Attention has already been called to the defects of the feudal system for military purposes, and to the shifts whereby successive sovereigns sought to make them good. With Edward the Second resort was made to a new device. Contracts, or as they were called indents, were concluded by the King with men of position, whereby the latter, as though they had been apprentices to a trade, bound themselves to serve 佛山桑拿按摩论坛0769 him with a force of fixed strength during a fixed term at a fixed rate of wages. In some respects this was simply a reversion to the old practice of hiring mercenaries; but as Edward the Third placed his contracts for the most part within his kingdom, the force assumed a national character. The current ideas of organisation were still so imperfect that the contractors generally 佛山桑拿技师招聘 engaged themselves to provide a mixed force of all arms; but as they naturally raised men where they could most easily get hold of them, that is to say in their own neighbourhoods, there was almost certainly some local or personal feeling to help to keep them together. For the rest the contractor of course made his own arrangements for the interior economy of his own particular troops, and enjoyed in consequence considerable powers, which descended to the colonels of a later day and have only been stripped from them within the last two generations. It is not difficult to imagine that men thus enlisted should presently, when released from national employment, have sold their services to the highest bidder and become, as they presently did become, condottièri. It is characteristic of the commercial genius of our race that England should be the cradle not only of the soldier but of the condottière; in other words, that 佛山夜生活kb场 she should have set the example in making warfare first a question of wages, and next a question of profit. But her work did not end here; for these reforms created the race of professional soldiers and through them the renascence of the Art of War. In short, with the opening of the Hundred Years’ War the British army quickens in the womb of time, and the feudal force sinks into ever swifter decay.
But there is another side to this picture of feudal inefficiency. Moral not less than physical force is a mighty factor in war; and it was precisely the military defects of the English feudal system that first made her a military power. Though the growth of a caste of warriors was checked, it was to make room for that which was worthy to overshadow it, a fighting nation. For in England there was not, as in other countries, any denial of civil rights to the commons of the realm. Below the ranks of the peerage all freemen enjoyed equality before the law; nay, the peerage itself conferred no privilege except on those who actually possessed 佛山桑拿小姐电话 it, the sons of peers being commoners, not as elsewhere noble through the mere fact of their birth. In England there were and are nobility and gentry: in other countries nobility and gentry were merged in a single haughty exclusive caste, and between them and other freemen was fixed a great and impassable gulf. Thus the highest and the lowest of the freemen were in touch with each other in England as nowhere else 佛山桑拿按摩全套价格 in Europe. More than two centuries later than Cre?y, so great and gallant a gentleman as Bayard could refuse with disdain to fight by the side of infantry. In England, whatever the pride of race, the son of the noblest peer in the land stood shoulder to shoulder with his equal when the archer fell in by his side, and where the son stood the father could feel it no shame to stand. No other nation as yet could imitate this; no other could recall a Hastings where all classes had stood afoot in one battalion. Other nations could indeed, when taught by experience, dismount their knights and align cross-bowmen with them, just as at this day they can erect an upper and lower chamber and speak of a constitution on the English model; but then as now it was the form only, not the substance, that was English.
So far for the commercial 佛山夜生活888 and political influence that helped to mould our military system; there remains yet another great moral force to be reckoned with. Chivalry, which had been growing slowly in England since the Third Crusade, burst in the fourteenth century into late but magnificent blossom. The nation woke to the beauty of a service which gave dignity to man’s fighting instincts, which taught that it was not enough for him to be without fear if he were not also without reproach, and that though the government of the world must always rest upon force, yet mercy and justice may go hand in hand with it. The girding on of the sword was no longer a social but a religious act; it marked not merely the young man’s entrance into public life, but his ordination to a great and noble function. Concurrently there had arisen a sense of the charm of glory 佛山夜生活qq群 and adventure. Hitherto the English knights had gained no repute in Europe. Hatred and jealousy had held the Saxon aloof from his Norman master; now there was no more Saxon and Norman, but the English, united and strong, a fighting people that thirsted for military fame.
Let us now briefly consider the composition and organisation of the armies that were to work such havoc in France. The cavalry was drawn for the most part from the wealthier classes, though, as has been seen, there was one division of the freemen under the statute of Winchester which was called upon to do mounted service. The more important branch, the men-at-arms, was composed of two elements, knights and squires. From the first institution of the feudal system, the number of men required from the greater vassals had forced them to equip their sons and serving-men, who after many changes were finally in the thirteenth century merged together under the generic name of servientes, a term which was soon corrupted into its present form of sergeants. In the year 1294 these servientes were dignified by the higher title of servientes equites, mounted sergeants, which was six years later abandoned for the familiar name of squires. These squires must not, however, be confounded with a different class of the same appellation, namely, the apprentices who were the personal attendants of the knights. The squire of which I now speak was rather a knight of inferior order corresponding to the bachelier (bas chevalier) of France. The word knight itself gives us a hint of this inferiority, being the same as the German knecht, whereas ritter is the German term that expresses what is generally understood as a knight in English. The inner history of chivalry is the story of the struggle of the sergeants to rise to an equality with the knights of the first order, and in the fourteenth century they were not far from their goal. Even now they were considered the backbone of the English army, and were equipped in all points like the class above them.
Men-at-arms, an expression derived from the French, were so called because they were covered with defensive armour from top to toe; but as the middle of the fourteenth century is a period of transition in the development of armour, it is difficult to describe their equipment with any certainty. Their offensive arms were the lance, sword, dagger, and shield. Trained from very early youth in the handling of weapons they were doubtless proficient enough with them; but they do not seem to have been great horsemen, and indeed it is recorded that they were sometimes tied to the saddle. Monstrelet, writing in the year 1416, tells us of the astonishment which certain Italians created among the French because they could actually turn their horses at the gallop. It is probable that the bits employed were too weak, and that the cumbrousness of the saddle and the weight carried by each man were sad obstacles to good horsemanship; but it is worth remembering in any case that, as this passage plainly shows, men-at-arms in the saddle were reduced to one of two alternatives, to move slowly and retain control of their horses, or to gallop for an indefinite period wherever the animals might choose to carry them.
The favourite horses, alike for speed, endurance, and courage, were the Spanish, which, as they could only reach England by the journey overland through France, were not always very easily obtained. Philip the Bold in 1282 refused to allow one batch of eighty such horses to be transhipped to England; but from a contract still extant, of the year 1333, it appears that Edward the Third still counted on Spain to provide him with remounts. These horses, however, were only bestridden for action, being committed on the march to the care of the shield-bearers or squires, who led them, as was natural, on their right-hand side, and thus procured for them the curious name of dextrarii. The usual allowance of horses for a knight was three, besides a packhorse for his baggage, the smallest of which, named the palfrey, was that which he rode on ordinary occasions; in fact, to put the matter into modern language, a knight started on a campaign with a first charger, a second charger, and a pony. The first charger was always a stallion; the rest might be geldings or mares. From the year 1298 the practice of covering horses with defensive armour was introduced into England, an equipment which soon came to be regarded as so essential that one branch of the cavalry, and that the most important, was reckoned by the number of barded horses.
The personal retinue of the knights was made up of apprentices or aspirants to the rank which they held. The squire or shield-bearer took charge of the knight’s armour on the march, and was responsible for maintaining it in proper order; and it is worth remarking that the English squire took a pride in burnishing the metal to the highest pitch of brilliancy, thus early establishing those traditions of smartness which are still so strong in our cavalry. It was also the squire’s duty, among many others, to help his master to don his harness when the time for action came, beginning with his iron shoes or sollerets, and working upwards till the fabric was crowned by the iron headpiece, and the finishing touch added by the assumption of the shield. The reader will readily understand that a really efficient squire must have been invaluable, for if an engagement came in any way as a surprise there was an immediate rush for the baggage, and a scene of confusion that must have beggared description. Fortunately, the fact that both sides were generally alike unready, and the punctiliousness of chivalric courtesy, permitted as a rule ample time not only for the equipment of all ranks, but for the marshalling of the host.
In the matter of administrative organisation the men-at-arms were distributed into constabularies, being commanded by officers called constables. The strength of a constabulary seems to have varied from five-and-twenty to eighty; and this variety, together with the absence of any tactical unit of fixed strength, makes it impossible to state how many constabularies were included in the next tactical division. This was called the banner, and was commanded by a banneret, a rank originally conferred only upon such as could bring a certain number of followers into the field. Promotion to the degree of banneret was marked by cutting off the forked tail of the pennon which was carried by the ordinary knight, and leaving the remnant square. So at the present day, the pennons of lances are forked, the square being reserved for the standards of squadrons and regiments.
The independent employment of small bodies in action was almost unknown, the rule being to pack an indefinite number of men-at-arms, hundreds or even thousands, into a close and solid mass, its depth almost if not quite as great as its frontage. The haye, or thin line, is of much later date. Ordinarily some modification of the wedge was the formation preferred; that is to say, that the frontage of the front rank was somewhat less than that of the rear; the mass of that particular shape being judged to be less liable to disorder and better adapted for breaking into a hostile phalanx. The relative strength of the front and rear ranks depended entirely on the numbers that were packed in between them, and it may readily be supposed that the evolutions which so unwieldly a body could execute were very few. Probably, until the moment of action came, sufficient space was maintained to permit every horse to turn on his own ground, after the Roman fashion, to right, left, or about; but for the attack ranks and files were closed up as tightly as possible, and all other considerations were sacrificed to the maintenance of a compact array. It was said of the French knights who marched with Richard the Lion-Heart that an apple thrown into the midst of them would not have fallen to the ground. We must therefore rid ourselves of the popular notion of the knight as a headlong galloping cavalier. The attack of men-at-arms could not be very rapid unless it were made in disorder; and though it comes strictly under the head of shock-action, the shock was rather that of a ponderous column moving at a moderate pace than of a light line charging at high speed. By bearing these facts in mind it will be easier to understand the failure of mounted men-at-arms to break a passive square of infantry.
Next after the men-at-arms came a species of cavalry called by the name of pauncenars, which was less fully equipped with defensive armour, but wore the habergeon and was armed with the lance.
Lastly came the light cavalry of the fyrd, originally established to patrol the English coast. These were called hobelars, from the hobbies or ponies which they rode, and were equipped with an iron helmet, a heavily padded doublet (aketon), iron gloves, and a sword.
Turning next to the infantry, there were Welsh spearmen, carrying the weapon which gave them their name, but without defensive armour. Indeed it should seem that they were not overburdened with clothes of any kind, for they were every one provided at the King’s expense with a tunic and a mantle, which were by express direction made of the same material and colour for all. These Welsh spearmen therefore were the first troops in the English service who were dressed in uniform, and they received it first in the year 1337. The colour of their clothing unfortunately remains unknown to us.
Next we come to the peculiar strength of England, the archers. Though a certain number of them seem generally to have been mounted, yet, like the dragoons of a later day, these rode for the sake of swifter mobility only, and may rightly be reckoned as infantry. As has been already stated, the archers wore no defensive armour except an iron cap, relying on their bows alone. These bows were six feet four inches long; the arrows, of varying length but generally described as cloth-yard shafts, were fitted with barb and point of iron and fledged with the feathers of goose or peacock. But the weapon itself would have gone for little without the special training in its use wherein the English excelled. “My father,” says Bishop Latimer (and we may reasonably assume that in such matters there had been little change in a hundred and fifty years), “My father was diligent in teaching me to shoot with the bow; he taught me to draw, to lay my body to the bow, not to draw with strength of arm as other nations do, but with the strength of the body. I had my bows bought me according to my age and strength; as I increased in these my bows were made bigger and bigger.” The principle was in fact analogous to that which is taught to young oarsmen at the present day. The results of this training were astonishing. The range of the long-bow in the hands of the old archers is said to have been fully two hundred and forty yards, and the force of the arrow to have been such as to pierce at a fair distance an inch of stout timber. Moreover, the shooting was both rapid and accurate. Indeed the long-bow was in the fourteenth century a more formidable weapon than the cross-bow, which had been condemned by Pope Innocent the Second as too deadly for Christian warfare so far back as 1139. It was at no disadvantage in the matter of range, while it could be discharged far more quickly; and further, since it was held not horizontally but perpendicularly to the ground, the archers could stand closer together, and their volleys could be better concentrated. Thus the long-bow, though the cross-bow was not unknown to the English, was not only the national but the better weapon. In action the archers were ranked as deep as was consistent with the delivery of effective volleys, the rear ranks being able to do good execution by aiming over the heads of the men before them. It may be imagined from the muscular training undergone by the archers that they were physically a magnificent body of men.
Strictly speaking the archers were the artillery of the army, according to the terminology of the time, the word artillator being used in the time of Edward the Second to signify the officer in charge of what we now call the ordnance-stores. But to avoid confusion we must use the word in its modern sense, the more so since we find among the stores of the custodian of the King’s artillery in 1344 the items of saltpetre and sulphur for the manufacture of powder, and among his men six “gonners.” Gun, it should be added, was the English, cannon the French name for these weapons from the beginning. It will presently be necessary to notice their first appearance in the field.
As to the general organisation of the army, the whole was divided into thousands under an officer called a millenar, subdivided into hundreds, each under a centenar, and further subdivided into twenties, each under a vintenar. The commander-in-chief was usually the King in person, aided by two principal officers, the High Constable and the Marshal, whose duties were, roughly speaking, those of Adjutant and Quartermaster-General. For tactical purposes the army was distributed into three divisions, called the vanguard, battle and rearguard, which kept those names whatever their position in the field or on the march, whether the host was drawn up, as most commonly, in three lines, or in one. Trumpets were used for purposes of signalling, though so far as can be gathered they sounded no distinct calls, and were dependent for their significance on orders previously issued. The failing in this respect is the more remarkable, inasmuch as the signals of the chase with the horn were already very numerous and very clearly and accurately defined.
The pay of all ranks can fortunately be supplied from the muster-roll of Calais in 1346, and although I shall not again encumber these pages with a pay-list I shall for once print it entire:
The Prince of Wales 20s. a day.
The Bishop of Durham 6s. 8d. ” ”
Earls 6s. 8d. ” ”
Barons and Bannerets 4s. ” ”
Knights 2s. ” ”
Esquires, Constables, Captains, and Leaders 1s. ” ”
Vintenars 6d. ” ”
Mounted Archers 6d. ” ”
Pauncenars 6d. ” ”
 Hobelars 6d. ” ”
Foot-Archers 3d. ” ”
Welsh Spearmen 2d. ” ”
” Vintenars 4d. ” ”
Masons, Carpenters, Smiths, Engineers, Miners, Gunners, 10d., 6d., and 3d.
It is melancholy to have to record that even so early as in 1342 corruption and fraudulent dealing had begun in the army. The marshals were ordered to muster the men-at-arms once a month, and to refuse pay for men who were absent or inadequately armed or indifferently mounted. We shall see the practice of drawing pay for imaginary men and the tricks played on muster-masters increase and multiply, till they demand a special vocabulary and a certain measure of official recognition. A favourite abuse among men-at-arms was the claim of extortionate compensation for horses lost on active service, leading to an order in this same year that all horses should be valued on admission to the corps, and marked to prevent deception. Thus early was the road opened that leads to the broad arrow. The taint of corruption, indeed, clings strongly to every army, with the possible exception of the Prussian, in Europe. War is a time of urgency and stress, which does not admit of strict audits or careful inspections, and poor human nature is too weak not to turn such an opportunity to its profit. It is an unpleasant thought that dishonesty and peculation should be inseparably associated with so much that is noble and heroic in human history, but the fact is indisputable, and must not be lightly passed over. Moreover the days when English cavalry shall go to war on their own horses may not yet be numbered; and it may be useful to remember that the medi?val man-at-arms would mount himself on his worst animal in order to break him down the quicker, and claim for him the price of his best. It is only by constant wariness against such evils that there can be built up a sound system of military administration.
Authorities.—As for previous chapter.
Having now sketched the composition of the English forces, let us move forthwith to the scene of action. We must omit the early incidents of the war, and the assumption by Edward of the famous motto wherein he consecrated his claim to the crown of France, Dieu et mon droit. We must pass by the famous naval action of Sluys, where the English commanders in their zeal to follow the precepts of Vegetius, thought it more important to have the sun in the enemy’s eyes than the wind in their own favour, and where the archers, acting as marine sharp-shooters, were the true authors of the English victory. We must overlook likewise the innumerable sieges, even that of Quesnoy, where the English first
came under the fire of cannon, merely remarking that owing to their ignorance of that particular branch of warfare, the English were uniformly unsuccessful; and we must come straight to the year 1345, when Henry of Lancaster, Earl of Derby, landed at Bayonne with a force of three thousand men for a campaign in Gascony and Guienne. The name of our first artillery-officer has been given; attention must now be called to our first engineer, this same Earl of Derby, who had lately been recalled from service with the Spaniards against the Moors at the siege of Algesiras, and was the first man who taught the English how to take a fortified town.
Derby then with his little army harried Gascony and Guienne for a time, until the arrival of a superior French force compelled him to retire and gave him much ado to defend
himself. Accordingly, in June 1346 Edward the Third impressed a fleet of innumerable small vessels, none of them exceeding sixty tons burden, embarked thereon four thousand men-at-arms, ten thousand archers and five or six thousand Welsh spearmen, and sailed for the coast of France. On the 12th of July he put into St. Vaast de la Hogue, a little to the east of Cherbourg, dispersed a French force that was stationed to oppose him, and successfully effected his landing. Six days were allowed to recruit men and horses after the voyage, and the army then moved eastward to the Seine, leaving a broad line of ruin and desolation in its wake, and advanced up the left bank of the river. King Philip of France had meanwhile collected an army at Rouen, whence he marched parallel to the English along the right bank of the Seine, crossed it
at Paris, and stood ready to fall upon Edward if he should strike southward to Guienne. But Edward’s plans were of the vaguest; his diversion had already relieved Derby, and he now crossed the Seine at Poissy and struck northward as if for Flanders. Philip no sooner divined his purpose than he too hastened northward, outmarched the English, crossed the Somme at Amiens, gave orders for the occupation of every bridge and ford by which the English could pass the river, and then recrossing marched straight upon Edward’s right flank.
The position of the English was now most critical, for they could not cross the Somme and were fairly hemmed in between the river and the sea. At his wits’ end Edward examined his prisoners, and from them learned of the ford of Blanche Tache in the tidal water about eight miles below Abbeville. Thither accordingly he marched, and after waiting part of a night for the ebb-tide, forced the passage in the teeth of a French detachment that had been stationed to guard it, and sending six officers to select for him a suitable position pursued his way northward through the forest of Cre?y. On the morning of the 26th of August he crossed the river Maie, and there swinging his front round from north to south-east he turned and stood at bay.
The position was well chosen. The army occupied a low line of heights lying between the villages of Cre?y and Wadicourt, the left flank resting on a forest, the right on the river Maie. Edward ordered every man to dismount, and parked the horses and baggage waggons in an entrenched leaguer in rear. The army was too weak to cover the whole line of the position, so the archers were pushed forward and extended in a multitude of battalions along the front, and backed with Welsh spearmen. Echeloned in rear of them stood the three main divisions of the army; foremost and to the right the vanguard of twelve hundred men-at-arms under the Black Prince, next to it the battle of as many more under the Earl of Arundel, and behind it, covering the extreme left, the rearguard, consisting of fifteen hundred men-at-arms and six thousand mixed archers and infantry under the King. The country being rich in provisions Edward ordered every man to eat a hearty meal before falling into his place, for he knew that the Englishman fights best when he is full. When the host was arrayed in order he rode round the whole army to cheer it; and then the men lay down, the archers with their helmets and bows on the ground before them, and waited till the French should come.
Philip meanwhile had crossed the Somme at Abbeville on the morning of the 26th, and turned eastward in the hope of cutting off the English. Finding that he was too late, he countermarched and turned north, at the same time sending forward officers to reconnoitre. The afternoon was far advanced, and the French were wearied with a long, disorderly march when these officers returned with intelligence of the English. Philip ordered a halt, but the indiscipline and confusion were such that the order could not be obeyed. The noblest blood in France was riding on in all its pride to make an end of the despised English, and a mass of rude infantry was waiting to share the slaughter and the spoil. So they blundered on till they caught sight of the English lying quietly down in order of battle; and therewith all good resolutions vanished and Philip gave the order to attack.
It was now nearly five o’clock, and the heaven was black with clouds, which presently burst in a terrific thunderstorm. The English archers slipped off their bowstrings to keep them dry, and waited; while six thousand Genoese cross-bowmen, jaded by the long march, drenched and draggled with the rain that beat into their faces, conscious that they were almost disarmed by the wetness of their bowstrings, shuffled wearily into their stations along the French front. Their leaders complained that they were unfairly treated. “Who cares for your rabble?” answered the Count of Alen?on. “They are nothing but useless mouths, more trouble than help.” So the cross-bowmen sulkily took their position, and the rest of the French army, from twelve to twenty thousand men-at-arms and some fifteen thousand infantry, ranged themselves in three massive lines behind them. A vast flight of ravens flew over the opposing arrays, croaking loudly over the promised feast of dead men.
Then the storm passed away inland into France, and the sun low down in the west flashed out in all his glory full in the faces of the French. The Genoese advanced and raised a loud cry, thrice repeated, to strike terror into the English: the archers over against them stood massive and silent. The loud report of two or three cannon, little more harmful than the shouts of the Genoese, was the only answer; and then the archers stepped forward and drew bow. In vain the Genoese attempted to reply; they were overwhelmed by the torrent of shafts; they shrank back, cut their bowstrings and would have fled, but for a line of French mounted men-at-arms which was drawn up in their rear to check them. The proud chivalry of France was chafing impatiently behind them, and Philip would wait no longer. “Slay me these rascals,” he said brutally; and the first line of men-at-arms thundered forward, trod the hapless Genoese under foot, and pressed on within range of the arrows. And then ensued a terrible scene. The great stallions, maddened by the pain of the keen barbed shafts, broke from all control. They jibbed, they reared, they swerved, they plunged, striking and lashing out hideously, while the rear of the dense column, carried forward by its own momentum, surged on to the top of the foremost and wedged the whole into a helpless choking mass. And still the shower of pitiless arrows fell swift as snow upon the thickest of the press; and the whole of the French fighting line became a confused welter of struggling animals, maimed cross-bowmen, and fallen cavaliers, crippled by the weight of their armour, an easy prey to the long, keen knives of the Welsh.
To face page 36
THE CAMPAIGN OF 1346.
Nevertheless some few of the French men-at-arms had managed to pierce through the archers. The blind king of Bohemia had been guided by two faithful knights through the centre, Alen?on had skirted them on one flank, the Count of Flanders on the other, and all had fallen upon the Black Prince’s battalion. The danger was greatest on the left flank; but the Earl of Arundel moved up the second line of the echelon to his support, and the English held their own. Then the second line of the French advanced, broke through the archers, not without heavy loss, and fell likewise upon the English men-at-arms. The Prince of Wales was overthrown, and was only saved by the devotion of his standard-bearer, but the battalion fought on. It was probably at this time that Arundel sent a messenger to the King for reinforcements. “Is my son dead or hurt?” he asked. “No, sire, but he is hard beset.” “Then return to those who sent you and bid them send me no more such messages while my son is alive; tell them to let the boy win his spurs.” The message was carried back to the battalion, and the men-at-arms fought on stoutly as ever. The archers seem also to have rallied and closed on the flank and rear of the attacking French. Alen?on’s banner could still be seen swaying behind a hedge of archers, and Philip, anxious to pour his third and last line into the fight, had actually advanced within range of the arrows. But the power of the bowmen was still unweakened, the ground was choked with dead men and horses, and the light was failing fast. He yielded to the entreaties of his followers and rode from the field; and the first great battle of the English was won.
When morning dawned the country was full of straggling Frenchmen, who from the sudden change in the direction of the advance had lost all knowledge of their line of retreat; the few that retained some semblance of organised bodies were attacked and broken up. Never was victory more complete. The French left eleven great lords, eighty-three bannerets, over twelve hundred knights 佛山夜生活最繁华热闹的地方 and some thousands of common soldiers dead on the field. It was a fortunate issue to a reckless and ill-planned campaign. It is customary to give all credit for the victory to the archers, but this is unjust. Superbly as they fought they would have been broken without the men-at-arms, even as the men-at-arms would have been overwhelmed without the archers. Both did their duty without envy or jealousy, and therein lay the secret of their success.