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Battle Scenarios

The Battle of Agincourt (1415 AD)

Henry the V with 1,000 men-at-arms backed by 5,000 English longbowmen defeat a French army more than three times his size as the compact position and disjointed French attacks cancel out any disadvantage in numbers.

The Armies

100 Year War English (#168).

Medieval French (#170).

The Historical Battle

King Henry V of England landed an army of 10,500 near the Norman port of Harfleur. Two-thirds of his army was archers, and at least two-thirds were mounted, for Henry planned a chevauchee to Bordeaux via Paris. The seige of Harfleur took five weeks, however, and greatly reduced his army so that he had but 6,000 left to conduct his campaign. Changing his plan of action, he set off on a 120 mile raid along the length of Normandy with the port of Calais as his target.

The French quickly mobilized and were able to block the direct crossings of the Somme River, forcing Henry to take a wide detour, crossing far to the south at Peronne. Henry pushed his tired and hungry men hard, trying to elude the main French force, but finally found his way blocked by nearly 30,000 French under Boucicaut and d'Albret encamped near the town of Agincourt.

There was little Henry could do but offer battle. He had at his command approximately 1000 men-at-arms and 5,000 archers. He formed them in a line across a ploughed field comprised of three battles, with his men-at arms in the center and 2,500 archers on each wing. Woods protected each flank.

The French formed their army three lines deep with 8000 men-at-arms and 1,600 heavily armored cavalry in the first battle, 3,000-6,000 men-at-arms and 4,000 archers and crossbowmen in the second battle, and 8,000-10,000 cavalry in the third battle. Their plan was to disperse the English archers with their armored cavalry, and then press forward against Henry's heavily out-numbered men-at-arms.

Grasping the situation, Henry quickly seized the initiative. He advanced his line to within 200-300 yards of the French and had his archers drive their defensive stakes. Then, he ordered them to loose arrows at long range to provoke an impetuous French response. The first French battle advanced, but the French heavy cavalry quickly outranged their supports and made little impact on the English archers. Recoiling under the heavy English fire, the French knights smashed into and through their own line of infantry, which was slogging its way across the rain-sodden ploughed ground. The French foot reformed and came on, but hit the compact English line with little momentum on a narrow front where their superior numbers gave them little advantage. The second French battle advanced and rejoined the melee, although the French missile troops played little role. The press along the narrow front became so great that the closely packed French soldiers could not properly wield their weapons. With the English archers harassing their flanks and Henry's battle line unyielding, the French men-at-arms were pushed back.

With the battle hanging in the balance, the third French battle lost heart and the majority of its horsemen left the field. A few hundred Knights remained and made a final charge across the blood-stained field, but to little effect.

By this stage of the battle, the dead were stacked in heaps and the French wounded lay strewn across the field. The French knights who had been unhorsed in the battle and the heavily armored men-at-arms who had fallen over the stacked bodies became easy prey for the lightly burdened English longbowmen, who dashed about the field. In addition to their bows, the longbowmen also carried long daggers and mallots which could be used to pierce through plate armor and chain mail. Approximately 2000 French were captured and held prisoner near the English camp in hopes of future ransom. A French sortie around the woods and into the English rear created a brief panic leading Henry to order the prisoners killed to the dismay of his men-at-arms, who refused. Henry's archers were less reluctant and dispatched approximately half of the less "important" prisoners before the killing was halted. When the day was done, the French left over 600 Knights and nobles dead on the field and another 1,000 prisoner. Henry's losses were approximately 300 dead and the balance of his march to Calais was unopposed.

Deployment

The English deploy first within 1200P of their baseline. English Knights and cavalry fight dismounted (as 4Bd). French deploy second anywhere within 600P of their baseline and move first. At least four of the French Knights fight mounted.

Game Map (ASCII)


=================French Baseline=================
A A . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . r f f f
A A . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . r f f f 
. r f f . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . r f f f 
. r r r r r r r r r r r r r r r r r r r r r r r r 
. r f f f . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . r f f f
. r f f f . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . r f f f 
. r f f f . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . r f f f 
. r f f f . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . r f f f
. r f f f . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . r f f f
. r f f f . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . r f f f  
. r f f f . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . r f f f
. r f f . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . r f f f
. r f f . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . r f f f
. r f f . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . r f f f
f r f . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . r f f f
f r . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . r f f f
f r . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . r f f f
f r . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . r f f f
f r r . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . r . f f
f r . r . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . r . f f
. r . . r . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . r . . f
. r . . . r . . b b b b . . . . . . . . . . r . .
. r . . . . r r r r r r r r r r r r . . . . . r .
. r . . . . . f f f f f f f . . . . r . . . . . r
===============English Baseline==================

SCALE: The distance between each dot/letter is one inch.

TERRAIN KEY:

. = Good Going (Good Going)
r = road
h = hill
f = Forest (Bad Going)
b = Bad Going
A = Agincourt (Built Up Area/Bad Going)

Terrain Notes

None.

Special Rules

As an optional rule, English archers may deploy stakes on their first bound as an obstacle (+1 to close combat modifier versus mounted in contact). Stakes may not be removed (i.e. archers lose the +1 close combat modifier if they advance or retreat).

As an optional rule, treat all open terrain between the two roads as rain-sodden ploughed land which reduces normal movement by 50P per bound.

Victory Conditions

Use the normal DBA victory conditions.


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Last Updated: June 20, 1998

Questions, comments, and feedback are welcome. Sent them to my attention at IamFanaticus@gmail.com.