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Old November 10th, 2017, 03:34 PM   #51

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I think Hannibal is arguably number one, if we look purely at all-round proficiency. But I'll still stick with Alexander.
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Old November 10th, 2017, 03:38 PM   #52
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Mariusj has a high opinion of Hannibal as a commander, so he would hardly call him a "silly man"...
Stop reading me like a book!
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Old November 10th, 2017, 10:10 PM   #53

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I think Hannibal is arguably number one, if we look purely at all-round proficiency. But I'll still stick with Alexander.
I'll take Alexander.
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Old November 12th, 2017, 09:22 AM   #54

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I suspect one reason some people find Caesar less impressive as a tactician compared to Hannibal or Alexander, is because he relied on cavalry far less than they did. Cavalry tactics make for the sort of dashing, flashy manoeuvres that people associate with tactical brilliance, and Alexander & Hannibal relied on the cavalry for the decisive actions in many of their most famous victories.

By contrast, Caesar's generalship on the battlefield was much more heavily weighted to relying on the foot over the horse. The cavalry played an important part in several of the key battles of his career (Alesia, Ruspina, Munda) but never in a manner as indispensable as, for example, Hannibal's cavalry at Trebia or Cannae, or Alexander's cavalry at Gaugamela or Hydaspes.
Nice post Div.

I think the key here is that these commanders played to their strengths. To Alexander and Hannibal the cavalry was the decisive arm as they could maneouver freely, and the infantry almost always played a supporting role

To Caesar it was the Infantry, because of the closed rank organisation of the legions and their adaptability during combat. As such, they were the decisive arm for him.
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Old December 23rd, 2017, 05:58 PM   #55
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The Chinese generals of the late warring states era and Chu-Han contention might warrant mention.
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Old December 26th, 2017, 04:40 AM   #56

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Nice post Div.

I think the key here is that these commanders played to their strengths. To Alexander and Hannibal the cavalry was the decisive arm as they could maneouver freely, and the infantry almost always played a supporting role

To Caesar it was the Infantry, because of the closed rank organisation of the legions and their adaptability during combat. As such, they were the decisive arm for him.
Still there were several occasions where Alexander didn't rely on cavalry and commanded infantry , using it efficiently and gaining victory. For example at Haemus Pass , Battle of Sagalassos , Battle at Sangala , during Siege of Pelium. At Sagalassos and Haemus Pass he attacked enemy who took position on the hill. Combining his phalanxes and light infantry he managed to defeat the enemy in both cases. At Sangala he led phalanxes into battle against heavily fortified Indians with their carts. At Pelium he brilliantly deceived the enemy with drills performed in front of them and attacked them uphill , forcing majority to flee after which he attacked another point and opened the path for supply lines and retreated on the other bank , while fighting rearguard action.

Now in his most famous battles , yes there cavalry played major part in gaining victory , however as in examples above , he could use infantry as most important piece for getting upper had when situation required it.
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Old December 26th, 2017, 01:54 PM   #57

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Still there were several occasions where Alexander didn't rely on cavalry and commanded infantry , using it efficiently and gaining victory. For example at Haemus Pass , Battle of Sagalassos , Battle at Sangala , during Siege of Pelium. At Sagalassos and Haemus Pass he attacked enemy who took position on the hill. Combining his phalanxes and light infantry he managed to defeat the enemy in both cases. At Sangala he led phalanxes into battle against heavily fortified Indians with their carts. At Pelium he brilliantly deceived the enemy with drills performed in front of them and attacked them uphill , forcing majority to flee after which he attacked another point and opened the path for supply lines and retreated on the other bank , while fighting rearguard action.

Now in his most famous battles , yes there cavalry played major part in gaining victory , however as in examples above , he could use infantry as most important piece for getting upper had when situation required it.
That's true, but I meant predominantly. Alexander charged at the head of his companion cavalry in most of the open field battles.

Obviously some battles had terrain restrictions though.
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Old December 28th, 2017, 12:14 AM   #58

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That's true, but I meant predominantly. Alexander charged at the head of his companion cavalry in most of the open field battles.

Obviously some battles had terrain restrictions though.
Yes , that is true
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Old December 28th, 2017, 05:38 AM   #59

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I think Hannibal is arguably number one, if we look purely at all-round proficiency. But I'll still stick with Alexander.
Why do you think so ? I can argue that Alexander also showed his all-around proficiency throughout campaigns.
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Old December 28th, 2017, 11:39 AM   #60

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Whether or not Alexander preferred different tactical approaches to Hannibal, does not necessarily mean Hannibal was better. Perhaps Alexander didn't need to use 'indirect flair'. Anyway, as stated above, Hydapses is a brilliant example of Alexander adjusting his normal battle tactics and executing a brilliant tactical plan.
Other examples where Alexander wasn't always on offensive and used different tactics were Battle of Lyginus ( 335 BC ) and Battle of Arigaeum ( 327 BC ) . In both cases Alexander provoked enemy to attack him. At Lyginus he used archers and light infantry to draw Thriballians out of the woods and than smashed them with his cavalry and infantry. Later , instead of trying to attack remained thriballians on island which was hard to approach , Alexander decides to attack their allies thracians on left bank of Danube and cut them off. He made the crossing in one night and moving under cover of corn fields launched surprise attack on them , forcing them to flee.
At Arigaeum he approached Indians with weaker center , while hiding his left and right flanks. Enemy held superior position , however after seeing weak enemy they left them , after which Macedonian wings got into action and Alexander enveloped them.

Another examples are Jaxartes ( 329 BC ) where he managed to pin down horse archers with clever ruse and used siege weaponry ( first instance of using field artillery for offensive action or crossing of the river ) to cover his crossing from Scythian attacks.
Also at Sangala ( 326 BC ) he was forced to abandon cavalry and rely on his infantry , since Indians took defensive positions and covered themselves with carts.
At Gaugamela ( 331 BC ) he basically provoked Darius to attack first , which he did and Alexander carried battle successfully. Napoleon described battle as brilliant defensive action followed by great offense.
There was of course also Battle at Persian gates ( 330 BC ) where he outflanked satrap Ariobarzanes and took his great position by surprise.

Last edited by Gvelion; December 28th, 2017 at 11:48 AM.
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