The Battle of Hastings - Why Did William Win?
On the 14th of October 1066, Duke William of Normandy defeated King Harold at the Battle of Hastings. His win could be summed up by the fact that William was a better leader. Other factors that contributed to William’s victory include: William was better prepared, the English army was severely weakened as Harold had just fought off an invasion in the North of England, and Harold made a fatal mistake of prematurely entering the Battle of Hastings.
William was a better leader because although Harold had the upper hand in the battle and they were losing, William managed to outwit and defeat the English. In the Bayeux Tapestry there is a scene depicting that in the days preceding the Battle of Hastings, the wind direction changed and William and his army took this opportunity and managed to cross the Channel while Harold was still in the North. When they arrived, they made a fortified camp. William fed his troops, arranged them carefully and used them well in battle. Whilst in battle, William’s troops were getting killed because Harold’s troops had a strong position. Then he made a plan – he made his troops look like they were retreating and Harold and his army followed them, leaving their strong position on the hill, enabling William to defeat them as they walked into his trap.
William was better prepared for battle than Harold was. Although the numbers in their armies evenly matched, William’s army was made of heavily armed and well trained soldiers such as archers and knights, where as Harold’s troops were mainly untrained farmers. In the Bayeux Tapestry, it shows William’s army getting ready, embarking huge ships full of wood and supplies such as wine, weapons, and horses. There are also images of the knights in full battle armour riding out to war.
Another reason why William won the Battle of Hastings was because Harold’s army was severely weakened after hi previous battle at Stamford Bridge. Although he was victorious in both of them, his troops were exhausted and did not have sufficient energy to perform at their best. At the beginning of the battle, he managed get a good advantage - he positioned his troops on top of a hill, making it difficult for William to get to his army and attack him. However, towards the end of the battle, William set a trap to draw Harold from his strong position – and he fell for it. Once they were on even ground,...