Britain: Warfare Between AD 1350 and 1700

In GCSE History students will be taught about warfare in Britain during different eras. One period they will look at is that of the Renaissance, which saw the development of firearms.

The Renaissance saw many advances in science and technology. It took place between the late 14th century and the end of the 17th. Warfare in Britain changed hugely between these two dates: new firearms emerged to replace bows and arrows, and recruitment methods altered also. The first professional armies appeared, forces that were paid throughout the year.

Play this quiz and see how much you know about warfare and firearms in Renaissance Britain.

  1. Which English commander ravaged the French countryside in 1356 prior to the English victory at Poitiers in the same year?
    This technique was known as a chevauchee, whereby an army would lay waste to the countryside to deny food and shelter to its opponents
  2. Which of the following was a hand-held firearm, becoming a strong feature of warfare by the early sixteenth century?
    Gunpowder became more widely available from the end of the fourteenth century, and was used both in hand-held weapons for the infantry and in artillery
  3. What name is given to a soldier of fortune - i.e. one who fights, not for a cause, but for money?
    This period saw an increased use of such troops who often came from Scotland, Switzerland or Germany. They would fight well if paid on time, but they could mutiny or even go over to the other side if not paid
  4. At which major battle did Cromwell defeat the Royalist forces in 1645, effectively winning the Civil War for Parliament?
    Cromwell had learnt the effective use of cavalry and he gradually wore down Royalist resistance in the North and the Midlands
  5. At which fort on the Thames Estuary did Queen Elizabeth I rally her troops in 1588 as the Spanish Armada threatened to invade England?
    Elizabeth had done her best to assemble an army from the county militias, as she expected a Spanish landing somewhere in South East England. She made a rousing speech, but could not know that the danger of an invasion had now passed as the Spanish fleet had been dispersed by Drake's fire ships and a southerly wind
  6. In which English county did Henry VIII construct the following artillery castles around 1530? Sandgate, Deal, Walmer, Sandown.
    Henry's fear of a French invasion led him to construct a series of low artillery castles on the south coast of England
  7. Which of the following is not a firearm?
    During this period firearms replaced other infantry weapons, reducing the role of cavalry and enhancing the role of the infantry
  8. Which infantry weapon is usually regarded as the main factor in the English victory at Agincourt in 1415?
    The English army was outnumbered at Agincourt, and weary and disease-ridden after the march from the coast. It faced the flower of the French nobility, who fought as mounted knights
  9. Oliver Cromwell mustered a full-time professional army, which helped him to win the 1645 campaign against Charles I's depleted forces. What was this force called?
    Cromwell emerged as the outstanding Parliamentary commander during the Civil War. He saw that only a fully professional body could defeat the King and ensure Parliament's security after the war
  10. Which port did Henry V besiege before moving inland to engage the French at Agincourt?
    Henry was keen to defeat the main French army, and so he decided to move rapidly inland before returning to England

Author: Edward Towne

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