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Why William Won The Battle Of Hastings

3167 words - 13 pages

Why William Won the Battle of Hastings

The Battle of Hastings in 1066 saw Harold the king of England defeated
by William, Duke of Normandy. It was a great victory for William, he
became King of England and was called 'William the Conqueror.' There
were many reasons for William's victory such as religious support, a
well-prepared army, weather, more effective weapons and most
importantly superior tactics. Another important factor, which occurs
in most battles in history, is that of luck. Throughout the battle it
seemed that William was more fortunate than Harold. As much as William
earned victory, Harold made some bad judgments and serious tactical
mistakes.

Good preparation is the foundation for battle victories and in 1066 it
was William who was better prepared. He had spent months getting ready
for invasion in the safety and shelter of Normandy. Harold was not so
well prepared as he was busy sorting out his claim of kingship. Even
though he was king he had to convince people that he was the true and
lawful successor to Edward. He also had his armies already fighting at
Stamford Bridge. William built up his army and support using a feudal
system. This meant he offered land in England to Norman warriors who
joined his army to fight. He also obtained permission from the Pope,
which was a great blessing to have. It showed god was on his side and
this helped to motivate his troops. To make things worse for Harold he
was excommunicated from the Catholic Church.

"Pope Alexander II was a pupil of Lanfranc who was now a trusted
adviser to William. It was this fact that his blessing was eventually
given. William now had the papal banner on his side. This made it much
easier to rally his men to arms. " (1066.com)

Many of the knights William recruited had their own horses, men and
equipment and were trained for months leading up to battle. This meant
they were organized and knew what to do when the time came to set sail
for England. Everything was perfect for William except for the strong
winds from the north meant it was not possible for his fleet to cross
the Channel. He and his men were so desperate that they even prayed
for a south wind. God or luck was on their side as after a
thunderstorm the winds changed to a more favourable southerly
direction and they seized the opportunity and set sail. Whilst sailing
to England William's fleet got caught in a storm and they had to stop
at the Somme estuary. This should have a disaster for William but luck
was on his side, as this way the crossing to England was shorter and
when he was finally able to cross, Harold was in the north of England.

William's landing was well planned and helped by intelligence gathered
in the previous months by Normans living in England. He had studied
Caesar's invasion in 55 BC and was not going to make the...

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