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French Win at Agincourt?

MAC161

Well-known member
Published by SLP
Location
WI, USA
Been going through some more old History Channel docs as part of keeping the COVID isolation at bay, and the most recent was the Battlefield Detectives episode on the 1415 Battle of Agincourt, which goes in-depth into how terrain, weather, crowd control failure, and the French abandoning their sensible battle plan out of overconfidence/a focus on fighting only the English knights while ignoring the longbowmen all combined to produce an English victory, rather than the legendary "arrow storm". Leaving aside all this for the moment, given the numbers and types of the armies involved, what would've had to go differently for the French to win, or at the very least for Henry V to return to England in defeat or just something other than OTL's triumph?
 

Death's Companion

General Ugg Apologist.
A win seems fairly easy to get, if the first French cavalry charge is not delayed/understrength then it might well just wipe out the English Longbowmen whilst they are advancing.

Secondly if the battle is delayed by a day the French have a few thousand more soldiers to use.

Finally if the French just don't act stupidly and coordinate their assault as planned its hard to see it not working out to at least a draw.


The English were in an awful position, starving ,tired and with no line of retreat and Henry himself took an axe to the helmet during the fighting, easy enough for him to be killed.

So a crushing English defeat seems quite possible. Though a draw or a fighting retreat could be possible. Tbh if Henry lives then he will put together another army, the whole campaign was more a demonstration rather than seriously intended to be the start of his conquest of France. So long as he is not completely discredited he probably tries again in future. Though the rest of the war may well go more in favour of the French as much more than the number of casualties was who the dead and captured men were the senior military leadership of France was basically crippled.
 

MAC161

Well-known member
Published by SLP
Location
WI, USA
A win seems fairly easy to get, if the first French cavalry charge is not delayed/understrength then it might well just wipe out the English Longbowmen whilst they are advancing.

Secondly if the battle is delayed by a day the French have a few thousand more soldiers to use.

Finally if the French just don't act stupidly and coordinate their assault as planned its hard to see it not working out to at least a draw.


The English were in an awful position, starving ,tired and with no line of retreat and Henry himself took an axe to the helmet during the fighting, easy enough for him to be killed.

So a crushing English defeat seems quite possible. Though a draw or a fighting retreat could be possible. Tbh if Henry lives then he will put together another army, the whole campaign was more a demonstration rather than seriously intended to be the start of his conquest of France. So long as he is not completely discredited he probably tries again in future. Though the rest of the war may well go more in favour of the French as much more than the number of casualties was who the dead and captured men were the senior military leadership of France was basically crippled.
If Henry is defeated but lives, how weakened is his reign back in England? Would something like the Treaty of Troyes five years later still happen, and if not, what's likeliest to happen with the French monarchy?
 

Redolegna

Champagne Socialist
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If Henry is defeated but lives, how weakened is his reign back in England? Would something like the Treaty of Troyes five years later still happen, and if not, what's likeliest to happen with the French monarchy?
It's really hard to say. You have to remember there are two sons of Charles VI ahead of Charles VII still alive at that point. One died suddenly at the end of the year, the other in 1417. They'd possibly have other stances than he did. The Treaty looks unlikely to happen short of an even bigger triumph. They're not impossible to pull off, see Verneuil a decade later, but without the aura of victory around him, Henry V is much diminished both at home and among the Burgundians. The Armagnacs are not beheaded as they were OTL (the Burgundians lost some people, some of them very closely tied to Jean the Murderer, boo, hiss, spit! but nowhere near as many) and don't look like God himself has disavowed their cause. There is no way such a humiliating thing for the French crown happens as the Treaty in this circumstances, but Jean (boo, hiss, spit!) might intrigue again to bring the English to French shores if he looks like he's about to lose the civil war and his life.
 

Death's Companion

General Ugg Apologist.
Its really one of those questions that doesn't have a knowable answer because well the Hundred Years War proves by lasting a hundred years that even the most dramatic and decisive of battles can be undone at a stroke. Henry was a brilliant soldier and the French whilst quick learners were handicapped by a mix of awful luck and some genuine incompetence at various times and far more significantly an appalling domestic situation.

More than anything else what lost the War for the English was the French deciding slowly but surely that maybe they should fight the English instead of each other for a change. It was the neutrality/defection of the Burgundians that made the English Kingdom of France impossible to defend in a financially sustainable way.

So maybe a loss of Agincourt sees the Hundred Year's war end decades early...or maybe Henry comes back next year or after trounces a couple of French armies and cuts a deal with the Burgundians. Maybe he never ends up King of France, he quite possibly (probably?) grabs Normandy at some point which was his original aim before the opposition happily obliterated itself for him.

You could possibly even find that without the total war for the Crown of France itself things delay and the English possessions in France last decades or maybe even a century longer than OTL.
 
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