However, Gnaeus Scipio
reinforced his fleet with picked legion-
naires, caught the Carthaginian fleet by
surprise, and crushed it at the Battle of
the Ebro. In the fall of 217 BC, Publius
Cornelius Scipio, now a pro-consul,
finally arrived in his allotted province
with 8,000 reinforcements.

Meanwhile, in Italy, Hannibal won three
spectacular victories over the Romans at
Trebbia, Trasimene, and Cannae by the
summer of 216 BC. The Carthaginian
government resolved that the time had
come to reinforce Hannibal in Italy with
an army from Spain and bring the war
to a conclusion. Carthage sent
Hasdrubal 4,000 foot and 500 horse as
reinforcements, along with orders to
march for Italy. A rebellion among the
Tartesii tribe in southern Spain, how-
ever, delayed his invasion until the
following year. In the meantime, the
Historical Background As the Second Punic War opened,
Scipio brothers consolidated their
Carthage held all of southern and
control north of the Ebro and prepared
At the onset of the Second Punic War in eastern Spain, up to the Ebro River.
to meet Hasbrubal's onslaught.
218 BC, Rome dispatched one of its When Hannibal departed for Italy, he
consular armies, under Publius Cornelius left his brother, Hasdrubal Barca, with
Scipio, to invade northern Spain. Arriv- 12,650 infantry, 2,550 cavalry, 21
elephants, and a small fleet to hold the
The Battle of Dertosa
ing at Massilia (modern Marseille), the In the spring of 215 BC, Hasdrubal
Romans were stunned to discover that province. After a swift conquest of
moved north with some 25,000 foot,
Hannibal was already on the east bank of northeastern Spain, Hannibal left Hanno
4,000 horse and 21 elephants. The
the Rhone, headed for Italy. In what was with another 11,000 troops to control the
Scipio brothers masses 30,000 infantry
possibly the key strategic decision of the newly-won territory. Hannibal took
and 3,000 cavalry to bar his path at the
war, Publius opted to continue with the with him all the veteran troops and
Ebro River. Hasdrubal's objective was
invasion of Spain. He sent his army on experienced officers of Carthage's
to defeat the main Roman field army so
under the command of his older brother Iberian army. He had also bypassed the
that he could cross into Italy while still
Gnaeus Cornelius Scipio, while Publius coastal Greek cities of northern Spain,
maintaining Carthaginian control of
himself returned to Italy to face allies of Rome.
Spain. The Scipio brothers likewise
Hannibal. This move resulted in a 13- aimed to defeat Hasdrubal in open
year duel for supremacy between Rome Gnaeus Scipio had 22,000 infantry, 2,200
battle to prevent his crossing into Italy
and Carthage for control of the Iberian cavalry and a small fleet with which to
and to break his grip on the Iberian
Peninsula. undertake the invasion of Spain. With
these troops, and friendly bases at
Following the loss of Sicily, Sardinia, and Emporiae and Tarraco, Gnaeus easily
Hasdrubal's army was comprised
Corsica to Rome during the First Punic crushed Hanno's army and took control
mainly of African and mercenary
War (264-241 BC) and its aftermath, of northern Spain in the fall of 218 BC.
regulars augmented by Iberian levies.
Hamilcar Barca ((Hannibal's father) The following spring, Hasdrubal, his
forces augmented by Iberian levies, His infantry consisted of around 15,000
carved out an extensive Spanish province Libyan spearmen, 1,000 mercenaries
for Carthage between 238 and 229 BC. advanced north to challenge the

the maneuvering was his part. authority. The Roman command was exercised jointly by the Scipio brothers. and the two armies felt disposition Hannibal had employed at also served as the sole commander in each other out during five days of the Battle of Trebbia). Their auxiliary Iberian forces probably included about 2. the Romans cantly different from those at Cannae. This was legions in the center and the allied mainly because he had no subordinate been typically straightforward—a infantry divided evenly between the frontal assault. at Cannae. consisting of 10. was the unquestioned sole in standard fashion. like Hasdrubal.000 roman and Italian infantry and the was to rupture the enemy center. 1. circumstances he faced were signifi- limited and straightforward. In the early spring of 215 BC. commanders of note. the command by this point was largely shared.(Ligurians and other unspeci- fied soldiers of fortune). his wings. Himilco. The Senate appears to have climactic showdown. his Spanish levies were none too anxious to make the trek to Italy that would follow a victory. also wing was reinforced by his mercenaries. The Roman cavalry. with the two The Roman battle plan appears to have Carthaginian commander. Gnaeus was the elder brother. across Hasdrubal could only hope that his The center was composed entirely of elephant corps would provide the from the city of Dertosa (modern Iberian tribal levies. The two camps were about African war elephants (the same Insubrian Gauls in 222 BC. siege to a small Roman allied city. formed on the were well aware of what had occurred Spain to maintain control of the vast extreme right. 8. The remaining infantry. The right Battle of Ibera).000 Iberians.200 Spanish horse. Hasdrubal knew that the as a camp guard.000 infantry and 1. The Romans then moved quick victory he needed from his Liby-Phoenician heavy cavalry and cavalry on the flanks. and 21 elephants. weighted in the center. The stage was set for the slingers formed an extended skirmish arrived.000 to vested both brothers with pro-consular 3. The Scipio brothers' forces included two reinforced Roman legions. with the Spanish horse.800 cavalry. remained behind in southern The Scipio brothers. while the left had exploited to such good effect. 2. Each cavalry . but he lacked the Battle of Dertosa is also known as the the wings of his infantry line. and he had served a coming down onto a nearby plain to wing was also reinforced with about ten consulship with distinction against the face them. They apparently believed posted all the Italian cavalry.300 Numidian light cavalry. Although Publius had initially been the supreme commander. Numidian light cavalry. on the south bank of the Ebro. Against hold in the center long enough for the the Italian horse he posted his superb envelopment to unfold. and 1. His mounted force included 2. on the other The Scipio brothers deployed their army hand.000 in number. He stationed his Tortosa). On the far left were Carthaginian province. line.000 foot and 400 horse. Hasdrubal. Hasdrubal. guarded his camp. and allied Italian troops number- ing nearly 18. who by now had received a His infantry was much closer in crossed the Ebro and laid siege to the full account of the action at Cannae. and that his against Hasdrubal and he obliged by Iberian horsemen on his far left. with Gnaeus as his deputy. Gnaeus has five miles apart.000 foot and 600 horse. Hasdrubal in turn laid decisive cavalry superiority his brother wing was purely African. Reportedly. Carthaginian allied city of Ibera (the numbers to his Roman opponent's than posted his sturdy African phalanxes on Hannibal's had been. The Balearic Spain for over a year before Publius skirmishing. unenthusiastic Iberian infantry could opposite the Roman cavalry. For Since both sides sought to fight a Spanish auxiliary foot remained behind decisive battle. About the appropriate counter to envelopment 2. 450 Liby-Phoenician heavy cavalry.000 Balearic slingers. reinforced deputy.

Hasdrubal tossed wings. annihilating victory or dooming the heretofore victorious the Metaurus. It was left to Publius overwhelming defeat. Barca. the great Africanus. while his brother Hannibal had suc- Spanish troops immediately gave ceeded at Cannae against a far larger ground. Even at this point. Hasdrubal ers in the Scipio brothers. or fate. the Carthaginian with great success for the next four two very competent Roman command- cavalry had won a decisive victory—at years. Meanwhile." he could still win a "Trebbia" the resulting Battle of Metaurus demon. For just as in that earlier strated. also destined to die in a losing battle. This battle would spell the end The Aftermath of Carthaginian domination and the The immediate result of this battle was beginning of Roman control of the to prevent Hasdrubal from crossing into Iberian Peninsula. foot back. troops gained a quick advantage. more important. In fact. the Carthaginian overwhelmed by the combined forces of superiority (10. Rome. Hasdrubal Gisgo. Although Hasdrubal By 207 BC. the another eight years (208-207 BC). he lacked the cadre of battle. In addition.The action began in the center with the Italy with a second Carthaginian army. veterans of 20 years of "Cannae. along with his brother Mago and Hannibal had been matched against the then lost their nerve when they ob. But most served the rout of the center. Cannae had been avenged. thereby and Ilorca.000 to 6. war into Punic Spain. whereas Dertosa. The African phalanxes and Although the failed invasion attempt of Roman army? Many have assumed mercenaries on the wings now came 215 BC has been historically eclipsed by that Hasdrubal was simply inferior to into play and forced the allied Italian the Metaurus campaign of 207 BC. at promising total. At Cannae. would most likely have been First of all. faltered. they skirmished indecisively. . Hasdrubal was probably the riskiest of battle plans. fight and both inflicting and suffering heavy losses. The Punic them both in the twin Battles of Castulo important. The Final Analysis charge of the two Roman legions into He would not accomplish this for Why did Hasdrubal fail at Dertosa Hasdrubal's Iberian infantry. as commanded.000) that center broke in the face of the aggressive the two eldest sons of Hamilcar Barca. he lacked the cavalry this critical juncture. In fact. on the extreme Hasdrubal's earlier effort actually posed While this charge may have some merit. his older brother in command ability. the elephant charges proved a far greater threat to Rome's survival. Carthaginian Spanish armies at Ilipa in 206 BC. Hasdrubal undeniably suffered from a ineffectual. professional staff officers were victorious even as their center The Roman victory at Dertosa also that accompanied Hannibal into Italy. Hasdrubal's wings joined uncle by decisively crushing the in the rout. He lacked Roman assault. the disciplined troops that Hannibal had thus lost his chance for scoring a pared to handle a second invasion. the Italian infantry was brought the Scipio brothers new Iberian This was particularly evident in the hard pressed and effectively outflanked allies and the opportunity to carry the failure of the Carthaginian cavalry to by the African phalanxes. continuous warfare in Spain. Chance. defeated and slew inept Gaius Terentius Varro. to had its role as well. flanks. Of course. the Scipio press home its attacks on the extreme brothers carried on the war in Spain flanks. Hasdrubal faced But at the Trebbia. and lost. African and mercenary infantry on the Scipio's son. and neither side's mounted In 215 BC. the Carthaginian infantry wings highly trained. in 211 BC. After putting up a stubborn avenge the deaths of his father and his the dice. Rome was far better pre. proved decisive at Cannae. However. a double envelopment is cavalry joined in the flight. still reeling from number of serious disadvantages.


" Either Africanus' father or uncle rather than Polybius. Rome are recommended. tute OC. there is no substi.) Additional sources: the Roman and Iberian cavalry. •Gnaeus Scipio is OC for the III Double use the Special Rule: "Blow. Legion. . killed. Rome: Army routs when units with TQ Warminster. Duncan. you may the same as those listed for SPQR. may issue the command for the sonic account of this battle has not survived. Legion. and (Surus is not affected. and Blow. if you have Carthage: Army routs when units with the module: TQ totaling 110 have been eliminated. Optional Rules totaling 188 have been eliminated. 1982 normal command chain by using simultaneously. VII Ala Sociorum Legion. XIV Ala Sociorum Legion. However. as the latter's all AS Cavalry. the Carthaginians win. J. entire Roman army. the primary source is Livy. but only over the following The sources for Dertosa are generally units: From SPQR's Zama scenario. Tychaeus may only command The following rules from Consul for Numidian cavalry. any Roman unit which is outside its scenarios. Both Scipio brothers can command The army which routs loses the Wargamers Research Group. The Romans use the Northeast edge as their Retreat Edge.Hasdrubal is killed.. Roman Leadership • Triarii Tactical Doctrine Publius and Gnaeus Scipio are both • Roman Line Replacement Sources Roman OCs. individual orders. Scipio. 1978 Retreat Edges The Carthaginians use the Southwest edge as their Retreat Edge. F. If either brother is Lazenby. the other becomes OC for the Army Rout Hannibal's War. •Publius Scipio is OC for the V Double anti-elephant blast in this scenario. Victory Armies of the Macedonian and Punic Wars. Head. If both armies rout Sussex.