Battle of Agincourt

The Battle of Agincourt was an English victory against a much larger French army in the Hundred Years' War.

The battle occurred on Friday 25 October 1415 (Saint Crispin's Day), in northern France. Henry V's victory started a new period in the war, in which Henry married the French King's daughter and his son was made heir to the throne of France, but his achievement was squandered by his heirs.

The French king of the time was Charles VI; however, he did not command the French army himself as he was incapacitated. Instead the French were commanded by Constable Charles d'Albret and various prominent French noblemen of the Armagnac party.

The battle is notable for the use of the English longbow, which Henry used in very large numbers, with longbowmen forming the vast majority of his army. The battle is the centrepiece of the play Henry V, by William Shakespeare.

Due to a lack of reliable sources it is impossible to give a precise figure for the French and English casualties. However, it is clear that though the English were considerably outnumbered, their losses were far lower than those of the French. The French sources all give 4,000–10,000 French dead, with up to 1,600 English dead. The lowest ratio in these French sources has the French losing six times more dead than the English. The English sources vary between about 1,500 and 11,000 for the French dead, with English dead put at no more than 100. The lowest ratio in the English sources has the French losing more than fifty times more dead than the English.

Barker identifies from the available records "at least" 112 Englishmen who died in the fighting (including Edward of Norwich, 2nd Duke of York, a grandson of Edward III), but this excludes the wounded. One widely used estimate puts the English casualties at 450, not an insignificant number in an army of 6,000, but far less than the thousands the French lost, nearly all of whom were killed or captured. Using the lowest French estimate of their own dead of 4,000 would imply a ratio of nearly 9–1 in favour of the English, or over 10–1 if the prisoners are included.

The French suffered heavily. The constable, three dukes, five counts and 90 barons all died. Estimates of the number of prisoners vary between 700 and 2,200, amongst them the Duke of Orléans (the famous poet Charles d'Orléans) and Jean Le Maingre, Marshal of France. Almost all these prisoners would have been nobles, as the less valuable prisoners were slaughtered.