Why did King Henry V win the Battle of Agincourt?

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Why did King Henry V win the Battle of Agincourt?

The Battle of Agincourt was one of the decisive battles in the Hundred Years’ War, and a famous victory for King Henry V and the English and Welsh, even though they were severely depleted and were suffering from diseases like dysentery. The English Army had only 6,000 soldiers in the army, compared to the 36,000 in the French Army. However, the English had one crucial advantage, the longbow. Capable of shooting down enemies from long range, it was a deadly weapon. This is the biggest factor in the war, and the one that prompted England to win the battle. However, the terrain in the war also played a part, as shown by the fact that there were woods either side of the battlefield and by the fact it was raining the day before, meaning that the French chivalry could not get through properly and attack the English. The tactics of the English also played a part in the events leading up to the war, while leadership was not the main cause, but still played a significant part in the victory.

Firstly, the weaponry played a major part in the war. France used the crossbow, which was useful at short distances, however, it was ineffective, and you could only fire 2-3 arrows a minute with it. The English Army used the more advanced longbow, which could shoot 17-18 arrows a minute, a major advantage to the crossbow. But what made this weapon truly special was the fact that you could shoot to distances of about 200 metres with it. This reduced stress to English men-at-arms, and meant that large divisions of the opposition’s army could be struck down at will from long range. This therefore forced the French to either charge or retreat, causing disorganisation within the French. Divisions broke up, and the French became vulnerable. Coupled with this fact is the fact that the English used bodkin arrows, capable of taking down French men-at-arms, as it was able to pierce armour. This resulted in a lot more deaths than in previous wars, when arrows were not able to pierce armour. Striking down opponents at long range was a major advantage to Henry and the English, and therefore was the most important factor for them winning the war. This links on to the next factor, the terrain, as if it were not for the boggy conditions on the battlefield along with the terrain, then the longbow archers would not have had as much success.

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The terrain, along with the weather, played an integral role in the outcome of the war. The fact that it was on a flat plain helped the French as most of their army was made up of men-at-arms on horseback. However, there were woods on either side of the battleground at Agincourt, which meant that the huge French army could not get behind the English army and surround them. This significantly reduced the intensity of the French army, as it meant that the French army had to go division by division, instead of a full-on attack the English. Another advantage ...

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