[MR] Agincourt 600th Anniversary

Garth Groff via Atlantia atlantia at seahorse.atlantia.sca.org
Sun Oct 25 02:41:39 PDT 2015

Noble Friends,

Yes, it is here at last! Today, October 25 (St. Crispin and Crispian's 
Day) is the 600th anniversary of the Battle of Agincourt. This famous 
battle is considered to be the greatest English triumph over the French 
during the Hundred Years War. It has often been described as the 
greatest archery victory as well. Henry V certainly couldn't have won 
the battle without his archers, but the victory had as much to do with 
ground conditions (a recently plowed field heavily soaked by rain) and 
the layout of the battle field, which was carefully chosen by the king. 
Today the conditions would be what is called a "force multiplier", that 
is, conditions or weapons that give an army extra advantages.

Here's the Wikipedia article to demonstrate what I mean: 
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Agincourt . Note the map showing 
forests on either side of the field which prevented the French cavalry 
from making flank attacks. In addition, the field was bounded on both 
sides by thick hedgerows (the same sort of obstacle that so bedeviled 
allied forces in Normandy after D-Day). Also what the map does not show 
is that the English occupied the high ground, and at the narrowest part 
of the field. The narrow location of the English line allowed Henry's 
small army to be concentrated. It also funneled the French into a tight 
area where they could not use their own weapons effectively.

The stylized 15th century painting is misleading, in that it shows 
English knights on horseback and lines of French archers. According to 
most accounts, the English were entirely dismounted without even a 
cavalry reserve. As for the French archers, they didn't have many, but 
rather professional crossbowmen who apparently were never committed to 
the fight. The French nobles had a great fear of arming their commoners 
with bows and arrows (with good reason!), an exception being the 
Burgundians, and very few Burgundians were at Agincourt. The other 
illustrations are Victorian, but are certainly stirring images.

For more fun, try these images from the re-enacted battle earlier this 
. There are 11 photos of men in armor, camps, camp followers, etc. A 
general search for "Agincourt reenadtment" turns up a number of realated 
sites, including some YouTube videos and many more still images. There's 
plenty of great garb and gear here for us to learn from.

Today Isenfir will hold archery practice. In honor of the day, we will 
be shooting at French knights (the same figures you might have seen on 
the children's range and the (K)night Shoot at WoW; we thrifty Scots get 
maximum value from our targets!).

Yours Aye,

Lord Mungo Napier, That Crazy Scot

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