It was a small force, no stronger than that of Morgarten, comprising only about fourteen hundred poorly-armed men. Some carried halberds, some shorter weapons, while some among them, instead of a shield, had only a small board fastened to the left arm. It seemed like madness for such a band to dare contend with the thousands of well-equipped invaders.
Thus encouraged, the poorly-armed adventurers rushed down the hills into the town. One sturdy fellow who carried only a club was asked where his weapons were. "They are down in the town," he said. "The earl's men have them now. We are going there to get them." This they did.
The chief who had money enough to buy the best arms for his men could defeat his poorer neighbor and force him to pay money as to a ruler. Finally, in the so-called "Middle Ages," before the invention of gunpowder, one knight, armed from crown to sole in steel, was worth in battle as much as one hundred poorly-armed farmers or "peasants" as they are called in Europe.
Through the abandoned works the duke led his knights, and gained the central plateau. On the flanks the French and Bretons poured over the stockade and drove back its poorly-armed defenders. It was mid-afternoon, and the field already seemed won. Yet when the sunset hour came on that red October day the battle still raged.