18 - The Roman Center of Gravity at the Battle of Cannae | The Principles of War Podcast
Listen on Apple iTunes


In a surprise move, we look 2,200 years to look at the Battle of Cannae, a defeat so severe that it is said that every mother in Rome mourned the death of a son.  How could such a crushing defeat of a Roman Army.  What was the Roman Center of Gravity?

In 1992 the Center of Gravity construct was introduced into LWD 1, The Fundamentals of Land Warfare and it has been confusing people ever since.

What is it?  How to build one to give you a list of targetable critical vulnerabilities that you can use to achieve your desired endstate.

Cannae was a double envelopment at Cannae, and has been replicated on numerous times since then.

We look at the Battle of the Trebia and also the Battle of Lake Trasimene.  How did Rome respond to these crushing defeats?

How did Fabius functionally dislocate the Carthaginian Army’s cavalry?

What is the difference between the tactical, operational, and strategic level?  What is above the military strategic level of war?

How did Grand Strategy impact on the Fabien tactics that the Roman Army was using?

How did Varro and Paulus manage the Army after taking control from Fabius?

Hannibal has 50,000 troops, but he is faced by a Roman army 86,400. The size of the Roman Army to Gisgo was astonishing.

When it comes to unity of Command, how does having 2 consuls in command of the Roman army work?

The center of gravity is the key characteristic, capability or locality from which a force derives its freedom of action, strength or will to fight.  What was the CoG that Hannibal was targeting at Cannae?

Check out the show notes for the podcast for images and more details for this and other podcast episodes.

Join the conversation on Twitter or Facebook.

If you’ve learnt something from today’s podcast, please leave a review for the Podcast on your podcast player.