The Sword of Allah - Khalid Bin Waleed (Ral)

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Chapter 35: Al-Yarmuk

 Part III: The Invasion of Iraq

 

Page: 7

In the sector of Sharhabeel, however, the Armenians broke through and pushed the Muslims back towards their camp. The Armenians were strongly supported by the Christian Arabs of Jabla, and this proved the most serious penetration of the Muslim front. Sharhabeel was able to slow down the advance of the Armenians but could not repulse it. Soon it was clear that the corps would not be able to hold out for very long. It now became necessary for Khalid to enter this sector with his reserve.

What Khalid feared most was an attack in strength on a broad front. In case the enemy broke through at several places, there would be no way of expelling him as the army reserve could not be everywhere at the same time. On the second day of battle Khalid had been able to restore the situation on both flanks by first striking at one and then at the other penetration; but if the Romans got through in strength at many places, this could not be done. Consequently, when he saw the initial success of the enemy against Amr and Sharhabeel, he ordered Abu Ubaidah and Yazeed to attack on their front and thus forestall a Roman attack on the Muslim left in case such an attack was intended. This was to be a spoiling attack. By mid-morning the corps of Abu Ubaidah and Yazeed had engaged the armies of Qureen and Gregory, and at the time when Sharhabeel's position became delicate, both these corps were pressing hard against the right half of the Roman front.

Khalid, feeling more assured about his left, decided to strike against the Armenians. He divided the army reserve into two equal groups of which he gave one to Qais bin Hubeira and kept the other with himself. Leading his own cavalry group, Khalid galloped round behind the corps of Sharhabeel and appeared against the northern flank of the Armenian salient. Now began a three-pronged counter attack against the Armenians and Christian Arabs: Khalid from the right, Qais from the left and Sharhabeel from the front. (See Map 23 below) The fighting became vicious in this part of the battlefield as the enemy resisted stoutly, and for several hours a bitter struggle raged between the Muslims and the Christians; but at last the Armenians broke under the blows of the Muslim cavalry and infantry and fell back to their own position, losing heavily in the process. In this action, which lasted the whole afternoon, the Christian Arabs proved the heaviest losers.

map 3 chapter 35

As the Armenians pulled back, Amr bin Al Aas renewed his efforts to dislodge the Slavs from the position which they had taken; and the Slavs, denied the support of the Armenians on their flank, also retired. The positions of Sharhabeel and Amr were now restored. But this action on the Muslim right was not completed till the evening; and while it was in progress an equally critical and more fierce battle was being fought on the left side of the Muslim front. What made the latter action so dangerous was the fact that the army reserve was heavily committed on the right and could do nothing to help Abu Ubaidah and Yazeed, who had to rely entirely on their own resources.