Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Moroni's Tactics and the Vandal War

Belisarius led armies from the Byzantine (or Eastern Roman) empire in the 6th century AD. He fought the Persians on the eastern front of the empire and eventually fought a long war to reclaim Italy from Gothic tribesmen. The subject of interest here is the Vandal war in North Africa. The Emperor Justinian, taking advantage of a revolt against Vandal rule and a peace with the Persians, sent Belisarius with a small force of ten thousand men to attack the formerly held territories of the Roman Empire in North Africa.

One the invasion landed on the beach; Belisarius marched towards the Vandal’s capital at Carthage. He ordered his soldiers to pay for their supplies and forbade them from pillaging. As a result, they had the support of the people and moved “as if in their own land.”[1] Gelimer, the Vandal king, planned an ambush along their likely route. At Ad Decimum, Gelimer planned a three-pronged attack. His brother, Ammatas, would attack the advance of Belisarius from the front. Another force under Gibamundus would attack Belisarius from the left flank. And Gelimer would use his local knowledge of roads to take an interior route to attack Belisarius from the rear.