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Military Organization

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Chapter Summary

Roger of Howden tells us that Henry II lost a good number of barons, nobles, and men during his 1165 Welsh campaign, and in one succinct phrase he sketches the rough composition of a High Medieval army. The king and his barons led particular tactical units in the army that rallied around their respective banners, and the nobles were the cavalry. Henry levied only one-third of the knights available to him through feudal obligation; from the remainder he collected the shield-tax and bought the services of mercenaries. Henry preferred the shield-tax because the money allowed him flexible control over the composition of his army. Moreover, Henry actually preferred mercenaries over knights raised through obligation. In 1188, Henry sent his Welsh troops into France where they burned several villages and captured and burned the castle of Damville, an impressive feat for a band of untrained skirmishers.

Keywords: castle of Damville; France; Henry II; high medieval army; Military Organization; shield-tax; Welsh campaign



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