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tonymaillman

Hastings

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Yet another IF in history: IF Harold had waited, pursued a scorched earth strategy, he could have assembled a much larger Army closer to London? :shock: As it was, the shield wall at Hastings proved impenetrable, as long as it kept it's formation, but was thinned out when a section pursued a Breton feigned retreat and was massacred. :cry: Not sure they could have survived the high elevation archery fire though, unless they knew how to form a testudo! :wink:

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my favourite version of events that took place

 

The Battle of Hastings

 

I?ll tell of the battle of Hastings

As happened in days long gone by

When duke William became King of England

And ?Arold got shot in the eye

 

It were this way one day in October

The duke who were always a toff

Having no battles at moment

Had given his lads the day off

 

They?d all taken boats to go fishing

When some chap in t?conquerors ear

Said ?let?s go and put breeze up the Saxons?

Said bill ?by gum that?s an idea?

 

Then turning round to his soldiers

He lifted his big Norman voice

Shouting ?hands up who?s coming to England?

That was swank as they hadn?t no choice

 

They started away about tea time

The sea was so calm and so still

And at quarter to ten the next morning

They arrived at a place called Bexhill

 

King ?Arold came up as they landed

His face full of venom and ?ate

He said ?if you?ve come for regatta

You?ve got here just six weeks to late

 

At that William rose cool but ?aughty

And said ?give us none of your cheek

You?d best your throne re upholstered

I?ll be wanting to use it next week?

 

When ?Arold heard this ?ere defiance

With rage he turned purple and blue

And shouted some rude words in Saxon

To which William answered ?and you?

 

Twere a beautiful day for a battle

The Normans set off with a will

And when both sides were duly assembled

They tossed up for the top of the hill

 

King ?Arold he won the advantage

On the hill top he took up his stand

With his knaves and his cads All around him

On ?is ?orse with ?is ?awk in ?is ?and

 

The Normans had nowt in their favour

Their chance of victory seemed small

For the slope of the field were against ?em

And the wind in their faces an all

 

The kick off were sharp at two thirty

And soon as the whistle had went

Both sides started banging each other

Til swineherds could ?ear ?em in Kent

 

The Saxons had best line of forwards

Well armed with both buckler and sword

But the Normans had best combination

And when half time came neither had scored

 

So the duke called his cohorts together

And said ?let?s pretend as we're beat

Once we get the Saxons on level

We?ll cut off their means of retreat?

 

So they ran and the Saxons ran after

Just exactly as William had planned

Leaving ?Arold alone on the hill top

On ?is ?orse with ?is ?awk in ?is ?and

 

When conqueror saw what had happened

A bow and an arrow he drew

He went right up to ?Arold and shot him

He were offside but what could they do

 

The Normans turned round in a fury

And gave back both parry and thrust

Till the fighting were over bar shouting

And you couldn?t see Saxons for dust

 

And after the battle were over

They found ?Arold so stately and grand

Sitting there with a eye full of arrow

On ?is ?orse with ?is ?awk in ?is ?and.

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Yet another IF in history: IF Harold had waited, pursued a scorched earth strategy, he could have assembled a much larger Army closer to London? :shock: As it was, the shield wall at Hastings proved impenetrable, as long as it kept it's formation, but was thinned out when a section pursued a Breton feigned retreat and was massacred. :cry: Not sure they could have survived the high elevation archery fire though, unless they knew how to form a testudo! :wink:

 

A total lack of archers on Harold's side didn't help his cause :wink:

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Your right Tone; but they did have a portion of archers and slingers in the Great Fyrd, which IF he'd waited to assemble the full manpower potential of the Country, he may have had sufficient to counter the Normans? :? After all I think the Normans only had around 2,000 archers, 2,000 knights and 6,000 foot? :wink:

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As is well known the Bayeux Tapestry is THE best reference available for the build up to and the actual battle itself, although as in most historical references it may well be biased ........

It does however heighten the fact that Harold was 'starved' of archers, the tapestry shows 29 archers altogether (some in the bottom row) and out of these 29 only ONE is a Saxon. Of the 28 Norman archers, one is unusually wearing what may well be a mail hauberk (very unusual for an archer at that time) and one is actually on horseback. If you look closely at the foot archer in the hauberk it shows what looks like additional arrows being held in the left hand holding the bow, many theories abound that this may well be a crossbowman ........... as the use of the crossbow was very, very rare indeed at this particular time.

 

Here's a link to something that may be of interest :wink:

 

http://www.archerylibrary.com/books/badminton/docs/chapter07/chapter7_1.html

 

By the way, Harold didn't really have the time to wait to assemble more manpower :wink:

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I think the reason for Harold being impetuous in marching his Army down to Hastings, after a gruelling march from Stamford Bridge, was the fact that William was devastating the local area, presumably in order to goad Harold into a premature battle? :wink: As for archery, I would have thought missile weapons (bows or slings) would have been in general use for hunting, but perhaps were not the weapon of choice for military use - the Housecarls were famed for their use of the two handed axe, and surviving veterans of the period sold their services to the Byzantine Emperor as members of the Varangian Guard. :wink:

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