The Sword of Allah - Khalid Bin Waleed (Ral)

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Chapter 35: Al-Yarmuk

 Part III: The Invasion of Iraq


Page: 13

At about the time when the Roman cavalry of the left was being driven away by Khalid, Mahan had concentrated the remainder of his cavalry into one powerful, mobile army behind the Roman centre to counter attack and regain lost positions. But before the massed Roman cavalry could start any manoeuvre, it was assailed in front and flank by the Muslim cavalry. For some time, urged on by the intrepid Mahan, the Romans fought gallantly; but in this type of fluid situation the regular, heavy cavalry was no match for the light, fast-moving horsemen of Khalid who could strike, disengage, manoeuvre and strike again. At last the Roman cavalry, seeing no other way of survival, broke contact and fled to the north, taking with it the protesting Mahan. In this manner the Roman cavalry abandoned the infantry to its fate. With Mahan, altogether 40,000 mounted troops got away, consisting partly of regular Roman cavalry and partly of the mobile Christian Arabs of Jabla bin El Eiham.

In the cavalry actions of this morning there was no sign of Dhiraar. The Muslims missed the familiar sight of the half-naked warrior in the kind of battle in which he would have revelled. They did not know where he was; and Khalid would not tell!

Meanwhile the Armenians were stoutly resisting Amr and Sharhabeel's attempts to crush them. The two Muslim corps had made some headway but not much; and this is understandable, for the Armenians were very brave fighters indeed. 1 Abu Ubaidah and Yazeed were also attacking the Romans on their front (though their role was as yet secondary- a holding operation), but were held by the army of Qureen and the army of chains. It was at this stage that Khalid, having driven the Roman cavalry from the battlefield, turned on the Armenians and charged them in the rear. (See Map 25 below) In the face of the three-pronged attack the Armenians disintegrated. Abandoning their position, they fled to the South-West-the only direction open to them, and were much relieved and surprised that the Muslim cavalry made no effort to interfere with their movement as it could easily have done. They travelled in the direction in which they saw safety. Unknown to them, this was also the direction which Khalid wanted them to take.

map 5 chapter 35

As the Armenian army collapsed, and mingling in a confused mass with the survivors of the Slav army of Qanateer fled towards the Wadi-ur-Raqqad, the remaining Roman armies realised the hopelessness of their position. Their flank and rear were completely exposed. Consequently they also began to withdraw, and with discipline and good order made their way westwards. Here again the Roman movement was not intercepted by Khalid.

1. Gibbon, in his Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, describes the Armenians as "the most warlike subjects of Rome"