Info Favorites Register Log in
myArmoury.com Discussion Forums

Forum index Memberlist Usergroups Spotlight Topics Search
Forum Index > Off-topic Talk > Martial Skills and Combat, During the First Crusade... Reply to topic
This is a standard topic Go to page 1, 2  Next 
Author Message
S. Al-Anizi





Joined: 18 Jul 2006

Posts: 18

PostPosted: Sat 29 Jul, 2006 8:01 pm    Post subject: Martial Skills and Combat, During the First Crusade...         Reply with quote

Hi, first post here Cool

I have always been lurking around without posting on these forums, but I would like to join the community now.

Anyway, after reading "The Crusades Through Arab Eyes", I was amazed at the skirmishes and battles that took place on the Syrian coast by the crusading armies and the local forces. The thing that caught my attention was the battles, where a small number of exhausted crusaders, less than 1,000 strong, defeated thousands of turkish and arab soldiers. This was all accounted by Ibn Al-Qalanisi and Ibn-Al Athir, both islamic chroniclers, so no biased exxageration here.

The most notable event was on April 1102AD, near Tripoli. It all starts when a force of almost 100,000, on May 1101, including women and children, lead by a count named Saint Gilles, crossed the Bosphorus into Anatolia. All throughout anatolia, they were being slaughtered on many occasions by the turks, lead by Kilij Arslan and Danishmend.

In the end, only Saint Gilles, and three hundred knights survived through, most had been killed, and the women and children captured and sold as slaves. As Gilles and his knights were marching alongside Tripoli, the Emir of Tripoli, Fakhr-ul-Mulk, had recently formed a quick alliance with Duqaq, the Emir of Damascus, and another, the the Emir of Emesa. Tripoli had sent 7,000 soldiers, Damascus 2,000, and 1,000 or so from Emesa.

Gilles, upon seeing these forces approach, divided his petty force of 300 into four, two 100 divisions, one to face the Tripoli army, and one to face the Damascene army, 50 to the Emesan force, and 50 as a core around himself. Once the fighting commenced,upon the first clash, the Emesan army was immediatly routed, followed shortly by the Damascene army. The force from Tripoli slaughtered the 50 knights sent against them, Gilles, sent the other two 100 man divisions against the remaining army, and they cut it up. The entire force sent from Tripoli was slaughtered, according to the chronicle. Eek!

I find this very hard to believe, although it sounds very credible, especially from that source. Were those muslim warriors made from butter?!!! My questions are, werent the arms and armour from both worlds during that period much the same? If so, why did that happen, even when the muslim army vastly outnumbered the crusaders, almost 100:3!!!!!! Or could it have been of the psychological impact of the european heavy cavalry tactics which were unusual to easterners, bolstered by the news of the Crusader victories in earlier batlles and skirmishes. Similar to the mongol scare.

Shamely, my knowledge of western martial arts during that period is non-existant, may someone please explain to me what a knight from the 12th century would have probably been skilled with? Lance and Sword? Mace?

Where the turkish cavalry tactics of mounted archery useless against mail armoured knights? Or were they lightly plate armoured? But still, their mounts would have been killed!?
View user's profile Send private message
Addison C. de Lisle




Location: South Carolina
Joined: 05 Nov 2005
Likes: 27 pages

Posts: 614

PostPosted: Sat 29 Jul, 2006 8:55 pm    Post subject: Re: Martial Skills and Combat, During the First Crusade...         Reply with quote

S. Al-Anizi wrote:
My questions are, werent the arms and armour from both worlds during that period much the same?


No, I don't think they were. I'm fairly sure that the Arabs were more lightly armored. At this point the Europeans were using maille haubergons I believe, as this took place before the advent of plate armor which became increasingly common in the 14th century. There have been several threads lately about the effectiveness of arrows against maille and I seem to recall that the conclusion-esque thing reached Happy was that arrows weren't very effective against correctly made maille worn with proper padding. That's about all the help I can be there

Quote:

Shamely, my knowledge of western martial arts during that period is non-existant, may someone please explain to me what a knight from the 12th century would have probably been skilled with? Lance and Sword? Mace?


Sword and shield were used, not too much in the way of pole-arms (besides spears) at that point I don't think. Maces would have been used but I think that they were more common in the 15th and 16th centuries due to the increased effectiveness of plate armor. Not sure what else.

Someone please correct me if any of this is wrong... Laughing Out Loud
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Steve Grisetti




Location: Orlando metro area, Florida, USA
Joined: 01 Mar 2004
Likes: 7 pages
Reading list: 28 books

Posts: 1,809

PostPosted: Sun 30 Jul, 2006 4:11 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I am not familiar with the particular event. However, from the description of events, I have to wonder how well trained were the Islamic troops? If they were drafted and assembled in a hurry, and given little or no training, I imagine this would have resulted in panic on the battlefield.
"...dismount thy tuck, be yare in thy preparation, for thy assailant is quick, skilful, and deadly."
- Sir Toby Belch
View user's profile Send private message
Alexi Goranov
myArmoury Alumni


myArmoury Alumni

Location: San Francisco, CA
Joined: 24 Jan 2004
Reading list: 72 books

Spotlight topics: 2
Posts: 1,191

PostPosted: Sun 30 Jul, 2006 11:18 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Although the end outcome of the military encounters you describe may be undisputed, the size of the armies may be suspect. Just for example, in 14th century, when armies continued to grow, a force of 15 000 -20 000 was considered very very large. I cannot easily accept figures of 100 000 for a 12th century army. I can point you towards J.F Verbruggen's "the art of warfare in the middle ages". there he discusses in detail army sizes and pays a lot of attention to crusading armies.

the other thing to keep in mind is that the relative size of the opposing armies mattered...a lot. The fables about a greatly smaller army defeating a much bigger army are largely, that...a fable. I know the sources you cite come from chronicles of the losing side, but that does not always make them 100% accurate.

As far as I remember (reading somewhere), the european knights were not that easy to kill, mainly due to their armour, thus causing the muslim forces to consider them invincible. That greatly changed the mental set up of the defending muslims, and in a sense decided many battles before they even began. It was not until Saladin (I think) won couple of decisive victories that showed that the Europeans could be beaten.

I would not blame the training of the muslim forces. They were fighting an unknown, and very brutal type of opponent, which also had better protection (armour). I would not be surprised if the numbers of the armies were very similar if not favoring the invading, European army.

the outcome of the battles were decided by more than a single factor, and one has to consider not only the size of the army, but their leadership, morale, armament, tactics, terrain, etc.

the tactics I imagine would have been different, with the Europeans favoring the "knightly" mounted charge, that the muslim forces amy not have expected, at least initially.

I hope some of my random rambings help........confuse you come more:) Unfortunately, these discussions are never simple, and easy to rationalize.

Alexi
View user's profile Send private message
Joel Whitmore




Location: Simmesport, LA
Joined: 25 Aug 2003

Posts: 342

PostPosted: Sun 30 Jul, 2006 12:03 pm    Post subject: First Crusades         Reply with quote

One has to remember that the Arabs had never before wittnessed heavily armed horsemen until this point in history. The primary weapon of the Arab armies was its horse archers which were lightly armored at best. Also, keep in mind that many factors determine the outcome in battle. Who were these Arab troops as someone already poitned out. Who was the commander and how well-organized were the Arabs? I have many accounts, Arab and European, of troops simply fleeing in the heat of battle (on both sides) because there was no command structure. There have also been accounts of massively outnumbered armies winning throughout history, so this is nothing unusual.

On another note, did you read Arab History of the Crusades by Francesco Gabrieli? It's a great book and tells of fascinating accounts of how the Arabs and Franks interacted after the First Crusades, especially in Jerusalem. Some are bawdy ( the account of a Frankish knight who had his and his wife's pubic hair shaved after seeing Arab men in a bathhouse)
but unusualy modern souding!

Joel
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Yahoo Messenger
Patrick Kelly




Location: Wichita, Kansas
Joined: 17 Aug 2003
Reading list: 42 books

Spotlight topics: 2
Posts: 5,678

PostPosted: Sun 30 Jul, 2006 12:23 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

So far. several times the theory that the muslim world had never encountered heavy european cavalry until this period has been mentioned.

In my opinion this is a long held fallacy used as a reason for the failure of the muslim forces during the initial encounters of the crusading period. Sicily and southern Italy were experiencing muslim incursions from north africa by the early 11th century onwards and Norman participation in that theatre from as early as the end of the 10th or begining of the 11th century, depending upon the source. Before 1050 the Normans were already a significant force in the region and had come into contact with the muslim population. Consequently, by the begining of the 12th century I think it's plausible to believe the muslim populations of the middle east had at least a passing familiarity with european tactics and equipment. The reasons for the muslim failure are probably a bit more complex and varied than a simple matter of "shock and awe".
View user's profile Send private message
S. Al-Anizi





Joined: 18 Jul 2006

Posts: 18

PostPosted: Sun 30 Jul, 2006 3:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Many Thanks to everyone who contributed to this thread or took the time to view it. Happy

Addison, I agree with you, but still, I do not think that the armour differed alot. Arab/Turkish armies of the mid-east during that era, were armoured with lamellar gambesons, and mail did exist, although worn dirdctly on top of clothing, without any padding usually. I guessed that mace and axe were probably used later as armour developed and rendered swords almost obsolete.

Steve, I would say that they were pretty well trained, according to the author, he doesnt mention a mob or a draft force, he says army. Although if you take a look at the leaders' military history, you'd laugh at how stupid they were, and how they hated each other, and constantly conspired against one another. Each one wanted the other dead. Basically, that would mean that their forces were pretty divided and were not one cohesive fighting force. That still doesnt excuse the soldiers, who should have easily recognised their HUGE advantage in numbers.

Alexi, you've probably read much more chronicles and historical sources than I did, and probably more experienced at what to believe, and what to not Wink I'll certainly take your word for that. As for previous victories and defeats, Kilij Arslan, a Seljuk prince did destroy the peasants crusade entirely, and massacred many crusaders, before, and after he himself was defeated at the Seige of Nicea and at Dorylaeum. As for tactics and strategy, I would say that if that chronicler was truthfull, I think that that huge difference in number should have rendered any kind of tactic useless. Although the Europeans were certainly better lead than the muslim armies. Thanks, your "random rambing" has certainly cleaned some things up, and has certainly helped Happy

Joel, the armies of the Syrian princes during the first crusade were made up of lightly armoured arab lancers, and spearmen, lightly armoured turkish mounted archers and foot archers. As to their leadership and organization during that particular skirmish, there was none. The leaders were a shame to the region's military history, and were divided. Each fighting for his own "Kingdom", which was no more than a city. Thanks for the heads up on that book, I have it on my amazon wishlist now. Im trying to get my hands on every good book out there regarding the first crusades and encounters between the 'franks' and the arabs. Im going to get Usama ibn Munqidh's chronicle too. Regarding that particular incident, one must think how 'clean' those crusader's were?!! Laughing Out Loud

Mr.Kelly, the 'shock and awe' matter certainly had its effect, strongly in minds of arab and turkish soldiers in the region. After the many battles, and the massacres commited in Antioch and Ma'rra, and especially the cannibalism shown by the crusaders at ma'rra. The blond frankish knight was certainly a fearsome thing during those early stages of the crusade. The division and personal interest between the local princes also acted as a catalyst to the astounding crusader victories in the region.

EDIT: Alexi, the 100,000 figure given by Ibn Al Athir represents an enitre horde, not a purely military force. It represents the group that set out on May 1101 from Constantinople, which included families, preists, women, children, peasants and soldiers.
View user's profile Send private message
Bruno Giordan





Joined: 28 Sep 2005

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 916

PostPosted: Mon 31 Jul, 2006 8:32 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Patrick Kelly wrote:
So far. several times the theory that the muslim world had never encountered heavy european cavalry until this period has been mentioned.

In my opinion this is a long held fallacy used as a reason for the failure of the muslim forces during the initial encounters of the crusading period. Sicily and southern Italy were experiencing muslim incursions from north africa by the early 11th century onwards and Norman participation in that theatre from as early as the end of the 10th or begining of the 11th century, depending upon the source. Before 1050 the Normans were already a significant force in the region and had come into contact with the muslim population. Consequently, by the begining of the 12th century I think it's plausible to believe the muslim populations of the middle east had at least a passing familiarity with european tactics and equipment. The reasons for the muslim failure are probably a bit more complex and varied than a simple matter of "shock and awe".


The moslem and christian world never lost contact, on the contrary they continued to trade goods continously as well as to make wars occasionally, while moslem armies were ably to occupy european territories such as in Sicily and for longer in Spain: we are speaking of two opposed sides of the mediterranean sea that had been politically united under roman empire, while never really divided technologically by the arab/moslem conquest of the and Middle east and North Africa.

Both parties were aware of the other side's way of life and mores, even if accounts were often imprecise or mythicized to som extent.

As of the topic's question, it is to be taken into account that this little army fought with a weapon that much later would be forgotten in the western world: faith.

Faith can explain apparently impossible feats, it was a sort of faith that guided the Greeks at marathon against an overpowering persian army, it was a deeply rooted faith that guided the Crusaders, the faith in being given Paradise and eternal salvation for their souls for having fought for God on this earth.

It was the faith in Mohammed and his new god that led an army of desert outcasts to conquer an empire in the Middle East and north Africa substituting itself to a still powerful byzantine empire.

Modern western positivism forgets to take this into account, our arab guests strangely seems to be doing the same.

The moslem world is still rooted in a world vision depending strictly upon faith, exactly as our middle ages ancestors were: a fact that certain modern strategists and politicians are quite oblivious to.

When people think they are realizing God's will their strength multiplies manifold.
View user's profile Send private message
Geoff Wood




Location: UK
Joined: 31 Aug 2003

Posts: 634

PostPosted: Mon 31 Jul, 2006 8:55 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Bruno Giordan wrote:


When people think they are realizing God's will their strength multiplies manifold.



But since this presumably applied to both sides in the example in question, wouldn't it tend to cancel out?
Geoff
View user's profile Send private message
Felix Wang




Location: Fresno, CA
Joined: 23 Aug 2003
Reading list: 17 books

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 394

PostPosted: Mon 31 Jul, 2006 3:17 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There have been many good thoughts on this thread.

As Joel pointed out, the Muslim forces were probably not well organized. This was a hasty alliance among recent rivals/enemies, and it is highly doubtful that they fully trusted each other. Once one group broke, it would have been easy to believe them to be traitors, and panic could spread very quickly. On the other hand, by this time the Crusaders had been fighting together for several years, and were all hardened veterans.

The familiarity of Muslim warriors with Western tactics varied. Some, such as the Seljuk Turks, had experience with Norman mercenaries in the army of Byzantium. However, many of the Arab (not Turkish, mind you) warriors of Syria and into Egypt and Mesopotamia might not have. The Egyptians fought as shock cavalry and lacked the armour and weaponry to successfully face the Crusaders for many years. (see R C Smail Crusading Warfare). Syrians like Usamah Ibn Mundiqh also fought primarily with lance, sword, and shield. Horse archery was a Turkish specialty, not an Arab one.

At this time, the Crusaders fought with the assurance that God was one their side: they came with the goal of seizing Jerusalem, and they had done so. The Muslim world had not yet organized a recognized holy war of their own, and were still operating as a group of independent states with a new, foreign entity in their midst; so motivation was different. This difference in motivation has a lot to do with explaining how the First Crusade succeeded in the first place.

Small highly motivated and cohesive armies can defeat larger, ill organized and unenthusiastic ones regularly. Look at the British conquest of India. At the time of Plassey, India had had contact with Europeans for over 200 years, and certainly had comparable technology, and a small ( Exclamation ) numerical advantage.
View user's profile Send private message
Benjamin H. Abbott




Location: New Mexico
Joined: 28 Feb 2004

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 1,188

PostPosted: Mon 31 Jul, 2006 5:20 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I would say there are many examples of small forces beating much larger ones. In some cases, such as the conquest of the Aztecs and Incas, the victors had significant technological advantages. In other cases, such as the conquest of Constantinople in 1204, they did not. As far as I can tell, morale and leadership are the best explanations of such amazing victories.

Crusaders tended to be skilled, determined, and experienced warriors. Muslim sources noted their passion for combat. They were some of the roughest folks from Europe at that time. Who else would risk blood and treasure fighting a foreign land? Combine that martial prowess with religious devotion and good leadership, and it's not so unbelievabe they managed to rout many times their number.
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Phill Lappin




Location: Melbourne, Australia
Joined: 11 Apr 2005

Posts: 44

PostPosted: Mon 31 Jul, 2006 8:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I would be warey of the theory that western forces were much more heavily armoured than islamic forces. A Fariq would have mail as well as leather, iron or horn lamellar, and possibly some padding as well. What was different was the fighting style, even if you are prepared for it a cavalry charge can be devestating in regards to the breaking the line but also the morale of the unit.
This seems to be one of those times when western knights, driven by religious fanaticism, drove through the enemy with one clean charge, which messed up their lines and caused the unit to break up, meaning the cavalry could continue hacking through the troops. In this situation fleeing infantry and cavalry can cause more damage to their own troops by trampling them or causing them to also run and thereby exposing their backs.

There were just as many times when the westerners were completely outmatched by islamic forces, who refused to engage directly, shot arrows from horseback and stayed out of range from both western archers and a convincing cavalry charge.

IN NOMINE DOMINE
IN NOMINE CONVIVOR
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
S. Al-Anizi





Joined: 18 Jul 2006

Posts: 18

PostPosted: Tue 01 Aug, 2006 12:50 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Bruno Giordan wrote:
The moslem and christian world never lost contact, on the contrary they continued to trade goods continously as well as to make wars occasionally, while moslem armies were ably to occupy european territories such as in Sicily and for longer in Spain: we are speaking of two opposed sides of the mediterranean sea that had been politically united under roman empire, while never really divided technologically by the arab/moslem conquest of the and Middle east and North Africa.

Both parties were aware of the other side's way of life and mores, even if accounts were often imprecise or mythicized to som extent.

As of the topic's question, it is to be taken into account that this little army fought with a weapon that much later would be forgotten in the western world: faith.

Faith can explain apparently impossible feats, it was a sort of faith that guided the Greeks at marathon against an overpowering persian army, it was a deeply rooted faith that guided the Crusaders, the faith in being given Paradise and eternal salvation for their souls for having fought for God on this earth.

It was the faith in Mohammed and his new god that led an army of desert outcasts to conquer an empire in the Middle East and north Africa substituting itself to a still powerful byzantine empire.

Modern western positivism forgets to take this into account, our arab guests strangely seems to be doing the same.

The moslem world is still rooted in a world vision depending strictly upon faith, exactly as our middle ages ancestors were: a fact that certain modern strategists and politicians are quite oblivious to.

When people think they are realizing God's will their strength multiplies manifold.


Bruno,

I must agree with you. Faith can turn a bunch of nomads into great warriors, but it stll does not give off good leadership. The best examples of this are the early arab armies and their conquests, where they did have the newly formed, extremely strong faith, and very good, veteran leadership. Thats what made them so effective, even so they had never encountered Persian armies, Byzantine armies, and Visigothis armies, yet they crushed every army in their way. Just the same with the crusaders. Yet, i still cannot imagine, if those numbers are indeed true, how a 10,000 strong coaltion, even if they were formed in the situation Felix had thankfully proposed, how such a force would be annihilated by some 300 knights. Thats if those numbers were indeed true.
View user's profile Send private message
Max von Bargen




Location: Stanford, CA
Joined: 13 Jul 2006
Reading list: 10 books

Posts: 144

PostPosted: Tue 01 Aug, 2006 5:05 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

S. Al-Anizi wrote:
Yet, i still cannot imagine, if those numbers are indeed true, how a 10,000 strong coaltion, even if they were formed in the situation Felix had thankfully proposed, how such a force would be annihilated by some 300 knights. Thats if those numbers were indeed true.


I think this is where exaggeration by the chroniclers might come into being. I could see how 300 might scatter 10,000, unlikely though this may be. I don't think they would have killed them all, though. Through scattering them, they might have rendered the remainder ineffective as a fighting force (particularly if they killed key enemy leaders), which the chroniclers might have interpreted as total destruction.
View user's profile Send private message
Phill Lappin




Location: Melbourne, Australia
Joined: 11 Apr 2005

Posts: 44

PostPosted: Tue 01 Aug, 2006 10:17 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Max von Bargen wrote:
S. Al-Anizi wrote:
Yet, i still cannot imagine, if those numbers are indeed true, how a 10,000 strong coaltion, even if they were formed in the situation Felix had thankfully proposed, how such a force would be annihilated by some 300 knights. Thats if those numbers were indeed true.


I think this is where exaggeration by the chroniclers might come into being. I could see how 300 might scatter 10,000, unlikely though this may be. I don't think they would have killed them all, though. Through scattering them, they might have rendered the remainder ineffective as a fighting force (particularly if they killed key enemy leaders), which the chroniclers might have interpreted as total destruction.
Exactly the most they could have done is caused a rout and killed a few hundred.
IN NOMINE DOMINE
IN NOMINE CONVIVOR
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Alexander Hinman




Location: washington, dc
Joined: 08 Oct 2005
Reading list: 50 books

Posts: 180

PostPosted: Wed 02 Aug, 2006 3:38 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Phill Lappin wrote:
Exactly the most they could have done is caused a rout and killed a few hundred.


Well, I don't know... good encirclement can bring about more than a few hundred deaths, especially considering the two 100-man units sent against the 7,000 Muslims.

Take, as an extreme example (with an unknown-to-me, but almost definitely smaller difference in ratio) Basil Bulgaroktonos' defeat of the Bulgarians at the Kleidion pass in 1014.

Dmitri Obolensky's description of the battle is as follows:

Quote:
The crucial battle for Macedonia was fought on 29 July 1014, in the pass of Kledion which overlooks the plain of Campu lungu traversed by the Strumitsa. Samuel's army, which had blocked the pass, was surprised in the rear by a Byzantine force which the emperor had sent over the Belasica Mountains, south of the pass. Though Samuel himself escaped, much of his army was butchered. Basil's savage reprisal has made this battle one of the most memorable in the history of the Balkans. He had all the Bulgarian captives--numbering, it was said, fourteen thousand--blinded, save for one in every hundred who was left with one eye to guide his comrades back to the Bulgarian tsar.


Nasty stuff. Of course, I can find no information on the size of the Byzantine force in this battle, but it shows what a pickle a well-flanked enemy is in.

Even if there were only 200 knights attacking this cluster of some 7,000, they'd still inflict quite a hefty number of casualties due to disorder of the routing enemy, not to mention all the captives they would potentially achieve.

Of course, this wouldn't annihilate the unit, but it would still be a butchery, and quite a terrifying sight.

Now, what made these thousands of Arab soldiers rout so quickly? I am unsure, but my best guess would be that distrust between the ranks is a component, along with, perhaps, death of unit leaders upon the meeting of the first 'Frankish' charge.
View user's profile Send private message
Max von Bargen




Location: Stanford, CA
Joined: 13 Jul 2006
Reading list: 10 books

Posts: 144

PostPosted: Wed 02 Aug, 2006 5:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

A lot of this debate at this point is getting a little problematic without more information about the battle we're discussing. Were the Muslim armies composed mainly of infantry, cavalry, or a mix of both? Was the terrain restricted or open? Were the Crusaders all horsed? (at some times they were having difficulty finding mounts) Were the Muslims actually flanked by the relieving columns of Crusaders, or was the counterattack a frontal one?

More information would help.

Max
View user's profile Send private message
Phill Lappin




Location: Melbourne, Australia
Joined: 11 Apr 2005

Posts: 44

PostPosted: Wed 02 Aug, 2006 11:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Alexander Hinman wrote:
Phill Lappin wrote:
Exactly the most they could have done is caused a rout and killed a few hundred.


Well, I don't know... good encirclement can bring about more than a few hundred deaths, especially considering the two 100-man units sent against the 7,000 Muslims.
It's certainly possible, however it would be difficult for 200 troops to encircle 7000. It really depends on the geography of the battlefield, in the example below it seems that the army was stuck in a narrow pass which would make it easy to trap the troops and therefore be able to kill/capture a lot more.

Alexander Hinman wrote:
Take, as an extreme example (with an unknown-to-me, but almost definitely smaller difference in ratio) Basil Bulgaroktonos' defeat of the Bulgarians at the Kleidion pass in 1014.

Dmitri Obolensky's description of the battle is as follows:

Quote:
The crucial battle for Macedonia was fought on 29 July 1014, in the pass of Kledion which overlooks the plain of Campu lungu traversed by the Strumitsa. Samuel's army, which had blocked the pass, was surprised in the rear by a Byzantine force which the emperor had sent over the Belasica Mountains, south of the pass. Though Samuel himself escaped, much of his army was butchered. Basil's savage reprisal has made this battle one of the most memorable in the history of the Balkans. He had all the Bulgarian captives--numbering, it was said, fourteen thousand--blinded, save for one in every hundred who was left with one eye to guide his comrades back to the Bulgarian tsar.


Nasty stuff. Of course, I can find no information on the size of the Byzantine force in this battle, but it shows what a pickle a well-flanked enemy is in.

Even if there were only 200 knights attacking this cluster of some 7,000, they'd still inflict quite a hefty number of casualties due to disorder of the routing enemy, not to mention all the captives they would potentially achieve.

Of course, this wouldn't annihilate the unit, but it would still be a butchery, and quite a terrifying sight.

Now, what made these thousands of Arab soldiers rout so quickly? I am unsure, but my best guess would be that distrust between the ranks is a component, along with, perhaps, death of unit leaders upon the meeting of the first 'Frankish' charge.
Yeah I certainly agree there.
IN NOMINE DOMINE
IN NOMINE CONVIVOR
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Max von Bargen




Location: Stanford, CA
Joined: 13 Jul 2006
Reading list: 10 books

Posts: 144

PostPosted: Thu 03 Aug, 2006 7:46 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Phil Lappin wrote:
It's certainly possible, however it would be difficult for 200 troops to encircle 7000. It really depends on the geography of the battlefield, in the example below it seems that the army was stuck in a narrow pass which would make it easy to trap the troops and therefore be able to kill/capture a lot more.
Exactly why we need more information on the battle. Also, if the Muslims were all mounted or all on foot, that would make a large difference as well.
View user's profile Send private message
S. Al-Anizi





Joined: 18 Jul 2006

Posts: 18

PostPosted: Thu 03 Aug, 2006 5:06 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ibn Al Qalanisi doesnt mention whether this was a mixed army with all kinds of troops, or just some drafted footmen. I would guess, that they were a professional army, composed of infantry, archers, archer cav, and lancers.
View user's profile Send private message


Display posts from previous:   
Forum Index > Off-topic Talk > Martial Skills and Combat, During the First Crusade...
Page 1 of 2 Reply to topic
Go to page 1, 2  Next All times are GMT - 8 Hours

View previous topic :: View next topic
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You cannot attach files in this forum
You can download files in this forum






All contents © Copyright 2003-2018 myArmoury.com — All rights reserved
Discussion forums powered by phpBB © The phpBB Group
Switch to the Basic Low-bandwidth Version of the forum