Battle of Crécy

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Battle of Crécy
Part of the Chevauchée of Edward III in 1346 during the Hundred Years' War
A colourful and stylised picture of a late-medieval battle
The Battle of Crécy, from a 15th-century illuminated manuscript of Jean Froissart's Chronicles
Date26 August 1346
50°15′25″N 1°54′14″E / 50.257°N 1.904°E / 50.257; 1.904Coordinates: 50°15′25″N 1°54′14″E / 50.257°N 1.904°E / 50.257; 1.904
Result English victory
Royal Arms of England (1340-1367).svg Kingdom of England Arms of the Kings of France (France Ancien).svg Kingdom of France
Commanders and leaders
Royal Arms of England (1340-1367).svg King Edward III
Arms of the Prince of Wales (Ancient).svg Edward, Prince of Wales
Arms of the House of de Bohun.svg Earl of Northampton
Arms of the Kings of France (France Ancien).svg King Philip VI +
Alençon Arms.svg Count of Alençon 
BlasonLorraine.svg Duke of Lorraine 
Old Arms of Blois.svg Count of Blois 
Armoiries Jean de Luxembourg.svg King John the Blind 
Armoiries Jean de Luxembourg.svg Charles of Bohemia +
7,000–15,000 20,000–30,000:[1][2][3]
 • 10,000–12,000 men-at-arms
 • 2,000–6,000 crossbowmen
 • Unknown infantry
Casualties and losses
100–300 killed 1,542–4,000 men-at-arms killed
Infantry losses unknown but heavy

The Battle of Crécy (26 August 1346), also spelled Cressy, took place in north-east France between a French army commanded by King Philip VI and an English army led by King Edward III. The French attacked the English army while it was traversing northern France during the Hundred Years' War. It resulted in an English victory and heavy loss of life among the French.

The English army had landed in the Cotentin Peninsula on 12 July. It had burnt a path of destruction through some of the richest lands in France to within 2 miles (3.2 km) of Paris, sacking a number of towns on the way. The English then marched north, hoping to link up with an allied Flemish army which had invaded from Flanders. Hearing that the Flemish had turned back, and having temporally outdistanced the pursuing French, Edward had his army prepare a defensive position on a hillside near Crécy-en-Ponthieu. Late on 26 August the French army, which greatly outnumbered the English, attacked.

During a brief archery duel a large force of French mercenary crossbowmen were routed by English longbowmen. The French then launched a number of cavalry charges by their mounted knights. These were disordered by their impromptu nature, by having to force their way through the fleeing crossbowmen, by the muddy ground, by having to charge uphill, and by the pits dug by the English. The attacks were further broken up by the effective fire from the English archers, which caused heavy casualties. The English men-at-arms had dismounted for the battle, and by the time they received the French charges they had lost much of their impetus. Nevertheless, the ensuing hand-to-hand combat was described as "murderous, without pity, cruel, and very horrible". The French charges continued late into the night, all with the same result: fierce fighting followed by a French repulse.

The English promptly laid siege to the port of Calais. The battle crippled the French army's ability to relieve the siege, and the town fell to the English the following year and remained under English rule for over two centuries, until 1558. The battle established the effectiveness of the longbow as the dominant weapon on the Western European battlefield.


Since the Norman Conquest of 1066, English monarchs had held titles and lands within France, the possession of which made them vassals of the kings of France. The status of the English king's French fiefs was a source of conflict between the two monarchies throughout the Middle Ages.[4] Over the centuries, English holdings in France had varied in size, but by 1337 only Gascony in south western France and Ponthieu in northern France were left.[5] Following a series of disagreements between Philip VI of France (r. 1328–1350) and Edward III of England (r. 1327–1377), on 24 May 1337 Philip's Great Council in Paris agreed that the Duchy of Aquitaine, effectively Gascony, should be taken back into Philip's hands on the grounds that Edward was in breach of his obligations as a vassal. This marked the start of the Hundred Years' War, which was to last 116 years.[6]

Edward determined early in 1345 to attack France on three fronts: a small force would sail for Brittany; a slightly larger force would proceed to Gascony under the command of the Henry, Earl of Derby; and the main force would accompany Edward to northern France or Flanders.[7][8] In early 1345, the French anticipated, correctly, that the English planned to make their main effort in northern France. Thus, they directed what resources they had to there, planning to assemble their main army at Arras on 22 July. South-western France and Brittany were encouraged to rely on their own resources.[9]

Edward's main army sailed on 29 June 1345. It anchored off Sluys in Flanders until 22 July, while Edward attended to diplomatic affairs.[10] When it sailed, probably intending to land in Normandy, it was scattered by a storm and individual ships found their way to various English ports over the following week. After more than five weeks on board ship the men and horses had to be disembarked. There was a further week's delay while the King and his council debated what to do, by which time it proved impossible to take any action with the main English army before winter.[11] Aware of this, Philip despatched reinforcements to Brittany and Gascony.[12] During 1345, Derby led a whirlwind campaign through Gascony at the head of an Anglo-Gascon army.[13] He heavily defeated two large French armies at the battles of Bergerac and Auberoche, captured over 100 French towns and fortifications in Périgord and Agenais and gave the English possessions in Gascony strategic depth.[14]

John, Duke of Normandy, the son and heir of Philip VI, was placed in charge of all French forces in south-west France. In March 1346 a French army numbering between 15,000 and 20,000,[15] "enormously superior" to any force the Anglo-Gascons could field, including all of the military officers of the royal household,[16] marched on Gascony. They besieged the strategically and logistically important town of Aiguillon[17], "the key to the Gascon plain",[18] on 1 April.[15] On 2 April the arrière-ban, the formal call to arms for all able-bodied males, was announced for the south of France.[15][19] French financial, logistical and manpower efforts were focused on this offensive.[20] Derby, now Lancaster,[note 1] sent an urgent appeal for help to Edward.[21] Edward was not only morally obliged to succor his vassal, but contractually required to; his indenture with Lancaster stated that if Lancaster were attacked by overwhelming numbers, then Edward "shall rescue him in one way or another".[22]

Meanwhile Edward was raising a fresh army, and assembled over 700 vessels to transport it – the largest English fleet ever to that date.[23][24] The French were aware of Edward's efforts, but given the extreme difficulty of disembarking an army other than at a port, and the existence of friendly ports in Brittany and Gascony, the French assumed that Edward would sail for one of the latter; probably Gascony, in order to relieve Aiguillon.[25] To guard against the possibility of an English landing in northern France, Philip relied on his powerful navy.[26] This reliance was misplaced given the difficulty naval forces of the time had in effectively interdicting opposing fleets, and the French were unable to prevent Edward successfully crossing the Channel.[26]


A map of south east England and north east France showing the route of the English army
Map of the route of Edward III's chevauchée of 1346

The campaign began on 11 July 1346, when Edward's fleet departed the south of England. It made land the next day at Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue,[27] 20 miles (32 km) from Cherbourg. The English army is estimated by modern historians to have been some 15,000 strong and consisted of both English and Welsh soldiers combined with a number of German and Breton mercenaries and allies.[24][28] It included at least one Norman baron who was unhappy with the rule of Philip VI.[28] The English achieved complete strategic surprise and marched south.[29] Edward's aim was to conduct a chevauchée, a large-scale raid, across French territory to reduce his opponent's morale and wealth.[30] His soldiers razed every town in their path and looted whatever they could from the populace. The towns of Carentan, Saint-Lô and Torteval were destroyed as the army passed, along with many smaller places. The English fleet paralleled the army's route, devastating the country for up to 5 miles (8 km) inland and taking vast amounts of loot; many ships deserted, their crews having filled their holds.[31] They also captured or burnt over 100 ships; 61 of these had been converted into military vessels.[29] Caen, the cultural, political, religious and financial centre of north west Normandy, was stormed on 26 July and subsequently looted for five days. Over 5,000 French soldiers and civilians were killed; among the small number of prisoners was Raoul of Eu, the Constable of France. The English marched out towards the River Seine on 1 August.[32]

The French military position was difficult. Their main army was committed to the intractable siege of Aiguillon in the south west. After his surprise landing in Normandy Edward was devastating some of the richest land in France and flaunting his ability to march at will through France. On 2 August, a small English force supported by a large number of Flemings invaded France from Flanders. French defences were completely inadequate. The treasury was all but empty. On 29 July, Philip proclaimed the arrière-ban for northern France, ordering every able-bodied male to assemble at Rouen, where Philip himself arrived on the 31st.[33][34] He immediately moved west against Edward with an ill-organised and poorly-equipped army. Five days later he returned to Rouen and broke the bridge over the Seine behind him. On 2 August Philip recalled his main army, under Duke John, from Gascony. After a furious argument, Duke John refused to move until Aiguillon fell and his honour was satisfied.[35] On 7 August, the English reached the Seine, 12 miles (19 km) south of Rouen, and raided up to its suburbs. Philip, under pressure from representatives of the Pope, sent envoys offering peace backed by a marriage alliance; Edward replied that he was not prepared to lose marching time to futile discussion and dismissed them.[36] By 12 August, Edward's army was encamped at Poissy, 20 miles from Paris, having left a 20-mile wide swath of destruction down the left bank of the Seine.[37]

Philip again sent orders to Duke John of Normandy insisting that he abandon the siege of Aiguillon and march his army north. On 20 August, after over five months, the French abandoned the siege and marched away in considerable haste and disorder.[38] On 16 August, Edward burnt down Poissy and marched north. The French had carried out a scorched earth policy, carrying away all stores of food and so forcing the English to spread out over a wide area to forage, which greatly slowed them. Bands of French peasants attacked some of the smaller groups of foragers. Philip reached the River Somme a day's march ahead of Edward. He based himself at Amiens and sent large detachments to hold every bridge and ford across the Seine between Amiens and the sea. The English were now trapped in an area which had been stripped of food. The French moved out of Amiens and advanced westwards, towards the English. They were now willing to give battle, knowing that they would have the advantage of being able to stand on the defensive while the English were forced to try and fight their way past them.[39]

Edward was determined to break the French blockade of the Somme[40] and probed at several points, vainly attacking Hangest and Pont-Remy before moving west along the river. English supplies were running out and the army was ragged, starving and beginning to suffer from a drop in morale.[41] On the evening of 24 August the English were encamped north of Acheux while the French were 6 miles (10 km) away at Abbeville. During the night the English marched on a tidal ford named Blanchetaque. The far bank was defended by a force of 3,500 French. English longbowmen and mounted men-at-arms waded into the tidal river and after a short, sharp fight routed the French. The main French army had followed the English, and their scouts captured some stragglers and several wageons, but Edward had broken free of immediate pursuit. Such was the French confidence that Edward would not ford the Somme that the area beyond had not been denuded, allowing Edward's army to plunder it and resupply.[42][43][44]

Meanwhile, the Flemings, having been rebuffed by the French at Estaires, besieged Bethune on 14 August. After several setbacks they fell out among themselves, burnt their siege equipment and gave up their expedition on 24 August.[45] Edward received the news that he would not be reinforced by the Flemings shortly after crossing the Somme and decided to engage Philip's army with the force he had. Having temporarily shaken off the French pursuit, he used the respite to prepare a defensive position at Crécy-en-Ponthieu.[42][44] The French returned to Abbeville, crossed the Somme at the bridge there, and doggedly set off after the English again.[46]

Opposing forces[edit]

English army[edit]

The English army mainly comprised English and Welsh soldiers, along with some allied Breton and Flemish troops and a few German mercenaries. The exact size and composition of the English force is not known. Contemporary estimates vary widely; for example Froissart's third version of his Chronicles more than doubles his estimate in the first.[47] Modern historians have variously estimated its size as from 7,000 to 15,000.[48] Andrew Ayton suggests a figure of around 14,000: 2,500 men-at-arms, 5,000 longbowmen, 3,000 hobelars (light cavalry and mounted archers) and 3,500 spearmen.[49] Clifford Rogers suggests 15,000: 2,500 men-at-arms, 7,000 longbowmen, 3,250 hobelars and 2,300 spearmen. Jonathon Sumption, going by the carrying capacity of its original transport fleet, believes the force was around 7,000 to 10,000.[50]

a photograph of an iron arrowhead
A modern replica of a bodkin point arrowhead used to penetrate armour by English longbows

The longbow used by the English and Welsh archers was unique to them; it took up to 10 years to master and could discharge up to six arrows per minute well over 300 metres (980 ft).[note 2] Computer analysis by Warsaw University of Technology in 2017 demonstrated that heavy bodkin point arrows could penetrate typical plate armour of the time at 225 metres (738 ft). However, the depth of penetration would be slight at that range; predicted penetration increased as the range closed or against armour of less than the best quality available at the time.[51][note 3] Contemporary sources speak of arrows frequently piercing armour.[52] Archers carried one quiver of 24 arrows as standard. During the morning of the battle they were each issued with an additional two quivers, for a total of 72 arrows per man. This was only sufficient for perhaps fifteen minutes shooting at the maximum rate, although as the battle wore on the rate of fire would slow. Regular resupply of ammunition would be required from the wagons to the rear; the archers would also venture forward during pauses in the fighting to retrieve arrows.[53] The modern historian Robert Hardy suggests that half a million arrows may have been fired during the battle.[54]

a pen and ink drawing of a very early bombard
Depiction of an English bombard as used at the Battle of Crécy

The English army was also equipped with several types of gunpowder weapons, in unknown numbers: small guns firing lead balls; ribauldequins firing either metal arrows or grapeshot; and bombards, an early form of cannon firing metal balls 3.2–3.6 inches (80–90 mm) in diameter. Contemporary accounts and modern historians differ as to what types of these weapons and how many were present at Crécy, but a number of iron balls compatible with the bombard ammunition have since been retrieved from the site of the battle.[55][56][57]

French army[edit]

The exact size of the French army is even less certain, as the financial records from the Crécy campaign are lost. However there is a consensus that it was substantially larger than the English. Contemporary chroniclers all note it as being extremely large for the period. The two who provide totals estimate its size as 72,000 or 120,000. The numbers of mounted men-at-arms are given variously as 12,000 or 20,000.[58] An Italian chronicler claimed 100,000 knights (men-at-arms), 12,000 infantry and 5,000 crossbowmen.[59] Contemporary chroniclers estimated the number of crossbowmen as 2,000–20,000.[60]

a small group of men in Medieval clothing, bearing crossbows
Italian crossbowmen

These numbers have been described as unrealistic and exaggerated by historians, going by the extant war treasury records for 1340, six years before the battle.[2] Clifford Rogers estimates "the French host was at least twice as large as the [English], and perhaps as much as three times".[61] Ayton suggests around 12,000 mounted men-at-arms as the core of the French army; several thousand mercenary crossbowmen, hired from Genoa; and a "large, though indeterminate, number of common infantry".[1] Sumption and Lynn concur, giving 6,000 for the number of Italian crossbowmen.[3][62] Schnerb questions this figure, however, based on the estimates of 2,000 available crossbowmen in all of France in 1340. That Genoa on its own could have put several thousand mercenary crossbowmen at the disposal of the French monarch is described by Schnerb as "doubtful".[63] The number of common infantrymen, militia and levies of variable levels of equipment and training, is not known with any certainty, except that on their own they outnumbered the English army.[64][62]

Since Philip came to the throne, French armies had included an increasing proportion of crossbowmen. They were professional soldiers and in battle were protected from missiles by pavises  – very large shields with their own bearers, behind each of which three crossbowmen could shelter.[65] A trained crossbowman could shoot his weapon approximately twice a minute.[66]

Initial deployments[edit]

A map showing the positions of both sides during the battle
Map of the Battle of Crécy

Edward deployed his army in a carefully selected position, facing south east on a sloping hillside at Crécy-en-Ponthieu. The left flank was anchored against Wadicourt, while the right was protected by Crécy itself and the River Maye beyond. This made it difficult for the French to outflank them.[47][67] The position had a ready line of retreat in the event that the English were defeated or put under intolerable pressure.[68] While waiting for the French to catch up with them the English dug pits in front of their positions, intended to disorder attacking cavalry, and set up several primitive gunpower weapons.[69][70] Edward wished to provoke the French into a mounted charge uphill against his solid infantry formations of dismounted men-at-arms, backed by Welsh spearmen and flanked by archers.[71] The army had been in position since dawn, and so was rested and well-fed, giving them an advantage over the French, who did not rest before the battle.[47][67][72] Having decisively defeated a large French detachment two days before, morale was high.[73]

The English army was deployed in three divisions, or "battles", with two forward and one in reserve. Edward's son, Edward, the Prince of Wales, aided by the Earl of Warwick, commanded the largest of the frontline battles. The other was led by the Earls of Northampton and Suffolk and positioned to the left of the Prince of Wales. The King commanded the reserve battle. Each division was composed of men-at-arms in the centre, all on foot, with ranks of spearmen immediately behind them, and with longbowmen on each flank.[74] Many of the longbowmen were concealed in small woods, or by lying down in ripe wheat.[75] The baggage train was positioned to the rear of the whole army, where it was circled and fortified, to serve as a park for the horses, a defence against any possible attack from the rear and a rallying point in the event of defeat.[47][76]

Around noon on 26 August the French van, advancing north from Abbeville, came in sight of the English. The crossbowmen, under Antonio Doria and Carlo Grimaldi, formed the French vanguard. Following was a large battle of men-at-arms led by Charles of Alençon, Philip's brother, accompanied by the blind King John of Bohemia. The next battle was led by Rudolph of Lorraine and Louis of Blois, while Philip commanded the rearguard.[77] As news filtered back that the English had turned to fight, the French contingents sped up, jostling with each other to reach the front of the column. The Italians stayed in the van, while the mounted men-at-arms left their accompanying infantry and wagons behind.[3][78] Discipline was lost; the French were hampered by the absence of their Constable, who was normally responsible for marshalling and leading their army, but who had been captured at Caen.[79][80] Once it halted, men, especially infantry, were continually joining Philip's battle as they marched north west from Abbeville.[3][74]

After reconnoitreing the English position, a council of war was held where the senior French officials, who were completely confident of victory, advised an attack, but not until the next day. In the event the French attacked later the same afternoon; it is unclear from the contemporary sources whether this was a deliberate choice by Philip, or because too many of the large number of French knights kept pressing forward and the battle commenced against Philip's wishes.[81] Philip's plan was to use the long-range missiles of his crossbowmen to soften up the English infantry and disorder, and possibly dishearten, their formations, so as to allow the accompanying mounted men-at-arms to break into their ranks and rout them.[82] Modern historians have generally considered this to have been a practical approach, and one with proven success against other armies.[83]


A black and white engraving of a mounted knight charging
Battle of Crécy (19th-century engraving)

The French army moved forward late in the afternoon, unfurling their sacred battle banner, the oriflamme, indicating that no prisoners would be taken.[84][85] As they advanced, a sudden rainstorm broke over the field. The English archers de-strung their bows to avoid the strings becoming slackened; the Genoese with their crossbows did not need to take precautions, as their bowstrings were made of leather.[86] The Genoese engaged the English longbowmen in an archery duel.[87] The longbowmen outranged their opponents[88] and had a rate of fire more than three times greater.[89] The crossbowmen were also without their protective pavises, which were still with the French baggage.[90][91] In addition the mud impeded their ability to reload, which required them to press the stirrups of their weapons into the ground, and thus slowed their rate of fire.[86] The Italians were rapidly defeated and fled;[92] aware of their vulnerability without their pavises, they may have made only a token effort.[93] Modern historians disagree as to how many casualties they suffered, but as some contemporary sources suggest that they may have failed to get off any shots at all and the most recent specialist study of this duel concludes that they hastily shot perhaps two volleys, then withdrew before any real exchange with the English could develop, they were probably light.[93]

The knights and nobles following in Alençon's division, hampered by the routed mercenaries, hacked at them as they retreated. By most contemporary accounts the crossbowmen were considered cowards at best and more likely traitors,[94] and a large number were killed by the French.[95] The clash of the retreating Genoese and the advancing French cavalry threw the leading battle into disarray. The longbowmen continued to discharge their bows into the massed troops. The discharge of the English bombards may have added to the confusion, though it is doubtful that they inflicted any significant casualties.[96]

Alençon's battle then launched a cavalry charge. This was disordered by its impromptu nature, by having to force its way through the fleeing Italians, by the muddy ground, by having to charge uphill, and by the pits dug by the English.[97] The attack was further broken up by the heavy and effective shooting from the English archers, which caused many casualties.[98] It is estimated that in the final minute before the French charge came into contact with the English men-at-arms 16,000 arrows were loosed at it. The armoured French riders were only vulnerable to these in the event of an unlucky hit or at close range, but their horses were completely unarmoured and were killed or wounded in large numbers.[99] Disabled horses fell, spilling their riders and causing following ranks to swerve to avoid them and fall into even further disorder. Wounded horses fled across the hillside in panic.[100] By the time the tight formation of English men-at-arms and spearmen received the French charge it had lost much of its impetus.[101]

A colourful and stylised picture of late-Medieval cavalry battle
Battle of Crécy, as envisaged 80 years after the battle

A contemporary described the hand-to-hand combat which ensued as "murderous, without pity, cruel, and very horrible".[102] Men-at-arms who lost their footing, or who were thrown from wounded horses, were trampled underfoot, crushed by falling horses and bodies and suffocated in the mud. After the battle, many French bodies were recovered with no marks on them. Alençon was among those killed.[103][104] The French attack was beaten off. English infantry moved forward to knife the French wounded, loot the bodies and recover arrows.[105] Some sources state that Edward had given orders that, contrary to custom,[106] no prisoners be taken; outnumbered as he was he did not want to lose fighting men to escorting and guarding captives. In any event, there is no record of any prisoners being taken until the next day.[107][85]

Fresh forces of French cavalry moved into position at the foot of the hill and repeated Alençon's charge. They had the same disadvantages as Alençon's force, with the addition that the ground they were advancing over was littered with dead and wounded horses and men.[98] Nevertheless they charged home, albeit in such a disordered state that they were again unable to break into the English formation. A prolonged mêlée resulted, with a report that at one point the Prince of Wales was beaten to his knees. The English ranks were thinned, but those in the rear stepped forward to fill the gaps.[102][108] The French were again repulsed. They came again. The number of separate French charges is disputed, but they continued late into the night,[74] with the French nobility stubbornly refusing to yield. All had the same result: fierce fighting followed by a French retreat. There was no lack of courage on either side. Famously, blind King John of Bohemia tied his horse's bridle to those of his attendants and galloped into the twilight; all were dragged from their horses and killed.[108][109]

Philip himself was caught up in the fighting, had two horses killed from underneath him, and received an arrow in the jaw.[88] The bearer of the oriflamme was a particular target for the English archers; he was seen to fall but survived, albeit abandoning the sacred banner to be captured.[110] Finally, Philip abandoned the field of battle, although it is unclear as to why. It was nearly midnight and the battle petered out, with the majority of the French army melting away from the battlefield.[111][112] The English slept where they had fought. The next morning substantial French forces were still arriving on the battlefield, to be charged by the English men-at-arms, now mounted, routed and pursued for miles.[113][114] Their losses alone were reported as several thousand.[115] Meanwhile, a number of wounded or stunned Frenchmen were pulled from the heaps of dead men and dying horses and taken prisoner.[116]


A colourful late-Medieval depiction of Edward III counting the dead after the battle
Edward III counting the dead on the battlefield of Crécy.

The losses in the battle were highly asymmetrical. All contemporary sources agree that English casualties were very low.[117][71][118] Three give specific figures for the number of English men-at-arms killed: 3; 30; and 300.[119] No contemporary source estimates the number of non-notable English dead.[119] While some consider the English casualty figures given to be improbably low, Rogers argues that they are consistent with reports of casualties on the winning side in other medieval battles. To date, only two Englishmen killed at the battle have been identified: the squire Robert Brente and the newly anointed knight Aymer Rokesley.[120] Two English knights were also taken prisoner, although it is unclear at what stage in the battle this happened.[121]

Similarly, all contemporary sources consider the French casualties to have been very high. According to a count made by the English heralds after the battle, the bodies of 1,542 French knights were found;[122] Jonathan Sumption assumes another few hundred men-at-arms were killed in the pursuit which followed. Sumption describes the total French losses as "catastrophic".[118] Ayton estimates that at least 2,000 French men-at-arms were killed, noting that over 2,200 heraldic coats were taken from the field of battle as war booty by the English.[123] An estimate by the chronicler Geoffrey the Baker, deemed credible by modern historians, states that 4,000 French knights were killed.[117][122] Among the known knightly dead were a king, nine princes, ten counts, a duke, an archbishop and a bishop.[124] According to Ayton, the heavy losses of the French can also be attributed to the chivalric ideals held by knights of the time; nobles would have preferred to die in battle, or be captured and held for ransom, rather than dishonourably flee the field.[125]

No reliable figures exist for losses among the common French soldiery, although they were also considered to have been heavy. Jean le Bel estimated 15,000–16,000.[71] Froissart writes that the French army suffered a total of 30,000 killed or captured.[126] The modern historian Alfred Burne estimates 10,000 infantry, as "a pure guess",[127] for a total of 12,000 French dead.[122]


Edward ended the campaign by laying siege to Calais, which fell after twelve months; the Battle of Crécy having crippled the French army's ability to relieve the town.[128] This secured an English entrepôt into northern France which was held for two hundred years.[129] The battle established the effectiveness of the longbow as the dominant weapon on the Western European battlefield.[74] Modern historian Joseph Dahmus includes the Battle of Crécy in his Seven decisive battles of the Middle Ages.[130]



  1. ^ During the 1345 campaign he was known as the Earl of Derby, but his father died in September 1345 and he became the Earl of Lancaster. Sumption 1990, p. 476
  2. ^ This range is given by material scientists and is supported by most modern historians. Some historians argue that the range of a longbow would not have exceeded 200 metres (660 ft). Mitchell 2008, p. 242
  3. ^ When computer modelling from 2006 was matched against the performance of replica bows, these were found to be "in good agreement with experimental measurements". Pratt 2010, p. 216


  1. ^ a b Ayton 2005a, p. 18.
  2. ^ a b Schnerb 2005, p. 269.
  3. ^ a b c d Sumption 1990, p. 526.
  4. ^ Prestwich 2007, p. 394.
  5. ^ Harris 1994, p. 8.
  6. ^ Sumption 1990, p. 184.
  7. ^ DeVries 1998, p. 189.
  8. ^ Prestwich 2007, p. 314.
  9. ^ Sumption 1990, pp. 455–457.
  10. ^ Lucas 1929, pp. 519–524.
  11. ^ Prestwich 2007, p. 315.
  12. ^ Sumption 1990, pp. 461–463.
  13. ^ Gribit 2016, p. 1.
  14. ^ Sumption 1990, pp. 476–478.
  15. ^ a b c Wagner 2006, p. 3.
  16. ^ Sumption 1990, pp. 485–486.
  17. ^ Fowler 1961, p. 215.
  18. ^ Fowler 1961, p. 232.
  19. ^ Sumption 1990, p. 485.
  20. ^ Sumption 1990, p. 484.
  21. ^ Harari 1999, p. 384.
  22. ^ Sumption 1990, p. 493.
  23. ^ Rodger 2004, p. 102.
  24. ^ a b Burne 1999, p. 138.
  25. ^ Fowler 1961, p. 234.
  26. ^ a b Sumption 1990, p. 494.
  27. ^ Oman 1998, p. 131.
  28. ^ a b Allmand 2005, p. 15.
  29. ^ a b Rodger 2004, p. 103.
  30. ^ Rogers 1994, p. 92.
  31. ^ Sumption 1990, p. 507.
  32. ^ Sumption 1990, pp. 507–510.
  33. ^ Sumption 1990, pp. 512–513.
  34. ^ Livingstone & Witzel 2005, pp. 73–74.
  35. ^ Sumption 1990, pp. 496, 506–507, 512–513.
  36. ^ Sumption 1990, p. 514.
  37. ^ Sumption 1990, pp. 514–515.
  38. ^ Rogers 2010.
  39. ^ Sumption 1990, pp. 520–521, 522.
  40. ^ Ormrod 2012, p. 277.
  41. ^ Sumption 1990, p. 521.
  42. ^ a b Curry 2002, pp. 31–39.
  43. ^ Hardy 2010, pp. 64–65.
  44. ^ a b Burne 1999, pp. 156–160.
  45. ^ Sumption 1990, pp. 512, 524.
  46. ^ Sumption 1990, pp. 524–525.
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  • Allmand, Christopher (2005). The Hundred Years War: England and France at War c.1300–c.1450. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0521319232.
  • Ayton, Andrew; Preston, Philip; et al. (2005). The Battle of Crécy, 1346 (PDF). Woodbridge: Boydell Press. ISBN 978-1-84383-115-0.
  • Ayton, Andrew (2005a), "The Battle of Crécy: Context and Significance", in Ayton & Preston 2005, pp. 1–34.
  • Ayton, Andrew (2005b), "The English Army at Crécy", in Ayton & Preston 2005, pp. 159–251.
  • Curry, Anne (2002) [1955]. The Hundred Years' War 1337–1453. Essential Histories. Oxford: Osprey Publishing. ISBN 978-1841762692.
  • Dahmus, Joseph (1983). Seven decisive battles of the Middle Ages. Chicago: Nelson-Hal. pp. 189–205. ISBN 978-0830410309.
  • DeVries, Kelly (1998) [1996]. Infantry Warfare in the Early Fourteenth Century: Discipline, Tactics, and Technology. Woodbridge, Suffolk; Rochester, NY: Boydell & Brewer. ISBN 978-0851155715.
  • DeVries, Kelly (2015). "The Implications of the Anomino Romano Account of the Battle of Crécy". In Halfond, Gregory (ed.). The Medieval Way of War: Studies in Medieval Military History in Honor of Bernard S. Bachrach (1st ed.). London: Routledge. ISBN 978-1472419583.
  • Froissart, Jean (1908). MacAulay, G.C. (ed.). The Chronicles of Froissart. Translated by Bourchier (Lord Berners), John. London: MacMillan. pp. 99–107. OCLC 2925301.
  • Matthews, Rupert (2007). The Battle of Crecy. Stroud, Gloucestershire: Spellmount. ISBN 978-1862273696.
  • Mitchell, Russell (2008). "The Longbow-Crossbow Shootout At Crécy (1346): Has The "Rate Of Fire Commonplace" Been Overrated?". In Villalon, L. J. Andrew; Kagay, Donald J. (eds.). The Hundred Years War (part II): Different Vistas. Leiden: Brill. pp. 233–257. ISBN 978-9004168213.

Neillands, Robin (2001). The Hundred Years War. London: Routledge. ISBN 978-0415261319.

Rogers, Clifford (2007). Soldiers Lives through History: The Middle Ages. Westport: Greenwood. ISBN 978-0313333507.

  • Strickland, Matthew; Hardy, Robert (2011). The Great Warbow: From Hastings to the Mary Rose. Somerset: J. H. Haynes & Co. ISBN 978-0857330901.
  • Sumption, Jonathan (1990). Trial by Battle. London: Faber and Faber. ISBN 978-0-571-20095-5.
  • Wagner, John A. (2006). "Auberoche, Battle of (1345)". Encyclopedia of the Hundred Years' War. Woodbridge, Suffolk: Greenwood. pp. 35–36. ISBN 978-0313327360.
  • Wagner, John A. (2006b). "Calais, Siege of (1346–1347)". Encyclopedia of the Hundred Years War. Woodbridge, Suffolk: Greenwood. pp. 73–74. ISBN 978-0313327360.
  • Wagner, John A. (2006c). "Casualties)". Encyclopedia of the Hundred Years War. Woodbridge, Suffolk: Greenwood. pp. 73–74. ISBN 978-0313327360.
  • de Wailly, Henri (1987). Crecy 1346: Anatomy of a Battle. Poole, Dorset: Blandford Press. ISBN 978-0874139655.

Further reading[edit]

  • Hewitt, H.J. The Organization of War under Edward III. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1966. OCLC 398232
  • Keen, Maurice (editor), Medieval Warfare: A History. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 1999. ISBN 0198206399 OCLC 41581804
  • Livingston, Michael, and Kelly DeVries, eds. The Battle of Crécy: A Casebook (2016). ISBN 9781781382646
  • Reid, Peter. A Brief History of Medieval Warfare: The Rise and Fall of English Supremacy at Arms, 1314–1485. Philadelphia: Running Press, 2007.
  • Rogers, Clifford J. Essay on Medieval Military History: Strategy, Military Revolution, and the Hundred Years War. Surrey, UK: Ashgate Variorum, 2010. ISBN 9780754659969 OCLC 461272357

Primary sources[edit]

  • The Anonimalle Chronicle, 1333–1381. Edited by V.H. Galbraith. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1927.
  • Avesbury, Robert of. De gestis mirabilibus regis Edwardi Tertii. Edited by Edward Maunde Thompson. London: Rolls Series, 1889.
  • Dene, William of. Historia Roffensis. British Library, London.
  • French Chronicle of London. Edited by G.J. Aungier. Camden Series XXVIII, 1844.
  • Froissart, Jean. Chronicles. Edited and Translated by Geoffrey Brereton. London: Penguin Books, 1978.
  • Grandes chroniques de France. Edited by Jules Viard. Paris: Société de l'histoire de France, 1920–53.
  • Gray, Sir Thomas. Scalacronica. Edited and Translated by Sir Herbert Maxwell. Edinburgh: Maclehose, 1907.
  • Le Baker, Geoffrey. Chronicles in English Historical Documents. Edited by David C Douglas. New York: Oxford University Press, 1969.
  • Le Bel, Jean. Chronique de Jean le Bel. Edited by Eugene Deprez and Jules Viard. Paris: Honore Champion, 1977.
  • Rotuli Parliamentorum. Edited by J. Strachey et al., 6 vols. London: 1767–83.
  • St. Omers Chronicle. Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, MS 693, fos. 248-279v. (Currently being edited and translated into English by Clifford J. Rogers)
  • Venette, Jean. The Chronicle of Jean de Venette. Edited and Translated by Jean Birdsall. New York: Columbia University Press, 1953.

Anthologies of translated sources[edit]

  • Life and Campaigns of the Black Prince. Edited and Translated by Richard Barber. Woodbridge, Suffolk: Boydell Press, 1997.
  • The Wars of Edward III: Sources and Interpretations. Edited and Translated by Clifford J. Rogers. Woodbridge, Suffolk: Boydell Press, 1999.