[MR] Agincourt 600th Anniversary
Garth Groff via Atlantia
atlantia at seahorse.atlantia.sca.org
Sun Oct 25 02:41:39 PDT 2015
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!).
Lord Mungo Napier, That Crazy Scot
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