Battle of Crécy

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(1337–1360)

The Battle of Crécy (occasionally called the Battle of Cressy in English) took place on 26 August 1346 near Crécy in northern France, and was one of the most important battles of the Hundred Years' War. The combination of new weapons and tactics has caused many historians to consider this battle the beginning of the end of classic chivalry.

Contents

Summary

Crécy was a battle in which an Anglo Welsh army of 9000 to 10,000 (depending on source),[citation needed] commanded by Edward III of England and heavily outnumbered by Philip VI of France's force of 35,000 to 100,000 (depending on source), was victorious as a result of superior weaponry and tactics, demonstrating the importance of the modern military concept of fire power. The effectiveness of the English longbow, used en masse, was proven against armoured knights, contrary to the conventional wisdom of the day which held that archers would be ineffective and be butchered when the armoured units closed in.

In the battle, the French knights, protected by mail reinforced with plate, nearly exhausted by charging several miles into the fray (against their king's wishes) and having to walk through a quagmire of mud to charge up a shallow hill into English and Welsh arrow storms, were cut down. The result was that much of the French nobility died, perhaps even a third (estimates of the actual numbers in each army vary considerably, depending on the source).[citation needed]

Knights' armour had not yet evolved to the stage where longbows could not penetrate, and the knights' horses were barely protected at all. The storm of arrows killed or disabled the knights' mounts, and left the knights floundering in the mud on foot beneath an unavoidable hail of arrows.

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