How the Longbow changed Britian- -video series

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How the Longbow changed Britian- -video series

Historian Mike Loades shows the history behind the weapons that helped to forge Britain, as well as demonstrating their use. This series of videos focuses on the Longbow a mighty weapon that saw its zneith at teh battle of Agincourt

In 1415 King Henry V of England took a small army to France to try to enforce the English claim to the French throne. By late autumn things were not going well for the English. The weather was poor, and Henry's army was short of provisions, exhausted, and badly stricken with dysentery. Henry decided to make for his stronghold at Calais for the winter, but the French saw an opportunity to annihilate the English forces and advanced with a huge army to do battle.

The two armies met at the little village of Agincourt on the evening of 24 October, after the English forces had marched 260 miles in 17 days. King Henry's offer to buy peace was rejected, and on the following afternoon one of the decisive battles of the Hundred Years' War took place.

The battle of Agincourt has entered English folklore - and, indeed, popular culture as a result of the Laurence Olivier and Kenneth Branah film versions of Shakespeare's Henry V. No more than 6000 soldiers in the service of the English king faced about 50,000 French soldiers. Apart from the gross disparity in numbers, the other substantial difference between the two armies was in their use of the longbow. The English army was composed largely of bowmen (about 80%), whereas the French used virtually none.

The massive French cavalry charge was met by a storm of English arrows, as a result of which the cavalry fled back through the front columns of the French infantry. The English soldiers waded into the chaos armed with hatchets and billhooks and, backed up by their own small cavalry and the threat of their longbows, succeeded in dispersing the whole French army.

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By netchicken: posted on 18-4-2010

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