Heading into The 2021 Nebraska Football Season: I pray thee wish not one man more.
Being a Nebraska football fan has been difficult the past few seasons. Scott Frost has yet to show anyone the promise he had as a highly sought after coach when he came to Nebraska. Many Husker faithful have fallen by the wayside, no doubt. They’re not with us on this journey into the 2021 season.
The Battle of Agincourt was fought in 1415 between the English and French. English King Henry V took 11,000 men across the English Channel and invaded France. The campaign was part of the 100 Years War between England and France. Henry laid siege to the city of Harfleur, capturing it in five weeks, but losing a lot of his men in the process. An outbreak of dysentery cost Henry up to 5,000 men - many casualties in war come through disease and injury - frequently more than the battles themselves.
Henry left a garrison of men at Harfleur, then headed out for Calais. He hoped to evade the French army, but it was not to be. The two armies met near a place called Agincourt. The French outnumbered the English. Britishbattles.com states the English had around 5,000 while the French army estimates vary from 30,000 to 100,000 men. Britannica says the English had 1,000 knights and 5,000 archers, while the French had 20,000 to 30,000 men.
Perhaps it doesn’t matter. When all was done at Agincourt, the Henry V and the English had accomplished one of the greatest battlefield victories in human history, certainly the greatest victory in the history of England to that point. The English slaughtered the French. Historians estimate the number of French dead at 6000. This included not just regular fighting men, but many French royalty as well.
Historians estimate the number of English confirmed dead at 112, or perhaps up to 600 total, as if someone said, “The score couldn’t have been 6,000 to 112. It’s got to be higher than that”, so someone else gave in and said, “Fine. We’ll make the score 6,000 - 600 so the math is easy and you feel better, sucky French fighter people.”
How does this happen?
The English Longbow had its day at Agincourt. The English Longbow would serve as a weapon of overwhelming firewall firepower on the battlefield until the widespread use of firearms (although some might argue the crossbow came into play). An English long bowman could fire anywhere from 10 to 20 arrows a minute. The weapon was accurate at 75-80 yards, but had a range of up to 270 yards..
A common tactic would have been to send calvary at bowmen, using the horses’ speed to minimize the time to target. Cavalry could come upon the bowmen quickly and hack them to pieces. Here, the English had protected their bowmen with long pikes and with a range of 270 yards, the English longbowmen could rain arrows upon the approaching enemy.
The only place a horse was armored was on its head. I’m not sure what the result of a horse being hit in the back, flanks, or buttocks by a high-arching arrow would be, but I imagine the horses didn’t react all that well, the outcome being a horse bucking its knight all over the battlefield instead of charging the enemy. If the cavalry were mixed with infantry, you’d have many spooked horses trampling many men-at-arms.
The other picture is as follows. Imagine French knights on the ground in heavy armor. They’re walking toward the English, trudging through mud and clay that is sticking to their legs and slowing them down. They likely had to walk in a hunched over position, to shield themselves from the onslaught of arrows. As they move forward, they’re forced to walk around or over their fallen comrades. It had to be horrible and exhausting. By the time they reach their foe, they likely lacked the strength to fight effectively.
You get the idea of why Agincourt was such a slaughter.
Because of said victory, Henry V became one of England’s most popular kings. Shakespeare wrote “Henry V”, giving us this unbelievably wonderful speech by Henry just before the battle of Agincourt, which contains some beautiful bits:
This story shall the good man teach his son,
And Crispin Crispian shall ne’er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered;
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers.
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me Shall be my brother.
The speech starts when King Henry’s cousin Westmoreland wishes out loud they had more men from England to fight the French:
What’s he that wishes so?
My cousin Westmoreland? No, my fair cousin:
If we are mark’d to die, we are enow
To do our country loss; and if to live,The fewer men, the greater share of honour.
God’s will! I pray thee, wish not one man more.
So, what’s the point of all this about Henry V and Agincourt?
For the past couple years, Scott Frost and Nebraska football have been the butt of everyone’s joke in college football. Approaching the 2021 season, the pre-season hype is as low as I can remember; this month marks my 15th year of running this website. It was damned easy to be a Husker football fan when Tom Osborne was winning all those years. Not so much right now.
I imagine many are standing on the sidelines waiting for some sign of promise before they join the fray. They’re not going to hop on this bandwagon unless they’re sure it’s worth it.
Does that sound like you regarding Nebraska football?
I hope not. I hope you change your mind by Saturday.
I’d rather be optimistic and perhaps a fool than walk around with a morose attitude spreading malaise amongst my fellow Husker fans. There’s plenty of that going around as it is.
All things be ready if our minds be so
Perish the man whose mind is backward now!
A long-awaited season where the fans return to Memorial, enjoying the cluster of crowds of people who (hopefully) all feel the same way - hoping to see a dominant Husker team once again.
Are you going to join those of us who are going to enjoy this season, come what may?