Agincourt, battle of

views updated May 23 2018

Agincourt, battle of, 1415. Henry V landed in France on 13 August 1415 with an army of c.2,500 men-at-arms and 7,500 archers, laying siege to Harfleur. He may have intended a more extensive campaign, but as the town held out until 23 September, and his army was much depleted by dysentery, he decided to return forthwith to England via Calais. The march north was lengthier than expected as he was forced far inland in search of a crossing of the Somme. The French army, perhaps over 20,000 strong, attempted to block his approach to Calais. Henry had little choice but to give battle on 25 October though he now had only about 900 men-at-arms and 5,000 archers. He drew up his well-disciplined troops, all on foot, within 300 yards of the enemy, across a narrow front bordered by trees, with archers on the flanks. The French cavalry charged into this funnel, hampered by volleys of arrows and by the wet ground; the rear lines piled into the front. Many were killed or captured, amongst them the duke of Orléans. Against chivalric practice, Henry had some prisoners killed when he thought the French were regrouping and after an attack on his baggage, but this did not diminish the renown gained from this unexpected victory.

Anne Curry

Agincourt, Battle of

views updated May 14 2018

Agincourt, Battle of (October 25, 1415) Engagement between England and France during the Hundred Years' War. The battle took place in modern Azincourt, Pas de Calais, ne France. Poor French tactics and the superior rate of fire of the English longbow over the French crossbow contributed to the English victory against a much larger French force. Some 6000 French soldiers died in the battle. Henry V of England's success, later celebrated by Shakespeare, gained him France and the French princess Catherine de Valois as his wife.

Agincourt, Battle of

views updated May 23 2018

Agincourt, Battle of a battle in northern France in 1415 during the Hundred Years War, in which the English under Henry V defeated a large French army. The victory, achieved largely by use of the longbow, allowed Henry to occupy Normandy and consolidate his claim to the French throne.

Agincourt Song

views updated May 21 2018

Agincourt Song. A famous 15th-cent. Eng. song commemorating the victory at Agincourt in 1415, for 2 vv. and 3-part ch. Used by Walton in his film music for Henry V (1944).

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