Not only was Henry V one of the greatest rulers of the Middle Ages, he was one of the most able warriors of the period. In 1415 his ragged English army of 5,700 men, half starved and wracked with disease, faced a splendid force of 25,000 French knights and men-at-arms near the village of Agincourt France.
The English with fewer numbers would rely on their deadly long bow archers. While the French entered the battle with a much larger force, they faced a wet and soggy battlefield unsuitable for their heavily armored mounted knights.
Within the French forces a group of eighteen Burgundian knights, led by Sir Jean de Croy, formed an impromptu brotherhood dedicated to securing the head of Henry V. In the course of the fighting they reached Henry and wounded his brother, Humphrey the Duke of Gloucester. The French knights all perished in this attempt to kill Henry V.
One of King Henry’s most controversial events at Agincourt was execution of French prisoners. As French forces attacked Henry’s baggage train at the rear of his battle lines, the English were occupied with moving French prisoners to the rear while reorganizing their weary ranks. Henry ordered prisoner execution due to his insufficient manpower as he faced a two sided attack while guarding prisoners. Upon discovery that the rearguard attack was a minor foray, the executions were halted.
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