Slag van Crecy

Slag van Crecy

Tydens die Honderdjarige Oorlog vernietig die Engelse leër van koning Edward III 'n Franse mag onder koning Philip VI tydens die Slag van Crecy in Normandië. Die geveg, waarin die Engelse vroeër die dodelike langboog gebruik het, word beskou as een van die mees beslissende in die geskiedenis.

Op 12 Julie 1346 het Edward 'n invalmag van ongeveer 14 000 man aan die kus van Normandië geland. Van daar af het die Engelse leër noordwaarts opgeruk en die Franse platteland geplunder. Toe hy kennis neem van die aankoms van die Engelse, het koning Philip 'n leër van 12 000 man bymekaargemaak, bestaande uit ongeveer 8 000 berede ridders en 4 000 gehuurde Genoese kruisboogskutters. By Crecy het Edward sy leër gestop en voorberei op die Franse aanval. Laat die middag van 26 Augustus het Philip se leër aangeval.

Die Genoese kruisboogskutters het die aanval gelei, maar hulle is gou oorweldig deur Edward se 10 000 langboë, wat vinniger kon herlaai en baie verder kon skiet. Die kruisboogmense trek toe terug en die Franse berede ridders het probeer om die Engelse infanterielinne binne te dring. In beheer ná aanklag is die perde en ruiters in die genadelose pyltjie gestort. Teen die aand word die Franse uiteindelik terug. Byna 'n derde van hul leër lê op die veld, insluitend Philip se broer, Karel II van Alencon; sy bondgenote koning Johannes van Bohemen en Lodewyk II van Nevers; en 1500 ander ridders en esquires. Philip self het met 'n wond ontsnap. Engelse verliese was minder as honderd.

Die stryd was die agteruitgang van die berede ridder in Europese oorlogvoering en die opkoms van Engeland as 'n wêreldmoondheid. Van Crecy af stap Edward op na Calais, wat hom in 1347 aan hom oorgee.


Battle of Crecy 1346 - Honderd jaar en#x27 Oorlog SLEGTE GESKIEDENIS

Kings and Generals, die YouTube -kanaal wat 100% akkurate DOCUMENTARIES uitpomp, het gister 'n video vrygestel oor die Slag van Crecy. Soos hulle sê, dit is nie die eerste video wat die kanaal op Crecy geplaas het nie, maar omdat die ou uiters verouderd was, besluit hulle om die video oor te dra en terselfdertyd 'n reeks oor die Honderdjarige Oorlog te begin. Aangesien die kanaal nie bronne in die videobeskrywing plaas nie, kan ek nie evalueer hoe goed die navorsing gekonseptualiseer of uitgevoer is nie, maar watter navorsing ook al was beslis gedoen was nie genoeg om die video op datum te bring nie.

In hierdie plasing fokus ek byna geheel en al op die stryd, en gaan ek net oor twee foute wat gemaak is voordat die stryd bespreek word, omdat ek hierdie week min tyd het en omdat die aanhef meestal voldoende is. Daar moet egter op gelet word dat K & ampG meer tyd moes bestee het aan die bespreking van die beleg van Aiguillon en die Vlaamse aanval op die Franse, beide gebeurtenisse wat die Franse reaksie op die aanval van Edward gevorm het. Die kanaal noem die sukses van die graaf van Lancaster in 1345 (14: 08-14: 28), maar versuim om die kykers in kennis te stel dat die oorgrote meerderheid Franse veldmagte Aiguillon in die suide beleër het en dat hulle baie van die Franse finansiële en gereed mannekraghulpbronne. Waarskynlik was 15-20 000 betaalde mans in die beleg, en benewens swaar en ongewilde belasting van meer as £ 55 000 Engelse pond (372 000 floriene) is slegs by die pous geleen 1.

Dit het beteken dat, toe Philip 'n inval in Normandië begin verwag het, in plaas van Bretagne of Gascogne, soos hy hom voorberei het, 'n heel nuwe leër op baie kort kennisgewing en op 'n kort begroting 2 opgerig moes word. Die Vlaamse weermag, hoewel die Franse minder aandag daaraan gegee het, was 'n steeds bedreiging aan die agterkant van die Franse lyne wat die Franse in ag moes neem by elke beweging wat hulle gemaak het 3. Deur al hierdie konteks weg te laat, lyk die Franse veel onbevoegder as wat hulle was. Daar was goeie redes om te vermoed dat die Engelse elders sou aanval, en 'n mate van versterking van garnisone - sowel as die huur van dertig oorlogsgaleie uit Genua - is onderneem om die ander gebiede te help verdedig.

Net 'n bietjie huishouding as enige aanhangers van Kings en Generals dit sou vind: ek is nie 'n professionele historikus nie, en hoewel ek hierdie jaar met die universiteit begin het, is geen van die bronne wat ek hier gebruik, deur my universiteit verkry nie. Dit is navorsing wat almal met 'n belangstelling in die onderwerp kan doen, en as u iets 'n 'dokumentêr' sal noem, moet u moeite doen om seker te maak dat die besonderhede in werklikheid aan die spesifikasies voldoen. Ek bespreek ook as bewys van goeie trou nie kwessies soos die posisie van die boogskutters waar daar ruimte is vir dubbelsinnigheid en interpretasie in die beurs nie. Het dit? Goed.

4:50-5:20 - Salic Law is nie, soos die video suggereer, gebruik om Philip Valois bo Edward III vir die Engelse troon te kies nie. Dit was 'n verskoning wat omstreeks 1413 opgeduik het en van daar af beslag gekry het. In werklikheid was die rede waarom Edward III die troon geweier is (die Franse wou hom nie eenkant nie), dat Philip V die tradisie gebuig het deur middel van wil en 'n groot gewapende gevolg en die presedent daargestel het dat dogters nie meer hul vader geërf het nie. #x27s lande en posisie. Van hier af het die Franse aangevoer dat dit nie oorgedra kon word nie, eerder as om 'n ou en verouderde wet aan te roep wat op daardie stadium vir hulle irrelevant was 4.

15:40-15:50 - Hier word beweer dat, ondanks die feit dat Edward III die oorgawe van Caen aanvaar het, die Engelse sonder kwartaal geplunder, geplunder, verbrand en vermoor het. Eerstens, ja, die sak van Caen was verskriklik vir die inwoners, net soos 'n sak van 'n stad, maar die stad is bestorm en afgedank, nie afgedank nadat hulle oorgegee het nie. Die stadsmense van Caen het 'n bittere stryd met die Engelse in die strate gevoer, versperrings opgerig, rotse en houtblokke op die Engelse uit die boonste verdiepings van die huise laat val en net in die algemeen hul bes gedoen om hulself te verdedig. Deel van die garnisoen oorgegee, toe dit afgesny is en die gevaar loop dat almal doodgemaak word, maar daar was nog driehonderd man in die kasteel, wat nie geneem is nie, en beide die garnisoen en die oorlewende bevolking het die 1500 man sterk garnisoen gou geslag agtergelaat om die belangrike stad te hou^ 5.

17:00-17:30 - 'n Paar kwessies hier. In die eerste plek bied die video die scenario aan asof Edward skielik die Franse naby hom vind en haastig omdraai om die Franse te beveg. As dit die geval was, soos Clifford J. Rogers dit stel, waarom het hy so stadig in die dae voor die geveg 6 beweeg? Terwyl dit gebeur, is ek 'n voorstander van die idee dat Edward III op die optog verras was, na aanleiding van die essensie van die onlangse uitdaging van Michael Livingston en Kelly DeVries ' A.H. Burne, Livingstone en Witzel, Rogers, Andrew Ayton en Richard Barber beweer almal dat die Engelse doelbewus gekies het om by Crecy te veg eerder as om noordwaarts na Calais of Vlaandere 8 te gaan. Ek is nie seker of die kanaal van die nuwe teorie gehoor het nie - hul werk toon andersins geen bewys daarvan nie - of hulle hul bronne verkeerd geïnterpreteer het, maar ongeag, moet Edward erken dat hy probeer om 'n goeie verdedigingsposisie te vind is 'n minderheidsopvatting.

Tweedens, soos hierbo aangeraak, is die webwerf van Crecy onlangs uitgedaag. Michael Livingston en Kelly DeVries, met behulp van die primêre bronne en kyk na die bewegings van die Engelse, het voorgestel dat die werklike geveg net bokant Domvast plaasgevind het, waar die land skerp styg tot 'n rant en die name van 'n aantal velde in Napoleontiese kaarte blyk bewys te lewer vir die geveg 9. Beide die idee dat die Engelse teen die aand van 25 Augustus nie by die stad Crecy aangekom het nie, sowel as die spesifieke ligging wat die skrywers gekies het, is gekritiseer 10, maar die basiese idee hou water en moet ten minste erken word video oor die onderwerp.

Derdens is die ou idee dat die Engelse langs die rant tussen Crecy en Wadicourt opgestel het, al 'n geruime tyd nie meer aktueel nie. Vanaf Sumption is die vroeë bronne wat verwys na die gebruik van waens aan die agterkant van die Engelse aanvaar 11, en die siening het toenemend geword dat een of twee gevegte in die middel van die wagenburg, met boogskutters op die vleuel, en 'n baie smaller formasie algeheel 12.

Uiteindelik het die video die Franse nader vanaf Fontaine-sur-Maye. Dit was die ou mening, en is tot 2005 gehou toe Sir Philip Preston, wat die slagveld in detail ondersoek het, daarop gewys het dat die kwota lank, steil en amper deurlopend, met 'n val van 2,5-5,5 meter, die hele lengte gehardloop het van die oostelike kant van die vallei. Dit is so steil dat dit onwaarskynlik is dat perde veilig kan afklim, selfs al is dit nie belas nie, laat staan ​​nog met 'n ruiter, en dit maak dit funksioneel onmoontlik vir die Franse weermag om vanuit hierdie rigting 13 te kom. As die stryd op die tradisionele plek uitgevoer is, moes enige Franse leër wat uit die rigting van Fontaine-sur-Maye kom, die nou gaping tussen die oewer en die moerasagtige Maye-rivier opgevolg het, en dan hoër geloop het as vandag, of anders kruis die rivier uit die suide 14. Dit sou die Franse in 'n relatief klein gebied geskep het en verhoed het dat hulle maklik hul volle getal kon uitwerk.

17:31-17:57 - 'n Paar klein punte. Eerstens was die ridders en die wapenskut dieselfde soort soldaat, en die implikasie dat die ridders normaalweg geveg het terwyl die wapenstryde afstap, is verkeerd. Hulle was albei swaar gepantserde ruiters wat te perd of te voet kon veg, soos die behoefte ontstaan ​​het. Tweedens het hulle nie net 'kettingpos' gedra nie. Alhoewel skilderye, koperblaaie, voorrade en die getuienis van Jean le Bel toon dat die Engelse voor 1330 byna uitsluitlik met pos toegerus was, tussen 1330 en 1340 is die Engelse ridders en wapenrustings heeltemal gemoderniseer, dra- en kwota-helm, bascinet, aventail , kraag, pare borde, kussings, onderbeen, verdediging, vambraces, rerebraces en handskoene, posstertjies en moue & quot. Selfs matrose sou in die laat 1330's en die 1340's 15 plate en ander plaatverdedigings vir arms en bene (alhoewel soms van leer) kry. Derdens was daar 3250 & quothobelars en gemonteerde boogskutters, nie 3250 light cavalry bekend as hobelars & quot. Omdat beide soorte soldate vir dieselfde loon gedien het, maak ons ​​afgesnyde oorblywende rekeninge dit gereeld bymekaar en is dit nie moontlik om te bepaal hoeveel van elke tipe daar 16 was nie.

18:00-18:20 - Hier het ons 'n paar tipiese teaboo -miteskepping. Terwyl Edward I se statuut van Winchester in 1285 boë genoem het as verpligte toerusting vir diegene met 'n inkomste van £ 2-5, was dit slegs 'n geringe verandering van sy pa 1230, 1242 en 1253 Assises of Arms, wat op hul beurt was wysigings van Henry II 's 1181 Assize of Arms, wat nie boogskietapparatuur vir die Engelse onderdane van die Angevin -konings 17 bevat nie. Ek kon kwalik ontken dat Edward I se gebruik van die Commissions of Array nie 'n rol gespeel het in die militarisering van die Engelse samelewing aan die einde van die 13de en vroeë 14de eeu nie, maar boogskietoefening was eers verpligtend tot 1363 - byna 'n dekade na die laaste groot geveg in die Edwardiaanse fase, waar boogskiet 'n belangrike rol gespeel het 18. Boonop toon die bewyse wat ons wel het met betrekking tot die status van boogskutters wat via Commissions of Array gemonster is, of ten minste aangeteken is dat hulle beskikbaar is om op te teken, byna eenvormig in die klas van £ 2-5, wat 'n relatief welgestelde klas was. van grondeienaars en wys op beperkte motivering vir elke man om met 'n boog te besit en te oefen 19.

Ayton stel wel voor dat baie van die boogskutters plaasvervangers, bediendes of armer lede van die gemeenskap kan wees, en dit het moontlik die algehele kwaliteit van die boogskutters verminder. Klagtes van hierdie aard was beslis nie ongehoord in die jare tussen 1315 en 1346 nie, en daar is geen rede om te dink dat die massiewe leër wat vir Crecy opgerig is, anders was nie, dus die Engelse boogskutters as 'n soort universele boer ubermensch is misplaas. Belangriker nog, die artistieke en argeologiese bewyse dui daarop dat, alhoewel Engelse boë teen Crecy deurgaans konsekwent was, baie ligter was as die boë van die 15de en 16de eeu, meer op die gebied van 90-120 pond wat weer verlaag u verwagtinge van prestasie 21.

19:27-19:35 - Ons weet nie hoeveel mans die Franse by Crecy gehad het nie, maar ons kan redelik seker wees dat hulle nie 12 000 ridders gehad het nie. Engelse bronne skryf wel dat daar 12 000 & quothelmets & quot of & quothommes d ɺrmes & quot was, die Edward III verduidelik ook dat slegs 8000 hiervan 'gentlemen, ridders of esquires' was. Wie die ander 4000 was, is iets van 'n raaisel, met Rogers wat beweer dat hulle gemonteerde kruisboogskutters was en dat die moontlikheid oop was dat hulle valet arme was, wie se toerusting gelyk was aan of beter was as die van die Engelse hobilars en wat as 'n gekwoteerde man beskou kan word. die vroeë definisie 23. Net so min aanvaar nou die ou getal van 6000 Geneesse kruisboogskutters, aangesien die Franse nog nooit so baie in diens gehad het nie - selfs by die beleg van Aiguillon, waar net 1400 in diens was - en daar is blykbaar geen manier vir so baie nie om Frankryk betyds te bereik, veral gegewe die spanning wat voor 1346 geheers het 24.

20:15-20:24 Die goeie ou Geneesse kruisboë is verwoes deur die reën -truuk. Kyk, Ralph Payne-Gallwey het 'n kruisboog geweek met 'n wassnaar vir 'n dag en 'n nag sonder om 'n verskil te sien, en dit is al sedert 1903 bekend, so ek voel nie nodig om dit aan te haal nie. Die beste en mees waarskynlike redes vir die swak vertoning van die Genoese by Crecy - hul gebrek aan wapenrusting en sypaadjies eenkant - is in elk geval die feit dat daar op hulle geskiet is en die modder dit moeilik gemaak het om voldoende aankope te kry toe hulle kruisboë 25.

Die res van die video is gebaseer op die foute hierbo, en ek dink dit is nie die moeite werd om die video verder te breek nie. Vir die 1950's sou die video redelik goed wees, maar in die lig van meer onlangse geleerdheid, val die video baie kort waar dit moet wees. Hopelik, as die kanaal die volgende video's maak, probeer hulle om op hoogte te bly van die beurs.

1 Opsomming, Jonathan. Die Honderdjarige Oorlog, Deel 1: Trial by Battle, (Faber en Faber Bpk .: Londen, 2010) pp. 854-861

3 ibid., 910-913. c.f. Rogers, Clifford J. Oorlog wreed en skerp (The Boydell Press: Woodbridge, 2014) pp. 227-228

5 Sumption, pp. 902-909, 945 Livingstone, Marilyn en Witzel, Morgen. The Road to Crecy: The English Invasion of France 1346, (Pearson Education Limited: Harlow, 2005) pp. 152-166

7 The Battle of Crecy: A Casebook, red. Livingston, Michael en DeVries, Kelly, (Liverpool University Press: Liverpool, 2015). c.f. "The Location of the Battle of Crecy" deur Michael Livingston, pp. 415-438. My persoonlike siening is dat Edward III van plan was om op die tradisionele gevegsterrein te veg, maar op pad daarheen onderbreek is. Ek het nog nie my gedagtes oor die presiese webwerf uitgesorteer nie, maar dit was óf tussen die Forest of Crecy en die Bois de But, wat die pad van Abbeville blokkeer, óf tussen die Forest of Crecy en die Bois de Crocq, en beide die paaie na Abbeville en St. Ricquier, afhangende van waar die Franse vandaan kom.

8 Livingstone en Witzel, pp. 262-265 Rogers, pp. 264-267 Andrew Ayton, & quotThe Crecy Campaign & quot, in Die Slag van Crecy, 1346, red. Andrew Ayton en sir Philip Preston. (The Boydell Press: Woodbridge, 2007) pp. 106-107) Barber, Richard. Edward III en die triomf van Engeland, (Penguin Global:. 2014) pp. 183 Burne, A.H. Die Crecy War (Frontline Books: Barnsley, 2016 [1955]), pp. 160-161, 168-169

9 Livingston, & quotLocation & quot, pp. 415-438.

10 Ayton, Andrew. & quotBook Review: The Battle of Crécy. A Casebook deur Michael Livingston en Kelly DeVries (reds) & quot Oorlog in die geskiedenis. 2017 24 (3) pp. 386-389.

11 Sumption, pp. 934-935 Rogers, pp. 266-267

12 Prestwich, Michael "The Battle of Crecy", in Die Slag van Crecy, 1346, red. Andrew Ayton en sir Philip Preston. (The Boydell Press: Woodbridge, 2007) bl. 145-146 Barber, bl. 188-200, 432-436 DeVries, Kelly, & quot The Tactics of Crecy & quot, in The Battle of Crecy: A Casebook, red. Livingston, Michael en DeVries, Kelly, (Liverpool University Press: Liverpool, 2015) pp. 447-468

13 Sir Philip Preston, "The Traditional Battlefield of Crecy", in Die Slag van Crecy, 1346, red. Andrew Ayton en sir Philip Preston. (The Boydell Press: Woodbridge, 2007) pp. 122-130

14 ibid., pp. 130-132 Prestwich, pp. 142

15 Die middeleeuse voorrade van die toringwapens 1320–1410, ongepubliseerde PhD-proefskrif, University of York, pp. 50-69 Die ware kronieke van Jean le Bel, tr. Nigel Bryant, (The Boydell Press: Woodbridge, 2011) pp

16 Andrew Ayton, & quotThe English Army at Crecy & quot, in Die Slag van Crecy, 1346, red. Andrew Ayton en sir Philip Preston. (The Boydell Press: Woodbridge, 2007) pp. 177-178

17 Wadge, Richard. Wie was die Bowmen of Crecy? (The History Press: Stroud, 2012), Kindle-uitgawe, Location 461-534

19 Ayton, & quotEnglish Army & quot pp. 218-224

20 Wadge, Richard. Pylstorm (The History Press: Stround, 2009) pp. 32

21 Wadge, Bowmen of Crecy, Hoofstuk 9 Loades, Mike, Die Langboog (Osprey Publishing: Oxford, 2013) pp

23 Rogers, pp. 265 Ordonnances des roys de France de la troisième race Quatrième volume, Contenant differents suppléments pour le règne du roy Jean et les ordonnances de Charles V données pendant les années 1364, 1365 en 1366 red. Denis-François Secousse, 1734, pp. 67

24 Bertrand Schnerb, & quotVassals, Allies and Mercenaries: The French Army before and after 1346 & quot, in Die Slag van Crecy, 1346, red. Andrew Ayton en sir Philip Preston. (The Boydell Press: Woodbridge, 2007) pp. 265-272 Kelly DeVries en Niccolo Capponi, "The Genoese Crossbowmen at Crecy", The Battle of Crecy: A Casebook, red. Livingston, Michael en DeVries, Kelly, (Liverpool University Press: Liverpool, 2015) pp. 445. Vir die Genoese in Aiguillon, sien Sumption, bl. 861, en vgl. ook pp. 950fn.49 vir die lae ongevalle op die gekontrakteerde skepe en die implikasie dat die bemanning nie by Crecy kon geveg het nie. Vir betrekkinge tussen Genua en Frankryk, sien Livingstone en Titzel, pp. 76, maar vgl. hul voorstel dat & quotGenoese & quot; 'n generiese term was vir & quotItalian & quot.


Agtergrond

Die Honderdjarige Oorlog, wat grotendeels 'n dinastiese stryd om die Franse troon was, het begin ná die dood van Philip IV en sy seuns, Louis X, Philip V en Charles IV. Dit het 'n einde gemaak aan die Kapeniese dinastie wat sedert 987 in Frankryk geheers het. Aangesien geen direkte manlike erfgenaam geleef het nie, het Edward III van Engeland, die kleinseun van Philip IV, deur sy dogter Isabella, sy aanspraak op die troon gedruk. Dit is verwerp deur die Franse adel wat die neef van Philip IV verkies het, Filips van Valois.

Hy het Philip VI in 1328 gekroon en het 'n beroep op Edward gedoen om hom te huldig vir die waardevolle leen van Gascogne. Edward was aanvanklik onwillig hieroor, maar het Philip in 1331 berou gegee en aanvaar as koning van Frankryk in ruil vir voortgesette beheer oor Gascogne. Daardeur het hy sy regmatige aanspraak op die troon oorgegee. In 1337 het Philip VI Edward III se beheer oor Gascogne ingetrek en 'n aanval op die Engelse kus begin doen. In reaksie hierop bevestig Edward sy aansprake op die Franse troon en begin alliansies bou met die edeles van Vlaandere en die Lae Lande.


Inhoud

Crécy-en-Ponthieu is veral bekend as die plek van die Slag van Crécy in 1346, een van die vroegste en belangrikste gevegte van die Honderdjarige Oorlog. Daar is ander belangrike historiese skakels. Die Chausée Brunehaut, wat binne 3,2 km van die stad verby is, is die Romeinse pad van Parys en Amiens na Boulogne, en is vandag nog sigbaar en loopbaar.

Die stad verleen sy naam aan 'n gewilde wortelsop, bekend as potage Crécy.

Die Britte het 'n vliegveld in Crécy gebou om lugondersteuning te bied voor die val van Frankryk in 1940. Tydens die Slag van Frankryk was die plan blykbaar om RAF -eskaders van Bristol Blenheim -ligbomwerpers daar te ontplooi, maar dit is nie duidelik hoe intensief die vliegveld gebruik is. In die deurmekaar dae van middel Mei 1940 het een eskader wat beveel is om daar te ontplooi, weens die afwesigheid van militêre beskerming nie. Dit is veral opvallend vir die besetting deur die Duitse Luftwaffe, met Gruppe Zerstörergeschwader 26 van Messerschmitt Bf 110's wat daar gestasioneer was van Mei 1940 tot November 1940 toe die Gruppe na die einde van die Slag van Brittanje na Duitsland teruggetrek is om te rus en weer toerus. Verskeie ander eskaders het gekom en gegaan, waaronder 'n paar Messerschmitt Bf 109's. Die ingang van die vliegveld is nog steeds sigbaar aan die linkerkant van die D12 -pad van Crécy na Ligescourt, halfpad tussen die twee. Sommige versterkte installasies is ook sigbaar, versteek onder bome aan verskillende kante van die vliegveld.

Die Crécy -museum bevat 'n versameling items wat oor twee kamers en 'n gang vertoon word. Die versameling bevat inligting oor die slag van Crecy sowel as verskillende items uit die Tweede Wêreldoorlog, pre-historiese materiaal en geologiese monsters.

Daar was 'n stasie (Crécy-Estrées) op 'n tak van die Réseau des Bains de Mer tussen Abbeville en Dompierre-sur-Authie. Dit is op 19 Junie 1892 geopen en gesluit vir passasiers op 10 Maart 1947 en vrag op 1 Februarie 1951.


Liverpool University Press Blog

Die Slag van Crécy: Ontbreek
deur Michael Livingston

Op 26 Augustus 1346 het die indringende Engelse leër eindelik van aangesig tot aangesig gestaan ​​met 'n aansienlik meer talle Franse leër op 'n klein heuwel nie ver van Crécy nie. 'N Kapelletjie daar naby lui die klokkies vir die middaggebede toe die Franse by die Engelse posisie begin oplaai. Pyle sing in 'n lug vol gille. Mans val duisende na die bloedbesoedelde landbougrond waarop hulle sukkel.

Die Slag van Crécy was selfs volgens middeleeuse standaarde 'n gruwel, en die woord van wat gebeur het, sou met 'n verstommende spoed oor Europa versprei word. Byna net so vinnig het die geskiedenis 'n legende geword.

Dat die nuus ver en vinnig sou loop, is nie verbasend nie. Daar was daardie dag vyf konings op die veld. Koning Philip VI het aan die hoof van die Franse leër gestaan. By hom was koning Johannes van Bohemen, miskien die beroemdste ridder in die Christendom, alhoewel hy nou oud geword het, en volgens verhale blind sowel as die monarge van Mallorca en (ten minste nominaal) die Romeine. Teenoor hierdie vergadering was koning Edward III van Engeland, wat op 12 Julie in Normandië geland het en 'n stuk vernietiging in Noord -Frankryk afgesny het, en twee keer daarin geslaag het om sy skynbaar vasgekeerde leër oor riviere te bring, enkele ure voordat die agtervolgende Franse hom kon vang.

Edward was al weke lank slinks, maar hy was ook gelukkig. En selfs die beste dobbelaar se geluk sal uiteindelik opraak. Edward ’s blykbaar gehad het. Sy leër was uitgeput nadat hy binne 10 dae minstens 120 myl opgeruk het. En hier, op hierdie golwende platteland, is hulle uiteindelik gevang. Sy geluk verdwyn, die Engelse koning moes op sy slinksheid staatmaak om hom nou te red.

Dat Edward inderdaad die geveg oorleef het, sou merkwaardig genoeg wees, maar die waarheid van wat gebeur het, is die rede waarom Crécy een van die beroemdste gevegte in die geskiedenis is: die Engelse het die Franse leër in 'n groot verbintenis afgebreek, so skeef dat dit studie by militêre verdienste verdien het. kolleges nog steeds.

Soveel is onbetwisbaar.

Hoe Edward het egter gewen – inderdaad waar hy het gewen – is baie minder seker as wat lankal vermoed is. In The Battle of Crécy: A Casebook, Kelly DeVries en ek (met 'n hulpvaardige span mede-geleerdes en essayiste) het die bekende bronne van inligting oor die geveg uit die veertiende eeu bymekaargemaak, wat ons in hul oorspronklike tale en in vertaling weergegee het. Hierdie 81 bronne, in Latyn, Engels, Frans, Nederlands, Italiaans, Duits, Wallies en selfs Tsjeggies (baie van hulle word vir die eerste keer gepubliseer of vertaal), van briewe en kronieke tot preke en gedigte, het ons saam voorsien met 'n ongeëwenaarde vroeë perspektief op die geveg. En wat ons gevind het, is dat ons eeue se geleerdheid omverwerp.

Onder ons mees opvallende ontdekkings:

Die tradisionele veldtog van die geveg is verkeerd, meer as 5 km van die mees waarskynlike plek af

Die tradisie dat die Genoese kruisboogmanne die Franse verraai het, is in geen werklikheid gebaseer nie

Die tradisionele verslag van die geveg beskryf die Franse leiers as dwase en verminder dus die prestasie van Edward en die Engelse, maar hierdie nuwe bevindings toon dat bekwame Franse bevelvoerders logiese besluite neem, maar in werklikheid uitoorlê is deur die briljante taktiek van Edward ’.

– die tradisie van die langboog wat die blom van die Franse ridderskap vernietig, vertel slegs 'n breukdeel van die verhaal van hoe die wapen in diens geneem is en die sleutelrol wat dit gespeel het in die uitkoms van die geveg

Die tradisionele rekonstruksies van die geveg het heeltemal heeltemal weggegooi wat ons nou weet dat dit waar is oor die Engelse gebruik van 'n verdedigende vesting wat uit waens gebou is, en '8212 'n wagenberg' genoem.

Baie algemene aannames oor Edward III se groot strategieë vir sy inval in Frankryk moet nou heroorweeg word en

Verskeie nuut -ontblote ooggetuieverslae gee ons 'n groter insig in die gruwels van die Middeleeuse oorlogvoering as wat ons ooit tevore gehad het.

Soveel hiervan staan ​​skerp teen die greep van aanvaarde denke oor hierdie beroemde stryd, maar ons is baie bewus daarvan dat dit die probleem van die ligging is wat die meeste opval.

Sedert ten minste die middel van die agtiende eeu is die Slag van Crécy geïdentifiseer as net noord van die stad Crécy-en-Ponthieu. Die Engelse lyne sou verby die top van 'n hoë heuwel daar gestrek het, terwyl die Franse oor 'n wye vallei onder hulle opgeruk het, die Vallée des Clercs genoem. Hulle sterf daar onder die reën van die Engelse boogskiet, maar min kom selfs naby die top van die helling.

Behalwe niks oor hierdie webwerf en die ooreenstemmende rekonstruksie daarvan, is dit sinvol, begin met die basiese topografie. Die vier konings aan die Franse kant (om nie eens te praat van die honderde strydtoetse onder hulle nie) sou dwase gewees het om so 'n aanklag te probeer doen, veral as slegs 'n kilometer verder na die noorde sou marsjeer. van die vallei en oor plat grond in die swakker Engelse flank kan laai. Erger nog, 'n natuurlike wal langs die oostekant van die vallei sou die Franse gedwing het om twee draaie van 90 grade uit te voer, vermoedelik binne die pylskietbereik, voordat hulle redelik teen die steil heuwel by die Engelse kon oplaai . As iemand werklik so 'n aanval probeer het, sou min inderdaad hulle gevolg het, nog minder die duisende wat in 1346 by die Engelse aangekom het.

Ander aspekte pas ook nie daarin nie. Ons berigte sê dat die Franse verbaas was toe hulle op die Engelse posisie kom, dat hulle alreeds amper bo -op hulle was, maar tog kan enige krag op die tradisionele plek kilometers ver gesien word. Ons verslag sê dat die Engelse ruimte gehad het om hul mag in 'n wagenberg te omsingel, maar dit is byna nie moontlik op die tradisionele terrein nie. En nie een bron beskryf Edward III of sy leër wat die Maye-rivier oorsteek of die stad Crécy-en-Ponthieu in beslag neem nie, alhoewel beide geleenthede nodig sou gewees het vir die Engelse om die tradisionele standpunt in te neem.

Dit is dus geen wonder nie dat, ondanks verskeie argeologiese ondersoeke, geen materiaal wat verband hou met die geveg op die heuwel of in die vallei gevind is nie. Die Slag van Crécy het amper verseker nie daar gebeur nie.

Om 'n alternatiewe plek te vind, het ek die optog van die Engelse leër tydens hierdie veldtog gerekonstrueer, 'n prestasie wat moontlik gemaak is deur ons publikasie van die tydskrif van die koning se kombuis, wat daagliks die plek van die koning se kamp opgeslaan het. Soortgelyke kartering is met die Franse weermag gedoen, wat gelei het tot gemiddelde spoedsnelhede vir die twee magte wat aan die gang was. Omdat ek die ligging van die laaste kampe van albei leërs en hul beskikbare reisure op die noodlottige dag geken het, het ek dus twee soekradiusse bereik (die een die benaderde afstand wat die Engelse kon marsjeer en die ander hoe ver die Franse kon marsjeer). Albei hierdie radiusse skiet voorspelbaar baie minder as die tradisionele gevegsterrein.

Die radiusse kom egter bymekaar op 'n plek baie suid van Crécy-en-Ponthieu, langs die Forest of Crécy, wat vandag nog die landskap oorheers. Die terrein is die hoë grond op die pad tussen Crécy en Abbeville, en dit is presies hoeveel van ons bronne die gekose slagveld beskryf. 'N Engelse leër wat hier opgeslaan is, kan ongesiens wees totdat die Franse naby genoeg was om in staat te wees om lyne te vorm. Dit het plek vir die Engelse wagenberg. Dit vereis nie dat die Franse dwase is nie.

Is dit die ontbrekende plek van die Slag van Crécy? Totdat ons behoorlike argeologiese ondersoeke onderneem het (en ons hoop dat dit sal gebeur), kan ons eenvoudig nie seker wees nie. Maar in teenstelling met die tradisionele webwerf, stem dit ooreen met wat gesê is oor die geveg deur die mans wat daar was. Dit voldoen eintlik aan elke beskrywing in elke bron van die veertiende eeu.

Ten spyte van meer as ses eeue van byna konstante roem, hou die Slag van Crécy steeds sy geheimenisse vas, maar met die publikasie van die bronne en essays in die Crécy-boek, glo ons dat ons 'n massiewe stap geneem het om nuwe lig op die vergete te werp oorblyfsels van hierdie groot stryd en sodoende die weg baan vir 'n heeltemal herskrewe geskiedenis van 'n fassinerende en belangrike konflik.

Lees meer oor The Battle of Crécy: A Casebook geredigeer deur Michael Livingston en Kelly De Vries, beskikbaar op ons webwerf.

Michael Livingston is lektor in Engels aan The Citadel, die Militêre Kollege van Suid -Carolina en skrywer van The Battle of Brunanburh: A Casebook (2011) en Owain Glyndwr: A Casebook (2013).

Kelly DeVries is professor in geskiedenis, Loyola Universiteit Maryland, 'n ere -historiese konsultant by die Royal Armouries, Leeds, en verskyn gereeld in televisiedokumentêre as 'n deskundige kommentator oor oorlogvoering in die Middeleeue.


Enige ware Middeleeuse oorlogvoeringliefhebber weet ongetwyfeld van die gevegte van die Honderdjarige Oorlog Crécy, Poitiers, Agincourt en moontlik die kleiner of minder gevierde verlowings, soos my persoonlike gunsteling – Auberoche. Die berugte uitbuiting van die Franse, en die Engelse wat gewoonlik in getal was, is deur die jare goed deur geskiedkundiges gedokumenteer - maar selfs vandag is die debatte woedend.

Nou is ek altyd lus vir 'n goeie debat, veral wat geskiedenis betref. In addition, I am also an archery enthusiast, especially in regards to the longbow – yes, I have one, yes, I am that much of a nerd. My fondness for debating is such that, as a teacher, I make my own little peasants partake in the fun almost weekly. With this is mind, it should come as no surprise that looking into an aspect of history that involves longbows, a famous battle, and intense debate over a single word, would be like mining for gold for this historian.

In the Summer of 1346, near the town of Crécy-en-Ponthieu in northern France, Edward III’s relatively small English force, comprising the now famous longbowmen, utterly decimated Philip VI’s much larger French force. The numbers of the opposing sides are almost impossible to specify, but the manner in which the Battle of Crècy was won, is for the most part agreed upon by historians. When writing about the battle, a contemporary chronicler, Jean Froissart, described the English formation as such ‘…mis leurs arciers a maniere d’une herce et les gens d’armes ou fons de leur bataille‘, which essentially tells us that the archers were in the manner of a herse with the men-at-arms behind. But what exactly is a herse? Despite the work of countless scholars and the writings of numerous chroniclers, one little word, one seemingly simple detail is met with discussion and debate to this day.

The literature concerning the Hundred Years War is extensive, however it often pertains to aspects of the history separate from specific tactical analysis, and especially the archers. The contemporary chroniclers were often focussed on a particular important individual and as a result, the more ‘common’ members of the army, such as the archers, were, individually speaking, seen as being of little significance. Notwithstanding this, the history of archery during the Hundred Years War has received ample recognition within a number of modern works, scholars of particular note include: Anne Curry, Clifford J. Rogers, Robert Neillands, Andrew Ayton, and Sir Phillip Preston – yes, there are many more. Despite all of this, there remains no fixed consensus on the structures and formations of the medieval English army.

Two particular chroniclers, Geoffrey le Baker and Jean Froissart, feature prominently in works discussing the military aspects of the Hundred Years War. Though Froissart has oft been commended for his ‘independent spirit’ and maintaining a lack of bias throughout his documenting of history, his writing features both continuity errors and highly complimentary language in regards to the English effort. Froissart produced a number of manuscripts on the Hundred Years War and across each, vital facts differ. In addition, while discussing the Battle of Crécy he professed, ‘the wonderful effect of our archery and arrows was such, that flying through the air as thick as snow…they did leave no disarmed place, of horse or man, unstricken and not wounded’. Although this quite clearly demonstrates Froissart’s bias, it was not apparent to the author himself in his writing he notes, ‘let it not be said that I have corrupted this noble history…for I will say nothing but the truth…without favouring one side or the other’. Froissart is not alone in adding intense flamboyance to his writing. Geoffrey le Baker is also guilty of attaching emotion to his writing of history. In reference to le Baker documenting the concluding scenes of the Battle of Poitiers, Alfred H. Burne notes that ‘evidently feeling that something extra special is expected of him, [le Baker] bursts into a sort of poetic rhapsody’. Furthermore, when discussing the writing of Chandos Herald in his work Le Prince Noir, Burne again notes that poetic notions – in this case, rhyme – ‘should discountenance too literal meaning being attached to individual words’.

Now, there are a multitude of interpretations for the herse of archers at Crécy, so, without going too crazy, I will briefly discuss a few of the more common theories.

The first of the theories is entirely concerned with the translation of the French word herce. In this theory, the suggestion is that we take the translation to mean ‘harrow’, specifically the meaning concerning wedge-shaped farming tool. Essentially this puts the archers in triangular or wedge-shaped formations. These wedges, it is then reasoned, are placed at regular intervals throughout the line of men-at-arms. There are different versions of this, some featuring small numbers of wedges with large numbers of archers in each, or some conversely with large numbers of wedges featuring small numbers of archers in each. For the sake of this argument, they both come under the same theory, derived from the harrow translation, and equally, they are both wrong. Harrowing theories if you will…

If we look carefully at the quote from Froissart, when discussing the men-at-arms he specifically refers to them as at the back, or rear, of the battle – ou fons de leur bataille. Although the Harrow Theory provides a reasonable argument for one aspect of the translated passage, by totally ignoring this secondary factor, it simply cannot be accurate.

Arguably the most commonly accepted theory, for more than just the Battle of Crécy I should add, is the idea that the archers formed the ‘wings’ of the army (totally ignoring the pun with respect to flight here) and stood at each end of the line of dismounted men-at-arms. This is the view that is widely accepted not just among many historians, but is often seen in popular culture. Unless it’s really terrible movie and the archers at the puny little guys all the way at the back, but that is entirely separate debate – and very likely another blog post.

Without going into too much detail, although I would love it, this theory is generated partially from accounts of the French army at the time, partially from accounts of Henry V’s formations nearly 70 years later, and furthermore, partially from accounts of early modern formations concerning gunpowder weapons. Now yes, I know, what the hell do these have to do with the archers at Crécy? The simple answer, nothing. This is a theory that is really easy to accept if you don’t look too closely, or are entirely blind, but one that essentially ignores the contemporary literature. Yes, Froissart was prone to hyperbole, but he was renowned for his writing for some reason and is likely to have at least some idea what took part on the fateful Summer’s day. Not to mention, his version of events is somewhat backed up by other chroniclers.

The Fence or Hedgehog Theory

The final theory not only combines a large number of relevant factors, but it takes into consideration a wide variety of important details you will likely work out, if you haven’t already, that this is the theory that I hold to be correct.

A common misconception about medieval archers is that the bow was their one and only weapon. This is very much not the case. They did not discharge all of their arrows and then simply sit down to enjoy the combat with a cup of tea. They were armed, understandably, with a number of weapons and as such, when they had emptied their arrow bags, or when the opposing army was within their ranks, they were still of great use in the fight. The secondary weapon of the archer was often a personal choice, and reflective of both their social standing and more importantly their coin purse. This personal weapon, if owned, was supplemented with a stake that was supplied to the archers. The addition of this vital piece of information allows us to reconsider the translation.

The interpretation and translation of the word herce as Froissart gave it, can possibly be understood as the Harrow Theory suggests. However, by tracing different origins of the word, through not hirpex maar hèrisson, and hercia it can be understood as related to a hedgehog, or indeed a ‘bristly fence’. For a much more impressive analysis of this, read E. M. Llyod’s ‘The ‘Herse’ of Archers at Crecy’. From this hedgehog like, bristly fence, we get back to a line like formation which matches the contemporary literature. We can now place the archer’s at the front of the battle, forming a fence, and the men-at-arms behind or ou fons de leur bataille. Two separate lines of battle, but each mobile in their own right. This theory is also backed up by additional chroniclers and the slight differing versions are argued as simply being views of different stages of the battle. With the archers likely assuming the front line, or herse, shortly before the actual commencement of battle. The success of a hedgehog type formation will be familiar to fans of the scots, and particular the Battle of Bannockburn. Further suggestion that the Fence or Hedgehog theory has particular merit.

As Thomas Hastings aptly states, Archery ‘occupies a place of great interest in the minds of Englishmen, and for the services which the Bow has rendered…it must ever be held in grateful remembrance’. The exploits of those fighting for the English crown in the Hundred Years War provided England with more than just victories noted in a history book they provided a sense of belief, pride, and indeed a reason to remind the French for years to come. My research into these matters are only just beginning, but for now the almighty hedgehog is my bet for the translation of a herse!

  1. Jean Froissart, Chronicles, red. and trans’ Geoffrey Brereton, London: Penguin, 1978.
  2. Haldeen Braddy, ‘Froissart’s Account of Chaucer’s Embassy in 1337’, The Review of English Studies, vol. 14, no. 53, 1938.
  3. Hereford B. George. ‘The Archers at Crecy’, Engelse historiese resensie, vol. 10, 1895.
  4. Thomas HastingsThe British Archer, or Tracts on Archery, London, 1831.
  5. Alfred H. Burne, ‘The Battle of Poitiers’, The English Historical Review, vol. 53, no. 209, 1938, pp. 21-52.
  6. E. M. Lloyd, ‘The ‘Herse’ of Archers at Crecy’, The English Historical Review, vol. 10, no. 39, 1895, pp. 538-541.

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This Day In History: The Battle of Crecy Was Fought (1346)

On this day in history, the battle of Crecy was fought between the armies of France and England. On July the 12th, 1346, Edward the Third of England landed with an invasion force of about 15,000 men on the coast of Normandy. From here, the English army marched northward, plundering the French countryside. Learning of the English army&rsquos arrival, King Philip of France gathered an army of 12,000 men together, made up of approximately 8,000 mounted knights and some 4,000 hired Genoese crossbowmen. At Crecy, Edward halted his army and prepared for the French to attack. On the afternoon of August 26, Philip&rsquos army attacked, even though he was outnumbered, it was to prove a disastrous miscalculation.

The Genoese crossbowmen, who were mercenaries, led the assault, on the English line, but they were soon overwhelmed by Edward&rsquos 10,000 archers. They could reload faster and fire much further than the Genoese. The crossbowmen had to retreat. After this, the French mounted knights attempted to break the English infantry lines. In repeated charges, the horses, and their riders were cut down in the merciless shower of arrows. Many knights were thrown from their horses and because of the weight of their armour could not move and were killed by the English infantry. The night, the French finally withdrew. Nearly one-third of their army lay dead on the field, including members of the French Royal Family and the nobility. Some 1,500 other knights and squires died in the battle. Large numbers of French knights had been made a prisoner and held for ransom by the English. Philip himself escaped with only a flesh wound. English losses are reported to have been a fraction of the French losses, possibly one hundred men.

The battle marked the decline of the mounted knight in European warfare and the rise of England as a world power. From Crecy, Edward marched on to Calais, which surrendered to him in 1347. This strategic port was to remain in English hands for two hundred years.

The battle was part of the One Hundred Years War. The One Hundred Years was a series of wars that raged from 1336 to 1453. It was fought by successive Kings of England in order to gain land or even the Crown of France. After the death of Phillip IV, there was a dispute over who should inherit the throne. The English king had a claim through his mother. The English King Edward III invaded France to secure his claim to the throne and this began the series of wars that have come to be known as the Hundred Years War. At this time, the English kings had many territories in France such as Calais and Gascony and from these locations they were to regularly launch invasions throughout the wars. For over a hundred years the English and the French fought each other.

After the death of Phillip IV, there was a dispute over who should inherit the throne. The English king had a claim through his mother. The English King Edward III invaded France to secure his claim to the throne. Edward claimed the throne through his mother Isabella, a French princess. This began A series of wars that have come to be known to history as the Hundred Years War, even though they actually lasted longer than a century. At this time, the English kings had many territories in France such as Calais and Gascony and from these locations they were to regularly launch invasions throughout the wars. For over a hundred years the English and the French fought each other.

Initially, the English seized large areas of France after the great English victories at Crecy and Poitiers. At the Battle of Poitiers, Edward&rsquos son, The Black Prince defeated a larger army in central France. Soon half of France came under the control of the English crown . There was a French counterattack and this led to nearly all the conquered territories being reconquered. There was a long pause in the war, but no peace treaty was signed. The wars began again in 1415 when Henry V invaded France.


Battle of Crecy - HISTORY

The Battle of Crécy (August 26, 1346).—The first great combat of the long war was the famous battle of Crécy. Edward had invaded France with an army of 30,000 men, made up largely of English bowmen, and had penetrated far into the country, ravaging as he went, when he finally halted, and faced the pursuing French army near the village of Crécy, where he inflicted upon it a most terrible defeat. 1,200 knights, the flower of French chivalry, and 30,000 foot-soldiers lay dead upon the field.

The great battle of Crécy is memorable for several reasons. It was here that cannons were first used in open battle, though some time before this rude artillery had been employed by the Spanish Moors in siege operations. The guns used at Crécy were very clumsy affairs, and were described by a French writer as engines "which, with fire, threw little iron balls to frighten the horses." 1

It was on this field, too, that the eldest son of Edward III, known, from the color of the armor he wore, as the Black Prince, earned his spurs, the symbol of knighthood, and a fame which the English have loved to keep green. This favorite prince was only sixteen years of age, but his father, notwithstanding, with a confidence in the temper and judgment of the boy which the event showed was not misplaced, entrusted him with the command of one of the main divisions of the army. The king himself took no active part in the battle, but watched the fight from an old windmill which overlooked the field. In the midst of the battle a messenger came in hot haste to the king, beseeching aid for the prince, who, he represented, was hard pressed by the enemy. "Do not send to me so long as my son lives let the boy win his spurs let the day be his," was Edward's only reply to the entreaty. And the young prince won both his spurs and the day.

The battle of Crécy also derives a certain interest from the fact that there Feudalism and Chivalry received their death-blow. The yeomanry of England there showed themselves superior to the chivalry of France. "The lesson which England had learned at Bannockburn she taught the world at Crécy. The whole social and political fabric of the Middle Ages rested on a military base, and its base was suddenly withdrawn. The churl had struck down the noble the bondsman proved more than a match, in sheer hard fighting, for the knight. From the day of Crécy, Feudalism tottered slowly but surely to its grave." 2 The battles of the world were hereafter to be fought and won, not by mail-clad knights with battle-ax and lance, but by common footsoldiers with bow and gun.

The death of the blind king John of Bohemia, Philip's ally, who fell with the chivalry of France on the fatal field, added another incident to the record of the memorable day. The veteran warrior, when he learned that the battle was going hard with the French, ordered his companions to fasten his horse's bridle to theirs, and lead him into the thickest of the fight, where he and his faithful nobles fell dead together. The old king's crest and motto, which consisted of a triple ostrich plume with the legend Ich Dien, "I serve," were adopted by the Prince of Wales, and from that day to this have been worn by his successors.

1. J. R. Green. A Short History of the English People.
New York: Harper & Brothers, 1876. 220. link
2. ibid. 244. link

Myers, P. V. N. Outlines of Mediæval and Modern History.
Boston: Ginn & Company, 1901. 291-292.


Battle of Crécy

The death of bind King John of Bohemia, who led the attack on the right flank of the British at Crecy 1346. John the Blind (Jan 10 August 1296 – 26 August 1346) was the count of Luxembourg from 1313 and king of Bohemia from 1310 and titular king of Poland. He is well known for having died while fighting in the Battle of Crécy at age 50, after having been blind for a decade.

According to historian Clive Bartlett, the English armies of the 14th century, including the longbowmen, mainly comprised the levy and the so-called ‘indentured retinue’. The latter category entailed a sort-of contract between the King and his nobles that allowed the monarch to call upon the retainers of the noblemen for purposes of wars (especially in the overseas).

This pseudo-feudal arrangement fueled a class of semi-professional soldiers who were mostly inhabitants from around the estates of the lords and the kings. And among these retainers, the most skilled were the longbowmen of the household. The archers from the King’s own household were termed the ‘Yeomen of the Crown’, and they were rightly considered the elite even among the experienced archers.

The other retainers came from the neighborhoods of the great estates, usually consisting of followers (if not residents) of the lord’s household. Interestingly enough, many of them served the same purpose and received similar benefits like household retainers. There was also a third category of the retainer longbowman, and this group pertained to men who were hired for specific military duties, including garrisoning and defending ‘overseas’ French towns. Unfortunately, in spite of their professional status, these hired retainers often turned to banditry, since official payments were not always delivered in time.

A key battle in the opening phase of the Hundred Years’ War (1337-1453). England’s Edward III (1312-1377) led an army on an extended chevauchée into northern France with the intention of provoking Philip VI to give battle. The tactic nearly backfired when the French burned several bridges in an effort to trap the English against the Somme: Edward was fortunate to ford under cover of his skilled archers. Two days later the armies met near the village of Crécy, in Normandy, where they formed opposing battle lines 2,000 yards long. The English were well-rested and fed. Though outnumbered 2:1 they took position atop a low ridge with their left flank abutting a stream, the Maie, and their right flank touching Crécy Wood. At the center were three blocks of men-at-arms with protecting pikemen. Two sets of archers with longbows were on the flanks, each in a “V” formation. Each archer had ready about 100 broad arrows, their lethal metal tips pushed into the ground to permit rapid reloading. Hundreds of caltrops were scattered atop the sod and mud to their front, to hobble oncoming warhorses or infantry. Tens of thousands more arrows were packed in wood and leather quivers stacked in carts to the rear. This large supply was key to the English victory. The initial rate of fire of a good longbowman was from six to ten arrows per minute, falling thereafter as muscle fatigue set in. Several hundred thousand arrows thus were likely fired toward the French that day, most from beyond the range of effective retaliation by the gay, pennant-decked lances of the French knights, looking splendid in burnished armor, colorful livery, and plumed helms, but utterly exposed to plunging arrow storms. Nor could Edward’s archers be reached by Genoese mercenaries on the French side firing stubby quarrels from crossbows, a deadly and feared weapon of their chosen profession that was wholly outmatched in range by the longbow on this bloody day.

Neither French cavalry nor Genoese infantry nor the Czech mercenaries of “Blind King John,” an allied prince, had ever faced the longbow. In ignorance and battle lust, they arrived piecemeal on the field of battle in the late afternoon, hungry and tired but straining to attack the English line. Heavy rain had soaked the field, turning it into sticky mud. The sun also favored the English, as it shone into the faces of the French. When the French heavy cavalry arrayed for the attack it formed in the old manner: a mass of armored horse supported by crossbow fire on the flanks and to the front. It is thought that Edward fired several small cannon at the Genoese to break up their formations. If true, these guns would have been so primitive they likely produced more a psychological than a physical effect. What mattered was that the Genoese were slowed by the Normandy mud and then slaughtered by flights of English arrows, not cannon, well before they got into crossbow range. Worse, in the rush to battle most had left their pervase with the baggage wagons. Nor could their slow-loading crossbows do comparable damage to the rapid-firing Welsh and English archers, thus rendering the Genoese attack ineffective and leaving the English lines unbroken and unharried before the French horse arrived. As casualties mounted among the Genoese they broke, turned, and ran, mud sucking at their boots and adding to the agony of panic as they exposed their backs to deadly enemy archers, firing aimed shots at the level.

The French knights, filled with Gallic disdain for everything on foot, spurred callously through the retreating Genoese, slashing at hired infantry in utter contempt, some with cries of “kill this rabble!” A large earthen bank channeled the French cavalry into a narrow front. Edward’s archers, positioned nearly perfectly, now turned their bows against the plodding, funneled cavalry and cut it down, too. Ill-formed, repeated French charges, with horsemen at the rear pushing hard against the forward ranks, were repulsed time and again by the longbowmen. Most were broken apart before they began, with staggering losses among the brave but reckless fathers and sons of the nobility of France. Edward’s archers kept up an extraordinary rate of fire, impaling knights and horse alike and hundreds of men-at-arms. No cowards the French, despite the carnage they charged, again and again. It is thought they made as many as 16 charges that day, utterly bewildered at their inability to beat or even reach an inferior enemy. For two centuries heavy cavalry had dominated battlefields from Europe to the Holy Land. But at Crécy there were no tattered squares of scrambling peasants to skewer on great lances, no clumps of overmatched men-at-arms to chase down with mace or run through on one’s sword. Instead, the chivalry of France met flocks of missiles that felled knight and mount alike at unheard of killing distances. Eye-witnesses reported French awe at the flapping, vital sounds of thousands of feathers on long-shafted arrows arcing in high swarms from an unreachable ridge, to plunge into men, horses, or both. Baleful accounts survive telling how arrows ripped through shields and helmets, pierced faceplates and cuirasses, and arms, legs, and groins, or pinned some best friend to his mount.

Much of this occurred at incredible distances, as unaimed plunging fire reached the French from as far away as 250-300 yards. Longbow accuracy only improved at closer ranges, as bows were leveled and each shot singly aimed at the lumbering steel and flesh targets the French cavalry presented. In prior battles cavalry had been safe at 200 yards or more, the usual distance where riders massed before trotting forward to about 60-100 yards, the distance at which they began the charge. Now death and piercing wounds fell from the sky at double the normal range, slicing through shields and armor to stab deep into chest or thigh, or horse. The French could make no reply to this long-distance death with their lances and swords: knights died in droves that day without ever making contact with their enemies. Armor was pierced and limbs, backs, and necks broken as falling knights entangled in bloody clots of swords and snapped lances, and kicking and screaming dying men and horses. So they charged: anything was better than standing beneath such lethal rain. The nearly 8,000 longbowmen at Crécy probably fired 75,000-90,000 arrows in the 40-60 seconds it took the French to close the range, each arrow speeding near 140 miles per hour, each archer keeping two and some three in the air at once. Those knights who reached the English lines piled up before them, pierced with multiple arrows and forming an armor-and-flesh barrier in front of the English men-at-arms that impeded fresh assaults. With French chivalry broken and its survivors staggering in the mud, the English infantry and Edward’s dismounted knights closed in to kill off the lower orders and take nobles prisoner, to be held for later ransom. Then the English stood in place through the night, holding in case of a renewed attack in the morning which never came.

Most casualties at Crécy were inflicted by the longbow and thus losses were hugely lopsided: between 5,000 and 8,000 French and Genoese were killed, including as many as 1,500 knights, compared to about 100 of Edward’s men. This was a huge number for a 14th-century battle, and left nearly every castle and chateau in France in mourning. The defeat of its warrior elite shattered France’s military capabilities and shook its confidence for a generation. This one-sided battle further eroded the old illusion that heavy cavalry was invincible against common infantry, and elevated recognition of the importance of archers across Europe. A parallel effect was that for the next 50 years French knights, too, preferred to dismount to fight, a practice they followed until better horse armor was made that enticed them back into the saddle at Agincourt.

Suggested Reading: Andrew Ayton and Philip Preston, The Battle of Crécy, 1346 (2005) Alfred H. Burne, The Crécy War (1955 1999) G. C. Macauly, ed., The Chronicles of Jean Froissart (1904) Henri de Wailly, Crécy, 1346: Anatomy of a Battle (1987).


Battle of Crécy, (August 26, 1346)

A key battle in the opening phase of the Hundred Years’ War (1337-1453). England’s Edward III (1312-1377) led an army on an extended chevauchée into northern France with the intention of provoking Philip VI to give battle. The tactic nearly backfired when the French burned several bridges in an effort to trap the English against the Somme: Edward was fortunate to ford under cover of his skilled archers. Two days later the armies met near the village of Crécy, in Normandy, where they formed opposing battle lines 2,000 yards long. The English were well-rested and fed. Though outnumbered 2:1 they took position atop a low ridge with their left flank abutting a stream, the Maie, and their right flank touching Crécy Wood. At the center were three blocks of men-at-arms with protecting pikemen. Two sets of archers with longbows were on the flanks, each in a “V” formation. Each archer had ready about 100 broad arrows, their lethal metal tips pushed into the ground to permit rapid reloading. Hundreds of caltrops were scattered atop the sod and mud to their front, to hobble oncoming warhorses or infantry. Tens of thousands more arrows were packed in wood and leather quivers stacked in carts to the rear. This large supply was key to the English victory. The initial rate of fire of a good longbowman was from six to ten arrows per minute, falling thereafter as muscle fatigue set in. Several hundred thousand arrows thus were likely fired toward the French that day, most from beyond the range of effective retaliation by the gay, pennant-decked lances of the French knights, looking splendid in burnished armor, colorful livery, and plumed helms, but utterly exposed to plunging arrow storms. Nor could Edward’s archers be reached by Genoese mercenaries on the French side firing stubby quarrels from crossbows, a deadly and feared weapon of their chosen profession that was wholly outmatched in range by the longbow on this bloody day.

Neither French cavalry nor Genoese infantry nor the Czech mercenaries of “Blind King John,” an allied prince, had ever faced the longbow. In ignorance and battle lust, they arrived piecemeal on the field of battle in the late afternoon, hungry and tired but straining to attack the English line. Heavy rain had soaked the field, turning it into sticky mud. The sun also favored the English, as it shone into the faces of the French. When the French heavy cavalry arrayed for the attack it formed in the old manner: a mass of armored horse supported by crossbow fire on the flanks and to the front. It is thought that Edward fired several small cannon at the Genoese to break up their formations. If true, these guns would have been so primitive they likely produced more a psychological than a physical effect. What mattered was that the Genoese were slowed by the Normandy mud and then slaughtered by flights of English arrows, not cannon, well before they got into crossbow range. Worse, in the rush to battle most had left their pervase with the baggage wagons. Nor could their slow-loading crossbows do comparable damage to the rapid-firing Welsh and English archers, thus rendering the Genoese attack ineffective and leaving the English lines unbroken and unharried before the French horse arrived. As casualties mounted among the Genoese they broke, turned, and ran, mud sucking at their boots and adding to the agony of panic as they exposed their backs to deadly enemy archers, firing aimed shots at the level.

The French knights, filled with Gallic disdain for everything on foot, spurred callously through the retreating Genoese, slashing at hired infantry in utter contempt, some with cries of “kill this rabble!” A large earthen bank channeled the French cavalry into a narrow front. Edward’s archers, positioned nearly perfectly, now turned their bows against the plodding, funneled cavalry and cut it down, too. Ill-formed, repeated French charges, with horsemen at the rear pushing hard against the forward ranks, were repulsed time and again by the longbowmen. Most were broken apart before they began, with staggering losses among the brave but reckless fathers and sons of the nobility of France. Edward’s archers kept up an extraordinary rate of fire, impaling knights and horse alike and hundreds of men-at-arms. No cowards the French, despite the carnage they charged, again and again. It is thought they made as many as 16 charges that day, utterly bewildered at their inability to beat or even reach an inferior enemy. For two centuries heavy cavalry had dominated battlefields from Europe to the Holy Land. But at Crécy there were no tattered squares of scrambling peasants to skewer on great lances, no clumps of overmatched men-at-arms to chase down with mace or run through on one’s sword. Instead, the chivalry of France met flocks of missiles that felled knight and mount alike at unheard of killing distances. Eye-witnesses reported French awe at the flapping, vital sounds of thousands of feathers on long-shafted arrows arcing in high swarms from an unreachable ridge, to plunge into men, horses, or both. Baleful accounts survive telling how arrows ripped through shields and helmets, pierced faceplates and cuirasses, and arms, legs, and groins, or pinned some best friend to his mount.

Much of this occurred at incredible distances, as unaimed plunging fire reached the French from as far away as 250-300 yards. Longbow accuracy only improved at closer ranges, as bows were leveled and each shot singly aimed at the lumbering steel and flesh targets the French cavalry presented. In prior battles cavalry had been safe at 200 yards or more, the usual distance where riders massed before trotting forward to about 60-100 yards, the distance at which they began the charge. Now death and piercing wounds fell from the sky at double the normal range, slicing through shields and armor to stab deep into chest or thigh, or horse. The French could make no reply to this long-distance death with their lances and swords: knights died in droves that day without ever making contact with their enemies. Armor was pierced and limbs, backs, and necks broken as falling knights entangled in bloody clots of swords and snapped lances, and kicking and screaming dying men and horses. So they charged: anything was better than standing beneath such lethal rain. The nearly 8,000 longbowmen at Crécy probably fired 75,000-90,000 arrows in the 40-60 seconds it took the French to close the range, each arrow speeding near 140 miles per hour, each archer keeping two and some three in the air at once. Those knights who reached the English lines piled up before them, pierced with multiple arrows and forming an armor-and-flesh barrier in front of the English men-at-arms that impeded fresh assaults. With French chivalry broken and its survivors staggering in the mud, the English infantry and Edward’s dismounted knights closed in to kill off the lower orders and take nobles prisoner, to be held for later ransom. Then the English stood in place through the night, holding in case of a renewed attack in the morning which never came.

Most casualties at Crécy were inflicted by the longbow and thus losses were hugely lopsided: between 5,000 and 8,000 French and Genoese were killed, including as many as 1,500 knights, compared to about 100 of Edward’s men. This was a huge number for a 14th-century battle, and left nearly every castle and chateau in France in mourning. The defeat of its warrior elite shattered France’s military capabilities and shook its confidence for a generation. This one-sided battle further eroded the old illusion that heavy cavalry was invincible against common infantry, and elevated recognition of the importance of archers across Europe. A parallel effect was that for the next 50 years French knights, too, preferred to dismount to fight, a practice they followed until better horse armor was made that enticed them back into the saddle at Agincourt.

Suggested Reading: Andrew Ayton and Philip Preston, The Battle of Crécy, 1346 (2005) Alfred H. Burne, The Crécy War (1955 1999) G. C. Macauly, ed., The Chronicles of Jean Froissart (1904) Henri de Wailly, Crécy, 1346: Anatomy of a Battle (1987).


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