Wargaming the Battle of Zama

Battle of Zama took place in 202 BC and ended in a decisive victory of the Romans led by Scipio Africanus the Elder over the Carthaginians commanded by Hannibal.  It was the last battle of the of the Second Punic War and it effectively ended both Hannibal’s command of Carthaginian forces and also Carthage’s chances to significantly oppose Rome.

The logistics of Rome’s arrival in Africa, supporting its massive army 200 years before Christ was born simply boggles the mind. Of course, so does Hannibal’s crossing of the Alps to get at Italy.


Swalwell, ChiCom Spy

Fox News (Tucker Carlson) did a good job piggybacking Axios, by outing Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) who has apparently been sleeping with a Chinese Communist Spy. She’s back in China now, but he’s still sitting on the House Intelligence Committee.

A Chinese spy cultivated deep connections with U.S. Democratic politicians for years, including with Rep. Eric Swalwell of California, to send political intelligence and personal information back to communist China, according to reporting by Axios.

Why isn’t Rep. Swalwell sitting in a federal supermax prison, spending the rest of his life hoping that they’ll serve Peking Duck for his evening meal?

The reaction from Congress is muted, likely because others of his class are checking to see whether the Chinese women they’ve been sleeping with are also spies.

There was a time when I’d be outraged by this, but it’s just the outrage-of-the-day. One more scumbag who should be stood up against a wall and shot.

You’ll recall that Swalwell, who ran for US President this cycle, was the one who said that he wouldn’t rule out the use of nuclear weapons against conservative areas of America to wipe them out. Now we don’t know whether it was him expressing an opinion or his Chinese overlords.


Culinary Map of Europe

The Italians weigh in on an important issue. (What do you think, Claudio?)

Whenever I take Italian friends visiting the US out for pizza, they cringe…


This Day in History


There is a walking tour should you wish to visit the location of this battle. Photos are of re-enactors unless otherwise noted.

While the inhabitants of the Eastern and Northern Colonies were actively engaged in opposing the aggressions of the Royal Government, those of Virginia and other of the Southern Colonies were not less resolute or constant in the same good work. Tyranny must be opposed – ok, Americans used to think like that. Now they wear masks meekly, but we weren’t always lemmings.

In Virginia, Lord Dunmore, the royal Governor, had been compelled to seek shelter, with his family, on the HMS Fowey, a British man-of-war, lying off Yorktown, whence he issued his proclamations, sent forth parties to plunder the inhabitants, issued a newspaper from material which he had stolen from Mr. Holt of Norfolk, and committed such other acts as such a man, actuated by all that malice, avarice, and bigotry, of which he possessed so large a share, was alone capable of committing.”

The people armed for the defense of their homes and property; and, in several instances, their unerring rifles, carried conviction among the Governor’s party; which produced, on the seventh of November, a proclamation of martial law, in which the Governor stigmatized as traitors all who would not resort to the royal standard, and offered freedom to all slaves “appertaining to rebels,” who would join His Majesty’s troops. A motley party soon assembled at Norfolk and at Princess Ann, from whence orders were issued for the destruction of the colonial stores at Suffolk, in Nansemond county. To prevent this, Colonel Woodford, on the twentieth of November, sent a detachment of colonial troops, under Colonel Scott and Major Marshall; and, on the twenty-fifth, he reached the same place with the main body of the troops.

About the same time evidence was brought to light of an attempt which the Governor had made to enlist the Indians in his cause. This served only to excite still more the already excited colonists; and Colonel Woodford took immediate steps to prevent its consummation.

The Governor, informed of Colonel Woodford’s design, immediately detached a party to occupy and throw up entrenchments at “the Great Bridge,” on the south, branch of the Elizabeth River, the only route by which Colonel Woodford could approach Norfolk.

This bridge, which is about nine miles from Norfolk, was admirably adapted to prevent the passage of an enemy. “Extensive marshes, filled and drained alternately with the flow of the tide, spread out on each side of the river, making the whole breadth of morass and stream, at this point, about half a mile. The Great Bridge extends across the main stream from two islands of firm earth, which are covered with trees and shrubbery. Each of those islands are connected with the main by a causeway and smaller bridges,” extending over the morass which borders either bank of the river. At the western extremity of “the bridge,” at that time, as well as the present, stood a few houses and a church; while on the opposite extremity of the bridge, where the royal forces took ground, there appears to have been no improvements whatever. On the little island, at the western extremity of the bridge proper, at that time, there were six or seven houses; and piles of cedar and cypress shingles—in which trade the inhabitants were engaged—were also scattered over its surface.

The royalists occupied the eastern extremity of the bridge, and threw up works, which were furnished with a numerous artillery, and commanded the causeways, the bridge, and the surrounding marshes. At the western extremity the colonists threw up a breastwork, which was occupied by a guard, but the main body of the colonists occupied the meeting-house, which stood at the head of the street, some four hundred yards distant; while the houses on the island were also occupied, every night, by a strong guard, which was regularly withdrawn before daylight every morning, to prevent annoyance from the royal artillery while crossing the causeway.

At length Colonel Woodford, perceiving the advantages which the artillery secured to the enemy, it is said, adopted means to overcome them by stratagem. A trusty negro, owned by Major Marshall, after proper instructions, was permitted to desert, and informed Lord Dunmore that not more than three hundred shirtmen (a term applied to the riflemen of that day) were with the Colonel at the Great Bridge.

Falling into the trap, his lordship prepared to attack the colonists, dispatching, from Norfolk, on the eighth of December, all the regulars, some two hundred in number; a party of marines and sailors from the HMS Otter and other vessels then at Norfolk; a company of loyalists from Norfolk; and a large ‘mongrel force’ of white and black slaves, in all about six hundred men, with two pieces of artillery.

Accordingly, on Saturday morning, the ninth of December, immediately after reveille beating, two or three cannon were fired from the royalists’ works, and the regulars, headed by Captain Fordyce and his company of grenadiers, advanced towards the colonists. Crossing the eastern causeway and the bridge, they set fire to the houses and shingles on the westernmost island, and then unsupported by their black and tory allies, who would not cross the bridge, they advanced towards the breastwork, where Lieutenant Travis and a guard of twenty-five men were stationed.

Within the colonists’ lines perfect regularity prevailed. The cannon which had been discharged attracted no particular attention, but Adjutant Blackburn observed the movement of the troops, and ordered the men to ” stand to their arms.” Lieutenant Travis was reinforced by the addition of thirty-five men, and the troops in the meeting house repaired to their respective alarm posts, under a heavy fire of grape from two field-pieces which the enemy had advanced to the bridge. Orders had been given by Lieutenant Travis to reserve the fire until the enemy had come within fifty yards, and the grenadiers advanced steadily along the causeway, impressed with the belief that the breast work had been abandoned. Captain Fordyce, waving his hat, cheered them on, reminded them of their ancient glory, and told them the day was their own. At this moment Travis gave the order to fire; and, rising on their knees, so as to take deliberate aim, with their rifles resting on the breastwork, the colonists poured a terrible fire upon the enemy. Every ball fulfilled its errand, and the causeway was covered with the killed and wounded,—Captain Fordyce, the gallant commander of the regulars, falling with fourteen balls in his body. It seems that the patriots did not ascribe to the custom of “sparing the enemy officer”.

In great disorder the British immediately retreated, suffering additionally, on their retreat, from the Culpepper battalion, under Colonel Stevens, who had been sent round to the left to flank the enemy, on his retreat.

Arriving at the eastern extremity of the bridge proper,—on the easternmost of the little islands, where the tories and negroes had remained, — Captain Leslie appears to have rallied them, but with no practically good result; and they retired to the fort, taking with them their guns and a part of their killed and wounded; but leaving behind them Captain Fordyce and twelve privates, dead; Lieutenant Battut and seventeen privates, wounded ; three officer’s fusils, thirty muskets, twenty-four bayonets, and a considerable quantity of other articles.

The only loss or damage sustained by the colonists was a slight wound, from a grape-shot, which one of the privates received; while that of the enemy is estimated at from sixty to the extent of half his force.

On the following morning, Colonel Woodford took possession of the fort, with seven pieces of artillery and a quantity of stores; but no ammunition, of any kind, was found.

The capture of the fort at the Great Bridge opened the way to the city of Norfolk, and Colonel Woodford, reinforced by the arrival of a strong party of Carolinians and of others of Virginians, pushed forward to that place, the loyalists retiring to the vessels which lay in the harbor, on his approach.

From the buildings on the wharves the riflemen kept up a constant and destructive fire on the ships; and every head which appeared above the bulwarks was inevitably devoted to destruction. To remove this difficulty, on the night of the first of January, 1776, a party was landed, under cover of the guns of the ships, and set fire to the obnoxious premises; and, either spreading from these buildings, as some suppose; or by the continued efforts of the enemy, as others suppose; or from the resolute patriotism of the inhabitants, who destroyed their property rather than let it be exposed to the enemy, as many, with some reason, maintain, the flames spread over the entire town, and reduced it to a heap of smoldering ruins; “and the mournful silence of gloomy depopulation now reigned where the gay, animating bustle of an active, emulous crowd had so lately prevailed.”

You’ll note that much of this account was transcribed verbatim with the language of the day.


Excerpt of a letter from Major Spotswood to a friend in Williamsburg. 

Great Bridge, December 9, 1775.

We were alarmed this morning by the firing of some guns after reveille beating, which, as the enemy had paid us this compliment several times before, we at first concluded to be nothing but a morning salute; but in a short time after, I heard Adjutant Blackburn call out, “Boys! stand to your arms !”

Colonel Woodford and myself immediately got equipped, and ran out; the colonel pressed down to the breastwork in our front, and my alarm-post being two hundred and fifty yards in another quarter, I ran to it as fast as I could, and by the time I had made all ready for engaging, a very heavy fire ensued at the breastwork, in which were not more than sixty men; it continued for about half an hour, when the King’s troops gave way, after sustaining considerable loss and behaving like true-born Englishmen. They mounted up to our entrenchments with fixed bayonets; our young troops received them with firmness, and behaved as well as it was possible for soldiers to do. Captain Leslie, of the regulars, commanded the fort on the other side of the bridge; Captain Fordyce, of the grenadiers, led the van with his company, and Lieutenant Battut commanded the advanced party; the former got killed within a few yards of the breastwork, with twelve privates; the lieutenant, with sixteen soldiers, were taken prisoners, all wounded. Several others were carried into the fort under cover of their cannon; and from the blood on the bridge, they must have lost one half of their detachment.

It would appear that Providence was on our side; for during the whole engagement we lost not a man, and only one was slightly wounded in the hand. Colonel Woodford is a brave officer and a man I love; he has had Captain Fordyce buried with the military honors due to his rank, and all the prisoners that fell into our hands are taken the greatest care of. We have not as yet been able to ascertain the number of killed and wounded that fell on their side. Three officer’s fusees, with bayonets and cartouch-boxes, fell into our hands; from which we judge that there were three commissioned officers killed. As soon as a general return can be made, it will be sent to the honorable convention. I am at present in the greatest hurry, and only can give an account of what I have seen.


    • me too. it may be coming, i know personally many people are preparing for just that, who knows. the adjacent county to me just passed a resolution to ignore govna Northam’s lockdown/mask orders and open the churches. churches were used as meeting places for some patriots, taverns for others. i have long suspected that was the real reasoning for closing them, when liquor stores remained open. my county didn’t make it official but we been ignoring the idiot all along except the transplanted sheep. former govna and slimeball terry mccaulif announced his run to take lord blackface’s robes and wig. he won’t get by so easy this time round. with a year to go, Northam has to survive long enough to pass his scepter. odds are 50/50 and falling. sic semper tyrannis, GOD save the republic.

  1. From the outside, it seems likely that Eric Swalwell will become a special advisor for Biden to handle the Chinese-US relations due to his extended experience with the country and culture.

  2. So many need to hang but the rot is so deep I’m not sure it can be cleaned. A restoration is needed and that piece of shit Swalwell should be one of the first to swing.

    • In the first group yes. But there are many who should visit the gibbet with them. I like the idea of a gibbet. Barry could sit inside and bark at people passing by.

  3. Patriots in spades…really enjoy these detailed historical accounts.

    Food- You know what they say, “You are what you eat.”

    So what the hell is with California? Between the Pelosi family nepotism, Feinstein’s driver, now Swalwell (to only name a few of these jerks), and WuFlu coming ashore September ’19…seems it’s a serious epicenter of graft and treason. Time to clean house…so to speak.

    • California is in need of a cleansing from top to bottom. Steam clean the streets. Shunt off the homeless to rehabilitation camps/detox camps.

      • Truth the Chart speaks. Poisonous is the food north of the Alps!
        And Zama’s logistics do boggles the mind


        • The Italians excel in fashion, cars, motorcycles (I ride a Ducati), women, food, and the French dispute the claims on better wine.

          • In truth, Italy’s largest export category is mechanical engineering products, from nuts and bolts to Ferraris, and components for any market niche under the sun. Or anywhere else. Your Ducati is a case on point.

  4. few know that besides being a great orator Patrick henry put his life on the line for liberty as well. just prior to this incident, the lord govna dunsmore had confiscated the va colonies gunpowder stored at an armory near Williamsburg. incensed, henry raised a company plus of militia and marched on Williamsburg, demanding the powder back as it had been bought with private funds raised by the colonists. dunsmore argued but eventually gave it back and evacuated to the ships. he never set foot on va soil again i’m told. “gimmee back my bullets” was written two hundred years later. coincidence? you be the judge, lol.

  5. At the risk of hurting a Chicom spy-ette’s self esteem, if I were going to sell out my country and break my honor, for sex of all things (/eyeroll), it’d have to be considerably more attractive woman than the one depicted. I’m not surprised that creatures such as Swalwell are selling us out, but I *am* disgusted that they are doing it for so little.

    More generally, these people are wicked fools. If they think they will be rewarded for their treachery with a seat at the conquerors’ table, they are very very wrong. The Chinese would never let a subhuman big-nose [1] hold real power. And the other millennia-old group that seeks to control the West has no higher opinion of outsiders than do the Han. Outsiders are talking animals in the shape of human beings. (Admittedly, without an attitude like that, it’s difficult to maintain an continual, unbroken identity over so many centuries. But it still gets up my nose.) And if the Swalwells are selling out their patrimony, their people, and their peoples’ future for mere sex and a bit of money then they are both wicked and contemptible.
    Anyway, traitors of note and gravitas should be hanged. Nasty little crotch-sniffing snipes don’t deserve even that dignity.
    [1] No Chinese really says “round eye”. The common epithet for whites is “big nose”.

    “You’ll note that much of this account was transcribed verbatim with the language of the day.”
    I noticed that around “unerring rifles”. Not to be dense, but did you write that? How long did it take? (I am reminded of OldNFO’s “Texas Ranger letter”.)

    • re:
      ‘I would want a cuter spy’

      Perhaps her handlers encouraged her to practice swallowing spring-rolls whole?


      the nuclear weapons Mister Stalwell will drop on firearms owners

      He never said the bombs were American bombs…

    • I mentioned it here on this blog before. But back before there were a lot of Westerners in China, I was there with a buddy of mine and we had lunch in a park in Guangzhou Province. Both of us were big guys, both of us had white hair and caucasian features. A family group, visiting from the interior walked up to us. They all asked to touch our noses and explained that they had been to the zoo and had seen many remarkable creatures, but none as strange as we were. They asked if we were Russians. We told them that we were. They accepted that and walked off.

      • Hah! The fake Russian gambit. Back in the 1950’s my dad had a loud-mouthed, troublemaking (Chinese) friend, who whenever he was caught doing something wrong, would claim to be Japanese. “Oh, so solly, me Japanese not understand Amelican customs.” Friend’s fake Japanese gambit failed spectacularly when they were sitting on a bus behind a white lady with a floral hat. Friend said, in Mandarin, something about how that hat belonged on a horse. The old lady didn’t react, but when her stop came, she got up, then turned around and said in unaccented Mandarin, “You should be careful about what you say in public, young man.”

    • To be fair, what are the odds that Swalwell knew Fang-Fang was a honeytrap, Mike_C? Honeytraps work because the mark doesn’t know he’s being had, just like every other successsful con, until they’re in too deep. From the story, the FBI moved in before anything of consequence happened, though why we should believe the FBI on this point, I don’t know. Especially since they made a big point of not warning him about alleged Russian operations targeting him. Swalwell is a putz on his best days; may he find worse treatment in exile in China than Benedict Arnold did in England, though. I’m pretty sure he’d have cooperated more than fully once the hook was set. And I’m not sure the hook wasn’t already set, nevermind what the FBI says. We know what their solemn oaths are worth.

      • Especially since they made a big point of not warning him about alleged Russian operations targeting him.

        I mean Trump, of course. Proof-read, then post!

        • The FBI has no credibility, no integrity, not much of anything that can be believed. They exist, they pull down decent salaries, and that’s about the only thing nice I can say.

          The FBI is every bit as much of an enemy to the USA as Russia is. China is worse than they are. So if you’re Director Wray, you could say, “Yeah, but China’s worse than we are.”

      • Okay, fair enough re unlabeled honeytrap. The underlying argument still stands. I believe Swalwell is married. If a man is going to cheat on his wife and violate his vows, then my opinion is that he should at least hold out for quality that is not insulting to the spouse.

        “I’m pissed off that you cheated on me, but I’m not shooting you in the ass for cheating. I’m shooting you in the ass for cheating on me with THAT!”
        Plus, a man in Swalwell’s position (and I don’t mean standing awkwardly with his thumb up his own posterior) ought to realize that women approaching him are likely to have ulterior motives. But persons like him are probably so egotistical they really think it’s the meat or the motion, and not their influence or access.

        • The woman came with an apparently limitless supply of cash, which raises her from a 3 to a 5 automatically. She had skills, likely trained in Sparrow School or whatever it’s called in the Worker’s Paradise – Swallow School? Ok, 5 to a 7. And I’m sure that she flattered Swalwell no end:

          “You should be President, Swalwell” —

          “Yes, I should, shouldn’t I? But where will I get the money?”

          “Just lay back Swalwell and I love you long time. I have rich uncle in Beijing, he give Biden $1.5 billion, I ask for a match. You get those plans for B-21 for me?”

          “No problem baby, I’m a big man on Capitol Hill.”

          With an ego like Swalwell’s it couldn’t have been much tougher than that.

  6. Gee, why wouldn’t he get away with no punishment? After all, Diane Feinstein had ChiComs working for her and her office for 20+ years.

    Then there’s Debbie Whatshername Shultz and her Iranian spies, that did IT work for all the Dems. And she got away scott-free.

    Dems never ever get punished for stuff normal men would be hung for.

        • Nope. No way. He’s a high-level dem.

          Let’s review.

          Barney Frank was in charge of the group doing financial regulations, especially regarding mortgages and savings and loans. His butt-buddies were heads of big mortgage companies and savings and loans…. Barney was responsible for the S&L crisis, the mortgage crisis and the banking crisis, all caused by regulations he forced on the USA. Was he punished? No. He stayed where he was, pushing more stupidity upon us.

          So, no. Only if Trump keeps his day job will Swalwell possibly lose his security clearance, maybe, but most likely not.

          • It’s progressive that he’s leading the Congressional Intelligence Committee while acting as a Chinese Spy. Very woke. He needs a man bun, don’t you think?

  7. Have the first and second matches already been struck??? Re Swalwell, I’m not surprised. I ‘do’ find it interesting that he is blaming Trump for this… THAT is some convoluted logic!

    • The “cat ate the homework” defense.

      I think that Feinstein used the well worn “San Francisco Twinkie Defense” when it came to the Chinese spy servant/driver who saw to her needs for twenty years. She didn’t lose a clearance. I’m sure that she has a NEW driver, from Shanghai this time instead of Beijing.

  8. I’d forgotten that Swalwell wanted to nuke most of the country. Now I remember. Haven’t they thrown him off of the intel committee? Make that out of the House altogether.

    But wow, our governance is at a level of skulduggery, chicanery and malfeasance fit to rival Zimbabwe.

    Let’s see if SCOTUS steps up to the plate and delivers justice.

  9. The Iowa hosted naval wargames in happier times, and I watched the Battle of Jutland be replayed one weekend. The ships were maybe 4″ long, and they did it as close as they could to scale. It was the first time I’d ever seen that activity, and it was quite interesting to watch.

    Unfortunately I’ve never been in Italy, but SLW has. She told me the food was at least as good as what you hear about it.

    I wonder what The Shot Heard ‘Round The World will be this time…?

  10. That looks more like a (cool) diorama to me than a wargame – how would you move the units with the table so large?

    I like the “San Umberto Nobile Line”.


    • I had a mental picture of someone accidentally knocking down a single figurine (statuette?) and the whole thing going down like dominoes.

      • Kle and Mike_C – I am not sure how they move the pieces. I know that in some of these complicated sandbox re-enactments, that they move pieces every day to represent a period of time during the battle and photograph it. In many cases, I ask, “How do you know that’s how it happened?” The response is inevitably that they infer.

        The Japanese had war games prior to the Battle of Midway and they used the biased, “probability and outcome” wherein Japan was destined to win everything, with a sop to the Americans being the loss of a relatively minor ship. And that’s not how it ended up. In that case we have a very close blow-by-blow account because it’s more modern and the records are better. (The Shattered Sword is a good book on the topic)

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