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Arsuf, battle of

Arsuf, battle of, 1191. On 22 August 1191 Richard I led the armies of the Third Crusade out of Acre southwards towards Jaffa, whence they would strike inland to Jerusalem. Nothing better demonstrates Richard's tactical sense and generalship than the march and the battle that followed. The army marched close to the sea-shore, its right flank protected by Richard's fleet, which accompanied it and kept it supplied. Saladin's forces harassed the crusaders, but could not break their close formation and Saladin realized that he would have to risk open battle if he were to halt the advance. On 7 September, on the plain to the north of Arsuf (some 12 miles from Jaffa), the two armies met. The day was won when the massed crusader cavalry charged and forced Saladin to withdraw. The march to Jaffa was resumed.

S. D. Lloyd

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