Words of Advice:

"Never Feel Sorry For Anyone Who Owns an Airplane."-- Tina Marie

"
If Something Seems To Be Too Good To Be True, It's Best To Shoot It, Just In Case." -- Fiona Glenanne

"
Flying the Airplane is More Important than Radioing Your Plight to a Person on the Ground
Who is Incapable of Understanding or Doing Anything About It.
" -- Unknown

"There seems to be almost no problem that Congress cannot, by diligent efforts and careful legislative drafting, make ten times worse." -- Me

"What the hell is an `Aluminum Falcon'?" -- Emperor Palpatine

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Six Hundred Years Ago

The Battle of Agincourt was fought.

The English were badly outnumbered and worn down by long campaigning and disease. But the battlefield favored them: It was a plowed field, muddy from rains, relatively narrow and heavily forested on either side of the battlefield. The armored French cavalry had no real room to maneuver. Afoot, French knights had trouble moving in the mud.

The English troops, in comparison, were lightly armored and they had a very large number of archers equipped with long bows. The French did have bowmen and crossbowmen, but the battlefield was narrow enough that there was no room for them.

The English archers protected the front of their positions with rows of sharp stakes. They started shooting at the French cavalry, which couldn't charge through the stakes nor outflank the archers because of the forests.

The end result was a one-sided slaughter. The battle might have been forgotten to all but military historians, but for one English playwright of some fame.

10 comments:

Deadstick said...

...and 161 years for the Charge of the Light Brigade, 71 for Leyte Gulf.

Ole Phat Stu said...

Harry claimed (well, Shakespeare did) in this speech that we would remember forever the names of those who won in Agincourt.

So now - without googling of watching the video - see what names you recall? ;-)

Confession: besides Henry V, I could only name 3 of the 7 The Bard mentioned :-(

Stewart Dean said...

I've read that the French had a considerable force of Italian mercenary crossbow men who offered to soften up the English from a greater distance than the long bow could reach....that the French refused: they were the flower of French chivalry and would fight as proper knights....

w3ski said...

I guess in the end the battle removed many of the French Aristocrats from the gene pool.
That had to be a win for French society.
w3ski

CenterPuke88 said...

Most sources show a longer effective range for the English long bow vs. the Italian crossbow. As far as ultimate range, the crossbow was likely slight further reaching, but for rate of fire, the long bow shames the crossbow.

The English fielded some 5000-7000 trained archers, the French had some 4000 archers (shorter ranged than the English because of weaker bows and less training) and some 1500 Italian crossbowmen. Given the French deployed with the archers and crossbowmen to the rear, moving the crossbowmen into range would have exposed other element to devastating fire from the English archers and made the following attack quite disjointed (the nature of the narrow field of battle was deliberate, and would have increased these problems).

The Italians could, theoretically, have attacked the English with extreme range mass plunging fire. But this would likely have been from no more than about 100 yards beyond the maximum English long bow range, and the likely English deployment (archers lining the flanks of the field of battle) would result in such an attack either being limited to a small number of the English, or exposed the Italians to return volleys from a number of English archers if the Italians moved to attack more of the English archer force.

In addition, the usual English archer carried about 48 arrows, where a crossbowman might only carry 12 to 24 bolts. In the end, it is certainly true the French disregard for the men-at-arms cost them dearly.

CenterPuke88 said...

Should read 100 feet, not yards.

Comrade Misfit said...

The French men-at-arms wre truly lions led by donkeys.

3383 said...

CM, that is so often true in armed forces and the corporate world.

CenterPuke88 said...

Comrade, the French have been cursed with poor leadership for centuries. They had more tanks than the Germans in WWII, but had them spread out for infantry support. At least the British leadership seemed to learn from WWI's carnage, the French steadfastly fight the previous war.

Ole Phat Stu said...

English tactics and deployment were very much like the 1346 battle of Crecy. History repeats itself? I have a summary of Crecy here :
http://www.savory.de/blog_feb_15.htm#20150222