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Osprey Campaign 19 : Hattin 1187 : Saladin's Greatest Victory

The most decisive battle in the history of the crusades was fought on the 3-4 July 1187 west of Tiberias in what is modern day Israel. In the late twelfth century, however, this was part of the Christian kingdom of Jerusalem ruled by Guy of Lusgnan which was threatened by Salah al-Din Yusuf ibn Ayyub, known to western historians as Saladin. He had invaded the kingdom of Jerusalem and laid siege to the city of Tiberias to draw the Christian army into battle. Raymond of Tripoli and Balian of Ibelin recommended that Tiberias, which Saladin could not hold for any length of time, be abandoned. Both these men were 'poulains', Franks born in the east who knew their enemy well and had a lifetime's experience of war in the Levant; indeed it was Raymond's wife Eschiva who was defending Tiberias. Their wiser council was rejected in favour of the advice of men like Reynald of Chatillon and Gerard de Ridefort to attack the Saracens. These men were western knights who despised the Franks of the east as effete and weak. Their experience of Levantine warfare was limited however and the campaign proved disastrous. In a running two day battle on the waterless plateau between Saffuriya and Tiberias, beneath a burning sun, Saladin's troops destroyed the Christian army. The disaster at Hattin resulted in the collapse of the kingdom of Jerusalem and sparked off the Third Crusade under Richard I 'Coeur de Lion'. Text by David Hatten.

    Contents
  • Origins of the Campaign
  • The Opposing Leaders
  • The Opposing Armies
  • Opposing Plans
  • The Campaign
  • The Conquest of the Kingdom
  • Aftermath and Reckoning
  • The Battlefields Today
  • Chronology
  • A Guide to Further Reading
  • Wargaming Hattin

 

Osprey Campaign


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