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Agincourt actually an even scrap, historians claim

We happy few 8,000

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Revisionist historians from both sides of the Channel have come to the disagreeable conclusion that Henry V's forces at Agincourt were not actually outnumbered four to one by the opposing French.

According to the Telegraph, "painstaking research of military and tax records" has revealed Henry actually boasted "at least 8,700 troops" who administered a severe pasting to no more than 12,000 Frenchmen on 25 October, 1415.

One of the researchers, professor Anne Curry of Southampton University, said of the “we few, we happy few” legend: “It’s just a myth, but it’s a myth that’s part of the British psyche."

And if that hasn't got you lot choking on your beef and oyster pie of Merry Olde England, it turns out that the lone authority coming to the defence of Shakespeare's Band of Brothers is an American - one professor Clifford Rogers of the US Military Academy at West Point.

He estimates Hal's men at 6,000 troops, "consisting of 1,000 men-at-arms in heavy steel armour and 5,000 longbowmen".

The French, meanwhile, were packing 10,000 troops, each with "an attendant servant who would also fight, along with 4,000 crossbowmen and other troops". Total: 24,000.

The opposing forces do agree on one point, though: that the French were defeated by Henry's "superior positional sense", which obliged their heavily-armoured nobles to attack across a narrow, muddy field where they got bogged down and slaughtered by the longbowmen (all 11 of them, against 430,000 knights, according to new El Reg research). ®

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