Best Tricks In Ancient History Warfare?

Oct 2016
1,174
Merryland
Hannibal Barca when the Romans trapped him in a valley locked by mountains and there was only one way out.and it was heavily guarded by Roman troops.Along a path that ran parallel to the mountain road he stampeded a herd of cattle at night with flaming torches on their horns.
the Spanish sent a herd of cattle after Morgan & co @ Panama. to little effect as the cattle scattered.

colonial US. Native Americans announced a celebration featuring a lacrosse game. the soldiers opened the fort (Fort Michilimackinac) and whites and natives alike came out to watch.
the female natives had weapons hidden under their clothes. at a signal the warriors grabbed weapons and massacred the whites.

(I know this isn't 'ancient' but the natives were more or less stone age so hopefully this counts.)
 
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Jan 2016
393
Ohio
It doesn't have to be Ancient History I guess. So maybe we can change it to the "Military History" sub.


In any case. Ima change the name from tricks to tactics. Cause its more encompassing in my opinion.
 

aggienation

Ad Honorem
Jul 2016
9,813
USA
Caesar's trick at Pharsalus. He created a 4th line of heavy infantry to his right directly behind his very weak cavalry. He was outnumbered across the entire front and has much thinner lines. His cavalry, while battle hardened and brave was very weak compared to the opposition (1800 vs 5000 a 8000) so the first breach would likely be that Pompey's cavalry would defeat Caesar's and then outflank his army.
Which itself couldn't really hold the line that long as they were outnumbered 2 to 1. Because Pompey did not advance, Caesar did. Then stopped just outside of javelin range to rest a bit.

Once they advanced again and joined the battle the massive cavalry of Pompey started their assault and quickly drove back Caesar's cavalry. It looked almost without much of a fight really.
In reality Caesar's cavalry feigned a retreat just when the cavalry of Pompey closed in a big mass. It revealed the 4th line of infantry (of the renowned 10th legion) and the Pompeian cavalry smashed into that line. That line had been ordered to not throw their pila, but instead use it as a spear against the horses. Chaos erupted among Pompey's cavalry and many lost their lives. The majority was still alive though but fled into the hills in a very disorganized fashion. That left the flank of Pompey's army exposed.

Meanwhile Caesar's cavalry was returning. But even before they were back the 4th and 3rd lines were ordered by Caesar to attack the now exposed left flank of Pompey's line and that quickly crumbled. Caesar's cavalry could successfully screen against any returning cavalry. Quickly chaos erupted on the Pompeian side.
Pompey judged the battle lost and escaped...

The trick was the way the very thin lines of Caesar's cavalry could hide the infantry directly behind them, some simply retreated through the ranks, others had feigned a counter attack and then wheeled behind the 4th line. As a result all of a sudden the Pompeian cavalry charged into a wall of heavy infantry which totally broke their charge and their spirit.
The Battle Of Pharsalus: Animated Sequences
 
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aggienation

Ad Honorem
Jul 2016
9,813
USA
that actually confused me.. haha

I am not familiar with those animations. Which legion is the hidden 4th line of infantry?
Not a single legion, Caesar pulled a cohort from each legion in his army. Those six cohorts formed a separate fourth line on his right to protect his flank, as Caesar knew he was heavily outnumbered in cavalry and as a result that Pompey would almost certainly try to win by a cavalry flanking attack. So when Pompey's cavalry attacked, it drove off Caesar's cavalry, but then ran into his fourth line of infantry, who chased off the Republican cavalry, slaughtered the archers on the flanks, then turned Pompey's flanks, which created a general rout exploited when the three lines of infantry in the main battle line counter attacked.
 
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Jan 2016
393
Ohio
I got it now.. haha

Pompey being too aggressive and Ceasers tactical prowess showing through.

Pompey should have won that.
 

aggienation

Ad Honorem
Jul 2016
9,813
USA
I got it now.. haha

Pompey being too aggressive and Ceasers tactical prowess showing through.

Pompey should have won that.
Pompey should never have fought the battle, he certainly didn't want to. He was in a better logistical situation than Caesar, who needed to force a battle or face quitting Greece. But he was pressured into fighting by the various Senators in his camp, who thought they could best Caesar in a fight and end the war quickly. Labienus planned the battle, at least recommending the cavalry flanking attack. Which made sense, because while he outnumbered Caesar in infantry, his weren't all that well prepared, but he massively outnumbered him in cavalry, so a flank attack was the best way to use them. But Caesar knew that, so predicted the attack, and prepared for it.
 
Jul 2016
243
Just outside the Rust Belt
My favorite is a fairly common trick where a army sort on numbers would have their horse throw up a lot of dust to make their numbers appear much greater then they were.
 
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