Successfully using ?hit and run? (or what we would today call 'guerilla') warfare, Robert the Bruce, King of Scots, has kept England's army, the most powerful in the Medieval European world, from completing its conquest of Scotland and has in fact driven the English out of all but a few of Scotland's strongholds. In June 1313, Robert returns to the mainland after successfully capturing the Isle of Man only to find that his brother, Lord Edward Bruce, has struck a bargain with the Scottish warden of English-held Castle Stirling: If English troops have not relieved the castle by the Feast of St. John the Baptist (June 24th) the following year, the warden will hand Stirling to the Scots without further resistance. Robert is furious! His brother has provided England's king with a reason to invade Scotland in force, which Robert has taken great pains to avoid for years! Elated by this turn of events, the English king sees the agreement as a way to regain his dwindling power at home. He uses the time to strengthen ties with his mutinous magnates and draw to his cause many of the best knights of Europe with promises of Scottish lands, titles, and wealth... once the battle is won. As the agreed-upon day approaches, King Edward personally leads 2,500 barded (completely armored and mounted) knights and 20,000 other well-equipped men-at-arms to a place near a stream called Bannockburn, south of Castle Stirling . His train of men and supplies ?in good order? stretches 20 miles. Robert has not one barded knight and only 5,500 men-at-arms, most of whom are armed solely with long spears they made for themselves. His only advantages are his cunning use of resources, innate Scots courage, and his arrival at the battlefield before the invaders. Far from the stated goal of preventing the relief of Castle Stirling by the English, or even of defending his crown, Robert knows the battle at Bannockburn is for Scotland's very existence.
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- July 1, 2006
- July 1, 2006
- Charles Randolph Bruce