The Battlefield Equipment And Tactics At The Time Of The Norman Invasion Of England.

998 words - 4 pages

The Normans were something new to all the native peoples of Britain in the second half of the 11th century, and their style of warfare was different in many respects. The elite of the Norman armies were the knights fighting from horseback. The open plains of northern France were ideal for horses, and the use of cavalry had a long tradition in France. The Franks themselves were expert cavalrymen, and the Viking settlers of Normandy would have needed little persuasion to adopt the same tactics in their defense. This was a new and disturbing phenomenon in Britain. The Anglo-Saxons had no experience facing the armored shock of a cavalry charge. Which in favorable terrain could be unstoppable. Mounted knights added a new variable to the battlefield, and after the battle of Hastings warfare in Britain changed forever. There were basically three main sections to the invading forces.The Calvary, these elite troops were the best protected of all. They would wear a haurberk made of chain mail over a leather undergarment. Usually split from the Waste to below the knee for easy mounting and dismounting. It sometimes would be extended to cover the neck and head on which would be placed a conical metal helmet with a nasal guard. A slit would be cut in the left side to hold the sword scabbard. His shield would have been circular but more commonly kite shaped and held behind him on a leather thong when riding. It would be made of wood with reinforcing pieces of metal around the perimeter to absorb blows. It was almost certain to have had his coat of arms on it. The horses were thought to be only stallions but were not large. Protection of the horse does not seem to have been of prime importance. The riding style was of an upright nature with straight legs slightly angled forward to avoid being thrown off in a charge. Foot soldiers would be protected by the use of the shield as used by the cavalry. More likely round than kite shaped although the kite shape is depicted more in the Bayeux Tapestry. Chain mail is depicted on foot soldiers but it hard to believe that this would have been used to any great extent because of the enormous cost of one of these outfits. It is possible that certain favorites may have been attired by their lords but unlikely to be used universally. Protection would be afforded by the use of hide or leather. Metal helmets would have also been used.Archers wore no armor. Their function was to soften up the enemy before engagement by killing as many opponents as possible beforehand. It appears that archers were not expected to get involved in the hand-to-hand fighting that eventually ensued. Another reason is that to fire a bow wearing full armor must have been almost impossible. The life span of an archer must have been very short if the main...

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