By Lou Drendel
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Mu‘āwiya made moves to strengthen the coastal defences of Syria against the real threat of Byzantine raids. 75 Unfortunately, beyond the names of the commanders of the expeditions, which are often confused, we have almost no information about the composition and activities of the Muslim forces. Worse still, Conrad has demonstrated that almost all the information which the Arabic sources offer is so confused as to be valueless. The Muslim armies in Mu‘āwiya’s time must have been been effectively organised and led, but we have no means of knowing how this was done, or how they fought.
He appointed commanders to the left and right wings, the horse and the foot and appointed someone to hold his banner. He led the men in prayer and then sent to commanders to their post, keeping the cavalry close to him because he had only a few of them. Then he led his men on foot to the top of a hill whence he could look down on the enemy, who had not yet < previous page page_23 next page > < previous page page_24 next page > Page 24 begun to stir. Ibrāhīm called for his horse and rode up and down the line talking to each of the standard bearers, since he knew they would play a crucial part in the battle.
There were other ways of arranging an army. ‘Attāb b. 42 In the event, however, his careful preparations availed him nothing and he and his forces were ridden down by the Khārijīs. Commanders usually stationed themselves at the centre. Curiously, they often chose to command sitting down, either on a carpet, like the unfortunate ‘Attāb, or on a chair. 45 The reasons for this apparently relaxed attitude to command are not clear. It may reflect Sasanian practice but it may also have been practical, in that a stationary commander is much easier for his subordinates to find than one who is dashing all over the battlefield.
Air War Desert Storm by Lou Drendel