100 Years War: Agincourt 1415

Posted: July 2, 2014 in DVD, Films, Medieval

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On 25th October 1415 Henry V’s Anglo/Welsh Army destroyed the French at Agincourt. This DVD from Pen and Sword looks at not just this battle but at the whole campaign that led up to this final victory of the 100 Years War.

Unlike the Crecy campaign of his great-grandfather Edward III, this campaign nearly ended in disaster. Although the initial landings and encirclement of Harfleur went well, the siege dragged on and the “Bloody Flux” – the scourge of many a medieval army – struck the English. Although they successfully captured Harfleur the army that was left was a shadow of its former self. Henry’s attempts to march to Calais were beset with problems as the French Army stalked him aiming to bring him to battle and destroy him and his socially inferior army.

Once again the English victory on the field of Agincourt was a demonstration of the French ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. As at Crecy the courage, discipline and steadfastness of the mainly yeoman Anglo/Welsh aided by the use of the longbow turned the massive and magnificent French Army, into a bloody ruin. This victory would allow Henry to achieve his political aim. However, it was only Henry’s early death in 1422 which stopped the English in uniting England and France under an English King.

This is a great DVD. Everything in it is very clearly explained, and the context is very detailed, so you can see how one event leads into another very clearly. Similarly, the whole presentation is very well paced, and you feel like everything is sufficiently covered before moving onto the next part of the campaign.

The location shots are great and really help immerse you in the history of both the campaign and the battle, and the footage of the historical re-enactment groups goes a long way towards acting as an “illustration” of the period. Similarly, the detailed battle plans and CG maps help explain everything very clearly, and you’re left with a good understanding of how everything fits together.

While the presenters are very good at engaging with the camera, some of the interviewees seem a little nervous, and this make for some awkward viewing at times, but nothing that is overly distracting. Altogether, this is a very solid documentary – informative and entertaining.

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