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The Consequences of France's Defeat at Agincourt - Dr Helen Castor

English casualties on the other hand were comparatively trivial: about are thought to have been killed in battle or died of their wounds. The French army at Agincourt had no fixed organization. Soldiers mustered under the command of the great nobles, whose banners served in effect as company and regimental colors. The royal banner of France, symbolizing the authority of the French crown, was the closest thing to a national flag. Both versions are illustrated below.

Jean, Duke of Bourbon. Charles, Count of Orleans.

Charles de Artois, Count of Eu. Louis de Bourbon. Jacques, Count of Roucy. Ferry de Lorraine Count of Vaudemont. Philippe, Count of Nevers. The museum is aimed at families and gives a good impression of the life of soldiers. But it was opened 15 years ago and some of the facts in the videos you see are inventive at the best and plain inaccurate at worst. Part of the seemingly endless Hundred Years War between the English and the French to , this particular conflict took place when the French King, Charles VI, known as Charles the Mad, presided over a weak and divided country.

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How does a museum remember a defeat? - BBC News

Two branches of the royal family, the Armagnacs who supported the mad King, and the rebel Burgundians, had been fighting each other since in what was effectively a civil war. He landed with around 12, soldiers and successfully besieged Harfleur. The victory cost them a considerable number of men; around 9, Englishmen marched inland to meet the French army at Agincourt on 25 th October. The French numbered a bit over 12, men so the numbers were not as heavily stacked against the English as popular myth claims.

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The difference between the two armies was in their approach to the battle and the leadership of the forces. The English army, which was much more professionally run, were led by an ambitious, clever soldier-king. The strategies of the two nations were also radically different. To the French, this was a battle fought on chivalric principles, with the cavalry heavily involved.

A French night at Agincourt - Picture of Centre Historique Medieval - Azincourt

Huge warhorses were to carry their armoured dukes and knights, marquesses and counts into battle. Men-at-arms were equally as important to the French and the idea was to fight a set-piece battle. Finally the field was muddy, not ideal for heavy horses and armoured knights. The English approach was very different. The French archers mainly carried crossbows — fiendish weapons that had been developed to fight the infidel in the Crusades, not to fight your fellow Christians. Crossbows might have been powerful, but in the time it took to load, wind and fire a crossbow, the English archers could send between 7 and 10 arrows a minute into the air to rain down on their opponents.

The French had their cavalry in the first line, with their archers in the 3 rd. When the battle started at 10am, the English began their winged assault. The French cavalry fell, horses thrashing around, knights unable to get up off the ground. Any mounted knights who did get within striking distance of the English faced sharp stakes hammered into the soft ground meaning that the second and third line of French had to clamber over this heaving mass of death to get to the English. The battle continued until 4pm.


  1. Henry V at Agincourt.
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Casualties on the French side were around 3, to 4, with French nobles killed. The English casualties are now estimated to be between and 1, Welsh archers were some of the best and many came from Brecon where there's a stone used by the men to sharpen their arrows on the eve of the battle. The Museum is a mix of exhibits about both the English and the French, with the names of the main contestants displayed on walls as you walk in, alongside their images, coats-of-arms and shields. Extracts from the chroniclers of the times set the scene. The most interesting display in the museum is a huge model of the battlefield.

Tiny figurines, beautifully depicted and accurately painted in the right colors, show the positions of the armies on the eve of the battle — the English on the higher ground and protected by trees on both flanks; the French spread out in all their colorful glory on the other side.

The next section consists of three audiovisual exhibits, starting with two figures, Henry V and the French commander, giving their thoughts on the eve of the battle. The third is a room which explains a little about the battle itself, though it's not always correct.