back to article El Reg revisits Battle of Agincourt on 600th anniversary

Today is St Crispin's Day, and the 600th anniversary of the Battle of Agincourt. On 25 October 1415, the scant forces of Henry V administered a righteous shoeing to a numerically superior French army, in the process securing immortality in the annals of British military legend. Disagreeably, some historians have attempted to …

  1. DrBobK

    dear, dear Larry

    Can't we have a clip of dear, dear Larry (gone, gone) doing the biz in 1944 instead of Sir Ken?

    1. eesiginfo
      Angel

      Re: dear, dear Larry

      St. Crispin's Day Speech - fight off:

      Laurence Olivier's - Henry V 1944:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P9fa3HFR02E

      Richard Burton's - Henry V 1951

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TU7NrnLsr5g

      Kenneth Branagh's - Henry V 1989

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A-yZNMWFqvM

      For myself, I find LO too wooden, lacking the emotion required for such a speech.

      RB starts well (and what a voice)..... but loses tonality, and ends up shouting and out of breath (the 40 woodbines before the show can't have helped).

      KB - is this perfection or what?

      The emotion and enthusiasm, is maintained throughout, till end of scene.

      You can really believe the cheers shouted by his followers.

      :)

  2. Your alien overlord - fear me

    "numerically superior French army" - the only way the French army was superior !!!!!

    1. graeme leggett

      Apart from not suffering from a dreadful case of the runs at the time ("flux" in more contemporary language)?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wellington's birthday too

    Wellington's birthday is today. He always advertised its imminence with an unsubtle reference to the anniversary of an historical battle - presumably Agincourt.

  4. x 7

    I've never understood Agincourt

    With their webbed feet you'd have thought the Frogs would have had a natural advantage in that boggy ground

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge
      Devil

      But the horses didn't have webbed feet.... Maybe they should have waited until the weather was better.. like that ever happens.

      1. Suricou Raven

        It also helped that the narrow field let the English pack their pikes in like a hedgehog before their lines. Horses are not entirely stupid: While they will happily ride themselves to death if the rider does not know their limits, they draw the line at being ridden at speed into a wall of spikey death sticks. The terrain of the field rendered the French cavalry just about useless - which is exactly why Henry chose that spot to make his stand. He marched his army to exhaustion to secure the best possible spot in which to force the French into battle, and the strategy worked: The losses on the way to the battle were more than offset by the tactical advantage of the field.

        1. Kubla Cant Silver badge

          Plus the English practice of men-at-arms fighting on foot, and the devastation wrought by the longbow in the hands of "hommes de nul valeur". You can't help thinking that it was snobbery that lost it for the French.

          It also seems to have been their inability to learn from experience. The French problems at Agincourt were very similar to those they encountered at Crécy, 79 years earlier.

        2. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

          Only half covered here was the use of archers and the double indemnity they provided:

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LVuVtP_xepU

          The ground would not have been very muddy in 2 hours of battle in October although we don't know the crop recently harvested we know it was covered in a carpet of leaves and two days worth of rain. Not a lot -unless the previous summer was wet. So not much worse than a football field, despite what the expert said.

          It was the stadium /domino effect plus the French discounted the archers their bodkins being inferior to the French armour and the weather being adverse to the heavy use of the bows. If the strings snapped at full pull, the bow would break. And a wet sinew would soon stretch and weaken if retightened.

          As you say the cavalry would not have frightened the English, they knew from Alexander's time that the spear was superior and there was nothing stopping the archers using spears. Perhaps being used to attract the cavalry into the trap because they seemed undefended and afraid to use the full power of the bows?

          1. x 7

            " nothing stopping the archers using spears."

            except a lack of spears and spearheads.......and a lack of training

            What the archers had was long poles, sharpened at both ends which could either be planted in the ground for protection against horse charges, or - in extremis - used as staves or pikes. Pole-fighting was a common skill among the English rural peasantry

  5. graeme leggett

    time

    For another war with France?

    1. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: time

      Why not...

      After all its only in the past 150 yrs we've found other enemies to fight...(much to the relief of the french)

    2. Elmer Phud

      Re: time

      But it's not really France 'we' were fighting, it was another family tiff in the tedious history of bullies claiming to have sole merchandising rights for the products of T'Almighty (Xtian division).

      "To the victors go the spoils" - kinda says it all, really. Corporate raiding.

      1. graeme leggett

        Re: time

        I think Napoleon was more of a Rationalism type dictator and the wars of that period were a question of economics.

        And even post WWI there was still a school of thought that the next war was more likely to be with France than anyone else in Europe despite the entente cordiale. The specification for British light ("day") bombers designs of the 1930s stipulated an operating range that would reach Paris.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: time

          "I think Napoleon was more of a Rationalism type dictator and the wars of that period were a question of economics."

          Quite. Both sides being bankrolled by the insidious Rothschild family.

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: time

              "Aren't there some protocols of the elders of Zion you should be w**king to?"

              It's common knowledge that the Rothschilds were in bed with both sides of the conflict.

              Nathan Mayer Rothschild

              From 1809 Rothschild began to deal in gold bullion, and developed this as a cornerstone of his business. From 1811 on, in negotiation with Commissary-General John Charles Herries, he undertook to transfer money to pay Wellington's troops, on campaign in Portugal and Spain against Napoleon, and later to make subsidy payments to British allies when these organized new troops after Napoleon's disastrous Russian campaign.

              In 1818 he arranged a 5 million pound loan to the Prussian government and the issuing of bonds for government loans formed a mainstay of his bank’s business. He gained a position of such power in the City of London that by 1825–6 he was able to supply enough coin to the Bank of England to enable it to avert a liquidity crisis.

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nathan_Mayer_Rothschild#Business_career

              James Mayer de Rothschild

              An advisor to two kings of France, he became the most powerful banker in the country and following the Napoleonic Wars, played a major role in financing the construction of railroads and the mining business that helped make France an industrial power.

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Mayer_de_Rothschild#Biography

              I always find it amusing how someone always pops up ready to hurl insults and abuse whenever these well-documented and substantiated facts are brought to light.

              1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

          Re: time

          > The specification for British light ("day") bombers designs of the 1930s stipulated an operating range that would reach Paris.

          And by 1944 they had managed to make the Spitfire get as far as?

          The idea being that once they got to Paris they could get to Berlin.

    3. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      Re: time

      Maybe this time civilize them; after winning of course

      1. x 7

        Re: time

        how can you civilise a nation that eats songbirds, snails, frogs legs and horses? or drives on the wrong side of the road?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Watch either the Larry version or Sir Ken's on the 25th of Oct every year. Agincourt/Azincourt is twinned with Middleham. Richard Duke of Gloucester (Richard III) was master of the castle there. Another great Shakespearean character also filmed and played by Olivier.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You mentioned Richard III - as my son is currently studying at Leicester University I've been to sufficient presentations at open days there to know what happens next ... I assume some member of staff at Leicester will shortly post to remind us that "did you know, we helped find RIchard III"

  7. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

    Henry V's pep talk at Agincourt

    I prefer the Robbie Coltrane / Stephen Fry version myself

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mZAckULSdXI

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1144959/

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Slight historical inaccuracy

    It was actually the French-speaking Anglo-French fighting the French-speaking French French. This being the stereotypical version of history, the most French side had to lose. The English English probably sat at home hoping that the aristocracy would kill as many of themselves on both sides as possible. A lot of the archers were said to be Welsh.

    Being serious for as long as I can manage, the problem with army estimation seems to be this; the Anglo-French consisted of a small army with relatively few camp followers owing to the difficulty of cross-Channel transport, whereas the French-French being local would have had a large home crowd around to assist. The actual professional soldier numbers would be expected to be closer. This was generally true of Hundred Year War battles. The high French death rate in a lot of these battles would be due to the Anglo-French massacring the home crowd as they got in the way during the retreat.

    1. x 7

      Re: Slight historical inaccuracy

      "relatively few camp followers "

      I seem to remember reading somewhere that Henry actually abandoned his camp followers, and massacred those who tried to keep up with the army, simply to reduce the logistics nightmare of obtaining sufficient food. Essentially the washerwomen / cooks / wives / whores all got their throats cut if they didn't take the hint to disappear quickly

      1. Elmer Phud

        Re: Slight historical inaccuracy

        It's such a bind having to let the staff go.

        It's pretty normal though, to abandon or 'hide' those who helped greatly - even now we see ex-squaddies with PTSD trying to get shelter in doorways.

        1. Arctic fox
          Unhappy

          @Elmer Phud Re:"....now we see ex-squaddies with PTSD trying to get shelter in doorways....."

          Indeed. In fact of course nothing much has changed since Kipling wrote this a century or more ago.

          "I went into a public-'ouse to get a pint o' beer,

          The publican 'e up an' sez, "We serve no red-coats here."

          The girls be'ind the bar they laughed an' giggled fit to die,

          I outs into the street again an' to myself sez I:

          O it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, go away";

          But it's "Thank you, Mister Atkins", when the band begins to play,

          The band begins to play, my boys, the band begins to play,

          O it's "Thank you, Mister Atkins", when the band begins to play.

          I went into a theatre as sober as could be,

          They gave a drunk civilian room, but 'adn't none for me;

          They sent me to the gallery or round the music-'alls,

          But when it comes to fightin', Lord! they'll shove me in the stalls!

          For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, wait outside";

          But it's "Special train for Atkins" when the trooper's on the tide,

          The troopship's on the tide, my boys, the troopship's on the tide,

          O it's "Special train for Atkins" when the trooper's on the tide.

          Yes, makin' mock o' uniforms that guard you while you sleep

          Is cheaper than them uniforms, an' they're starvation cheap;

          An' hustlin' drunken soldiers when they're goin' large a bit

          Is five times better business than paradin' in full kit.

          Then it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, 'ow's yer soul?"

          But it's "Thin red line of 'eroes" when the drums begin to roll,

          The drums begin to roll, my boys, the drums begin to roll,

          O it's "Thin red line of 'eroes" when the drums begin to roll.

          We aren't no thin red 'eroes, nor we aren't no blackguards too,

          But single men in barricks, most remarkable like you;

          An' if sometimes our conduck isn't all your fancy paints,

          Why, single men in barricks don't grow into plaster saints;

          While it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, fall be'ind",

          But it's "Please to walk in front, sir", when there's trouble in the wind,

          There's trouble in the wind, my boys, there's trouble in the wind,

          O it's "Please to walk in front, sir", when there's trouble in the wind.

          You talk o' better food for us, an' schools, an' fires, an' all:

          We'll wait for extry rations if you treat us rational.

          Don't mess about the cook-room slops, but prove it to our face

          The Widow's Uniform is not the soldier-man's disgrace.

          For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Chuck him out, the brute!"

          But it's "Saviour of 'is country" when the guns begin to shoot;

          An' it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' anything you please;

          An' Tommy ain't a bloomin' fool -- you bet that Tommy sees!"

          We do not treat them very much better than our forbears did.

          1. Frumious Bandersnatch

            Re: @Elmer Phud ....now we see ex-squaddies with PTSD trying to get shelter in doorways....."

            I knew that Mr. Kipling made exceedingly good cakes, but I never knew he was such a good spinner of yarns.

            1. Arctic fox
              Headmaster

              @Frumious Bandersnatch Re:"but I never knew he was such a good spinner of yarns."

              Whilst Kipling was a man of his time he was a very gifted writer, poet and a keen observer. Given "our current involvement" the following may also be regarded as highly relevant:

              "When the 'arf-made recruity goes out to the East

              'E acts like a babe an' 'e drinks like a beast,

              An' 'e wonders because 'e is frequent deceased

              Ere 'e's fit for to serve as a soldier.

              Serve, serve, serve as a soldier,

              Serve, serve, serve as a soldier,

              Serve, serve, serve as a soldier,

              So-oldier OF the Queen!

              Now all you recruities what's drafted to-day,

              You shut up your rag-box an' 'ark to my lay,

              An' I'll sing you a soldier as far as I may:

              A soldier what's fit for a soldier.

              Fit, fit, fit for a soldier . . .

              First mind you steer clear o' the grog-sellers' huts,

              For they sell you Fixed Bay'nets that rots out your guts --

              Ay, drink that 'ud eat the live steel from your butts --

              An' it's bad for the young British soldier.

              Bad, bad, bad for the soldier . . .

              When the cholera comes -- as it will past a doubt --

              Keep out of the wet and don't go on the shout,

              For the sickness gets in as the liquor dies out,

              An' it crumples the young British soldier.

              Crum-, crum-, crumples the soldier . . .

              But the worst o' your foes is the sun over'ead:

              You must wear your 'elmet for all that is said:

              If 'e finds you uncovered 'e'll knock you down dead,

              An' you'll die like a fool of a soldier.

              Fool, fool, fool of a soldier . . .

              If you're cast for fatigue by a sergeant unkind,

              Don't grouse like a woman nor crack on nor blind;

              Be handy and civil, and then you will find

              That it's beer for the young British soldier.

              Beer, beer, beer for the soldier . . .

              Now, if you must marry, take care she is old --

              A troop-sergeant's widow's the nicest I'm told,

              For beauty won't help if your rations is cold,

              Nor love ain't enough for a soldier.

              'Nough, 'nough, 'nough for a soldier . . .

              If the wife should go wrong with a comrade, be loath

              To shoot when you catch 'em -- you'll swing, on my oath! --

              Make 'im take 'er and keep 'er: that's Hell for them both,

              An' you're shut o' the curse of a soldier.

              Curse, curse, curse of a soldier . . .

              When first under fire an' you're wishful to duck,

              Don't look nor take 'eed at the man that is struck,

              Be thankful you're livin', and trust to your luck

              And march to your front like a soldier.

              Front, front, front like a soldier . . .

              When 'arf of your bullets fly wide in the ditch,

              Don't call your Martini* a cross-eyed old bitch;

              She's human as you are -- you treat her as sich,

              An' she'll fight for the young British soldier.

              Fight, fight, fight for the soldier . . .

              When shakin' their bustles like ladies so fine,

              The guns o' the enemy wheel into line,

              Shoot low at the limbers an' don't mind the shine,

              For noise never startles the soldier.

              Start-, start-, startles the soldier . . .

              If your officer's dead and the sergeants look white,

              Remember it's ruin to run from a fight:

              So take open order, lie down, and sit tight,

              And wait for supports like a soldier.

              Wait, wait, wait like a soldier . . .

              When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains,

              And the women come out to cut up what remains,

              Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains

              An' go to your Gawd like a soldier.

              Go, go, go like a soldier,

              Go, go, go like a soldier,

              Go, go, go like a soldier,

              So-oldier of the Queen!"

              As I said in an earlier posting on this thread, little has changed.

              *A reference to the Martini-Henry breach loading rifle that was standard issue at the time.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: @Frumious Bandersnatch but I never knew he was such a good spinner of yarns."

                "Whilst Kipling was a man of his time he was a very gifted writer, poet and a keen observer."

                He was also an early conservationist (parts of the Jungle Books are intended to stir people up against the maltreatment of animals and against sealing), and attacked the idea that Christianity was superior to other religions - in Kim, they are all shown as being about equal with the Catholic priest and the Buddhist abbot getting the highest scores. But, most of all, he stood up for engineers, repeatedly pointing out how essential they were to modern society.

                1. Arctic fox

                  @ Arnaut the less Re: @Frumious Bandersnatch but I never knew he was such a good spinner of yarns."

                  He was indeed a very complex and interesting chap. Whilst I have my reservations I also have great deal of respect for the guy.

                2. Fink-Nottle

                  Re: @Frumious Bandersnatch but I never knew he was such a good spinner of yarns."

                  > But, most of all, he stood up for engineers, repeatedly pointing out how essential they were to modern society.

                  As a dedicated Freemason, Kipling certainly drew the analogy between the engineer's place in modern society and the Masonic order.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: @Elmer Phud ....now we see ex-squaddies with PTSD trying to get shelter in doorways....."

              I've no opinion on Kipling as I've never kipled

              1. This post has been deleted by its author

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: @Elmer Phud ....now we see ex-squaddies with PTSD trying to get shelter in doorways....."

            "[...] Kipling wrote this a century or more ago."

            Kipling used his influence to get his only son into the army in WW1 after he had been rejected on medical grounds. He was killed in 1915 aged 18.

      2. Arctic fox
        Headmaster

        @x 7 Re:"..........Henry actually abandoned his camp followers, and massacred those......"

        I think that it is possible that your memory may be mistaken here, although the reality of what happened does not exactly polish the chivalric image that Heny V liked to cultivate either. Shortly before the French attack Henry ordered the execution (murder?) of the French prisoners that they had already taken because he feared that he could not afford the guards being unavailable for the battle and/or the prisoners being a security threat whilst the battle was in progress. This is a side of his reputation that is often ignored.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @x 7 ..........Henry actually abandoned his camp followers, and massacred those......"

          The French had already deployed the Oriflamme ( a battle standard) to denote that they would not ransom any of the English taken. I.e. a 'take no prisoners' order. So it was never going to be a chivalrous fight that day.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: @x 7 ..........Henry actually abandoned his camp followers, and massacred those......"

            "The French had already deployed the Oriflamme"

            In Rabelais, Francois Villon advises an English king to paint an oriflamme in his chamber pot to ensure he never suffers from constipation. It was indeed intended to provoke terror among enemies.

      3. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. dogged

      Re: Slight historical inaccuracy

      > It was actually the French-speaking Anglo-French

      No, it wasn't. English had been growing in popularity in court circles through the 14th century and was made officially the language of court by Edward III in the 1360s. It remained so under Richard II and Henry IV and by Henry V's time, most court officials could no longer even speak French.

      English or Latin was the choice of documents, because people could read them. Take your revisionist twaddle and shove it.

    3. Kubla Cant Silver badge

      Re: Slight historical inaccuracy

      It was actually the French-speaking Anglo-French fighting the French-speaking French French.

      Not so.

      English replaced Norman-French as the court language in the reign of Edward III, at the start of the Hundred Years War, long before Agincourt (link). Ceremonial court language would have been decades behind the language people actually spoke, even at court.

      Since the time of Edward I, popular myth suggested that the French planned to extinguish the English language, and as his grandfather had done, Edward III made the most of this scare (link). This suggests that English was fully accepted as the national language by Edward I (reigned 1272 to 1307), who is believed to have been taught it as a child.

      1. dogged

        Re: Slight historical inaccuracy

        Apparently, Edward I liked English because it's good for swearing and he swore like a motherfucker.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Slight historical inaccuracy

      "consisted of a small army with relatively few camp followers owing to the difficulty of cross-Channel transport,"

      And having to guard England against the Scots, meant usually having to leave the second XI behind in case of a unscheduled local derby.

  9. Arctic fox
    Headmaster

    Part of the issue here is that the French underestimated the tactical effect of combining.....

    .......highly skilled archers behind stakes who were at the same time being protected by men at arms combined with knights who at Henry's insistence fought on foot to support this effort (the French were not ignorant of it, they simply believed that they could overcome it). In order to come at the English the French had to charge across very boggy ground (Henry chose where to make his stand very carefully, he was after all a professional warrior unlike later Kings) and were in practice sitting ducks for some of the very best field archers in Europe at that time.

    1. Elmer Phud

      Re: Part of the issue here is that the French underestimated the tactical effect of combining.....

      The French were like the footy team from the local Craft Ale Emporium while Henry's mob came out of the boozer on a Friday night.

      1. Arctic fox
        Happy

        @Elmer Phud Re: "Henry's mob came out of the boozer on a Friday night."

        Given the widespread prevalence of dysentery amongst Henry's forces at the time I doubt that they would have been in any mood to "tie one on" before the battle.

    2. Pompous Git Silver badge

      Re: Part of the issue here is that the French underestimated the tactical effect of combining.....

      As I understand it, the French knights were wearing the latest and greatest in mild steel armour and thus not particularly vulnerable to arrows. Their horses were a different matter. The archers went on a killing spree with knives when the French knights were unhorsed and unable to defend themselves while fallen over on very boggy ground.

      1. x 7

        Re: Part of the issue here is that the French underestimated the tactical effect of combining.....

        "mild steel armour and thus not particularly vulnerable to arrows"

        reports I've read say the English arrows had "bodkin" tips and so could penetrate early steel armour

        1. Pompous Git Silver badge

          Re: Part of the issue here is that the French underestimated the tactical effect of combining.....

          Penetrate, but not injure at 20 metres:

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D3997HZuWjk

          1. dogged

            Re: Part of the issue here is that the French underestimated the tactical effect of combining.....

            > Penetrate, but not injure at 20 metres:

            Yeah, I dunno what was going on in that film but I've personally (from a 220lb longbow) put an arrow with a ballista bodkin head through a dummy wearing plate. It went through breastplate (16 gauge steel), chain worn beneath, padding, the dummy itself, the rear padding, the rear chain, the backplate (also 16g) and was hanging out by the fletchings.

            Admittedly, it's a big bow and I almost certainly couldn't do it at 200 yards (this was a demonstration at about 30 yards, any further would compromise crowd safety because I might miss) but your film there is bollocks.

            For what it's worth, I wear plate at re-enactments and it made me feel a bit twitchy about the whole thing, rubber blunts on arrows or not.

            1. Pompous Git Silver badge

              Re: Part of the issue here is that the French underestimated the tactical effect of combining.....

              There are only 5 sources of existing medieval longbows:

              The Spencer Bow with a draw weight of 100 lbs

              The Mendlesham bow with a draw weight of 80 lbs

              The Hedgeley Moor Bow with a draw weight of 50 lbs

              The Flodden Bow with a draw weight of 90 lbs

              The H.M.S. Mary Rose, a ship in the English fleet that sank off Portsmouth in 1545. There were 167 bows recovered from this ship with a draw weight average of 100 lbs.

              You claim your more than twice as powerful bow (220 lb) generates a better estimate of medieval longbowmen effectiveness against armour than the simulation in the flim clip (not "mine" BTW). I say bollocks back at you.

              1. dogged

                Re: Part of the issue here is that the French underestimated the tactical effect of combining.....

                The draw weight is partially a matter of not breaking style and partial a bragging rights/dicksizing thing.

                Once you can easily draw your bow, you must move up in weight or else you'll get bad habits which mean that any off-time (loss of strength and technique) will injure you. I have four bows, a 60lb little thing I use for the battlefield so I don't kill anyone, a 140lb bow I use for long range practice, a (filthy disgusting) mongolian horsebow for demonstration purposes (goes around 110lb at my 34" draw) and the Bitch (220lb) which is only used for demos and as my personal exercise machine.

                If you're questioning my bows, I've been shooting since I was six years old, I'm now 45. I'm also 6'4" inches tall and currently weigh around 18 stone, bodyfat somewhere around 13% right now. Due to the "stacking" effect of the compressing heartwood of a yew bow, the majority of the poundage arrives in the last six or so inches of draw. I have a very long draw. That means I do that demo because it looks really good for the punters.

                I have seen the same dummy shot with a friend's 120lb yew self-bow. It didn't go all the way through but it did make it into the back padding. That's more than enough.

                1. Pompous Git Silver badge

                  Re: Part of the issue here is that the French underestimated the tactical effect of combining.....

                  English Longbow Testing against various armor circa 1400:

                  http://www.medievalists.net/2011/12/19/english-longbow-testing-against-various-armor-circa-1400/

                  Interesting...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Part of the issue here is that the French underestimated the tactical effect of combining.....

        "The archers went on a killing spree with knives when the French knights were unhorsed and unable to defend themselves while fallen over on very boggy ground."

        Henry's forces also used their mallets to finish off the knights on the ground.

        It is said that the "V" sign originated in English/Welsh long bow archers showing their "draw string" fingers to the enemy. The French cut off those two fingers of captured archers. IIRC archery practice was a mandatory Sunday activity.

        1. dogged

          Re: Part of the issue here is that the French underestimated the tactical effect of combining.....

          > It is said that the "V" sign originated in English/Welsh long bow archers showing their "draw string" fingers to the enemy. The French cut off those two fingers of captured archers.

          This is true but nobody's quite certain why since they went on to hang them anyway.

          Archers didn't get ransomed.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Part of the issue here is that the French underestimated the tactical effect of combining.....

            "This is true but nobody's quite certain why since they went on to hang them anyway."

            The same could be said of being hanged, drawn, and quartered in England. It's about cruel punishment as revenge and as a deterrent to others.

            Nowadays the enforcement of law is more humane - except that some innocent people are apparently subjected to public shaming, loss of their career, and considerable legal expenses before the allegations are withdrawn due to "insufficient evidence to charge" viz no evidence.

  10. jwa

    We won the battle, but who won the war (not us).

    1. graeme leggett

      The war (and the peace) was lost because Henry died and his son Henry VI wasn't up to the job being about a year old.

      And that also led to the Wars of the Roses.

      Room for much speculation as to the future of Europe if Henry V had lived longer and by diplomacy/war had stabilised situation and passed some of his skills onto his son.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "We won the battle, but who won the war (not us)"

        HM the Q can trace a more direct line to Henry IV than Henry Tudor, but also back to Alfred the Great.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "We won the battle, but who won the war (not us)"

        "As I note above, neither of the sides in the Hundred Years War were "us"."

        Most of the armies' complement would not have been from the knight upper classes. As to lineage - it may be difficult to trace a family tree but some English family names indicate a Norman ancestry. Not sure how well DNA testing can differentiate between the English Anglo-Saxon/Danish stock and the French Norman stock. Basically the same invaders settled in both places.

      3. dogged

        Re: "We won the battle, but who won the war (not us)"

        > As I note above, neither of the sides in the Hundred Years War were "us". Unless you are a member of the very old (and very inbred) upper classes.

        And that's also not true because the odds are very high that you are, as I am*. Yes, from a bastard line but there have been a great many of those. These days, an English citizen pretty much needs to be descended from 20th century immigrant stock not to be related to Her Maj. And given the melting-pot nature of the UK (especially England) a great many of those are rapidly collecting the relevant ancestors.

        * Actually, in my case, a bastard line of the Beauforts who are themselves a bastard line of John of Gaunt who, as you know, was Edward III's son and as such descended by circuitous route from a certain William the Bastard. There's a lot of it about.

        1. Anonymous IV

          Re: "We won the battle, but who won the war (not us)"

          Olde literary joke:

          "Dear Diary, Today the Hundred Years War started..."

          1. x 7

            Re: "We won the battle, but who won the war (not us)"

            Our history teecher was always emphatic that as far as the French were concerned, it was the "two hundred years war"

            could explain a few things.......

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "We won the battle, but who won the war (not us)"

          "These days, an English citizen pretty much needs to be descended from 20th century immigrant stock not to be related to Her Maj. "

          The same has been pointed out in reference to the Bible saying that Jesus Christ was of King David's line. By that time the gene pool would have been sufficiently mixed so that everyone in the Jewish population could have made that DNA claim.

          English family names of Norman origins were presumably inherited from those in the Norman elite circles. The bastardisation could then have worked in reverse as they adopted other people's boys to carry on the name. Our related families' histories shows two cases of that happening in the 19th century. IIRC royal circles often needed elite witnesses to the birth to make sure a baby boy wasn't being imported in a warming pan.

    3. Kubla Cant Silver badge

      We won the battle, but who won the war (not us).

      The problem seems to have been that the mediæval military machines and the economies behind them simply lacked the resources for complete conquest. A king might be fabulously rich by comparison with most of his subjects, but he wasn't rich enough to pay for a standing army. The taxation system of the time was primitive and inefficient and the economies being taxed weren't very large.

  11. Howard Hanek
    Happy

    Secret Weapon

    From the captioned picture it may be that the English won because the French were laughing too hard.....

  12. Tim Worstal

    Surely it should be faasands of 'em, not thousands. Don't we want to get that other great war movie into it?

  13. JeffyPoooh
    Pint

    Cue Chris de Burgh...

    http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/chrisdeburgh/thefieldsofagincourt.html

    Ah...

  14. hatti

    Fromage

    Well penned El reg. No statistics on cheese eating primates though.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. KA1AXY

        Re: Fromage

        Vous avez oubliez:

        Petit contretemps avec Les indochinoise - 1954

        Et avec les algeriens - 1963?

        1. x 7

          Re: Fromage

          "Petit contretemps avec Les indochinoise - 1954

          Et avec les algeriens - 1963?"

          Frogs lost both of those wars didn't they?

          Lets not forget that the needed our help to regain both after/during WWII. Then they gave them away again

          1. Peter Simpson 1

            Re: Fromage

            Frogs lost both of those wars didn't they?

            They did, but not for lack of bravery. "Hell in a Very Small Place", by Bernard Fall, is an excellent account of the Battle of Dien Bien Phu. The French troops gave it all they had, including paratroops jumping into a battle thy knew they were going to lose. The generals who decided that a remote valley was the perfect place to demonstrate French military superiority were the ones to blame.

            The Arc de Triomphe is also a war memorial. One can't help but be moved when reading the markers there.

  15. xperroni
    Mushroom

    Ah, Agincourt...

    ...the British's most impressive victory in the war they ultimately lost.

    Downvote all you want, it will still be true.

    1. CrazyOldCatMan

      Re: Ah, Agincourt...

      > in the war they ultimately lost.

      Didn't lose the war - lost the peace.

  16. TonkaToys
    Thumb Up

    Bravo for actually remembering this

    I must commend El Reg for actually bothering to mention the 600th anniversary of Agincourt, as I was very disappointed to not see anything about this on the telly; let alone some kind of celebration at one of the English Heritage or National Trust sites.

    Given the excitement over Back To The Future, I was expecting at least to see one of the Henry V films on any channel, even ITV+44 or whatever. Or how about one of those excellent documentaries, to be shown on Yesterday's History Discovery.

    Nothing, nada, nul. *sigh*

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bravo for actually remembering this

      "[...] as I was very disappointed to not see anything about this on the telly; [...]"

      To quote BBC iPlayer from last week:

      "England, wracked by plague and revolt, loses the upper hand until Henry V, determined to prove his right to be king, turns the tide at the battle of Agincourt."

      It was a repeat from 2013 though.

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01qsqd2/chivalry-and-betrayal-the-hundred-years-war-2-breaking-the-bonds-13601415

  17. Anonymous IV

    The Agincourt Carol

    Amazed that nobody has mentioned this contemporary song.

    Many examples on YouTube, such as this one...

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