AGINCOURT—600 YEARS AND FOUR DAYS AGO. The battle of Agincourt was fought on October 25, 1415, St. Crispin’s Day. Here is an article by Bernard Cornwell which appeared in the Telegraph on October 25, 2015, the 600th anniversary of the battle. The battle was a great English victory, with an estimated 5000 French soldiers killed and perhaps only 200 English soldiers killed. I posted here a year ago about Agincourt in connection with the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Banockburn. I noted that both battles were probably decided by mud.

Cornwell also concludes that mud was the decisive factor at Agincourt, but he writes about the importance of the English and Welsh archers who comprised the great majority of the English troops. (France had not developed longbowmen, which would have required years of training.) Cornwell says: “The longbow was capable of shooting an arrow over two hundred paces with an accuracy that would not be matched till the rifled gun-barrel was invented.” A longbowman could shoot 15 arrows a minute, and a bodkin, a long and slender arrow, could pierce armor at 300 yards.

Nevertheless, much of the battle was fought on foot and a great advantage of the longbowmen were that they had little armor. Cromwell links to this article by Nicholas Collins in the Telegraph which reports on experiments which have showed that a soldier wearing full armor would require twice the energy to walk, leading to exhaustion. I also remember that the television show our family watched showed that the texture of the particular mud at the field of Agincourt would have made it difficult for a man in armor to get up once he had fallen.

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