Talk:Battle of Agincourt

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Primary sources section (original_research?)[edit]

See Archive 1: Primary sources section (original_research?) for previous discussion.

Use of shields in the 15th century[edit]

By the 15th century, full plate armours were in use, as was the longsword and the weapons needed to defeat plate armour, such as pollaxes and the like. All of which require two hands to use. While arming swords were in use, they still TYPICALLY were not used with shields. By the 15th century the only time shields saw regular use was during tournaments. Ecranche style shields were common for the joust and possibly during initial lance charges, but they were not their to protect the wearer from arrows, rather the lance. Evil.Merlin (talk) 05:12, 14 May 2013 (UTC)

Would you be able to provide a citation to go into the article? Hchc2009 (talk) 05:46, 14 May 2013 (UTC)
Does it need to go in the article? The only reference to shields was an uncited statement they weren't carried, which has been removed. While I would broadly agree with Evil Merlin, I couldn't speak with referenced certainty on the matter. How significant a point is it? Monstrelet (talk) 07:06, 14 May 2013 (UTC)
Not huge, but it would be useful to be able to explain that they didn't have shields, as I suspect many readers wouldn't have guessed that. The current version leaves the shields (or lack of them) hanging. Hchc2009 (talk) 17:23, 14 May 2013 (UTC)
I agree that it's broadly correct that they wore plate armour and carried weapons such as lances (spears) which would generally be used with two hands. I'll see if I can find anything in my sources tonight. I remember Barker has quite a detailed section on the armour they wore, she may have something on shields (or lack of). I agree though it's not absolutely necessary if it's not in the article! --Merlinme (talk) 11:02, 15 May 2013 (UTC)
Medieval Warfare, Nicholson (2004) p. 97: "Complete coats of plate were in general use by the early fifteenth century. ... Nor did they need to carry a shield; the armour itself was sufficient." (Verifiable via Amazon "Look Inside".) That seems pretty definitive, I'll look at adding it as a proper reference tonight. --Merlinme (talk) 13:11, 15 May 2013 (UTC)────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────

Incidentally, it's surprisingly hard work to get well-sourced information on the weapons which would have been used by the knights and men-at-arms. I used "lances" above because there's a reference in the contemporary sources to the French knights deliberately shortening their lances because they would be using them on foot in a melee. On the other hand, another source says the French knights were too closely packed to use their swords properly. And to complete the confusion, another source refers to Henry's helmet being damaged by an axe, which would presumably be either a halberd or a poll-axe.
Mustered men-at-arms at the time were expected to turn up with full armour and several good horses, plus sword, dagger and lance. Other weapons were undoubtedly used, but as far as I can tell they were provided by the man-at-arms himself, so there was probably little standardisation, and probably a matter of resources and taste as much as anything else. Maces were quite popular, and could be effective against an armoured opponent, but they're quite small in length, and would probably be more of a backup weapon than for dismounting to fight in a melee with enemies using pole weapons.
In general we know a lot more about weapons which were provided by the king, such as the staggering number of arrows which Henry took with him. I think it's reasonable to assume that the French knights (who fought on horseback throughout the period) would all have had lances and swords. Fighting on foot with a lance is perfectly feasible; "lancers" were troops who fought on foot using short lances. There does seem to have been a shift to poll axes and similar during the 15th century, but it's not clear to me how far advanced this would have been in 1415. I'm really not sure how you could definitively answer what other weapons (and in what numbers) the French were using. Archaeology would be helpful, but the only such which I'm aware of for Agincourt was on a very limited scale in the early 19th century. Interestingly that found some lance heads. However it's unclear whether an early 19th century amateur dig would have even been able to correctly identify them as from Agincourt, and whether they would have distinguished between a lance head and a poll axe head. I imagine it would also be hard work to determine whether any given weapon was of French or English make. --Merlinme (talk) 16:09, 16 May 2013 (UTC)

A slight fly in the ointment here. I checked Clifford Rogers account of Agincourt (refered to in full in the article sources), because I recalled he gives quite a bit of thought to weaponry. On page 90, he states that some of the French men-at-arms carried pavises. He bases this on Le Fevre and Waurin. I followed up his quote and, indeed, these two refer to the problems suffered by those men at arms "who had no shields". The word used for shields is pavaix which certainly means pavises but I'm not sure can't also mean shields more generically. However, the fact remains, the sources contrast the fate of men with shields with those without. We cannot say categorically, therefore, that men-at-arms in the battle had no shields. We can, using Rogers as a source, state many didn't carry shields (he is quite clear the majority didn't).Monstrelet (talk) 12:21, 18 May 2013 (UTC)
Sorry Monstrelet, I missed this before I finally got round to doing my edit. Feel free to modify the wording if you wish. I don't have the Rogers but it's available via google books and looks really interesting, however I haven't had a chance to look at it properly yet. In terms of weaponry Rogers does seem to envision that the English formation would be three lances/ spears deep, and that the French would also have used their (cut-down) lances/ spears, although he suggests that the first French line might have been armed with axes and shields. The Waurin quote looks pretty definitive that a significant number of the French used shields (although also implying a significant number did not use shields). I've got Sources and Interpretations, I'll see if I can find it in context. --Merlinme (talk) 17:18, 20 May 2013 (UTC)
It's on page 160. Unfortunately, the context doesn't add a great deal. Monstrelet (talk) 08:08, 21 May 2013 (UTC)
Illustrations from the period can be interesting, although I think it's reasonable to say they generally show arms and armour of the time of the illustrator rather than the time of the battle they are supposed to be showing. On that subject, this might be relevant: [1] which is supposed to be of the Battle of Auray, in 1364, but was actually made in 1410, i.e. very close to Agincourt. It shows fully armoured men-at-arms with their visors down engaging with their lances and their swords. A lot more lancepoints can be seen than swords, I would assume that the sword was a backup weapon if the enemy got past your lancepoint. By contrast this illustration: [2] is theoretically of the same battle but was made much later, I believe it's from this edition of Froissart: Froissart_of_Louis_of_Gruuthuse_(BnF_Fr_2643-6) from the 1470s. There are a lot of axe heads on show in that illustration, along with lances, swords, longbows, one dagger (for a scramble on the ground) and quite a lot of shields, interestingly enough. So that may support the idea that there was a shift towards pollaxe style weapons during the 15th century. But the 1410 French illustration showing lots of lances and a few swords may well have been about right for Agincourt.--Merlinme (talk) 13:16, 2 August 2013 (UTC)

Guichard Dauphin[edit]

Guichard Dauphin is currently shown as one of four French commanders in the infobox. The text does not mention him having any command role. Although his rank as Chamberlain or Master of the King's Household would guarantee him access to the "army council" (for want of a better term), he wasn't a military officer and would have been outranked by the Master of Crossbowmen on a battlefield, an officer we don't list in the info box. Is there any reason therefore for him to feature so prominently or should he be deleted? Monstrelet (talk) 12:56, 18 May 2013 (UTC)

I will confess that I had never heard of him. A quick web search doesn't make me a great deal the wiser. He's described as KIA but doesn't even feature as one of the significant casualties in the article (which is slightly surprising, as he's listed by Enguerrand de Monstrelet). Has someone confused him with the Dauphin (as at least one website I found suggested Shakespeare did)? I agree, it seems silly to have such an obscure figure listed as one of the commanders. --Merlinme (talk) 17:30, 20 May 2013 (UTC)
I have to say, I did the same google search to check his authenticity. Seems quite solid evidence that he was there and died (ending his line, as apparently he had no heir). But no reason to believe he was a senior commander. I'll delete him. Monstrelet (talk) 08:11, 21 May 2013 (UTC)

Agincourt in fiction[edit]

I removed this addition from the list of references

Lawrence-Young, D. "Arrows Over Agincourt." Fictionalised account of the Battles of Agincourt & Harfleur. 2012 ISBN: 9781849 631228

Obviously not appropriate there but the more recent versions of the article no longer contain anything on novels and other fictional material in the popular representation section. I believe we removed this section because it was filling up with obscure sci-fi novels but does it need reconsidering? Monstrelet (talk) 07:42, 17 June 2013 (UTC)

I don't really care that much, to be honest. In my experience with other articles it's quite hard to keep trivia lists to a manageable length, or distinguish particularly significant works from fluff. I therefore tend to favour leaving it all out, although other editors seem to think they're sections worth having. --Merlinme (talk) 18:29, 17 June 2013 (UTC)
The key is having suitable reliable sources. If we can find reliable secondary sources that discuss or analyse the fictionalised accounts of the battle, then I'm in favour of inclusion, using the secondary works as sources - but I'm not aware of many secondary works on the historical fiction (let alone the science fiction writing) surrounding Agincourt. Hchc2009 (talk) 19:59, 17 June 2013 (UTC)
I've found one independent review of Lawrence-Young's book. It is in the Children/Young Adult category. Not great literature then but apparently a good book to introduce younger readers to the HYW. I don't think it therefore fits with the current scheme of the article, as we don't have a Agincourt in Fiction or a Further Reading section. The most reviewed fiction I think is Bernard Cornwell's Azincourt, which was a best seller. This is probably the most notable of the fiction offerings, if we were to add something about books.Monstrelet (talk) 16:46, 18 June 2013 (UTC)

Welsh at Agincourt[edit]

I have today removed a comment allegedly taken from Curry's 2005 Agincourt book that over half the archers in the English army were Welsh. Knowing this to be dubious, I double checked Curry and could not find this statement. In fact, recent research suggests that there were only a few hundred Welsh troops at Agincourt (the army had never contained many and they had suffered badly at Harfleur) - see Andy Chapman's PhD thesis here http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/169897/ .

While the article fairly remarks that there were both English and Welsh archers present, the article should present a balanced view based on scholarship not historic myth. I will attempt, if I have time, to incorporate Charman's research into the article. Monstrelet (talk) 11:23, 12 January 2014 (UTC)