rgely left to the historian and the movie-maker, and the actual acute horrors and human destruction that war causes is largely left to the memories and willful disregard of those who actually fought them.
In the study of medieval warfare, the gruesomeness of battle is often romanticized and glossed over in favor of a valiant and heroic interpretation, based on a nonexistent, almost poetic interpretation of mythological battles. Shakespeare is as guilty of romanticizing war as is Peter Jackson, director of Lord of the Rings. The medieval ability to wage war was severely limited, when compared to modern warfare tactics. Much of it was hand-to-hand, and was gruesomely bloody and inhumane. With the advent of the longbow by the English, it allowed, for the first time, sides in a battle to fight each other from distances that had not been possible in earlier times. The heavier longbows were able to penetrate chain-mail and certain protective armor worn by knights and cavalrymen. This was a decisive strategic advantage that King Henry V and the English used to their benefit in the famous Battle at Agincourt, and the eventual ending of Henry V.
The tactics of King Henry V and his English warriors were accurately portrayed enough in the movie Henry V, directed and starred in by Kenneth Branaugh. There were all the elements of a medieval battle present: knights on horseback, armed in chain-mail and armor, equipped with swords, shields, and lances. The infantry behind them were also equipped with the most advanced fighting equipment of the time: the longbow. This technological advancement allowed the English to defeat a larger French army many times its size, mainly by shooting the ground forces of the French full of arrows, decimating their numbers and actually giving the English a numerical advantage. It was then left to the cavalry to enter upon horseback and defeat the French cavalry in hand-to-hand combat. Exposing the entire English forces to such a strategy would