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Old November 12th, 2012, 04:39 PM   #131
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Originally Posted by Mangekyou View Post
Saguntum was a necessary investment for Hannibal. It was a powerful fortress and would have been foolish to leave in his rear as he advanced against Rome. It was not the only serious investment by Hannibal, though.

I think points like this are down to the fact that Hannibal did not have the manpower necessary to capture every town. His strategy depended upon severing Rome from her allies and making tangible gains and profit in that manner. In the latter stages of the war, this was certainly to his detriment, because he was having to shed more men from his army to garrison the gains, especially when when he was have to counter march to areas recaptured by Romans in accordance with protecting allies.

It turned to be an effective strategy the Romans used against him. This does not mean he had no siege equipment in order to demonstrate against fortresses though, although it was impossible some places, like Nola.
Indeed you are correct, but I think Hannibal struck too early and therefore gave away his plans to Rome before he was ready to properly wage war. But all in all besides that part there attacking Saguntum was a necessity. I believe the best way Hannibal could have attacked would have been to wage war on two fronts (that way his bad but still superior tactics in battle could be more useful as the Romans wouldn't be able to give ground and conserve as they grew stronger and Hannibal weaker. Attacking Sicily or Sorsica by sea might have been an intelligent move, as long as he didn't mess up on the logistics like Hamilcar had done (not to hate on Hamilcar, I love him).
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Old November 12th, 2012, 04:47 PM   #132
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Here we disagree, the French army already had the basis of what became his operational and tactical doctrine in place while he was still a cadet. His innovations were mainly in the use of massed artillery and the creation of the Corps structure. He thought the rifle was next to useless, so banned it in the French army. As for being the most loved commander in history, remember his most trusted commanders betrayed him in the end.
1. Yes the french army was already powerful before him but remember that this was a time of almost every army being well lead and/or well equipped - the commanders made the difference in the Napoleonic Wars. 2. I apologize for my mistake, I meant the newly designed french musket (don't know the actual name). Napoleon could outsmart any commander who challenged him, knowing exactly where and when to place every different group of men during the battle. 3. Who cares about those pathetic snobs who only cared about their lives in the end? I'm talking about his soldiers and the people, who loved him, who would fight and die for him whenever he called!
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Old November 12th, 2012, 05:16 PM   #133
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Trying to be as objective as possible, and aside of the obvious general bias here against naval commanders...
(BTW of that list at least Hannibal Barca was also a gifted naval tactician)
... IMHO the best commander would be the one winning the most unlikely victories against the most powerful enemies relative to their respective peers (i.e. commanders using essentially the same armed forces.

Under such relatively objective criteria the performance of Hannibal Barca, Temüjin, John Churchill, & Monsieur Buonaparte was clearly exponentially beyond any of their respective peers.

This was not so evident for CJ Caesar & LCS Africanus Major; besides, the Roman legions had the annoying tendency of winning even under mediocre commanders.

The same could be said of the Makedonian phalanx of the time of Alexandros III, the late Roman army under Belisarius, the Islamic Arab troops under Khalid & the Mongol horsemen under Subutai; i.e. at least some alternative peer commanders had ostensibly an essentially equivalent performance against equivalent enemies.

Any ranking of the first group is largely subjective, but considering that the available sources are far less extensive and reliable on the oldest two, the deeds of Churchill & Buonaparte are exponentially better documentated (especially of the latter).

Just from my limited personal knowledge I would chose Monsieur Buonaparte as the best tactician & strategist of that list; admittedly my knowledge on John Churchill's battles & campaign is much less and I may be a bit unfair here.


PS: Needless to say, the personal contribution of all these men for the victories of their respective armies & nations has been systematically utterly exaggerated, with the possible exception of Temüjin.

Last edited by sylla1; November 12th, 2012 at 05:24 PM.
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Old November 12th, 2012, 05:18 PM   #134

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I agree that every single of these people except Hannibal deserve to be up there. But I disagree with the order, but everyone sees things differently (it's more important that we like the same commanders).
I agree that the order is entirely subjective; I could happily switch the places of several of those men.
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Old November 12th, 2012, 05:43 PM   #135

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Indeed you are correct, but I think Hannibal struck too early and therefore gave away his plans to Rome before he was ready to properly wage war. But all in all besides that part there attacking Saguntum was a necessity.
It was a neccessity unfortunately. Plus he needed booty to keep his Mercenary army in check and he needed some tangible victories to show Carthage he was worthy of support.

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I believe the best way Hannibal could have attacked would have been to wage war on two fronts (that way his bad but still superior tactics in battle could be more useful as the Romans wouldn't be able to give ground and conserve as they grew stronger and Hannibal weaker. Attacking Sicily or Sorsica by sea might have been an intelligent move, as long as he didn't mess up on the logistics like Hamilcar had done (not to hate on Hamilcar, I love him).
The Carthaginians were fighting on multiple fronts in essence. They had three armies in Spain, which pushed the elder Scipio brothers back, until Africanus summarily outmaneouvered and destroyed them, they were in Italy with Hannibal and there was another front opened by Philip of Macedonia, albeit it was mostly a local affair.

Hannibal himself could not open multiple fronts because he could not garner the manpower he needed to do so, and did not receive the support he desired from Carthage. The one time a sizeable force was able to get into Italy, under the leadership of Hasdrubal, and possibly give Hannibal more options, it was faced head on and destroyed at the Metaurus river.

Fighting by sea was not really a viable option for Carthage. Rome fleets were much more in depth, and Carthaginian fleets were not really a match for them anymore, although we do have people who were able to run the blockades a couple of times.

Hannibal tried a few ways to overcome Rome, including wearing down there own manpower base, but in the end, Rome did not fight a war in the same manner that was conventional at the time, and Hannibal could not compensate enough, even though he did so well against their legions. He could not erode their manpower early enough before the Romans were able to adapt.

Last edited by Mangekyou; November 12th, 2012 at 05:49 PM.
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Old November 12th, 2012, 05:45 PM   #136
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I agree that the order is entirely subjective; I could happily switch the places of several of those men.
Oh, cool.
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Old November 12th, 2012, 05:51 PM   #137
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It was a neccessity unfortunately. Plus he needed booty to keep his Mercenary army in check and he needed some tangible victories to show Carthage he was worthy of support.



The Carthaginians were fighting on multiple fronts in essence. They had three armies in Spain, which pushed the elder cipio brothers back, until Africanus summarily outmaneouvered and destroyed them, they were in Italy with Hannibal and there was another front opened by Philip of Macedonia, albeit it was mostly a local affair.

Hannibal himself could not open multiple fronts because he could not garner the manpower he needed to do so, and did not receive the support he desired from Carthage. The one time a sizeable force was able to get into Italy, under the leadership of Hasdrubal, and possibly give Hannibal more options, it was faced head on and destroyed at the Metaurus river.

Fighting by sea was not really a viable option for Carthage. Rome fleets were much more in depth, and Carthaginian fleets were not really a match for them anymore, although we do have people who were able to run the blockades a couple of times.

Hannibal tried a few ways to overcome Rome, including wearing down there own manpower base, but in the end, Rome did not fight a war in the same manner that was conventional at the time, and Hannibal could not compensate enough, even though he did so well against their legions. He could not erode their manpower early enough before the Romans were able to adapt.
A worn out, tiny macedonian army (who eventually betrayed Hannibal) fighting the Romans in an area of little significance, does not count as fighting on multiple fronts. Not everything is about manpower, all it takes is a specialized force with a decent number of troops and the right leader and equipment to deliver a crucial victory. You are mistaken, the Carthaginian warships were just as fast, stronger, and had more experienced crew than the Roman ships - I have a really interesting book that compares armies, so I got to see blueprints for both Carthaginian and Roman ships during the 2nd Punic War (Warfare in The Classical Era).
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Old November 12th, 2012, 05:53 PM   #138
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There was in fact a rather active naval warfare all along Punic War II; more often than not the Punic Navy and her allies (e.g. Syrakousai or Makedonia) were duly & painfully beaten.
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Old November 12th, 2012, 05:55 PM   #139
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There was in fact a rather active naval warfare all along Punic War II; more often than not the Punic Navy and her allies (e.g. Syrakousai or Makedonia) were duly & painfully beaten.
Hmm, I was unaware of this: if it's okay with you may I ask for a citation?
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Old November 12th, 2012, 06:14 PM   #140

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A worn out, tiny macedonian army (who eventually betrayed Hannibal) fighting the Romans in an area of little significance, does not count as fighting on multiple fronts.
I disagree. It would have counted, if the Romans diverted more troop strength.

Considering Roman aggression, and if Philip was able to cause enough trouble, they would have no problem diverting troops to other theaters. In fact they did this by sending troops to Spain, whilst Hannibal was still a threat in Italy.

This is what Hannibal would have hoped for, dividing Roman attention and manpower. Unfortunately, it achived nothing.



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Not everything is about manpower, all it takes is a specialized force with a decent number of troops and the right leader and equipment to deliver a crucial victory.
Like Hannibal. Who else did they have other than he, who could have taken on this assignment?


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You are mistaken, the Carthaginian warships were just as fast, stronger, and had more experienced crew than the Roman ships - I have a really interesting book that compares armies, so I got to see blueprints for both Carthaginian and Roman ships during the 2nd Punic War (Warfare in The Classical Era).
Really?

Could you provide me with evidence of this if possible?

I am not aware of any Major Carthaginian naval victory in the second punic war. The Romans took control of the sea in the first punic war, and did not relinquish it in the subsequent wars against Carthage, bearing in mind, their own allies in the Rhodians, were very adept at naval warfare.
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