The Remembering Flodden Project

Tour of the Battle   6. Let Battle Commence

You are now in the midst of the Scottish lines arrayed along Branxton Hill, within sight of their homeland. King James has been forced to redeploy here after the Earl of Surrey outflanked his positions on Flodden Hill. Looking down, you can see the English army lining up opposite and the white puffs of smoke from their light field guns. The English artillery is proving more effective than the larger Scottish guns, which are having difficulty finding the range.

Nevertheless, the troops around you are all confident - they have the advantage in numbers and are armed with the long pike which, when used in tight formation, can be a devastating weapon. They have been waiting on Flodden Hill for days for their foe to appear and now that battle lines are drawn, they are eager to begin. Their commander, James IV, is an impulsive headstrong character so it is little wonder that the Scots take the initiative and begin advancing down the slope towards the enemy. The ground is very slippery and some even kick off their shoes to get the better grip.

In the early exchanges the Scots did well. Hume and Huntly inflicted heavy casualties on the English forces of Edmund Howard. Only the timely arrival of Dacre's horsemen saved the day. That part of the battle probably took place on drier ground, over to the west. The troops who set off down the slope from here, the Scottish centre, were heading for much boggier ground which was totally unsuited to their pike formations which would prove to be their downfall. King James and his troops who were further to the right, also floundered in the mud and struggled in the resulting hand-to-hand combat. His fate was sealed by the arrival of Stanley's archers from the east.

Let battle commence Let battle commence