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The Roman Army of the Punic Wars 264-146 BC (Battle Orders) [Paperback]

Nic Fields
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

10 May 2007
As Rome's power and influence extended across the Mediterranean, she was destined for a collision with the Carthaginian Empire, a clash ultimately resulting in the decisive Second Punic War. At first the Roman Army was no match for the superior tactics and leadership of Hannibal and his troops. However, talented generals like Scipio Africanus transformed the legions into a formidable fighting force. Covering Rome's catastrophic defeats at Lake Trasimene and Cannae to her final victory at Zama, this book examines the development of Roman tactics and organization through Rome's transition from a city-based state to a Mediterranean powerhouse.

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The Roman Army of the Punic Wars 264-146 BC (Battle Orders) + The Roman Army of the Principate 27 BC-AD 117 (Battle Orders) + The Roman Army: The Civil Wars 88-31 BC (Battle Orders)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Osprey Publishing; First Edition, First Printing edition (10 May 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846031451
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846031458
  • Product Dimensions: 24.8 x 18.6 x 0.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 489,826 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

Praise for the Battle Orders series: 'Osprey's Battle Orders series has proved a highly informative innovation, given how critical to any substantive understanding of campaigns and battles is a knowledge of the detailed strengths and organisation of an army.' "Military Illustrated"

About the Author

Dr Nic Fields started his career as a biochemist before joining the Royal Marines. Having left the military, he went back to University and completed a BA and PhD in Ancient History at the University of Newcastle. He was Assistant Director at the British School at Athens, Greece, and then a lecturer in Ancient History at the University of Edinburgh. Nic is now a freelance author and researcher. The author lives in France.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not a bad book, just not an essential one 20 Sep 2011
By No More Mr. Mice Guy TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is an interesting enough introductory volume to the subject, but any `proper' book will probably tell you just as much for a considerably lower price. This doesn't even have colour plates - the trademark of Osprey volumes - although it has the usual quality of photographs and maps and battle-plans (which use NATO icons!). There are a couple of pages of formation diagrams of the deployment of the manipular legion, along with its cavalry turma.

The Contents are -
P04: Introduction
.Conquest of Italy; First Punic war
P16: Roman Military Organization
.The Livian legion; The Polybian legion; Maniple; Light infantry; Cavalry; Citizen-militia
P28: Socii military organization
.Ala; Cohors; Cavalry
P31: Command and control
.Legion command; Centuriate; Junior officers; Command and control in action
P41: Roman army in battle
.Roman tactical doctrine and practice; Legion; Socii; Light troops
P52: Engineering
.Marching camps; Roads; Siegecraft
P57: Second Punic War
.Hannibal's revenge; Hannibal's aims; The long struggle; The Trebbia, genius at work; Lake Trasimene, the perfect ambush; Cannae, a lesson in annihilation; The Metaurus, the beginning of the end; Ilipa, Iberia lost; Zama, a lesson learnt
P86: Military superpower
P88: Chronology 264-200 BC
P91: Ancient Authors
.Appian; Cassius Dio; Diodoros Siculus
P93-P96: Bibliography, Glossary, Index

Diagrams:
Two pages for the legion deployment, one for the maniple, one for the centuria, one for the cavalry turma.
Two pages of Manipular tactics.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Punic Wars 13 July 2008
Format:Paperback
The Wars between Rome and Carthage were the bloodiest and most destructive in the ancient world. In this book Nic Fields presents some information on the battle orders of the time, with an overview on the command, deployment, organisation, tactics and equipment of the Roman Army.

The author describes in detail the armies of the Punic Wars, but most of his attention is drawn towards the Second Punic War, as this was the most famous phase of the conflict. The book charts the evolution of the Roman army from the Livian to the Polybian Legion, with sections dedicated to the organisation of the maniple, the use of light infantry and cavalry, as well as subjects like Socii military organisation.

Other sections look at the Roman army in battle, military engineering, and the command structure of the legions during the Second Punic War at Trebbia, Trasimene, Cannae, the Metaurus, Ilipa and Zama.

This is certainly not for novices in the subject. I believe that a good grounding in knowledge of the Punic Wars is needed to get some enjoyment from the book, but that doesn't mean that interested amateurs like myself won't find anything of use in it. Those who have studied the Punic wars at length will no doubt find this book a treasure trove of information.

Features such as organisation charts help give you better idea of how the Roman legion or maniple operated in battle. Full colour maps help show the deployment of the armies in the field, as well as giving you a broad overview of the whole campaign. Small sections also cover the biographies of some of the leading generals of the war, while photographs help complete the title.

Overall this a brilliant short book that oozes with quality and deeply researched scholarship. It might be heavy going for those who have no prior knowledge of the history of the Punic Wars, but those who do will find it invaluable.
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Amazon.com: 3.0 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Only Covers the 2nd Punic War 30 Aug 2007
By R. A Forczyk - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Right up front, the title of this book is misleading, since it really only covers the 2nd Punic War (Hannibalic War) and the chronology in the back of the volume does not even list any events after 200 BC! Given that Osprey has already done an Essential Histories volume on the Punic Wars and a Campaign title on the Battle of Cannae, this volume fails to carve out a significantly independent niche for itself - if you have the earlier volumes, this one is rather repetitive. Finally, too much of this volume in focused on the Carthaginian General Hannibal, rather than the Roman armies which are supposed to be the subject of this book. Overall, this book has some nice charts and maps, but it adds little on the subject.

This volume begins with a rather lengthy introduction that covers the early growth of Roman military power in Italy and skims over the First Punic War. Other than saying that the First Punic War was primarily a naval conflict and a struggle for control over Sicily, the author actually says very little about the first war. The successful use of 2-legion consular armies in Sicily is barely mentioned. The Roman expedition to Africa in 256 BC and the defeat at the Battle of Tunis is not even mentioned, save a single reference in the chronology. After already getting into operations, the author then jumps back into a 24-page section on the organization of Roman and allied armies, which has pretty charts but doesn't say much that hasn't appeared in other books. You can only milk so much from Polybius, Livy and Cassius Dio before the well is dry. Another section follows on the Roman Army in battle, which discusses tactics - pretty much the same ground just covered in the Elite volume just released on Roman tactics. The next section covers engineering, primarily a discussion of camp-building and siegecraft. It would have been nice to have an Osprey color plate on a Roman fortified camp and this would have been a good place to make some mention of Roman siege artillery.

The heart of this volume is a nearly 30-page long section on the 2nd Punic War, with emphasis upon Hannibal's three classic victories and his defeat at Zama. Note to reader: instead of reading this author quote chunks from Lazenby's much better Hannibal's War, just read Lazenby. The Roman Army itself seems to disappear in this section with over-emphasis upon the Carthaginians. We really didn't need more maps of Cannae - probably the most over-covered battle in history. The Third Punic War is not even mentioned once in this volume!

This volume has 8 maps (the Italian peninsula 3rd Century BC; the Mediterranean basin 3rd Century BC; Battle of the Trebbia; Battle of Lake Trasimene; Battle of Cannae; Battle of Metaurus; Battle of Ilipa; Battle of Zama) and 5 charts (a legion deployed; a maniple, a cavalry turma; a century; manipular tactics). Although other authors have used modern NATO tactical symbology to represent Roman units, this author gets rather carried away with it and I found the use of a "battalion" symbol to represent a "maniple" and a "brigade" symbol to represent a "legion" rather annoying (the author says that the joining of two "company-size" centuries equals a "battalion-size" maniple, but even today two companies are not considered equivalent to a battalion).
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not very readable..... 23 July 2007
By lordhoot - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
In less then 100 pages, Nic Fields wrote a book about the Roman military organization and how they evolved during the three Punic Wars. That is a very difficult job and he was only semi-successful in his effort.

The book appears to be well researched, there are plenty of diagrams and battle maps that shows the how and whys. I think the problem came to the narrative writing. The author was obviously cramming a lot of information into a small package and that hampered the readability of the book. Simply put, I think the subject matter was too big for a book of this nature.

One of the best books on the Roman army is that one by Adrian Goldworthy and Goldworthy's book is one of the most readable and enjoyable books on the subject. Nic Fields' book is not very readable and it might confused rather then enlightened the novice reader who may pick this book up due to its short length. Maybe its just me but I found reading this book somewhat irritating and I am pretty well read on the subject. I will let someone else nick-picks any trivial errors if there is any.

If you have to read an introductionary book on the Roman military, this book probably won't be a good place to start. Books by Adrian Goldworthy or Peter Connelly might be a better choice.
3.0 out of 5 stars THE ROMAN ARMY OF THE PUNIC WARS, 264-145 BC 7 Dec 2010
By Robert A. Lynn - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
THE ROMAN ARMY OF THE PUNIC WARS, 264-145 BC
NIC FIELDS
OSPREY PUBLISHING, 2007
QUALITY SOFTCOVER, 96 PAGES, ILLUSTRATIONS, MAPS, PHOTOGRAPHS, CHARTS, $23.95

Polybius, the Greek historian the Romans took hostage in 167 BC, described the Roman Army of the Middle Republic as being organized into small tent parties known as contuberinum, which consisted of eight soldiers, which shared a tent, millstone, mule, and a cooking pot. A century was made up of ten of these tent parties, commanded by a centurion. With the military reforms of Camillus in the early 4th Century BC, a clear chain of command was established, with centurions of several grades and military tribunes, from the Equestrian class, who were in the military to advance their political careers. Camillus also introduced a new tactical unit, called the maniple (manipulus, "handful"), which was composed of 120 to 160 men (two centuries), and commanded by the senior of the two centurions. During the Punic Wars, the Roman legions consisted of cavalry, light infantry, and heavy infantry, all of which were land owners who bought their own equipment, weapons, and armor. A legion's cavalry, or equites, consisted of ten groups of thirty men on horseback, all commanded by one decurion. The cavalry consisted of wealthy young Romans looking for a stepping stone to an eventual career, and as such, were unlikely to be seen near the front lines during battle. The light infantry consisted of javelin-throwers, and had no formal organization, being called into battle as necessary. The principal military unit of the legion was the heavy infantry, which included those individuals who could afford more expensive equipment, such as a bronze helmet, shield, armor, and a pilum, a heavy, short spear with a long metal shank. The weapon of choice of a heavy solder was the gladius, a short sword. The heavy infantry was subdivided into three groups, based on age and military experience. The hastati ("spearmen") formed the front line during battle, and consisted of 1,200 younger individuals. The second line of attack, known as principes, included 1,200 men in their late twenties to early thirties ("in their prime"), were more experienced than the hastati. The rarely-used third line, the triarii, consisted of 600 older, veteran soldiers. These three lines were divided into maniples, which were spaced in a so-called quincunx formation (a modern term, referring to the checkerboard layout resembling the five dots on dice.) As Rome's power and influence extended across the Mediterranean, she was destined for a collision with the Carthaginian Empire, a clash ultimately resulting in the decisive Second Punic War. At first, theRoman Army was no match for the superior tactics and leadership of Hannibal and his troops. However, talented generals like Scipio Africanus transformed the legions into a formidable fighting force. Covering Rome's catastrophic defeats at Lake Trasimene and Cannae to her final victory at Zama, THE ROMAN ARMY OF THE PUNIC WARS, 264-146 BC examines the development of Roman tactics and organization through Rome's transition from a city-based state to a Mediterranean powerhouse. This is a good book for anyone interetsed in how the Roman Army functioned and how it changed over time. For specialists, this book will seem simple but for the general public, the book is good.

Lt. Colonel Robert A. Lynn, Florida Guard
Orlando, Florida
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great insights 11 Jan 2009
By Danny Cote - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The author provides good background information with great graphical analysis/schematics of the battles of the Punic wars.
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