The French host blocking the road to Calais was magnificent; 10 – 20 thousand knights, over a thousand mounted. The English force that must somehow go through them seemed ludicrous; a few hundred knights, all on foot, with Henry V front and center, flanked by 6 or 7 thousand bowmen. These archers were common Englishmen, not worth any ransom, to whom no quarter would be given. They had trained once a week "at the butts" since they were 12, so that their forearms were like Popeye’s. In their hands was a bow as tall as they were, cut from a yew so that the inner side was heartwood, and the pull was over 100 pounds. Their arrows had Bodkin tips, tapering down to a needle point.

LOOSE! Thousands of arrows rained down on the French, launched at 45 degrees. At 300 yards not many were lethal, but they proved quite the irritant, especially to horses. "Petits morceaux de merde! EN AVANT!" The French closed to within a 100 yards.

LOOSE! The arrows were now point blank, and armor-piercing. The rear ranks jammed into the front, and the front into the dead and dying. The sodden field turned into ooze a foot deep. Still the serried ranks came on, finally reaching the English line.

The Archers dropped their bows, picked up war hammers, axes, and pikes, and the real slaughter began. They would have gotten no quarter, and so none was given. They say chivalry died in the mud on that day, but a bond between a prince and his people was born. It is not a fluke that for centuries the chamber holding the power of the realm in the "Mother of Parliaments" has been called the House of COMMONS.

"We few, we happy few; we band of brothers; For he today that sheds his blood with me shall be my brother; Be he ne’er so vile, this day shall gentle his condition; And gentlemen in England now-a-bed shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here; and hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks that fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s Day."

Shakespeare, HENRY V, Act IV, Scene 3.

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