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A Quora on Battle of Agincourt, 1415

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Nov 23, 2023, 6:16:20 PM11/23/23
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Posted by
Marie R. Harness

Tue
On a field near what is now Azincourt, in northern France, the English
army under the personal command of King Henry V stood in line of battle
facing their French enemies. After the armies stared each other down for
a couple of hours, Henry surprised the French by ordering his heavily
outnumbered men to advance.

The flower of French nobility was on the field that day, mostly knights
in the cavalry. Seeing the impetuous English advance, the French cavalry
charged. What followed was the Battle of Agincourt, one of the most
pivotal battles in world history.

Of the approximately 7,500 English troops on the field at Agincourt,
over 6,000 of them were archers—men of the English and Welsh middling
classes who had been raised to the longbow. An expert archer could fire
as many as ten arrows a minute. As the French cavalry galloped toward
the English lines atop their armored warhorses, they were met with a
lethal rain of English arrows. In some cases, the arrows pierced the
French armor. In others, they struck the unprotected portions of the
riders. More often, they wounded the horses, sending them into
stampeding panics and tossing their riders to the ground. Within a
matter of minutes, the vaunted French cavalry was decimated.

Coming behind them were three lines of French infantry. Weighed down by
their armor, slogging slowly across the mud-churned field, having to
step over dead and wounded horses and knights, all the while being
bombarded with English arrows, by the time the infantry got within
fighting range they were exhausted. Led by King Henry personally, the
English fell upon them and cut them to pieces, the archers tossing aside
their bows and attacking with axes, mallets, and swords.

At a cost of perhaps as few as 200 men, the English killed over 6,000 of
the French that day, nearly all of them nobility. Barons, dukes, counts,
lords, an archbishop, and thousands of titled knights lay dead on the
field, ending the male lines in several entire French noble families.
Henry marched his army to the coast and returned to England for a hero’s
welcome.

The Battle of Agincourt did not end the Hundred Years War. It would
continue for over 30 more years. But it did significantly weaken France.
And it signaled the coming end of the age of chivalry, when battles were
decided by knights on horseback in combat with their social peers.

The Battle of Agincourt occurred on October 25, 1415, six hundred eight
years ago today. In the words of Shakespeare, “This story shall the good
man teach his son.”


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28 comments from

Deborah Geyer
· Tue
We Few. We Happy Few. We Band of Brothers. On This, St. Crispin’s Day.😀🐾❤️

Richard Southern
· Wed
For he who sheds his blood with me shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile…

William Lange
· Wed
Excellent Shakespeare play. Excellent Kenneth Branagh movie! Non nobis…

Richard Jack
· Tue
Those archers motivated governments everywhere to engage a new arms
race: gunpowder powered pellet firing tube guns. The archer was still a
deadly superior killer as to musqueteers. Effective target range about
250 yards. The early musket was inaccurate beyond 50 ft or so and would
remain so until rifiling was invented. But it took a lifetime of
frequent practice to train the archers. About a day to train a man for
bayonet and musket. Captured archers routinely had their dominant-hand
fingers chopped off. End of problem. Fun and games in merry old Europe

Andrew Carrie
· Wed
Hence the finger so popular now days lol

Albert Matthew Woods
· Wed
Still stands as an amazing example of an underdogs victory over a
“superior”army much better equipped & with cavalry even.

James Carr
· Wed
The rise of an archer army made mostly of commoners would lead to the
current debate about gun control in the US. Arrows gave way to muskets.
Muskets lead to militias. Militias formed an army of commoners dedicated
to ruling themselves, which lead to a 2nd Amendment of a new Constitution.




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