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Battle Scenarios

The Battle of Arsuf (1191 AD)

Having captured Acre on 22 August 1191, the Crusader King Richard I (the Lionheart) first killed his prisoners (3000 total) and then led his army south along the coast of Galilee toward the port of Jaffa. It was a "fighting march" with Richard's army sticking close to the coast near his supply fleet while under constant threat of attack by Saladin's forces. Finally, as Richard's army neared Arsuf, approximately 10 miles from Jaffa, Saladin attacked in an attempt to drive the Crusaders into the sea.

The Armies

Later Crusader (#141)

Ayyubid Egyptian (#143), plus 1x3Kn (Saladin's Bodyguard), 1x3Cv &1x2Lh

The Historical Battle

The Crusader army broke their camp at sunrise on September 7, 1191 and crossed the river Rachetaillee in hopes of seizing Arsuf by night fall. Richard formed his army in three columns. The column nearest the coast comprised the baggage with infantry escorts. The center column consisted of twelve squadrons of 100 Knights in the center column, with the Knights Templars at the front and the Knights Hospitallers in the rear. A mixture of spear armed infantry and crossbowman under Henry of Champagne forming the left column. A screen of light infantry supported by the Templars and Hospitallers formed the van and rear guard. Richard's total force numbered an estimated 1,200 horse and 10,000 foot. To oppose them Saladin may have had as many as 20,000 men, including 10,000 cavalry.

Richard's army trod through the sand dunes unchallenged until approximately 11 a.m., when Saladin sent forward cavalry and skirmishers to press the column's left flank. Skirmishing with bows and javelins, the Muslims made little impact on the closely ordered spear of Richard's left column. Many were made to pay the price for venturing too near the Crusader crossbow. However, the Muslin missiles gradually began to tell on the horses of the Hospitalers at the rear of the column. Richard tried to keep his formation and keep it moving forward, but the heat and accumulating casualties severely tried the patience of his knights as the afternoon wore on. Finally, the Hospitallers and three squadrons of French knights charged impetuously, driving back Saladin's right wing. Then RIchard quickly dispatched the Templars supported by Bretons and Angevins in a second charge that drove back Saladin's left wing and then repulsed a counter-charge by Saladin's personal bodyguard. As the infantry and his precious baggage train reached the gardens of Arsuf and deployed into camp, Richard dispatched the balance of his Norman and English knights in support.

Saladin's army scattered to the shelter of the wooded hills of Arsuf, suffering an estimated 7000 casualties, including 32 emirs. However, they reappeared the next day to harrass the Crusader camp before eventually withdrawing to Jerusalem in the interior to regroup for the battle at Jaffa.

Deployment

Richard's Crusader army deploys first, within the northwest square indicated on the map. All mounted (Kn & Cav) and psiloi form a column facing Arsuf (with psiloi at the head and rear of the column). All other infantry form a parallel line facing the hills of Arsuf. Finally, the camp is represented by a baggage train that moves at a rate of 200P and is placed between Crusader army and the sea.

Saladin's army deploys next anywhere within 1000P of the east board edge.

Game Map (ASCII)

                                    (East)

=================Saladin's Baseline==============
w w w w w h h w w w w w w w h h h w w w w w w w w.
h w w w h . . h w w w w w h . . . h w w w w w w h
h h h h . . . . h h h h h . . . . . h h h h h h h
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. . . . . # # . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . # # . . # # . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . # # . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   (South)
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. . # # . . . . . . . . . . . # # . . . . . . . .
. . # # . . . . . . . . . . . # # . . . . . . . .
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= = = = = = = = = = . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . " . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . " . . . . . . . . . . . . A A A
. . . . . . . . . " . . . . . . . . . . . . A A A
. . . . c c c c c c . . . . c c c c c . . . A A A
w w w w w w w w w w w w w w w w w w w w w w w w w
w w w w w w w w w w w w w w w w w w w w w w w w w
================Richard's Baseline===============

                                 (West)

SCALE: The distance between each dot/letter is one inch.

TERRAIN KEY:

.=Good Going (Good Going)
A=Arsuf (Built Up Area)
c=cliffs (impassable terrain)
w=Water (Mediterranean Sea)
#=Bad going (sand dunes)
h=Hill

Terrain Notes

All hills have gentle slopes. Treat the water (i.e. Mediteranean Sea) as impassable. Units forced to recoil over cliffs or into the ocean are lost.

Special Rules

Saladin's army does not have a camp to defend.

Victory Conditions

Crusaders must capture Arsuf and/or kill Saladin to win. The Muslim army will retire if five elements are lost, surrendering Arsuf to Crusader capture. Saladin wins if his army kills four or more Crusader elements or captures (i.e. destroys) the Crusader baggage train.


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Last Updated: June 15, 1998

Questions, comments, and feedback are welcome. Sent them to my attention at IamFanaticus@gmail.com.