The Armaments of the Hundred Years’ War and Their Effects on Western Europe
By Christopher Robert Beauregard, David Smieja, Kyler Bailey Dillon, Luke Bin Xu and Tejas Rao
Worcester Polytechnic Institute, 2018
Abstract: This project investigates the development of weaponry during the late medieval period, specifically focusing on the Hundred Years’ War, fought between England and France between 1337 and 1453. This report will explore the historical background of this conflict and the changes to army organization, military technology, and tactics that resulted from it. Additionally, it will describe the construction of a warhammer, a staple of the conflict, and explore its material properties in an attempt to classify the general armaments of the time. Finally, it describes the changes made to Worcester Polytechnic Institute’s Historical Evolution of Arms and Armors website with respect to adding content related to the project, as well as improving the inner workings of the site and providing a better user experience.
Introduction: Originating from a dispute regarding the ownership of certain territories in France, the Hundred Years’ War was a conflict between kingdoms of England and France, lasting between the years 1337 and 1453. It had a profound impact on the futures of the countries on either side. With effects ranging from the rise of artillery to the re-shaping of both kingdoms’ futures, the developments which arose from this war shaped the political, geographic, and military attributes of their respective nations.
Throughout much of history, the driving force behind developments in materials was armed conflict, specifically the need to defeat or counter the weapons or armors used by one’s enemies. Due to the sheer scale and length of the Hundred Years’ War, this conflict saw many evolutions in both tactics and technology, such as the fall of chivalry and heavy cavalry, as well as the rise of guns and cannons. In this report, our team will analyze the warhammer, a blunt force weapon used by both infantry and cavalry to break through heavy armor.
Top Image: Knight with war hammer – painting by Paolo Uccello, 15th century