The Battle |

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The Battle

On 25 October 1415, around 7,000 English troops won a momentous victory on French soil. In the 600 years since, the events of the day have all-but become legend. Read on to discover what really happened…

TRAINED TO KILL Archery practice was required by law in England as early as the 13th century. As such, the peasant-troops were highly skilled and lethal, but also cheap.

BAND OF BROTHERS Fighters get into the thick of the action at a re-enactment of the Battle of Agincourt

Crossing a muddy field in Picardy, an elderly, white-haired man in plate armour rode in front of a small English army. He bellowed an order and hurled his baton into the air as a signal. The man was Sir omas Erpingham, it was the morning of St Crispin’s Day 1415, and the place was Agincourt. One of the most famous battles in history was about to begin.

The English were not in the best shape to fight that grey day in late October. A little over a fortnight earlier, they had set o from the Normandy town of Harfleur, which they had just captured from the French, to march to the English base at Calais. But now their way was blocked by a much larger French army, which had shadowed them all the way. e English were tired, hungry and many were su ering from dysentery – a deadly disease that had already claimed thousands of their comrades.

LEAN AND MEAN Henry’s exhausted troops had marched 260 miles in 17 days to reach Agincourt, on only eight days’ food rations,

ENGLAND V FRANCE Fighting gets underway in this 15th-century manuscript illumination RIGHT: The battle plan drawn up by the French, which is now kept at the British Library
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