The Battle of Cannae (2 August 216 BC) was a major battle of the Second Punic War, fought in Apulia, in southeast Italy. The army of Carthage, under Hannibal, decisively defeated a larger army of the Roman Republic under Consuls Lucius Aemilius Paullus and Gaius Terentius Varro. It is regarded both as one of the greatest tactical feats in military history and as one of the worst defeats in Roman history.

Having recovered from their losses at Trebia (218 BC) and Lake Trasimene (217 BC), the Romans decided to engage Hannibal at Cannae, with roughly 86,000 Roman and allied troops. The Romans massed their heavy infantry in a deeper formation than usual, while Hannibal utilized the double-envelopment tactic. This was so successful that the Roman army was effectively destroyed as a fighting force. Following the defeat, Capua and several other Italian city-states defected from Rome to Carthage.

Battle of Cannae in After the Downfall[]

The Battle of Cannae had been regarded as an ideal for German officers to strive for, ever since before World War I. It was one of the greatest military triumphs in history. However, it was also true, but rarely acknowledged by the Germans, that while Carthage triumphed so greatly at the battle, it had ultimately lost the war. Hasso Pemsel's experience in World War II made him more mindful of that last fact.[1]

Battle of Cannae in Atlantis[]

In the first year of the Atlantean War of Independence at the First Battle of Weymouth, General Victor Radcliff succeeded in securing the arsenal at Weymouth but was forced to abandon the city. The Atlantean Assembly recalled Radcliff but Custis Cawthorne reminded the Assembly that while the Roman general Gaius Terentius Varro suffered the worst defeat in Roman history at Cannae, the Roman Senate acknowledged that he did the best he could have done under the circumstances, and did not hold the defeat against him. They passed him a vote of thanks for not despairing of the Republic. Cawthorne convinced the Assembly to bestow a similar honor on Radcliff.[2]

Almost a century later, during the deciding battle of the Atlantean Servile Insurrection, Consul Jeremiah Stafford compared the Atlantean Army's predicament to that of the Romans at Cannae. While Rome eventually won the war despite losing that battle, Stafford could see no way for Atlantis to do the same in this case.[3]