Crusader States Outremer

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1119 Aug 14

Battle of Hab

Ariha, Syria

The Battle of Hab, or the Second Battle of Tell Danith, took place on August 14, 1119. It saw King Baldwin II of Jerusalem leading the Crusader forces to a contentious win against the Muslim forces commanded by Ilghazi of Mardin, with both sides claiming victory. This battle was pivotal in securing the stability of the Principality of Antioch following a severe defeat shortly before. Baldwin II's success in this engagement led to the recapture of all castles previously taken by Ilghazi and thwarted his plans to advance on Antioch.


Background

Following the Battle of Ager Sanguinis on June 28, 1119, where Ilghazi's Turco-Syrian army overcame the Antiochene forces, capturing several strongholds in the process, the aftermath saw limited gains due to Ilghazi's indulgence and the dispersal of his forces. In response, King Baldwin II rallied a force from Jerusalem and, with additional troops from the County of Tripoli under Count Pons, aimed to relieve Antioch. As they moved to confront Ilghazi, who had laid siege to Zerdana, they learned of its fall. This prompted a strategic retreat to the stronghold of Hab, indicating a critical phase in the defense and recovery efforts for the Principality of Antioch.


Battle

On August 14, King Baldwin II orchestrated the Crusader army's strategic retreat, positioning three squadrons of knights at the forefront, supported by infantry, including bowmen and spearmen. The flanks were protected by knights from Tripoli and Antioch, with Baldwin himself leading a reserve force. The Artuqids aimed to disrupt the Crusader formation to engage in close combat.


The Crusader column faced early aggression from Artuqid horse archers, leading to significant pressure on the Crusader forces, particularly the infantry, which suffered heavily without cavalry support. Despite initial setbacks, including the dispersal of forces and the temporary withdrawal of key leaders like Robert Fulcoy and Count Pons, Baldwin's effective use of his reserve force played a crucial role in stabilizing the situation and eventually led to the Artuqids acknowledging defeat and retreating, thereby securing a pivotal moment of resilience for the Crusader army.


Aftermath

Baldwin's victory at the Battle of Hab was tactically narrow and came with significant casualties for the Crusaders. Despite these losses, and Ilghazi's retreat and claim of victory, the outcome was strategically beneficial for the Crusaders, allowing Baldwin to recapture territories without resistance. This success was pivotal in maintaining the stability of the Principality of Antioch for subsequent generations, setting the stage for the future Battle of Azaz in 1125.


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Last Updated: : Wed Apr 10 2024