Battle of Dupplin Moor - should the victors be considered Scottish or English? Who invented the tactics used here?

Oct 2017
79
South Australia
#1
According to sources I've read, the Battle of Dupplin Moor was won by an English army led by the Scottish Balliol family who were trying to seize the Scottish throne from the Bruces. Would you consider the victorious side to be English, since it was an English army, or Scottish, since it was led by Scots trying to seize the Scottish throne?

These sources claim that this battle was the first use of the formation which was later used at Crecy, Poitiers, Agincourt etc. in this period, of a central block of men-at-arms with two wings of archers arrayed in a diagonal line facing forwards, forming the army into a crescent shape. Were these tactics already in existence, were they invented by Edward Balliol, or else who invented them?

This is in relation to the thread "When and why did professional infantry replace noble knights as the dominant force on medieval battlefields? How dominant were cavalry in this period?".
 
Jun 2017
127
maine
#2
According to sources I've read, the Battle of Dupplin Moor was won by an English army led by the Scottish Balliol family who were trying to seize the Scottish throne from the Bruces. Would you consider the victorious side to be English, since it was an English army, or Scottish, since it was led by Scots trying to seize the Scottish throne?

These sources claim that this battle was the first use of the formation which was later used at Crecy, Poitiers, Agincourt etc. in this period, of a central block of men-at-arms with two wings of archers arrayed in a diagonal line facing forwards, forming the army into a crescent shape. Were these tactics already in existence, were they invented by Edward Balliol, or else who invented them?

This is in relation to the thread "When and why did professional infantry replace noble knights as the dominant force on medieval battlefields? How dominant were cavalry in this period?".
Neither little David II Bruce nor Edward Balliol had a unchallenged claim to the Scottish throne: both were sons of previously ruling kings and the feud went way back to the time of the Thirteen (?) claimants. The English were simply meddling, as they always seemed to be doing, in a local rivalry. It was hardly an English victory because they certainly didn't gain anything.

I suspect that the formation used was the old Scottish schiltron--which IMO was a descendent of the Scandinavian shield wall. The major factors in this battle were the longbow and the negligence of Mar.
 
Likes: Edratman
Oct 2017
79
South Australia
#3
To be honest, in retrospect this thread was probably unnecessary, Im mainly concerned with the deployments of the victorious army, which was an English army and therefore I shall refer to it as such. So that deals with the first question in the title.

I suspect that the formation used was the old Scottish schiltron
Sorry I meant the formation of the whole army - deployment might have been a better word - not unit formations. Also this was an English army so they wouldn't be formed in Scottish schiltrons.

which IMO was a descendent of the Scandinavian shield wall
The schiltron may have been like a shieldwall in earlier centuries, so the 14th century schiltron could have been a descendant in spirit but I don't think they would have actually borne any physical resemblance to a shieldwall by the 14th century, they had evolved to be more like a pike block by that time - that was one of the factors which allowed them to defeat the English cavalry at Bannockburn.


The main question I really need answered is who invented the crescent-shaped army formation, with men-at-arms in a close-order block in the centre and diagonal wings of archers facing inwards on the flanks, as used at Crecy and Agincourt. Was it Edward Balliol, the commander at Dupplin Moor?
 
Last edited:

Mangekyou

Ad Honorem
Jan 2010
7,887
UK
#4
The main question I really need answered is who invented the crescent-shaped army formation, with men-at-arms in a close-order block in the centre and diagonal wings of archers facing inwards on the flanks, as used at Crecy and Agincourt. Was it Edward Balliol, the commander at Dupplin Moor?
Likely it was Henry de Beaumont, a French knight who in the service of Edward I. He used similar tactics at the battle of Boroughbridge, which was before Dupplin Moore, and he was vastly experienced in the Anglo-Scottish wars.
 
Likes: duncanness
Jan 2019
10
Kent, England
#6
The English used similar tactics at the Battle of Northallerton (aka Battle of the Standard) in 1138, so I believe that they were traditional English methods later adopted by Edward I and his successors - in the same way that Parliament was simply a revival of the Witanegemot. The whole circumstances surrounding Northallerton are very much 'business as usual' for war between England and Scotland, mostly because the battle took place during the civil war between Stephen and Matilda, which occupied the Normans, and meant that the local troops could fight the battle in the time-honoured way.
 
Jun 2017
127
maine
#7
The English used similar tactics at the Battle of Northallerton (aka Battle of the Standard) in 1138, so I believe that they were traditional English methods later adopted by Edward I and his successors - in the same way that Parliament was simply a revival of the Witanegemot. The whole circumstances surrounding Northallerton are very much 'business as usual' for war between England and Scotland, mostly because the battle took place during the civil war between Stephen and Matilda, which occupied the Normans, and meant that the local troops could fight the battle in the time-honoured way.
I don't know. I'm not a militarist but the layout of the English army at Northallerton doesn't look like it had diagonal wings and the description places the archers not in the wings but right in the center along with foot soldiers. Military history and studies isn't my field so I am quite prepared to be wrong.
 

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