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Agincourt

Date: 25th October 1415

Place: A field outside Agincourt (now Azincourt) northern France

 

 

Forces

 French

25,000 heavily armed men at arms, 1,200 armoured cavalry and assorted archers.

 

English

5,000 longbowmen. 1,000 men-at-arms.

 

Background to the battle

The build up to this battle can be traced back to the Norman invasion of Britain in 1066. Since then the English had held provinces and territory in northern France. These had however been eroded and despite a brilliant military campaign by Edward III which included the battle of Crecy (1346) and Poitiers (1356) by Henry's time the possessions amounted to little more than a few scattered properties and Calais.

Henry (known also as Harry) was a deeply religious man who believed it was his right to rule France. He gained some financial backing and raised an army to take to France.

He raised an army of 10,000 including bakers, cordwainers (leather workers) and other tradesmen. His idea was to have a totally self-sufficient fighting force. Among his other attributes must have been an innate optimism. He knew he must face a potential French force of 60,000.

Despite the dodgy 'Blackadder' haircut Henry was an outstanding soldier, strategically and tactically aware he was quiet but determined and ruthless to religious and political opponents.

Born in 1387 he spent most of his life in warfare and died on campaign in 1422.

 

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