Hannibal and Carthage Defeat Rome In The Second Punic War

This was also in a period were a determined man and a sizeable army could wreak havoc on the known world, as we saw with Caesar and Alexander (to name but two.)

Give a man too many men, and he could just as easily keep what he conquered for himself; and then just as easily return to his homeland and proclaim himself as the new ruler.

Carthaginisn leaders wanted to give Hannibal enough men to just about do what was required of him; but not so many that he would be become overconfident and overly ambitious.
 
Also as Thaddeues6th mentions, having too large an army could actually be a disadvantage. Firstly you had to feed them, secondly you had to prevent the spread of disease. Dysentry alone could decimate an army.
 
This was also in a period were a determined man and a sizeable army could wreak havoc on the known world, as we saw with Caesar and Alexander (to name but two.)

Give a man too many men, and he could just as easily keep what he conquered for himself; and then just as easily return to his homeland and proclaim himself as the new ruler.

Carthaginisn leaders wanted to give Hannibal enough men to just about do what was required of him; but not so many that he would be become overconfident and overly ambitious.

As good a General as he was , Hannibal was not a particularly good Dilpomat when it came forming alliance on the Roman Peninsula. That likely hurt him as much as not having enough Troops or resources.
 
Baylor, I'd be inclined to treat that as a Roman strength rather than Hannibal's weakness. He did conquer and persuade quite a lot of Italy to join him and spent a decade tapdancing over the Romans' home turf, undefeated.
 
Carthage were effectively a trading nation that relied heavily on the use of mercenaries and this can be a bit of a problem when things aren’t going well. The paid soldiers can disappear into the night if the money runs out or for any other reason for that matter. They have no real emotional connection to Carthage and no reason beyond earning a living through fighting.

The more militaristic Rome, on the other hand, had that extra bit of motivation of fighting to defend home soil. That in itself can make for a more determined force.

For me, Hannibal displays tactical nous but is strategically naive. It didn’t matter that Cannae was such a bloody nose for Rome. The ranks of the legions could be refilled relatively quickly. Logistics are still a major undertaking for modern armies so it was always going to be almost impossible for Hannibal to maintain the integrity of his army with no real lines of supply (and this is why I consider him strategically naive).
 
To defend Hannibal, everybody except Rome would've surrendered. Rome a little earlier would've lost, Rome later also would've lost/surrendered.

Hannibal had horrendous bad luck when it came to timing. I think calling him naive is pretty harsh, especially when he marauded, undefeated, in Italy for a decade (including some of the most impressive battlefield victories in history). Plus, he was denied reinforcements by the 'Peace Party' of Hanno.
 
Hannibal was the boogeyman that Romans would scare their kids with decades after the defeat of Carthage; that is hpw much he was feared.

He was hampered in respect that he was 'merely' the commander of an army, not an emperor. If he had been, then he could easily have become an Alexander or a Caesar.

Getting an army across the Alps is arguably the greatest achievement of any commander ever.
 
Not understanding the national character of your enemy is a mistake that keeps on happening - Vietnam and Ukraine - lots more I'm sure, with more to come no doubt.
 
I think that he was one of history's great tacticians. 'Stormin' Norman Schwarzkopf happily admitted to both admiring and applying battlefield tactics in the Gulf War that he'd learned from studying Hannibal. That all being said, however, his success allowed him to persuade the Carthaginian government to allow him to attack Rome at a time where sea power was slipping away from them. Like Hannibal himself, his superiors were blinded by his battlefield success and failed to take into account the strategic situation. If he had been emperor, the only difference here would have been that he wouldn't have had to persuade anyone, he would have just done it.....but the outcome would have been the same.

Like the Germans in Russia in 1941, his supply lines were over extended and foraging can only take you so far. Even though a number of city states in Italy crossed to Hannibal's side when things looked dodgy for Rome, he was still massively outnumbered by Rome's armies. This despite the fact that he was recruiting from defecting city states to supplement his own forces. These recruits were mostly destroyed at Beneventum before they could even link up with Hannibal's army. Rome was used to raising legions as required with most Roman citizens expected at some time to serve. Carthaginian citizens, on the other hand, were only levied when the city was directly threatened. Beyond that, they heavily relied on mercenaries. This gave Rome a much greater force pool from which to raise new recruits as required. Hannibal would have known all of this and basically gambled (and lost) on Italian city states supplementing his force.

Hannibal's tactical brilliance is not in question as far as I'm concerned, but his failure to see the big picture and that his overall strategy was very high risk at best and quite likely doomed leads me to believe that he would not have made a great emperor and would most likely have led Carthage into ruin (this point is moot because Carthage's fate was exactly that).

He reminds me to a certain extent of Robert E. Lee, who led a tactically brilliant defensive campaign for the Confederacy but, as soon as he moved over to the offensive and tried to operate within enemy territory, his strategic shortcomings were revealed.
 
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