Taking advantage of the absence of nearly all the Frankish armies who were at war in North Syria, Saladin led his armies against the Kingdom of Jerusalem.
Hearing of Saladin's arrival in the Kingdom, the Knights Templar barricaded themselves in their fortress of Gaza, which was on the path of the invaders. Baudouin IV, the Leprous King, gathered 500 knights, and taking the True Cross walked to Ascalon to defend it.
Seeing Gaza well defended by the Templars, Saladin left the city behind him and made his way towards Ascalon, where he found Baudouin IV entrenched behind the walls.
Knowing that the Frankish defenders were entrenched in Ascalon, Saladin decided to continue to Jerusalem. Instead of going there directly, he let his armies scatter throughout the country to plunder and destroy villages and small cities.
Baudouin IV warned the Templars in Gaza and when he gathered his forces with the Templars (less than 600 knights in total) he decided to make his way to Jerusalem where he could fight the enemy rather than stay locked within the city walls.
The Franks made a big turning movement, going first along the coast to the North and then going to the South-East to meet Saladin. The encounter occurred at the South of Montgisard, in the Oued of Tell al-Safiya.
Despite crushing numerical inferiority, the Frankish Knights didn't hesitate to swoop down upon the Muslim armies, which were scattered in the Oued. They slaughtered an important number of enemies, several of whom were Saladin's generals.
Faced by the rout of his troops, Saladin found shelter in the heart of his elite guard, composed of one thousand Mameluks. The Frankish cavalry regrouped to charge this last resistance. They broke down the Muslim lines and nearly reached Saladin, who narrowly avoided being killed during the clashes.
Saved by nightfall on the battlefield, Saladin ordered a retreat and fled to Egypt with his army in shreds.
The Battle of Montgisard was one of the most splendid Frankish victories in the history of the Crusades and Eastern Latin States.