To what extent was the military prowess of the Crusaders the main reason for the sucess of the first Crusade?

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To what extent was the military prowess of the Crusaders the main reason for the sucess of the first Crusade?


                Firstly the question presumes that the First Crusade was infact a 'Success', and this term being used in this context is presumbly based on the fact that four Crusaders States were established and the Crusaders won all of their battles. The First Crusade seemed like an impossible task for the Crusaders, many difficulties stood in their way, for one thing the sheer size of the army, around 40,000 troops was incredibly unusual for Medieval Western armies and so therefore the leaders had very little experience in commanding just vast numbers of soldiers. Another difficulity faced by the Crusaders was the geographical factors of the war, the distance that the crusaders had to travel meant and the harsh terrain of Anatolia meant that  bringing supplies and reinforcements extremely difficult. The Crusaders were in a foreign land and after the recent People's Crusade relations with the Byzantines were less than good, this meant the Crusaders had no real allies, except the Armenians. This, coupled with the problem of the terrain meant shortage of food and water, leading to hunger and disease. Another problem was the internal disunity between the Crusaders, for example Tancred and Baldwin fighting over Cilicia.

                In deciding how important the factor of Military Prowess was, the Military system of both factions must be evaluated. The crusaders fought with ranks of spearmen and crossbowmen with their flanks protected by heavily armoured mounted Knights, who rode stallions as they are more agrresive. The Turks all fought on horseback and their main weapon was the composite bow, much smaller than a normal bow which meant the rider could fire from the saddle at almost any angle, groups of riders would charge towards the enemy firing off rounds of arrows, when they reached the ranks they would turn and ride along the rank of the enemy firing arrows at the same time, they would then turn again and ride back to the main body of the army, as this did this another group would come away and charge at the enemy, this result in a constant barrage of arrows at the enemy if the enemy charged the Turks would turn and make flight. unlike the Crusaders system, suitable in Western European warfare, the turkish system was specially designed for the middle east, where the flat hard plains made it the perfect stratergy. But, the Crusader's won all their battles, some in which they were vastly outnumbered, and took cities that seemed impregnable, this suggests that their Military Prowess was the Main factor in the sucess. The Crusaders came from a warrior culture, for them, fighting was a career, so coupled with Pope Urban's offer of plenary indulgence, this would have created a formidable force, with an unstoppable religious fervour.

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                However, if this is true then why did the next two crusades in the Holy Land fail? they were still offered plenary indulgence and were still from a warrior culture. What is more feesable is that the main reason for the first crusade's success was infact part unique circumstances, part Muslim Disunity. This can be backed up by the fact that in the 2nd and 3rd crusades the Muslim were more unified and that is why these two crusades failed. In the 900's the Abbasid Caliphate controled the middle east and the empire stretched from the ...

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