THE BATTLE OF POITIERS – HUNDRED YEARS WAR
19th September 1356
This was a battle fought between the English and Gascons and the French
The Hundred Years War had begun in 1337 when the English King, Edward III, had claimed the French throne following the death of King Philip IV of France. The war had continued for nearly twenty years when in 1355 Edward III’s son, Edward led a new assault through France to Carcassonne. The French walled city held out against English attack and Prince Edward withdrew to Bordeaux. King John I of France launched a new attack on the English and met Prince Edward at Poitiers in 1356.
ENGLISH AND GASCONS
Prince Edward of England
John I of France
Duke of Orleans
The French opened the battle with a mounted cavalry attack. English archers killed many of the attackers while those that survived were pulled from their horses and either killed or taken prisoner.
The French then launched an infantry attack. Again the English used their archers to remove many of the attackers. The English line held firm until the French were near and then broke to attack the French. The troops led by the Dauphin and the Duke of Orleans fled the English attack.
The remaining French troops led by King John I and his son, Philip, were no match for the English and the King of France surrendered.
Decisive victory for the English
King John I was taken prisoner by the English which left France in control of John’s son Charles. Charles faced difficulties raising the ransom money and although John was eventually released in 1361 in exchange for other hostages but he was returned to English custody when one of the hostages did not arrive.