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The Battle of Hastings which took place on October 14, 1066 is considered to the decisive battle resulting in the Norman conquest of England. The battle took place at Senlac Hill, about ten kms from Hastings.
The Norman strategy for the battle relied on the archers attacking the enemy with arrows, the infantry which would engage the enemy in combat and a final charge by the cavalry. However, the English army formed a shield wall to protect themselves, so the arrows had little effect on them. The Norman infantry then charged up the hill, but were faced by a barrage of stones, javelins and other weapons. The cavalry charge also was ineffective, as the horses shied away from the axes, swords and other weapons.
After an hour of battle, the Norman army suffered heavy casualties. Seeing this, the undisciplined English army were tempted to pursue the enemy. They broke their formations and dispersed. As they were no longer protected by the shield wall, the Norman invaders led by William, could easily attack and kill the Englishmen. By the time, the English army realised that it was counter-attacked, it was too late.
The archers in the Norman army launched an attack over the shield wall, targetting the fighters at the rear of the army. One of the arrows hit King Harold in the eye and he was killed. With their leader and many nobles killed, the fyrd or part time soldiers scattered and many fled the battlefield, resulting in a victory for the Norman army.
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