The Battle of Hastings

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William's & Harold

William

  • Crossing was to be made at night to reduce interception of English fleet
  • William 'devestated' surrounding villages

Harold

  • Riding 40 miles a day from 2 to 6 October
  • Came with an elite force of housecarls and mecenaries. He came with fresh army
  • Smaller army due to Northern losses
  • Harold reached Battled field next morning having driven through the night
  • Tried to repeat strategy at Stamford Bridge which FAILED HORRIBLY
  • Arguably, only a third of  the english army was in order when the battle started.
  • Only half were assembled at all
  • The reason for Harold's army deserting him was because of the position he chose which did not allow some of the proffesionals to yse their weapons properly
  • Harold also had poorly equipped soldiers
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Positions and Battle

Harold was to be taken by suprise

Best trained group had main onslaught

Battle- Commencing at 9 am

  • The Norman army was 7,000-8,000 strong
  • Norman archers moved up within 100 fleet of English line, opening fire with short bows to shake up enermy formation and morale
  • THIS WAS NOT SUCCESFUL- so the Normans brought heavily armed infantry and the effect of this assault would exploit the breaks and drive the English into flight
  • When the Norman infantry advanced they were bet by a hail of missiles which shocked them through sheer weight and pressure
  • When the lines came together- Normans got heavy beating by English and Danish who had two hand axes
  • On the West coast, where the slope was gentlest the Bretons who probably reached the english first panicked and fled back into the marshy valley bottom
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Battle continued

  • As Harold's troops saw the enemy confused- they raced after them
  • William brought in cavalry from the centre and this weakened Harold's right wing
  • William was unsatistifed- launched a full scale attack normally reserved for pursuit- resulted in HEAVY LOSS
  • English army became weakened as it could not hold whole ridge and became concentrated around the standards of the hill
  • The Battle wore on- William used his archers effectively after replenishment- Bayeux tapestry shows Harold himself to be struck in the eye
  • Harold's housecarls fought dodgedly but ridden by Norman knights
  • Possibly these knights hacked Harold into bits
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