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14th October. 1066.

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Yes, you've got it - the battle of Hastings - where Harold got one in the eye, and Normans moved in as the ruling class - and have remained so ever since. :shock::wink:

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Guest tonymailman

There's still doubt as to whether Harold DID actually get an arrow in the eye or not ............ the Bayeux tapestry is one of the finest sources for research of early medieval history :wink: and from that date England went rapidly downhill :wink:

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Taught my grand-son that it was actually the battle of Battle.. He contradicted the teacher and got told he was wrong.

Later got an apology.

 

Sorry to be pedantic.

 

Happy days

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Believe it was actually fought on Senlac Hill, so could be called the battle of Senlac. :? Most battles were named by the victor, or by future historians after a prominant Town: EG. Wellington named the battle of Waterloo after the village that was his HQ, rather than the villages on site, such as La Belle Alliance, Plancetnoit or Ronsomme. :roll:

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The town of Battle was named after the battle. So the battle couldn't have been the Battle Of Battle, because Battle wasn't called Battle when the battle took place.

 

If that makes any sense at all!

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Know nothing about the battle other than what I learned at school. Didn,t the beastly Normans trick us by running away from the British. impregnable, on Senlac hill, and drawing us down into a level playing field.

 

Also from memory, believe King Harold lost two brothers in the battle?

 

History can be dull, but the background never is.

 

Happy days

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A very brief resume of the battle H: Harold, having marched up to Stamford Bridge to defeat the Vikings, raced back to London to face the Normans. Duke William, launched raids from his bridge-head fort to goad Harold into giving battle. An impetuous Harold, instead of the more cautious strategy of waiting for his own forces to multiply and for the weather to destroy William's seaborne communications, raced off to Senlac Hill. His 2,000 housecarls, and around 8,000 Fyrdmen, faced the Normans 2,000 Knights, 6,000 Infantry and 2,000 Archers. Following several unsuccessfull assaults on the Saxon shield wall throughout the day, his Breton Allies on his left appeared to flee or conducted a feigned flight; despit explicit orders to maintain the integrity of the shield wall, the Saxon right went charging after the Bretons, only to be surrounded and slaughtered by William's Knights. Finally, with a thinning shield wall, the Saxons faced a co-ordinated assault by Cavalry and Infantry, supported by high trajectory fire from the archers (which is when Harold reputedly got one in the high); this proved successfull, with even more slaughter being dished out in the pursuit. Thus it was, that with about 12,000 men (later 25,000); the Normans conquered Britain and subjected over a million Saxons to their rule. :cry:

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Guest tonymailman

You spend too much time on google :lol: it HAS been known as the Battle of Battle for a long time.

 

Being nitpicky it's also known more commonly as Senlac Ridge, one of the first battles on English soil to utilise the archer as a vital element. Often said to be Edward I who saw the destructive use of archers but good old Will the Conueror was at it 200 years before.

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Wouldn't even know how to google - it's all accumulated knowledge! :wink: The best weapon (at the time) against cavalry would have been a (6ft plus) spear wall, with overhead fire by javelins and archers; unfortunately Harold had no trained pikemen (like the later Scottish schiltron) and few archers; he did have his axe weilding Houscarls who were execellent against any enemy, and many were enrolled in the Byzantine Army later as the Varangian Guard; but these were gradually wilted down throughout the course of the battle. If he'd stayed in London longer, he could have swelled his Army to an enoumous size, and the weather in the channel and the Saxon Navy could have starved William of supplies - still, hindsight is a wonderfull thing. :wink:

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Guest tonymailman

29 archers shown on the Tapestry - 28 of which were Normans including one that is 'possibly' wearing mail or a scale coat, VERY rare for and archer to be supplied with armour of that quality at the time, although there is the train of thought that he could possibly be a crossbowman, holding what maybe 3 or 4 arrows/quarrels in the left hand, this would have been a totally new concept the saxons would never have seen before, but the interpretation on the tapestry could be taken in a few different ways, the shooting power and destructive nature of the Norman archers did help to a great extent. The 'dane-axe' was a very useful weapon (being weilded correctly it could remove a horses head in one swipe) but the use of rains of arrows from a distance far outweighed the 'eye to eye' fighting (and that was uphill !), totally depleted and exhausted Saxons were no match whatsoever for the Normans. At one point however it could well have gone the other way as many of the Norman cavalry leaders thought William had been killed, having to prove himself still alive by lifting his spangenhelm and dropping his ventail to show his identity :wink:

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Correct Ind: think they used the short bow, although the cross-bow was gaining favour, but wasn't as usefull for indirect fire, although much better against armoured opponents. The long-bow was introduced with the employment of Welsh archers by Edward I, and it's potential was first demonstrated at the battle of Halidon Hill (?); it went on to dominate the battlefield and counter the armoured knight right up to Tudor times and the introduction of gun-powder weapons. :shock: The occupation of England (1 million inhabitants) by 25,000 Normans using a system of strategically sited Forts (later castles), is an indication of how a smaller but better equiped fighting force can control a country - not sure the same principle could work in Afghanistan? :?

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Guest tonymailman

Never really known as a 'longbow', that is a more modern terminology, always referred to in records as either a 'bow' or a 'war bow'. Bows of 6ft plus in length were in use well before the 13th century, some of the finest examples were from the Nydam finds, one of which measured 6ft 4 ins. Bows in common use were usually between 5 and 6ft in length, early English and especially the ones used by the bowmen of South Wales (the ones who grew a good reputation) were pretty rough pieces of kit, usually made from elm, Yew was the favoured material but definitely NOT English yew ! (another modern myth that English churchyards have yew trees in them because their branches were used for making bows in the medieval period) ... the bow (OR possibly crossbow) in use by the Norman archer on the Tapestry could well have been the short recurve kind as used in the Middle East at the time, but we'll never know. The crossbows at that particular time were no where near the power of the war bows, very early crossbows (Asian in origin) had their strings drawn back to the peg by hand thus not having that much power, 12th, 13th & 14th century European crossbows then became more powerful with the use of the 'goats foot' crossbow and then into the 15th century and the advent of complete harnesses of plate they made them even more powerful with the 'windlass' crossbow, completely deadly and more than capable of penetrating plate armour, the arrow shot from a war bow would very, very rarely penetrate plate unless from very, very short distances and even then the point of a bodkin arrow head could well bend on impast due to its very pointed tip. Another myth that has been well proved and tested :wink:

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Guest tonymailman

Just to add, the crossbow was THE favoured weapon in England well into the reign of Henry III, as late as the 1264 Assize of Arms there are mentions of the crossbow being the 'issued' and standard weapon for many.

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Modern cross-bows can be as effective as a rifle at shorter ranges, and is of course silent. Tried an older model once, the bolt went through 4" of timber from 100yds - awsome. :shock: Your right about their armour penetration capability, which is probably why a Pope out-lawed them, too many "nobles" were getting killed. Problem with them of course, is their slow re-load, compared to a long-bow, reduces their rate of fire on the battlefield - where mass volleys against charging knights were required - probably killing more horses than men, but the floundering knights were then dispatched by a dagger through the eye. :shock:

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Guest tonymailman

True, bows and arrows were used in the 2nd world war in jungle areas because of their silence :wink:

 

Crossbows were actually banned from use for the Knights Hospitallers and Templars during the crusades by Pope Innocent II because they were classed as weapons of the 'infidel' much the same as the mace at the time.

 

Correct about speed and reload, slower but deadlier ......... advantages and disadvantages to both as with all weaponry at the time, continual development to overcome the development in armour also as that progressed.

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Getting back to 1066: the two handed axe was indeed a fearsome weapon, but I'm not sure how the Housecarls could stay in a tight shield wall when using it, plus they would lose the protection of their shield - which could account for a high loss rate from archery fire among these elite troops? :?

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Guest tonymailman

You wouldn't be using a shield if wielding a Dane-Axe, shields were your main weapon also, those carrying shields would have hand weapons of spears or single hand axes (bearded axe etc). Advantage shield wise at that time was of course the 'almost body length' tear-drop /kite shield, although the round and possibly 'dished' shield was still in use. Very, very few would be on a battlefield at that time without a shield, as well as the wall there was the 'pincer' formation and the 'clamp' formation ...... the earlier Roman 'Testudo' formation was still far superior :wink:

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Precisely my point Ind: I would imagine use of the Dane-Axe would require room for manouver thus compromising the tight formation of the shield wall? The non use of a shield would also increase vulnerability to missile fire? The usual tactic of ancient and medieval inf V inf combat with shock weapons, was to literally bowl the opposition over with weight of numbers (shield against shield), rather like a rugby scrum; if and when an opponents fell to the ground he could be despatched. :shock:

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