The Battle of Agincourt is one of the decisive battles of the 100 Years’ War between England and France, which began in 1337 and ended by approximately 1453 AD. Heir to the French crown in 1420 AD.

What is the 100 years war?

Battle of Agincourt
The 100 Years War.

Before addressing the Battle of Agincourt, it is worth noting first the real causes of the conflict known historically as the “100 Years’ War”. According to historical sources; The 109 Years’ War was a series of intermittent disputes between England and France over the right of some to the legitimate succession to the French crown, as well as the ownership of some French lands.

It is believed that the spark of this long war began in 1337 AD, when Edward III, King of England, claimed the title of King of France, at the expense of Philip VI, to start a series of battles and disputes, which both sides benefited from at intervals.

In 1396, a truce was officially announced, which was to last for 28 years, and was confirmed by the marriage of the daughter of French King Charles VI to King Richard II of England.

With the accession of King Henry IV to the throne of England in 1399 after forcibly seizing power from Richard II, England experienced a period of tension and political disputes between the nobles and the royal house, and chaos spread throughout the kingdom.

At the same time, France was experiencing huge political crises, caused by King Charles VI, which encouraged King Henry V to begin in earnest an attempt to invade France, to claim England’s claim to some French lands.

As soon as the French rejected Henry V’s territorial demands, his army of 12,000 men arrived in Normandy in 1415, and besieged the French city of Harvillor, which surrendered within 6 weeks, but at the same time, the length of the siege led to a decrease in the numbers of the English army as a result of illness or injury. But he crawled on until he reached the village of Aginkor, where the thrilling story of the “Battle of Aginkor” began.

Narratives of the Battle of Agincourt

By October 25—the day the battle began—King Henry’s soldiers were starving, exhausted, and sickly.

Historian Juliet Parker.

According to most contemporary accounts, the French army was many times the number of the English army, as King Henry V’s army lost about a third of its army before the Battle of Agincourt began in the first place, as a result of disease.

General estimates indicate that the number of the English army amounted to about 6 thousand soldiers, while the French army probably consisted of 20 to 30 thousand men, while others claim that the French army consisted of only 12 thousand men, which means the weakness of the English army. In any case, all estimates point in favor of the numerical superiority of the French army, so how did the English excel?

Half hour fight

The battle lasted no more than 3 hours and may not have taken more than half an hour, according to some estimates, while the exact number of casualties is unknown, it is estimated that the English losses were around 400 and the French about 6000.

In an attempt to explain the reasons for the superiority of the English army led by Henry V over its more numerous French counterpart, according to some historical sources, it is believed that the rest of the English army were archers, and the battlefield that was finally chosen by the French side – after several consultations – was an agricultural plain. extroverted

And the unexpected happened on this day – which was in favor of the English camp – when the sky rained, and the plain turned into a muddy land, and since the battlefield turned into the opposite of what the French ships desired, with armor weighing about 28 kilograms and heavy equipment that distinguished it Knights of the French army, the horses could not go into the plain and move easily and freely with this weight on their back, and the French found themselves vulnerable to the arrows of the English, with their inability to maneuver and avoid the arrows. Easy for English soldiers.

The English army used a new tactic in the Battle of Agincourt, where the archers abandoned their bows immediately after their mission by scattering the enemy lines, and then joined the fight side by side with the fighters with swords and axes.

victory without honor

The English army captured about 1,500 of the French camp, and King Henry V ordered to send prisoners to the rear of the army, to preserve them and then benefit from them – by any means – as is customary during the battles.

In order to maintain this huge number, it was necessary to abandon not a small part of the English army, to guard this huge number of French prisoners, which resulted in a severe shortage of soldiers in the middle of the battle, which the French exploited and launched a counterattack that almost killed King Henry himself.

The orders came to withdraw the guard soldiers from the rear to support their comrades on the battlefield, which gave the French prisoners the opportunity to get rid of their chains, and even attack the English camp from the rear, with a violent attack taking place from the front that put the English army between the rock and the anvil, and defeat was around the corner.

Here, Henry V had no choice but to do something that the customs denounced, and the honor of equestrian disapproved, and the military rules followed among the fiercest opponents were violated, as he ordered the killing of defenseless prisoners and getting rid of this burden. From him, however, he asked the squad of archers – who do not follow the traditions of equestrianism – to eliminate them, which has already been done, and what had the great effect of diverting the course of the battle, and adjusting the rudder again in his favour, and then his victory, despite losing the honor of equestrianism.

After the battle

Battle of Agincourt
English archers.

The victory at the Battle of Agincourt had a huge impact on English national morale, cementing Henry V’s military position, and legitimizing his claim to the French crown.

At the same time, the battle was a major military blow to France and paved the way for further English conquests and successes, as the French nobility were divided, and could not resist the English advance in the near future.

As a result, Henry was able to subdue Normandy in 1419, a victory that was followed by the Treaty of Troyes in 1420, which declared King Henry V the rightful heir to the French crown.

Propaganda throughout history

Battle of Agincourt
King Henry V.

While the Battle of Agincourt ranks as one of the most one-sided victories in medieval history, it had no major implications for the outcome of the 100 Years’ War. Over the decades following the battle, France retook Paris, Normandy, and many other key regions. By 1453, the English had lost nearly all of their French territory.

Nevertheless, the victory at the Battle of Agincourt became an integral part of the English national legend, as the battle was celebrated in patriotic poems and chants, and later immortalized by the famous writer William Shakespeare in his play Henry V.

Not only that, in contemporary history, this play, which includes an account of the Battle of Agnicore, was used to maintain audience morale during World War I, and Winston Churchill later encouraged a film producer, to release a film with a revised version in the play, to raise enthusiasm. English citizens during World War II.

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