The Battle of Bosworth (& lead-up)

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Henry's invasion & march to Bosworth

  • Richard knew Tudor was seeking refuge in Brittany so struck a deal with Duke Francis II; Richard would supply English archers to defend Brittany from French attack if they no longer allowed Tudor's safety. Therefore Tudor's were forced to flee, heading to FRANCE.
  • This move actually ENCOURAGED further actions against Richard...
  • Enraged by Richard's hostile actions, King Charles VIII of France welcomed Tudor and granted them with financial & military support against Richard (it was mutually beneficial, because Tudor was attacking England, Charles could focus efforts on taking Brittany for France without English intereference)
  • 1st AUGUST 1485: Tudor sets sail with 400-500 English & Welsh loyalists & approx. 1500 French troops.
  • They purposefully set sail for Welsh coast, aiming to gather more support along the way
  • Landed in Dale on 7th AUGUST 1485, marching North through Haverfordwest & along the Cardigan coastline.
  • By 12th AUGUST Tudor had acquired support of key Welsh nobles; William ap Gruffudd provided 500 men & Rhys ap Thomas provided 800. By the time Tudor reached Shrewsbury, army had swollen to 5000 men.
  • Stanley brothers???-secretly pledged support as Richard had kidnapped Thomas' son but they had a fierce reputation for changing sides; so their 3000 unreliable?
  • + support from Gilbert Talbort; another 500men
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Henry Tudor's army; Battle of Bosworth

  • Henry personally was militarily inexperienced
  • Therefore relying on Pembroke & Earl of Oxford to guide him
  • 5000-6000 men
  • Men had marched for 2 weeks; exhausted, hungry & not rested
  • Most men were tenant farmers, and so only recruited to serve for a limited time
  • These men were lightly armed (archers/spearmen)
  • Professional troops/retainers fought as men at arms (swords, shield & pike)
  • The landowners (nobles & knights) wore armour & fought on horseback. They provided the cavalry & so necessary mobility to fight on the battlefield.
  • Also had field guns (small cannons on wheels) but few in number.
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Richard III's army; Battle of Bosworth

  • Had time to prepare defences, so took up the tactically favourable position, the high ground of Ambion Hill, with marshland flanking it.
  • Richard had vast experience of warfare & military command
  • Almost double size of Tudor's army; 10000 ( although unclear if Stanley's are inc. in this figure)
  • Troops likely to be similar calibre to Tudor, as there was no standing army
  • Better equipped & considerably more cavalry than Tudor
  • Had travelled much smaller distance so quite rested
  • Able to prepare & therefore had use of heavier artillery (wheeled canons of various sizes), easily able to act as a deterrent to Tudor's field guns.
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The Battle of Bosworth (events)

  • Richard settled in Nottingham castle with his 10000 men & thought Tudor would be defeated by his previous supporters Rhys ap Thomas in South & Stanley's in North but instead they supported him!
  • With vital days lost, Richard mobilised his troops to Leicester, where their preparations began
  • 22nd AUGUST 1485: 2 armies met
  • Lasted 3 hours with casualties on both sides
  • TURNING POINT: Richard decided to make a strike at Henry (caused by Northumberland's refusal to mobilise his reserve to support)
  • As Henry made his way towards the Stanley's, Richard, accomp. by roughly 100 men made a vicious assault on Tudor, killing Tudor's standard bearer, before his personal guard closed ranks on him.
  • Sir William Stanley took decisive action AGAINST Richard, sending a cavalry of some 500 men to support Tudor. Richard, refusing to quit the battlefield was overwhelmed & killed.
  • Duke of Norfolk (Prominent Yorkist) was killed & Earl of Northumberland fled before a Lancastrian victory was called
  • Crown placed on Tudor's head by Lord Stanley; new king of England.
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