Why did William win the Battle of Hastings?

Williams Military Prowess

Anglo Saxons weaknesses/ Harolds Mistakes


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Williams Military Prowess

After hearing of Harold's succession, the Duke of Normandy was furious.

Military History:

  • Grew up with many threats including
  • Invasion from William of Talou in 1053
  • Rebellion from Archbishop of Rouen in 1055
  • Defeated Henry I of France in 1154
  • Count of Anjou
  • Succesful campaigns into Maine and Brittany.

William had meticulously planned and organised his campaign to England:

  • His army consisted of calvary, infantry and crossbow men.
  • He had long boats to carry horses over; the english only fought on foot.
  • During the Battle of Hastings, William was so in control he could adapt to the situation and use the tactic of 'false retreat' 3 times. Harold could not adapt, or communicate to his men  at all.
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Anglo-Saxon Weaknesses/ Harolds Mistakes

Anglo-Saxon Weaknesses

  • Edward the Confessors reign had been relatively peaceful, so the English population was not used to war. There was no trained army, unlike William's professional military men.
  • Harold could only raise the fyrd to fight- these men were ill equipped and untrained.- COUNTER- only been in power for 6 months??

Harolds Mistakes

  • Harold got caught up in the glory of his victory at Stamford Bridge; he thought he could recreate it in Hastings, so he rushed down, with only a four day break in London. This tired out his men, whose numbers were already depleted.
  • He didn't suprise William; in fact William's forces jumped on him.
  • He was angered by Williams raiding of the local area in Wessex. This was Harold's home land. It could have been best in his favour to wait, and starve William out, whilst Harold gathered more men and provisions.
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William encountered some amazing coniceidences that greatly helped his cause.

  • Bad weather meant that William could not sail across to England when he wanted to. However, it meant that Tostig and Hardrada could. This meant Harold's forces were diverted to the North, and without knowing, William could land a few days later on an unguarded Pevensey beach.
  • Harold had dissolved the fyrd after months of waiting on the coast for an invasion. The harvest had to be collected. However, a few weeks later, Harold was confronted with two invasions within days of eachother.
  • Harold was killed at the Battle of Hastings. This meant the English had no clear leader, and meant that William had a much easier time establishing rule.
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