Battle of Gerberoy
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|Battle of Gerberoy|
|Part of the Hundred Years' War|
|Kingdom of France||Kingdom of England|
|Commanders and leaders|
| La Hire
|John FitzAlan, 14th Earl of Arundel|
|Casualties and losses|
The Battle of Gerberoy was fought in 1435 between French and English forces. The French were led by La Hire and Jean Poton de Xaintrailles, who were victorious. La Hire was made captain general of Normandy in 1438 and died at Montauban on 11 January 1443 of an unknown illness.
In spring 1435 the Hundred Years' War, after a few years of relative calm began to come back into a hot phase. The English armies operating from northern France and Aquitaine. The also controlled Paris, Saint-Denis and the whole Normandy. Nevertheless, the situation in the occupied territories for the English during the last decades had become more difficult. Although Joan of Arc was captured in 1430 and 1431 executed, it seemed to be more difficult, to ruleunder the Treaty of Troyes enforce.
During the year 1434 the French king Charles VII increased control over the territories north of Paris, including Soissons, Compiègne, Senlis and Beauvais. Due to its position Gerberoy appeared as a good outpost to threaten the English occupied Normandy and even stronger to protect the nearby Beauvais of a possible reconquest. The French hoped to expand the city already 1432, but due to the low state revenues they could not raise sufficient troops and gave the project at first. In spring 1435, the project was taken up again and prepared corresponding expenditure in the defense budget. According to the writings of the canon Jean Pillet (the first historian of Gerberoy) was a troop 600-1800 man positioned for this, and under the command of Jean Poton de Xaintrailles and La Hire both former commanders with Joan of Arc. They arrived secretly Gerberoy and set to work to restore the old defenses.
At this time, in Gournay sur Epte, Normandy (now Gournay-en-Bray in Seine-Maritime), about a dozen kilometers southwest of Gerberoy, sat an English army under the command of John FitzAlan, 14th Earl of Arundel, in motion. This should bring the city Rue, which had also been recently recaptured by the French, again under English control. The troops led material for a siege with them. Arundel reached with his troops in early May 1435 Gournay and marched without special backup on Gerberoy, he believed only weakly defended. His troops (according to Jean Pillet about 3,000 men, but this figure is probably only a rough estimate) were certainly superior to the French troops numerically far.
Arundel appeared on May 9 before Gerberoy along with a vanguard that probably few man involved and immediately withdrew after a brief observation of the valley again, waiting for the arrival of the main force.
The French, who had followed all the action from an elevated position from Gerberoy, quickly realized that it was merely an advance party and the main forces of the English were still on the road to Gournay. Since they had not yet sufficiently recovered the fortifications for an impending siege, the French decided to take the initiative and to take a quick attack to take the Englishmen completely unprepared.
A cavalry column under La Hire left town, bypassed the position of the English vanguard to launch a surprise attack on the English on the road to Gournay. They came in a roundabout way undetected to a place called Les Epinettes, near Laudecourt, a hamlet near Gournay, and attacked the English main force. At the same time the rest of the garrison was under the command of Xaintrailles the smaller troop of Earl Arundel. This, in isolation from the rest of the troops took shelter behind a pile dwelling nearby. During the battle, the Earl Arundel was badly wounded in the leg by a French Culverin.
After it was La Hire and his horsemen managed to defeat the English on the street of Gournai, they went quickly on the way back to Gerberoy. When they appeared reinforcements, the remaining English realized that their situation was hopeless. They turned to flee, and a large number of armed men was slain. The Earl of Arundel fell into captivity and died of his injuries later. The loss of the English were certainly high and went into the hundreds (even if the writings express this clear), while the French are said to have lost only about twenty fighters.
Despite the victory, the French did not expand its position in Gerberoy. The city was besieged again in the wake of the English and captured in 1437. The French succeeded the final reconquest of the city until 1449. Until 1451 the entire Normandy was back under French control, which Gerberoy lost its role as a strategic front post.
The victory of 9 May 1435 does not appear, in spite of its clear results, as one of the decisive victories of the Hundred Years' War. But it illustrates well how developed for the French the military situation after the victories of Joan of Arc.