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"Details for Verneuil 1424" Topic

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Personal logo Whirlwind Supporting Member of TMP03 Nov 2014 10:39 p.m. PST

Does anyone have anymore details regarding this battle, link in particular about the terrain or the composition of each side's forces.

GurKhan04 Nov 2014 3:31 a.m. PST

Have you seen M K Jones' article, "The Battle of Verneuil (17 August 1424): Towards a History of Courage"? See link

Personal logo Whirlwind Supporting Member of TMP04 Nov 2014 3:49 a.m. PST

I haven't unfortunately and it is a £20.00 GBP article. Do you know if the guy has written a book about it?

GurKhan04 Nov 2014 4:05 a.m. PST

No – only one about Bosworth.

I think I've got a copy of the article on my home machine – I'll check, I may be confusing it with something else.

Green Tiger04 Nov 2014 7:08 a.m. PST

Read Burne, makes a lot more sense…

GurKhan04 Nov 2014 12:47 p.m. PST

OK Whirlwind, I do have the article – let me know your email and I'll send it.

Personal logo Whirlwind Supporting Member of TMP04 Nov 2014 2:30 p.m. PST

That is very kind, thank you. I'm at j*w*h*0*7*1* (no asterisks)

GurKhan04 Nov 2014 2:36 p.m. PST


Great War Ace Inactive Member04 Nov 2014 4:21 p.m. PST

Ooo! me too, pleasepleaseplease: douglarsen50 AT msn DOT com

Who asked this joker04 Nov 2014 6:18 p.m. PST

A scenario for days of Knights including historical notes.


Most of the units are about 500 men. The Scots levy archers might be 1000 men.

uglyfatbloke05 Nov 2014 11:15 a.m. PST

Dread to think what a Scots 'levy archer' might be…presumable the same as an English archer? There's no evidence to indicate that Scottish archers were any different from English ones, just fewer in number.

Great War Ace Inactive Member05 Nov 2014 1:51 p.m. PST

I think that Scots archers were more individuals than members of deep shooting units/companies. That's why they get shot down by the English anytime they go up against each other. But otherwise, bows and such were essentially the same….

uglyfatbloke06 Nov 2014 4:02 a.m. PST

Not aware of any evidence to support that GWA. The army in France consisted to about 6000 in a proportion of 2:1 in favour of close-combat troops so we should probably think in terms of specific archer units, just not as numerous or as large as the English ones.

Great War Ace Inactive Member06 Nov 2014 9:36 a.m. PST

That is what I am getting at. I didn't mean what I said to imply that Scots archers were not in units. But they shot as individuals and were not as deeply arrayed as English yeomen were. Otherwise the English would have suffered severe casualties in shooting down the Scots. Verneuil seems to say that a quick, uneven contest occurred. The Scots shot was inferior to the English, probably because the density of English shot was overwhelming….

uglyfatbloke07 Nov 2014 3:15 a.m. PST

Think we are slightly at cross-purposes; what is the evidence for Scots shooting as individuals?

Great War Ace Inactive Member07 Nov 2014 11:07 a.m. PST

Is there any description for Scots shot in volley, as we have for English shot? I don't know of any. The evidence for Scots archery indicates that they lacked the same level of intense shooting in depth that typified the English training system….

uglyfatbloke09 Nov 2014 4:38 a.m. PST

That's rather what I mean. I'm not sure that we have any actual evidence either way, though clearly there is a numbers issue; 2000 archers can't be expected to deliver the same intensity of shooting as 4000 or 6000.

Great War Ace Inactive Member09 Nov 2014 1:24 p.m. PST

But at Verneuil, that's just it: this battle had almost parity of numbers of archers, Scots vs English. Some 4K Scots bow versus maybe 2K more than that on the English side(?). The English do not appear to have taken nearly the same casualties in an arrow contest as the Scots did. If the Scots bowmen were the equal of the English in terms of rate of shot and depth of shot, you'd expect very heavy English casualties in order to see off the Scots….

uglyfatbloke10 Nov 2014 6:52 a.m. PST

The Scottish army had 2000 archers when they went to France, I don't know of any more being sent.

Thomas Thomas Supporting Member of TMP10 Nov 2014 3:10 p.m. PST

The Days of Knights of the version battle is a bit dated, more recent researh has altered perceptions of the courese of the battle.

Though the commanders are useful.


Great War Ace Inactive Member10 Nov 2014 4:41 p.m. PST

@ugly: This, from footnote 10 in, "The Battle of Verneuil (17 August 1424): Towards a History of Courage" -- Michael K. Jones: (thanks to GurKhan)

B.G.H. Ditcham, `The Employment of Foreign Mercenary Troops in the French Royal Armies, 1415-70' PhD thesis, (Edinburgh University, 1979), p. 46, puts the composition of the [Scottish] army at 2500 men-at-arms and 4000 archers.

Great War Ace Inactive Member11 Nov 2014 7:16 p.m. PST

YouTube link This is a fun documentary, focused on Verneuil. The verbal hyperbole is not quite on (e.g. the English were hardly "annihilated" in their ranks by the charging Italian cavalry). And some of the assertions about armor are not accurate either. But altogether it isn't a bad way to spend most of an hour….

uglyfatbloke12 Nov 2014 8:56 a.m. PST

GWA – I think most scholars (including Mark thingummy who was doing a Ph.D. on the same topic about 6/8 years ago) have it the other way round, there again it's a bit late for me therefore a little bit out of my comfort zone.
Overall, this is a topic area in which scholarship has moved on a lot in the last 20 to 30 years -consider the difference between what medievalists have, until relatively recently written about Scotland generally (and Scottish armies in particular) compared to what the record evidence tells us.
Even so, there are still people getting away with some right old rubbish….the consultant for the new bannockburn centre being a case in point!

Great War Ace Inactive Member12 Nov 2014 12:13 p.m. PST

Oh yeah, I know about "right old rubbish"!

Anyway, the battle of Verneuil is a lot more complex than that documentary makes out. It doesn't even mention one word about a Scottish army!? And only a single side comment about, "and the horses had the same armor as the riders".

The Italians are portrayed as riding right through the entire English army, whereas the reality was that the cavalry were drawn up on the flanks and contacted archers mainly, and even swept around the flanks without stopping until they reached the English baggage train. So it was archers that nimbly got themselves out of the way, each man for himself, with relative success as far as casualties were concerned. And as the main English army was in melee contact with its counterparts the French and Scottish MAA the English archer wings either got stuck in the melee or (on the English right) had it out with the Scots archers until they were shot down, then got into the melee.

So my point was simplistic, making a straight up comparison of total English archers versus the Scots archers. If there were c. 2K Scots archers, as you prefer, then that would make more sense of the archery duel. Because that is likely about the same number of English archers in front of the Scots archer wings (the rest of the English archers being assigned to the baggage, c. 2K? and Bedford's left battle).

Therefore the question of why a disrupted English archer force could defeat a parity of Scots archers in the subsequent archery duel, remains unanswered with specifics. And my theory is that the Scots lacked in-depth shooting, and probably suffered a rpm deficiency as well, when up against the English….

Thomas Thomas Supporting Member of TMP13 Nov 2014 1:54 p.m. PST

I believe current scholorship has the Milanese drawn up in the center and crashing through the English Men At Arms and then bumping into the baggage area.

Wavirn an eyewitness reports that the English archers (probably on his wing) defeated the horsemen opposite them and then in turn rescued the hard pressed men at arms.

It would be great to get more information about the Scottish archers. The rest of the Scottish force were probably men at arms (and some "axemen") not the yeoman pike of the home guard.


Great War Ace Inactive Member13 Nov 2014 8:59 p.m. PST

Yes, current scholarship places the cavalry on the French side in front of their center of dismounted French and Spanish MAA and the Scots.

But "old" scholarship possibly erred only in being too selective in the source material. When you consider all of the sources that's when the blatant contradictions come into it, e.g. was it Bedford or Salisbury who engaged the Scots?

I think that a more composite look is probably best. Modern scholars admit that no battle maps are helpful for the second phase. The French, Spanish and Scots contingents all arrived separately, and there is no agreement on how much time between their arrival or even their order of arrival. But piecemeal it was, allowing the rallied and reorganized English army to engage their counterparts on foot with their whole strength as each came up for melee.

So as a war game, we have several phases. You can't place all of the contingents on the French side on the table at the start.

Starting game is: French cavalry facing half the English army, Italian cavalry the other half. They charge. Some plow through the English MAA, but most pass through the masses of archers. Here is where a morale test can change the battle: if the French and/or Italian cavalry resist the impulse to believe that they have achieved a victory (to be mopped up by their later-arriving footmen), and turn instead to finish off the English army, then the battle ends here.

If the battle proceeds historically, the French and Italian cavalry ride off the table to the English rear. You can play their attack on the English baggage train and its guard (some of which is mounted), but why bother? It is heavy cavalry vs lightly armed troops, who mostly rout away, joining the routed from the English battle line.

The last phase of the battle should be randomly generating the French, Spanish and Scots contingents onto the game table. The surviving English get back half or seventy-five percent of their eliminated troops. This is reasonable because of the sources clearly describing the motivation and training of the English army. They recovered very quickly from the power of the cavalry charge, turned toward their approaching enemies on foot, and engaged them in full strength.

Keep the English outnumbered two-to-one compared to the total strength of the French army, and this could be an interesting game, or set of games….

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