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Employing brilliant surprise tactics, Hannibal beat the Romans in quite a few decisive battles where he was outnumbered but increased his arsenal by weaponizing nature. At Trebbia he made the Romans cross the freezing Trebbia river in midwinter, thereby neutralizing them before battle; at Lake Trasimene he hid his ambushing forces in the summer fog off the lake and destroyed the marching Roman army by coming unchecked from several hidden unexpected directions in the above hills. At Volturnus, Hannibal created a diversionary army at night by tying wood between the horns of thousands of cattle and lighting it, then sending the cattle off in a different direction which the Romans chased, fooled into thinking the lights were Hannibal’s moving forces. At Cannae he forced the many Romans legions far outnumbering him into a narrow valley between a river and hills so they could not outflank him, but also had them face south to the blinding dust of an African summer sandstorm from the south, making it difficult to see his forces and irritating their eyes. Hannibal also may have been a pioneer of biological warfare on several occasions. These unusual tactics set the stage for many modern military uses of topography and the environment to gain an advantage over enemies, no doubt why Hannibal remains relevant and continues to be studied in detail by war colleges and military academies today.
Short bibliography and/or website on lecture topic:
Patrick Hunt. Hannibal. Simon and Schuster, 2017
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