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Example research essay topic: Hundred Years War Foot Soldiers - 1,230 words

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... that Edward prepared for battle. "Edward had deployed his troops in person, laughing with them according to Jean le Bel and urging every one of them to do his duty, making even cowards into heroes. " He placed his men in three sections. The first of which was the front line, consisting of dismounted men-at-arms with archers on the left and right flanks. They were led by Edwards son the Prince of Wales and a host of nobles. The second was a group of men-at-arms placed behind the front line, they were used to replace the dead or fallen men of the front lines. Edward commanded the reserves at the rear.

Edward used many strategies defensively to give his men the advantage. "A large number of pit-traps had been dug across the approaches to the English lines. " This would cause the French cavalry difficulty when charging, making horses stumble or fall to give the archers a chance to kill many of the riding knights. Along with this, the archers were protected by baggage carts, which were encircled around them, preventing any French cavalry from reaching them. Beneath the carts were "a number of gunpowder cannons. " These were used mostly to cause noise and fear. Edward had decided to defend his ground in the best possible place. The English were protected by the Make river and the marshes that surround it on their right flanks. The Crecy Grange protected their rear, and baggage carts that Edward set up in the town of Wadi court protected their left flank.

The French were forced to attack from the front because of a lack of space, just as they did at Says. Edward had forced the French to cross into a valley, making them run uphill to reach the English front lines. This was a great advantage for the English archers. "The heroes of the French side were so confident in their numbers of their army that individuals asked for specific men on the English side as their prisoners." The French had 6, 000 Genoese fighting with them, along with 12, 000 men-at-arms and a total of 20, 000 to 25, 000 total men under Phillip's control. Although, Davis in his book 100 decisive battles tells us there were 20, 000 knights and as many as 60, 000 total men on the French side.

The French armies were divided into 9 battalions, which were split into 3 lines of men. The front line was made up of the Genoese cross bowmen and about 300 cavalry, it was led by King John of Bohemia. The second line was made up of the elite French cavalry and led by the Count of Alencon, King Phillip's younger brother. The third line was commanded by Phillip and made up the remainder of the cavalry. "It is probable that the infantry were placed in their own formations on the wings of each of the three battalions." As the sun began to set on the 26 th of August the first line of the French began to advance. "The French crossbowmen began the attack; their crossbow bolts did not reach the English, however, but fell a long way off. Much to the terror of the crossbowmen, the English archers began to pick off their closely packed enemies with arrows, and they ended the hail of crossbow bolts with a rain of arrows." This put the advancing Genoese cross bowmen into a panic and they turned back to retreat.

The French knights proclaimed them traitors, the cavalry charged straight through the Genoese, slaughtering them on their way to battle. The cavalry charge was easily turned away by the archers. The archer's strategy was to shoot the first line of horses, making it difficult for the others to go over or around them. Many of the horses were already having difficulty keeping their feet because of the pits dug in front of the English lines. "The French line was badly disordered by stumbling horses. " The few cavalry that reach English lines were massacred by the young Prince and his men. Prince Edward "displayed marvellous courage against the French in the front line, running through horses, felling knights, crushing helmets, cutting lances apart, avoiding the enemy missiles; as he did so, he encouraged his men, defended himself, helped fallen friends to their feet, and set everyone an example." Still the French nobles rallied against Edwards defence, they charged again, and were once again slaughtered and driven back. The French put together 15 cavalry charges by the waning hours of the night, and charge 4 times in the morning. "When (King Edward) was pressed for reinforcements he is said to have replied, let the boy win his spurs.

He did so." And so did the whole of the English army. Alongside the 16 year old prince earning a name for himself, so did the English army as a whole. "Approximately 1, 500 French knights were killed or captured, and another 10, 000 foot soldiers lay dead. The English casualties numbered less than 100 ." The English army became recognized as an elite force. Edward III was the cause of this great success. He imposed the system of indenture, he also made laws requiring men to spend time practising their weapons. This gave King Edward and his nobles a vast pool of talented men to choose from.

It also meant that men would be selected form local areas, men who knew each other. This local recruiting made an army of higher morale, and great unit cohesion. This great force that Edward put together became an army of professional soldiers, one that put France in their place during the first forty years of Hundred Years War. The second major result of the Crecy victory was the decline of the chivalrous mounted knight. The knight, previous to Crecy was an armoured fighting machine, he could overwhelm lesser enemies and was dominant in battle. But the longbow changed that, "able to pierce armour at more than 200 yards, the longbow meant that the mounted knight became little more than a large target." This fact left the French in shock after their defeat at Crecy.

The extreme loss of knights and nobles, along with 10, 000 foot soldiers depleted their forces. Edwards war began with a bang, or rather the twang of a longbow slicing through the heart of the French military. "Control in battle was all important-it was Edward's great strength, as was his skill in choosing ground and deploying units to suit it." This was the theme of the first major battles of The Hundred Years War. Edward dominated the war with his great tactics, his ability to control his men, and his wonderful presence around his men. Edward made the French doubt themselves. They questioned themselves, and no one was there to answer it, at least not until the 15 th century, long after Edward's death. The French were in pieces after Crecy, their greatest warrior, the knight was one of the most ineffective soldiers in battle.

Edward, in his battles, was able to make numbers a disadvantage, he would turn a mighty host of enemy soldiers into a stampeding mob. This is why King Edward III was such a dominant factor in the Hundred Years War, and also why the first forty years of the war, is now called, Edward's War.

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