The Battle of Jaffa

  • Wars And Conflict
  • 3 mins

By Crusader1307

Fought on August 8, 1192 - this Battle was the last engagement of The Third Crusades. The Crusader forces, numbering roughly 3,000 troops - were under command of the English King, Richard I, nicknamed "The Lionheart" for his tenacious Military Tactics. The Muslim Ayyubids, numbering some 6,000 to 10,000 Light and Heavy Cavalry, were under command of the famed Salah al-Din Yusuf ibn  Ayyub (translated into English as Saladin). Many Crusaders who fought in the Desert called him Salah al-Din. An innovative and calculating Commander, he had led his forces in many victories against the European Crusaders. Richard I was no doubt his first true rival and Man of some "equal". Although The Crusading armies did not gain control of The Holy City of Jerusalem, Saladin did negotiate terms that allowed Christians to still enter and worship within the City (providing they still payed the Taxes to do so). The Crusaders still retained a large portion of territory between Beirut and Jaffa.

Richard, having fortified Jaffa in 1191 - had planned at some point to negate the Truce and attempt to retake Jerusalem. Saladin had planned to stop Richard, but due to political pressure from his Emirs, he did not. With no Army to stop Richard, the Crusaders could have moved on Jerusalem without interference. In fact, Muslim morale within Jerusalem was so low that it was probable no resistance of any kind would have been put up. Richard and his Army started out to retake Jerusalem. However nature was not on Richard's side. Unusual cold and hailstorms gripped the region. Fearing that this could stop his reinforcing Jerusalem due to the weather, Richard moved off of his plan. Jerusalem was to remain in Muslim hands. Richard headed for the Coast and Ascalon. Arriving, Richard received word from England of his Brother John's "poor management" of the Throne. He proceeded home. Almost immediately, Saladin's Forces attacked the City of Jaffa. Killing many, the remaining Crusader forces retreated to the City Citadel and sent word to Richard - "COME BACK". Richard reassembled his Forces and a small Navy and headed back to Jaffa. Richard (living up to his nickname), leap from the Ship and into the surf. His Army followed. The sight of several thousand Crusaders splashing through the surf, with Richard at it's front - sent fear into the Muslim Forces. Uncontrollable, they fled some 5 miles into the Desert before Saladin could rally them. After regrouping, Saladin and his Forces returned. "Hiding in plain sight" and using the darkness "as a cloak" - the Muslims waited until dawn. Unfortunately for them, alert Sentries spotted their Formations and alerted Richard.


Richard ordered 54 Knights to the front of the City. They dug their shields into the sand, creating a "shield wall". In addition, they drove their lances in the earth at an angle, to repel the Enemy Cavalry. Behind them, ranks of Crossbowmen stood ready. Finally, behind them, infantry stood by the gates - sharpened wooden spikes were driven into the sand before them to stop the Cavalry. The Muslims attacked. Wave after wave fell into the Crusader lines. They did not falter or fail. Weariness was showing on both sides after several hours of brutal fighting. Unknown to Richard, Ayyubid Infantry were able to flank the Crusaders and enter the Town. Richard had left a detachment of Sailors inside to defend the City. Unused to "land fighting", they began to break and try to return to their Ships. In rides Richard, galloping towards them, Sword raised. He rallied the Detachment and routed the Enemy infantry. Tired, Saladin decided to retire. Richard almost immediately began to re-fortify the City, fearing a siege. It did not come. Saladin would re-institute the previous treaty (without changes). With a firmer control over the region, Richard would re-establish Acre as Capital.