Top positive review
4 people found this helpful
Flowers of the Forest
on 19 August 2013
Probably the best equipped and easily the largest Scots army of the middle ages swept down on Northern England in 1513, whilst meanwhile young king Henry of England is away campaigning in France with the main English army. The Scots king James IV, full of ambition, saw this as his opportunity to fully establish Scotland as a separate state, get himself recognised as a monarch of the first division in Europe, and to teach his brother-in-law Henry and the English a lesson.
An English army not much bigger than half its size moves quickly to oppose the Scots. What happened next was one of the most brilliantly fought short campaigns in the history of Britain. The English leader Thomas Howard, an experienced veteran warrior, didn't hesitate, he dramatically turns a tactical disadvantage with a single master stroke of manoeuvre into advantage, by putting the Northern English army between the Scots army and Scotland, and thus also robbing them of their well prepared defensive positions. This was going to be no shadowing exercise, if the Scots wanted to return to Scotland they had to fight. What followed next was bloody indeed, the King of Scots, and almost all the Scots nobility died. How and why this happened is fascinating. But for the brilliance of Howard, the impetuosity of King James, and the military toughness and competence of the Northern English levies with the bill and the bow it might have all ended very differently.
This is a good Osprey, it covers all the areas of the campaign and battle well. But perhaps it does not lay quite enough blame at the feet of James and his ambition for the catastrophe. Following this disastrous battle Scotland was of little military consequence again for almost 150 years. That really shows the terrible magnitude of these events.