In the north, France and England remained pitted in fierce warfare over extended periods. All this resulted in many highly significant battles which permanently left their mark on the history of Europe.
Famous Medieval Battles
Battle of Tours *732
The battle of tours was a decisive battle fought in north-east Iberia as a large Moorish army attempted to advance into Western Europe in 732. They were confronted by the might of the Frankish army under the leadership of Charles Martel.
The Saracen armies prepare for the battle of Tours
Despite being a formidable army, the Moorish force was drawn into unfavourable terrain by the skillful strategy of Martel who was able to withstand the attacks of light Moorish cavalry with his veteran infantry.
The Franks not only repulsed the Moorish forces but also counter-attacked with success, routing a portion of the Moorish army and killing the Moorish leader, Abd al-Rahman.
The expedition marked the maximum extent of Moorish incursion into Western Europe and was hailed as a decisive victory for Christendom which halted the advance of the Muslims.
Battle of Hastings *1066
Battle of Hastings 1066
The battle of Hastings was fought between an invading Norman force under William the Conqueror and a defending Anglo-Saxon force under King Harold II. The battle came to be due to the contest between Harold and William over being the rightful heirs to the English throne.
Norman Flag Battle of Hastings
Fought in Hastings in 1066, the battle saw Normans decisively defeat the Anglo-Saxons.
The Anglo Saxons used a shield formation as a tactic on the battlefield
King Harold was killed in the thick of the fighting and Anglo-Saxon armies were crushed. This effectively marked the end of the Anglo-Saxon reign in England, ushering in the Norman era.
William the Conqueror
The battle permanently reshaped the military, political and social dynamics in England bringing the French Nobles Feudal system to England
Battle of Bouvines *1214
The battle of Bouvines was fought in 1214 between the forces of France and the allied forces of England and the Holy Roman Empire.
Both England and the Holy Roman Empire aimed to mitigate the increasingly expansive influence of France in Western Europe. English King John hoped to regain English territories in Normandy by defeating King Philip II.
In the ensuing battle, King Philip II was able to tackle the allied armies with success. He defeated a large allied force near the town of Tournai after fierce fighting, closely escaping death.
The victory marked a high point of French monarchy while at the same time spelling a very low point for English monarchy where the defeat led to the rebellion of the barons.
Battle of Nicopolis *1396
The Battle of Nicopolis was fought between the forces of the Ottoman Empire and an allied army of European kingdoms. The allied army laid siege to the town of Nicopolis in 1396, hoping to capture the town before the Ottoman Emperor could relieve the siege.
Their hopes proved futile as the Ottomans reached Nicopolis to meet the allied army for battle. In the ensuing battle, the allied force was decisively routed and most of it was destroyed at the hands of the Ottomans. For the Ottomans, the victory meant that they could continue to expand their influence and reach in the Balkans.
The Battle of Nicopolis was fought between the military of the Ottoman Empire and the allied military might of European nations.
Battle of Agincourt *1415
The battle of Agincourt was a part of the Hundred Years’ War between the English and the French.
It was fought in Azincourt France in 1415 with the English forces led by King Henry V while the French armies were commanded by Constable Charles.
King Henry V
Henry V landed in France while laying claim to the French throne. After failed negotiations, this culminated in an open battle between the two armies at Agincourt.
Battle of Agincourt *Azincourt France
The battle was one of the conflicts where the English longbowmen played the most decisive role. Although outnumbered by the French, the English frontlines comprised thousands of longbow archers who fired a constant barrage of arrows into advancing French cavalry.
French Knights prepare for battle during the battle of Agincourt
The result was a disaster for the French who were unable to withstand the hail of arrows. This eventually led to the routing of the cavalry, the killing of thousands of knights, and a disastrous defeat for the French.
Battle of Castillon *1453
The battle of Castillon was the final battle of the Anglo-French Hundred Years’ War. This was also the first time in Western Europe that gunpowder weapons decisively influence the outcome of a battle.
Battle of Castillion *Bataille de Castillon
Fought in 1453, the battle was an English attempt to gain back control of Gascony. French troops were besieging Castillon at the time and English forces attacked the French camp. The French fired heavy gunpowder weapons in defense of the camp.
Hundreds of handguns were used by individual soldiers while heavy cannons were also used to bombard the enemy lines. The result was disastrous for the English who suffered heavy casualties as well as the loss of its leaders. The battle marked a decisive victory for the French bringing a conclusion to the long war with the English.
Battle of Bosworth *1485
The Battle of Bosworth was a vital battle that affected the course of English history towards the late medieval period. The battle was fought in 1485 between the Lancastrian and Yorkist factions as part of the series of wars called the Wars of the Roses.
Emblems from the wars of the Roses
The Lancastrian army numbered nearly 7000 was led by Henry Tudor who faced the Yorkist might number 12,000 under Richard III. The initial thrust neared a Lancastrian defeat when a powerful northern lord, Lord Stanley, changed sides to support the Lancastrians.
Medieval King Richard in the mix of things in the battle of Bosworth
This decisively tipped the scales in the favor of the Lancastrian army and the Yorkists were routed with Richard III dying in combat. Henry Tudor has then crowned the King of England, ushering in the glorious period of the Tudor dynasty in England.