Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Tamerlane

How borders changed in Europe in the last 1,000 years?

Apparently, this video of the evolution of borders change in Europe in the last 1,000 years has been removed or deleted.

Probably from many inaccuracies denounced in the comments. This post is to relate the story as I know it, since I love history and know a great deal.

At the turn of the first millennial, Poland was the richest, most cohesive and united “catholic” kingdom in the eastern part of Europe. Poland checked Russia expansion and saved Vienna from the Ottoman siege, in the nick of time.  The large Ottoman army faced one of the worst climate handicap: It was unusually cold and rained for months on: the soldiers were ill fitted and had to march in the mud.

East Germany was a collection of Teutonic tribes and eventually it formed Prussia and expanded during Frederic “The Great” in the 18th century.

West Germany of before the fall of the Berlin Wall, was mostly small states shifting allegiance to either the Hapsburg Empire (Austria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary and the Netherlands) or France.

Napoleon Bonaparte was the catalyst in raising the patriotic spirit in West Germany when he forced recruits in the failed Great Army that invaded Russia in 1812, and the small states started mass uprising and used the current flag.

Bismark capitalized on this new patriotism and united all of current Germany and expanded to include Poland and the Alsace and Lorraine provinces in France and transformed Germany to become the second industrial country after the USA with the most powerful land army in Europe.

Crimea borders also changed: It is now attached to Russia.

Crimea was part of the Ottoman Empire. Catherine II of Russia expanded greatly her southern territory at the expense of Turkey.

The territory of the Tatars, called the Golden Horde, was captured by Ivan The Terrible as Tamerlane had weakened this Horde in the early 15th century and burned all their towns and cities along the Volga River (mainly current Ukraine).

Tamerlane is also the warrior who defeated the Ottoman Empire and delayed the fall of Constantinople by 50 years. In a sense, saving Renaissance Europe and permitting Russia to expand. His dynasty built the Mogul Empire in India.

Peter “The Great” of Russia finally managed to defeat the young and indomitable king of Sweden and expanded westward, annexed the 3 Baltic small States of Latvia, Lithuania… and built St. Peters-burg and expanded southward toward the Ottoman Empire but failed to retain what he captured.

France was united under Louis 11 who defeated the powerful and rich king of Burgundy Jean “Le Temeraire”. Burgundy included east of France, Belgium and part of Germany.

The English occupied the western part of France for over a century before Joan of Arc started the re-conquest in the 15th century.

Throughout the next 3 centuries, France was the dominant military power in land and had a powerful navy too. France expanded its colonies after 1870 toward West Africa and the Far East.

Cromwell of England focused his energy on building a powerful navy and annexed Scotland and Ireland. England became the main sea power until WWII and was the nemesis of Germany, which supplanted England as the major exporter oversea before WWI.

Italy was a collection of mini-states after 400 AC and was occupied, its rich cities sacked and Rome burned several times. Venice and Genoa were the main sea traders and were constantly at each other throats.

France occupied the northern part of Italy in several occasions and entered Rome. It was the devastation of Rome that permitted most of the artists, educated and architects of the Renaissance period to spread all over the other European cities and kingdoms and played the catalyst for reforms.

Napoleon Bonaparte occupied Italy before he was named First Consul in 1800 and defeated the Austrian armies in several battles and snatched Venice and part of current Croatia from the Hapsburg Empire.

England gave land concessions to Italy before WWI: England had decided to wage war against Germany (the second industrial nation after the USA) and was trying hard to rally countries against Germany.  England offered Italy to annex Albania, Libya and Ethiopia. As England allowed France to annex Morocco. Giving lands that it never had, such as Palestine to the Zionist Jews…

Prussia and Russia started to nibble on the Austrian Empire until its vanished after WWI.

Spain united in the 15th century and dislodged the last city of the “Arabic” Empire in Andalusia. The Pope of Rome divided the world into two parts for the new colonial powers of Spain and Portugal. Portugal had already colonized many regions in the Pacific Ocean and in South East Asia.

The ruin of the Spanish fleet “The Armada” in its attempt to invade England during Elizabeth I had weakened Phillip II of Spain who was the most powerful monarch in Europe in the 16th century.

It was mainly the Spanish fleet that checked and defeated the Ottoman navy that handicapped any further expansion of the Ottoman Empire into Europe.

The Ottoman Empire had already annexed all the regions around the Black Sea (Azerbaijan, Armenia, Crimea, Turkmenistan and Romania…)  and occupied Bulgaria, Albania, Greece, Macedonia, Serbia and half of Hungary. Not counting all the Near East, Egypt, the Arabic Peninsula and the North African provinces

Watch as 1000 years of European borders change

Note: Vladimir Putin worked out the Crimea problem by attaching it to Russia instead of declaring Crimea an independent State.

Apparently, under Ottoman Empire treaty with Catherine the Great, if Crimea declares independence it returns to Turkey

Did Tamerlane (Timor Lank) Create Empires?

There is this army commander of the 14th century who kept his army on the march longer (for over 25 years) and crossed more lands than Alexander, Genghis Khan, or Attila and conquered more Empires and was never defeated and slept in his tent, outside city-limits, even in his Capital Samarkand (in current Uzbekistan).

The Persian gave him the nickname Lank because he was slightly lame in one leg.  This is Timor Lank who was not the son of any Monarch, prince, or even a tribal leader.

Timor Lank was from the Caucasus region (probably around the region of Azerbaijan and Chechnya (I get pretty upset when history authors fail to located current geographical areas and just paste the ancient names).

He was a Moslem and veneered Imams and clerics claimed to be descendants of the Prophet Muhammad’s family, and who wore the black turban.

Otherwise, he didn’t give a hoot about Moslems when conquering lands and people. He killed mostly Moslems since the vast area of his operations were mostly Islam Land.

For example, he built pyramids of skulls: 60,000 heads in Asfahan (Iran), 3,000 in Aleppo, and many other skull pyramids in India…

First, Timor Lank chased out the Tatar “Golden Hordes” (led by a descendant of Genghis Khan) along the Volga River (current Russia) and burned and sacked all their cities and villages.  He did not resume his operations, but by the end of his war, the Golden Hordes were weakened and displaced.  It was the fate of the Russian Tsar, Ivan the Terrible, to finish off the job against the Tatars in the 16th century and expand his Empire. You may claim that Tamerlane ultimately created current Russia.

Timor Lank captured Samarkand and made it its Capital.

He descended on Persia and conquered this Empire and beheaded over 60,000 of the population in Isfahan and piled up the head in shapes of pyramids.  This city surrendered peacefully and Timor Lank had no plans to occupy it; he was just crossing!

It happened that for a few cases of rape within the city by Timor Lank’s garrison of 500 soldiers, the inhabitants slaughtered the soldiers.  Timor Lank was camping outside city limit, always in his tent. And the reaction was a nightmare on the city inhabitants.

The commander moved on toward Turkey in 1400.  The Turkish Sultan army was completely demolished and the Sultan was put in a tiny cage so that Timor Lank could use it as a stool to mount his horse. This commander could have conquered all of Turkey, but instead he headed south to enter Aleppo and Damascus in Syria.

If Timor Lank had not vanquished the Turkish army then the Byzantium Capital of Constantinople would have fallen 50 years earlier along with most of Europe.

There would be no Western Europe or the Renaissance:  at that time, the enmities between Genoa and Venice was at its zenith, the Kingdom of Poland was weak, there was no Russian Empire, and the King Henry of Portugal had not begun challenging the high seas to discover new routes to India and the Far East.

And the King of France Charles 8 would not have entered and ruined Rome and displaced the skilled artisans and thinkers, located and concentrated in Papal Rome, to all over western Europe that started the Renaissance.

In the 13th century, the Mameluke Sultan of Egypt had moved out from Egypt with his army and defeated the Mogul army of Hulagu in Palestine around 1250.  This time around, the Mameluke Sultan did not venture to come out to rescue his vassals  in Syria.

Damascus put up a serious fight, but Timor Lank tactics were always to destabilize any city before setting siege.  The skilled people in Syria and Palestine were sent to build and develop Samarkand. (That is the story of the Levant since antiquity: armies conquer The Levant to capture its skilled workers.)

The Ottoman Sultan would later defeat the Mameluke Sultan in the 16th century and conquer Syria, Palestine, Egypt, and all North African countries.

Timor Lank conquered Afghanistan, Pakistan and India.

One of Timor Lank offspring would establish the Mogul Empire in India (the Punjab) that lasted over 5 centuries.  The British Empire would finally take over all of India by the end of the 19th century, but failed to retain Afghanistan after two bloody massacres of its troops.

The British had drawn the current borders among Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, and Kashmir.  As well as drawing many other borders in the Middle-East and Africa with colonial France

This ruthless commander Tamerlane was getting ready to march on China when he died at the age of 63.

Note:  My published novel on “Rainbow over the Levant” is set in that time period.

Rainbow over the Levant: Self exile of the First Emir, (fiction novel)

The self-exile of the First Emir

The First Emir felt that the organization of the Aram National Party was well rooted throughout the Nation and he needed to analyze the future of this Nation from a different perspective, away from the daily tribulation.  He needed to study the various political trends in the World from close range, and their effects on the stability of the systems, and how adjustments are remedied to the fluctuation of society changes.

His sister Latifa was appointed as Regent to the Nation and Gergis Al Ustaz, his current Foreign Affairs minister, as Viceroy for the duration of his exile:  The Emir could not trust his minister of defense or internal security chief for not accumulating undue power in his absence, and also because Gergis was more able to keep the neighboring kingdoms appeased through his web of diplomatic relations.

The First Emir boarded a luxury ship to Cyprus and stayed there for a month signing commercial agreements with the Templar’s Knights of the remaining Crusaders in the region and entertained the Levant immigrants. The next stop was in Venice where he was received as an equal Dojo and was reserved the best villa close to St. Marcus square.

The First Emir traveled to Milan, Florence, Pisa, Rome and Naples before returning to Florence and settling there for four months. Florence was a small town and developing fast so that the First Emir petitioned the Prince to purchase a villa and contemplated to open a consulate there and dedicate Florence as a sister town to Mtein.

The First Emir asked permission from the Duke of Florence to travel to Cordoba in Andalusia.  He toured many of these Arab City-States such as Seville and Toledo and prepared the ground for formal diplomatic recognition and establishment of consulates in these provinces.

A united Arab and Moorish Andalusia could have been a stabilizing leverage to the Levant, but its “clan” mentality around a City-State political system prevented major interrelation and cultural sharing with the Levant, a prospect that the First Emir endeavored to remedy with no significant success. The First Emir returned to Florence via Barcelona, Marseille and the Piedmont province.

This overseas journey lasted over a year, the time that Tamerlane stayed in Damascus.

Latifa’s Regency

As soon as the Sultan of Egypt received news of the First Emir trip abroad that he downgraded the title of the Levant Ambassador to Cairo to Trade Consul, rather than closing down the Embassy for the simple reason that the Egyptian noble class craved luxury items that should be kept flowing in through Alexandria.  A trade embargo for all non luxury products imported from the Levant was strictly enforced.

The total number of the Levant civil foreign servants was maintained for three months, the time for the Mameluke to sort out the potential agents among them that might serve their interests; only fifteen members out of 45 were permitted to remain in Egypt.

When news reached the Grand Vizier of Egypt that the First Emir had landed in Andalusia, he masterminded a frantic backlash on the Levant immigrants in Egypt.  The prosperous and those with solid ties with the noble class were forewarned and fled to Yemen and Arab North Africa.  A few ended on some European ports to resume their mercantile trades as best they could.  Only the dispirited immigrants returned to the Levant praying that Tamerlane would not contemplate to devastate Mount Lebanon.

Latifa was conservative and shrewd.  She was not kept up to date with government details and did not follow closely the changes taking place in the kingdom, but she retained a high understanding for the power struggle that was in the offing.  She knew that the power seat had shifted to Beirut because of its location for trade, diplomacy and industrial development, but figured that with the First Emir’s absence, the historic Capital of Mtein could recapture the leverage it exercised at the beginning of the insurgency through its symbolic power for the Nation.

Latifa ordered that the Capital, during the Regency, would be Mtein and managed to transfer branches for most of the government ministries to be established in the historic Capital and its vicinity.  Since barely 20% of the kingdom’s budget was allocated to the mountain regions of over 800 meters in altitude, and only 15% were actually spent there, Latifa second major decision was that, within 2 years, half of the Nation’s budget had to be allocated in her mountainous regions.

In the mean time, 50% of the budget allocated to education, infrastructure, health and agriculture had to be spent in the mountains, with priority given to its population in the civil services.

The work on the highway crossing Mount Lebanon from south to north at 1000 meters altitude was rescheduled to resume with scares resources, and security garrisons interspersed the rest areas along the highway, to provide comfort and help to travelers until private businesses bid for the facilities.

The Christian Orthodox managed to secure a higher rate in numbers as civil servants, commensurate to their proportion and that was partly due to increased pressure from the Regent, and also because they were the most educated generally.

 Latifa had a tender passion and affection for the town of Zahle in the central Bekaa Valley that she visited once, before the insurgency and twice afterwards; she also understood its central location for internal and overland trades as well as being the main town with a sizable Christian concentration in the Bekaa.  Consequently, the Regent exhibited determination so that Zahle enjoyed a period of investment in real capital which renewed and expanded its warehouses for agricultural and textile goods, resort facilities around the Berdawny River crossing the town and enlarging the main trade roads leading to town.

During Latifa regency, the Christian clergy regained most of their power through reduced tax breaks and a renewed zeal for religious beliefs.   Monasteries were repaired and embellished, religious schools increased and churches regained their luster with acquisitions and renovations.

Mariam finally set her mind to build herself a beautiful and large house in Mtein, so that she could stay in constant touch with the Regent and keep close eyes on her associations and the political opportunists buzzing in the Capital.  Her main responsibility was to be the intermediary among Latifa, the Viceroy Gergis ,and the ministers in Beirut and Baldat El Mir.  Her male companion Ignatios Doumani was already appointed director of a new branch of the Linguistic Institute in Mtein, and he supervised the construction of the house which included a spacious annex for accommodating overnight guests and high-ranking functionaries.

Before Latifa’s Regency, most of the youth in villages and towns in the mountains were enthusiastic about the activities and opportunities offered by the Aram National Party.  They inflated the membership of that Party since there was no other political party to challenge or compete with.  The other alternative to attract and organize youth was the religious community services headed by very old people who lacked ingenuity and diversity in activities.

With the advent of Latifa to the Regency a new political twist was offered to the religious zealots who minded very much the relative secular principles of the Aram Party and labeled them as heretical.  With the support of Latifa, the clergy endeavored to create another political party counterpart called “Mount Lebanon First” which emphasized the integrity of allegiance to the Metn and with some arm twisting extension to the regions of Mount Lebanon that had Christian majority.

The new confessional party was thrust among the youth through key words such as tradition, allegiance to the Regent, Christian faith, mountain customs, and respect of and obedience to the clergy, respect of family unity and attendance at all religious events and ceremonies.

One critical factor for the sudden successes of this “Mount Lebanon First” party was the decree which ended the seclusion of the traditional noblemen in their encampments.  Many of the younger generations of former noblemen had been integrated in society, in the army, in the civil service or members of industries and trade without any feudal titles or financial or social privileges that they had enjoyed before the insurgency.

The older generations had managed to develop the lands assigned to them in the towns of confinement but many had nostalgia for their former villages and wished to be allowed to transfer there.

The clergy worked relentlessly on Latifa to rescind the old decree concerning the imprisoned noblemen because this political gesture would strengthen the validity of the new party as a staunch supporter of traditions. The government of the Levant reached a consensus with Latifa to free the old feudal classes with the following stipulations: first, the freed feudal persons would not be permitted to leave Mount Lebanon and second, their feudal titles could not be inherited and they could keep the title of “Cheikh”, if they wished, till their death.  A fresh period of forgiveness and unity was proclaimed by the Regent which was at best skin deep and would eventually harm the future of the Nation and wipe out the many political and social gains of the revolution.

Within two years, every village was more or less split between these two political factions; a village was divided into parts with majority in allegiance to either Parties and local ceremonies were marred by conflicts and physical confrontations.  The traditional harmony of apathy and stillness in village life transcended the clan and tribal affiliation to encompassing fundamental political divergences.

Mariam had sensed early on that the source of that schism was less a religious recrudescence of faith, but rather a direct vengeance of Latifa for Mariam’s ascendancy in the heart and mind of the youth and, especially, the female renewed activities for their rights in society.  Mariam launched political counter offensives in the mountain and increased the Aram Party involvement in regions far from Latifa’s personal influence and authority biding time for the return of the First Emir from his exile.

Mariam invested on the children attending the boarding schools, and expanded their activities by planning marching trips of a week-long.  The children were chaperoned by teachers and “Mkerehs” the merchant guides.  The “Mkereh” guided the caravan through well trodden shortcut routes by mules and donkeys; they taught the kids the tricks of the trade, such as what to bring as supplies and where to select resting location, and how to respect the properties of others, and the traditions of what trees and fruits are permitted to eat as travelers. The selected teachers were to instruct the kids on the geography of the land and encourage them to observe and note down the different customs, way of life, songs and folkloric dances in Mount Lebanon

The children were usually lodged in small groups with families in the villages, bringing with them gifts of packets of fresh and dried fruits and seasonal staples. The guest families were given advanced notice of the arrival of the school convoys and they cleaned their homes thoroughly as hospitality obliged, and they cooked abundant portions to feed the voracious kids.

These trips were to allow social learning of the customs of other regions of Mount Lebanon and circumvent ignorant myths spread by isolation.  Mariam’s programs were successful in many respects, however, the seeds of confessional tendencies were planted and many religious sects tried to create their own “first allegiance” parties with slight variations.

Rainbow over the Levant: Tamerlane hordes enter Damascus 

(A chapter in my novel Rainbow over the Levant)

Hordes from the North

In 140o, Tamerlane (Timor Lank) crushed the Ottoman Sultan forces and put the Sultan in a cage, and used the cage as a step to mount his horse. This newly Turkish Empire (with no naval forces) was enfeebled and the Byzantium Empire enjoyed a couple of decades freed from paying annual dues to its neighboring nemesis.

In the same time, the Mamluk Sultan of Egypt was regaining ascendancy after Tamerlane withdrew from Damascus in 1403. The Sultan of Egypt could demand favors from the new Sultan of Turkey and incited him to step in and crush the nascent Republic of the Levant in Lebanon.

In 1410, the Viceroy of Aleppo whose domain extended from Alexandretta, Lattakieh, and all the way eastward to the Jazyra (The northern part between the two great rivers of Euphrates and the Tiger) was still badly rattled after the destruction of Aleppo by Tamerlane and was thus in a serious predicament when the Ottoman army moved toward Syria.

The Viceroy knew that if the Turkish army crossed the Zagros mountain chains or managed to capture the port and city of Alexandretta then he would be done for.  His Emirate was inhabited by various Christian sects dating back to early Christianity such as Armenians, Assyrians, Syriacs as well as an amalgam of the more known and well recognized sects.

The Viceroy of Aleppo had received orders from his master the Mameluk’s Sultan to cooperate with the Turks in their coastal advance toward Lebanon, and thus he wavered with the Levant’s government and compromised to the end.

Ultimately, he agreed with the Republic of the Levant to acquire free reign in the port of Alexandretta for an annual tribute and have access to the Zagros Mountains if war were declared.

Most of the livestock were routed toward Jazyra with the long shot possibility that a famished army might redirect its route where there was more food close to the Tatar territory, and thus having to deal with another military force. It was a strategic gamble which might draw the Tatars of Timorlank to reorient their expansion toward Turkey after retreating from Damascus and Aleppo.

The Turkish army experienced desertion but it was not serious enough to divert it from its plan.

The Syrian Viceroy in Damascus got the hint that he was no longer appreciated in Cairo since his assistance was not required and no financial support was contemplated in this coming invasion.  He was also under pressure from Damascus merchants with close connection with the Levant Republic to support the Lebanese uprising for defense and unity.

The Lebanese army sent a detachment of war consultants to manage and direct the war from the Syrian front with intelligence confirming that the Turkish army was directing a two pronged attack toward both the Bekaa Valley and Tripoli. .

The Lebanese had excellent defensible positions around the city of Tripoli and access to the nearby mountains in the East and the sea to the West.  The strategy of the Levant army was to slow down the Turkish advance by putting up a defensive stand by the Awwaly River where the Turkish army was to split its forces after crossing the river.

The strategy of Turkish army was excellent because the narrow strip of land between the sea and the mountains would prevent large scale maneuvers for a 35,000 strong army while sending a large detachment to the Bekaa would have a dual purpose. The Levantine army would have to tie up a major part of its smaller forces in the Bekaa and in the same time the Turkish army would not be short on food reserves if the war dragged on.

The first defensive stand on the Awwali River was meant to prevent the Turkish army from sending a large detachment to the Bekaa by inflicting substantial losses on its advanced contingent around well defended positions.  Two defensive lines were prepared; one along the River and another one, well hidden in a sparsely dense forest and on the edge of a low hill, two kilometers away; a long ditch, 5 meters wide and 1, 50 meter deep was dug and fortified.

The first line of defense was for testing the maneuvering capabilities and military arsenal of the Turkish army in order to capitalize on the information to maneuver around the second defensive line, and also to nag the enemy into an angry and unprepared assault forward.

The soldiers of the first line of defense were feddayins because they were forewarned that no help would be forthcoming to save them if overwhelmed by the enemy forces.

Mustafa, the military leader of the Levant army, perched on his black stallion looked much older than he really was and suffering from back ache, felt in a victory mood before the young and determined faces in front of him.  The pain eased while delivering his harangue:

“Soldiers of the Great Levant Nation!  The enemy across this tiny river is a vigorous young army, coming from a rough region even harsher than our mountains.  Those soldiers are used to hardships and their goal is evident: looting Mount Lebanon. Our goal is different: resisting a savage invasion determined to ruin our prosperity and kill our families for money and valuables.  Our purpose is clear: frustrating the plans of the Sultan of Egypt to humiliate our spirit of independence and trample our hard earned liberty for a better life for our children. The Sultan of the Mameluks is testing our will to survive as a full fledge Nation; he thinks that by detaining our leader and President our Nation will crumble into nothingness.  We are here to prove to all nations that as free citizens we are born leaders and can generate leaders to defeat stronger nations if our freedom and liberty are threatened”.

“Soldiers of the free Levant Nation; the enemy across the Awwali River is determined not to retreat without its promised booty.  The Sultan of the Mameluks had lured them with stories of riches and precious prizes hidden in Mount Lebanon.  The treacherous Sultan of the Mameluks who forgot our loyalty for centuries has also forgot that we have been preparing ourselves to defend our way of life and that we are ready to pay the heavy price with our young and warm blood to hold on to every piece of land in our glorious Nation”.

“Soldiers of the haughty Levant Nation; we have no choice but to stop the Turkish army from advancing toward Mount Lebanon, the “Promised Land” by the Sultan of Egypt.  We will have to wage several battles because they are more numerous than us but we know the land and we have a higher determination to win.  The families of our martyrs will be remunerated handsomely and the names of the martyrs will be carried as badges of honors and remembered for centuries to come as valorous citizen-soldiers fighting for legitimate values and for safeguarding our self-determination over our destiny. Long live President Antoun!  Long live the Nation of the Levant!”

This defensive stand bore fruits; first, the cavalry of the Turkish army chasing the retreating defenders was decimated at the second defensive line where the Levant army was in waiting behind the well fortified ditch; and second, the contingent to be sent to the Bekaa Valley was reduced when the Turkish army realized that it would have to contend with a highly organized army.

Before the Levantine army retreated in an organized manner to Tripoli, preparing for the decisive second round of battles, it had buried its fallen soldiers in the ditch and planted trees in honor of their courage. All the injured were retrieved and evacuated in an efficient manner which impressed the enemy. In the mean time the expert consultants of the Levantine army, dispatched to organize war preparations of the army of the Viceroy of Damascus, managed to draw in a sizable contingent of the Turkish army toward the borders of Syria away from the Bekaa Valley and far from the main body of the Turkish army.

During that campaign of tactical retreat in the Syrian front, the Lebanese army was also tactically retreating toward the major coastal city of Tripoli.

At this critical junction the Maronite Patriarch in the northern district of Mount Lebanon announced an edict to all the Maronite Christians to immediately join the Army of the Republic.  The inhabitants of the villages in Bshare, Ehden and Zgorta were whipped in to frenzy and contributed greatly to victory.

The strong castle of Tripoli was the magnet that attracted the forward Turkish army to advance hastily without much planning. The Turkish forward contingent of 8,000 soldiers encircled Tripoli and set up its siege waiting for the heavy equipment of siege to arrive within a week with the main body of the army.

For four days and nights the Turkish army was harassed and could not enjoy any rest or sleep.  They were lured into attacking the Levantine army in their mountain strongholds and were repulsed with heavy casualties. On the fifth day and late afternoon, the Lebanese army descended from the mountains and cut off the forward Turkish army in two.

The Turkish army found itself totally encircled from all sides and from the sea.  The Lebanese army benefited from several advantages: an excellent knowledge of the terrain and a drastic edge in the contribution for reconnaissance and signaling intelligence from the citizens. The slaughter lasted till nine in the night and by day break the retreating Turkish soldiers were attacked by the Levantine cavalry from behind and made prisoners.

In that battle the Levant army introduced its Tortoise; it was a huge, elongated and enclosed cylindrical housing char, mounted on five pairs of wide wheels and driven by protected four pairs of cows and carrying a dozen archers.  This war device was slow and not that efficient at this stage of its development but, as a new monster entering battles, it impressed upon the enemy and destabilized their onslaughts wherever one of the few Tortoises appeared on the battle ground.

The Turkish army acknowledged the futility and the unacceptable losses in that campaign and released its siege on Tripoli. The lack of navy support and the determination of a well trained and well equipped army fighting with vengeance and courage were determinant in sending messengers for peace negotiations.




January 2023

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