100 Years War Essay Research Paper The — страница 2

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the profits from the tolls and customs made Bordeaux the economic capital of Gascony. Furthermore, control of neighboring areas such as Guyenne and Calais were economically vital. Their union with Bordeaux would ensure England with a monopoly of the shipping and trading industry from Spain, Portugal and Brittany. 10 France was the richest country in Europe and its army was much larger than England’s. In addition, France’s army consisted of hired mercenaries. Therefore, France should have quickly defeated England. But France’s army consisted of heavily armored knights who were less mobile against the agile English swordsmen. The French military leaders soon realized the archer was the only effective when fighting a pitched battle. Consequently, France implemented a strategic

plan which was to avoid active warfare and to utilize the technique of diplomacy and concessions. England could win battles, but France could avoid them. Pitched battles were accepted only when there was no alternative. Otherwise, France would raid unprotected towns and villages, take what they could, then burn them to the ground. 11 Meanwhile, England could depend on the loyalty of her subjects. The soldiers were happy to receive a salary and eager to fight on French soil. They could profit from the plundering while their homes didn’t suffer and damage. Moreover, England had superior military tactics. They had perfected the fighting technique of the longbow drawn by free swordsmen. Even though the archers were below the knight on the social ladder, they were not ashamed to

fight side by side. Subsequently, the archer could destroy the effectiveness of a French calvary charge. Also, King Edward III was very popular with his subjects. He would fight beside his troops as well as to the folks at home. As well, his sixteen year old son, the Black Prince, was a superb military leader. 12 He successfully continued to lead the English armies into battle against France. As a result, England won most of the initial battles and kept the war in France. 13 One of the great English victories was the battle at Crecy. The English were outnumbered four to one by the French, led by Philip VI. The English occupied the side of a small hill, while the heavy number of French men-at-arms and hired Genoese crossbowmen were at the foot of the hill on a plain. The English

were ready with their new longbows at hand. The Genoese crossbowmen attacked the English, but were too tired due to the long day’s march and because of an earlier rainstorm, their crossbow strings were loose. The English’s longbow proved to be too much for the Genoese, so they dropped the crossbows and began to run. King Philip was so outraged at the Genoese actions, he had his men-at-arms kill many of them. At one point during this battle, the French came across a group of English knights led by the Black Prince, the son of Edward III, dismounted from their horses and not prepared for battle. As Edward III heard of his son’s misfortune, he ordered no aid be sent to him and his men. This was to be his day. Slowly, pieces of the French army began to flee, while the English

army stood strong. England had won the first great land battle of the long war. They had already won control of the English Channel and a few years later, the town of Calais surrendered to them on September 28, 1347. For the next ten years, fighting was slowed. This was due mainly to the Black Death which killed more than a third of the population. 14 Initially, England feared they would never be able to defend themselves against a French invasion. France had enormous wealth, military prestige and a dominant position in European politics. However, the Battles of Vrecy and Poiters were major victories for England. In both battles, England was greatly outnumbered by France but, the English archers were more effective than the armor-clad French knights. Therefore, the victories were

perceived to be granted by god because England was the rightful ruler of France. As England continued to win the early battles and keep the in France, the military’s feelings of inferiority and insecurity were replaced with self-confidence and optimism. The first phase of The Hundred Years’ War went well for England. Eventually the false sense of prosperity created by the pillaging of the French towns and villages began to surface. Also, the commoners were becoming dissatisfied with the high war expense. The war was a strain on England’s resources and it was beginning to get difficult to pay the soldiers’ wages as well as maintain the garrisons. The English subjects were taxed out and tired of the misappropriation of the war funds by the corrupt royal officials and