Clio Edition 4 - page 40

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AGINCOURT:
On 24 October came the news the English
had dreaded but also looked forward too: the French army
was drawn up in a flat plain between villages of Agincourt,
Tramecourt and Maisoncelle. Henry turned to his Welsh
retainer, Dafyd Gam, asking him to estimate the vast enemy
army horde and Gam replied coolly “Sire. There are enough
to kill, enough to capture and enough to run away.” In fact
the French outnumbered the English six-to-one with 36,000
troops in all. With their flanks protected by woodlands,
their backs by an open field and only a small shallow valley
separated them from the ‘puny’ English army. As night fell
Henry imposed strict silence as to confuse the French as to
what their plans may be. This eerie silence unnerved the
French who expected it was an English ruse to escape their
inevitable downfall the following morning. They set up a
picket line with fires at regular intervals along the road to
prevent such an escape. Henry did not sleep either and he
made preparations for the upcoming battle and sent out
scouts that returned with news that the ground resembled a
muddy sludge.
ST CRISPIN’S DAY:
After a long, cold night of torrential
rain the fields the fields truly had become a muddy sludge
as the sun rose on St Crispin’s day- Friday 25 October 1415.
The English had spent the night in the open preparing for
the battle, whereas the French had slept in tents and gorged
themselves on wine and plentiful provisions. The French
were sure that victory would come easily for them. Hours
passed as each side waited for the other to make their first
Agincourt 1415
The victory of Henry V’s small, exhausted and starving army
against their vast French hosts was the greatest triumph of the
English longbow in the Hundred Years War between England and
France. But despite the arrow-storm, the battle came to hand-to-
hand combat, and was not the walkover for the English that it has
often been portrayed as.
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