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Battle of Arsuf

The Battle of Arsuf was a battle of the Third Crusade between Richard I and Saladin.

After capturing Acre in 1191, Richard fought many minor battles with Saladin, whose main objective was to prevent Jerusalem from being recaptured. Knowing he would need to control the port of Jaffa before making an attempt on Jerusalem, Richard began to march down the coast from Acre in August of 1191.

Saladin came upon Richard's army just north of Jaffa at Arsuf on September 7. The Templars defended the vanguard while the Hospitallers defended the rear. Saladin tried to lure the Crusaders out with a light cavalry charge; Richard delayed as long as possible while his English crossbowmen held back Saladin's charge, although the Muslim archers were able to inflict heavy damage on the Hospitallers' horses. The Hospitallers could no longer resist a counterattack. They charged into Saladin's right flank, with Richard following them, and the Templars charging the left flank. Saladin was forced to retreat, the legend of his invincibility having been destroyed. The Crusaders could also take pride in their first victory since the Battle of Hattin in 1187.

On September 10, Richard took Jaffa and would begin to prepare for an assault on Jerusalem. Although Richard successfully defended Jaffa when Saladin attacked him there in 1192, he could not recapture Jerusalem.

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