200px-hannibal.jpg    3.jpg   155397.jpg   800px-testudo_lg.jpg  

Example of the Battle of Cannae, Italy, 216 b. JC

This battle is considered as a master piece of military strategy. The troops of Hannibal had to struggle with a 50% numerical inferiority over the Roman troops. They won the battle with few losses. Hannibal asked himself the right questions, created the right the strategy and won the battle.

The Romans used their usual strategy: a compact rectangular army, with the spears pointed to their enemies in front, and shields protecting the legion.

Hannibal drew up his least reliable infantry in a semicircle in the center with the wings composed of the Gallic and Numidian horse. The Roman legions forced their way through Hannibal’s weak center, but the Libyan Mercenaries in the wings, his best soldiers, swung around by the movement, menaced their flanks. The onslaught of Hannibal’s cavalry was irresistible, and Hasdrubal who commanded the left, pushed in the Roman right and then swept across the rear and attacked Varro’s cavalry on the Roman left. Then he 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, with much inferior numbers, managed to surround and destroy all but a small remainder of this force. Depending upon the source, it is estimated that 50,000-70,000 Romans were killed or captured at Cannae.