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At things like the battle of Lake Trasimene, Cannae, etc. Hannibal's plans always seemed to involve some degree of offering some form of bait to the Romans, some group of men the Romans were (accurately) expected to chase, or focus on, or whatever.

Thus, given this commonality in Hannibal's plans, I'm curious; would his men have actually known that that was their role? Or were they just doing as their higher ups said; and would this have been similar for the Romans?

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Hannibal was a superb field commander. He was meticulous and his troops were highly trained and loyal. For example, for an entire army to ambush another entire army, something that has never been seen since the battle of Lac Trasimene would have required discipline and awareness on the part of Hannibal's troops on the battle plan. Therefore, it's reasonable to suggest Hannibal took his troops into his confidence at least to the equivalent of the NCO level, each unit would be aware of their role. Considering the mix of of his army the fact Hannibal was able to maintain control highlights his skill.

It was altogether a fine body of men. It had no mercenaries, except a few Ligurians. The bulk of the forces were Carthaginian subjects, Libyans and Spaniards. Two thirds of the army were Africans, and all were hardened troops, committed to their chief by both discipline and affection.

HANNIBAL A HISTORY OF THE ART OF WAR AMONG THE CARTHAGINIANS AND ROMANS DOWN TO THE BATTLE OF PYDNA, 168 B. C, WITH A DETAILED ACCOUNT OF THE SECOND PUNIC WAR BY THEODORE AYRAULT DODGE XII VOLUME 1

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    Your content might get better reception if you adopted the systems built-in formatting features such as the blockquote to clearly define quoted information. Adding Links to sources also helps readers evaluate the information presented.
    – justCal
    Nov 14, 2022 at 14:19
  • Your argument that "they must have known" is plausible, but completely unsupported. Is there any ancient source that says that the rank-and-file were clued in by Hannibal (or by any roughly contemporary commanders)? Why wouldn't it be enough if only the centurion-equivalent officers were aware of the plan?
    – Mark Olson
    Nov 15, 2022 at 23:19
  • Mark Olsen, It's an assumption based on his obvious confidence in his men and the result he achieved. Another example would be his strategy at Agar Falernus, where I suggest it is reasonable to assume at least some of his men would have been aware of the task and it's purpose. However as you say there are no records from known sources to that effect.
    – user56240
    Nov 17, 2022 at 22:07

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