There are many possible answers regarding this topic, but by following the sources we could analyze the possible number of troops that were fighting in a single battle during the medieval period.
Comparing the medieval period with the ancient period, a lot of things have changed in the battlefield. In the ancient period the army was more professional and because of this, the size of the force could be big in numbers. While looking back at the medieval period the army wasn’t so professional, this was one of the reasons for the medieval period battles to have much lower number in troops.
Which Armies Were the Largest?
First of all this is really hard to answer because the numbers could always be exaggerated. Starting from the hundred years war France called up to 50 000 – 60 000 soldiers, even though they weren’t stationed into one place there was a single unit with around 25 000. While England had around 30 000 soldiers. If they clashed the number would have been around 50 000 – 60 000 and this would make it become a huge fight.
Also it’s worth mentioning the Holy Roman empire had around 80 000 – 100 000 soldiers before he died in the Third Crusade. This is a huge number and this force could cause some serious damage if it was deployed in the east. There are also other worthy mentions, but the number wouldn’t get higher.
The Biggest Battle is Far East
Medieval China was a pretty serious war machine and if it was possible to clash with an European state at the time who knew how the outcome could turn out. But China was too busy fighting against it’s neigbours causing some serious trouble and by the numbers we are going to view they were a force not to be messed with.
At the current time being China had a population around 100 million people which was a huge number for the medieval period. In 1363 the battle of Lake Poyang took place and this might be the largest battle to ever take place in the medieval period that we know of.
It is believed that the amount of troops deployed in this fight was around 800 000. This is a massive number for this period and it sounds almost impossible. But considering that china had dense population at the time makes it almost possible for this battle to be true.
Even though the numbers could be a little exaggerated, if it were to drop around 200 000 it would still be one of the biggest battles ever to take place.
There are other possible candidates for regarding this topic such as the Sui Dynasty mobilization of troops. By the sources it’s believed that this dynasty recruited around 600 000 to 1.1. million troops for the campaign to take over the territory of Korea. The number here is fascinating and that manpower could have caused a lot of terror all around.
Feel free to comment regarding this topic because there is always a possible dispute over the numbers and facts.
Frederick W. Mote; Denis Twitchett (26 February 1988). The Cambridge History of China: Volume 7, The Ming Dynasty, 1368-1644