Welcome to our 113th installment of the Male Defender MOLON LABE podcast. Today we’re focusing on the Battle of Tours or the Battle of Poitiers depending on the historian.
Let’s turn again to the pages of God’s Battalions: The Case for the Crusades. You guys loved the last podcast so let’s add to it here with a discussion of Charles Martel and the Battle of Tours.
Here at Male Defender, saving Western Civilization is our main focus so this this reading is in keeping with what we do. Enjoy!
Here’s a little background info for those of you who aren’t familiar with it. Hat tip to the website Thought Company.
CHARLES MARTEL-BATTLE OF TOURS:
In 721, the Umayyads first came north and were defeated by Odo at the Battle of Toulouse. Having assessed the situation in Iberia and the Umayyad attack on Aquitaine, Charles came to believe that a professional army, rather than raw conscripts, was needed to defend the realm from invasion. To raise the money necessary to build and train an army that could withstand the Muslim horsemen, Charles began seizing Church lands, earning the ire of the religious community. In 732, the Umayyads moved north again led by Emir Abdul Rahman Al Ghafiqi. Commanding approximately 80,000 men, he plundered Aquitaine.
As Abdul Rahman sacked Aquitaine, Odo fled north to seek aid from Charles. This was granted in exchange for Odo recognizing Charles as his overlord. Mobilizing his army, Charles moved to intercept the Umayyads. In order to avoid detection and allow Charles to select the battlefield, the approximately 30,000 Frankish troops moved over secondary roads toward the town of Tours. For the battle, Charles selected a high, wooded plain which would force the Umayyad cavalry to charge uphill. Forming a large square, his men surprised Abdul Rahman, forcing the Umayyad emir to pause for a week to consider his options.
On the seventh day, after gathering all of his forces, Abdul Rahman attacked with his Berber and Arab cavalry. In one of the few instances where medieval infantry stood up to cavalry, Charles’ troops defeated repeated Umayyad attacks. As the battle raged, the Umayyads finally broke through the Frankish lines and attempted to kill Charles. He was promptly surrounded by his personal guard who repulsed the attack. As this was occurring, scouts that Charles had sent out earlier were infiltrating the Umayyad camp and freeing prisoners.
Believing that the plunder of the campaign was being stolen, a large part of the Umayyad army broke off the battle and raced to protect their camp. While attempting to stop the apparent retreat, Abdul Rahman was surrounded and killed by Frankish troops. Briefly pursued by the Franks, the Umayyad withdrawal turned into a full retreat.
Charles reformed his troops expecting another attack, but to his surprise it never came as the Umayyads continued their retreat all the way to Iberia. Charles’ victory at the Battle of Tours was later credited for saving Western Europe from the Muslim invasions and was a turning point in European history.
Another background link for you here (non-wikipedia).