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Thread: Battle of Agincourt - October 25th, 1415

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Godwinson View Post
    Actually, Neo, that's not too far removed from reality!

    A good bowman could loose 15 arrows a minute and if there were 5,000 archers in the English ranks (as records suggest) then you've got something like 75,000 arrows coming at you per minute.

    The sky must have been literally filled with them
    A company of well trained longbowmen would have been extremely effective even in the battle of Waterloo in 1815, or for that matter in Bull Run. The punch and accuracy of a longbow on 150-200 yards is at least as good as thatof a musket.

    The reason they went obsolete was the cost and time to train a good longbow archer and formation tactics.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alfadur View Post
    Actually, it was the Battle of Crecy that broke the laws of chivalry. It was so shocking for the French nobility at the time, because it was such a violation of the Indo-European caste system. This was the first time the warrior-aristocracy got slaughtered by the peasant class on the battlefield. The English, who were shrewder, simply didn't care about abstract things like "chivalry" and "knightly values", but went the pragmatic route.

    As Neophyte said, it was a victory for social justice. The main reason the knights were valued so highly, and why they could set the standards of society ("the laws of chivalry"), was not just because of their noble blood but mainly because they were the best fighters. The ultimate attack on the battlefield was the heavy cavalry charge. The knights were the last incarnation of the Indo-European warrior caste, and remained so for centuries simply because they were the most efficient killers. As we saw, the Welsh peasant longbowmen proved to be better killers.

    (The French had the purest form of the medieval caste system, that existed in all of Europe. It was the noble knights on the top, and the peasants on the bottom. Soon enough, the French armies had a huge problem dealing with powerful infantry, like the Welsh longbowmen or the Flemish pikemen.)
    Accepted.
    I stand corrected.

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    Senior Member Wulfram's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lew Skannon View Post

    The reason they went obsolete was the cost and time to train a good longbow archer and formation tactics.
    No, they stopped using them long before that because the forests were being depleted.

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    A mounted heavy cavalryman was worth about 80 foot soldiers because the coordination within the armies of that day was so bad. You basically rounded up some people—some very well trained, others not so trained—put them in a line and went at it.

    As coordination and control on the battle field improves, armies begin to operate with smaller and smaller units and this gives them more flexibility and adaptability and allows them to concentrate fire power where it will have the best effect. See e.g. the improvements of Maurice of Nassau, Gustavus Adolphus and how these were used in the 30-years war and by Cromwell in the English Civil War.

    When you get to Waterloo, a cavalry charge against infantry is again as effective as it would have been against a Roman legion; i.e. the disciplined and well trained infantry forms squares and bites back with a vengeance.

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    It really was a great victory for England. I still think there were a lot of things the French could've done differently to even or win the battle. But it was basically a bunch of pissed off nobles and knights against a group of very well trained and prepared peasants and also mounted and unmounted knights lead by the king himself in a desperate battle to survive and win the day.
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    It's the anniversary of Agincourt today - England's last great victory in The Hundred Years' War.

    I've often wondered what this was all about and why it took so long but here is a brief résumé on wiki that includes a few things I hadn't considered ...

    Historical significance

    The French victory marked the end of a long period of instability that had started with the Norman Conquest (1066), when William the Conqueror added "King of England" to his titles, becoming both the vassal to (as Duke of Normandy) and the equal of (as king of England) the king of France.

    When the war ended, England was bereft of its Continental possessions, leaving it with only Calais on the continent. The war destroyed the English dream of a joint monarchy and led to the rejection in England of all things French, but the French language in England, which had served as the language of the ruling classes and commerce there from the time of the Norman conquest, left many vestiges in English vocabulary. English became the official language in 1362 and French was no longer used for teaching from 1385.

    National feeling that emerged from the war unified both France and England further. Despite the devastation on its soil, the Hundred Years' War accelerated the process of transforming France from a feudal monarchy to a centralised state. In England the political and financial troubles which emerged from the defeat were a major cause of the War of the Roses (1455–1487).

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    Why the French lost the Battle of Agincourt


    During the Hundred Years’ War between England and France, Henry V, the young king of England, leads his forces to victory at the Battle of Agincourt in northern France.



    Two months before, Henry had crossed the English Channel with 11,000 men and laid siege to Harfleur in Normandy. After five weeks the town surrendered, but Henry lost half his men to disease and battle casualties. He decided to march his army northeast to Calais, where he would meet the English fleet and return to England. At Agincourt, however, a vast French army of 20,000 men stood in his path, greatly outnumbering the exhausted English archers, knights, and men-at-arms.



    The battlefield lay on 1,000 yards of open ground between two woods, which prevented large-scale manoeuvres and thus worked to Henry’s advantage. At 11 a.m. on October 25, the battle commenced. The English stood their ground as French knights, weighed down by their heavy armour, began a slow advance across the muddy battlefield. The French were met by a furious bombardment of artillery from the English archers, who wielded innovative longbows with a range of 250 yards. French cavalrymen tried and failed to overwhelm the English positions, but the archers were protected by a line of pointed stakes. As more and more French knights made their way onto the crowded battlefield, their mobility decreased further, and some lacked even the room to raise their arms and strike a blow. At this point, Henry ordered his lightly equipped archers to rush forward with swords and axes, and the unencumbered Englishmen massacred the French.



    Almost 6,000 Frenchmen lost their lives during the Battle of Agincourt, while English deaths amounted to just over 400. With odds greater than three to one, Henry had won one of the great victories of military history. After further conquests in France, Henry V was recognized in 1420 as heir to the French throne and the regent of France. He was at the height of his powers but died just two years later of camp fever near Paris.



    The battle took place on Friday, 25 October 1415 (Saint Crispin's Day), near Azincourt in Northern France.



    Battle of Agincourt - HISTORY





    Agincourt took place on 25 October 1415 and was a turning-point not only in the Hundred Years War between England and France but also in the history of weaponry. Azincourt (as it is now) is in the Pas-de-Calais, and the French were famously defeated by an army led by Henry V. Henry V's stunning victory revived England's military prestige and greatly strengthened his territorial claims in France. The exhausted English army of about 9,000 men was engaged by 20,000 Frenchmen, but the limited space of battle favoured the more compact English forces. The undisciplined charges of the French combined with the exceptional skill of the English archers contributed to a pivotal moment in European warfare. Not more than 1,600 English soldiers died; the French probably lost more than 6,000 men.



    Juliet Barker's shimmeringly brilliant narrative commemorates and analyses a canonical battle in British history.


    Worth a read – AGINCOURT THE KING THE CAMPAIGN THE BATTLE by JULIET BARKER

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    I used the visit a lot of battlefields in Northern France.

    There are several on the drive down from Dover to Rouen but Azincourt (local name) is just a ploughed field and only worth the stop in order to be ticked off the checklist.

    Why would the French want to commemorate it though? I suppose it makes perfect sense for them to not draw attention to one of their most devastating military defeats.

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    I'd love to know what really happened at these battles. I suspect that, as is often the case, the reality doesn't quite match the hype.

    The numbers are the most crucial detail but they vary from a 6:1 ratio in favour of the French to a mere 4:3 ratio whilst the overall French figure can be anywhere between 12.000 and 36.000, which is a HUGE discrepancy!

    Most of the French dead, many of them in heavy armour, were slaughtered in the bog as they advanced and it was the English foot soldiers that killed most of them, or archers who had run out of arrows and joined the hand-to-hand fray. I read somewhere that not a single French knight was killed by an English archer because arrows couldn't penetrate their armour, but many were knocked off their horses by the impact or their steeds were shot from beneath them to leave them vulnerable on the ground.

    It must have been a fantastic sight though (..as a spectator!) to see the English archers (including 500 Welsh, who also deserve credit) loosing their arrows at a rate of up to 15 per minute and 1.000 of them going into the air every second! It wasn't just a one-off event either because we'd done exactly the same thing at Crécy 70 years earlier. It's easy to say that the French should have learnt their lessons from this but we're now 3 generations on and everything else seemed to be in their favour - English longbows or not!

    Agincourt inspired some of William Shakespeare's finest prose. "Once more unto the breach" and "Cry 'God for Harry, England, and Saint George!'" are still used to this day. He was essentially a dramatist and is a bit loose with the facts in Henry V, much of which is based around Agincourt, but his play was written over 180 years later and he wasn't a historian so this is to an extent excusable. His main fault was that of misrepresentation; magnifying the virtue of the English and the overconfidence and boastfulness of the French and this is pretty much the impression that remains to this day.

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    Senior Member Sigurdsson's Avatar
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    What a glorious day

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