rome. Hannibal then addressed the officers himself.
The troops' enthusiasm was uplifted by Hannibal's inspiring address. Upon crossing the river, Hannibal ordered his infantry to start their march the day after the assembly, followed by the supply train. The cavalry would skirmish with the Roman scouts, while giving the rest of the army time to form up.
This contingency did not occur. Hannibal was in the rearguard with the elephants. The rearguard was well manned to ensure that it could skirmish with the Roman army while the main body of his infantry and cavalry could form up for battle against the Romans if they should attack from that quarter. This contingency, however, also did not occur. While assuming this order of march, Hannibal marched towards the Insula. When Hannibal's army made contact with the Insula, he arrived in a Gallic chiefdom that was in the midst of a civil conflict.
From this tribe he received supplies that were required for the expedition across the Alps. In addition, he received Brancus' diplomatic protection. Up until the Alps proper, he did not have to fend off any tribes. Du Chat towards the village of Aquste  and from there to Chevelu,  to the pass by Mt. There he found that the passes were fortified by the Allobroges.
He sent out spies to ascertain if there was any weakness in their disposition. These spies found that the barbarians only maintained their position at the camp during the day, and left their fortified position at night.
In order to make the Allobroges believe that he did not deem a night assault prudent, he ordered that as many camp-fires be lit as possible, in order to induce them into believing that he was settling down before their encampment along the mountains. However, once they left their fortifications, he led his best troops up to their fortifications and seized control of the pass.
This overhang was an excellent place from which to attack an enemy while it was marching in column through the pass. More baggage animals were lost in the confusion of the Barbarian attack, and they rolled off of the precipices to their deaths. However, Hannibal, at the head of the same elite corps that he led to take the overhang, led them against these determined barbarians. Virtually all of these barbarians died in the ensuing combat, as they were fighting with their backs to a steep precipice, trying to throw their arrows and darts uphill at the advancing Carthaginians.
Hannibal marched his army to modern Chambery and took their city easily, stripping it of all its horses, captives, beasts of burden and corn. In addition, there were enough supplies for three days' rations for the army. This must have been welcome considering that no small portion of their supplies had been lost when the pack animals had fallen over the precipice in the course of the previous action.
He then ordered this town to be destroyed, in order to demonstrate to the Barbarians of this country what would happen if they opposed him in the same fashion as this tribe had. He encamped there to give his men time to rest after their exhausting work, and to collect further rations. Hannibal then addressed his army, and we are informed that they were made to appreciate the extent of the effort they were about to undergo and were raised to good spirits in spite of the difficult nature of their undertaking. The Carthaginians continued their march and at modern Albertville they encountered the Centrones , who brought gifts and cattle for the troops.
In addition, they brought hostages in order to convince Hannibal of their commitment to his cause. Some military critics, notably Napoleon ,  challenge that this was actually the place where the ambush took place, but the valley through which the Carthaginians were marching was the only one that could sustain a population that was capable of attacking the Carthaginian army and simultaneously sustaining the Carthaginians on their march. The Centrones waited to attack, first allowing half of the army to move through the pass.