Morning of Agincourt by Sir John Gilbert (B)
Battle of Agincourt, October 25th 1415. Fought during the Hundred years war at the end of the English Invasion of 1415. King Henry the V of England, after his conquest of Harfleur marched his army of 1,000 Knights and 5,000 Archers (many of which were Welsh) towards Calais. He marched to Amiens as flooding had affected the river at the Somme which was the direct route. This delay helped the French army of 20,000 strong under the command of the Constable Charles dAlbret and Marshal Jean Bouciquaut II. The French army blocked Henry V route to Calais, giving the English no choice but to fight. Henry V positioned his army at Agincourt, between to wooded areas giving a frontage of 1100 metres. Henry deployed his force into three divisions; each group had archers at each flank. He had chosen his position well, in front of his army was ploughed fields and due to the heavy raid was very muddy. Due to the narrow battlefield area the French army lost their advantage of superior numbers. At 11 oclock the English started to advance their archers within 2509 yards of the French, getting them into range of the French lines. The French line of Cavalry advanced at a slow pass due to the heavy mud, They took heavy losses from the arrows from the English Long Bowman. They were eventually repulsed by the Archers who as the French cavalry approached changed from using longbows for axes and swords. The French second Cavalry line advanced only to be finally repulsed after hand to hand fighting. The commander Duc dAlencon was killed in the attack. The second charge had failed and many of the French knights were taken prisoner. Believing he had been attacked in the rear Henry V ordered that the prisoners were to be put to death. In fact There was no real rear attack it was French Camp followers plundering the English Camp. The French camp followers were quickly dealt with and the English again prepared itself for the next attack. The third attack never materialized as the sight of so much blood shed and piles of corpses turned the charge into a retreat. The English had won the day with losses less than 1600 compared to the French losses of over 7,000, including the capture of Bouciquaut. Henry V, his way now cleared reached Calais on the 16th November 1415. Agincourt is one of the great battles of military history, and this victory enabled Henry V to return to France in 1417 and conquer all of Normandy.
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