The English way of war

Arms, armour, and the English way of war
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Neil Faulkner
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Joined: Thu Jan 26, 2017 10:37 am

The English way of war

Post by Neil Faulkner » Fri Jan 27, 2017 5:57 pm

The session on English arms, armour, and tactics at the Newark Military History Conference should help lay to rest an old myth that goes all the way back to Charles Oman's 1924 study of medieval warfare, in which he argued that the English became an isolated military backwater during the 15th century. The evidence doesn't stand up. If fact, the combination of 'bill and bow', of fighting on foot in line and combining archers with heavily armoured shock-troops, remained thoroughly effective. Which is why it stood the long, hard test of the bitterly contested Wars of the Roses - no-one could come up with anything better, despite plenty of contact with military developments on the Continent. The English remained in the forefront of military technique throughout the 15th century. The 16th century is another matter, but it was not until the fuller development of artillery and the harquebusier - and tactics to match, pioneered by the Spanish - that the English dropped behind.

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