It was October 10th, 732, and a massive Islamic army of 80,000 men was marching toward the city of Tours in France. A Frankish commander by the name of Charles of Herstal lead a force of about 30,000 men to surprise the much larger Islamic force. The advantage the Moslems had was not only in numbers, but also in equipment. They had better armor, weapons, and most importantly, mounted cavalry. Charles was left to stop the Islamic invasion with not enough men, not enough equipment, and almost no confidence from others of their success. The situation was bleak for Charles’, his men, and all of Christian Europe.
But Charles’ advantage could be found in things you can’t count with numbers. He had spent years training his men for such a battle, knowing long ago that it was just a matter of time before it would occur. He also chose where the battle would take place, selecting a high area which would be hard for mounted cavalry to travel. And most importantly he had earned the respect and loyalty of his men and fostered in them the idea that Christianity was worth dying for.
The Moslem’s crashed into the Christian forces expecting them to break. But the Christians would not be moved. Time after time the Moslem forces tried to break the Christian’s formation and get to Charles to kill him, but time after time Charles' men repelled the attackers at the cost of many of their own lives.
One Islamic account of the battle had the following: “And in the shock of the battle the men of the North seemed like a sea that cannot be moved. Firmly they stood, one close to another, forming as it were a bulwark of ice; and with great blows of their swords they hewed down the Arabs. Drawn up in a band around their chief, the people of the Austrasians carried all before them. Their tireless hands drove their swords down to the breasts of the foe."
The battle raged on with moments of brilliance, a lot of heroism, and a touch of luck, and ended with the Islamic army broken and in retreat with Charles and his men in chase.
The battle, which is now known as the Battle of Tours, would mark the beginning of Christianity driving Islam out of Europe. It was a story of a man and his men drawing a line in the sand and telling Islam that they may come no further. It was a story of Christianity stopping the spread of Islam and regaining Europe’s soul.
And because of this decisive victory of Charles of Herstal over the Islamic forces in the face of overwhelming odds, Charles was forever after known as; Charles Martel, or Charles “The Hammer”.
Islam again is expanding in Europe (through immigration not conversion mind you), when will Christianity see its next “Hammer”? And when they do step forward, will they find enough brave men and women willing to sacrifice what’s required for the faith? This fight may not involve swords, cavalry, or bloodshed, but I will guarantee one thing; it will involve a whole lot of conviction, bravery, and fortitude.