Battle of Ramla (1101)

Battle of Ramla
Part of the Crusades
Date7 September 1101
Location
ResultCrusader victory
Belligerents
 Kingdom of Jerusalem Fatimid Caliphate
Commanders and leaders
Baldwin I of JerusalemSaad el-Dawleh [1]
Strength

1,160[2][3]


260 knights
900 infantry

Modern estimates:
3,000–5,000[4]
Contemporary sources:
32,000[2]


11,000 cavalry
21,000 infantry
Casualties and losses
80 knights killed[2]
80+ infantry killed[2]
Contemporary sources:
5,000 killed[5]

The first Battle of Ramla (or Ramleh) took place on 7 September 1101 between the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem and the Fatimids of Egypt. The town of Ramla lay on the road from Jerusalem to Ascalon, the latter of which was the largest Fatimid fortress in Palestine. From Ascalon the Fatimid vizier, Al-Afdal Shahanshah, launched almost annual attacks into the newly founded Crusader kingdom from 1099 to 1107. It was thrice the case that the two armies met each other at Ramla.

Battle

The Egyptians were led by Saad el-Dawleh, former governor of Beirut, while the Crusaders were under the command of King Baldwin I. Baldwin had only 260 cavalry and 900 foot soldiers under his command, leaving him severely outnumbered by the Egyptian army, why was estimated at 32,000 men by Fulcher of Chartres and downgraded to 3,000–5,000 by modern historians.[2][4] Upon sighting the Fatimid army Baldwin arrayed his forced in six divisions, commanding the reserve force himself.[5] In the initial attack the first two Crusader divisions were wiped out while the vanguard took heavy casualties too, with Geldemar Carpinel among the slain. The battle seemed to be lost but when the third division was pursued after being routed by the Egyptians, Baldwin ordered a counter-attack and committed his reserve. In vicious close-quarter combat, the Crusaders repulsed the Egyptian forces, who retreated in panic as rank after rank buckled under the force of Baldwin's attack. After pursuing the fleeing Fatimids to Ascalon, Baldwin returned to Ramla to plunder the Egyptian camp. This success secured the Kingdom of Jerusalem against the Fatimid Caliphate's advances for the campaigning season. According to Fulcher of Chartres, who was present at the battle, The Fatimids lost around 5,000 men in the battle including their general Saad al-Daulah. However, Crusader losses were heavy too, losing 80 knights and a large amount of infantry.[5]