Battle of Arques (1303)

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This article is about the 1303 battle. For the 1589 battle, see Battle of Arques (1589).

The Battle of Arques was fought on April 4, 1303. in the French city of Arques between the County of Flanders and the Kingdom of France.

After July 11, 1302[edit]

The Battle of the Golden Spurs was an embarrassing defeat for King Philip IV of France that liberated the whole of the County from French occupation. Eager for revenge, King Philip raised a new army under Gaucher de Châtillon, Constable of France, and moved against Flanders. The Flemish under William of Jülich were checking the French troops and both armies met on August 30, 1302, between Arras and Douai. Negotiations were opened and both armies withdrew a few days later without fighting.

April 1303[edit]

In the spring of 1303 the French army moved against Saint-Omer. William of Jülich responded by an attack on the weakly defended city of Arques, killing the French garrison of 60 and burning down the city. De Châtillon hurried to Arques, where the Flemish prepared for battle. As in the Battle of the Golden Spurs, William of Jülich positioned his infantry, mainly from Ieper (Ypres) in a horseshoe shaped formation. For hours, the French tried to break the Flemish formation, but to no avail. Finally the French withdrew to Saint-Omer, leaving many dead and wounded behind. The Flemish had lost 3000 men and did not pursue.

Despite these important losses, the battle was a Flemish victory. A new French invasion of Flanders had been prevented.

This battle was followed by a Flemish defeat the next year in the north in the Battle of Zierikzee, where the French were supported by the Count of Holland.