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 Post subject: Bannockburn
PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2012 2:39 am 
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The battle was fought on the Carse of Balquhiderock (deliberate spelling) and this is a fact.

Can this be accepted as a definitive provable statement ?

Aye.

It can.

Feel free to disagree.

And say why, quoting primary sources............................. as I will!

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 Post subject: Re: Bannockburn
PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2012 9:21 am 
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What primary source are you using?

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 Post subject: Re: Bannockburn
PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 12:10 am 
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Cheers for the reply Jolly Sailor, the new Heritage centre includes an 'Immersion Room' using the latest technology to give an overall feel of the battle as it happened-we need to ensure that we don't embarrass ourselves by having some pseudo half way house of an effort when the world's eyes are upon Scotland in 2014, the 700th anniversary of Bannockburn which was won not by 'templars' or by 'sma folk' or by Marischal Keith's fabled '500 horsemen" all invented by Barbour to account for the victory as he didn't know where it was fought and how it was won and needed to provide his own explanation.

Sources.............'The Lanercost Chronicles, (1314) The Vita Edwardi Secundi, (1314) the Scalacronica, (1350-the author's dad was captured at Bannockburn on day one and this shows in his own account when imprisoned in Edinburgh castle with the records of the library available to him ) Robert Baston's verses, Trokelowe, etc.

I use any statement within Barbour's (50 years later) excellent and seminal piece of Scottish prose when what is versed can be verified by Primary Sources such as those stated above.

So it is the Carse of Balquiderock.

Two things that academia agree on regardless of where they believe the battle was fought:

1) That the Scots held the 'higher ground', the 'entry' (the main path to Stirling available only through Milton Ford where de Bohoun met his maker) the Dryfield on Day one. (23rd June)

2) That the English camped at the Carse of Balquiderock beyond the high ground to the East of the Dryfield, and directly accessible through Balquiderock wood, a wooded steep slope directly opposite to the English camp............also on Day one and very obviously on the early hours of Day two.

So what happened at dawn (about 0330) on the morning of 24 June 1314?

The English were attacked and defeated in their camp, a great place to water their horse and troops overnight but a crap place to be penned into (between the Pelstream and Bannockburn) when put under unexpected attack in the very early hours of the morning!

So we only need to look at the sources and decide if they describe such an event.....and they do!

ALL there Scots were on foot including the King himself.


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 Post subject: Re: Bannockburn
PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 4:51 pm 
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I wouldn't argue with that analysis, I have read the sources you mention and whilst there are some vague aspects, the geography fits. The 'entry' fits, as does the camping ground. However, the archers either being taken out or not being able to be brought into play - would you assume that this is because they too were cooped up in the campsite area and by the time they were roused, firing into the mass would have caused too many casualties on their own side? Or maybe they just guessed how it was going to play out and legged it early? There is a drawing from one of the slightly later sources showing the gorge close by, seem to remember you, I and the big warmer having a wander round there a few years back. Horses certainly would have been a hindrance given the nature of the attack on the second morning.

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 Post subject: Re: Bannockburn
PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 9:48 pm 
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Ta Jolly,

The 'vague aspects' are down to interpretation based indeed upon the geography and the way the earliest written accounts attempt to explain what happened. Were the English archers and troops rendered ineffective by genius tactics using their numbers and position to hem them in under a surprise attack?

Yes! The mammoth task to get 20,000 to 25,000 English troops, archers and at least 4000 horse up the slope at Balquiderock Wood to the High Ground (The Dryfield), the very area the Scots went to such trouble to deny access to the English on Day One would be more famous than the battle had it been achieved.............it would have been a military boast of greatness that would have deflated the England defeat!

20 B52 Bombers would have taken many many hours to transport the English army back up to the High Ground! It didn't happen and the sources and timing of the battle, the very fact of when the English were attacked and where they were 'arguing' as the Scots approached tells us what we need to know-repeated again and again by the English sources who observed all this!

The initial battle on Day Two:

The only charge that had to be absorbed by the Scots Pikemen was the first one, (a much reduced charge-the Scots had closed down the gap between themselves and the English Cavalry considerably and this is well described by primary sources). After this as all the other English Cavalry charged, line after line but into chaos, and then a standstill where they effectively ceased to be Cavalry and were pulled from their horses and dispatched with an axe to the opened visor or similar dagger to the armpits.

The English army were unexpectedly attacked in their camp in the wee small hours of June 24th 1314, and had not the time to react properly-only the Bruce's cousin, the Earl of Gloucester, realised what the Scots were up to and attacked virtually alone and was killed by the Douglas division right at the Great Bend of the Bannockburn.......the rest of the leaders are described as 'arguing' about what the Scots were up to-so convinced were they that King Robert would not engage them in open battle-they expected a fox hunt of Scots sometime, a bit of fun, but never did they believe they would be attacked at dawn.


"The Scots attacked sooner than expected in dense battle array."

Trokelowe

"The Scots came in a line of Schiltroms and attacked the English columns which were jammed together and could not operate against them (the Scots) so direfully were the horses impaled on their pikes."

Scalacronica

"Now the English in the rear could not reach the Scots because the leading division (English Cavalry) was in the way, nor could they do anything to help themselves: wherefore there was nothing for it but to take flight."

Lanercost

The English archers were told to stop firing in their disastrous high parabola against a narrow thread (15 deep) of Scots Pikemen because they were hitting their own cavalry in the back sitting far higher than the Scots foot soldiers and the Carse slopes down slightly from the scots side to the English side meaning they were also forced to fire slightly uphill..............blindly!

I agreed with the big man on nearly any aspect of Scots history, and with his passion and vision, however I didn't manage to agree on how this battle was fought and won (nor do I agree with any Dryfielders) but then if we all agreed we wouldn't be able to argue a case on any matter and that would be a boring world to live in.

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 Post subject: Re: Bannockburn
PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2012 9:01 am 
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:clap: No problem with your interpretation of events, seems clear enough. Pity Davie's not around to argue with, that might have been quite entertaining though I suspect he'd take your points on board, I know his view of things altered over the years as more research was done, and new aspects uncovered.

The only way we'll ever know exactly for sure is if somebody invents time travel and we can nip back and film it... now that would make a blockbuster for 2014!

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 Post subject: Re: Bannockburn
PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2012 11:24 pm 
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You make good points about the English archers. I never could understand how Keith's (light?) horse was able to drive them off. It's more likely that he didn't have to.

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 Post subject: Re: Bannockburn
PostPosted: Sat Mar 10, 2012 8:47 am 
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Light horse units were used against archers in several battles around the period, they could be highly effective as although they were not themselves heavily armoured or protected, they were (because of this) very fast-moving - and archers themselves wore little protection apart from a leather cap so were easy prey for horsemen with spears, swords and axes - the proverbial scythe through corn. Knowledge of this tactic is very probably how the story of Keith's attack came about.

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 Post subject: Re: Bannockburn
PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2012 1:43 pm 
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That makes sense.

Changing subject slightly, have you any idea what rain did to bows? I read somewhere that something happened to their elasticity in the wet so that they didn't shoot so well.

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 Post subject: Re: Bannockburn
PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2012 9:30 am 
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I don't think the problem is so much the bows themselves as the bowstrings, which shrank a bit when wet. The bows were generally of well-seasoned wood, and there is some evidence to suggest that they were treated with beeswax as a protective coating, which would insulate them somewhat from damp conditions, as well as maintaining the elasticity of the wood. The bowstrings, however, are another matter - these would shrink slightly when they became damp, pulling the bow just a little tighter - with the result that it would bend further when drawn to the fullest extent (left arm fully extended, right hand drawing the fletches of the arrow to beside the right ear) leading to increased strain on the bow and gradually weakening it to the point of splitting or breaking. An experienced archer using one in the wet would probably take that into account, drawing it less and thus reducing range and striking power.

Still a bloody awful weapon to be up against (when used en masse) regardless of conditions though. A large squad of archers was the machine-gun platoon of its day...

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 Post subject: Re: Bannockburn
PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2012 5:03 pm 
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I'm not going to really comment on this otherwise, but it's important to remember that the river was far more tidal back then, and much nearer the sea part of the Firth of Forth. It's since silted up, and I also believe Scotland has been rising gradually as well.

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 Post subject: Re: Bannockburn
PostPosted: Sun Apr 08, 2012 1:14 am 
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I'm a bit disappointed in that I reckon that the site of Day 2 of the Battle of Bannockburn is undisputed by what is agreed upon.

Day 1 is absolutely agreed upon by historians.

Day 2 and some events leading up to Day 2 ( Day 1) are allegedly disputed but all we need to know is what is agreed upon and that is:

a) That the higher ground ('the Dryfield') was defended and held by the Scots on Day 1 (23rd June 1314) and that the English army did not gain entry to the higher ground

b) That the English Army therefore subsequently camped on the Carse of Blaquiderock (old spelling) on the same day and evening..........where they remained throughout the night leading to the morning of June 24 1314.

c) That the English were attacked in their camp on the Carse of Balquiderock by the Scots Army led on foot by King Robert I of Scotland at dawn June 24 1314


None of the above is disputed by any credible person-the conclusion as to where the battle was fought is provable by the primary sources (what they say) and the geography of the area and further evidence related to the earliest maps and their accuracy which clearly shows where Bannockburn was fought and won.


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 Post subject: Re: Bannockburn
PostPosted: Sun Apr 08, 2012 1:45 am 
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Simply put.

Is it not a brilliant thing if we in Scotland could state exactly how we fought the Battle of Bannockburn, and how we did it......how we actually won at this pivotal time in our history-right before 2014 the 700th anniversary?

Of course it is!


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 Post subject: Re: Bannockburn
PostPosted: Sun Apr 08, 2012 1:48 am 
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Don't let the British establishment pretend that on the eve of the 700th anniversary of Bannockburn we don't know where it happened and how we won!

We can prove it all.


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