Battle of Montgisard

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Battle of Montgisard
ConflictCrusades
DateNovember 25, 1177
PlaceMontgisard
ResultCrusader victory
Combatants
Kingdom of Jerusalem Ayyubids
Commanders
Baldwin IV
Raynald of Chatillon
Knights Templar
Saladin
Strength
500 knights
80 Templars
Several thousand infantry
About 30,000
Casualties
Unknown About 20,000

The Battle of Montgisard was fought between Saladin and the Kingdom of Jerusalem on November 25, 1177.

In 1177 the kingdom had planned an alliance with the Byzantine Empire for a naval attack on Egypt; Philip of Alsace, count of Flanders, arrived early in the year hoping to organize this attack, but the plans were abandonded.

Meanwhile, Saladin planned his own invasion of the kingdom from Egypt. Learning of Saladin's plans, Baldwin IV left Jerusalem with 500 knights to attempt a defense at Ascalon, but Baldwin was blockaded there by Saladin, who had 26,000 men. Accompanying Baldwin was Raynald of Chatillon, lord of Oultrejordain, who had just been released from captivity in Aleppo in 1176. Raynald was a fierce enemy of Saladin. The Knights Templar attempted to meet Baldwin at Ascalon, but they were also besieged at Gaza.

Saladin executed his Christian prisoners and continued his march towards Jerusalem, thinking that Baldwin would not dare to follow him with so few men. He captured Ramla and besieged Lydda and Arsuf, but because Baldwin was supposedly not a danger, he allowed his army to be spread out over a large area, pillaging and foraging. However, Baldwin and the Templars both escaped their blockades, and marched out along the coast, hoping to meet Saladin before he reached Jerusalem.

The combined force of Baldwin and the Templars amounted to Baldwin’s 500 knights, 80 Templars, and a few thousand infantry. They met Saladin at Montgisard near Ramla, surprising him completely, as his army was not prepared for a pitched battle. Saladin’s personal bodyguard of Mamluks was destroyed and the rest of his troops were defeated as well. Saladin fled back to Egypt, harassed by Bedouins along the way. Only one tenth of his army made it back to Egypt with him.

Baldwin followed him into the Sinai peninsula, but was unable to gain an advantage and Saladin renewed his attacks in 1179. There was however an intervening year of peace, something the Crusader kingdom had not had in many years, and the victory soon became a heroic legend.de:Schlacht von Montgisard

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