October 25th, 2015, was the 600th anniversary of the Battle of Agincourt, where the English, against the odds, defeated the French at a high point during the Hundred Years’ War. All accounts agree it was a decisive victory–exactly how decisive is a matter of historical debate. (The contemporary sources pit the English at few thousand facing almost a 100,000 French, modern historians say that number was more like 12,000 to 25,000 at most).

In honor of that anniversary, I collected my medieval hosts last Saturday and headed to Treefort Games [sadly now closed] to run a scenario based on that famous battle.

I changed things a bit; there was chance that the plowed field (where so many French knights met their demise) wasn’t as muddy historically. The English could deploy their longbowmen in either “hearse” formations or on the wings. The French also didn’t have to deploy according to history.

Agincourt, however, is a difficult scenario to plan. Had a stuck with history, the French would have been annihilated. If the French, however, had too much leeway to plan they would beat English to a pulp.

In retrospect, maybe I was a bit too lenient.

See for yourself….

(As an added bonus, I’ve included lists of resources and websites for further study alongside the short battle report)

Endgame: The French press home on the English left flank.
Background: King Henry V rallies the sick and the wounded from the baggage train, but it’s just too late.

Henry V tries to rally the sick and wounded from the baggage camp, but its already too late.

Agincourt Resources
Agincourt 600Lots of articles and resources for wargamers and historians.

Agincourt Diorama at the Tower of LondonA behind-the-scenes look (featuring 4,400 figures!) Now on display.

Five myths About the Battle of Agincourtdoes the “V” sign really mean what you thing it means? From medievalist.net.

Enguerrand de Monstrelet’s Account of the Battle–a primary source available at De Re Militari.

Jehan De Wavrin’s account–another primary source.


Picture Galleries at Other Blogs

Harness and Array: Agincourt 600up and Agincourt at Salute.

Too Much Lead: Agincourt Plans and Arrays and The Battle Refought and Thoughts.

Things to Consider:

  • Again, Agincourt is tough scenario to plan for. Nobody wants to play French if you stick to what happened in history. But the French stand a good chance of overwhelming the English if you don’t take into historical factors. 
  • The English probably need an extra unit of longbowmen or two. One player suggested adding another stand to each unit (giving each some extra firepower).
  • The rules state that missile fire does not cause morale checks. While this certainly holds true for the knights, what about commoner infantry? What would happen if a French unit of commoners sees a unit of knights get wiped out nearby?
  • Leaders and commanders: each personality gets his own abilities on the battlefield (after I paint them up, of course)

Things I liked: 

  • Deploying nearly all of my late medieval figures (and there’s more to paint!)
  • The French players had a plan; they exploited the gap in the English line, thus deviating from history.
  • Ancient and Medieval Wargaming is a set of rules I don’t get to play often enough, so running it was a treat. The game plays fast.
  • Being a game master. Sometimes its more fun to watch players and what they do rather than being one yourself!

I plan on running an updated scenario in early December. We’ll see how things go.

I’d also like to try Agincourt using Kings of War.

Recommended Reading: 
Agincourt: A New History, by Anne Currywhere Curry gives us a new interpretation of the forces at Agincourt.

Agincourt 1415: Triumph Against the Odds, by Matthew Bennettthis book is good for beginners wanting to know the basic history of the battle.

Henry V: Leadership, Strategy, and Conflict, by Marcus CowperYou can read my review of the book at De Re Militari..

Agincourt, by Bernard CornwellYou can read my review of this work of historic fiction here [TK]

The French revel in their victory.