Battle of Al Mansurah

Battle of Al Mansurah
Part of the Seventh Crusade
Mansura.jpg
Battle of Al Mansurah
Date8–11 February 1250
LocationAl Mansurah, Egypt
ResultDecisive Ayyubid victory
Belligerents

Flag of Ayyubid Dynasty.svg Ayyubid

Crusaders
Commanders and leaders
Flag of Ayyubid Dynasty.svg Qutuz
Flag of Ayyubid Dynasty.svg Fakhr-ad-Din Yusuf  
Flag of Ayyubid Dynasty.svg Baibars
Flag of Ayyubid Dynasty.svg Faris ad-Din Aktai
France Ancient Arms.svg Louis IX
Armoiries Guillaume de Saunhac.svg Guillaume de Sonnac 
Blason Alphonse Poitiers.png Alphonse de Poitiers
Blason province fr Artois.svg Robert d'Artois 
Longespee.svg William II Longespée
Strength
4600 Cavalry including Mamluks, a much larger number of infantry probably 6000 or more and Egyptian reserves [1]Several hundred knights, Several thousand infantry [2]
Casualties and losses
Heavy [3]300 knights, 80 templars, and a very large number of infantry.[4]

The Battle of Al Mansurah was fought from February 8 to February 11, 1250, between Crusaders led by Louis IX, King of France, and Ayyubid forces led by Emir Fakhr-ad-Din Yusuf, Faris ad-Din Aktai and Baibars al-Bunduqdari.

Background

By the mid-13th century, the Crusaders became convinced that Egypt, the heart of Islam's forces and arsenal,[5] was an obstacle to their ambition to capture Jerusalem, which they had lost for the second time in 1244. In 1245, during the First Council of Lyon, Pope Innocent IV gave his full support to the Seventh Crusade being prepared by Louis IX, King of France.

The goals of the Seventh Crusade were to destroy the Ayyubid dynasty in Egypt and Syria, and to recapture Jerusalem. The Crusaders asked the Mongols to become their allies against the Muslims,[6] the Crusaders attacking the Islamic world from west, and the Mongols attacking from the east. Güyük, the Great Khan of the Mongols, told the Pope's envoy that the Pope and the kings of Europe should submit to the Mongols.[7]

The ships of the Seventh Crusade, led by King Louis's brothers, Charles d'Anjou and Robert d'Artois, sailed from Aigues-Mortes and Marseille to Cyprus during the autumn of 1248, and then on to Egypt. The ships entered Egyptian waters and the troops of the Seventh Crusade disembarked at Damietta in June 1249. Louis IX sent a letter to as-Salih Ayyub.[8] Emir Fakhr ad-Din Yusuf, the commander of the Ayyubid garrison in Damietta, retreated to the camp of the Sultan in Ashmum-Tanah,[9] causing a great panic among the inhabitants of Damietta, who fled the town, leaving the bridge that connected the west bank of the Nile with Damietta intact. The Crusaders crossed over the bridge and occupied Damietta, which was deserted.[10] The fall of Damietta caused a general emergency (called al-Nafir al-Am النفير العام) to be declared, and locals from Cairo and from all over Egypt moved to the battle zone.[11][12] For many weeks, the Muslims used guerrilla tactics against the Crusader camps; many of the Crusaders were captured and sent to Cairo.[13] As the Crusader army was strengthened by the arrival of Alphonse de Poitiers, the third brother of King Louis IX, at Damietta, the Crusaders were encouraged by the news of the death of the Ayyubid Sultan, as-Salih Ayyub. The Crusaders began their march towards Cairo. Shajar al-Durr, the widow of the dead Sultan, concealed the news for some time and sent Faris ad-Din Aktai to Hasankeyf to recall Turanshah, the son and heir, to ascend the throne and lead the Egyptian army.