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Thread: Hannibal vs Alexander the Great - Who would win?

  1. #41

    Default Re: Hannibal vs Alexander the Great - Who would win?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nordling View Post
    Well, i'm no expert on the whole history but from what i know, hannibal won all his 3 famous battles in different ways - ambush, famous cannae maneuver and using force hidden in the forest. Cannae & Trebia were much closer to open battles while the lake one was strictly an ambush. I would say that he employed tactics best suited for his warriors. ambsuhing enemy with phalanx isn't exactly the best option while running down the hill with a war cry on the lips suits gauls the best. If he had another army composition he would employ similar tactics to alexander, in my opinion. I'm no fun of comparing the armies because they fought in a very different landscape so it was only natural that either of them developed drastically different approach. alexander's army would be defeated in forest & mountainous terrain while hannibal's gauls would get shredded by companions' charge on an open plain.
    Frankly, it strikes me that Hannibal likely studied other famous battles... Cannae strikes me as just being Marathon with a cavalry element.

    As for the notion that Alexander would have been defeated in forest and mountains, he fought in them on multiple occasions and had perhaps the best mountain troops in Antiquity at his disposal: the Agrianians. We're talking about a man who conquered Afghanistan.

  2. #42

    Default Re: Hannibal vs Alexander the Great - Who would win?

    > Cannae strikes me as just being Marathon with a cavalry element.

    Can you expand this? I don't see those battles as being particularly similar at all. I suppose both had a "weak" center and encircling wings but its not even clear the greeks intended it to happen that way.

  3. #43

    Default Re: Hannibal vs Alexander the Great - Who would win?

    One of the cheesiest most pop history questions can ask. I can already imagine some history channel show making an episode about this and comparing their MOST ELITE UNITS!

  4. #44
    Dead*Man*Wilson's Avatar Campidoctor
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    Default Re: Hannibal vs Alexander the Great - Who would win?

    Quote Originally Posted by The Despondent Mind View Post
    One of the cheesiest most pop history questions can ask. I can already imagine some history channel show making an episode about this and comparing their MOST ELITE UNITS!
    Don't you mean their DEADLIEST WARRIORS ?!?!?!? Per that show, both Hannibal & Alexander got bested by Ghengis Khan & Attila, respectively.

  5. #45

    Default Re: Hannibal vs Alexander the Great - Who would win?

    Quote Originally Posted by Garbad View Post
    > Cannae strikes me as just being Marathon with a cavalry element.

    Can you expand this? I don't see those battles as being particularly similar at all. I suppose both had a "weak" center and encircling wings but its not even clear the greeks intended it to happen that way.
    The Greeks didn't intend it, but it was noticed as being the reason why the Persians lost so many in that battle. Well, that and the fact they had to flee to their ships and not over land in order to escape. Their intent doesn't matter for later generals learning the lesson. The weakened centre to envelop the enemy, to catch as many of the enemy as possible, is something Hannibal would have considered as absolutely necessary by that stage in the war, I suspect. His plan, as far as I can tell, was to kill as many Romans as possible to force a humiliating peace. The Romans knew this and refused to capitulate.

  6. #46

    Default Re: Hannibal vs Alexander the Great - Who would win?

    > His plan, as far as I can tell, was to kill as many Romans as possible to force a humiliating peace. The Romans knew this and refused to capitulate.

    I don't think that is true. As an invading general with limited reinforcements avoiding pitched battle would ordinarily be in his interests. His strategic goal was to isolate rome from her allies and weaken her empire, not destroy rome. He tried to accomplish this by emphasising how awful rome was and how he was just like them, generous terms to latins but harsh ones to romans, 'liberating' latin cites for years, etc. It failed because the allies realized rome wasn't going away, and sooner or later carthage would fold.

    Still, interesting take.

  7. #47
    Nordling's Avatar Semisalis
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    Default Re: Hannibal vs Alexander the Great - Who would win?

    Quote Originally Posted by IrishHitman View Post
    The Greeks didn't intend it, but it was noticed as being the reason why the Persians lost so many in that battle. Well, that and the fact they had to flee to their ships and not over land in order to escape. Their intent doesn't matter for later generals learning the lesson. The weakened centre to envelop the enemy, to catch as many of the enemy as possible, is something Hannibal would have considered as absolutely necessary by that stage in the war, I suspect. His plan, as far as I can tell, was to kill as many Romans as possible to force a humiliating peace. The Romans knew this and refused to capitulate.
    AFAIK, greek center wasnt weakened at all. Ot was just that persian wings were so miserably bad. Persian infrantry was no match for greek hoplites. I would not compare marathon to cannae at all.

    @Garbad&IrishHitman, considering roman-carthaginian war in italy:
    I believe that you do need a decisive victory on foreign lands if you have little hope for reinforcements. You are in a land unknown to you, with unwelcoming inhabitants and supply lines diffficult to maintain. You can't take a lot of minor skirmishes as you will constantly lose on your army's numbers & morale while the enemy can replenish its ranks, being on its own territory. If you can win a battle decisively, local populace will start to doubt in its overlord's power and will be more prone to help the invaders. A number of socii states aided hannibal however it was not enough. The resilience of romans & overall loyalty of socii is a very interesting aspect of this war and should not be overlooked. In normal conditions, as history shows, one or two such decisive victories meant that the war was over, most of the times

  8. #48

    Default Re: Hannibal vs Alexander the Great - Who would win?

    Quote Originally Posted by Garbad View Post
    > His plan, as far as I can tell, was to kill as many Romans as possible to force a humiliating peace. The Romans knew this and refused to capitulate.

    I don't think that is true. As an invading general with limited reinforcements avoiding pitched battle would ordinarily be in his interests. His strategic goal was to isolate rome from her allies and weaken her empire, not destroy rome. He tried to accomplish this by emphasising how awful rome was and how he was just like them, generous terms to latins but harsh ones to romans, 'liberating' latin cites for years, etc. It failed because the allies realized rome wasn't going away, and sooner or later carthage would fold.

    Still, interesting take.
    I'm not sure 'avoiding pitched battle' describes his strategy very well. Avoiding it when it didn't suit him, religiously so, sure. The man went very far to create the conditions for pitched battles that would be in his favour, however. Killing bucketloads of Romans is a pretty good way to demonstrate to the Latin allies that the sun is setting on Rome's power. Hell, it's the only reason they stayed with him so long. Probably the only reason the random collection of Gauls and Iberians he had with him did too. It was the Romans that had to avoid battle, because time was on their side and Hannibal quickly demonstrated that he could choose his time and place well enough to inflict utterly crushing defeats.

    Ambushes and envelopments are the tools for creating the sort of casualties that could make the point.

    The strategy failed because Scipio slapped the hell out of Carthage in Spain, and other commanders kept losing engagements in Italy and Sicily. One could argue about whether or not taking and then destroying the city of Rome would have helped, but still.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nordling View Post
    AFAIK, greek center wasnt weakened at all. Ot was just that persian wings were so miserably bad. Persian infrantry was no match for greek hoplites. I would not compare marathon to cannae at all.

    @Garbad&IrishHitman, considering roman-carthaginian war in italy:
    I believe that you do need a decisive victory on foreign lands if you have little hope for reinforcements. You are in a land unknown to you, with unwelcoming inhabitants and supply lines diffficult to maintain. You can't take a lot of minor skirmishes as you will constantly lose on your army's numbers & morale while the enemy can replenish its ranks, being on its own territory. If you can win a battle decisively, local populace will start to doubt in its overlord's power and will be more prone to help the invaders. A number of socii states aided hannibal however it was not enough. The resilience of romans & overall loyalty of socii is a very interesting aspect of this war and should not be overlooked. In normal conditions, as history shows, one or two such decisive victories meant that the war was over, most of the times
    That's not my reading of Marathon. The Greeks deliberately lengthened their line to match that of the Persians' own by decreasing their depth, with the wings being kept to normal ranks only by accident or as a means of deterring a Persian cavalry flank attack (they did not know that the Persian cavalry had been sent by ship towards Phalerum).

  9. #49
    Nordling's Avatar Semisalis
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    Default Re: Hannibal vs Alexander the Great - Who would win?

    Quote Originally Posted by IrishHitman View Post
    That's not my reading of Marathon. The Greeks deliberately lengthened their line to match that of the Persians' own by decreasing their depth, with the wings being kept to normal ranks only by accident or as a means of deterring a Persian cavalry flank attack (they did not know that the Persian cavalry had been sent by ship towards Phalerum).
    True, but hannibal deliberately put light infantry in middle. Greeks could not have done so, simply put - their army consisted solely of hoplites whilst hannibal's was much more diverse. Greeks just spread their line, nothing more than that.
    Last edited by Nordling; December 02, 2018 at 08:11 AM.

  10. #50

    Default Re: Hannibal vs Alexander the Great - Who would win?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nordling View Post
    Greeks could not have done so, simply put - their army consisted solely of hoplites whilst hannibal's was much more diverse. Greeks just spread their line, nothing more than that.
    What?

  11. #51
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    Default Re: Hannibal vs Alexander the Great - Who would win?

    Good discussion,
    I think on the battlefield they were both amongst the best, off of it though Hannibal clearly is superior to me. Alexander was much too rash and suffered many near mutinies and an actual refusal to continue, this is something that Hannibal never struggled with. Hannibal would be able to play of Alexanders ego and Hannibal fought and defeated many different prominent opponents and had to evolve his tactics. Most of Alexanders victories came against inferior tacticians and troops. Even though both often fought outnumbered, Hannibal was the only one fighting against a better-trained army though he did, of course, have some superiority (usually in cavalry).

  12. #52
    amagana91's Avatar Foederatus
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    Default Re: Hannibal vs Alexander the Great - Who would win?

    I am wondering if anyone on here is interested in starting a head to head DEI campaign with me? I am thinking of playing twice a week maybe three times in the evening(I am in U.S central time zone). Any takers? Look forward to hearing from you all, feel free to DM me on Steam as well. Username is Zapata91360.
    See you on the battlefield

  13. #53

    Default Re: Hannibal vs Alexander the Great - Who would win?

    Quote Originally Posted by amagana91 View Post
    Good discussion,
    I think on the battlefield they were both amongst the best, off of it though Hannibal clearly is superior to me. Alexander was much too rash and suffered many near mutinies and an actual refusal to continue, this is something that Hannibal never struggled with. Hannibal would be able to play of Alexanders ego and Hannibal fought and defeated many different prominent opponents and had to evolve his tactics. Most of Alexanders victories came against inferior tacticians and troops. Even though both often fought outnumbered, Hannibal was the only one fighting against a better-trained army though he did, of course, have some superiority (usually in cavalry).
    This is just not true. Its the old greek supremacy myth that is the exact opposite of reality at the time. The persian military dominated the east (including the ionian greeks) for centuries, before and after alexander. The great king was undefeated in the field for 150 years. While its true persian infantry was trash, persian horse/bow + greek merc infantry was the norm and the best army for the next 150 years. Mnemon was considered the best general in the east, and defeated other greats like phillip and parmino. Even darius is hard to criticize - tell me, in detail, exactly what military errors he made? Few people can find any. Alex further defeated the scythians, who NEVER lost another battle in recorded history (and who repeatedly beat greek, persian, and other armies).

    This is the ultimate slap at alex. Because he was so dominant, his opponents must have been weak. The reality was his opponents were the strongest military powers of the day -- he was just that strong. By contrast, hannibal's glory is that he won three major battles against rome...which alex's nephew did as well, and no one thinks Phyruus is even close to alexander.

  14. #54
    Dead*Man*Wilson's Avatar Campidoctor
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    Default Re: Hannibal vs Alexander the Great - Who would win?

    Bro, stop propping Alexander and his enemies up just to turn around knock Hannibal's achievements. Sorry, not everyone is going to drink the Alexander Kool-Aid. Just let the thread die, son...

  15. #55

    Default Re: Hannibal vs Alexander the Great - Who would win?

    Quote Originally Posted by Garbad View Post
    ...he won three major battles against rome...which alex's nephew did as well, and no one thinks Phyruus is even close to alexander.
    No one except Hannibal, who himself would list Pyrrhus as the second best commander in history to Alexander ; )

  16. #56

    Default Re: Hannibal vs Alexander the Great - Who would win?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dead*Man*Wilson View Post
    Bro, stop propping Alexander and his enemies up just to turn around knock Hannibal's achievements. Sorry, not everyone is going to drink the Alexander Kool-Aid. Just let the thread die, son...
    That's the thing - everyone HAS drunk the alexander kool aid. There is a reason why 95%+ of military historians rank him as the greatest ever. This is only a debate among the uninformed.

    Quote Originally Posted by nhvanputten View Post
    No one except Hannibal, who himself would list Pyrrhus as the second best commander in history to Alexander ; )
    Doesn't exactly speak well of his judgement, does it?

  17. #57

    Default Re: Hannibal vs Alexander the Great - Who would win?

    I think Alexander would win this pretty handily if we have them using their historical armies. Alexander's forces were flexible and skilled, battle hardened veterans who were well equipped and trained and highly motivated and loyal. They proved themselves by conquering the largest empire in world history until the Mongols/British millennia later. Alexander was simply the greatest ancient general in history and his tactics and military system were extremely well designed for defeating his contemporary adversaries. Hannibal had a largely mercenary force, his troops were loyal to a degree but it was nothing like the extreme reverence many had for Alexander. Hannibal was not a monarch, nor was he acclaimed to be a god as far as I know, so he was clearly not working on the same level as far as inspirational "presence" is concerned. Hannibal has the advantage in light cavalry with the Numidians perhaps, but Alexander's heavy and light infantry are both superior to what Hannibal could field and his heavy companion cavalry is likewise far superior to anything Hannibal had at his disposal. I don't think there is much of a debate here as to who would win if we are pitting their historical forces against each other.

    In some kind of hypothetical situation where you give them each equal forces and see who has the pure tactical advantage over the other, I think it might be a closer match. Hannibal and Alexander were both highly creative tacticians who used the available forces at their disposal to great effect. Going by their track record in battle, Alexander clearly had the better win/loss ratio, being undefeated in open battle, whereas Hannibal had some stunning victories intermingled with numerous defeats and eventually his own suicide when capture by the Romans seemed inevitable. Have to give the edge to Alexander but it would be an interesting chess match for sure.
    Last edited by Kirsch27; December 05, 2018 at 10:30 AM.

  18. #58

    Default Re: Hannibal vs Alexander the Great - Who would win?

    Interesting factor that I completely forgot about: Morale.

    Alexander wins out in that category too.

  19. #59

    Default Re: Hannibal vs Alexander the Great - Who would win?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kirsch27 View Post
    Hannibal was not a monarch, nor was he acclaimed to be a god as far as I know
    No, but he deliberately tried to associate himself with hercules and his great deeds so as to fluff himself and seem like a returning hero rather than a foreign invader. It worked so well it still works to this day -- most people when they think of Hannibal they think of his legendary march across the Alps. In popular imagination, this march was a magnificent achievement...yet no one ever seems to remember that three other generals made the same march, during winter!, to no acclaim. It wasn't even particularly noteworthy at the time, but for the propaganda.

  20. #60

    Default Re: Hannibal vs Alexander the Great - Who would win?

    Quote Originally Posted by Garbad View Post
    No, but he deliberately tried to associate himself with hercules and his great deeds so as to fluff himself and seem like a returning hero rather than a foreign invader. It worked so well it still works to this day -- most people when they think of Hannibal they think of his legendary march across the Alps. In popular imagination, this march was a magnificent achievement...yet no one ever seems to remember that three other generals made the same march, during winter!, to no acclaim. It wasn't even particularly noteworthy at the time, but for the propaganda.
    The others weren't exactly stellar at their jobs though. One of the many Hastrubals got his ass kicked after coming over the Alps if memory serves.

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