The English Soldier in the Campaign of Agincourt
By Wilfred Brenton Kerr
Journal of the American Military Institute, Vol. 4 Issue 1 (1940)
Abstract: The article presents an examination of the Battle of Agincourt that occurred in France in 1415 as part of the Hundred Years’ War. It describes the arrival of the English in France and provides details on the positions the English established around the walled-town of Harfleur, France. Information is given on the preparations that were made prior to the battle including the gathering of supplies and intelligence. The article discusses the role the English artillery played in the battle, it details the work of archers and notes that the English also tried to tunnel into the city.
Introduction: Toward morning the rain ceased, and the English, awaking and looking about, found before them a triangle of land among three villages, Maisoncelles to the south, Tramecourt to the northeast, Agincourt to the northwest, each set in a small thick wood. Through the middle of this triangle ran the road to Calais, and between Agincourt and Tramecourt, a distance of three-quarters of a mile, lay the French army blocking the passage. The field between the English and French was open, devoid of hedges, thickets, valleys, ravines, or other obstacles, and had been chosen by the French themselves. For our purpose the country was like a table; rarely is a battlefield so simple and easy to describe.
At the same time on this morning of October 25, 1415, the French were astir. They had foregone any notion of surrounding the English as contrary to fair play and had made their plans for a stand-up fight. They were soon taking their places in order of battle in the usual three sections. Foremost was a vanguard of five thousand men of arms, all or almost all knights, nobles and gentlemen who expected only a bit of military exercise and wanted for themselves whatever little glory was to be had. They formed a line three deep and packed themselves closely, each man having about two feet of room. The length was the three-quarters of a mile mentioned above, less sufficient room for cavalry and crossbowmen on each end.