Long bows Poitiers
As is well known, in the 1346-51 years, an epidemic of "black death" swept across Europe, wiping out a third of its population. And already in the 1355 year, barely having wicked, England and France resumed the Hundred Years War. The French king Jean (John) the Second and the King of Navarre Charles (Charles) the Second concluded an anti-British military alliance, and the British in response began another invasion of French lands under the command of Edward Plantagenet, nicknamed The Black Prince. Jean, having assembled a large knight army, spoke out to meet them. The decisive battle took place exactly 660 years ago, September 19 1356, near the city of Poitiers, on the very spot where, six centuries before, the Frankish army had stopped the Muslim invasion of Europe.
The distant descendants of the victors in the first battle of Poitiers were less successful. Despite a considerable numerical superiority (15-17 of thousands of warriors against seven thousand), they suffered a crushing defeat from the British, in which the color of French chivalry died, and the king himself and his younger son were taken prisoner. The unfortunate choice of the battlefield (a field overgrown with shrubs, cut by numerous ditches and hedges), extremely inconvenient for cavalry actions, and undisciplined commanders of French detachments attacking the enemy scattered and uncoordinated was blamed for so pitiable for the French
As a result, the British, occupying a vantage point on the hill, consistently repulsed four attacks of individual parts of the French army, and then, having made a detour through the cavalry, inflicted a flank counter-strike. Under the threat of encirclement, the French fled. Trying to appease panic and by personal example to inspire the fighters, King Jean, at the head of a small detachment, rushed into battle, but was quickly cut off from the main forces, put in a ring and forced to surrender. In addition to him, 1933 surrendered to the warrior, mostly of noble origin, since the British did not take prisoners as commoners for whom they would not have given a good ransom.
The dead were even more. 2426 of the French were killed in the battle, including 17 barons, 13 graphs, five viscounts and more 100 knights. The Black Prince estimated his total losses at 40, however, the Flemish chronicler Jean Frouassart, who wrote a detailed description of the battle, indicated that the British had killed 160 archers and 150 warriors who fought cold weapons. Perhaps the discrepancy is due to the fact that the Prince mentioned only persons of noble birth, as it often happened in the Middle Ages. But, in any case, the damage suffered by the French, no less than 15 times the loss of the enemy.
For the ransom from the captivity of his king, the French paid a whopping, in those times, an amount of three million gold ecu. This literally ruined the country and caused a number of riots, because the authorities drastically incited taxes to raise money. When a similar incident happened to the Emperor Napoleon III, who surrendered to the Prussians in Sedan, the people of France did a lot smarter, overthrowing the monarchy and abandoning the ruler-loser. But, in order to wise up, the French took more than 500 years.
From a military-technical point of view, the Battle of Poitiers is interesting in that this is the first major battle in which both armies, more precisely, their most wealthy representatives, were dressed in plate armor to replace the mail and brigandines. These armor made of large steel plates, forged in the shape of a human body, held the blow much better, and they were particularly well protected from arrows.
The English archers who, in the previous battle of Cresi, literally squandered the French knights, first met an almost invulnerable enemy. However, they quickly found a way out, aiming not at the riders, but at their horses, which were protected much weaker, especially from the sides. Horses struck by arrows fell, dragging riders along, or out of obedience and dropping riders. Thus, an attack by an elite squad of 500 knights under the command of Marshal Audrey was repelled. Full horse armor, completely protecting the horse's torso, appeared only in the next century.
The screensaver features miniatures from the Chronicles of Froissart, depicting the battle of Poitiers. On the left - the French jump to the attack under attack, on the right - King Jean fights off the English infantry.
On the left - the French knights at the Battle of Poitiers, on the right - Prince Edward in the "newfangled" plate armor. His horse is also partially protected by a helmet - shanfron and our cynic - krinet.
Outfit of English archers - longboumenov.
The rank of archers reflects attack.
Battle of Poitiers in the painting of Eugene Delacroix. The final scene of the battle is depicted when the British surrounded King Jean and his small retinue.
Modern drawing on the same topic. The king is recognizable by the helmet with a gilded crown.