Battle of La Forbie

Battle of La Forbie
Part of the Crusades
DateOctober 17, 1244 – October 18, 1244
Locationnear the village of Harbiyah (La Forbie), northeast of Gaza
ResultAyyubid victory
Belligerents
Flag of Ayyubid Dynasty.svg Ayyubid Sultantate
Khwarezmian Mercenaries
Arms of the Kingdom of Jerusalem.svg Kingdom of Jerusalem
Cross of the Knights Templar.svg Knights Templar
Cross of the Knights Hospitaller.svg Knights Hospitaller
Coat of arms of the Teutonic Order.svg Teutonic Knights
Lazarus cross.svg Order of Saint Lazarus
Homs
Oultrejordain
Ayyubid Damascus
Ayyubid Kerak
Commanders and leaders

as-Salih Ayyub


Baibars

Walter IV of Brienne (POW)
Armand de Périgord (POW)
as-Salih Ismail
an-Nasir Dawud


al-Mansur Ibrahim
Strength
5,000 cavalry
More than 6,000 infantry
About 11,000
Casualties and losses
UnknownAbout 7,500

The Battle of La Forbie, also known as the Battle of Harbiyah, was fought October 17, 1244 – October 18, 1244 between the allied armies (drawn from the Kingdom of Jerusalem, the crusading orders, the breakaway Ayyubids of Damascus, Homs and Kerak) and the Egyptian army of the Ayyubid Sultan as-Salih Ayyub, reinforced with Khwarezmian mercenaries.

Prelude

The capture of Jerusalem by the Khwarezmians in August had caused great alarm among both the Christian and the Muslim states. Al-Mansur, the Emir of Homs and an-Nasir Dawud, ruling Kerak, joined the Templars, the Hospitallers, the Teutonic Knights, the Order of Saint Lazarus[1] and the remaining forces of the Kingdom of Jerusalem to take the field against the Egyptian Sultanate.

The two armies met near La Forbie, a small village northeast of Gaza. On the allied side, Al-Mansur was present in person, commanding about 2,000 cavalry and a detachment of troops from Damascus. The overall Christian command was given to Walter IV of Brienne, Count of Jaffa and Ascalon, although Robert of Nantes, Patriarch of Jerusalem, and Philip of Montfort, Constable of Jerusalem, were also present. The Christian army consisted of about 1,000 cavalry and 6,000 foot soldiers. The Transjordanian forces were under the command of Sunqur al-Zahiri and al-Waziri, and consisted of about 2,000 mounted Bedouin. The Egyptian army was commanded by a Mamluk officer named Baibars[2] which was slightly inferior in strength to its opponents.

Al-Mansur advised the allies to fortify their camp and take the defensive, waiting for the undisciplined Khwarezmians to disperse and leave the Egyptians at a considerable disadvantage. However, Walter, to whom the overall command had been given, was unwilling to refuse battle when he had the advantage of numbers, a rarity for the Christians of Outremer. The allied dispositions were as follows: Christians on the right wing, near the coast, the Emir of Homs and the Damascenes in the center, the Bedouin on the left.