The Remembering Flodden Project

Tour of the Battle   4. Battlelines Are Drawn

The battle has just begun and you find yourself in the English lines. Those around you are armed with billhooks and halberds - short, stout weapons which can be thrust or swung to deadly effect.

The Scottish army is spread along the skyline. You can see the white smoke from the first volley of their heavy cannon which they have dragged through the mud from their positions on Flodden Hill. They struggle to find the range and many of their shots fizz harmlessly overhead, but the lighter more manoeuvrable English guns are about to fire, with greater effect.

The forces of Hume and Huntly on the Scottish left will soon begin their advance down the slope to engage the English lines, under the command of Edmund Howard over to the right.

Flodden was really four separate battles, each with its own outcome:

1. Hume and Huntly's attack proves devastating to the English right flank, commanded by Edmund Howard. He is greatly outnumbered and only the timely arrival of Dacre's horsemen saves the day.

2. Having witnesses the success of their comrades, the troops of the Scottish centre advance with confidence. Many are armed with long pikes, a weapon which has proved extremely effective elsewhere in Europe. But on reaching the boggy ground in the dip ahead of you, they lose momentum and the tight formation upon which the pike depends. They are set upon by the English billmen whose weapon is less unwieldy and much more suitable for close-quarter fighting.

3. King James and his troops attack in turn, but after initially pushing back the English lines they run into similar difficulties during close combat.

4. The arrival of Stanley and his archers with a flanking attack from the east seals the fate of the King of Scotland.

Battle lines are drawn Battle lines are drawn