Before the battle itself, a medieval army usually destroyed everything that could had been taken advantage by its enemy which often included killing of peasants and burning the villages. Several knights usually rode ahead to determine the enemy’s position and the number of adversaries’ forces, while supply trains, escort, wounded and ill men followed the army. Leaders of both armies usually planed how to trick their adversaries and sometimes how to avoid armed confrontation. The decision often depended upon the weather conditions, terrain as well as upon the eventual danger of betrayal or famine.
The medieval battles usually started with an attack of the knights who were counterattacked with bows and arrows. When the armies clashed began hand-to-hand fight which usually lasted from one to three days and resulted in heavy casualties. However, the knights usually avoided killing each other because they were often related and because they regarded each other as members of the same elite and culture. Besides that the ransoms for captured knights could be very high. Thus all armies tried to capture as many knights as possible. Captured knights were held in captivity until the knight’s family or friends paid the demanded ransom. Sometimes ransoms were so high that the knight was held in captivity for several years and sometimes even for the rest of his life.