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The commune of London

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Pages: 244

Book format: An electronic version of a printed book that can be read on a computer or handheld device designed specifically for this purpose.

Publisher: Date:8/5/2009 - General Books LLC

By: John Horace Round

Excerpt from book: Ill Anglo-Norman Warfare HAVING devoted special study to the art of war in the Norman period, including therein the subject of castles, I may have, perhaps, some claim to deal with the latest work on a topic which requires for its treatment special knowledge. When a treatise assumes a definite character, and is likely to be permanently consulted, it calls for closer criticism than a mere ephemeral production, and on this ground I would here discuss some points in Mr. Oman's ' History of the Art of War' (1898). Mr. Oman issued, so far back as 1885, ' The Art of War in the Middle Ages,' so that he enjoys, on this subject, the advantage of prolonged study. In 1894 he contributed to ' Social England' 1 an article on " Norman Warfare," to which I shall also refer. I should add that in his first (1885), as in his later work (1898), Mr. Oman received the help of Mr. F. York Powell, now Regius Professor of Modern History at Oxford. The first point I propose to consider is that of the famous English " formation " before the Norman Conquest . Mr. Oman originally wrote as follows : 1 pp. viii., 299. The tactics of the English axemen were those of the column: arranged in a compact mass, they could beat off almost any attack, and hew their way through every obstacle (' Art of War,' p. 24). This was also the view of the late Professor Freeman, who wrote of the battle of Maldon that— The English stood, as at Senlac, in the array common to them and their enemies—a strong line, or rather wedge of infantry, forming a wall with their shields. At the battle of Hastings (" Senlac") itself he tells us— m The English clave to the old Teutonic tactics. They fought on foot in the close array of the shield wall. They were ranged, he held, " closely together in the thick...  


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