Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Anglo-Scottish War (1513)

Anglo-Scottish War (1513)

PRINCIPAL COMBATANTS: England vs. Scotland

PRINCIPAL THEATER(S): Northern England

DECLARATION: Scotland declared war on England, August
11, 1513.

MAJOR ISSUES AND OBJECTIVES: Continuation of ongoing
power struggles between England and Scotland

OUTCOME: Ostensible English victory came at such
cost that English forces withdrew, and border clashes
between England and Scotland continued.

England, approximately 15,000; Scotland, 30,000

CASUALTIES: At Flodden, the central battle of the war,
10,000 Scotsmen fell, together with a similar number
of English.


Chronic warfare between England and Scotland prompted
the Scottish king James IV (1473–1513)—known as “Rex
Pacificator,” King Peacemaker—to seek peace with England.
However, when England’s Henry VIII (1491–1547)
invaded France (see ANGLO-FRENCH WAR [1542–1546]),
longtime ally of Scotland, James IV felt he had no choice
but to declare war on England. This was followed by an
invasion of England. Unfortunately for James, the invasion
got under way slowly and proceeded with much delay,
which gave England’s Thomas Howard (1443–1524), earl
of Surrey, sufficient time to gather a defensive force.
On September 9, 1513, the Scottish forces occupied
the high ground at Flodden Edge, a position readily
defended by Jones’s 20,000 French-trained pikemen and
9,000 Highlanders, backed by 17 cannons. Surrey, who had
14,000 infantry and 23 field pieces, saw a weakness in the
Scots’ position. James outnumbered him two-to-one, but
Surrey’s modern artillery and his full complement of
archers gave him, he believed, an advantage. Quickly surrounding
Flodden, marching around Jones’s flank, he
forced the Scots to face to the rear. This accomplished, Surrey
bombarded James’s army with artillery and volleys of
arrows. Despite James’s order to the contrary, this provoked
the pikemen to leave the relative safety of their hilltop
position and charge down the hill. It was a pitched battle
that lasted from the afternoon until nightfall. Repeatedly,
the smaller English force repelled attacks from the Scots,
and gradually, the Scottish army dwindled. By the end of
the battle, 10,000 Scots lay dead, including James and most
of his noblemen: nine earls and 14 lords. The Scots peerage
was, in a single battle, reduced by half. The cost to the
English in this defensive battle was also very heavy.
Burdened with war against the French, Henry VIII
could not afford to capitalize on this hard-won victory. In
a fit of mean spiritedness, the English refused to yield the
body of James IV, but the army of Surrey departed the
field. Scotland was not invaded, and James V (1512–42),
infant son of the slain king, ascended the Scottish throne.
Border warfare would remain chronic through 1560.

WAR (1559–1560).

Further reading: David Ditchburn, Scotland and
Europe: The Medieval Kingdom and Its Contacts with Christendom,
c. 1214–1545 (East Linton, U.K.: Tuckwell, 2001);
Norman Macdougall, James IV (East Linton, U.K.: Tuckwell
Press, 1997); Rosalind Mitchison, A History of Scotland,
3rd ed. (London and New York: Routledge, 2002);
Raymond Campbell Paterson, My Wound Is Deep: A History
of the Anglo-Scottish Wars (Edinburgh: John Donald
Publishers, 1997); Gervase Phillips, The Anglo-Scottish
Wars, 1513–1550 (Woodbridge, U.K.: Boydell Press,
1999); A. I. Short, James IV of Scotland: Sovereign and Surgeon
(Durham, U.K.: School of Education, University of
Durham, 1992).

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