Was Hannibal the greatest battlefield general of antiquity?

Feb 2011
858
Scotland
By the way who is von Leutterbeck? Ludendorff? Ludwig Beck? The Ritter von Leeb? Kesselring? Wilhelm List? Dietrich von Choltitz?
I think Piccolo is referring to General Paul Von Lettow-Vorbeck, from African campaigns in World War 1.

Since the OP asks about the greatest battlefield general of antiquity, this rather excludes generals of the second or third reich.
 
Last edited:
Jul 2017
2,143
Australia
Idk tbh, if we're talking solely about the tactical aspect, it's pretty close, or at any rate the lines of distinction are a bit blurred. I wouldn't say that there's many generals in antiquity that are markedly superior to Hannibal from a tactical perspective.
 
May 2018
332
Michigan
Idk tbh, if we're talking solely about the tactical aspect, it's pretty close, or at any rate the lines of distinction are a bit blurred. I wouldn't say that there's many generals in antiquity that are markedly superior to Hannibal from a tactical perspective.
From purely a tactical perspective (which I would call a myopic view of judging great generalship), I would say Hannibal edges out Scipio slightly. This is not due to any deficiency in Scipio, only that Scipio's masterpiece (Illipia) was incomplete (rain prevented complete destruction of his enemy) whereas Hannibal's victory at Cannae, from a tactical perspective, stands above Lee's Chancellorsville, Napoleon's Austerlitz and Wellington at Assaye (which I consider his best victory).
 
Apr 2010
4,864
Oxford
From purely a tactical perspective (which I would call a myopic view of judging great generalship), I would say Hannibal edges out Scipio slightly. This is not due to any deficiency in Scipio, only that Scipio's masterpiece (Illipia) was incomplete (rain prevented complete destruction of his enemy) whereas Hannibal's victory at Cannae, from a tactical perspective, stands above Lee's Chancellorsville, Napoleon's Austerlitz and Wellington at Assaye (which I consider his best victory).
Hannibal also fought a number of different battles to Scipio, showing a broader tactical display (though of course, this is not to say Scipio couldn't have achieved such feats) such as river crossings (Rhone), and the genius of the Battle on the Tagus.
 
May 2018
332
Michigan
Hannibal also fought a number of different battles to Scipio, showing a broader tactical display (though of course, this is not to say Scipio couldn't have achieved such feats) such as river crossings (Rhone), and the genius of the Battle on the Tagus.
Scipio only fought about 7 battles, and was undefeated. Hannibal was exposed to far more different tactical situations than Scipio, as was Julius Caesar (who fought far more battles than Scipio did). Scipio's tactical ability was near perfect in the battles he did fight, but I believe historians could argue until they are blue in the face as to whether:

-The fact that Scipio fought fewer battles was because of superior strategy: he only fought decisive actions where he forced his opponents to fight when they did not want to. Baecula and Zama are good examples of this: neither Hasdrubal or Hannibal wanted to fight these battles, and they only did so because Scipio put them in a position, one way or another, where they had no choice.

OR

-Sometimes fate simply gives one man more opportunities to prove himself than another.
 
Likes: macon
May 2018
332
Michigan
Why didn't Hannibal want to fight Zama? He made a choice to make the decisive action, despite failing to get in between Scipio and the Numidians.
It is attested that Hannibal wanted at least another month or two for his veterans to train the rest of his army. He informed the Carthaginian Senate of this, but they disagreed and directly ordered him to march and confront Scipio, who was destroying the local economy by storming villages in the area.
 

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