Cadet Senior Theses in History

Date of Award

Spring 5-4-2018

Document Type

Bachelor's Thesis

Degree Type

Bachelor of Science

Degree Granting Institution

United States Military Academy




England, Armor, Tactics, Medieval


To determine if there is tactical change in English battles during 1415-1515, the components of tactics need analysis. The components of tactics analyzed here are the changes in weapons, changes in the composition of the army, changes in the choice of topography, and changes in the preference for offense versus defense. Weapons are the thing on the battlefield that armor is directly attempting to counter, so changes in weapons or armor will have ramifications on each other. A change in the composition of the army, what type of soldier is fighting, is important because different types of soldiers have different needs, expose themselves to different types of threat, and have to perform different tasks in their armor. A cavalryman does not have to use his body the same way an archer does, and the archer does not have to use his body in the same way as a dismounted man-at-arms. Where an army chooses to fight has tactical implications; different positions provide advantages and disadvantages. Finally, an army preferring to be on the offense or defense will expose the soldiers to different kinds of threats and demands. A defender does not have to move around the battlefield as much, but an individual attacker may be more concerned about delivering the strongest blow possible, which could be impeded by armor. Alternatively, by being the attacker, a soldier may expose himself to more danger so more protection would be of the utmost importance. These components of tactics, when compared with the components of armor, will further the understanding of what soldiers valued during 1415-1515.

The relationship between armor and battlefield tactics during 1415-1515 England will help further the understanding of how humans utilize technology. This paper will look into if technology drives battlefield change or if battlefield change drives technology or both. The paper will help assess the relative value of trying to use technology to manipulate the battlefield, versus manipulating technology to fit the battlefield.