Saturday, August 06, 2016

The battle of Cannae

PUNIC WATCH: CANNAE: HANNIBAL'S MASTERPIECE. On the morning of August 2, 216 B.C., perhaps the largest Roman army ever assembled prepared for battle on the dusty plain of Cannae, in southeastern Italy. (BARRY C. JACOBSEN, Scout/Warrior). A detailed military analysis of the battle, whose anniversary was just noted here. Excerpt:
Tactically, Hannibal had pulled-off what would become the chimera for all future commanders: a double envelopment of a superior enemy force, and a subsequent battle of annihilation. The German General Staff, in the days of the Kaiser, made a point of studying Cannae, Hannibal’s masterpiece. They considered this the epitome of tactical achievement, the blueprint for how a smaller army could defeat a larger. At Tannenburg, in East Prussia in 1914, they would put this study into practice; annihilating the advancing Russian Second Army.

Cannae was Hannibal’s greatest victory; and his last great battle in Italy. Though he continued to campaign there for another thirteen years, the Romans avoided battle with him; hemming him into southern Italy with several armies utilizing the tactics demonstrated first by Fabius Maximus.