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Battle of Walaja, 633

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Khalid ibn al-Walid versus Andarzaghar: A Rashidun army under Khalid seeks to annihilate a Sassanid army under Andarzaghar before a second Sassanid army can arrive. Can Khalid decisively defeat Andarzaghar in a way that is not just a pyrrhic victory? Click on images below to view PowerPoint presentation. | Legend |
 
 
This is yet another important stepping stone to Muslim conquest of the Middle East, each one more remarkable than the last.
 
This battle is touted as the East’s answer to Cannae, both of which involve commanders using a double envelopment maneuver to annihilate a larger army. It is said that Khalid had never heard of Hannibal and his execution of the double envelopment maneuver is certainly unique to Hannibal’s at Cannae.
 
 
After I announced Season V, I held a poll asking viewers to vote on which animation they would like to see released first. Tyre, Cowpens and Six Days’ took an early lead but Walaja somehow beat them all. I was shocked to see such interest in a medieval, non-European battle. The result was abandoning two animations halfway done while I hurried to finish Walaja.
 
I am glad that this battle did not feature an intense debate over numbers and casualties as I went through with Yarmuk. Sources were relatively few for this battle so I have personally filled in a few holes that arose in my research with common sense. I have no doubt that any of them will arouse suspicion or even be noticed.
 
- Jonathan Webb
 
Works Consulted

 

Akram, Agha Ibrahim. The Sword of Allah: Khalid bin al-Waleed - His Life and Campaigns. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004.

 
Muir, William. Annals of the Early Caliphate A.D. 632-680. Amsterdam: Oriental, 1968.

 

Tabari, Jarir al. The Challenge to the Empires. Translated by Khalid Yahya Blankinship, vol. XI of The History of al-Tabari. Albany: State University, 1993.
 
Images
 
Rashidun cavalry: www.tedtoy.com/newtoysoldiers.htm
 
Rashidun infantry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rashidun_Caliphate_army
 
Sassanid cavalry: http://lichsuvn.info/forum/showthread.php?t=878&page=2
 
Sassanid infantry: http://media.photobucket.com/image/persian%20infantry%20belisarius/RCasti998/RTW/RTW_Persian_infantry.jpg
 

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  1. 11 Comments to “Battle of Walaja, 633”

  2. the arabs defeated byzantines and destroyed persians in only 15 years. moreover the arabs divided their forces and attacked them in the same time. their religious motivation played a significant role in these campaigns. but we must know that before arab-muslim invasion, the persians and byzantines fought each other nearly 20 years. it was the last roman-persian wars and ended in 628. very before the beginning of muslim invasion.. so we can say that both powerful empires were tired and exhausted by fighting each other. in my opinion, this situation brought rapid and easy victories to arabs.

    By Burak on Jan 3, 2010 at 11:03 pm

  3. an important information about khalid.

    in mohammed (prophet of islam) area, khalid opposed him and islam. in 625 the battle of uhud was mohammed’s second battle. meccan pagans wanted to teke revenge and collected a massive army to annihilate muslims. khalid was the commander of mecca right wing with his own mobile guard. at the beginning of battle muslims pushed meccans back and seemed as victorios. but khalid attacked muslim from behind. the muslims was between two fire at the time. because the retreating meccans who saw khalid’s attack came back. and the muslims were beaten. also mohammed injured. it was the only battle that mohammed was beaten. and it was because of khalid.

    By Burak on Jan 3, 2010 at 11:08 pm

  4. Mohammed (PBUH) loss due to evasion of the archers which he commanded to stay on mount uhud, other wise khalid would of loss.

    By Sideburnz on Jan 11, 2010 at 3:22 am

  5. yes right. the archers lost their position. but it is important to utilize this chance :) and khalid did it..

    By Burak on Jan 12, 2010 at 1:24 pm

  6. Burak. Indeed the East Roman empire of Byzantium was at constant feuds with the Sassanids but they were both very much at the peak of their power. ‘Tired’ is an over-statement. These nations were actually more accustomed to war than ever before. They were experienced and ready. Their motivation was already war and they had grown accustomed to it. The only reason they lost was because they both got outwitted and had less moral than the ‘fresh’ Arabs who were fighting for a faith rather than spoils.

    By Arwud on Mar 23, 2010 at 3:12 am

  7. “fresh” Arabs?

    i wonder about that.. because in sirah(Muhammad the Prophet’s History).. it is filled with constant war after hijrah..

    even after the prophet died, there is a new war in Abu Bakr reign.. its the Riddah war(wars of Apostasy)..

    By syauqi on Aug 12, 2010 at 5:02 am

  8. yeah maybe not all of the arabs that time are “fresh” but the time after hijrah of Muhammad (pbuh) they were out numbered by their enemy.always out number in fights.

    By SPykingON on May 17, 2011 at 1:14 am

  9. THE ARABS WHERE LESS IN NUMBERS AND EQUIPMENT VERY MUCH LESS THAN BOTH EMPIRES OF ROMAN OR PERSIAN … DO NOT FORGET THAT THEY ALSO WHERE FIGHTING IN ARABIA FROM 10 YEARS WITH THE PROPHET … AND THEN THEY HAD VERY BIG REVOLUTION IN SIDE ARABIA AFTER THE DEATH OF THE PROPHET … THEY ALMOST LOST EVERYTHING … BUT THEY RETURN BACK .. AND THEY DID WHAT THEY DID

    By Hammam on Aug 2, 2011 at 9:08 pm

  10. FOR UHUD BATTLE THE LOST CAME FROM THE ARCHERS … WHO DISOBEY THE ORDER OF THE PROPHET … IT WAS NOT ABOUT THE TACTIC HERE .. IT WAS ABOUT THE APPLICATION … THIS ACCIDENT WAS A BIG LESSON FOR THE MUSLIM IN THE LIFE … HOW YOU SHOULD OBEY THE PROPHET(PBUH)

    By Hammam on Aug 2, 2011 at 9:17 pm

  11. 1. IF THE BYZANTINE & PERSIAN “EXHAUSTED” BY THEIR WAR SO AS THE ARAB WHICH SPENDS 10 YEARS OF WAR AT THE TIME OF PROPHET MUHAMMAD(PBUH) + 1 YEAR OF RIDDAH (APOSTASY) WAR UNDER CALIPH ABUBAKAR

    2. THE BYZANTINE & PERSIAN IS MORE: MANPOWER+ECONOMIC POWER+EXPERIENCE IN MASSIVE BATTLE+BETTER EQUIPPED & TRAINING THAN THE ARAB-MOSLEM COUNTERPARTS

    3.THE LOST AT THE BATTLE OHOD IS DEBATABLE BECAUSE THE QURAISH LEAVE THE BATTLE GROUND WHILE THE MOSLEM STAY, AND EVEN ABLE TO PURSUE THE FLEEING QURAISH IN THE NEXT DAY

    4. I THINK KHALID EVEN LEARN FROM THE PROPHET HOW TO SECURE THE FLANK AND THE REAR THAT EVENTUALLY USING IT AT THE BATTLE OF YARMOUK AND WALAJA AND ELSE, AND HOW TO MAKE A SMALL FORCE WIN OVER FAR LARGER FORCE

    By Arif on Aug 22, 2011 at 2:51 pm

  12. Khalid no doubt a great military commander, but Sassanids just like the Byzantians were in decline. Three decades of wars and then civil wars didn’t help their cause. This is how history is so often made. Being right place at the right time helps.

    By Khurram on Nov 1, 2012 at 11:14 pm

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