Last year marked the 600th anniversary of the battle of Agincourt, which is the most famous of English victories over the French during the Hundred Year War. This war fought on the succession to the French throne however has many hidden facts that not many know of. Here are a few of them.
V for Victory
The “V” sign that translates to Victory is actually a legend from the Hundred Years War. All stories revolving this particular legend are unfortunately false. From the English archers insulting the French with a raised two fingers, beheading or dismemberment of captured English archers by the French to removing the same two fingers – all are just stories.
The war ravaged almost all aspects of common life both in England and France. For instance, the peasantry in either country suffered most. They were the target during the war and since they were taxed and taxation paid for the military they suffered a perilous fate. Being non-combatants during times of war makes the life of peasants uncertain and their livelihood even more taxing.
As the war began it became more of a national struggle and less for the throne.
Gunpowder and Guns
It was during the Hundred Years War that military strategy saw new additions. According to some historians though, these changes can be called military revolution. One major revolution was the involvement of gunpowder weapons. Although the process was slow, it started with the French Artillery. They are presumed to have fired over 412 cannonballs into the town of Lagny but only could kill a chicken!
But as the war reached its climax, such gunpowder weapons became more effective as their numbers grew. It was such weaponry that allowed the French to remove the English from Gascony and Normandy with amazing haste. Around the same time field artillery began to get gunpowder weapons. This turned the tide of the war. Then came the Breech loading culverins on wheeled carriages with impressive fire rate and greater range than that of the English archers.