16 July 1212

Chris­tian forces join with ri­val armies in a turn­ing point of the Re­con­quista

History of War - - GREAT BATTLES -

01 CRU­SADER FOR­MA­TION

The Cru­saders form up in three sec­tions with heavy cavalry in the front ranks and heavy in­fantry in the rear ranks. At the back of each sec­tion is a re­serve led by a king and his re­tain­ers. King San­cho VII leads the Navar­rese right wing, King Pe­dro II leads the Aragonese left wing, and King Al­fonso VIII leads the Castil­ian cen­tre. Al­fonso’s plan calls for the cavalry to charge first and the heavy in­fantry to charge sec­ond.

02 MUS­LIM CON­FIG­U­RA­TION

Caliph Muham­mad al-nasir de­ploys his light in­fantry at the front of his army. Be­hind them are deep ranks of Mus­lim light and medium cavalry. The light cavalry is po­si­tioned in the cen­tre and the medium cavalry is sta­tioned on each wing. Al-nasir and his palace horse­men con­sti­tute a re­serve sta­tioned be­hind the army. Al-nasir’s plan calls for his swift medium cavalry to en­velop the slower Chris­tian heavy cavalry.

03 MIS­SILE AT­TACK

The bat­tle be­gins when the Mus­lim light in­fantry ad­vance against the Cru­sader cavalry. Af­ter mov­ing within range, the slingers, javelin throw­ers and bow­men fire on the en­emy cavalry. Their weapons have lit­tle im­pact on the wellar­moured Cru­saders.

04 MOUNTED SHOCK CHARGE

The Cru­saders re­spond to the mis­sile at­tack by launch­ing a head­long charge. The Mus­lim foot sol­diers try to flee, but quickly be­come pinned be­tween the en­emy cavalry and the friendly cavalry be­hind them.

05 DEEP PEN­E­TRA­TION

Cavalry of both armies sta­tioned on the wings en­gage the horse­men op­po­site them. Al­though the Mus­lim horse in the cen­tre at­tempts to en­gage the Cru­sader horse­men, they are un­able to launch an ef­fec­tive at­tack with the Mus­lim foot sol­diers in the way. Press­ing their at­tack, the Castil­ian knights in the cen­tre drive deep into the Mus­lim cen­tre.

06 HEAVY IN­FANTRY CHARGE

The Chris­tian heavy in­fantry charges into the fight. Their en­trance into the bat­tle pre­vents the Mus­lim cavalry from en­velop­ing Cru­sader cavalry. The Cru­sader foot sol­diers fur­nish a pro­tec­tive screen when needed for the mounted Cru­saders to re­form for a fresh charge.

07 CRU­SADERS DRIVEN BACK

To save his dwin­dling cen­tre al-nasir com­mits his re­serve force, how­ever, he is un­will­ing to per­son­ally lead the counter-at­tack. The weight of the at­tack shifts in favour of the Mus­lim army, and the Cru­saders yield ground. When King Al­fonso sees groups of Cru­sader foot sol­diers at­tempt­ing to flee, he sends mounted de­tach­ments from the re­serve to en­sure that they re­turn to the fight.

08 CRU­SADER RE­SERVE AD­VANCES

Al­fonso gath­ers all of the re­serve troops to­gether and leads them into the fight. By this time the Mus­lim troops are se­verely fa­tigued. The ar­rival of fresh troops tips the bat­tle once again in favour of the Cru­saders. Pe­dro and San­cho rally the cavalry on their re­spec­tive wings, and lead them against the flanks of the Mus­lim army.

09 AS­SAULT ON MUS­LIM CAMP

The Cru­sader cavalry as­saults the defensive perime­ter sur­round­ing the caliph’s red tent. This bar­rier con­sists of pil­ings driven into the ground con­nected by chains. Some of the caliph’s ser­vants are chained to the perime­ter so that they will be forced to fight to the death for the caliph.

10 PAN­ICKED RE­TREAT

The Cru­saders break through the perime­ter sur­round­ing the caliph’s tent and slay his body­guards. The lo­cal Mus­lim forces, the least de­pend­able of the caliph’s troops, are the first to flee the field. They are soon joined by the caliph. See­ing their com­man­der flee, the rest of the Mus­lim troops try to es­cape; how­ever, many are cut down from be­hind. The vic­to­ri­ous Cru­saders plun­der the caliph’s bag­gage train.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.