At the 2. August, 216 BC, Cannae, in Italy, to an encounter between a Roman army with the troops of Hannibal. The battle cemented the reputation of Hannibal as the greatest strategist of his era and meant a crushing defeat for Rome. The numerically superior Romans were not only beaten, the army was literally wiped out.

Big wins, there are many in the history of the war, but of Cannae a special effect. This battle infected and poisoned the Thinking of the military until the 20th century. Century. Because here the opponent has not been defeated and weakened, on the evening of the Roman army existed. Cannae was awakened by the dark dream of destruction battle. A battle that could decide a war with a single blow.

victory without special conditions

Heavy and crushing defeats are usually possible due to special factors, of which no one can hope that he can reproduce at will. In the Teutoburg forest, Varus ‘ legions also suffered such a defeat. This, however, was the fact that the attack was a surprise to Varus, and the planned ambush so that he surprised the army in the worst possible Situation. The legions were pulled apart, and the terrain prevented that you were able to collect large formations. The whole tactical Superiority of the Romans did not come to fruition.

The boiler battle of Cannae took place in open terrain. How came it then to the defeat? The Romans introduced their more powerful troops in the same width as the Carthaginians. Your Plus to men you are not used to the front length to widen or to form a mobile Reserve. It was supported by the troops more deeply. Like a Hammer the impact of this Formation should smash the opponent.

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Unfortunately, Hannibal saw that the Romans wanted to use their strength in this clumsy way. With two measures, he thwarted the success of the Roman tactics: The troops in the middle of his line gave way before the Romans. The thought that this was a sign of the coming victory, and moved on. However, while the center of the kart gave Hager, held the flanks. There, Hannibal had positioned his best soldiers. The Romans into it marched unsuspectingly into a boiler.

Then Hannibal’s horsemen were attacked by the cavalry of the Romans. To were horses the kart superior to Hager, but actually, the cavalry at that time was not decisive for the war. However, at Cannae, you not only sold the Roman cavalry. After that, Hannibal’s horsemen turned around and closed put the “bag” in which the Roman legions. These have now been pressed from all sides and slaughtered.

4000 miles

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The German dream of Cannae in XXL

Above all, the German General staff of the Imperial era was of this battle. The times had greatly changed, and were not to be compared with the former conditions. The so-called Schlieffen plan increased the basic idea of the enclosure into a gigantic –rather than a field hundreds of kilometers of Land should be included. The Plan was, with a gigantic rise through the neutral Belgium along the coast to advance, then to Paris and the whole French Front include.

But the German troops did not progress as fast as Hannibal’s horsemen. Although the opponent was first surprised, he had time enough to block the German advance. The German Plan was, at the latest, failed in September of 1914. The General staff was clueless and paralyzed. A new promising concept. The audacious Schlieffen plan was replaced by a blunt counter-attack. The battle of Verdun should be, in all Seriousness, a “blood mill”, in the both side, more and more soldiers had to throw. The reasoning is that The smaller France would have to give up, because it could not burn as many soldiers as Germany.

Hannibal had also luck

In the enthusiasm of the military for the battle of Annihilation has been an overlooked studiously: Hannibal a brilliant strategist and he was also just lucky. This is because, unlike some of the military later mentioned, had won the battle not the Plan alone. Hannibal turned to the opponent a trap and had to fall also.

Any chance could have lead to the Roman commanders see your Paullus and Varro would have the planned grasp. More field men such as Gaius Julius Caesar, Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus, or even Lucius Licinius Lucullus would have blocked anyway. The Roman generals misjudged the real strength of the legions. The Legion could be used, as the classic Phalanx, which pierces the enemy line.

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Only about 50 years later, on 2 June 168 BC, demonstrated to the experienced military Lucius Aemilius Paullus at Pydna in Greece, to which the legions were capable of. Paullus and Varro would have let their legions, not as a Block, but at the critical Moment, the troops of the centre, taken back and at the same time, defense-in-depth members of his Blocks on the two wings fold out, would not be able to include Hannibal’s forces the Romans. The attack on the sides would be broken, and then Hannibal himself would have threatened the enclosing of its center. Paullus and Varro took advantage of their troops poorly and misjudged the decisive Moment of the battle.

a Renaissance in the movement of the war,

Really important is the concept of “perimeter battle was” in the cauldron battles of the Second world war. The high mobility of motorized and armored units have now made it possible to form a boiler of enormous proportions.

US General Norman Schwarzkopf called explicitly, the battle of Cannae as a model for its Invasion of Iraq in the Second Gulf war.