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Who Was Fighting In The Battle Of Agincourt Essay

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The Battle of Agnicourt

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The Battle of Agnicourt

Known as one of the most famous and greatest battles of history, the Battle of Agnicourt was definitely one of the more glorious accomplishments of King Henry V as well as a significant victory in his invasion of France.

Fought in the later years of the Hundred Years War, the Battle of Agnicourt was a part of a campaign of conquest set up by Henry V in 1415 that included the invasion of France and Normandy. Although heavily criticized about the campaign, Henry V went ahead with his plans and began his army on a march through France.

Due to heavily guarded fords to cross the English channel by the French, the English, led by Henry V, opted to cross at the city of Calais, and marched upstream to get there. Before arriving there, the English found out that the passage to Calais was guarded by a big army of French led by Marshal Boucicault in a path through a forest near the village of Agnicourt. Henry V did not wish to fight, for he knew he was at a disadvantage. The English had now marched for 17 days with only one
day's rest and the weary, hungry army had shrunken due to disease. So Henry V offered to surrender his prisoners and all he had gained in France if the French army would grant them passage through. The answer was that he had to fight.

The battle began on October 25, 1998 1415, with the two marching armies of the English and the French meeting in the path between two woods, close to Agnicourt. The English army was no bigger then 5,000 men and about four fifths of them were lightly armored archers. The French on the other hand were five to six times bigger than that, with most of the force consisting of fully equipped men-at-arms. Basing their plan of battle on a successful English model, the French formed a short, three line front across the passage. However, the French deviated from the English model forming a different formation that would ultimately become their demise (the archers and crossbow men were placed at the rear of the wings and took little part in the action).

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Four hours after the armies met, and after much provoking by the English, the French finally initiated battle by sending their knights from the flanks straight for the English lines, ignoring the archers and concentrating on the dismounted knights. However the archers pelted the charging knights with arrows, driving them back on their own advancing guard, causing much confusion among the French army. Within half an hour a wall of dead French had begun to build up on the muddy, rain
drenched battlefield. The battlefield was so packed with so many French men that some, including the Duke of York, died from suffocation, without even being stricken.

Most likely, the most major problem with the French army was that the knights were equipped with new armor that was heavy and bulky and connected the helmet with the body armor, prohibiting flexible movement. This slow, immobile knights were no match for the quick, nimble archers resulting in many captures of prisoners. During the battle, Henry V fought off attacks from eighteen individual French knights, and at one time during the whole event, he stood guard over his fallen brother, Humphrey Duke of Gloucester. When a separate French line charged on the English's baggage train surprised the English, Henry V ordered all of the French prisoners to be killed. When Henry V ordered this killing of the prisoners, the French slowly retreated and the battle was won for the English.

The most amazing thing about he battle of Agnicourt, was the number of dead men on both sides of the opposition. Although, the French army was significantly smaller than the English army, they suffered an obscene amount of losses compared to the losses of the English army. Close to 1000 French knights died in the battle of Agnicourt, while the English merely lost about one to two hundred men. The Dukes of Alencon, Brabant, Bar and the Constable d'Albert were among the slain, and the more notable of the surviving prisoners were the Dukes of Orleans and Bourbon, Arthur Count of Richemont, the Counts of Eu and Vendome and Marshal Boucicaut.

After the battle, the English army proceeded toward Calais without opposition and crossed over the channel. From 1416 to 1418 Henry V marched systemically across Normandy invading and eventually taking over Caen, Bayeux, Lisieux, Alecon, Falaise, Cherboury and finally Rousen. The victory at Agnicourt enhanced King Henry V's reputation through England and made his name known abroad. Upon returning home to England, King Henry was welcomed with great honor and bountiful praise..

Work Cited

Barber, Richard. The Penguin Guide to Medieval Europe. New York: Penguin Books, 1984.

Cheyney, Edward P. The Dawn of A New Era. New York: Harpers & Brothers Publishers, 1936.

Turnbul, Stephen. The Book of the Medieval Knight. New York: Crown Publishers, Inc., 1985.

Waugh, W.T.. A History of Europe From 1378 to 1494. London, Britain: Methuen & Co. LTD., 1932.



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