At dawn on the morning of 25 October 1415, the English and French armies came face to face on the battlefield. King Henry V positioned his 9,000 men in the narrowest part of a funnel shaped by the woods of Tramecourt and Azincourt, on fallow land. A few hundred yards away, the French army, despite its numerical strength of between 12,000 and 14,000 men, was trampling and slithering in the mud of freshly ploughed and sown fields.
It finally stopped raining around 10 am. Taking the lead, Henry V ordered his archers to hail arrows on the French. The 1,200 horsemen of the French army responded immediately with a cavalry charge...
Massacre and defeat
This first wave of cavalry impaled itself on the wooden stakes the English archers had driven into the ground in front of them.
Following this failed assault, the gallant French vanguard, consisting of 4,000 knights in full plate armour, charged on foot towards the line of English archers. Many of the men-at-arms in this first wave died, pierced by hails of arrows, even before they came into contact with the English. Such was the impact of the massed ranks of French fighters that the English fell back somewhat. Yet, as a result of the disorganisation and overcrowding of their vanguard, the French were not able to lift their arms to strike blows with their swords. They were slaughtered.
While trying to help the vanguard, the second French line became hampered by the corpses of men and horses lying across the field, but also by the survivors now retreating. The second line did not succeed in breaching the English line either. Understanding that the battle was pretty much won, the English decided to come out of their entrenchments and captured hundreds of prisoners.
In the early afternoon, the survivors of the first and second French lines gathered with the archers and crossbowmen of the third line, still facing the English. At the rear of the English army, Ysembart d’Azincourt and Robinet de Bournonville, leading men-at-arms and 600 footmen, attacked the left wing of the English army. But this attack quickly turned into a plundering expedition on the English baggage train. In retaliation, the King of England ordered the execution of nearly half of the 2,000 French prisoners. Terrorized by these summary executions, the French army took flight.
At the end of the afternoon, the battle of Agincourt was over. The bodies of 6,000 slain French combatants, 1,000 English and about 2,000 horses were heaped on the battlefield. Twelve French princes of royal blood were killed or captured at Agincourt.
1415-2015, 600 years
2015 celebrated the 600th anniversary of the battle of Agincourt !
The Medieval Historic Center of Agincourt, in partnership with the National Police Force, organised a remarkable commemoration in presence of the French and British army. This commemoration was dediacted to memory and to friendship between countries. A commemorative stone was placed on the battle field of Agincourt.