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Created with Fabric.js 1.4.5 THE BATTLE OF HASTINGS - 1066 In the summer of 1066 William of Normandy made preparations for the attack on England.On 1st October William of Normandyhad landed at Pevensey Bay with 700 ships.William had 5,000 infantry and 3,000 knights. Before the fighting started William spoke to his men reminding them they had never lost a battle under his command. King Hardrada realised he was unable to take William by surprise he positioned himself at Senlac Hill near Hastings.Harold selected a spot that was protected on each flank by marshy land. The English housecarls provided a shield wall at the front of Harold's army. Harold had about 2, 500 housecarls and over 6,000 members of the fyrd. At nine in the morning the Norman archers walked up the hill and they fired their first batch of arrows against English army. Using their shields, the housecarls were able to block most of this attack. The Norman infantry then charged up the hill. The English held firm and the Normans were forced to retreat. Members of the fyrd broke ranks and chased after the Bretons. William ordered his cavalry to attacked the English who had left their positions on Senlac Hill. English losses were heavy and very few managed to return to their place at the top of the hill. At about twelve noon there was a break in the fighting for an hour. This gave both sides a chanceto remove the dead and wounded from the battlefield. William decided to change his tactics. At about one in the afternoon he ordered his archers forward.This time he told them to fire higher in the air. The change of direction of the arrows caught the English by surprise. William decided that the knights should dismount and attack on foot. This time all the Normans went into battle together. The archers fired their arrows and at the same time the knights and infantry charged up the hill. Heavy English casualties from previous attacks meant that the front line was shorter. The Normans could now attack from the side.The Normans attacked again and this time they broke through the shield wall and Harold and most of his housecarls were killed. The next day Harold's mother, Gytha, sent a message to William of Normandy offering him the weight of the king's body in gold if he would allow her to bury it. He refused, declaring that Harold should be buried on the shore of the land which he sought to guard.
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