History and the Environment 3 “Using Nature as an Ally”

On Friday, October 25, 1415, King Henry V was attacked by a much superior French force whilst marching from Abbeville to the English stronghold Calais in northern France.  This famous battle of the hundred-years war was called Agincourt.  At Agincourt Henry’s force of between 5 and 6 thousand men were starving, disease ridden and on the brink of completely being routed by a much larger French force of around 25,000 led by  Charles d’Albret the Constable of France.  Knowing he was outnumbered and had literally no chance to survive flanking attacks, Henry V decided to use nature to his advantage.  Brilliantly, he moved his forces in between two natural forests.  On the left side of Henry’s army was the Forest of Agincourt and on the right side was the Forest of Tramecourt.  This blocked all incoming flank attacks from the sides and allowed Henry to fight a straight on fight against repeated charges from the French.  One other thing helped in the fight.  The field in front of Henry’s troops had just been plowed and many French cavalrymen and fighters were literally up to their knees in mud.  In the end, the choice to use nature as a boundary for protection provided Henry and the English a valiant victory.  Henry V lost around 400 or so men that day, while the routed French lost around 10,000.  Nature truly was an incredible ally to the English that day.  The fall out of the battle at Agincourt cost France half of its nobility, including three dukes, 90 nobles and around 1500 men at arms.


Devries, Kelly.  Battles of the Medieval World. Metro Books, New York, New York.  2006. p 176-188.


About deadfryday

I dig History and its preservation
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