Monday, October 25, 2010

Agincourt anniversary - sort of

Today is the anniversary of Agincourt -- sort of. It was fought on Oct. 25, 1415, St. Crispin's Day, famously, but that was under the Old Style calendar that was becoming inconveniently out of sync with the seasons. Under the current (New Style) calendar it was Nov. 3. So from the point of view of the participants the day was Oct. 25, but counting back from our day it's a few days short of 595 years ago.

In any case, I'm not a big fan of Medieval era wargames and therefore don't have much in the way of games covering it except for Battlelore, which sort of does accidentally. Here's the BattleLore set up.

One of the interesting things about the BattleLore scenario is that it doesn't reflect the traditional 6-1 advantage in French numbers accepted by most historians. Interestingly, it turns out that some historicans have been re-assessing those numbers and one has even claimed that the true ratio was only4-3 in the French favor, not all that off from the 10-9 shown in the BattleLore setup above. While that extreme number hasn't been accepted, a consensus seems to be forming that the French actually engaged probably only outnumbered the English by something like 2-1 or so. (The French army had all sorts of non-combatant and semi-combatant hangers on that could give a chronicler an excuse for inflated numbers if he wanted.)
Could it be that the wargame suggests an implausibility for the traditional numbers? And interesting notion.


  1. There are more problems with the setup, one of which probably explains the numerical issue. First, if BattleLore is anything like Commands & Colors: Ancients, the archers are terribly anemic. The English longbows had a simply terrifying range and accuracy, which is part of why they were such a disruptive weapon at the time. Bows in C&C:A, at least, are basically an annoyance.

    Second, the field in Agincourt was muddy, which disrupted the ability of the heavily armored chevaliers to move quickly. Without those two advantages, you're almost bound to reduce the French numerical advantage to keep it from being an instant slaughter.

  2. Good points.

    I think the epic version of Agincourt makes the British bow units longbows, which increases their effectiveness but the muddy field is still left out.