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Thread: Apres Cannae

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    Apres Cannae

    "Of a truth the gods do not give the same man everything: you know how to gain a victory, Hannibal, but you do not know how to make use of it." A quote attributed to Maharbal after Cannae.

    Suppose:

    A. Immeadiately after Cannae Hannibal waits for nothing, gathers all walking he can and goes straight for Rome? Maybe 1 weeks forced march; see map File:Hannibal route of invasion.gif - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    B. Suppose he waits 2-3 days (no longer than a week) and then leaves for Rome with a slightly better equiped and repaired army?

    Which gives him the better chance of bringing Rome to the negotiations table? Can he do this at all?

    It is often said that Hannibal lacked seige equiptment... Starvation was and is single greatest seige method of forcing a seige.

    I know this is an old one but not seen it posed here where we have so many people experienced in the realities of war.



    Just as a note my solution: Send the cavalry and any fresh infantry ahead (must have had a few), not to hurt anyone seriously but to make them think the full army is coming then follow when troops are patched up and supplies laid up etc with the main army asap. He should also NOT have sent all the Senators rings to Carthage but to his Gallic allies to encourage further immeadiate recruitment. Then proceed to Rome and starve them out while figuring out how to make a battering ram.

    Remember he is NOT trying to destroy Rome but to 'liberate' Italy from Rome.
    Last edited by snapper; 06 Mar 12, at 13:18.

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    Senior Contributor Mihais's Avatar
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    My 2 Sestertii.Hannibal had 10-12% KIA at Cannae.Meaning that he had at least 3-4 times that amount of WIA.There was no fresh infantry and no fresh cavalry.Hannibal army right after Cannae is combat ineffective.The Romans,shock aside,still had enough forces to defend the city and more were raised after the battle quickly.They may not have been efective or able to engage the Carthaginians on the field,but they had no need to.Marching on Rome was for everyone a statement that Hannibal wanted to end the war.Failure to take the city would have meant the loss of the Punic army and even if the army somehow survived,the loss of prestige and the continuation of the Roman league intact.Greek cities in the South would not have changed sides without a strong Carthaginian army present.

    Hannibal used and abused the Gauls.They may have risen against Rome while Hannibal was present and they kept fighting victoriously(in defensive) long after he left.But they were still reeling after their defeat at Telamon 9 years earlier.Gallic politics were also divided.Without the Punic army in their midst,there was no real catalyst to unite and take offense.

    Hannibal's chance layed with the Carthaginian Senate stopping being itself and send him all resources available.
    Those who know don't speak
    He said to them, "But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. Luke 22:36

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    Snapper Reply

    "Just as a note my solution: Send the cavalry and any fresh infantry ahead (must have had a few), not to hurt anyone seriously but to make them think the full army is coming then follow when troops are patched up and supplies laid up etc with the main army asap..."

    You run the risk of suffering defeat in detail.

    "...He should also NOT have sent all the Senators rings to Carthage but to his Gallic allies to encourage further immeadiate recruitment..."

    Nicely-done. Sooo very english.

    "...Then proceed to Rome and starve them out while figuring out how to make a battering ram."

    Hopefully unnecessary once the Romans see the accumulated masses before them courtesy of your adroit touch with those rings.
    "This aggression will not stand, man!" Jeff Lebowski
    "The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you're uncool." Lester Bangs

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    Fabious is still the show stopper

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    Senior Contributor Mihais's Avatar
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    The Roman Senate met the surviving Consul Varro and thanked him for having faith in the force of his country and engage Hannibal at Cannae.Enough said.
    Those who know don't speak
    He said to them, "But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. Luke 22:36

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    Colonel: With all respect IF Hannibal marches on Rome, either A or B as above, then the Fabian strategy of NOT fighting Hannibal is a non starter, starve or fight; you chose.

    Quote Originally Posted by S2 View Post
    Hopefully unnecessary once the Romans see the accumulated masses before them courtesy of your adroit touch with those rings.
    Hannibal of the Rings!

    Quote Originally Posted by Mihais View Post
    They may not have been efective or able to engage the Carthaginians on the field
    Isn't that enough to lay seige?
    Last edited by snapper; 06 Mar 12, at 18:29.

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    Quote Originally Posted by snapper View Post
    Colonel: With all respect IF Hannibal marches on Rome, either A or B as above, then the Fabian strategy of NOT fighting Hannibal is a non starter, starve or fight; you chose.
    Hannibal is not going to march on Rome when Rome has another army in the field.

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    Senior Contributor Mihais's Avatar
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    Snapper-No.With 20000 or so men you can barely surround Rome.Hannibal's army struggled 8 months at Saguntum and back then he had the full Spanish army,80000+ fresh troops.
    Those who know don't speak
    He said to them, "But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. Luke 22:36

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    Ok is the Roman army in the field 'effective'? Mihai says no and the Colonel yes... I suppose it depends on how effective the remaining comparable armies in the field are. If Hannibal moves on Rome the chances of rebellion in Capua etc increase no? Romans can't get out of Rome so lets have fun = more recruits.

    Colonel will a Roman army in the field stand and fight? Not Fabian strategy? If they stand then the above.

    Mihai, time is no object for the beseiger... just getting supplies to the army; a cavalry duty or supply from rebellious cities once he's there.

  10. #10
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    It doesn't matter how bad the Roman army is, no one can afford to be sandwiched in between the city walls and a relief force.

    And you're missing the point about Fabious. Here's a man who was not afraid of Hannibal, knew how to fight Hannibal, willing to fight Hannibal, and fought Hannibal no matter what the opposition, even amongst his own ranks.

    The first and foremost about any opposition that would make a tough going no matter how good your own force is - that the enemy is both willing and able to fight. Fabious had both qualities in spades.
    Last edited by Officer of Engineers; 06 Mar 12, at 19:35.

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    If the relief force is not upto a relief then Alesia.

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    Hannibal was a maneuver general, not a positional general. A fantastic tactician but a poor strategist. He never did once forced a Roman army to accept battle.

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    Senior Contributor Mihais's Avatar
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    Sara,nope.The besieger has more problems than the besieged,if the city is prepared and well supplied with food and water.Whatever can be foraged will be gone soon,even if the defenders don't practice scorched earth and foul water and poor food will affect even a modern high tech army with dysenteria.Back then it was much worse and whole armies perished by disease in front of fortified walls.If there is a relief force or one that can harass the besiegers,it's even worse.In short,those are the reasons fortified cities were a functional concept for thousands of years.If you remember,Vercingetorix was sorta forced into Alesia and the city wasn't properly supplied,an impediment compounded by being overcrowded.

    None apply to Rome after Cannae.The city was well supplied after Trasimene.The defenders outnumbered what Hannibal could bring to Rome right after Cannae.Hannibal in a fixed position is an easy target for a commander like Fabius,as the Colonel said.Fabius has an intact fleet,a league of loyal city to harass Hannibal's meagre logistic lifeline and superior numbers.Roman Senate and the most loyal cities were acutely aware of these advantages,thus while the situation was serious,it was not desperate and nobody from the core of Roman power tried to bail out.
    Those who know don't speak
    He said to them, "But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. Luke 22:36

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    Senior Contributor Doktor's Avatar
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    Mihais,

    Something is wrong wih your numbers, mate.

    Hannibal had 45,000-50,000 troops on the field and suffered 10,000-15,000 KIA. If you add 2-3x more wounded he has no troops left.

    Otherwise I agree with your logic that he can't siege Rome. He has no experience in siege, no tools and no troops for such an adventure.

    Snapper,


    Even if Gallic accept to send more troops, when will they arriveand in what numbers?
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  15. #15
    Senior Contributor Mihais's Avatar
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    Hannibal lost between 5000 to 8000 men.The higher the number,higher the Roman patriotism of the historian.If he had lost more,we would have known.
    Those who know don't speak
    He said to them, "But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. Luke 22:36

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