The pivotal moment of the battle of Arsuf was an act of insubordination. After taking the Siege of Acre, Richard I of England marched his crusader army south along the coast towards Jaffa, south of Arsuf. Throughout, his forces were harried by the forces of the Ayyubid sultan, Saladin. Richard demanded his forces remain in close formation, with his strongest forces, including the Knights Templar and Hospitaller, respectively in the van and rear, facing the enemy. Outside the southern Palestinian village of Arsuf, from the concealment of woodland, Saladin sprang his main attack; under intense pressure, Richard held his formation, fearing outmanoeuvre by the more mobile Turkish horsemen. Provoked beyond endurance, the Hospitallers’ leader, Garnier de Nablus, charged the enemy, followed quickly by his knights. Richard reacted swiftly, ordering his other knights to join the charge, and routed the enemy. His army soon seized the whole coastline of Palestine, but not the prize, Jerusalem.
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