After Henry V marched to the north, the French moved to block them along the River Somme. Probably each man-at-arms would be accompanied by a gros valet (or varlet), an armed servant, adding up to another 10,000 potential fighting men, though some historians omit them from the number of combatants. Military History Timeline From 1401 to 1600. Many use this battle as an example of when a small army with a plan and modern technology can beat a large chaotic and unorganized one. Whether it was the long bowmen’s superiority, the terrain, or his men’s maneuverability, he made sure everything favored him without the French even knowing it. It’s very cool to think that mental tactics used in the 1400’s by King Henry V are still tactics used in militaries today.  The dukes of Alençon and Bar led the main battle. It really goes to show that even when the odds are stacked against you preparation and cunning can easily turn the tables in your favor. Keegan also speculated that due to the relatively low number of archers actually involved in killing the French knights (roughly 200 by his estimate), together with the refusal of the English knights to assist in a duty they saw as distastefully unchivalrous, and combined with the sheer difficulty of killing such a large number of prisoners in such a short space of time, the actual number of French prisoners put to death may not have been substantial before the French reserves fled the field and Henry rescinded the order. To the Crimean War Index. Military strategists from West Point still teaches these techniques today. The unexpected English victory against the numerically superior French army boosted English morale and prestige, crippled France and started a new period of English dominance in the war. It was especially interesting to find out that many military personnel in West Point still use strategies from the battle today. Some notable examples are listed below. You can see each of these figures in the Royal Armouries’ Agincourt diorama, on display in the War Gallery, in Leeds. In March 2010, a mock trial of Henry V for the crimes associated with the slaughter of the prisoners was held in Washington, D.C., drawing from both the historical record and Shakespeare's play.  According to the heralds, 3,069 knights and squires were killed,[e] while at least 2,600 more corpses were found without coats of arms to identify them. We know that Henry’s route from Blangy was to the west of the current D104. As part of a counteroffensive against recent U.S. advances in France, the German 5th Panzer Army had as its objective the recapture of Lunéville and the elimination of the XII Corps bridgehead over the Moselle River at Dieulouard. 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After several decades of relative peace, the English had resumed the war in 1415 amid the failure of negotiations with the French. Regardless of when the baggage assault happened, at some point after the initial English victory, Henry became alarmed that the French were regrouping for another attack. The French were commanded by Constable Charles d'Albret and various prominent French noblemen of the Armagnac party.  Juliet Barker, Jonathan Sumption and Clifford J. Rogers criticized Curry's reliance on administrative records, arguing that they are incomplete and that several of the available primary sources already offer a credible assessment of the numbers involved. Rogers, Mortimer and Sumption all give more or less 10,000 men-at-arms for the French, using as a source the herald of the Duke of Berry, an eyewitness. Historians now can only speculate about the true numbers. The French had originally drawn up a battle plan that had archers and crossbowmen in front of their men-at-arms, with a cavalry force at the rear specifically designed to "fall upon the archers, and use their force to break them," but in the event, the French archers and crossbowmen were deployed behind and to the sides of the men-at-arms (where they seem to have played almost no part, except possibly for an initial volley of arrows at the start of the battle). Henry V’s forces and supplies were limited by the space in their boats and what they could commandeer from the French, which reversed most of Henry V’s progress, and they took more casualties when the English confronted the French for supplies. The French monk of St. Denis says: "Their vanguard, composed of about 5,000 men, found itself at first so tightly packed that those who were in the third rank could scarcely use their swords," and the Burgundian sources have a similar passage. The English and Welsh archers on the flanks drove pointed wooden stakes, or palings, into the ground at an angle to force cavalry to veer off. It took place on 25 October 1415 (Saint Crispin's Day) near Azincourt, in northern France. "An animated map of the Battle of Agincourt", "An animated map of the Agincourt campaign", with the life and death of Henry surnamed Hotspur. Henry V personally appointed Longbowmen specialists to condition his Longbowmen, and devised a cunning plan to out strategize the French. This battle also showed how the leader’s attitude must be the model for his troops. I think it’s amazing that the small army of King Henry V could beat the large army of the French. I really enjoyed this article and all of the facts based around King Henry V. This is a very well structured and informative article. The metallography and relative effectiveness of arrowheads and armor during the Middle Ages. It is unclear whether the delay occurred because the French were hoping the English would launch a frontal assault (and were surprised when the English instead started shooting from their new defensive position), or whether the French mounted knights instead did not react quickly enough to the English advance. Henry V was stubborn and determined to win, and he often made use of whatever cutting-edge techniques or technology that he could get his hands on. Juliet Barker quotes a contemporary account by a monk from St. Denis who reports how the wounded and panicking horses galloped through the advancing infantry, scattering them and trampling them down in their headlong flight from the battlefield. In the words of Juliet Barker, the battle "cut a great swath through the natural leaders of French society in Artois, Ponthieu, Normandy, Picardy. Battle: Balaclava War: Crimean War Date of the Battle of Balaclava: 25 th October 1854 Place of the Battle of Balaclava: On the southern Crimean coast in the Old Tsarist Russian Empire. It also includes important lessons on strategy, tactics, and leadership. The longbow. College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, St. Mary's University, Department of History, St. Mary's University, Department of Political Science, St. Mary's University, Center for Catholic Studies, St. Mary's University, The Learning Assistance Center, St. Mary's University, Louis J. 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Knowing that you and your quiver of arrows was all you had against incredible numbers of mounted and unmounted soldiers must have been a sobering experience to say the least. Hundred Years' War: Siege of Orléans. , Shakespeare's version of the battle of Agincourt has been turned into several minor and two major films. All of his victories seem to be based on the fact that he wanted to prove everyone that doubted him wrong.  Other ballads followed, including "King Henry Fifth's Conquest of France", raising the popular prominence of particular events mentioned only in passing by the original chroniclers, such as the gift of tennis balls before the campaign.  Of the great royal office holders, France lost its constable (Albret), an admiral (the lord of Dampierre), the Master of Crossbowmen (David de Rambures, dead along with three sons), Master of the Royal Household (Guichard Dauphin) and prévôt of the marshals. Get to know the key figures that fought on both sides on that day, and find out more about their experience of the historic battle. There is a modern museum in Azincourt village dedicated to the battle. Contemporary account of battle written by Enguerrand de Monstrelet (d.1453), governor of Cambrai and supporter of the French crown. However, the lack of archaeological evidence at this traditional site has led to suggestions it was fought to the west of Azincourt. After the English shot all their arrows into the masses of clumsy dismounted knights and foot soldiers, the English advanced further and the longbowmen use hatchets and hand-to-hand weapons to strike down those who have not already fallen into the growing mound of bodies. It was often reported to comprise 1,500 ships, but was probably far smaller. Increasingly, they had to walk around or over fallen comrades. Historians Reassess Battle of Agincourt. Modern test and contemporary accounts conclude that arrows could not penetrate the better quality steel armour, which became available to knights and men-at-arms of fairly modest means by the middle of the 14th century, but could penetrate the poorer quality wrought iron armour.  The list of casualties, one historian has noted, "read like a roll call of the military and political leaders of the past generation". This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. This caused it to be hard for many of the men and horses to keep their footing, making most knights dismount. Instead, it was fought over King Henry V’s blood-right to rule France through his great-grandfather Edward III’s claim through his French mother, Princess Isabella. Since the French had many more men-at-arms than the English, they would accordingly be accompanied by a far greater number of servants. Landing in 1346, Edward III of England sought to conduct a large-scale raid through northern France in support of his claim to the French throne. Weight of French soldiers' armour. He used his resources by obtaining the latest technology and used them to his advantage. The French began to retreat! Noble Knight specializes in New, Used, and Out-of-Print Role Playing Games, Board Games, Miniatures, Warhammer, Historicals, and Magic the Gathering Upon hearing that his youngest brother Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester had been wounded in the groin, Henry took his household guard and stood over his brother, in the front rank of the fighting, until Humphrey could be dragged to safety. The Britons' unique unit is the Longbowman, reflecting their historical use of the English longbow in their military campaigns. On 25th of October 2015 it will be the 600th anniversary of the Battle of Agincourt, where 5,000 English archers, knights and men at arms defeated a French army of between 20,000 to 30,000. It shows that you shouldn’t underestimate anyone and, although many lives were lost, the ideas and tactics of King Henry V show his understanding of the environment and taking into consideration anything that could affect a battle. He began creating an overarching war plan: something revolutionary for the era. Would they be able to execute their plan of attack and withstand the French’s force?6. Jones, P. N. (1992).  Two of the most frequently cited accounts come from Burgundian sources, one from Jean Le Fèvre de Saint-Remy who was present at the battle, and the other from Enguerrand de Monstrelet. On July 31, 1423, the English won the Battle of Cravant. Made just prior to the invasion of Normandy, Olivier's rendition gives the battle what Sarah Hatchuel has termed an "exhilarating and heroic" tone, with an artificial, cinematic look to the battle scenes. When that campaign took place, it was made easier by the damage done to the political and military structures of Normandy by the battle. The army was divided into three groups, with the right wing led by Edward, Duke of York, the centre led by the king himself, and the left wing under the old and experienced Baron Thomas Camoys. Rogers suggested that the French at the back of their deep formation would have been attempting to literally add their weight to the advance, without realising that they were hindering the ability of those at the front to manoeuvre and fight by pushing them into the English formation of lancepoints. On October 25, 1415, English King Henry V led his men into the battle that would give England the upper hand in the English/French conflict that would become known as the Hundred Years’ War.  Modern historians are divided on how effective the longbows would have been against plate armour of the time. Although an audience vote was "too close to call", Henry was unanimously found guilty by the court on the basis of "evolving standards of civil society".. The trial ranged widely over whether there was just cause for war and not simply the prisoner issue. Account of the Battle of Agincourt: On his accession to the throne of England in April 1413 Henry V resolved to revive the war against France and press his claim to the French throne. The Second Battle of Ypres was a battle of the First World War fought from 21 April–25 May 1915 for control of the strategic Flemish town of Ypres in western Belgium, following the First Battle of Ypres the previous autumn. This unlikely victor rose awestruck, proving that practice makes perfect and investing in the latest technology pays off. This area may have been the position of the English camp. sfn error: multiple targets (2×): CITEREFGlanz2009 (, sfn error: no target: CITEREFMargolies2006 (, Guardian newspaper:French correction: Henry V's Agincourt fleet was half as big, historian claims, 28 July 2015, "Living Dictionary of the French Language", "Limitations imposed by wearing armour on Medieval soldiers' locomotor performance", "High Court Rules for French at Agincourt", "High Court Justices, Legal Luminaries Debate Shakespeare's 'Henry V, "The Development of Battle Tactics in the Hundred Years War", "Historians Reassess Battle of Agincourt", The Fitzwilliam Museum, University of Cambridge, "Henry V's Greatest Victory is Besieged by Academia", The Little Grey Horse – Henry V's Speech at Agincourt and the Battle Exhortation in Ancient Historiography, http://tls509.wixsite.com/archaeologyagincourt. The English account in the Gesta Henrici says: "For when some of them, killed when battle was first joined, fall at the front, so great was the undisciplined violence and pressure of the mass of men behind them that the living fell on top of the dead, and others falling on top of the living were killed as well.". Very quickly after the battle, the fragile truce between the Armagnac and Burgundian factions broke down. It was fought on a field knee-deep in mud and it was more of a massacre than a battle. The only guide you will ever need to read about battle tactics in Total War: Warhammer. The fighting lasted about three hours, but eventually the leaders of the second line were killed or captured, as those of the first line had been. The Battle of Agincourt demonstrates that well equipped soldiers don’t necessarily make up good armies. This use of stakes could have been inspired by the Battle of Nicopolis of 1396, where forces of the Ottoman Empire used the tactic against French cavalry.  Curry and Mortimer questioned the reliability of the Gesta, as there have been doubts as to how much it was written as propaganda for Henry V. Both note that the Gesta vastly overestimates the number of French in the battle; its proportions of English archers to men-at-arms at the battle are also different from those of the English army before the siege of Harfleur. I recently watched a movie about King Henry V based on this time in his life and it’s very interesting that most of it was true.  In some accounts the attack happened towards the end of the battle, and led the English to think they were being attacked from the rear. It was a disastrous attempt. It would take the rest of the century for field tactics to catch up with the effects of the modern weapons coming into service. This battle is notable for the use of the English longbow in very large numbers, with the English and Welsh archers comprising nearly 80 percent of Henry's army. The archers were commanded by Sir Thomas Erpingham, another elderly veteran. The English had very little food, had marched 260 miles (420 km) in two and a half weeks, were suffering from sickness such as dysentery, and were greatly outnumbered by well-equipped French men-at-arms.  The mounted charge and subsequent retreat churned up the already muddy terrain between the French and the English. Ebel is majoring in International Global Studies, and minoring in Political Science and Military Science. Henry the 5th and the Battle of Agincourt will always be one of the most famous victories in English history.  The army of about 12,000 men and up to 20,000 horses besieged the port of Harfleur. Versions of Maxim’s gun were ubiquitous on the Western Front; when matched against outdated infantry tactics, their killing power was astonishing. Henry V’s dedication to his country’s image was very evident in the amount of time he put into his strategy and training for his men. It took place on 25 October 1415 (Saint Crispin's Day) near Azincourt, in Northern France. These numbers are based on the Gesta Henrici Quinti and the chronicle of Jean Le Fèvre, the only two eyewitness accounts on the English camp. Contemporary chroniclers did not criticise him for it. Englishfirepower!`throughouttheages’.SoBurnetheGunner!sees!Englisharcheryas!a sort!ofbattlefieldartillery! She will graduate Spring of 2022.  In any case, to protect themselves as much as possible from the arrows, the French had to lower their visors and bend their helmeted heads to avoid being shot in the face, as the eye- and air-holes in their helmets were among the weakest points in the armour. Henry threatened to hang whoever did not obey his orders. The Battle of Agincourt is well documented by at least seven contemporary accounts, three from eyewitnesses.  Entire noble families were wiped out in the male line, and in some regions an entire generation of landed nobility was annihilated. King Henry V of England led his troops into battle and participated in hand-to-hand fighting. The Battle of Agincourt was an English victory in the Hundred Years' War.  The siege took longer than expected.  Branagh's version gives a longer, more realist portrayal of the battle itself, drawing on both historical sources and images from the Vietnam and Falkland Wars.. Despite the disadvantage, the battle ended in an overwhelming tactical victory for the English. Malleigh, wonderfully written article.  The bailiffs of nine major northern towns were killed, often along with their sons, relatives and supporters. Malleigh Ebel.  Shakespeare illustrates these tensions by depicting Henry's decision to kill some of the French prisoners, whilst attempting to justify it and distance himself from the event. The Battle of Agincourt (/ˈæʒɪnkɔːr(t), -kʊər/;[a] French: Azincourt [azɛ̃kuʁ]) was an English victory in the Hundred Years' War. , The French were organized into two main groups (or battles), a vanguard up front and a main battle behind, both composed principally of men-at-arms fighting on foot and flanked by more of the same in each wing. Mortimer also considers that the Gesta vastly inflates the English casualties – 5,000 – at Harfleur, and that "despite the trials of the march, Henry had lost very few men to illness or death; and we have independent testimony that no more than 160 had been captured on the way". I was interested to discover that Agincourt was a planned battle site as opposed to one that just happened out of necessity. Loades, M. (2013). A Student Organization of St. Mary's University of San Antonio Texas. Sumption, thus, concludes that the French had 14,000 men, basing himself on the monk of St. Denis; Mortimer gives 14 or 15 thousand fighting men. Most wars followed similar patterns, while Henry V came up with a whole new route to attack, and plan of attack with a new killer formation.3 He trained and prepared his troops to adapt quickly to different movements and formations, and made sure that his Longbowmen could fire on multiple groups of targets simultaneously. They were outnumbered and hungry--many suffering from dysentery. This head-lowered position restricted their breathing and their vision. Dramatized by William Shakespeare in Henry V, the Battle of Agincourt changed the course of the Hundred Years War and Britain’s relationship with her longtime enemy, France. This moment of the battle is portrayed both as a break with the traditions of chivalry and as key example of the paradox of kingship. However, as history shows the skill of these long bowmen won the day for the English and Henry V. This article was very interesting to read about how King Henry V used an ingenious military strategy on how to defeat the French in battle. In a remarkable work commemorating the 600th anniversary of arguably the most iconic military engagement of the medieval era, a wide range of experts examine the battle in its political, cultural, and geographical contexts, … Try. I found it really interesting that King Henry V was able to defeat the French with very little numbers and with little equipment in the Battle of Agincourt. Agincourt is one of England's most celebrated victories and was one of the most important English triumphs in the Hundred Years' War, along with the Battle of Crécy (1346) and Battle of Poitiers (1356).  (The use of stakes was an innovation for the English: during the Battle of Crécy, for example, the archers had been instead protected by pits and other obstacles. 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