Henry VIII had to face the complete transformation of strategy, tactics, and fortification, which had spread all over western Europe since the commencement of the Great Wars of Italy in his father’s time. When he came to the throne in 1509, he found the old English organization and armament still based on the ideas of the fifteenth century. Henry VII had succeeded in keeping out of any serious intervention in the continental struggle, though he had once led an army for a few weeks to Picardy in 1492, and had lent small expeditionary forces to his allies on several occasions. An English army was still composed of the traditional ‘bows and bills,’ with hardly any provision of cavalry, and was a force raised for a short campaign, with no permanent embodied units; it expected to be dismissed when winter cold set in. There was no survival of the veteran bands which had garrisoned France in the time of Henry V and Henry VI—a few hundred bowmen, billmen, and gunners at Calais were the only standing force which the King possessed. If an army was wanted, it would have to be created by the combination of contracts with nobles and military adventurers, and of unwilling shire-levies collected by the Commissioners of Array. The old triumphs of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries had been won, and the bloody battles of the Wars of the Roses fought out, by armies marshalled in the old style—masses of billmen and spears, flanked by large wings of archery. In no case had they been decided by cavalry; in very few of them had artillery played any part.