Battle of Walaja, 633

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Khalid ibn al-Walid versus Andarzaghar: A Rashidun army under Khalid seeks to annihilate a Sassanid Persian army under Andarzaghar before a second Sassanid Persian army can arrive. Can Khalid decisively defeat Andarzaghar without it being just a pyrrhic victory before the second army arrives?

walaja preview 1

Significance

This is yet another important stepping stone to Muslim conquest of the Middle East, each one more remarkable than the last.

Analysis

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. While Hannibal’s double envelopment has been studied extensively, its result explained by the Roman commander’s impetuousness against Hannibal’s brilliant deployment and execution, Khalid’s double envelopment requires more explanation. How did the Rashidun cavalry simply deploy in the Persian rear and remain there until the climax of the battle without being detected? This is a common mistake of ancient and medieval commanders (see Daras or Torvioll), but it still requires further explanation in this case.

walaja preview 2

Notes

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

Map of the world: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_map_projections

Map of Western Eurasia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Persia_600ad.jpg.

Rashidun cavalry: www.tedtoy.com/newtoysoldiers.htm

Rashidun cavalry: http://www.dbaol.com/armies/army_96_figure_1.htm

Rashidun infantry: http://www.dbaol.com/armies/army_100_figure_1.htm

Sassanid Persian cavalry: http://www.dbaol.com/armies/army_73b_figure_1.htm

Sassanid Persian infantry: http://www.dbaol.com/armies/army_73b_figure_1.htm

 

If you enjoyed the Battle of Walaja 633 battle animation, you may also enjoy these other battle animations:

Battle of Yarmuk 636, another battle featuring Khalid Ibn al-Walid:

yarmuk preview 1

Ulm Campaign 1805, another battle featuring the nearly complete destruction of one of the sides’ armies:

ulm preview 1

Battle of the Trebia 218 BC, another battle featuring use of a hidden ambush force to achieve the envelopment of both flanks:

trebia preview 1Thank you for visiting The Art of Battle: Animated Battle Maps.

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Readers Comments (12)

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

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

  4. yes right. the archers lost their position. but it is important to utilize this chance 🙂 and khalid did it..

  5. 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.

  6. “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)..

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. 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)

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. Hannibal used his Libyan troops to pin the Romans, and used his cavalry to trap them at Cannae. Khalid, on the other hand, used his cavalry to outflank and destroy the Sassanids. COMPLETELY different.

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