The Sword of Allah - Khalid Bin Waleed (Ral)

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Chapter 35: Al-Yarmuk

 Part III: The Invasion of Iraq

 

Page: 4

It was now about midday. While the Muslim flanking corps were fighting their battle, Khalid was watching these actions from his position in the centre. So far he had done nothing to help these corps, and had refused to be drawn into battle with his central reserve before it was absolutely necessary. But as the corps returned to battle from the camps to which they had retreated, Khalid decided to launch his cavalry reserve to assist them and quicken the re-establishment of the Muslim positions.

He first turned to the right wing and with his Mobile Guard and one cavalry regiment struck at the flank of the army of Qanateer at the same time as Amr counter-attacked again from the front. Very soon the Romans, attacked from two sides, turned and beat a hasty retreat to their original position. Amr regained all the ground that he had lost and reorganized his corps for the next round.

As soon as this position was restored, Khalid turned to the left wing. By now Yazeed had begun a major counter attack from the front to push the Romans back. Khalid detached one regiment under Dhiraar and ordered him to attack the front of the army of Deirjan in order to create a diversion and threaten the withdrawal of the Roman right wing from its advanced position. With the rest of the army reserve he attacked the flank of Gregory. (See Map 21 below) Here again the Romans withdrew under the counter-attacks from front and flank, but more slowly because with their chains the men could not move fast.

map 1 chapter 35

While the Roman right was falling back, Dhiraar broke through the army of Deirjan and got to its commander who stood well forward with his body-guard. Here Dhiraar killed Deirjan. But soon after, the pressure against him became so heavy that he was forced to retire to the Muslim line.

Before sunset the two flanking armies of the Romans had been pushed back. At sunset the central armies also broke contact and withdrew to their original positions and both fronts were restored along the lines occupied in the morning. The Muslims had faced a critical situation but had regained their lost ground. The right wing of the Muslims suffered more severely than the other corps, as the most vicious fighting had taken place in the sector of Amr. However, the day's fighting ended with the Muslims winning this bout on points.

The night that followed was again a quiet one. The Muslim women got busy dressing wounds, preparing food, carrying water and so on. On the whole, Muslim spirits were high as they had been attacked by the bulk of the Roman army and had thrown the attackers back from their positions. The Muslims had remained on the defensive, the counter attacks being no more than part of the general defensive posture.

In the Roman camp, however, the mood hardened. Thousands of Romans had been slain on this day, and the Muslims had not only repulsed the flanking armies which had penetrated their positions but had actually attacked the Roman centre (Dhiraar's charge) and broken through, killing the army commander. This was a great loss, for Deirjan was a distinguished and highly esteemed general. Mahan appointed another general, one by the name of Qureen, to command Deirjan's army, and transferred the command of the Armenians to Qanateer, the commander of the Roman left. This was necessary, for in the next day's battle the major Roman effort would be made against the Muslim right and right centre.