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Subject: Hastings Battlefield Controversy rss

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Richard Handewith

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Hi All,

The designer of our new game Invasion 1066: The Battle of Hastings has developed a nice article about the controversy over the actual site of the battlefield. You can find additional information about the battle at our website www.revolutiongames.us
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Cpl. Fields
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After much research, I have concluded that the battle was actually fought approximately four miles south of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

I should note that mine is a minority opinion.

Edit: Nice to see Norm's work getting this professional treatment. I played the original games when they were first published and they were great fun, especially Orri's Storm.
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Leo Zappa
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zuludawn wrote:
After much research, I have concluded that the battle was actually fought approximately four miles south of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

I should note that mine is a minority opinion.



This is correct. Also, the battle was not fought in 1066 as popularly assumed, but in 1974. Below is a photo of Duke William's winning army shortly after the battle...

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Jim P.
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Holy Cow, Leo! Which one are you!???
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Leo Zappa
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InvisibleRobots wrote:
Holy Cow, Leo! Which one are you!???


Oh, I'm not in that picture, believe me. If I were, however, at that time, I would have probably looked the guy wearing the "72" jersey. These are some real authentic looking "Yinzers" (a term describing both native Pittsburghers, as well as the elite soldiers of Alan the Red's division).
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Richard Handewith

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I particularly like the "Dukes" Chariot
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desertfox2004 wrote:
zuludawn wrote:
After much research, I have concluded that the battle was actually fought approximately four miles south of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

I should note that mine is a minority opinion.



This is correct. Also, the battle was not fought in 1066 as popularly assumed, but in 1974. Below is a photo of Duke William's winning army shortly after the battle...



... And IIRC the victory was not over the Anglo-Saxons, but rather over the Vikings.
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The Grinch wrote:
desertfox2004 wrote:
zuludawn wrote:
After much research, I have concluded that the battle was actually fought approximately four miles south of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

I should note that mine is a minority opinion.



This is correct. Also, the battle was not fought in 1066 as popularly assumed, but in 1974. Below is a photo of Duke William's winning army shortly after the battle...



... And IIRC the victory was not over the Anglo-Saxons, but rather over the Vikings.


That explains the confusion. It's not Hastings that is 4 miles south of Pittsburgh, but Stamford Bridge.
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Jim F
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desertfox2004 wrote:
zuludawn wrote:
After much research, I have concluded that the battle was actually fought approximately four miles south of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

I should note that mine is a minority opinion.



This is correct. Also, the battle was not fought in 1066 as popularly assumed, but in 1974. Below is a photo of Duke William's winning army shortly after the battle...



Is this the team bus? I guess it answers the question about whether you have to be fitter to play American football or Rugby.
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Tim Korchnoi
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zuludawn wrote:
After much research, I have concluded that the battle was actually fought approximately four miles south of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

I should note that mine is a minority opinion.

Edit: Nice to see Norm's work getting this professional treatment. I played the original games when they were first published and they were great fun, especially Orri's Storm.


Not surprised as all roads lead to Pittsburgh.
I live in Richmond, VA and any time I wear my Pirates or Penguins gear someone who is originally from Western PA always approaches me.
And if you have to ask me about Steelers gear then I wonder just how observant you are shake
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Carl Marl
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zuludawn wrote:
After much research, I have concluded that the battle was actually fought approximately four miles south of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

I should note that mine is a minority opinion.

Edit: Nice to see Norm's work getting this professional treatment. I played the original games when they were first published and they were great fun, especially Orri's Storm.


You might be right. There are lot of hills around here. I live south of Pittsburgh. The battlefield must not be far away.
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Andy Daglish
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Quote:
There has long been speculation and debate as to exactly where the Battle of Hastings was fought.

the same is true of all British battles.

Quote:
Caldbec Hill and Senlac Hill, with a third location, Crowhurst

Surveying the Abbey from above, on Powermill Lane in 1989, I was struck by the rolling nature of the terrain, and that the putative battle site, or slope, was low-lying compared to the tops of the bumps about it.

Quote:
In support of the 'Caldbec theory' we are asked why would Harold leave a steeper and higher position for an inferior position of Senlac Hill?

The obvious answer is that the battle was a meeting engagement.

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Support of the 'Senlac theory draws on the commemorative building of the abbey being associated with the battle site and in particular the position of the altar that is claimed to be sited where Harold
stood.

the standard refutation being that movement of the abbey to a more comfortable location is not unlikely.

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Firstly that Caldbec Hill itself though impressive was too big for the Saxon force to defend.

with equal merit you could say Russia is too big to defend. Harold's army was by far the largest Saxon force that ever fought, unless you count the one at Fulford. It would be interesting to see how modern officers would fare in a similar battle, given that they and the Saxon nobles would have the same degree of experience and training in dealing with such situations, which is to say none whatsoever. Both groups would fall back on what they do know, which would apply to very different circumstances. I have often wondered what the professional Saxon soldiers knew of Norman cavalry usage. Is 'nothing' likely? One can only guess.

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requiring us to turn the accepted position of the armies a full ninety degrees to face and contest the new proposed direction of attack.

nothing is known about this sort of exact tactical detail in any pre-modern battle.

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academic caution has rightly not been thrown to the wind.

but they have so little to be cautious about eg. they have a poor understanding of bloody frontline killing. I note female academics do better here, as their dispassion confers spiritual immunity.

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and it is this sort of ease at which the evidence can fit a theory or two that makes caution and proper evaluation important.

yes, and I'm mopping up pools of dribble here, waiting to ask why Pillock is printed on the mapsheet . I guess its peer pressure, and definitely it'll serve as an encouragement to better play.

Quote:
Jim Bradbury, writing in 1998 (The Battle of Hastings - Sutton Publishing) sums it up when of Harold he says "but he did have time to arrange his army in a good defensive position on the crest of a hill, whichever hill".

I bet he didn't have that level of control over 8,000 men, more of less.
He would have been with his brothers and their housecarls, with the rest hanging on to either side. I think the old conjecture that Harold, Gyrth and Leofwine were continuously damaged from the beginning and were three-quarters dead already when they were killed is likely.

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Further, I was also swayed by a thought that the new approach seems too narrow to hold the armies

we are told many Saxons came and left, for want of space on which to stand.

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Allowing the Saxons to deploy in such depth, it is difficult to see how they would ever be successfully assailed, by the positionally disadvantaged Norman army.

Depth isn't strength. Both sides fought all day, and on past nightfall in isolated places, which was singularly unusual [cf. the other two battles]. This suggests both sides believed their survival depended on extermination of the other side. Presumably the men required a lot of rest, food and drink, medical help, & armorial support, throughout the day; one wonders if William's men hauled back arrow-riddled shields for their archers; how did the poorly-bred ponies that passed for destriers hold up?

Quote:
battlefield evidence taken from under the soil

What would have survived 1000 years? Viking hoards tend to consist of gold and gemstone.

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This was an eight hour battle during which time the flanks were not enveloped

At Stamford there was an envelopment, however that didn't produce any disadvantage for the defenders, as they turned to face their attackers. Flanking finally requires an effective attack on a vulnerable target, and neither would exist here. The defenders on the flanks, fyrdmen, were not in rigid formation, so flanks didn't exist as such, whilst at the same time their lack of formation caused them to pursue beaten enemies, sometimes to their detriment. Charges down the slope were presumably bad for invaders on foot, as presumably they didn't evade as easily as their mounted betters. A flank attack wouldn't have had much advantage over the attacks that were being put in frontally, but would have had the problems of exterior lines ie. being further from their fellows. I suppose there was always a chance of meeting some of the Saxons who couldn't find space on the hill. If the bogs slowed movement and negated the advantages of mounted knights, and Harold had that surfeit of men conferred by kingship of flourishing England, then perhaps they had a better opportunity to flank the Normans. Indeed this is what Gyrth suggested, albeit strategically rather than tactically. But of course Hastings was pretty much a first experience for both sides: a major pitched battle versus an alien and highly dangerous and very robust enemy isn't time for fancy footwork. Of course neither the command [the idea is the commander's head] nor the control [methods of communication], nor the habit of turning away from a visible enemy, were extant.

A question in my mind concerns the level of Norman casualties in the battle. They had been fighting for a long time, and its interesting to note that William fell ill shortly after -- a wound might have been concealed. We suspect the scene on the morning after Hastings lay very far outside what pious Normans felt God would accept in warfare, due to the severity of penances imposed. It points to how close the Saxons came to winning.

One exciting little study guide for students of the battle is to nip down to your local DIY shed/Home Depot and buy a 3.5 pound axe on a nice 1-metre polymer shaft. Swinging this around is good for your arm muscles and gives an idea of what damage you could do to a Norman horse. One would expect heavy cavalry to come unstuck versus heavy infantry in ancient battles, although medieval development of martial skill would magnify the advantage of being on horseback versus a target on foot. A bearded axe-blade is quite hook-like, and this technique is forgotten by academics: a skilled axeman can hook a man toward the shieldwall, or a shield away from the owner, or a man off a horse. We know the Normans were impressed by axes as they immediately adopted them.
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Moshe Callen
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This is embarrassing. I think this is the game I volunteered to playtest but family issues got in the way and I lost contact with the publishers.
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