ONUS! Roma vs Cartago




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Hannibal with Elephants

Hannibal with Elephants

The troops formed by elephants were quite expensive due to the training and maintenance they needed. Very few armies could afford them, When not in combat they were used to carry heavy equipment. In battles if they were well trained they could have a devastating effect against the enemy, breaking lines and producing many casualties. In the Ancient era and during the Punic Wars it was very difficult to win a battle against elephantry units.

In the year 280 BC Pyrrhus of Epirus used elephants against the Roman army and Hannibal did the same during the II Punic War, crossing the Alps with them and making the Romans to panic. But in the battle of Zama (202 BC) Scipio defeated Hannibal not far from Carthage. His tactic was to open aisles among his lines for the elephants to cross his army and then surrounding them with skirmishers using javelins or lances. Despite many Roman casualties he managed to defeat the elephants.

During the battle of Thapsus (46 BC) Julius Caesar armed his army with axes and commanded his soldiers to strike at the elephant´s legs. He won the battle. After this battle the Western armies discarded the elephants among their troops.

Carthaginians used the North African forest elephants (Loxodonta cyclotis) instead of the African (Loxodonta) or Asian (Elephas maximus), They were 2 to 2.5 meters tall, smaller tan the others. Being smaller meant that they could not carry turrets in combat. They were led by a driver, usually Numidian, using a stick, his feet and the voice.

They were used to charge against the enemy. They could be deployed in the center to fight against the infantry units (like in Bragadas, 255 BC or Zama 202 BC) or in the wings to fight against cavalry units (like in Trebia (218 BC) If horses were not well trained they could flee just by smelling the elephants. After the elephants the infantry or cavalry engaged in the battle.
They could attack with their tusks, or kicked the enemy with their legs or with the horns. Greek elephants wore armor but the Carthaginian ones didn´t. Although their skin is quite deep (2.5 cm) so they were difficult to hurt.
But having generals within the army was dangerous because when they were wounded they could flee and attack their allies. Therefore, Hasdrubal Barca, the brother of Hannibal, gave the drivers a chisel blade and a hammer to cut through the spinal cord when the animal became berserk.

Elephants of Carthage

Elephants of Carthage

Comparison with other unit

In ONUS! elephants can be devastating weapons when followed by heavy infantry or Punic cavalry. But be careful because if the flee they won´t know who are their friends or enemies.
Skills they have are instilling terror, charging, they carry javelins and they are professionals (reroll a dice after getting a 1 when attacking)




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