SCOTTISH HISTORY & HERITAGE
Battle of Bannockburn
At first light the Scots were already in position. Robert gave one final address to his troops before they were given their church blessing. Edward, watching the Scots kneeling in prayer, laughed aloud believing they begged for his mercy.
Soon the main bulk of the English had crossed the gorge and had formed up in preparation for the charge. Robert then ordered his troops to move out from the trees, and gathering into their schiltrons, they took up position to face the onslaught. The impact as the English horse hit the schiltrons was tremendous, but the Scots held. Many of the English knights, charging unorganised, were killed outright on the Scottish pikes, others fell or were dragged from their horses to be crushed by their own men or killed by the Scots.
With the cavalry retreating, and the archers scattered, there was huge confusion among the English ranks. The Scots, seeing this lifted their pikes and slowly advanced, in perfect formation, driving their struggling enemy back towards the gorge. The schiltroms pressed on, pushing more and more men into the horrific crush. Horses and men tumbled down the sides. Those still left fighting on the battlefield were few and Robert, seeing the victory was theirs gave the order to break up and give chase and cut down the English like straw.
For the Scots, the battle was one of the greatest in history. Their King, who for 18 years had fought for a cause once thought impossible, had led them to victory. Scotland won the war of independence.