Bayeux Tapestry Experience

For quite a reasonable time, I have served the Norman people as the Duke compassionately and loyally. However, if there be any battle that shall forever remain in my memory, I have to confess that it is the Bayeux Tapestry battle. The battle remains vivid in my conscience from the moment I received a message from Edward, the King of England, to the time I was crowned.

 The cause of this battle, I may say, is betrayal of friendship and excessive greed for power. For a reasonable time, I had been a close friend to king of England (Edward), who happened to have no child and thus no clear successor. Edward sided with us and nominated me as his successor leaving out his native Anglo- Saxons in England including his brother-in-law, Harold and the king of Norway (Douglas, 1964). Edward preferred me to the rest probably because my family sheltered Edward during the period Dane Canute seized England.

Almost in his last moments, so to speak, Edward sent Harold to inform me that he (Edward) had nominated me as his successor. The main reason, probably, was to pledge loyalty to me. Harold took an oath and made promises before travelling back to England (Douglas 1964). The actual struggle for power began almost immediately after the demise of Edward. Having been present at the scene during the death of the king, Harold declared himself King and was crowned in the presence of an excommunicated archbishop of Canterbury, Stigand (Musset, 2005). I consider this to be a betrayal of the sacred oaths he had taken while with me. At the same time, there was an attack to dethrone him launched by the king of Norway (Anderson, 1986).

It is at this time that I had to prepare my soldiers to claim what rightfully belonged to me. To my aid was my brother-in-law, Bishop Odo. I formulated a strategy to ensure that we would only take a shorter time in the battlefield. The English soldiers had just smashed the Scandinavian soldiers and attained victory over them. In fact, one of the threats to Harold’s claimed the crown, the King of Norway, was killed during the attack (Anderson, 1986).  This was a sigh of relief to Harold. It is in light of this that I mobilized the soldiers and sailed to France. I waited for favorable winds after which we reached England unobstructed.

The actual battle was launched at Hastings, Southern part of England. The English soldiers were well equipped in various weapons and attire. The English soldiers’ chief weapon, I guess, was the battle axe. They also made use of swords. These soldiers put on conical helmets and carried with them shields (Musset, 2005). With the vast experience under the leadership of their military prowess,  the soldiers stood firm on the ground to defend “their” new realm valiantly. On the other hand, I steered my troop with the help of Bishop Odo and other leaders in the army. My soldiers carried into the battlefield various weapons such as swords, axes, arrows, spears. Above all, I never forgot to carry with me the flag that symbolized the Pope’s blessing (Anderson, 1964).

It was a devastating moment in the battlefield on the first day. The English fighting style was rather too strange. I had not witnessed such in the past. The soldiers fought on foot and had a defensive formation that was not easily buckled. They called the formation “English shield wall.” This was a wall of overlapping shields on their shoulders that protected and held them in accord defending them against attacks launched by my soldiers especially the archers. Conversely, my soldiers rode and fought from the horses back. In the missile troop, we made use of the lances and swords while the infantry largely made use of the spears, arrows, swords and were equally protected by the shields (Musset, 2005). Thinking that the English soldiers were not well equipped, we primitively ordered the archers to launch their arrows against the English soldiers, who were well shielded.

Nonetheless, the arrow shots had very little effect, and we had to resort for physical war trying to take advantage of the perceived not-in-form English troops. I thought that having fought against the king of Norway the English soldiers could not equally stand my soldiers. To my surprise this was even more injurious. The English soldiers took advantage of their up hill position and threw spears against my soldiers in the front line killing and causing heavy casualties in the process. Proving hard to go through this shield walls and the high rate of casualties and deaths registered, it seemed inevitable to break the ranks and retreat (Douglas, 1964). The rear line was broken, and none of the soldiers could withstand the tension in the scene. This gave the English soldiers courage to follow my retreating soldiers’ down-hill.

Furthermore, there emerged a greater tension by rumors that I had been killed. The soldiers were very much dispirited in the confusion. In light of this, I had to take a quick step to restore the worsening situation caused by the confusion. I stood in the field and raised my helmet to prove that I was still alive, an action that rejuvenated the soldiers’ strength (Douglas, 1964). I rallied the soldiers in their mood of high morale to counter-attack against our adversaries. Many of the English soldiers were killed during the counter attack. Among them who fell to the soldiers swords were Harold’s brothers Gyrthe and Leofwine (Musset, 2005).  The two were brought down during the counter-attack. The battlefield turned bloody in favor of my soldiers. The “English shield wall” was no more to protect the soldiers who were running back uphill.

The new strategy that I gave to the soldiers exploited all the available three-fold troops. This move was more effective to the soldiers. I had to reformulate my strategy quickly to the initial plan of action. The use of arrows had failed due to the shield wall employed by the English. Nevertheless, an opportunity had presented itself for use of this strategy once again. I directed my soldiers (the archers) to launch the arrows over the shields. This was a brilliant thought worked for me, and the rear English army could then be brought down. The other soldiers including the infantry and cavalry troops followed closely to crumple into the English camp causing ruthless and massive deaths (Douglas, 1964). Now, it was during such shots of the arrows that Harold was killed. Nonetheless, the loyal English soldiers fought to the last man.

In conclusion, there was a great victory in the battlefield to my side. Otherwise, my soldiers were greatly reduced in the battle. All the same, that never marked the end of the pursuit to the promised throne. I had to get my soldiers on the move after some rest. Together with the remaining soldiers we launched the quest to have all the cities and the English lords submit to my kingship and crown me as the new and just king in England. I was officially crowned as the king of England (Anderson, 1986). This battle should be commemorated and celebrated in respect and honor of all the soldiers and our nation.

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