In 1177, when the Muslims were in charge in many parts of the world, Saladin, the Sultan of Egypt and Syria, organized his first military campaign against the Crusaders.
The campaign included over 26000 warriors, in addition to the Sultan’s personal force, which included powerful bodyguards. He marched with his army the “Ayyubid” into Southern Palestine, crossing the Sinai Desert, heading to Jerusalem.
Having numerical superiority, Saladin let his army wander in the countryside, plundering Christian homes.
Despite being outnumbered, King Baldwin II prepared his forces to defend at Ascalon. As he was burdened by his sickness and lacked experience, Baldwin marched with 375 knights to the town. However, he withdrew his forces once he saw the Muslim army.
On the other hand, Saladin was confident that the Crusaders would not attack with a small number of soldiers. He allowed his forces to move slowly and to loot in the villages. Thus, the army became scattered over and weak.
Baldwin, accompanied by Raynald of Châtillon, a French noble and the Knights Templar, escaped and thought of stopping Saladin before he arrives at Jerusalem. The roads were muddy, which caused the baggage train to be held up at a river crossing. That is when the Sultan was attacked by surprise by the Crusaders. His army was divided between the baggage train stuck in the mud and looting the surrounding Christian settlements. Not to mention that his horses were exhausted from marching too long.
King Baldwin’s army fiercely attacked the scrambled Muslims. Saladin managed to escape by riding a race camel.
Although the exact number of casualties is unknown, reports say that only 10 percent of Saladin’s forces returned to Egypt.
The Battle of Montgisard was an obvious win for the Crusaders and for the Knights Templar, who had a great rule in the victory of the Christian army.