Battle of Sibilla (1)
Battle of Sibilla (1)

After more than a day of talks between Ibn Saud and Faisal Ad-Dawish, it became clear that battle was unavoidable.

At dawn, Ibn Saud mounted his war-horse and rode out in front of his troops. There he dismounted and, as the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) had done before battle, he took some handfuls of sand, and cast them towards the enemy. Then he ordered the attack.

He had divided his army into four columns, under the command of his brothers, Prince Abdullah and Prince Muhammad, and of his two eldest sons, Prince Saud and Prince Faisal, who commanded his cavalry. Ibn Saud led the main body of his army forward towards the Ikhwan who waited behind their defensive positions. There was a heavy exchange of fire. Then, the Ikhwan misread the situation. Seeing some of Ibn Saud's troops moving to the back of his lines, they concluded that victory was close. (In fact, the troops falling back were obeying Ibn Saud's orders.) The Ikhwan abandoned their fortified positions and attacked. At this point, Ibrahim bin Muammar, who was in charge of Ibn Saud's machine-guns, was presented with the opportunity to use his weapons to maximum effect. When Ibrahim bin Muammar gave the order to fire, the advancing Ikhwan were decimated. In the ensuing confusion, Prince Saud and Prince Faisal led a cavalry charge which turned confusion into a rout.

Thus it was that, with the advantage of superior numbers, and some modern battle weapons including a dozen machine-guns, the battle was quickly concluded. Faisal Ad-Dawish was seriously wounded. Ibn Bijad fled.

The last great bedouin battle, fought from the backs of camels or on foot in a tradition which went back to antiquity, had been fought and won.