I have just been scanning through a number of descriptions of Hundred Years War battles over at Wikipedia (so not necessarily 100% accurate), and as I expected it seems that in no cases were dismounted men-at-arms sent against archers. However, in later years the French did start to perfect the tactic of charging the English archers with heavy cavalry – for instance at the Battle of Patay decisively, and at the Battle of Vernuil with partial success. The key seems to have been heavy armour for the horses, sufficient numbers and disciplined charges.
To continue my debate about why men-at-arms on foot would not attack archers, there is another reason as well, which I believe is the one that Anne Curry might support – that they would be put off by the hail of arrows coming from the archers. This might be analogous to the problems that infantry would have charging down other infantry who are firing at them heavily – so for instance infantry charging other gunpowder infantry. This did happen, but the infantry often had to be supported by artillery and cavalry to succeed. Also they would be well-drilled.
I have been thinking again about some what ifs for the Agincourt gamebook. For example What If the English men-at-arms had not repulsed the French attack. Would Henry have ordered the English archers to join the melee? Would he have had a reserve of some sort that he could deploy? It seems unlikely, because of his small number of men-at-arms, about 1000, that he could afford to have a reserve. The archers on the flanks were not engaged in the initial melee, until they attacked the struggling French as the floundered in the face of the English centre. This seems to have been an impromptu act on the part of the archers though once they realised that the French men-at-arms were pretty much helpless, the archers helped their comrades finish off the French. But if the French had been getting the upper hand could the archers have been called upon to help in the melee, perhaps by charging the French in the flanks. I think it’s unlikely for a few reasons:
There it is I’ve named it, my top secret project. Well we’ll see how it goes. After having started work on this I’m not that worried that anyone will actually come and steal the idea of creating a gamebook surrounding the role of Henry V at the battle of Agincourt. I have now pretty much finished my initial research into the battle, and I have a list of the key decision points for Henry. Many of these are actually to do with how he set things up. Once the battle is under way there is very little means for a general in such times to change things. However, I am planning to keep the action going here with the option for Henry to become involved in the fighting, which according to a number of sources, he actively was. For instance there is speculation that his crowned helmet was damaged by the Duke of Alencon, while other sources describe him attempting to protect his younger brother, Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, who had been wounded. So there might be an opportunity here to add a certain personal level of fighting role-play for Henry.
I have found a real wealth of source material regarding the medieval history of St Albans and the surrounding areas. It seems that a large amount of local history information is available at a publicly funded website: http://www.british-history.ac.uk. This includes a detailed history for St Albans, and also the surrounding parishes and the overarching hundred in which St Albans lay – the Cashio hundred. Now I just have to read it all!
As suggested during my last visit to the Verulam Writers Circle, I have started work on the novelisation of the Roger Draper story. The short story Bird Talk will remain a short story and I am still hoping to sell that somewhere. However, I will now also be working on a novel length piece that uses the same characters but expands the tale to explore what is going on in the medieval town of St Sewards. Who is responsible for the despicable dark acts of magic that are taking place? Will Roger, the niave priest, and his unwanted companion, Jake, the armless beggar/soldier, be able to solve the mystery that shrouds the abbey and town?
Been awhile since I have posted unfortunately due to illness over the last week or so. Progress on the writing has therefore been very slow. However, I did manage to read through Dante’s De Vulgari Eloquentia. Quite useful on his opinion of Frederick’s court and also all the differences in dialects in Italy, plus an examination of the canzone form.
I’m considering turning my translation of Huillard-Breholles into a pdf e-book that can be downloaded from the Stupor Mundi website. The idea is that I would be able to share the work I have done, but also protect my copyright and not have the work passed off on other people’s sites and possibly financially exploited by them.
Half way through this section of research, translating Huillard-Breholles, and I must admit I’m getting a bit bored. I think it’s partly because we’ve just had a weekend where I didn’t have the chance to do much, so the momentum has been lost. Also I had one of those moments where I want a quick fix to all of life’s problems and start searching round for another idea, maybe even jacking in the writing. But after a quick look you realise that all the other options other than hard work are not real. There seems to be so many scams on the internet nowadays. It probably explains the lack of really good content out there! Really if you don’t have to work at something or pay for it, then it’s often to good to be true!
Not bad going, 40 pages since 23 December, means I am doing pretty well I think. That’s over 2.5 pages a day, and this was slowed quite a bit by Christmas. The Biog part of the book ends at about page 124, which is another 40 pages away, so I should be there in a week or two maybe. The difficulty will be the letters, which apart from an intro in French, are then in Latin. However, I could perhaps just translate a few of those to get a flavour of his style for now, and then move onto another area.