Tagus River 220 B.C. 2nd Punic War P.1/3&;narrative


All had gone well thought the 25 year old Hannibal. The men were swapping booty from Arbocala, his losses had been light during the siege and now it was time to head to New Carthage and re provision, let the men spend their money and he would plan his campaign against the Carpentani.

The Tagus River lay ahead it would be a slow crossing and a slow return to New Carthage weighted down as they were with their spoils of war.

As they rode on scouts return from the rear guard in an animated fashion. The news was not good. He surveyed the land ahead, an open plain and an easy crossing at the Tagus had been his plan. But now the scouts report a huge force bearing down on them. Nervously they recounted nearly 100,000 Rebels…He scoffed at the number thinking there could be no more than 40,000. The Olcades and Vaccaei and friends were not going to become vassals as easily as Hannibal had thought.

Time for a plan, he could not fight them at a 2:1 disadvantage on such an open plain. He must preserve the mercenaries plunder or lose them to better fields, but he must engage the enemy on his terms or be overwhelmed by sheer numbers. A ruse is in order. He turns to his trusted leaders and shares his plan.

The horde of the tribes approaches:

Opening moves.

Hannibals army is arrayed in four columns in flight from the river, the ruse is to feign flight and then turn on the ‘Spanish’ army as they cross the River.

The Right Wing (RW) begins its maneuver to circle back to the river and pin the Olcades Medium Infantry

The Tribes advance to the waters edge as the Phalanxes advance towards them. They look eager to hurt someone and exact revenge for their subjugation.

The initial engagement on the right flank is not well handled.

Hasbro the Quartermaster gets out of synch with his elephants.

Over on the left wing the Medium Infantry advance to try and slow the Elephants and prevent flanking of the line. The Lancers look for ran opportunity to enter the fray.

The Vaccaei Chief sensing disarray on the far bank and surges his army across the Targus!

The rightmost PH is Reduced by a ferocious assault of 3 units. Carthaginian Light Infantry and Medium infantry rush to fill the gaps. A desperate battle ensues each side taking horrific losses. Blood seeps into the muddy waters

The surge stalls…. The Elephants regain their composure and the leaders form up the cavalry to try another attack.

In the center right across the arc of the front of the Rebels their Light Infantry hurl Javelins en mass, killing skirmishers, weakening the Heavy Cav and putting a dint in one or two of the Phalanxes.

As the King of the Carpentani looks on he can hear the roar on his left and exhorts his men to attack the Elephants head on, one rampages the others attack the Light Infantry, doing little damage and another rampages away, maiming both sides as it departs. The battle see saws.

Barely 3 groups of men make it across the river. They cling to their beachhead. The Numidian horse thresh them at range, and the Heavy Cavalry pin and flank the troops.

Rebels 54 rout points, Carthage 30.
Part 2 sees more trouble for Hannibal.
I have a stop motion movie almost done of the 2nd battle in the campaign.
The battle of the Trebbia River is next.

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