Why Did Harold Lose or William Win the Battle of Hastings

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Explain why William won (or Harold lost) the Battle of Hastings? The battle of Hastings took place on 14th October 1066. The battle took place in Sussex and was fought between the English king Harold II and William Duke of Normandy who had invaded England on 27th September 1066. Hastings is one of only two battles in English History in which a king lost his throne, the other being Bosworth Field in 1485, when Richard III was also defeated and killed by Henry Tudor. The outcome of this battle was to have a dramatic effect on the history of England. Both men had experience in battle and could be regarded as good commanders. There is no one single reason why William won or in fact why Harold lost. Many factors such as earlier events, luck, tactics, weapons, preparation and decision making contributed to the overall outcome. Some historians believe that Harold lost the battle before the first arrow was shot. This is because three weeks earlier on the 25th Sept, Harold had fought and defeated the Norwegian King, Harald Hardrada, at the Battle of Stamford Bridge. However, this was a ‘Pyrrhic victory’ and Harold lost 1500 housecarls who would have proved extremely important at Hastings had they survived. Harold’s army was also exhausted after two long marches and a battle where battle fatigue would have set in. Battle fatigue is a condition from which it can take months to recover. Harold had also decided to ignore his brother Gyrth’s advice to attack William’s fleet as it was preparing for invasion, much as Francis Drake had done when he ‘singed the king of Spain’s beard’ at Cadiz in 1587, thereby delaying the Spanish Armada. To add to Harold’s problems, Saxon rivalry meant that Edwin and Morcar, the Northern earls delayed sending troops to help Harold. Harold’s forced decision to march south to face William also contributed to Harold’s defeat. William having
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