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Wolff, R. L.; Hazard, H. W. (ed.) / The later Crusades, 1189-1311

II: The Third Crusade: Richard the Lionhearted and Philip Augustus,   pp. 44-85 PDF (16.5 MB)

Page 52

up close to the knights, discharge a rain of arrows, and retire before the
knights could reach them. If the knights pursued them and became scattered,
the Turks could cut to pieces isolated parties. But the Turkish cavalry had
no taste for attacking massed infantry. The crossbows of the crusaders outranged
their bows, and the solid line of spears formed an almost impossible obstacle
to a cavalry charge. 11 
 As soon as his reinforcements arrived, Saladin moved into position near
the crusaders' camp. The last two weeks of September 1189 saw a number of
sharp skirmishes. One day Saladin brushed away a thin screen of knights to
reinforce and reprovision Acre. But he could not persuade his troops to attempt
an attack on the crusading infantry defending the camp. Nevertheless, Guy's
position was extremely unpleasant. He was bottled up in his camp and continually
harassed by the Turkish cavalry. Late in September Conrad of Montferrat arrived
with the Syrian barons who had been with him in Tyre. This addition to his
forces encouraged Guy to take the offensive. On October 4 the crusader cavalry
emerged from their camp and charged the Turkish line. They easily routed
their foes, but they themselves became scattered in the pursuit and were
completely unable to withstand a Turkish counterattack. The crusaders were
thrown back on their camp in disorder. Many knights were slain including
Andrew of Brienne, lord of Ramerupt. Meanwhile the garrison of Acre had made
a sortie against the crusaders' rear. King Guy had foreseen this possibility
and had left a force to watch Acre under that most turbulent and warhardened
of Poitevin barons, his brother Geoffrey of Lusignan, who repulsed the sortie
successfully. Once more Saladin's troops showed no inclination to press home
their advantage by attacking the infantry. Saladin had won a victory, but
discouragement at its indecisiveness combined with the fearful stench from
the bodies of those slain in the battle made him retire a dozen or so miles
to a hill called al-Kharr├╝bah where he went into winter quarters.12
 Winter was a time of great hardship for the crusaders lying before Acre,
because during that season they could not control the seas, and hence lacked
reinforcements and supplies. The kingdom of Jerusalem had always relied heavily
on Italian naval forces, and after the battle of Hattin the Christians clinging
to the coast of Syria and Palestine were almost entirely dependent on them.
We have seen how a Sicilian fleet saved Tripoli, Tyre, and Antioch in 
 11 Gibb MS., referred to above, in bibliographical note. 
 12 Gibb MS.; Diceto, II, 70-71; Estoire, pp. 141-143. 

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