The Armies & the losses


Richard III had somewhere between 10 – 15,000 troops at Bosworth, more than twice the number available to Henry. He had an army comprising both the retinues of major supporters and shire and city levies. These troops were part cavalry and part infantry but, as Richard also had control of the royal ordnance, one may accept the description in several of the primary sources that his was an army well supplied with field artillery. Richard himself commanded the army, with the Duke of Norfolk leading the vanguard and the Duke of Northumberland the rearguard.


There is broad agreement that Henry had approximately 5,000 troops, including some 2000 French mercenaries. These again comprised both infantry and cavalry, but probably with little or no field artillery. Nominally they were under the command of Henry himself, but in reality the tactics will have been defined and implemented by the Earl of Oxford, a highly experience commander. In addition there were some 5,000 – 8,000 troops in the field under the command of Lord Stanley. Of these some were dispatched to fight with Henry’s vanguard, but the majority remained out of the action. Of these a proportion, under the command of William Stanley, intervened decisively towards the end of the battle while the remainder may have participated in the pursuit and ‘execution’ of the fleeing royal forces.


Polydore Virgil, who wrote probably the most reliable of all the primary accounts of the battle, reports about 1000 royal troops and 100 rebel troops killed in the battle.


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