The Sword of Allah - Khalid Bin Waleed (Ral)

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Chapter 35: Al-Yarmuk

 Part III: The Invasion of Iraq

 

Page: 6

This had proved a harder day than the day before. However, the losses of the Romans far outnumbered those of the Muslims, and at the end of the day's fighting Muslim spirits were even higher, while Roman morale had suffered a serious blow. The Romans were now getting desperate. All their attacks had failed, in spite of a heavy toll in human lives, and they were in no better position than at the start of the battle. Mahan upbraided his generals, who promised to do better the next day. The next day would in fact be the most critical day of the battle.

Khalid and Abu Ubaidah spent the night walking about the Muslim camp, offering encouragement to the tired Muslims and speaking to the wounded. Being wounded in this battle did not mean getting evacuated to the rear. A Muslim had to be badly wounded indeed before he could expect to rest from fighting. A moderate wound meant a few hours' rest, and then back to the front!

The fourth day of battle dawned with an atmosphere tense with expectation. The Romans knew that this day would prove decisive, for now they were going to make their greatest effort to shatter the Muslim army which had so far withstood all assaults. If even this attack failed, then all prospects of further offensive action would disappear. It was now or never.

Khalid also knew that the battle had reached a critical stage, and that this day's operations would give a final indication of success or failure. Thousands of Romans had been killed so far, and if on this day also the Romans were repulsed with bloody losses, they would be unlikely to take the initiative again. Thereafter the counter-offensive could be launched. The Muslim strength was now somewhat depleted. The archers, positioned in the front rank, had suffered the heaviest losses, and now only 2,000 of them remained in fit state for battle. These were re-allocated at the scale of 500 to each corps. The Muslims were also more tired than the Romans because of their fewer numbers, but courage was never higher in the Muslim army.

Khalid's greatest concern was for his right. However, he was reassured by the thought that the commander of the Muslim right was Amr bin Al Aas, who in generalship was second only to Khalid. Amr had so far seen the heaviest fighting of this battle and was destined to continue to do so. Anyway, known as the shrewdest of the Arabs, Amr was more than a match for any Roman general.

Mahan decided to start the day's operation with an attack on the right half of the Muslim front as was done the day before. Once this part of the front was driven back and Muslim reserves committed in this sector, he would strike with the rest of his army at the left half of the Muslim front. With this plan of battle, the two armies of Qanateer were set in motion, and the Slavs and the Armenians sprang at the corps of Amr and Sharhabeel. Amr was pushed back again, but not as far as on the previous day; this time the Muslims were not going to face the ire of their women! Some distance behind its original position, the corps of Amr held the Slavs; and here manoeuvre gave way to a hard slogging match in which the Muslims, led by Amr with drawn sword, gave better than they took and inflicted severe losses on their opponents.