Hundred Years War French

Historical Overview Section

By the late fourteenth century and the early fifteenth, French military power had declined in the run up to the early part of the Hundred Years' War. New weapons and tactics seemingly made the knight more of a sitting target than an effective battle force, but the often-praised longbowmen had little to do with the English success. Poor coordination or rough terrain led to bungled French assaults. The slaughter of knights at the Battle of Agincourt best exemplified this carnage. The French were able to field a much larger army of men-at-arms than their English counterparts, who had many longbowmen. Despite this, the French suffered about 6,000 casualties compared to a few hundred for the English because the narrow terrain prevented the tactical envelopments envisioned in recently discovered French plans for the battle.

The French suffered a similar defeat at the Battle of the Golden Spurs against the Low Countries militia in 1302. When knights were allowed to effectively deploy, however, they could be more useful, as at Cassel in 1328 or, even more decisively, at Bouvines in 1214 and Patay in 1429. Given the successes of Henry V of England, his death in 1422 altered the nature of the war profoundly and may have permitted the French to recover virtually all their territory by the end of the conflict.

Popular French conceptions of the final stages of the Hundred Years' War are often dominated by the exploits of Joan of Arc, but in fact the French resurgence was rooted in multiple factors. A major step was taken by King Charles VII, who, with the Compagnies d'ordonnance, cavalry units with 20 companies of 600 men each created the first standing army giving the French a considerable edge in professionalism and discipline. Additionally, developments in artillery made it a crucial part of the French army, and the resounding victories over the English at the battles of Formigny and Castillon, both significantly attributable to artillery were so decisive that the war ended then and there. By 1453 Calais was the only English possession in mainland France.

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Army Lists

Sample army lists for this army
100YW Roll Call winning French army, leaded by Du Guesclin himself. A must as the theme was “Navarette 650th anniversary” in 200pts
• 1st corps : CiC Du Guesclin – strategist
• 6 heavy knights impetuous elite
• 1 LMI crossbow elite
• 3 LI crossbow
• 2 LI javelin

• 2nd corps : competent general
• 4 heavy spearmen
• 1 heavy knight impact
• 1 LMI crossbow elite
• 1 LI crossbow

• 3rd corps ; ordinary general
• 4 impetuous levies
Initiative +2 , 23 bases

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