Battle of Flodden

Armed conflicts in the history of humanity from the ancient times to the 20th Century.
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RF
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Battle of Flodden

Postby RF » Mon Sep 09, 2013 7:58 am

Today - 9 September 2013 - marks the 500th anniversary of the Battle of Flodden, the biggest and bloodiest battle betwenn England and Scotland.

Fought near the villages of Branxton and Coldstream in Northumberland, the battle resulted in half the Scots army of 20,000 plus men being wiped out along with King James IV of Scotland and his eldest son.

Some years ago I visited the memorial at the site of the battle and found it to be an eerie and moving experience.
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Re: Battle of Flodden

Postby paul.mercer » Tue Sep 17, 2013 8:57 pm

Hi RF,
Saw a piece on the battle on the television on its anniversary. The conclusion was that the Scots did not allow for boggy ground between them and the British forces which slowed down the famous (and feared) highland charge, but I wonder if the redesigned British bayonet tactics and disciplined volley fire had a lot to do with their defeat?

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Re: Battle of Flodden

Postby RF » Thu Sep 19, 2013 8:20 am

Basically yes, and there was also fire from primitive cannons as well.

The Scots were not very tactically or strategically savvy in this campaign, as King James IV didn't really want to invade England not least as he was married to the sister of the English King Henry VIII. However he was in alliance with the French, the reason for the invasion.
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RF
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Re: Battle of Flodden

Postby RF » Thu Sep 19, 2013 8:23 am

paul.mercer wrote:Hi RF,
....the redesigned British bayonet tactics and disciplined volley fire had a lot to do with their defeat?


You mean English of course..... the Scots are as British as the English, even if Alex Salmond and the SNP wish otherwise!
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Re: Battle of Flodden

Postby tommy303 » Sun Sep 22, 2013 8:12 pm

but I wonder if the redesigned British bayonet tactics and disciplined volley fire had a lot to do with their defeat?


I could be mistaken, but if I recall correctly, Flodden was fought about 150 years before the French first introduced a detachable bayonet for musket armed infantry. A short hunting sword, known as a bayonnette was in existance in the late 16th century, but it was not intended to be fixed to a musket. At the time of Flodden matchlock muskets were being fielded, but pike, bill, halberd, and bows were still the predominent infantry weapons. Flodden was the first major battle in the British Isles where artillery played an important role on both sides, however.

Bayonets were first introduced to the British army about 1660 and were of the plug type; although a socket bayonet which permitted the musket to be loaded and fired was introduced in the 1670s, they did not become common or entirely replace the plug bayonets until after 1700 and the succession of George I. The era of disciplined volleys and bayonet tactics in the British Army were largely the result of adopting the reforms of the Prussian Army shortly before the Seven Years War. Bayonets and disciplined vollies did play a great part in the defeat of the Scots at Culloden.

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Re: Battle of Flodden

Postby aurora » Tue Nov 11, 2014 5:32 pm

tommy303 wrote:
but I wonder if the redesigned British bayonet tactics and disciplined volley fire had a lot to do with their defeat?


I could be mistaken, but if I recall correctly, Flodden was fought about 150 years before the French first introduced a detachable bayonet for musket armed infantry. A short hunting sword, known as a bayonnette was in existance in the late 16th century, but it was not intended to be fixed to a musket. At the time of Flodden matchlock muskets were being fielded, but pike, bill, halberd, and bows were still the predominent infantry weapons. Flodden was the first major battle in the British Isles where artillery played an important role on both sides, however.

Bayonets were first introduced to the British army about 1660 and were of the plug type; although a socket bayonet which permitted the musket to be loaded and fired was introduced in the 1670s, they did not become common or entirely replace the plug bayonets until after 1700 and the succession of George I. The era of disciplined volleys and bayonet tactics in the British Army were largely the result of adopting the reforms of the Prussian Army shortly before the Seven Years War. Bayonets and disciplined vollies did play a great part in the defeat of the Scots at Culloden.

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Yes- at the time of Flodden matchlock muskets were being fielded, but pike, bill, halberd, and bows were still the predominant infantry weapons. Flodden was the first major battle in the British Isles where artillery played an important role on both sides, however
The Battle of Flodden was a decisive victory for the English. For the Scots it had been a disaster, with many of the most important members of Scottish society killed or slain after the conflict. The Scottish dead included twelve earls, fifteen lords, many clan chiefs an archbishop and above all King James himself. It is said that every great family in Scotland mourned the loss of someone at the Battle of Flodden. The dead were remembered in the famous Scottish pipe tune The Flowers of the Forest;

"We'll here nae mair lilting at our ewe milking,
Women and bairns are heartless and wae,
Sighing and moaning on a ilka green loaning,
The flowers of the forest are a wede away."
Today a large granite cross marks the site of the Battle of Flodden. It is touchingly inscribed;
TO THE BRAVE OF BOTH NATIONS
Quo Fata Vocant-Whither the Fates call

Jim


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