Warfare From the beginning of time we have all seen things grow and evolve to bigger and better things. Take the t.v. for example. This magnificent invention has evolved from being black and white, to high definition color, surround sound, and can fit in your pants pocket no problem. Other creations in life have evolved as well, especially in the art of warfare.
Today with the push of a single button entire countries are able to be destroyed. The accuracy and efficiency of the guns in this era are mind boggling. Deadly weapons are now the size of a hand and can be carried nearly everywhere without being noticed. This is just a glimpse at todays warfare technology. Back in the day, when men were men, they did not have grenades or machine guns to mow down their enemy. They had to do it the old fashioned way, hand to hand combat.
Over the thousands of years of mans existence, he has helped shaped the growth of technology in warfare. From 1300 to 1660 Europes warfare underwent its most enormous transformation; gunpowder, mobile and effective cannon, and reasonably useful small firearms had a profound effect, both in the technology of war and its social organization. The saying, its not the size of the dog in the fight but rather the size of the fight in the dog, is a perfect quote for the Battle Of Agincourt. The date was Oct. 25, 1415 (Keegan 78). Henry V of England was in pursuit of the French throne and had an army of about 10,000 men at his side.
They invaded Normandy in August 1415; winning battle after battle. As months progressed the English army diminished to about half because of disease and battle casualties. King Henry V attempted to leave and regroup but was stopped in his tracks by a French army totaling 20,000 to 30,000 men(Keegan 88,90). They had mounted knights in heavy armor and were ready for battle against the English. The English, bruised and battered, were clearly outnumbered.
However, the English had the advantage of intelligence, favoring weathering conditions, and a key battlefield. A cramped battlefield made the French numbers useless. The 5,000 archers and 900 men at arms would suffice in these conditions (Keegan 80,87). The English stepped back into bowshot range, fired away, provoking an attack from the French. The French launched a massive attack but the tight battle ground left it nearly impossible for the French to even raise their arms to deliver a blow.
King Henry V used his intelligence to finish the French off. He had the archers, who had little armor on, take up hand to hand combat on the immobile French. His tactics worked and the English were victorious. The French lost some 1,500 knights, 4,500 men at arms, and 12 of his highest nobility. The English on the other hand lost less than 450 men(Keegan 87-93). It was truly the sharp mind of the dog that won this battle, not the size of the dog.
The Battle of Agincourt is a great example of how war started out as a truly strategic art and neither the size of the armies nor the amount of amor affected the outcome of the battle. The most advanced and efficient weapon of this time was probably the bow and arrow. Its long range and accuracy caused many casualties in battle. At Agincourt the bow and arrow was very influential in the outcome of the battle. In later years we will see that this type of battle,(Agincourt), will look like a lost art.
Hand to hand combat will no longer be as prevalent, long distance and power will now be the nucleus in battles. By the 15th century the bow and arrow was most sufficient long range weapon of warfare. There were no fighter jets to drop bombs, no grenades to toss, and no bazookas to launch. People had to find a different way to cause mass destruction. Their answer to this problem came around the 14th century when the cannon was invented(McNeil 88). At that time however cannon pieces weighed over 1,000 pounds and were so immobile and costly that they seemed practically useless.
As a result, most cannons remained fairly small. From the period 1382 -1388 a list of 73 pieces of artillery were manufactured for Richard II of England, the heaviest weighed no more than 737 pounds, the nine lightest were only 43 pounds each (http://www.lepg.org/warfare.htm). As one can see there was a great deal of improvement in the weight of the cannon making it a more useful weapon. But it still wasnt perfect. These massive cannons were so heavy that they had to be mounted of heavy sledges, drastically impeding their movement and making their aim more guess work(McNeil 80).
It was not till later on in the century that wheels were added to make moving the cannon a more feasible task. The 14th century was still early in the development of the cannon(Appendix A). Weapons like the catapult and the bow and arrow were still used more often in battle (http://www.lepg.org/warfare.htm). By about 1450 the supplies of copper and tin to make bronze and of copper and zinc to make brass became critically important in the growth of warfare(McNeil 86). This second bronze age enabled a larger production of fire arms for about a century.
Then the discovery of how to cast iron in 1543, cut guns prices to about a twelfth of their original cost. By the end of the 17th century nearly two-thirds of the infantry had firearms History Reports.