Alexander The Great Vs Hannibal Barca

Alexander The Great Vs Hannibal Barca

Suggested by itcheyness

Alexander The Great wage war against Hannibal Barca.

The combatants are each given armies of 50,000 veteran troops from their campaigns and are fighting in Italy.

Alexander starts in Southern Italy and Hannibal starts in Northern Italy.

Neither army has to worry about supplies. Both armies are seeking to destroy their opponents whatever way possible. Assume that both commanders have equal knowledge of Italian terrain and geography, and have equal knowledge of the opposing commander.

Who wins?

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15 Comments on "Alexander The Great Vs Hannibal Barca"

  1. Mr. happy February 24, 2015 at 7:04 am -      #1

    Alexander, he who has fought far more battles and varied opponents than Hannibal and a far more flexible army and trusted commanders.

  2. Belisaurius February 24, 2015 at 8:22 am -      #2

    Hannibal has two assets of note. The first is his numedian cavalry and the second is his war elephants.

    However, Alexander’s companion cavalry are as skilled as the numedian cavalry and better equiped (being nobles). Likewise, elephants would die in short order if they attempted to break macedonian pikes from the front.

  3. batman3.14 February 24, 2015 at 12:33 pm -      #3

    Well, Hannibal has slightly better technology, but Alex is literally the stuff of legend. From what I have read, it seems to me that Alex is a better strategist while in battle buy Hannibal is better out of battle (campaigns). I think the question to ask is which is more important in this scenario. The above comments also represent Alex’s advantages well also. Hannibal knows the geography much better though.

  4. GrandMaster February 24, 2015 at 9:06 pm -      #4

    I would think Hannibal. Alexander was a great commander, but He mostly fought people on his level/weaker than him. Hannibal and his army went up against the Roman Military for 15 years, alone and Illequipped. His victories are studied even today.

  5. Darth Bombad February 24, 2015 at 10:49 pm -      #5

    @GrandMaster

    Ummmm…. What!?! Alexander fought the largest empire ever up to that point.
    He was outnumbered 5 to 1 at Gaugamela and still pulled off a victory.

    Hannibal’s main strategy was simply ambush, when he finally met Scipio in a fair fight
    Han had a slight edge in numbers and home field advantage and he still couldn’t win.

    Taking a decade to build one of the worlds biggest (and most important)
    Empires >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> crossing the Alps with some elephants.

    I’m definitely going with Alexander the Great on this one.
    P.S. Hannibal supposedly called Xander the greatest general of all time.

  6. Fezzes February 25, 2015 at 12:52 am -      #6

    Alexander is the greatest military mind ever to walk the earth, IMO. In my mind, for Hannibal to win, he would have to have significantly better troops than Alexander does, and he really doesn’t at all.

    Alexander is more versatile, Alexander is more intelligent, Alexander is a better leader of men, Alexander is more able to quickly react to the ebb and flow of a battle, Alexander is more ingenious, Alexander is more cunning, and Alexander has better troops. The only way Hannibal outclasses Alexander is that he has elephants, but I imagine pikes would deal with elephants. Did I miss anything?

  7. itcheyness February 25, 2015 at 7:39 pm -      #7

    “Hannibal’s main strategy was simply ambush, when he finally met Scipio in a fair fight
    Han had a slight edge in numbers and home field advantage and he still couldn’t win.”

    Cannae wasn’t an ambush, and at Zama Hannibal’s army was largely made up of green recruits and exhausted veterans, while Scipio’s was largely made up of veteran troops that had survived Hannibal’s crushing victory at Cannae and were eager for revenge and well rested. Scipio also had a massive cavalry advantage since he had taken most of Carthage’s Numidan cavalry.

    Hannibal didn’t want to take his army in to battle, because he didn’t believe that the untrained African levies would hold their ground. He was right.

  8. Fezzes February 26, 2015 at 6:06 am -      #8

    Battle of Gaugamela: Macedonians have 47 000, Persians have anywhere between 100 000 to 250 000 to (unlikely) 1 000 000. Alexander loses at most a thousand of his force, and some even say as low as three hundred. I know that Alexander’s troops were superior quality, but being outnumbered 4-to-1 is being outnumbered 4-to-1, no matter what way you spin it. That is a resounding victory, and hard to match.

    Also, when fighting Porus, Alexander fought elephants and countered them with ease, as he ordered the phalanx to open their ranks and then strike up at the elephant handlers and strike at the elephant’s head itself. So no, Hannibal’s elephants aren’t a significant advantage. Every time Alexander fought a new and unfamiliar opponent, he always altered his tactics and troop arrangements every time to counter the enemy.

    Given the distinct lack of comments, I would say that not many people actually care about this, which saddens me, as the most interesting conflicts are ones that did happen or could have happened or what-if matches and comparing all this.

  9. Hermit February 26, 2015 at 9:44 am -      #9

    As Fezzes said, Alexander has fought elephants before.
    .
    I’m pretty sure that Alexander would try to avoid fighting in mountainous areas, to maximize his phalanx. Hannibal, on the other hand, just came out of the Alps.
    .
    Where do you guys think is the first battle most likely to take place?

  10. Belisaurius February 26, 2015 at 11:10 am -      #10

    Hannibal actually rated himself bellow Alexander and Pyrrhus.

    It should also be noted that most of Hannibal’s troops were mercenaries rather than carthagian nationals and thus have questionable loyalty. If the campaign drags on too long Hannibal will run out of money and his army will desert him. Alexander’s army was built around a solid core of macedonians and he was personal friends with his elite guard.

  11. Fezzes February 26, 2015 at 8:59 pm -      #11

    Hmm. This is one of the reasons why I like historical debates like this. I didn’t know that he was personal friends with his elite guard. For the sake of my knowledge, what are you referring to as his elite guard? His battlefield bodyguards?

    “Where do you guys think the first battle is most likely to take place?”

    Depends. Are the cities still there? Are they as they were, or modern? Are the cities empty? Are they the only human life in the area? If I had to say, I would say somewhere a little bit on Hannibal’s side of Rome, or maybe one side straight up garrisons Rome. It’s kind of in the middle of Italy, so that would logically be the converging point.

  12. GrandMaster February 26, 2015 at 10:09 pm -      #12

    “Ummmm…. What!?! Alexander fought the largest empire ever up to that point.
    He was outnumbered 5 to 1 at Gaugamela and still pulled off a victory.”

    Modern Historians say it was more like 80,000 Persians vs 40,000 Macedonians, most of the older figures, such as the ones claiming Alexander fought against an army of 1 million, were created by Greek Historians who were trying to make Alexander look good.

    “Hannibal’s main strategy was simply ambush, when he finally met Scipio in a fair fight
    Han had a slight edge in numbers and home field advantage and he still couldn’t win.”

    Only The Battle of Lake Trasimene was an ambush, Trebia and Cannae were all straight up fights. And the reasons he lost at Zama were:
    1) His troops were all new recruits and broke at a critical moment in the battle
    2) The Romans at this point had learned the Carthaginian play book, and all of Hannibal’s old methods were countered because they were known to Scipio at that point.

  13. Mr. happy February 28, 2015 at 7:59 am -      #13

    ‘Hmm. This is one of the reasons why I like historical debates like this. I didn’t know that he was personal friends with his elite guard. For the sake of my knowledge, what are you referring to as his elite guard? His battlefield bodyguards?’

    The Companions who rode with him into battle.

    ‘1) His troops were all new recruits and broke at a critical moment in the battle’

    They broke because they were charged from behind while the Roman infantry were tearing into them. These were (comparably) untrained men who broke the moment they were charged from behind. Not surprising that they broke.

  14. itcheyness February 28, 2015 at 10:33 am -      #14

    Not to mention that they had also had had some of their elephants driven back into their own lines. That will ruin the morale of even the best trained soldier.

  15. Fezzes March 1, 2015 at 6:59 am -      #15

    “The Companions who rode with him into battle.”

    Oh, right. That should have been obvious.

    Yeah, large numbers of elephants stampeding towards you tends to be scary, training or no.

    “2) The Romans at this point had learned the Carthaginian play book, and all of Hannibal’s old methods were countered because they were known to Scipio at that point.”

    In the mean time, Alexander always changed tactics for every battle he commanded. One commander was outplayed when his strategies were known, the other didn’t have a set battle strategy. Troop deployments, maneuvers, and plans, they were always different.

    Also, Hannibal isn’t a better campaigner. He won battle after battle against the Romans, but he wasn’t getting anywhere in the long term if you think about it. As Maharbal, Hannibal’s cavalry commander said: ‘You, Hannibal, know how to gain a victory; you do not know how to use it.’

    In the mean time, Alexander conquered the Persian Empire and created the second largest empire of the age, second only to the Romans.

    I know which one I think sounds better at campaigning.

    Even if it was only 2:1, which it may or may not have been, that is still one man for every two the Macedonians had, which is nothing to sneeze at. Yes, the Macedonians were better troops, but the strength of the Macedonian troops would never have carried the day. Besides, look at the figures. Macedonians lost at most a little over a thousand troops. At most. Compared to the Persians losing a few ten thousands, that is telling.

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