Today and tomorrow are the anniversaries of the Bannockburn, 702 years ago.

Bruce, whilst surveying the English army, wore his crown and this sparked an idea in the mind of one young English knight. With Bruce so easy for him to identify, the young Sir Henry de Bohun realised that if he killed him the Scots would suffer a most crushing blow, and that he himself would gain unrivalled admiration from his English king. The next thing Bruce knew, de Bohun was charging towards him with his 12 foot long lance ready for action. Bruce was on his Highland pony, and saw the attack coming. He waited until the last possible moment, then violently wrenched his pony to one side. The keen de Bohen went speeding past, and Bruce swung his battle-axe, crushing the armour worn by de Bohun and splitting open his skull. The eager de Bohun fell dead on the spot with the one mighty blow, which broke the shaft of the axe wielded by Bruce. His army saw their king and his act of courage, and their hearts were filled with admiration and inspiration. If any of his men had doubted his courage, surely their fears were now at rest. Bruce had shown that he was indeed a warrior king. When his commanders reflected on the risk that Bruce took, the king of the Scots pointed out that he was more dismayed that he had broken the shaft of his axe!

'Scots, wha hae wi Wallace bled,
Scots, wham Bruce has aften led,
Welcome tae yer gory bed,
Or tae victorie.


Ymar Sakar said...

Bruce used one of the timings described in Musashi's book. Give up the advantage of the initiative, in order to use precise timing to create a counter attack that hits the target, before the target's initial attack hits you. By waiting until the target has utilized the initiative to attack, the target is invested in the physical muscle action and thought train (OODA). By the time the target realizes you have moved or countered, your attack will already have reached the critical vitals.

Eric Blair said...

He split Bohun's skull with an axe. Bohun didn't know what hit him. And I very much doubt Bruce was on a 'highland pony' C'mon, Grim, you know horses. Bruce was a king and on as good a horse if not better than Bohun.

While not trying to take anything from the Bruce, he was probably a better more experienced fighter than Bohun, and parried the lance (or side stepped it) and got in a good riposte.

And did that in front of his army, which is why we got that good story today.

Grim said...

You know, Eric, I said the same thing two years ago.

During the events described in the first post below, an English knight named Sir Henry de Bohun broke away from the English vanguard because he saw the Scottish King, Robert the Bruce, and recognized him. The king had come on a palfrey, not a warhorse, to observe the battle and issue orders rather than armed to partake in the battle. This account describes the palfrey as a "pony," which is not I think accurate; but the Scottish horses were generally substantially smaller than the English horses, making them less capable in a heavy charge but better for extended marches and long raids.