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Battle of Hastings Essay Sample

Duke William's uphill struggle

❶His army fought on foot and formed a defensive shield wall many men deep to counter the charge of the Norman cavalry. Harold made a crucial mistake — he did not look after his men, and this went in Williams favour.

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His horse had been killed, but William survived with a few bruises and made it back amongst his men. After mounting his second horse of the day, William had to raise his visor to show his face to his men and prove he was alive.

The Anglo-Saxon shield wall was holding firm and the Norman left flank was taking such a beating that the Flemish infantry fell and back and began to run down the hill. Approximately Anglo-Saxons saw that they were winning and ran down the hill to chase the fleeing Flemish.

William quickly saw an opportunity and sent his cavalry to encircle the marauding Anglo-Saxons and trapped them between the Norman lines and the cavalry. This breakout from the wall left it severely weakened and encouraged William to mount another assault. The second major assault also met fierce resistance and ended with severe losses to the Norman troops. It was at this point at about 1pm that modern military strategists believe that Harold should have forced home his advantage and moved the shield wall down the hill about 50 yards.

To see it advancing toward them may have broken their resolve. It is now believed that Harold chose to remain static as he was receiving small numbers of reinforcements during the battle. He firmly believed that the Northern army promised by Earl Morkere and Earl Edwin would arrive during the battle.

A few more thousand men would have changed the outcome of the battle, but as we now know, it never arrived. However, William was not to know this, so his initial objective remained the same; he had to breakthrough the shield wall before any Anglo-Saxon reinforcements arrived or the battle would be lost and with it the English crown. He employed a two-pronged attack that would win him the day. William instructed his archers to aim at the shield wall just as his infantry would meet it simultaneously.

The Anglo-Saxons could raise their shield to defend a falling arrow, but not keep it against their body to defend a thrusting sword at the same time.

This tactic was executed perfectly and the shield wall began to falter. The next phase of the Norman attack involved the cavalry crashing through the weakest point of the shield wall therefore causing panic amongst the Anglo-Saxons. It was during this phase in the fighting that Harold was probably killed and the battle won. Although William did receive a certain amount of good fortune during the battle, it could be argued that he employed the more creative tactics.

Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites. This was so useful for my exams. I am in year Some websites say that Harold had a third of the amount of people in his army than William had but others, like this one, say it was fairly even with about on each side. Thank you so much for this article! Helped me in my assignment and thanks to you it's looking great!

Paul gave several tactics William used at Hastings. Technically, the feint was a Breton specialty, but the Normans learnt it from them. In the North in , he devastated the farmlands rather more than he intended - it was a bitter winter.

His advisers were good at more than war: The Bayeux Tapestry is circumspectly revealing. To judge by the accounts from Normandy and Ponthieu, when word travelled that William had fallen, the English were confidently advancing and the Normans about to flee, during which scenes 52 and 53 occurred: The Normans subsequently learnt these.

At Hastings, William's army had to achieve the following: The English had to reach William, unhorse him and kill him by any means available: The Bayeux Tapestry and a few contemporary written accounts describe various episodes that occurred that day. These provide snapshots of the progress of the battle. Reaching William was easy as he was in the forefront of the action.

He was unhorsed three times according to one account. At least once he was nearly killed. Now we return to the Norman tactics. Gyrth and Leofwine were stopped when a promising attack on William failed and Gyrth and Leofwine were killed. In the confusion of the melee, most of the Normans could not see what had happened and, seeing the Bretons going backwards, they panicked and began to flee. Sensing victory, the front lines of the English shield wall gave chase. At this moment, William, who had been given another horse, raised his helmet and called out that he yet lived.

Someone I believe Alan Rufus led some of the Norman cavalry behind the emboldened Englishmen, while the Bretons on the left wing turned around and attacked them face on. The pursuers were surrounded and systematically cut down. Arrows could not do much harm shooting uphill while the shield wall was many ranks thick, especially as anyone who climbed the hill had numerous projectiles cast down on them and the bravest attackers were likely to be struck by spears, javelins and axes.

However, the feint had thinned the ranks and the wall contracted to keep the defenders shoulder to shoulder to provide full shield cover. Successive feints drew out more of the over-exuberant and less disciplined English and the wall shrank until the shortbows and crossbows could shoot arrows over it to the officers standing behind it. William was then able to order half the archers to shoot directly at the shield wall while the others shot overhead.

This meant that if a man's front were shielded, the top of his head was vulnerable, and conversely. You can imagine the mayhem this caused. It's possible that an arrow may have wounded Harold, but the Bayeux Tapestry at most shows a glancing blow against his helmet.

It may have stung, bruised, even caused bleeding from the forehead, partially obscuring his vision, but the character shown seems still to have the use of both eyes. Due to the wall receding, the Bretons reached the hill on the left and pressed toward Harold. He responded by moving his command post East. At this stage the outcome was decided, but the sun still shone so if the English had fled, few could have hidden long.

A few knights from Flanders and Ponthieu formed an assassination squad, broke through the defenders on the right and reached Harold, cutting down and into pieces. The surviving English kept fighting past sunset.

As night fell, they fled into the woods. Pursuing Norman cavalry pitched into prepared pits filled with stakes: So the English showed cunning too. The reasons for the Norman invasion have been discussed by many people, including Paul Bailey and Alan Lancaster see links to articles above.

In brief, King Ethelred II had a dispute with the Danes who had settled in the north and east of England, so he killed many of them St Brice's Day Massacre , including a royal princess, which led to military retaliation from the Danish King Sweyn Forkbeard.

Sweyn's son Cnut subsequently conquered England, causing Ethelred's son Edward to seek refuge with his mother Emma's family, who ruled Normandy. But Cnut married Emma. Edward issued charters in Normandy declaring himself rightful king of England, but he had to wait for Cnut and Cnut's sons to die first.

Meanwhile, Earl Godwin of Wessex captured Edward's brother Alfred and handed him over to be cruelly killed. Edward of course regarded Godwin as a traitor. When Edward returned as King, in , Godwin remained very powerful, Edward married Godwin's daughter and treated her well but never had children and Godwin's second son Harold was awarded the Earldom of East Anglia with the hand of Ealdgyth "Swannesha", who may have been Edward's niece.

Edward was in a bind, and his most strenuous efforts at the most opportune time succeeded only in exiling Godwin for a few months in until Godwin returned with an army. It may have been during Godwin's brief exile that the young adult William, Duke of Normandy, obtained Edward's blessing as his chosen successor.

Even after Godwin died, his sons grew ever stronger, Harold inherited the Wessex Earldom, East Anglia went to his brother Gyrth and Tostig had Northumbria for a while until irate locals drove him out. Around , Harold was shipwrecked near the Somme and captured by the Count of Ponthieu. William claimed the captive and took him on an expedition against his cousin Conan II of Brittany. Harold rescued two Normans from quicksand, was knighted and made to swear fealty over saintly relics, but Harold wasn't told this.

Harold was then returned to England. When Edward died on 5 January , Harold was swiftly chosen as king by those members of the Witan council of senior lords who were close by. William was affronted, as was Harald Hardraada, king of Norway, who'd had a prior agreement with the Danes. So both prepared to invade. Harold evidently then made the strategic blunder of expelling many of the Breton and Norman ministers who had loyally served his predecessor.

These included at least two highly trained military officers, Ralph the Staller and Alan Rufus, who promptly joined up with William: Alan was one of William's many Breton cousins, and Ralph was a friend of Alan's father Eudon, who was King Edward's elder cousin and William's uncle of sorts.

He felt let down by his brothers in the Northumbria fiasco, and his wife Judith of Flanders related to Duchess Matilda only by marriage was a cousin of William's, so he met William, then began raiding the coast, eventually joining up with the Norwegians and dying with Hardraada in a tough fight against Harold Godwinson at Stamford Bridge near York.

Stormy weather had hastened the Norwegian fleet, but delayed William's, so he arrived just after Stamford Bridge, and set about raiding Harold's personal lands. So Harold raced back to London, collected fresh troops, then marched south. Hi, Thank yu for this it helped me a lot on my history assessment.

However I would like to know a bit more on the history of why this battle happened as I had to go to a different site if you could help it would be wonderful. Something I might be able to use along the line in my books. Thanks for that I've noted it down for posterity, and if I use it I'll add your name to the Acknowledgements page. When I've finished here I'll 'pop over' for a visit. The confusion between the two Alans is a persistent mistake dating back to Wace.

Most experts get it right, but the error has filtered into popular genealogies and romances such as Jean Plaidy's "Norman Conquest" trilogy. The exact relationship between the two men is this: Alan Rufus's maternal uncle Hoel of Cornouaille was Fergant's father. So they're first cousins on one side and first cousins once removed on the other.

Both men had red hair and were formidable military commanders. William the Conqueror had zero success against Fergant, so William gave his daughter Constance to him as wife - to appease him, I suppose. Most knights in those days wore leather? Assuming the poison is not something like Gallium that enters the bloodstream through the skin, I think it is ingested when the wearer uses a hand to wipe their mouth.

William got the blame for this, though he was in England at the time. Fergant probably cottoned on to this, so he wore gloves that didn't wear out. I bet Alan Rufus was smart enough not to fall for this poisoned gloves trick when Roger II rebelled in If so, Wace may technically have been correct, though jolly confusing to the rest of us.

We only got the bare bones on the Norman Conquest at school. Not many wanted to know even that much, not many were expected to remember. These days schools are 'exam factories' so detail is brushed over for the sake of 'mileage covered'. I find that primary school children can handle copious amounts of detail.

Even more when they're keen on the topic. In my experience it's the adults who are by far the most impatient and thus an obstacle to the children's learning. In the end he had no choice but to go up north and defend that part of the country. The English fought a great battle, and thrashed Harald.

However, in their absence, the winds over the channel changed, and the Normans arrived on the coast, well prepared, well rested, and ready to fight. Also, many of them were wounded,.

They also created a wall of shields to block any potential arrows that could be coming their way; a clever strategy. In the beginning the battle was going well for Harold and his army, who from their position and wall of shields, were at least able to block the advances of the other side.

However, the Normans soon came up with a clever plan, and pretended to retreat, causing the English to chase them, losing their hill position AND wall of shields. As soon as they were off the hill, the Normans turned around and started to attack. The English, being tired and injured, were already weak and could barely withstand this attack.

Then rumours went round claiming that Harold Godwin, their leader, was dead, shot down by an arrow in his eye. This was the turning point. It was then that his troops started to retreat, or at least what was left of them. Those who could not were left behind and killed by the Normans. It seems obvious now that both sides in the battle had equal amount of skill and preparation, but that only one had enough luck to win the final battle.

It could have turned out differently, if perhaps, the wind had not changed when Harold was away, or maybe if Harald Hardrada had not tried to invade at all.

Harold chooses the high ground

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Battle of Hastings. Battle of Hastings took place on 14 th October It was a battle between the English Army led by Anglo-Saxon King Harold II and the Norman-French Army led by Duke William II of the Normandy. This battle was fought during the conquest of Norman of England.

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William had more cavalry who wore chain mail armour and fought with spears and bow and arrows. This was an advantage to William because Harold had a few house carts and the rest were all farmers who he picked up on the way to the battle of Hastings, also Harold's men had to fight with spears and battle axes. The Battle of Hastings In October 14th the battle of hastings was fought between an English army under the leadership of Anglo Saxon king Harold and the Norman French army of the duke of Normandy,ru-apsnynews.tkng the Norman conquest of England, it took about eleven kilometer northwest of hasting, close to the present day Noman took home victory.

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Find free term papers, free essays online and other academic papers for colleges/universities on this battle of Hastings was held 10km away from Hastings itself and was fought at Senlac . Battle of Hastings Essay Sample. The battle of Hastings was held 10km away from Hastings itself and was fought at Senlac Hill. But the question is, why did William win? In this essay I will be saying why William the Duke of Normandy won the battle of Hastings. I will be including these points: Williams’s good leadership, luck, preparation and tactics.