King Henry V and War

11-web-1King Henry V was not a sedentary king. In his first a battle the king almost lost his life in a war against the English. It was the arrow from this battle with the forces of Lord Henry Percy that almost saw the king lose his life at the young age of 16. An arrow struck deep in into his head via one of his eye socket regions. His medical staff had to invent tools to extract the metal arrowhead that was situated in the posterior of his skull and took the wound 3 weeks to heal – this would have been a grueling procedure as medicine was very undeveloped and this was before the advanced anesthetics that is available today.

The king initially in his earlier teen years employed the easy tactic of attack and retreat which did not work well for him. Later in his older teen years, he took a more complex and matured war strategy which was far more strategic such as focussing on securing certain castles that offered strategic advantages and cutting off supply routes. This new strategy proved immensely successful and this all occurred first in Wales. Later in his French wars the tactics learned and matured in Wales were utilized by the King against the French.

It is possible that a certain politically involved figure – a rich cloth merchant – influenced King Henry V in his war decisions. It is known that the three-time lord mayor of London Sir Richard Whittington was a very wealthy individual who contributed largely to the war loans which were used to pay for the French wars of King Henry V. The wars were fought on the money of loans rather than taxes and this allowed everyone to be involved in the repayment and benefit of the successful outcome of the war as even those who couldn’t contribute a full load were encouraged to give even a coin or what they could manage.