[b][u]Hannibal's crossing of the Alps[/u][/b] [quote]"I swear that so soon as age will permit... I will use the fire and steel to arrest the destiny of Rome"[/quote] After the Carthaginians (A strong contender for supreme power in ancient Europe and Northern Africa) surrendered and accepted defeat in the First Punic War, due to a naval defeat off Sicily, a new leader wanted to remedy the loss, this took form in one of the greatest Military commanders of all time, Hannibal. "Hannibal understood that Carthaginian naval power was weak, and that Rome had to be struck directly in order to guarantee decisive victory. Since he had no means of attacking by sea, he had to strike overland. According to Minard’s sources, Hannibal began his journey with 94,000 men including cavalry, siege engines, and, famously, 36 war elephants." -source : http://cartographia.wordpress.com/2008/06/02/hannibal-crosses-the-alps/ The Carthaginian army contained the tanks of the ancient world, war elephants (usually covered with some armour and archers on the beast's back). His hugely ambitious plan to lead them and his army through the alps After already trekking through the Pyrenees and the Rhone, battling the legions of the Roman Army, went down in history as a legendary accomplishment. Not to mention the need to cross them before the brutal winter was in effect, where himself and his men (and elephants) would surely die. They finally descended into Italy but not after losing a colossal 25% of his original forces.