The English tactical system consisted which they used at Crecy, Poitiers, and Agincourt was essentially the same with minor variations based on terrain. They organized their force into three battles or divisions with the outer battles being almost entirely archers with a leavening of infantry. The center was mostly dismounted Men-at-arms with some archers for support. They meticulously prepared the battlefield at Crecy and Agincourt and used existing terrain to their advantage at Poitiers. The English longbow-men were formed up as Froissart says "the archers there stood in the manner of a herse" which is generally considered to mean a wedge shaped formation. The English also prepared the battlefield using stakes to form an obstacle in front of the archer's position or using a preexisting hedge as they found at Poitiers.
Key Battles of the Hundred Years War
Battle Date Winner
Sluys (Naval) June 24,1340 England
Crecy August 26, 1346 England
Poitiers September 16, 1356 England
The Jaquerie 1358 French Peasant Revolt
Peasants Revolt 1381 English Peasant Revolt
Agincourt October 25, 1415 England
The Siege of Orleans 1428-1429 France
Formigny April 15, 1450 France
Castillon July 17, 1453 France
The second period of the Hundred Years' War began with the invasion of Henry V of England into France and his spectacular battlefield victory at Agincourt (1415), which had many of the same tactical characteristics of the English field victories in the earlier period. However, there were differences in the arms and in the complete logistical mastery of Henry V. Henry V was more effective than Edward III in conducting siege operations, and Henry's successful sieges led to real, if gradual and incomplete, conquests. His accomplishment was aided considerably by the continued political division in France. Valois France's recovery from this nadir provided a remarkable and dramatic conclusion -- the final phase -- to the epic war.
This war marked the end of English attempts to control continental territory and the beginning of its emphasis upon maritime supremacy. By Henry V's marriage into the House of Valois, an hereditary strain of mental disorder was introduced into the English royal family. There were great advances in military technology and science during the period, and the military value of the feudal knight was thoroughly discredited. The order of knighthood went down fighting, however, in a wave of civil wars that racked the countries of Western Europe. The European countries began to establish professional standing armies and to develop the modern state necessary to maintain such forces.
From the point of view of the 14th century, however, the most significant result is that the nobility and secular leaders were busy fighting each other at a time when the people of Westerm Europe desperately needed leadership.
Nevertheless, in the reign of Henry V, the English took the offensive once again. At Agincourt, not far from Crecy, the French relapsed into their old tactics of feudal warfare once again, and were again disasterously defeated (1415). The English recovered much of the ground they had lost, and a new peace was based upon Henry's marriage to the French princess Katherine. These events furnish the plot for Shakespeare's play, Henry V. With Henry's death in 1422, the war resumed.
The feudal system remained in effect till the invention of gunpowder. When gunpowder was created the battlefield was forever altered; there was no longer a need for a mounted knight. When the knight was made obsolete there was no need to have a feudal system, thus it feel into disarray and other methods of labor and allegiance was formed.
As the war dragged on, the English were slowly forced back. They had less French land to support their war effort as they did so, and the war became more expensive for them. This caused conflicts at home, such as the Peasants' Revolt of 1381 and the beginning of civil wars.
The Hundred Years War - the Taxes
To counteract the high price of war, European monarchs imposed even more taxes upon the people. The French were most adept at this: there were taxes on salt, bread, and wine as well as taxes on the rights to use wine presses, grindstones and mills. And of course, there was the poll tax.
The Hundred Years War - the Factions
The last cause of the Hundred Years' War was factional conflict. By the 14th century the European nobility had become diluted with men who had entered the nobility not because they had a claim by virtue of birth but because of their wealth. Meanwhile, the older nobility was losing income due to declining rents. Many older nobles joined forces with mercenaries in order to maintain their position and status. Other nobles married into wealthy families while still others tried to improve their situation by the buying and selling of royal offices. What all this boiled down to was conflict. Nobles tended to join factions united against other factions. These factions included a great family, their knights, servants and even workers and peasants on the manorial estate. They had their own small armies, loyalties and even symbols of allegiance. The bottom line is that these factions were beginning to form small states within a state and contributed not only to the overall violence of the 14th century but also to the need of monarchs to keep their nobility under constant surveillance. This explains why Louis XIV, the Sun King, housed his nobility at Versailles -- it was so he could keep an eye on them.
The feudal system meant that knights had to provide the king with soldiers when the king demanded them. However, war had moved on from the time of the Battle of Hastings and the longbow was now the most feared of weapons and not the knight on horseback. The king's officials went around England looking for skilled archers. All young men in medieval villages were expected to practice archery so there were many skilled archers to be found. It was left to a village to decide who would actually go to fight but the village as a whole would have to look after the family or families affected by someone leaving. Those who went were paid three pence a day.
Armies were very expensive. Fighting abroad made them even more expensive to run. This problem could be got around by making a local area in France, which was under your control, pay a 'tribune' to you. This would keep your costs down. In return for paying a tribune, the area concerned was given a promise that the troops there would behave themselves and would not damage homes, steal crops and kill animals. In this sense, paying a tribune was similar to buying protection.
Interesting Information about the History of the Hundred Years War
Interesting information and important facts about the history of the Hundred Years War. In 1328, the Capetian dynasty in France came to an end with the death of Charles IV, the son of Philip the Fair. An assembly of French barons gave the crown to Philip VI of Valois, the nephew of Philip the Fair.
Causes of the Hundred Years War
Edward III, king of England, asserted that he in fact had a superior claimed to the throne because his mother was Philip the Fair's daughter. This, then, was one of the primary causes of the Hundred Years' War. Another cause of the Hundred Years' War was clearly economic conflict. The French monarchy tried to squeeze new taxes from towns in northern Europe which had grown wealthy as trade and cloth-making centers. Dependent as they were on English wool, these towns through their support behind English and Edward III.
(1415) Battle of Agincourt. After the successful siege at Harfleur, Henry marched his force of about 6000 knights, archers and men-at-arms towards Calais. During his march the French army of 20,000 was able to position itself between Henry and Calais. Henry used a narrow front channeled by woodland to give his heavily outnumbered force a chance. The French deployed in three lines. The first line of French knights attacked only to be repulsed by the English longbowmen. The second line attacked and was beaten back, their charge bogged down by the mud on the field. The third line moved to engage but lost heart when they crossed the field covered with French dead; they soon retreated. Henry was left with control of the battlefield and a decisive victory. He soon resumed his march to Calais.
The tactics used by Henry V was unique during this time era. His leadership in battle set the precedent for a strong political leader to lead their troops. The battle of Agincourt was a surprising victory for the English, even though they were vastly outnumbered. Due to strategy, battlefield conditions, the element of surprise, and several other factors the English were able to defeat the French.
Henry V is also famous due to the Shakespeare play.
The Hundred Years' War was a long struggle between England and France over succession to the French throne. It lasted from 1337 to 1453, so it might more accurately be called the "116 Years' War." The war starts off with several stunning successes on Britain's part, and the English forces dominate France for decades. Then, the struggle see-saws back and forth. In the 1360s, the French are winning. From 1415-1422, the English are winning. After 1415, King Henry V of England revives the campaign and he conquers large portions of France, winning extraordinary political concessions. From 1422 onward, however, the French crown strikes back. The teenage girl Jeanne d'Arc (Joan of Arc), a remarkable young mystic, leads the French troops to reclaim their lands.
The roots of the Hundred Years War go back nearly 200 years to when the Plantagenet line of English kings was founded by Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine. At the time of his accession to the throne, the combined holdings of French territory by Henry II and his wife amounted to more than half of the region of France. Although most of this territory was lost in subsequent years, the idea of a combined British and French empire, was dear to the Plantagenets. When the last Capet king died without an heir, Edward III, whose mother was the daughter of the French king, claimed the throne. The Salic laws, prohibiting succession through a female line prevented this, and Philip IV, the first Valois king was placed on the throne. Edward did not at first assert his rights, but after ten years of minor conflicts between the two kingdoms, he eventually launched a full scale attack. Although England gained an early upper hand, she could not hold her territories over the long term and even after an English succession was acknowledged, as a result of the victories of Henry V in the Lancastrian War, the Plantagenet project for a combined France and English empire never came to pass.
The background to the conflict can be found 400 years earlier, in 911, when Carolingian Charles the Simple allowed the Viking Rollo to settle in a part of his kingdom (a region known afterwards as "Normandy"). In 1066 the "Normans" were led by William the Conqueror (the Duke of Normandy) and conquered England, defeating the Anglo-Saxon leadership at the Battle of Hastings, installing a new Anglo-Norman power structure. It is important to note for future events that starting with Rollo, Norman leaders were vassals to the King of France, even after they also became kings in England.
Following a period of civil wars and unrest in England known as The Anarchy (1135-1154), the Anglo-Norman dynasty was succeeded by the Angevin Kings. At the height of power the Angevins controlled Normandy and England, along with Maine, Anjou, Touraine, Gascony, Saintonge and Aquitaine. Such assemblage of lands is sometimes known as the Angevin Empire. The king of England, who was still a vassal of the King of France, directly ruled more French territory than the King of France himself. This situation - where the Angevin kings owed vassalage to a ruler who was de facto much weaker - was a cause of continual conflict. The French resolved the situation somewhat in three decisive wars: the conquest of Normandy (1214), the Saintonge War (1242) and finally the War of Saint-Sardos (1324), thus reducing England's hold on the continent to a few small provinces in Gascony and the complete loss of the crown jewel of Normandy. By the early 14th century many in the English aristocracy could still remember a time when their grandparents and great-grandparents had control over wealthy continental regions, such as Normandy, which they also considered their ancestral homeland, and were motivated to regain possession of these territories.