Why the Normans won the battle of hastings Essay
Why Did the Normans Win the Battle of Hastings?On 5th January in the year 1066, England’s king, Edward the Confessor died. Unfortunately he had no heir, so three men were competing for the throne. These were called; Harold Godwineson, William, Duke of Normandy, and Harald Hardraada.
Harold Godwineson stole the throne and became the king. Both William and Harald were furious and were prepared to fight for the country, thus creating the battle of Stamford Bridge and later on, the battle of Hastings…Harold Godwineson was extremely unlucky. When both of the other competitors decided to attack, he didn’t know who would arrive first. He could either take his army north to where Harald’s Viking army would go, or south to wait for William to arrive. He had to guess which way to go and he knew that if he chose the wrong way, he would be letting the entire country down. Eventually he chose north. The army marched north and finally met the Vikings on the 25th September the same year. They fought, and the Saxons won with Harald himself amongst the dead.
Although they had conquered one army, many of Harold’s men were injured if not dead, and they now had to march an exhausting two-hundred-and-sixty miles to meet the Normans.Another main reason that the Normans won was because William had prepared a lot more than Harold for this battle. With him he had brought an astonishing seven thousand, five hundred men to fight with him, who were all fully trained, and about another four or five thousand to help, such as doctors, blacksmiths, chefs and so on. Harold brought about five hundred housecarls, who were fully trained fighters, along with around seven thousand fryd, who were just peasants that he picked up along the way. The army of the Saxons were desperately in need of rest after their march through the country, but the odds were not in their favour. The battle began almost immediately, so Harold’s men did not have any time to plan an attack or anything. The Normans had been preparing for ages, so as to win this, and it looked like Harold was helping him with his plan.The Norman’s armour was a lot better than the Saxon’s.
Nearly all of William’s men had full armour and at least two weapons; a twin-edged slashing sword, and either a javelin, or a spear. The only ones that didn’t were the archers. These could shoot accurately from over one hundred metres away, so they did not really need it.
Obviously, they had a bow and quiver of arrows, not the same weapons as the others. Only the housecarls, and an extremely small number of the fryd, could afford a hauberk which provided a little amount of protection for them. They had few archers, for they seemed to prefer hand-to-hand combat, using spears or swords.Also, the Normans seemed to have better tactics.
First of all, they fought on horses, whereas the Saxons fought on foot. The horses could run faster than a man, and acted as another sort of protection; making the Normans higher to reach and, in some conditions, being able to knock down the opposing army. The Normans were quite devious. Somehow, they managed to trick the Saxons, therefore making them a lot easier to kill. William knew that his army had to cross the hill the Saxons were guarding, and that his men were getting killed, because the Saxons had a clearer view. So, all of the Normans pretended to flee from the battle site, but Harold’s army was determined to win, and not by forfeit, so they chased them. This was the plan all along.
The Normans then turned back around and attacked the Saxons. Of course, their defences were useless and the Normans gained control of the battle. They repeated this trick several times, and still the Saxons fell for it.As well as this, the Normans had confidence. One reason why, is because the Pope, who was head of the Catholic Church, had blessed William along with his army. This must have made even themselves believe that they could win. Also, at one stage throughout the battle, people started to realise that William had not been seen for a while. His men must have thought him dead, but then William did appear, silently giving his men courage and letting them known he was still around and fighting with all his might, just as they were.
One of the other reasons they won was because Harold died during battle. With no leader to guide them during the fight, practically all of the Saxons lost heart in what they were doing, and even though they tried to go on without him, Harold was their only real motivation. It also meant, that even if they won… what would the victory even be for? All this fighting was of course to protect the country, but mostly for Harold to remain the king of England.
Without him, this could not happen anyway. William was determined. William, current Duke of Normandy, wanted desperately to be the king. He did everything he possibly could to make sure he was; trained every single one of his men, made sure that they all had armour and plenty of weapons; brought thousands of other people with him… he really wanted that crown!In addition to all of these, while Harold was fighting Harald Hardraada in the north, William’s troops were stuck in the channel, waiting for the wind to change and let them cross. Unfortunately for the Saxons, it changed while the battle was taking place.
This meant that the Normans were reaching England whilst the Saxons were still on their way south. They did not reach the ground in time to properly prepare anything at all.From, Harold Godwineson’s bad luck, to William’s tremendously brilliant skill with fighting, all of these reasons and more support the answer to why the Normans won the Battle of Hastings.